The Difference Between Faith and Belief

Raised Hands

Unbelief holds us back, not lack of faith

If you ask most people, they’ll tell you that faith and belief are the same thing. I used to think so myself. And that leads to all sorts of confusion.

The trouble is they are interrelated, which makes them very close in meaning. So close, in fact, that many modern Bible translations don’t always differentiate clearly between the two. And that leads to even more confusion.

When we equate faith and belief it can make Jesus seem a little contradictory. For example here is how the New Living Translation presents Matthew 17:20.

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”– Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

Reading that, it seems like Jesus is telling his disciples that their problem is they don’t have enough faith. I mean what else can “you don’t have enough faith” mean, right?

But then he goes on to explain that by saying that we barely need any faith at all to see great miracles happen. Huh?

That doesn’t make sense. Why would he acknowledge that they had any faith at all if his lesson from that “teachable moment” was that they only needed a tiny amount of faith?

How much “small as a mustard seed” faith is enough? Presented that way it makes it seem like we need some standard to measure microscopic faith in amounts even smaller than a mustard seed.

Don’t know about you, but I can’t make any sense of that.

Now let’s look at how the New King James Version translates that same verse.

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.– Matthew 17:20 (NKJV)

Here that same passage is a whole lot less contradictory. Jesus is telling his disciples that they have a belief problem which can be countered with faith, even in small amounts.

Now that’s something we can work with. All we have to do is figure out what belief and faith really are and then we can apply that lesson to our lives.

What Is Belief?

To explain the difference, let’s start with belief. What does it mean?

You can go to a dictionary to look up belief if you like. Here’s a good working definition:

Belief – An opinion or judgement in which a person is fully persuaded.

So our beliefs are things that we are thoroughly convinced of. Usually (but not always) they are ideas, concepts that we gather through acquiring information and experience. Because of that, our beliefs can change over time as we gain more knowledge and experience more things throughout our lives.

How Is Faith Different?

Again, you can go to a dictionary and look up the meaning of faith.

To me, this is an easier way to understand it.

Faith = ( Belief + Action + Confidence )

Faith includes our beliefs, but it is bigger than that. Faith requires action. If it doesn’t move us to do something or say something – actually take some kind of action – it’s not really faith at all. James said it this way.

So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.James 2:17

Until we take action our “faith” is just a bunch of words. James says that unless faith produces action is in fact dead, or not faith at all.

As a side note, some people get confused and turned around on this point and try to do good things to generate faith. However James didn’t say the good things we do produce faith. He said our faith, if it is real and alive, will naturally move us to do good things.

But I digress.

The last part of that whole faith equation is confidence.

Confidence – Trust that is based on knowledge or past experience

Basically confidence is a measure of how firmly we hold to a particular belief.

Putting It All Together

So now you can see how belief and faith are interrelated. The difference between the two is subtle. But understanding it makes things that Jesus said like in Matthew 17:20 above make a whole lot more sense.

When we believe the truth with enough confidence to take action we exercise faith. And it doesn’t take much of that faith to see huge things happen, even miraculous things.

And you can see where unbelief, that is believing things that aren’t true – believing lies – completely clogs up the working of our faith. Unbelief prevents us from ever seeing the miraculous in our lives.

Too often we spend time and energy trying to increase our faith when Jesus said that’s not really our problem. We pray and plead with God, begging him to give us more faith.

Building Your Faith Is Simpler than You Think

But our problem is really with unbelief, not a lack of faith.

The good news is that we can change our unbelief into belief. It’s really a fairly simple, straight forward process. We just need to become more fully persuaded of the truth instead of the misconceptions and lies that we are currently holding on to.

The more we expose our minds to the truth, the more we become persuaded and convinced of that truth.

And the best way to expose our minds to the truth is to study the Bible. The more time we spend exploring the truth of the Bible, the more our minds become convinced of that truth.

The more firmly convinced of the truth we become, the more confident we’ll grow.

Then it won’t be long before we find ourselves doing things differently, acting in more faith.

Do you want more faith? Then invest more time reading, studying, and thinking about the Bible. You’ll find your faith will just grow as a result because you will change your beliefs.

That’s pretty simple, don’t you think?


  1. Davida added to the conversation

    Yes we can have faith and a few doubts at the same time. We may belief 7 out of 10 things about an isuue, and question 3 things, causing us to doubt, thus holding us back. We can eliminate our found by finding Gods answers to thoes questions thus strengthening our Faith.

    • Amitabh added to the conversation

      Faith is essentially blind. There is nothing like ‘logical faith’. Belief on the contrary is based on understanding. To believe is to know, then faith takes over…

  2. Alex added to the conversation

    Hello, I would like to comment on the above.
    A big problem is with the Bible translations, one I’ve come across way too many times; in fact people build doctrines on false translations.
    Concerning our topic:
    Probably all New Testament english translation have it wrong. There is no word “unbelief” in the Greek text. The word is “apistian” which means “absence of faith”. The word “pisti” means faith. Do you see the word “pisti” in the word “apistian”? The “a” in the beginning of the word faith (“pisti”) is there to point out “the absence of” something.

    Having said, you can realize the problem with the above interpretation of Scripture of Matt.17:20.

