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.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesusâ€™ 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. â€œWe must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,â€ they said.Like 6:7 and 13:8, here it is again referring to Christianity itself.
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 phraseâ€”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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
…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.
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.”
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