translating Greek pisteuw

Rick Mansfield of This Lamp has just blogged on one of the most important words in the entire New Testament, pisteuw. Rick wrestles with how this Greek word should be translated to English. Is it better to translate pisteuw as “having faith in,” “believing in,” “relying on”, “having confidence in,” “depending on,” “trusting”?

I recommend that you read Rick’s post and the comments on it.

Believe me, you’ll be glad you did!

3 thoughts on “translating Greek pisteuw

  1. Psalmist says:

    Thanks for the link, Wayne. Not that I’m any kind of authority or anything, but I’ve thought for a number of years now that “trust” or “trust in” fit as well as anything, once I learned that pisteuw is quite an active word. I think, however, that “depending on” is an even better choice.

    I appreciate your and Rick’s making me think about this for the first time in a while. Good reminder why the relatively passive English “believe in” and “have faith in” aren’t really adequate translations.

    This blog is a real blessing for me. Thanks, all of you contributors, for your faithful work.

  2. mgvh says:

    Interesting… I submitted a comment on the other site, but one aspect of my argument could probably be better discussed here. I noted that:

    …in John 3.16, πιστευω is used as a PRESENT participle. Consistent with the present tense, it would seem best, if a bit awkward English, to translate with “everyone who is believing…” This has a couple of benefits. First, it does highlight the dynamic nature of the ongoing believing in God’s Son. Second, it ‘sounds’ to me like I must be intending the sense of believing which includes trusting, relying, etc, and not the sense of holding an opinion. That is, when expressing an opinion, I am more likely to say, “I believe that it will rain,” than I am to say, “I am believing that it will rain.”

    Is my perception accurate that “believing” would not normally be used to indicate an opinion?

  3. Wayne Leman says:

    Is my perception accurate that “believing” would not normally be used to indicate an opinion?

    I believe so.


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