pisteu heard that pisteuō means to obey. But that passive tense of pistis means to believe. Accordingly John seems to use active tense pisteuō rather than Pistis in his gospel. If this is true then should most of the translations in John be about obeying in Jesus rather than simply obeying Him? With reference to people, pisteuo means to obey (Soph., OT, 625) For example

”He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.“ ‭‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Should this be translated as obey instead?

2 Answers 2


πιστεύσωσιν, pisteusosin, see Biblehub interlinear for John 1:7 is an inflection of πιστεύω, pisteuo, see Biblehub/Strong 4100 and Thayer.

All of the meanings associated with this word are 'faith' 'trust' and 'entrust'.

The idea of 'obey' is a different concept expressed by a different word in the Greek language - ὑπακοή, hupakoe, see Biblehub/Strong 5218.


Let me state this as emphatically as possible:

There is NOTHING in the meaning of the word πιστεύω that suggests "to obey".

One may consult any reputable lexicon and all list the meaning of this verb as a slight variant of either trust/believe/entrust/have faith in/be confident about, etc.

However, the fact that a person trusts someone like Jesus means that obedience results from trust/faith. Now, such a distinction is extremely important because: our salvation is rooted in trust/believe and NOT obedience. It is the confusion of this point that results in legalism and pharisaism!

It was placing obedience before trust/belief that cause pharisees to disavow Jesus teaching; so let me state this emphatically again.

  1. The realization of Jesus love for us results in our love for Him
  2. Our love for Jesus results in our belief and trust in Jesus
  3. Our trust in Jesus results in obedience to Jesus

Reversing this order is spiritually disastrous.

Rom 14:23 - ... and everything that is not from faith is sin.

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