Faith in the Book of Acts

This post is part of a series on faith in the New Testament.

Here is a look at our fifth book in the New Testament filtering through all the examples we see of the word faith. This post will exhaustively look at every example we see in the book of Acts with a brief commentary on each.

Acts 3:16

By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

Here we have a healing attributed to a man’s faith. There is a coupling of faith and the name of Jesus in reference to the power that was displayed.

Acts 6:5

This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism.

Here we see that faith is something you can “have” and that it can be a defining characteristic. Like we see with 11:24, it is also a measure of how much he has.

Acts 6:7

So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.

The faith here refers to Christianity itself. While that word is clearly understood today, in the beginning of the Church you see titles such as “The Way” and “The Faith.”

Acts 11:24

He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.

This is a quantifiable statement. He had “lots” of faith or was “full” of faith. This would cause us to believe that we all have faith in degrees.

Acts 13:8

But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.

Like 6:7, here it is again referring to Christianity itself.

Acts 14:9

He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed.

He was healed because of his faith that it could happen. Going back to the question of faith, here we see it is focused on the man’s effort.

Acts 14:22

…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.

Like 6:7 and 13:8, here it is again referring to Christianity itself.

Acts 14:27

On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.

This is an intriguing phrase—a “door of faith.” Here we are adding a new concept in our faith discussion, and we see that it is a catalyst for more faith to come. Makes me think that we should be praying for “doors of faith” to be opened to all sorts of areas around us.

Acts 15:9

He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

This one is open for some interpretation, specifically on both sides of the question of faith. It could mean that God uses faith to purify their hearts (His effort), or that God purified their hearts because of their faith (their effort). I would tend to think that this verse refers to God’s effort more than man’s.

Acts 16:5

So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Similar to 6:7, 13:8, and 14:22, here it is again referring to Christianity itself or specifically the Christian belief system.

Acts 20:21

I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

Faith in this verse is defined as trust and belief in Jesus. It is linked with repentance as a natural follow up.

Acts 24:24

Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus.

Like 20:21, the belief and trust in Jesus.

Acts 26:18

…to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

Here we see faith as the catalyst for salvation. Because of their faith they receive sanctification.

Acts 27:25

So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.

Like 20:21 and 24:24, here we see see belief and trust.

Insights from the book of Acts:

  • Faith is something you can “have” and it can be a defining characteristic.
  • “The Faith” can be a synonym for the Church itself.
  • We have faith in degrees (a lot or a little, etc)
  • There are catalysts for more faith in things such as “doors of faith.”

What is your reaction to the faith verses in the book of Acts?

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Jeremy Jernigan

This is the personal blog of Jeremy Jernigan husband, father, executive pastor, and student of truth

5 Comments

Robert

about 3 years ago

Love this. We've been talking about a new meaning to an old phase at our house, "sharing our faith." We've been sharing our faith by praying with people for things they don't have the faith to ask for. Once they see God work, they now have the faith to pray on their own.

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jeremy

about 3 years ago

That is such a good way of looking at it!

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Terry Blunt

about 3 years ago

Faith is certainly something we can "have" but it's not something we can muster. As we see in Ephesians 2:8 (for by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God). Therefore we can't take credit for our faith - or our salvation but that's a whole different discussion. In addition, scripture is pretty clear that God allots to each a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) So He provides faith, sustains faith, deepens faith, etc. which should humble us and change the way we pray.

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jeremy

about 3 years ago

That's certainly a popular thought today, and one of the main reasons why I'm doing this study through the NT. What we've seen so far is that the opposite is true the majority of the time. Most references in the Gospels and the book of Acts (as far as I've blogged through so far) show faith as primarily based on man's efforts. Ephesians 2:8 is referring to God doing the saving through grace, not God giving the faith. Look through the previous posts in the series and let me know what you think.

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Terry Blunt

about 3 years ago

Will do :) I think we have a fundemental disagreement on Ephesians 2:8 though. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. The reason we have no room to boast in anything other than the cross is that God does all of it...the faith to believe in that grace isn't produced by us. If it is then we could boast in our faith - God granted us saving grace because of our self generated faith.

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