Message 19 - By Jerry D. Green

Faith, Faiths, and The Faith

Quite often we hear the term, “Abraham, the father of faith.”  And even though it is not scripturally verbatim, and even though Abraham was not the first man to believe God, it is scripturally true that “…Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). Some years back, while waiting in the barber shop, I picked up a December, 2001 issue of National Geographic magazine. It had an article titled, “Abraham, Father of Three Faiths.” This immediately caught my attention because I knew it was not a scriptural term, nor scripturally substantiated. The author told how three major religions, the Jew, the Christian, and the Muslim, all claim Abraham as their beginning. I suppose this could be considered factual, but faith as a religious doctrine, or faiths as multiple religious doctrines, is not what the scriptures are speaking of in this case. We need to understand the difference between “faith,” which is simply believing in someone or something, and “the faith” as the doctrine (or body of dogma) of any religion which one may believe in. “Faiths” is simply the plural of the latter, meaning more than one of the multitude of religious doctrines in which men ignorantly believe and trust in to conciliate themselves to, and with, God; all to no avail. This multitude of religious doctrines include many Christian doctrines, of which, far too many are also false. Nevertheless, if it is “faiths” (plural), we can know immediately that all but one is false, for “…the holy scriptures…” plainly tell us (Ephesians 4:4-6) that “there is (only) one body (the truly, born again, church of God; the body of Christ; and), …one Spirit (the Holy Spirit of God, and), …one hope… (the “…blessed hope…” of resurrection from the dead by Jesus Christ; and); one Lord (the Lord Jesus Christ), ONE FAITH (which is THE TRUE gospel of Jesus, the Christ; and), one baptism (not of man, but “…OF GOD…”) by whom all true believers are “…baptized into Christ…” (Galatians 3:27; Romans 6:3; I Corinthians 1:30; and), one God and Father of all (all true believers [who put their FAITH, hope, trust, and confidence IN the Lord and Savior, Jesus, the Christ, and IN the pure, true, FAITH of Christ [the true gospel of Christ]; Galatians 1:6-8).  And again, this “…one God…,” who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (all truly born again believers [who believe “…that Jesus is the Christ…”; I John 5:1] and, the true gospel of Him).

We hear it said by many to “just keep faith,” or, “keep the faith,” or “don’t lose faith,” etc.; but even though this may be what they mean to imply, they never mention God, or His Son, Jesus, the Christ, or the gospel of Christ. To most people, this simply means to have a strong, positive, can do, never give up attitude of self assurance. But soul saving faith is so much more than just believing in ourselves and our own abilities; i.e., anything we are able to do. Having faith in God, is to simply have unwavering faith in God, and, the “rightly divided” written WORD of God (II Timothy 2:15), which also contains the record God gives of His Son. The record of God’s Son, Jesus, the Christ and all the things He suffered for us, is “the true gospel of Christ;” and vice versa.

The primary definition of faith, given in Strong’s Greek Dictionary, is Strong’s #4102 pistis (pis'-tis); from #3982; and means, persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; and by extension, the system of religious truth (the [true] Gospel, or) [true] doctrine of Christ itself; JDG). In the KJV this Greek word is translated -- assurance, belief, believe, faith, and fidelity. My gleanings from all this is unwavering faith (or belief) in which one is absolutely free from doubt concerning someone and/or something; and, that someone and/or something which we must put our faith in is the Almighty God of heaven, His Son, Jesus, the Christ, and, “the true gospel of Him,” which is also “the true gospel of God” (I Thessalonians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:5-6).

In the King James Version of the Bible, Jesus speaks of “…so great faith…” and “…ye (and/or ‘…thou…’) of little faith….” Having already looked up the definition of faith, Strong’s #4102 above, let’s now look up the Greek word which was translated into the two English words, “…so great….” It is Strong’s #5118 tosoutos (tos-oo'-tos); tosos (meaning - so much; apparently from 3588 and 3739) and 3778 (including its variations); which means - so vast as this, i.e. such (in quantity, amount, number or space). In the KJV, it is also translated, large,…(long, many, much), and these many.

Judging from the definition of these two Greek words, 5118 and 4102, “…so great faith…” seems to be a reasonably good translation, yet it is hard to reconcile with some of the sayings Jesus used in His parables concerning faith (Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:5-6), especially if you take into consideration the Greek word, Strong’s #3640, and how it was translated; which we’ll discuss next. 

