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Faith seems to be defined in many ways:

  • some say it means "faithfulness" aka, how loyal you are to the teachings and commandments of Jesus
  • Some say it's all about trust. You putting your trust in Jesus as saviour
  • Some say is trust + works. That faith is this living, dynamic, pregnant word, that, yes, means trust, but that trust is never alone, and must of necessity bring good fruits.

How does John 6:28-29:

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Does faith here simply mean trust? Does it seem to exclude works as a necessary requirement? Or is something else going on?

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  • Entire books get written about this! And they're usually the result of theological synthesis, not just straightforward exegesis. Sorry, but this isn't the sort of question this site is designed for.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 9:25
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    If you re-word the question to ask about the meaning of faith in a specific bible passage it would make the question fit the requirements of the site. You might even ask for a comparison between two, or more, passages on faith. Hebrews 11 is a famous passage on faith.
    – David D
    Commented Dec 12, 2023 at 15:10
  • @DavidD I've tried to re-phrase it better. Does that solve it?
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 16:23
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    You are getting closer. Rather than "How does the Bible speak about faith?" if the question were "What does this passage tell us about faith (give passage)" it would be better.
    – David D
    Commented Dec 13, 2023 at 16:31
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    @DavidD Please don't suggest a comparison between passages, that's really getting into theological synthesis. One question about one passage is what this site is for!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 15, 2023 at 23:52

1 Answer 1

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John 6:29 does not mention the word 'faith'. Jesus is answering a question put to him in the previous verse:

"Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?" John 6:28 K.J.

Jesus points out that believing in himself, as the one sent by God, is what amounts to doing the works of God. In other words, belief is involved in a particular 'work' that God requires.

Prior to this, Jesus had commanded people to search the scriptures, and he had reminded them that the scriptures had Moses telling them that God would send a prophet like unto Moses, and the people were to listen to that prophet when he came. Jesus had come as that prophet. The people were to listen to him, and to believe him as that foretold one. Deuteronomy 18:15 & 18-19 was what they were to search for (in particular) for believing that would cause them to then believe that Jesus was from God. As Jesus pointed out,

"For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" John 5:39-40 & 46-47 K.J.

This makes it clear that the verse in question is dealing with both faith and works as part and parcel of believing so as to do what God requires even though the verse does not mention the word 'faith'. They are all involved with what it means to believe what the scriptures say about the Christ, which has to result in coming to Christ, to have life (John 5:40). That is what faith is all about - coming to so believe in Christ as to entrust your eternity to what he did to give you everlasting life.

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  • Thank you, Anne!
    – Dan
    Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 19:45

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