From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Wed Aug 26 1998 - 11:52:30 EDT

A couple of observations about the discussion on this passage:

1) PISTIN QEOU is Apollonius' Canon construction and as such one
CANNOT ascribe definiteness/indefiniteness/qualitativeness to
either noun on the basis of their being anarthrous, ie., just
because PISTIN is without the article doesn't mean that its
"a faith" or "faithness" (or whatever the quality would be).
I agree with something that Carl said about the Imp'v (which
it seems clearly to be to me), namely that there is a stress
on "holding fast to", NOT because its present (Pres Imp'v =
Generic Command; Aor = Specific Command; there's nothing
linear versus undefined/point in them in the Impv), but
because its EXW, which frequently in the imp'v means to
"hold on to something". Thus, the reason, I take it that the
article is omitted with PISTIN is because of its use at times
to refer to "body of doctrine", and Jesus is NOT stressing
that here, but rather seems to me to be stressing the
disciples' personal trust in God, since they are about to
face a situation which will not fit their preconceived notions
about how God should/must/will operate. Jesus is basically
saying, as I see it, "No matter what happens, just keep
trusting God, believing that He has things under control and
that they will all work out ultimately the right way." Thus,
when PISTIN loses its article, for symmetry, QEOU loses its
as well...that's just the way Greeks like it. Look at Rom 3:3
for the exact opposite of this, where PISTIS is normally
taken to mean "faithfullness".

2) It seems to me that it is unlikely in the extreme that
God has either "faith" or "hope", esp., based on what is said
in Hebrews 11:1. God does not need "faith", since that is
a (mental) state of being assured about something that you
don't/cannot know but are "hoping/expecting" to be true.
Since there are no such gaps in God's knowledge, He is
neither sitting in heaven saying "I sure hope this works out!",
nor "I'm trusting that these folks will do the right thing!".
He already knows the answer to both of those questions. I'd
suggest that this is precisely why Paul in 1Cor 13 says it
great to have faith and hope, but love is the most important
thing...God is/has love, but not faith or hope. This is not
to say that God is not FAITHFUL, but that's a different
thing altogether.

3) I take it that the genitive is objective, ie., God is the
object of their faith. Such a construction seems to have
become--perhaps on the basis of THIS statement--common
Christian parlance applied to the Messiah, eg., Rom 3:22;
Gal 2:16; 3:22; Phil 3:9; cf., Eph 3:12 (all Apollonius'
Canon except Eph which uses a pronoun instead of noun, probably
because of the preceding preposition; there has been
recent debate that PISTIS in these passages should be
understood as "faithfulness of the Messiah" on the basis
of Rom 3:3, but I think the bulk of folks still think that
Paul means "faith in the Messiah"...its seems more likely
to me).


Dale M. Wheeler, Ph.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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