Unlike “so great faith, “…ye of little faith…” was not a good translation. If “so great faith” is to be unshakable and unwavering concerning our belief in someone or some thing; a more accurate translation of the Greek word translated “…thou of little faith…” (and/or) “…ye of little faith…” would simply have been thou doubters” or ye doubters. The definition of the Greek word from which “of little faith” is translated, is Strong’s #3640 - oligopistos (ol-ig-op'-is-tos); from 3641 and 4102; it means, incredulous, i.e. lacking confidence (in Christ): In the KJV it is consistently translated “O ye (or thou) of little faith…,” but a better translation would have been, “O ye doubter (or doubters), wherefore didist thou doubt (The Greek word, Strong’s #1365; here translated doubt, means to waver; Matthew 14:31).” When His disciples ask why they could not cast the demon out of a man’s son, Jesus said, it is “…because of your UNBELIEF: for verily I say unto you, IF ye HAVE FAITH as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20). Jesus makes it clear in His parables of the kingdom, that the mustard seed is a very small seed (Matthew 13:31-32 and Mark 4:31-32). In light of this: It seems to me Jesus was simply saying, faith is not measured in big, little, large or small sizes, it’s simply that you believe (“…doubt not…”) or, you don’t believe; you waver in your heart.  Either you believe (you have faith) or you don’t believe (you don’t have faith).  There is no in between. “…So great faith…” is to simply and consistently believe unshakably and unwaveringly in someone or something; in this case it is in God, His Son Jesus, the Christ, the living Word of God, and the Holy Bible which is the recorded Word (the record) of God, given by inspiration of God.

In the 21st verse of Matthew 17, the King James, and perhaps, a few other versions add this: “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by PRAYER and FASTING.” Most of the more recent versions have either completely omitted this twenty first verse or have it placed in ( [brackets] ). The reason for this is that most all of the newer versions are translated from corrupted manuscripts (namely, Nestle). The King James, and a few of the other older versions which have this verse, are all translated from the Textus Receptus manuscripts. There are at least two whole and one partial New Testament verses which are in the Textus Receptus manuscripts that are not in the Nestle manuscripts. Which is correct? There is evidently no way of knowing or proving with certainty; but obviously there are opinions in favor of each. I have my own opinion of course, but as always in such matters as this, I’ll just point out the discrepancies and let you decide for yourself. I will say that I believe each of these discrepancies must be decided on an individual basis. For more on these omitted or added verses (depending on how you judge them) see the *footnote at the end of this message.

Personally, I believe in fasting, and I know that prayer is absolutely essential to power with God. However, I remain totally convinced that the greatest reason for unanswered prayer is “…unbelief…. In Matthew 21:21, concerning the cursing of the fig tree, “Jesus…said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye HAVE FAITH, and DOUBT NOT ([Mark 11:23] “…in… [your] heart…”), ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” To doubt is to waver: meaning, according to the American Heritage Dictionary, “To move unsteadily back and forth.” And James says, “…let… (a man) ask in faith, … (NOT) wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. “…Let not THAT man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord” (James 1:6-7).  So how shall we sum up all of this? I can only say, fast, pray, and believe God, and doubt not in your heart.  Nevertheless, this kind of faith comes only from God; believing that which the Holy Ghost has spoken directly to the person. 

Something we have a tendency to forget is this which Jesus Himself tells us in John 5:19,  “… ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what (or, that which) he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he (the Father) doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. And, John 5:30,  I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. And again, in John 15:5,  “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that ABIDETH IN ME, and I IN HIM, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” Even as Jesus, when He was walking this earth in a natural body, could do nothing except He had first seen or heard it of the Father; neither should we think we can do anything except we first see or hear it of the Father (by His Spirit; by the Holy Ghost).  And no one will ever see or hear anything from Him, except they first abide in Him (Him being Christ).

II Corinthians 4:4

“In whom (whom here, being “…them that are lost:”) the god of this world (that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan (Revelation 12:9, 20:2; which) hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image (a likeness) of God (Genesis 5:1-3; Hebrews 1:1-3), should shine unto them.”

Two of the most powerful tools the devil has in his arsenal (by which he blinds the minds of the children of God) are the words of songs.  By these, he ever so subtly (pronounced sut-uh-le) blinds our minds to the truth of the scriptures, and therefore, to the gospel. True gospel songs and music can certainly inspire and bless; but unfortunately, untrue gospel songs and music can also influence our thinking with that which is untrue; and in that, can mislead us and blind our minds to the truth of the gospel.  One example, and there are so many more: “There’s power in prayer, so much power in prayer.”  NO!  I’m sorry, but there’s NO power in prayer. Prayer is only the means of getting your petition to God, the Father; who is the source of all power. This may seem contrary to the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18, where He says, “…All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth, but, He also says in John 16:26-27, At that day (after the comforter [the Holy Ghost; the Holy Spirit of God the Father] has come) ye shall ask (pray, petition the Father) in my name: (in my authority, and my character; Strong’s #3686) and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you (On your behalf; Jesus is not saying, pray to me, and I will in turn, pray to the Father to answer your prayer.  Instead He is saying, I’m telling you in advance, that you will NOT pray to me): For (at that day [after I have suffered, shed MY blood, died on the cross, been buried in a tomb, been resurrected, and returned to the Father, you will pray directly to) the Father himself (who also) loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from (Him) God” (Therefore, He will hear and answer your prayers directly; by His Holy Spirit [i.e., by the Holy Ghost].).