    Other than that, even if we were to accept the translation of NLT again we would be able to conclude with a rational conclusion. Let’s see the passage and the brothers comment:
    “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”– Matthew 17:20 (NLT)
    Reading that, it seems like Jesus is telling his disciples that their problem is they don’t have enough faith. I mean what else can “you don’t have enough faith” mean, right?
    But then he goes on to explain that by saying that we barely need any faith at all to see great miracles happen. Huh? ”

    The way I see it, logically, considering the words in the NLT, this is simply explained as so:
    Jesus is telling them they don’t have enough faith, that is, not even of the size of the mustard seed.
    So, no contradiction here.
    But, at the end, this translation and understanding is still wrong, since in the Greek, Jesus is not telling them, they “don’t have enough faith” (the word would have been “oligopistian”= of little faith), but that they “lack faith”, that is in total (they had no faith in the power of God’s power for miracles -Matt17:16). He is telling them:
    You don’t have faith at all! If you had a faith even as the size of a mustard seed, you’d see God’s power. So again, clearly no contradiction.

    Let’s now see:
    The brother uses this translation which is wrong (according to the Greek.). Not a hard thing to do.
    “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.”-Jas 2:17
    Two points:
    1) This “useless” is not in the Greek. They just added it as a supposed further explanation/implication of the of the word “dead”.
    The correct translation from the Greek would be:
    Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, of itself.

    But when it says faith is dead of itself, it does not mean faith is useless, but that it cannot bring forth fruit/works of itself, as something dead can’t. He says this, because believing that God wants you to do good and bring forth works is just believing, that is, it’s you applying your acceptance of his will as being true (even good). This belief alone, is just that, a belief. It is you who must put it to practice, giving it life! That’s why James says in the previous verses:
    Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

    -So, he is saying, your faith will not profit him. It is indeed dead to him.
    And three verses after v.17:
    (KJ) Jas 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

    It’s dead, but it’s still faith. Calvinism has distorted this passage as well. They have made the “living faith” factor, one strictly belonging to a genuinely saved person, but this is not true. Even Muslims who kill themselves in terrorist attacks for their faith, actually have living faith, since it produces the actions/works of their faith.

    Living faith is something all people on the planet use in various ways every day! Pulpit rhetoric has managed to deceive on this issue as well.
    The difference with our living faith is that it –as a context- is acceptable to God.

    So James is not talking about a magical divine faith where automatically good works are produced. If that was the case, that’s what he would be teaching them, but he’s not. He’s actually putting them in their place, telling them:
    Look, you have faith in God? So what? So do demons? What are their works? If you claim you have faith in God, manifest it by making your faith an active one, one with works. Put it to practice, for your own behalf and for others.

    No magical faith is called upon here, but one that some were not putting to use.

    2) The brother writes:
    “…Faith requires action. If it doesn’t move us to do something or say something – actually take some kind of action – it’s not really faith at all. James said it this way.”

    This “it’s not really faith at all”, is wrong. I hope the following explains why.

    I will add my definition of the word “belief and the word “faith”.
    We should though firstly realize, that the problem in defining these words with accuracy, is that today, almost all words have lost their initial meaning. You open a dictionary, search for the definition of a word, and find that there are way more definitions to it, then let’s say, 20 years ago. Today, e.g. when someone says “I’m bad!” sometimes he means “I’m tough, strong, confident!” depending on the manner in which he says it.

    So, my opinion: We could say they are synonyms.
    If there’s a slight difference that someone -depending on his use of the words- can discern, I would present it as so:
    Belief: An idea/concept/claim etc. which I am aware that I trust as being true, reality, factual.
    Faith: An idea/concept/cliam etc. which I am more aware that I trust as being true, reality, factual.

    The difference therefore to me, is in the depth of my awareness concerning my trust on something, not the actual trust, but the degree of awareness I have at the time I speak of my trust in something. That degree is what makes me chose the one word instead of the other.
    I know it sounds strange, but give it some time and thought.
    Thus, the common ground between these two words is 1) awareness and 2) trust.

    Therefore, the brother saying that a faith without works is “not really faith at all”, is wrong since faith is an inward spiritual procedure, existing before works and without any works; if there are works the faith is a living one, if there aren’t the faith is a dead one, since it benefits no one. Non the less, it’s actual, real, deriving from revelation and strong conviction toward its cntext. (I hope this is correct, my English is not perfect.)

    I will add to the defence of my opinion (that dead faith is just an inactive faith not a unreal faith) Paul’s definition of faith, to show that he does not connect its essence and existence to a power that brings forth works, but to an awareness and a hope, that is, a spiritual factor and procedure:
    Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
    -Although this translation partially supports my point, it’s still wrong.

    This is the correct translation:
    Faith (in Greek: pistis) is to see/recognize (elegchos) the existence (hupostasis) of things (pragmaton) hoped for (elpizomenon) which are not seen (oo blepopenon).

    So we see that faith according to Paul is a spiritual factor that has to do with what we do, that is, with us “recognizing” (hence being aware of), and “hoping” (hence, anticipation with trust) for something. What we do with what we recognize and hope for, **is irrelevant by Paul’s definition**. There is no implication of an always active faith, but of a true faith I must come to apply; otherwise so much of what is said in the N.T. about applying faith and applying works in Scripture is useless and contradictory.
    The fact that God helps us in the application of our faith and works, is something else, two different issues, though related (in the sense I must practice what the context of my faith says).

