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Is the phrase saying "the faith that Jesus imparts" or "the faith that the saints possess" (subjective vs objective genitive)?

FYI, I'll add my own understanding below:

τὴν πίστιν Ἰησοῦ in Rev. 14:12 is objective genitive. Subjective genitive would read, πίστις Χριστοῦ, thus, “the faith of Jesus” meaning Christ as the author of this faith. Rev. 14:12 introduces two objective genitive clauses: “τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ θεοῦ” and “τὴν πίστιν Ἰησοῦ” from the verb present participle active nominative plural “τηροῦντες “. The sentence is dealing with obedience and faith in practice (active). The accusatives “the commandments” and “the faith” are the direct objects receiving attention of what the saints are doing and not what God or Jesus are doing.

Alternatively, the verse could be read as “those who are living by the commandments of God and by their objective confidence (faith) in Jesus”. This makes sense when we connect Rev. 14:12 to 14:1,4.

  • Since τας εντολας του θεου the commandments of God concerns commandments prescribed by God, can't την πιστιν be the Faith (Jude 1:3; Eph 4:5; 1 Pet 4:15-16) of Christ, grammatically speaking? – Sola Gratia Aug 17 '17 at 14:30
  • It's grammatically accurate in my opinion as both του θεου and την πιστιν express an objective (not subjective) idea. – T-Major Aug 18 '17 at 19:38
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Every attempt being made to understand the meaning of “the faith of Jesus" with spotlight on Revelation 14:12 must be carefully balanced with different scriptures where the word "faith" appears.

To start with, King James and ESV did not render the phrase the same way.

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (KJV)

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. ESV

While King James translates πιστιν ιησου as objective genitive to say faith of Jesus, ESV and some other versions put it as subjective genitive; reading, πίστις Χριστοῦ (faith in Jesus). By this, the differing versions have left a large gap of arguments for various interest groups. As Michael in Epistles, Justification, Koine Greek, Revelations puts it in his post at: http://renewingtruth.com/2016/12/pistis-iesou-faith-of-jesus-or-faith-in-jesus/

In the scholarly world, a debate has been raging for a while now regarding the proper way to translate the Greek phrase “πίστις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ” (pistis Iēsou Christou), meaning either the “faith of Jesus Christ” or “faith in Jesus Christ.” This would apply to other variations where we have the word pistis (faith) followed by different combinations of the name/title of Jesus in the genitive case.

However, there seems to be an agreement between the two versions that I'm considering here in the way they started their translations:

Here is the patience of the saints . . . (KJV)

Here is a call for the endurance of the saints . . . (ESV)

From these two openings, the sentence can be seen as dealing with endurance. The accusatives “the commandments” and “the faith” ought to be interpreted in a way that the direct objects would summarily conform to endurance. This is what Hebrews 4:3,4 seeks to point out when it says:

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

According to Abarim Publications, Revelation 14:12 seeks to encourage the body of Christ to behave as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ hence the expression should be read as πίστιν Ἰησοῦ (objective genitive) and not as believing in Jesus.

The verb means to persuade or be persuaded, and the noun means faith; trust or certainty. From the noun in turn derives the equally important verb πιστευω (pisteuo), meaning to have faith, that is: to behave as someone who has been persuaded into certainty.

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The phrase “faith of Jesus” occurs five times in the NT (Rom 3:22, 26, Gal 2:16, 3:22, Rev 14:12). In all cases the Greek “pistis Iesou” (note the genitive) can be translated either as:

  • “Faith in Jesus” meaning the trust we have in Jesus to save us because we cannot do it ourselves. That is, we allow Him to do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves.
  • “Faithfulness of Jesus” (more literally) meaning the trustworthiness and faithfulness of Jesus Himself that He exercised on our behalf to save us; and that we imitate in order to receive the merits and benefits of Jesus. See especially 2 Tim 2:13. That is, we rely on Jesus faithfulness.

In my judgement it is not necessary to decide between these two as both are intended. That is, we trust Jesus to be trustworthy (and thus to save us). There is a similar situation with “Faith of God” in Mark 11:22, Rom 3:3.

The New Testament also contains the phrase “faith/trust in Jesus” (“pistis en Iesous”) and in all cases the phrase is used as the basis for the Christian life and/or a cause for celebration and note by others. Gal 3:26, Eph 1:15, Col 1:4, 1 Tim 1:14, 3:13, 2 Tim 1:13, 3:15.

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The verse could also be connected to 2:3, where Christ refers to "His faith" (η πίστις μου - lit. the faith of me):

οἶδα τὰ ἔργα σου καὶ ποῦ κατοικεῖς· ὅπου ὁ θρόνος τοῦ σατανᾶ· καὶ κρατεῖς τὸ ὄνομά μου, καὶ οὐκ ἠρνήσω τὴν πίστιν μου καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις αἷς Ἀντίπας ὁ μάρτυς μου ὁ πιστός, ὃς ἀπεκτάνθη παρʼ ὑμῖν, ὅπου ὁ σατανᾶς κατοικεῖ.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

The word faith with the definite article (η πίστις) is used in the sense here (I believe) of the Christian faith or conviction. It is similar to the usage found in Acts and elsewhere. For example:

Acts 6:7 (KJV)

καὶ ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ ηὔξανε, καὶ ἐπληθύνετο ὁ ἀριθμὸς τῶν μαθητῶν ἐν Ἱερουσαλὴμ σφόδρα, πολύς τε ὄχλος τῶν Ἰουδαίων ὑπήκουον τῇ πίστει.

And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.


Acts 16:5

Αἱ μὲν οὖν ἐκκλησίαι ἐστερεοῦντο τῇ πίστει καὶ ἐπερίσσευον τῷ ἀριθμῷ καθʼ ἡμέραν.

And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.


On the other hand, your latter reading (“those who are living by the commandments of God and by their objective confidence (faith) in Jesus") seems to accord with the interpretation given by Andrew of Caesarea (563-637), who wrote the first authoritative commentary on Revelation in Greek:

The impious, it says, will be tortured throughout the age in the future, and so the saints here display patient endurance in (which), time quickly slipping away, they preserve inviolate the divine commandments and the faith in Christ*


* Tr. from Greek by Dr. E. Constantinou, Andrew of Caesarea and the Apocalypse in the Ancient Church of the East

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