Like as prayer, “faith” has no power in itself; whether its “our faith,” or “our now faith,” or anyone else’s faith, or now faith. There is no power in faith to save, to heal, or to do anything else. The fact of the matter is: Faith of itself (concerning the saving of the soul) can do nothing for anyone. This is the reason Jesus says in Mark 11:22, to “…Have faith in God. Despite this fact, most churches today put more emphasis on “faith,” the believing part, than on “the faith,” which is the all important doctrine of the true gospel of Jesus Christ which one must believe to be saved (Romans 1:16).  It is true that “…without FAITH it is impossible to please Him (Him being God): for he that cometh to God must (first) BELIEVE that He IS (that is, we must believe that God exist), and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). “Our faith” must be “IN GOD,” the all powerful one, who is able, and willing, to reward “faithful believers.” One can then put their faith in God’s provision for our salvation, which is always the TRUE gospel of His Son, Jesus, the Christ. God must be the primary object of our faith, for salvation, for healing, or for anything else we receive of Him.  Again, Jesus instructs His disciples to “…have faith in God” (Mark 11:22); and in another place, “…ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).  The Pharisees believed in God; but could not believe that this Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the one sent from God.  Jesus also asks this question of us, “…when the Son of man cometh (speaking of Himself), shall he find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:8)? Will He find those who are still expecting, still believing in God; still believing in Him, still believing the true, life exchanging gospel of Him? Will He find faithful servants who watch and pray, or will he find wicked, fearful servants who hide their talents in the earth (Matthew 25:14-30); servants who “…sleep in the night…, who “…smite…” their fellow servants, and, who “…eat and drink with the drunken…; servants who say, “My lord delayth His coming” (Matthew 24:48-49; I Thessalonians 5:4-8)?  But “…the fearful, and (the) *UNBELIEVING (*Strong’s #571, disbelieving, faithless; all of those “…who *obey NOT [*Strong’s #544, meaning, to disbelieve, willfully and perversely] the gospel of God…, and His Son, Jesus Christ; I Peter 4:17). And, “…the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and ALL liars, SHALL have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which IS the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

In my early years there was an old radio preacher who would always end his programs, saying, “It does make a difference what you believe.” These words are still so very true today. What is it then that we must believe to be saved? Jesus said to His disciples, “…How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23). With that, the disciples ask, “… who then can be saved?. Jesus answered, “…With men (and all of their religious works) it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). At the time Jesus spoke these words it was still impossible for any man to be born again, which, Jesus said we must be to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), for at the time He spoke these words, He had not yet hung on the cross and shed His blood (i.e., the “Lamb of God” had not yet been offered). But God had a plan for the salvation of man and the perfect man to implement it.  It was His only begotten (of a fleshly body) Son, Jesus, the Christ. Did Jesus look forward to all the suffering the salvation of man would Certainly not for He prayed, “…O my Father, cost Him? if it be possible (if there be any other way), let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39). So, “…despising the shame…, He “…endured the cross… (and all of the other horrible sufferings) …for the joy that was set before Him…” (Hebrews 12:2). What was this joy that was set before Him? It was the joy of seeing you and I, and as many as would ever hear and believe the true gospel of Him, have the opportunity of enjoying all of the same wonderful benefits of a sinless relationship (i.e., fellowship; in I John 1:3-4 the Greek word is Strong’s #2844 and actually means partnership) with the Father that He, Jesus had (and has) with the Father (John 17:21-26). But in the fact that He was willing to endure those sufferings, “…He is able also to save them to the uttermost (entirely; completely) that come unto God BY Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). So then, “…Looking unto Jesus, the author (‘…the captain…’; Hebrews 2:10) and finisher (the completer, i.e., the consummator) of OUR FAITH…” (OUR in this verse is an added word which is fine as long as we understand that the writer IS speaking of that WHICH WE BELIEVE [“…THE faith…; “…the gospel…”] and NOT of our ability to believe); “…and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God; Hebrews 12:2). THE FAITH of Jesus Christ is a complete, finished work. There is nothing more for Him to do, as far as our salvation is concerned.  Neither is there anything more for you and I to do concerning this great salvation; other than to hear and BELIEVE the good news, i.e., repent of our sin (and sins), and submit ourselves unto that which God and His Son accomplished on our behalf.