    I hope that all of the above have been of value to someone.

    God bless!
    PS. I am Greek

    • added to the conversation

      Heya Alex! That’s quite a comment. I wrote this post a while back and I think now I’d simplify it even more.

      If we look at 2 Corinthians 4:13 we see that Paul said, “And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,”we also believe and therefore speak”

      And in Romans 10:10 Paul also said, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

      Boiled down to it’s essence the formula would probably look more like this:

      Faith = Believing in Your Heart + Speaking with Your Mouth

      In Matthew 17:20 above we tend to fixate on the mustard seed and, like the apostles in Luke 17:5 want Jesus to give us more faith. But Jesus tells us, “If you have faith, you can say.”

      Jesus isn’t telling us that we need more faith, or that we don’t have any faith to begin with. No, rather he’s telling us that we just need to exercise the faith we do have. And we do that by speaking what we believe.

      When we believe what God’s Word says rather than what the facts on the ground seem to tell us, and we speak those truths instead of getting overwhelmed by facts, that’s when we see things change and mountains and trees moving into the sea.

      • Donita Maxwell added to the conversation

        Thank you so much for explaining the difference between faith and belief. You could not have explained it better. What an awesome explanation.

        Donita Maxwell

    • lisa added to the conversation

      I need to add spirituality go the discussion. I’m trying to write on what the three mean to me in my life. I am still confused as to the difference in the meanings.

    • shane ward added to the conversation

      The original post is very good and powerfull because it is SIMPLE. Your not impressing anyone with your ancient language translations at all. Please dont forget the power of being simple.

      • Brian added to the conversation

        It seems to me he’s not trying to impress anyone with his “ancient language translations” (he said he’s Greek so it’s probably his native tongue) He’s adding, to the conversation, very relevant INFORMATION. I very much enjoyed his post.


        P.S. It’s You’re, not Your

    • Stephen (Starvy) added to the conversation

      Thanks for this reply Alex. I found myself agreeing with Christ at the start before I read your comment. After I read Chris’ reply to your comment I yet again was uncertain which is great. I’m doing an essay on Faith; Christianity and Atheism, so understanding the basic differences between the two terms are very helpful.

      My original thought coming in to read this article is that belief was something that had a base, some evidence to claim. Faith on the other hand is something that we hope for, without obvious proof, and very hard to come by. Faith has real power as Jesus said when talking about ‘moving mountains’. It seems to be something lacking in the current age, as we are drawn to ‘disbelieve’ something that we haven’t witnessed. Like the disciples we lack uninhibited belief; we say to ourselves that we think (believe) something is possible and that it can happen, but when it comes to the practical outworking of that belief we are sceptical almost without exemption.

      A true and living faith gives us the power through God to do anything within His will, if we have faith we should be able to heal, we should be able to ‘move mountains’ literally. There are still people who have this amazing faith today (I won’t go into that) and they have complete and utter confidence in Christ’s power flowing through them.

      Our problem is not that we don’t have faith, or that we unitise it the wrong way (there is no ‘right’ way to unitise faith), rather it is that we don’t put our faith in the power of Christ; His death and Resurrection. We ‘believe’ that the power is around us, even that others can experience it. How often though do we doubt when it comes to us as individuals?

      • Stephen (Starvy) added to the conversation

        sorry to spam, I meant agree with Chris* not Christ, though I do hope that I agree with Christ!

        Peace be with you

        • Pete Moore added to the conversation

          I was impressed by the explanations of the ‘ancient languages’. I like to understand what the writer originally wrote rather than how it is interpreted by later translators or commentators, or even as I might choose to interpret it to fit in with my prejudices.

    • Angelo D. added to the conversation

      BRAVO ! Your comment was Outstanding! Glad you posted it. I have been struggling with this area for some time now, but even having been estranged from my native tounge (Greek) for over 30 yrs. I was able to recall and understand what has illuded me for so long. (Yasou!)

  3. Alex added to the conversation

    1) When I boil down 2Co 4:13 and Rom 10:10 I don’t get the last part of the equation but only the first part: Faith = believing in your heart (as you put it).

    2) You write:
    “In Matthew 17:20 above we tend to fixate on the mustard seed and, like the apostles in Luke 17:5 want Jesus to give us more faith. But Jesus tells us, “If you have faith, you can say.””

    In Luke 17:5 we read:
    “And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.”
    His response logically again makes the point that they didn’t have any faith in God’s power. By His reply to them (next), it seems He is telling them:
    “Increase your faith?! What faith? Your problem is not that you need an increase in your faith, it’s that you don’t have any to begin with”
    That’s why He then continues (my emphasis in asterisks):
    “6 And the Lord said, **If ye had** faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”

    I agree though with your last words: (Jesus is saying)“If you have faith, you can say.”
    I’ll just point out that… “if” (you have faith)…you mention. So, someone may not have faith in that God can perform a miracle through them; actually most don’t. Still they show faith in other aspects of their relationship with the Lord.

