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The Etymology Of Faith

The apostles were Jews who never understood belief outside of obedience to the faith in a covenant relationship with God.

It is truly fascinating to see how the understanding of faith has changed over time along with the actual definition of the word. When I first discovered this it was like a light turned on in my brain. The entire New Testament came alive. I first saw this while I was reading Bernard L. Marthaler’s book called The Creed. 

   From the beginning of Christianity the words, “to believe” meant to “hold dear, to commit to, to beloved.” The German equivalent is the word “belieben” which means “give allegiance to.” To have faith in God is to give allegiance to God and live in every word. “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”

Faith also includes a core meaning from the indo-European root “bhidh”. From bhidh we get the source of two words, bide and abide which carries the association of something that is solid, something that is a binding together of two things. The Latin “fide” the Greek “pistis” and the English faith at its older root form, all have this same origin and form. Faith is to firmly bind yourself to something. This also refers to trustworthiness in a covenant relationship.

We bind belief with a covenant life in obedience to the faith.   A covenant relationship is an allegiance but much more. “This IS my body.” “This IS my blood”.  Man and woman become one flesh. “I will espouse you to me in justice, I will espouse you to me forever.” I am yours and you are mine.

The word covenant comes from the ancient Semitic word " Berit " which is much more than a contract. It means I am yours and you are mine. We see this in Gods relationship to the Jewish people when He said, " you will be my people and I will be your God."

A covenant bond often included a sharing of blood and a covenant meal.

God in the flesh, came to a covenant meal and said, " this is my blood of the New Covenant, do this in memory of me.

We see another example of the sharing of blood when Paul said, " The cup of benediction that we bless is this not participation in the blood of Christ.?"

There is no true covenant established with out a true sharing of blood.

“Etymologically, “believe” is related to a broad range of familiar words, some archaic, like life (dear, willing), some still in use, like “beloved,” and “love”. The history of “believe” in its various forms----ranging from Old English be loef to the early modern English synonym “beloved”, through the seventeenth- century misspelling that gave us “believe” instead of “beleeve”---is a chronicle of its gradual change in meaning…In the fourteenth century, about the time of John Wycliffe (1330-1384), important changes began to take place that mark the transition from Middle English to Modern English. A new word, “faith,” was coming into use as the English form of the Latin Fides. Early evidence of the transition can be seen in two versions of the English Bible attributed to Wycliffe, both based on the Latin Vulgate. In the first, bilefe translates fides, whereas in the second, “faith” appears in a number of places. By the seventeenth century the transition was virtually complete. The 1611 King James Authorized Version used the word “faith” 246 times, while using “belief” only once. The Oxford English Dictionary, which describes this evolution (s.v. belief), states,

…the word faith, though being through O[ld] F[rench] fei, faith, the etymological representative of the L[atin fides, it began in the 14th c[entury] to be used to translate the latter, and in course of time almost superseded “belief” esp[ecially] in theological language, leaving ‘belief” in great measure to merely intellectual process or state…Thus “belief in God” no longer means as much as “faith in God”.

(Marthaler The Creed )

 “The idea of commitment, it should be noted, is also at the root memory of the original Latin. Etymologically, credo, it seems, is a compound of two other Latin words, cor, cordis, “heart” (as in the English derivatives “cordial, “concord”, and “accord”) …The primary meaning of credo in classical Latin was to “entrust”, to commit”.


Commit to, or, to covenant in. “This is my blood of the New Covenant, DO THIS.’ The Catholic Creed is an expression of faith that is lived in the heart, “cordis”. The covenant life in the sacraments in obedience to the faith is what God established for our fallen nature. When scripture is looked at through a true image of faith (This IS my body) including proper exegesis combined with the image of the historical church, you will find that there is not one word in scripture that goes against the Catholic faith. Let me repeat this. This is a fact. You will find that there is not one word in scripture that goes against the Catholic faith.  The church is the flesh of Christ perpetuated through time by the sacraments. “Saul, why do you persecute me?’ You cannot live in the fullness of the New Covenant of the correction God gave us without belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Holy Mass, is the New Covenant Passover for the general redemption of the world.

When James stated to the Jewish converts Thou believe in one God, the devil also believes…faith without works is dead. He is telling us that even if you have the Shema the Jewish creed and law, ( Hear O Israel Our God is one.) your faith must be expressed through grace given freely of love and commitment. Love is the fulfilment the law and there is no true love of God without living in truth as it is exposed to the soul through grace. Love of God is fulfilled by living His covenant of faith. Obedience to the faith is the purest way of expressing love of God.

With this understanding we can develop a better image of John 3:16. John 3:16 is a summation of belief. It is obedience to the faith in the New Covenant.

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 

John 3:16

What does it mean to believe if Paul says it is his job to bring about obedience to the faith and Christ says, “ not everyone who says Lord Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven accept those who do the will of my Father? 

