Berean Study Bible

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Add to us faith!”

6And the Lord said, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard, you would have said to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would have obeyed you.

Is it possible to add to or subtract from faith as if faith can be quantified by a number?

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you. 4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, 5so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another. 6We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If one’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith;

Proportional faith by multiplication?

Is faith measurable by some means even by some unknown spiritual means somehow?

Are the disciples, Jesus, and Paul talking about different degrees of faith?


3 Answers 3


Jesus said :

I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel [Matthew 8:10 KJV].

and, also :

O ye of little faith [Matthew 8:26 KJV.

In the context of these two quantified estimations, across a spectrum of 'little' to 'great' Jesus' comments relate to what people did, or said, or what attitude they had.

It was visible.

James has much to say about this :

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? [James 2:14 KJV]

Faith, itself, as a quality, can only be 'measured' by God. And he does so, for he justifies them that believe, because he, alone, can see the faith. And can see his own righteousness, the righteousness of God, within that faith. Therefore 'Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him (by God) unto righteousness (divine righteousness)'. Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:9, Romans 4:22, James 2:23.

Not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law ... but that which is, through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God, by faith. [Phil 3:9]

But living faith can also be seen, by others as well, by works : by deeds, by words, by attitudes.

And thus the faith can be 'quantified'. By the quantity and quality of the evident results of that vibrant faith.


Is faith quantifiable?

Luke 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, “Add to us faith!”

6 And the Lord said, “If you have faith like a grain of mustard, you would have said to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea,’ and it would have obeyed you.

Is faith quantifiable? The answer is YES, because faith comes from what is written in the scriptures and the word about Christ.

Paul wrote:

Romans 10:14-17 King James Version (KJV)

14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

It follows then if we want to increase our faith we must hear and take more knowledge from the scriptures. It takes time to gather convincing evidence as the basis for faith. (Hebrews 11:1) And it takes effort. One must be willing to spend time and put forth effort on a regular basis so as to gather the evidence needed to build faith.

  • Up-voted +1 They searched the scriptures, whether these things were so. Acts 17:11.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 15:22

Faith is direct byproduct of Grace. Grace is something we receive for free. Like a free loan to buy what we please. Because Faith is byproduct of Grace it can't be measured. Yet, Faith can be observed by actions or "works" (James 2:24). Now actions or "works" can be measured as Jesus Himself says that Mary "Magdalene" has loved a lot. Meaning her good actions are many compared to her bad actions(Luke 7:47). Jesus then puts in a balance her good actions and her good actions(love) override her bad actions. Jesus then proceeds to forgive her bad actions(sins). Jesus measures her bad actions compared to her good actions to determine the forgiveness of her sins. With the usual warning: "Do not sin no more". Of course, Mary was a human being and most likely would incur in sin maybe small venial sins during her life. But Mary had the immeasurable gift of Grace that was given for free from Jesus's cross. In resume: Faith itself cannot be measured. Works can!

  • 2
    If good actions are weighed against bad actions then salvation is by works and is no longer by grace. Romans 11:6 Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 1:18
  • In this particular passage Jesus Himself seems to override Mary's bad actions of the past(sins) with her incredible act of love kissing Jesus's feet and pouring perfume on him. Mary recognized she was a sinner and needed forgiveness and the act of kissing Jesus's feet was an act of abandoning herself to him regardless of what other said. Rahab was a prostitute and big sinner who helped the Israelis escape. (Joshua 2:1-7)This action of mercy is famous and override all past bad behavior of this woman including her promiscuity! Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 5:52
  • 2
    Mary loves much because she has been forgiven much...not the other way around. We love him because he first loved us. Forgiveness, mercy, and the love of God are reckoned as the wages of good action to our peril. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 14:00
  • If you love because you have been forgiven where is the grace on it? You love without conditions or expecting rewards. You give yourself in penance. Mary cried and her tears were signs of her gratitude for being saved from her "evil spirits" by Jesus. These "evil spirits" might have been her lust for sin, debauchery and scandals. Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 20:05
  • 1
    @CarmeloJunior Magdala was a suburb, and a haven for sorcerers. Mary of Magdalene was a medium, and possessed by seven demons. The other woman cannot be identified. The two accounts of anointing Jesus cannot be proved to be the same so the 'sinner' cannot be identified. There i s no evidence of any of the things you are mentioning of these women.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 12, 2021 at 20:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.