Re: Mark 11:22 God's faith or faith in God?

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Thu Feb 20 1997 - 08:49:32 EST wrote:

> Mark 11:22 has the phrase, "Have faith in God" -- K21. Other translations
> read,"Have the faith of God. Those are the two most common renderings.
> However, I have heard that the Greek should really read, "Have the God kind
> of faith" or "Have the faith of God".

This is a frequent question. The Greek says ECETE PISTIN QEOU, and it
is ambiguous enough to allow all the translations you have suggested.
Only the context can help here, and I'm afraid that your own theological
beliefs will probably influence your translation. To say that the Greek
"should really read" one of these options isn't accurate, since the Greek
allows all of these interpretations.

Literally, the Greek is a lot like saying "have faith of God", which
is pretty ambiguous in English or Greek. And the word PISTIS can mean
either "faith" or "faithfulness", which gives us even more options.
> Below, I listed four translations that read that way or similiar...
> Have God's faith -- The Bible in Basic English
> Have the kind of trust that comes from God -- The Jewish New Testament
> Have God's faith -- Numeric English New Testament
> Take hold on God's faithfulness -- Montgomery New Testament

These are all perfectly legitimate translations; each involves
one possible interpretation of the Greek phrase. Here are some
other legitimate translations:

Mark 11:22 (RSV) And Jesus answered them, "Have faith in God.
Mark 11:22 (YLT) And Jesus answering saith to them, `Have faith of God;

> However, I have heard that the Greek should really read,
>"Have the God kind of faith"

This could also be a valid intepretation, but I do want to mention
one important caveat. The real meaning of PISTIS (when interpreted
to mean faith) is "trust", not "believe something to be true". I
say this because I have heard the phrase "God kind of faith" used
by teachers who then say that the real meaning of faith is to
believe in conditions contrary to fact, that the strength of our
faith can be measured by the degree of extraordinary claims we
are willing to believe, etc. I don't see this is a Biblical teaching.


Jonathan Robie
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