    3) Next you write:
    “Jesus isn’t telling us that we need more faith, or that we don’t have any faith to begin with. No, rather he’s telling us that we just need to exercise the faith we do have. And we do that by speaking what we believe.”

    a) Actually, he is not talking to us, but to His 12 disciples. Of course, there’s always something there for us. It is though important to realize who Jesus was dealing with and their “spiritual age”, since all people are different “material” as well as in a different stage in their life in Christ.
    b) In the passage you mentioned in your first post on the page, Jesus actually, is, telling them they didn’t have faith in the power of God, and that if they had faith the size even of a mustard seed, they’d move mountains. (Do read it over if you like.) All God needs is a small bridge through which His power will manifest; that’s what the mustard seed stands for. So, I have to stay on what I see and disagree. I clearly see He was urging, encouraging them to have faith, not just faith in God’s truths and realities but in His power, in which they had none at the time.

    The last part of your comment was somewhat a riddle (“rather than what the facts on the ground seem to tell us”), but I believe I got it. You mean, that focusing on what’s happening around us, makes us lose sight of the reality of God’s power, therefore weakening our faith regarding it (in particular). Yes, with this, I must agree totally.

    Thanks for the conversation Chris!
    May God bless you with love and truth,

    • added to the conversation

      Alex, I think we can agree to disagree here.

      It makes no sense to me that Jesus was saying that the problem is that they didn’t have any faith. When we look at the verse in context of the conversation we see that the disciples didn’t ask Jesus to give them faith because they felt they didn’t have any. No. They recognized that they had faith, but asked Jesus to “increase” their faith. You typed it out yourself.

      In that context, Jesus’ response was that their problem wasn’t in the amount of faith, but that they weren’t tapping into and using the faith they did have.

      You’re saying the “if” in “if you have faith, you can say” implies it wasn’t there at all. The way I see it, the faith obviously is there, so Jesus is saying “if” to point out the obvious: The amount of faith isn’t the problem.

      All believers have faith. If they didn’t they wouldn’t even believe for salvation. Once anyone crosses over the line of Romans 10:9 they have faith. (That is another verse that contains the “say with your mouth, and believe in your heart” components of faith, by the way. Once you start looking for those two parts of faith, they are everywhere in the Bible.)

      There’s an implied statement in what Jesus said to his disciples that we overlook. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed – and all of you have way more faith than that because otherwise you would have asked me to give you faith rather than increase your faith – then you can…”

      He’s saying, “You’ve already got plenty of faith. Just use it and speak!”

      But the church has long (mis)interpreted that as, “Well, you don’t even have what you need so you’re stuck. You don’t need much, but hopefully somehow magically you’ll get it if you work at it hard enough or are deserving enough, or something. So if and when you do get some faith, then you’ll be able to do something with it. Meanwhile you’re a loser because you can’t even muster up the tiniest amount of faith.”

      That’s not what Jesus is saying at all. We’ve already got faith! It’s high time we started using it!

      • Alex added to the conversation

        Chris, I feel your are seeing things into it. You write:
        It makes no sense to me that Jesus was saying that the problem is that they didn’t have any faith.
        Comment: They didn’t have faith in that God would pour His power if they had faith that He would.

        When we look at the verse in context of the conversation we see that the disciples didn’t ask Jesus to give them faith because they felt they didn’t have any. No.
        Comment: They felt they had faith in that God had the power to heal and do miracles, but not the faith He would it actually do it through them. That is why they asked for increase in faith. Christ though saw they didn’t have the “miracle faith” He was talking about at all!

        They recognized that they had faith, but asked Jesus to “increase” their faith. You typed it out yourself.
        Comment: I typed what the verse said in Luke, but I explained it based on The Lord’s words which are clear: “if ye had faith as a grain…”(17:6) and in Matthew 17:20 we read the same thing in other words: (“Why could not we cast him out?”) “Because of your absence of faith….. If ye have faith as a grain…”.
        Chris, sorry for insisting, it can’t get any clearer.
        In both cases Jesus is CLEARLY saying they didn’t have “faith as a grain”, but you are saying they did.
        Please realize that the faith The Lord is talking about in both cases has to do with God’s power passing through them to work miracles not just faith in His Person and teachings; they had the second.

        Later down you write:
        He’s saying, “You’ve already got plenty of faith. Just use it and speak!”
        Comment: Why doesn’t He say then: “All you need is faith the size of a mustard seed”, instead He clearly says:
        “**if ye had** faith as a grain…”(17:6) and in Matthew 17:20 we read the same thing in other words: (“Why could not we cast him out?”) “Because of your **absence of faith**….. **If ye have** faith as a grain…”.

        Absence of faith (apistian) = you have faith??

        You continue further down:
        But the church has long (mis)interpreted that as, “Well, you don’t even have what you need so you’re stuck. You don’t need much, but hopefully somehow magically you’ll get it if you work at it hard enough or are deserving enough, or something. So if and when you do get some faith, then you’ll be able to do something with it. Meanwhile you’re a loser because you can’t even muster up the tiniest amount of faith.”
        Comment: No. 1) Jesus is clearly talking about a faith related to miracles happening through the disciples. 2) This type of faith, is not an easy faith to apply for reasons I will not get in to here, I’ll just say, it’s a faith, that grows through sanctification and experience with The Lord’s ways. Therefore one who does not have it is no way a “loser”, unless we accept the “loser” to describe the things we miss out on because we never learn this type of faith and when some attempt to teach it, they teach it wrong (usually Pentecostal brethren). Satan really hates this faith as much as he hates the other one.