What does it mean to believe if the apostles did not understand belief outside of a covenant relationship and Christ said , this is my blood of the New Covenant, do this?

Raising this sacrament of the liturgy of the Eucharist to a command for Christianity? An article of belief in Christianity?

To not believe is disobedience/ apiethe.

To not live in the mosaic law was disobedience why would you think it would be any different in the New Covenant?

Here are a few Greek dictionary entries for this word apeithe? 

"from two of the most scholarly and reputable reference works on the Greek of the New Testament.

36.23 apeithe? unwillingness or refusal to comply with the demands of some authority—‘to disobey, disobedience.’ ‘whoever disobeys the Son will never have life’ (literally ‘… will never see life’) Jn 3:36. ‘God’s wrath comes upon those who do not obey him’ Eph 5:6.

(Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 467–468.)


apeithe?.  This word means “to be disobedient” and is a significant term in the LXX (Greek Old Testament) for disobedience to God. In the NT it is used of the wilderness generation in Heb. 3:18, that of the flood in 1 Pet. 3:20, all sinners in Rom. 2:8, and Gentiles in Heb. 11:31. Rom. 11:30. “

To believe” is the opposite in Acts 14:1–2, and unbelief is parallel. We find an absolute use in Acts 14:2. Rom. 15:31; 1 Pet. 2:7. Important phrases are disobeying the word (1 Pet. 2:8), the gospel (4:17), and the Son (Jn. 3:36).

(Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 819–820.)�*******************************************

Disobeys occurs only here in John’s Gospel; it is obviously the opposite of believes, and so JB and Phps translate “refuses to believe.” It is possible to argue that the meaning of disobeys throws some light on the meaning of believes, that is, this kind of belief is the belief which leads to obedience. 

Therefore one may translate “Whoever obeys the Son has eternal life, and whoever disobeys the Son will never have life.” However, it is better to retain the terms “believes” and “disobeys,” since the very lack of clear opposition tends to reinforce the meaning of the respective terms”.

( Steve Ray

This is belief. This is John 3:16 lived.

If they do not listen to even the church treat them as heathens and publicans.

If they hear you they hear me if they reject you then they reject me and the one who sent me.

That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church.

13And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: 14Simeon hath declared ( decree, dogma) how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

16After this I will return, and will (((build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; )))and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:

17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

Believe is to live in obedience to the faith in the New Covenant in Gods one church, the reestablished Kingdom of David.

Everything that God does for us is to reverse what happened to us in the Garden of Eden.

From disobedience to obedience.

Obey your prelates who have the rule over you for they watch over your souls.

From ego to humility in belief because Gods words are true not because we understand them.

My flesh is true food.

True belief,? living the narrow road of the sacramental life in obedience to the faith in love of Christ, is the process of transforming grace to return to the garden.

And we all, who with unveiled faces ( This is my body. O you foolish Galatians who before your very eyes Christ is portrayed as crucified before you ) contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

( 2 Cor 3:18)

Diabolical faith alone , scripture alone, once saved always saved, born again without baptism…

Are made by man in fallen nature; they reverse the process of spiritually returning to the garden .

Luther said Satan hated the Holy Mass and the communion of Saints and loved his new doctrine of faith alone. Luther obviously believed he did not see the concept of faith alone in history before him.

So what is obedience to the faith if the apostolic church was living the narrow road of transforming grace of the religion and ritual of the New Covenant with Bishops, priests, and deacons?

Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead: 5By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for his name

Rm 1:4

This is a great part of obedience to the faith.


And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers Acts 2:42

I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called, 2With all humility and mildness, with patience, supporting one another in charity. 3Careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. 5One Lord, one faith, one baptism. 6One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in us all. Eph 4:1

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment. 1 Cor 1:10

Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. 1 Cor 11:2

For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee: Titus 1:5 

Let the priests that rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honour: especially they who labour in the word and doctrine

1 Tim 5:17

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim 3:15

That the manifold wisdom of God may be made known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places through the church, Eph 3:10

And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. My 18:18


Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. Jm 5:14

Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit . Mt 28:19

And taking bread, he gave thanks, and brake; and gave to them, saying: This is my body, which is given for you. Do this for a commemoration of me. Lk 22:19

The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord ? 1 Cor 10:16

Behold Israel according to the flesh: are not they, that eat of the sacrifices, partakers of the altar ?

1 Cor 10:18

We have an altar, whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle. Heb 13:10

For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he come 1 Cor 11:26

Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:5

That I should be the minister of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles: sanctifying the gospel of God, that the oblation of the Gentiles may be made acceptable and sanctified in the Holy Ghost.

Rm 15:16

LET a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. 1 Cor 4:1

No religion and ritual?


This is my body.

Obedience to the word.


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