The Apostle Paul’s Use of “Faith”

The Apostle uses the word “faith” in his own peculiar and pregnant sense. But this is naturally led up to by the way in which it was used by Habakkuk. The intense personal trust and reliance which the Jew felt in the God of his fathers is directed by the Christian to Christ, and is further developed into an active energy of devotion.

“Faith,” as understood by St. Paul, is not merely head-belief, a purely intellectual process such as that of which St. James spoke when he said “the devils also believe and tremble”;

neither is it merely “trust,” a passive dependence upon an Unseen Power; but it is a further stage of feeling developed out of these, a current of emotion setting strongly in the direction of its object, an ardent and vital apprehension of that object, and a firm and loyal attachment to it.

Ellicott’s Commentary on Romans 1:17

2 thoughts on “The Apostle Paul’s Use of “Faith””

  1. Thanks Jeff for this worthy extract. On point: if “the devils also believe and tremble” it would seem that they had a lot more than mere intellectual faith! Of course they did not have saving faith.

  2. I think the faith of demons that makes them tremble shows a better intellectual understanding of God than most Christian’s “intellectual faith!” Accusing easy-believists of having “intellectual” anything is a stretch.

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