        That’s not what Jesus is saying at all. We’ve already got faith! It’s high time we started using it!
        Comment: No. We have salvific faith, faith in God’s Personality and will, but no faith in that He WILL HEAL that person through you, He WILL manifest something supernatural when you evangelize people, that he WILL free some from demons, etc.

        Chris, again thanks! You can have the last word (unless you insist I reply).
        God bless you! Peace.

          • Jack McFarland added to the conversation

            Greetings Chris,

            For some time now, I have been trying to discern for myself, the difference between faith & belief which is what caused me to come across your website. As I read the dialogue between Alex & yourself, believe it or not I gleaned from you both for which I want to thank you. I couldn’t help but notice how lengthy Alex’s reply was, yet you allowed it in its entirety. I find that very commendable and don’t give up on each other because even Paul and Barnabas had their differences, yet they both served God’s purpose. God Bless!
            Your Brother in Christ,
            Jack McFarland

        • Kenneth Steadman added to the conversation

          In the NASB translation:

          And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith….”

          I would take littleness to mean that some faith actually existed, but it was insufficient.

          “‘…for if your have faith the size of a mustard seed…”

          I would take “if” to mean that their faith was not the size of a mustard seed.

          Therefore, it appears to be saying that the disciples did not even have the faith of a mustard seed; for if they did, they would be able to move mountains,

          One other point, not discussed, is the will of God.

          This verse is not about our faith only, but in the will of God.

          “..nothing will be impossible to you.”

          This relates to not only faith in God, but in God’s will. Could it be that they were not meant to “…cure him?” Perhaps this was a teachable moment?

          Let us not forget Acts 3:6-7.

          The miracle here is not giving credit to the disciples but to Jesus Christ.

          “…in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”

          Could it be that the faith which is confessed is not the faith in their ability but in the will of Christ?

          Just a thought

  4. Debra added to the conversation

    Today I was listening to Andrew Wommack’s teacing “God Want You Well,” and he was teaching that faith and belief are not the same thing, and that when things we have faith for don’t happen it is because of unbelief. And he spoke from the same passage you’ve addressed. I told the Holy Spirit that I didn’t understand so I was asking Him to give me the undersatnding. For now, I’m still listening. And I am going to carefully read your comments and see what He explains to me. For now, it does make sense in my head. I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit who imparts wisdom and doesn’t shame us whenwe lack it and ask for it (James 1). For now, thanks for your insight. I’ll write again when I have the wisdom about it. Blessings to you for having a heart that wants to know Truth.

    • Alex added to the conversation

      Debra hi! He said “that when things we have faith for don’t happen it is because of unbelief”. How does that make any sense? If I have faith in that e.g. that God will find me a good job, and that doesn’t happen, it (I ask) equals that I had unbelief in that God will find me a good job?? This is ridiculous. He’s just inventing ideas… it happens way to often and brothers don’t realize it. (By the way, sin, testing, and for our own good, are 3 more reasons why we don’t get things prayed for.) My opinion is, don’t take immediately to heart what preachers say. Don’t forget that the biggest means of deception within the Church is preachers. (Yes, it is.) Get a concordance and research the word “faith” in the New Testament and see what it has to say, don’t just pray about it. The Lord will use Scripture (it’s the chalk board!) to help you understand. My opinion on the issue is posted above, it may help. Pray about it. God bless you.

      • added to the conversation

        Alex, because you equate faith and belief it does seem ridiculous. And because you equate those two words while I see that they mean different things in scripture you and I are going around in circles.

        I’ve been patient with you, but this point I’m going to have to ask you to stop dominating the conversation on this comment thread. (Your initial comment was far longer than even the original article, not to mention all your subsequent comments here.) I refer you to my Comment Policy. Purposely Different is not a place for arguments.

        If you really want to present your understanding in more detail, I suggest you head on over to EmmanuelPress where you can start a blog or a website of your own and say what you have to on your own site. There is even a free option for you there so you can create your site at no cost.

        • Alex added to the conversation

          Chris, 1) You’ve “been patient” with me? Well you got a short fuse brother. All I did was make what I believe to be a fact, clear to you, respecting your wording and Scripture. My comments were what they were, because your comments were what they were. Fair game I call it. I just addressed your positions.
          2) The problem Chris is not that my comments were long, not that I commented on Debra’s post (what a crime..), but that I… disagree with you. This is the bottom line.
          3) So, indeed it seems that “Purposely Different” is not a place for arguments for the truth (or one’s Scripture based opinion of), it’s a place where your arguments must prevail, it’s a place where **one who disagrees with you** gets indirectly kicked out. BUT, At the end of the day, when all is said and done, we must bring to mind that all is said and done… before The Lord.
          4) I simply presented my case clearly as possible, I did not “dominate” anything, except if you believe that my positions dominated over yours. But again, so what? Isn’t The Lord’s truth the objective. Keep in mind, it was only me and you on this thread and then Debra and I did not pressure ANYONE; I gave you the last word (on the issue), and I did not analyze my position to Debra but just reminded her to read my posts if she wanted to here the other side.
          But you didn’t like that.
          5) Anyone who has eyes to see, can -as irony has it- see that you are attempting *under pressure* to dominate (being the adminstrator) over me in a manner that I consider not truthful hence unpleasing before The Lord. You’ve been tested and you’ve failed, it happens; that’s how I sincerely see it.
          I will again willingly give you the last word… I don’t want to “dominate” you.
          May God show you your heart and forgive you; I’ve done so already.
          PS. 2Co 13:8