Now, back to Abraham and what it was he believed that was “…counted (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3; “accounted”; Galatians 3:6; and “reckoned”; Romans 4:9) unto him for righteousness. It was the word of God unto a hundred year old man. I say old, because in the natural (in the mind of Abraham) this was a part of the impossibility of the promise of God to him. He was a man who had no heir (no child) by Sarah, who was his first, and lifelong wife (until [at Sarah’s counsel] he took and married her handmaid). Sarah’s womb was the other impossible circumstance. This circumstance was the fact that the promised child would be born of her; the one who had been barren for all those many years. God’s promise to Abraham was this, “…Sarah thy wife shall… (bear thee) a son” (Genesis 18:10). The promised son was to be of Sarah; even though she had never for all those years been able to bear.  Nevertheless, the word of God to Abraham was this, “…behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations… for a father of many nations have I MADE THEE (Genesis 17:4-5). This was the promise of God which Abraham would at last, have to believe.  For you and I today, God’s promise is the same as it was to those Jews to whom Jesus spoke in John 8:30-36; except for the fact that, for us, the work of Calvary is already finished. Nevertheless, just as surely as Abraham had to believe the promise of God to receive it in his day; so must we believe the promise of God to receive it in our day.

Jesus said to those Jews who believed on Him, believed that He was Jesus, a prophet from Nazareth of Galilee; believed He was the son of Joseph the Carpenter, believed He could work miracles, believed He was “…the Son of David…”, etc. (Mark 12:35; Matthew 21:9-11), and I could go on; but even though they believed all these things about Him, and more, they could not, and/or would not, believe that He was THE CHRIST that should come. These things are also believed by most all professing believers today. But just as those Jews could not believe that Jesus was the Christ that “…taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29); neither can most professed believers today believe that He was and is the Christ that would “made an end of sins” (Daniel 9:24).  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people FROM their sins (Matthew 1:21).  They could not believe the record God gave of His Son. Nevertheless, as New Covenant believers, we must also hear and believe the record of the benefits we have under the New Covenant; “…that Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE sinners…” (I Timothy 1:15). We must believe that through His sufferings, we can be MADE FREE FROM sin (something which those Jews could not yet receive at the time He was speaking to them); but had to continue (to trust) in his words until after He had suffered for them (and for us) before they and we could partake; i.e., after He had finished the work He was sent to do through the offering of His body and blood. We must first hear and believe the gospel truth before we can ever “…KNOW the truth… (of the gospel of Him, which) shall (and will) MAKE… (us) …FREE INDEED” (FROM sin; John 8:30-36).  But they answered, “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” (John 8:33).

These people had a great need, but they either couldn’t see it, or had no desire to be MADE FREE FROM it.  Now, as an ambassador of Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:19-20), I’m asking you, have you yet been made free from sin.  If not, you have a need to be made free from sin? If your answer is yes, my next question is this; do you have a desire to be MADE FREE FROM sin? What is your answer? What do you say? Abraham believed God’s word (“…he staggered not…; he didn’t waver; Romans 4:20) and he received God’s promise to him (which was a child [an heir] of his own body by his [hitherto] barren wife Sarah). Likewise, we must hear, believe and submit ourselves completely unto the Word of His gospel if we are ever to experience the promise of being MADE FROM sin (John 8:34-36; Matthew 1:21).

JDG Message 19 - Faith


Equally as important as knowing the WORD of truth is rightly dividing it (II Timothy 2:15). “Study (make a prompt, earnest effort) to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, (in) rightly dividing the word of truth.”



Omissions or Additions?

KJV (Textus Receptus manuscripts)

NIV (Nestle manuscripts)

Words bold faced in the KJV verses (manuscripts) are omitted in the NIV verses (manuscripts).

There was no Greek word or words in either manuscript, to support the text which is bolded, underlined and italicized.


Matt 17:20 and 21

20 KJV  And Jesus said unto them, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

20 NIV  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”


21  KJV “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

21  NIV The entire 21st verse is OMITTED.


Mark 9:29

29  KJV And he said unto them, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

29 NIV  He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer (and fasting is OMITTED).”


John 5:3 and 4

3  KJV  In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, (and) withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

3  NIV Here a great number of disabled people used to lie-- the blind, the lame, the paralyzed (The last seven words of this verse are omitted in the NIV.).


4  KJV  For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.

4  NIV  The entire verse is OMITTED.


JDG Message 19 - Faith

Equally important as knowing the WORD of truth is rightly dividing it.  II Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”






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