Do We believe?
Now, I want to talk a little bit about this word, “belief, or believe.” But I am going to talk about two different types of belief. There are over a dozen Hebrew and Greek words that are translated into the English word ‘believe’ in the Bible but they all fall under one of two definitions.
The first type of belief or believing is the type that most resembles Webster’s dictionary definition for the word ‘belief’ which is defined as, “assent of the mind, or in the opinion of.”
Now I want to point out that this definition for the word “believe” is not the definition for the word “believe” in John 3:16. If that were the case, then it could be re-worded as, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever is of the opinion that Jesus is the Son of God, will not perish but have everlasting life.”
Now if we think about this and compare it to other scriptures, we would come to the conclusion that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to think that the only requirement for salvation is an intellectual opinion that Jesus was the Son of God.
So it is obvious to us that the word ‘believe’ in this verse means something entirely different. But before we get into what it does mean, I want to look a little bit closer at the type of belief that Webster describes.
We read this in John 2:23-24 “Now when He (Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men.”
Did you notice that it said many believed in His name? If we read the paraphrased version of this verse in the Living Bible we would read: “Because of the miracles Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many people were convinced that he was indeed the Messiah.”
The people in this passage are those that have adopted Webster’s version of the word ‘believe.’ They have intellectually come to hold the opinion that, because of the miraculous things that He did, Jesus had been sent from God.
We’ll see who’s say that tomorrow.