          • added to the conversation

            Alex, it seems you’ve taken offense. As I have pointed out once already, I’ve clearly stated in my Comment Policy that Purposely Different is not a place to argue. I don’t ask you to approve of that policy. But I do insist that visitors here follow it.

            As you well know comments were disabled on this post because it was written so long ago and I only turned them on at your emailed request. At this point I am beginning to regret that accommodation.

            You are welcome to say whatever you want on your own site. If you don’t have one, I’ve referred you to places where you can create one for free.

            I am not at all intimidated by the truth, nor by people disagreeing with me. However, since you seem to have missed it in my comment policy I will explain again here that I am simply following the instruction that Paul gave Timothy: “Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.”

            You may set whatever policies you wish on your own website. Here I have mine.

  5. Alex added to the conversation

    A clarification: When I said “Don’t forget that the biggest means of deception within the Church is preachers. (Yes, it is.) “, I didn’t mean all of them of course and I didn’t mean that most do it on purpose.. but that we should have that in mind as well when listening to them, anyone for that matter. Even those who we consider spiritual mature saintly brothers can be mistaken, so we have **to be equiped with Scripture all the time**, otherwise we will be going with what feels good, sounds nice even reasonable, when in many cases that something may be false.

    • Sene added to the conversation

      Alex sorry but dont judge others for the judgement you point to others points right back to you.
      You know the wisdom in a person by the way that person talks and speak.
      There is no way the spirit of the living God is within such person because his perspective is not of love but of confirming knowledge.

      Love you brother
      Dont argue just pray for a little more wisdom.

  6. WOB added to the conversation

    Great discussion between you and Alex. As an outsider looking in, I can understand how you would take some umbrage with Alex, Chris, but you’re whole tone of voice changed when Alex started the hard questioning/charging. I didn’t take his postings as his “arguing,” but just an indication of his passion in this regard. You were right when you said you’ll just agree to disagree … but you should have left it at that. When our ego and pride enter into the fray, we can rest assured the Holy Spirit gets nudged out of the pole position. Enjoyed your website and look forward to reading/learning more.

  7. Morgan added to the conversation

    I have been wondering what is the difference between belief and faith for a while now. My Google search brought me here and I’m glad. Thanks Chris for the post and Alex for your feedback. It does seem there is a battle for who is right (in search of the truth) which is good. For me, I am still trying to ask the question, what is the difference? So far for me the answer is all in how we define each word/concept. My definitions are:
    Belief is trust that something is true based on experience/evidence as proof that it is true.
    Faith is belief without proof. (Heb11:1)
    To me this is why we speak of our faith in God (because we all know it has not been ‘proven’ to most the God exists, etc.) Having faith in other things is the same, belief without proof. At the moment this answers my original question of what is the difference between faith/belief.
    However, it seems this thread has tried to take on other aspects in order to answer the question. e.g. faith and deeds. To me this is a different question, does faith requires deeds to exist? or is the faith deeds question really, what is dead/living faith? The other reference Matt17:20 is relevant but difficult to interpret. To me it speaks to doubt more than belief. When we question our “belief” then do we truly believe? It makes sense to use the term faith (vs belief) in mustard seed point because of the lack of proof often gives rise to doubt thereby “reducing” faith to “unbelief.” If you do not believe that something will/can happen then you have no power to make it happen. I think this it the point in Matt17:20. Faith of a mustard seed to me is just saying it doesn’t matter how strongly you are convinced and believe, just that you believe. This begs a different question, can you have degrees of faith? I think the answer is no, either you believe (have faith) or you don’t. That whole mustard seed reference does distract from the point which is, just believe and God can do anything.

  8. Katie fischer added to the conversation

    I think you came down pretty hard on Alex. I found the discourse interesting. I would have liked to have seen your response instead of shutting him down and accusing him of trying to dominate. Respectful dicussion is so important with our brother’s and sister’s in Christ, as the apostles did when they disagreed. I didn’t think you were talking in circles, you had two different viewpoints, that other verses might help to clarify.

    I think the Bible is amazing as you can be a very simple person of limited IQ and understand what it is saying, but for those who want to seek out the truth of how it all works, it is endless and fascinating. I came here as I have been writing out for myself why I don’t believe Calvinism. I realized as I was writing it out that you really have to understand the difference between faith and belief.

    I think these things aren’t meant to be easily understood as it is one way in which God renews our minds as we pore over scripture trying to understand His word. We can’t help but be changed as we read it again and again.

    If it isn’t too late I would like to know how Alex and Chris would respond to the difference between faith and belief and what is our responsibiltiy in “saving faith”. Is it that we have belief and then God works faith in us as we takes steps in faith?

      • Alex added to the conversation

        Katie hi! I’d like to give you an article I wrote on Calvinism, since you said you don’t believe it. If you’d like that as well, you can contact me here so I can get your email and send it to you:
        God bless you!
        Ps. Hello Chris and everybody else. God bless you!

  9. Wm.D.-El added to the conversation

    Hi Chris and Alex, The dialogue between you both was very enlightening and helpful. However, Belief and Faith are not synomonous even though they are used many times interchangably. Belief, is what you think is true. There are many that say and have said that they believe but have not faith. Faith, is what you know to be true. It is the gift of God and not of works lest any man should boast. It is a progression from belief to faith through relationship with God through Christ, by way of love. The last being Fruition, Man, the truth himself. This is the true teaching of Christ.

    • Brian added to the conversation

      Interesting, about what you think faith and belief mean, because I think it’s the opposite of that. Faith, is what you think is true. And Belief, is what you know to be true.

      It’s no wonder people have a hard time communicating.


  10. Matt added to the conversation

    Just a quick comment here – the word in Greek in Matthew 17 is, in fact, oligopistos. The disciples say, in Matthew 17:19 “Why couldn’t we cast it out?”. Jesus replies, transliterating word for word, “because of the little faith of you” where little faith is oligopistos. A direct translation of oligopistos is few applications, few in number.

    If I may speak a caution – I would be extremely careful in reading heavily into specific words. To my knowledge there is no distinction between belief and faith in the Greek wording used in the NT. For example, James 2:19 says (NIT) “even the demons believe, and shudder”. The word used for believe there is pisteuousin, the same root as pistos, faith. Even the demons have faith, the same word for faith we use to describe why the apostles couldn’t cast out a demon. Only through context, not specific words, can we really make a distinction between the two to ascribe the later English words which represent two separate ideas – from two different words (believe from Germanic roots and faith from Latin roots).

    Biblically there is no different. In practical application and daily use in English there is. I would suggest to opine on your thoughts, but hold back from attempting to find scripture to justify these thoughts – unless you have made a thorough and careful investigation of the original scripture, scholarly and theological interpretations, etc.

    In Christ,

  11. Fraser added to the conversation

    Hi, words and language (and thought) are important in that they don’t just reflect a reality but can create it. This is why its dangerous to rely totally on words written usually by men of limited self awareness within a culturally specific historic period – add in numerous translations and repetitions and explanations and vested interests and I’m surprised that you’d believe them wholeheartedly. Once you believe anything it becomes true for you and they are designed to withstand even conflicting new evidence (see those who think landing on the moon was faked). also you tend to stop questioning them – why should you – after all they’re true (actually its just a feeling of truth). Faith requires complete trust, beliefs usually require careful mind programming either by or to oneself or usually by others. Frankly its probably best not to believe anything and have faith that it will all be ok in the end!!!!! regards fraser

    • added to the conversation

      The key then, Fraser, is seeking out actual Truth and when it is found, choosing to believe it. I see your advice as a cop out. Basically you’re saying, “Finding truth is hard, so don’t bother. You might get lucky in the end.”

      I’d rather put the effort in to find Truth and then adjust my thinking to that Truth, even if it seems like foolishness to some. That way I can know how it will work out in the end instead of guessing and wishing.

      • Fraser added to the conversation

        Hi Chris, Interesting reply and you wont be surprised if I with respect, challenge it. I’m not sure what you mean by the term ‘actual truth’? Where did you discover this valuable insight? I suspect that ‘actual truth’ is the truth you’ve chosen to believe and so without evidence, the cop out is to hide behind ‘faith’. On re reading this I sound a tad aggressive. I genuinely don’t intend to. My apologies if you think so. Regarding your second point which I feel validates my previous comment of sept 20th yes , you can believe anything (it then appears to the holder as ‘the actual truth’ which of course, may not actually be the truth – it just feels like it). Reading your comment, perhaps there isn’t an ‘actual truth’ we can accurately reflect on, but the actual truth is one we can create – which is why it’s such a challenge to find a universally agreed one. It simply doesn’t exist in the form you’d like. Fraser

        • Alex added to the conversation

          Fraser, hi! You are so wrong about you write, but I do understand to a good degree where you’re coming from.
          Yes, I agree, we can create truth, because that’s what we do when we create anything! But, saying to Chris “Where did you discover this valuable insight? (“actual truth”)” is just out of this world. What do you mean discover it?? It’s everywhere, and we see it, we feel it, we eat it, we breath it, we walk in it, we live in it. Lying about it with pseudo-scientific-philosophical arguments (the “holder”) won’t make it go away. Actual truth is all around us in millions of forms. **So, why shouldn’t it or can’t it be in regards to God’s existence and will?** How can you block it out? You even add “it simply doesn’t exist in the form you’d like.” Saying this to a knowledgeable Christian is funny in a sad way. Besides, how DO YOU know it doesn’t exist? Are you the expert on truth? You sounded real arrogant I must say.
          In regards to the Christian faith being the actual truth, yes, it is. And not because I chose to lie to myself hiding supposedly behind a blind faith (that atheist and ignorant Christian may call upon). This is just atheist propaganda parroted many most atheists, that has even dooped Christians. Just being boldly honest considering my knowledge and experience. So in speaking of myself, my Christian faith reflects the actual truth because it’s a) the one I experienced and experience, b) the one I can give rational sound evidence to, to the same point I can give evidence for anything else.
          No one can destroy neither of these pillars in my life, because I firstly would have done so in all sincerity if I could while in contact with a supposedly contradicting actual truth.
          My full views/arguments on the issue can be found on my Greek website, in the category Topics in English. The particular article is titled:
          “A critique/refutation of a segment of the Atheist Experience episode 696#”

          PS. I suggest you -with spiritual eyes open- read the article before replying here, if you intend to. It would be a wise thing to do. Besides, there’s no reason to repeat myself here if we continue in a discussion.

          • Fraser added to the conversation

            Hi Alex, Thanks for the response. If I’m honest I didn’t really give my previous answer too much reflected time – perhaps it might have been better had I done. I did find it ironic you thought my attitude arrogant – although i can see why – I could level the same charge to you in your absolute sureness of your position. Isn’t that one of the problems here? that “The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world” (Max Born) I did as you suggested and read your essay – well, a lot of it – as it did go on a tad! However I agree that the wonderment of the universe / planet / energy / nature you eloquently describe as evidence of God is I agree wonderful – I’m just not convinced that to appreciate it and respect it and love it requires the kind of adherence to scripts and teachings that were done when homo sapiens were in a much reduced level of consciousness and knowledge and awareness we enjoy today – leave aside numerous rewrites and interpretations and translations – all by men (driven by the base need to satisfy feelings of power and control predominately over women). Uh oh, alert!! I’m about to digress; I was driving one day with my 12 year old daughter in the car and rare it was we weren’t listening to her music, but there was a discussion on BBC radio 4 between a catholic priest, a muslim cleric and a vicar who were bickering over women bishops etc when suddenly they all agreed that there couldn’t be women high up in church because there were times when they wouldn’t be allowed to perform certain rites due to the fact they were ‘unclean’ every month! My daughter asked why are women unclean? I am still angry now as I do not want my child to be infected by that kind of narrow minded (male) view that purports to represent the views of God! I don’t like to think my God is that petty, insecure and frankly that interested in menstruation. It boils down to the ability for some to feel ‘chosen’ and be spoken to directly. I think I’d call that an indicator of something a little more clinically worrying. Genuinely I look forward to your reply. Kind regards Fraser

        • Alex added to the conversation

          Fraser, hi again! Thanks for your reply to my comment. Apparently the reply button is shut off by the administrator so unfortunately I had to reply here to your last comment one last time so not to leave you hanging. You can write me on my website if you like. If you don’t get further messages from me here, I can’t do anything about it. Anyway:
          1) I disagree with Max Born’s “that oneself is in possession of it”. That is misleading. The truth is, that millions “selves”, and all through out history proclaim this same truth I and all Christian do today.
          2) Sure, one could appreciate the wonder of nature without scripts etc. but the Bible is not about that. It reveals the Creator of those wonders and His mind-boggling knowledge/wisdom,
          3) In regards to this: “scripts and teachings that were done when homo sapiens were in a much reduced level of consciousness and knowledge and awareness we enjoy today”
          Who said people then had a reduced level of consciousness/knowledge/awareness?? Fraser, pal, this is pseudoscience. You’ve been had! Don’t believe me, consider though the possibility, meanwhile see here:

          4) In regards to: “leave aside numerous rewrites and interpretations and translations”
          Wrong. See here:

          5) In regards to women, for now the essential question to you I believe should be if the God of the Bible is the real God, not how He sees and does things. IF you find out that He is, rejecting His ways (which you now don’t understand, although you might think you do) would be irrational, especially when you find out He wants to save you and your daughter from hell. His ways, are not our ways Fraser. But give Him a chance, for your sake. He doesn’t need you.
          God bless you Fraser, my prayers will be for you and your family tonight!
          In Christ,

          • Fraser added to the conversation

            Hi Alex, Thanks for your response and I’m not sure if english is your primary language? if it isn’t, I’m genuinely very impressed by your ability to set out your views in another language. – and no, I’m not patronizing you. However I still would challenge you. your response to point 1, I’m afraid reveals the quote to be correct! Regarding point 2, the assertion that the bible reveals the creator, no, it reveals a historically and culturally specific explanation that has maintained its strength through promoting valuable lessons / ideas etc but its trump card is that it can’t be disproved! plus having a faith in its content makes people feel good. (and also allows those who claim a greater connection and understanding of God’s views more power and control). You say that challenging that there are and have been, ever expanding levels of consciousness is ‘pseudoscience’. Presumably you wont be using the same critical criteria when looking at your own beliefs! Levels of consciousness have of course been changing. Outer consciousness 2000 years ago was limited – even 700 years ago there was a widespread belief you could sail off the edge of the world! now its 150 universes large! Although the brain size has been roughly the same size for 200,000 years, you can’t believe that those ancient levels of inner or outer consciousness are anywhere nearly similar to those we enjoy today? Lastly, I’m afraid I can’t quite get your last point about women. I’m all for me and my daughter being saved from hell, but I’m not sure why, if my daughter is having a period she can’t participate in high religious ceremonies – or even enter a religious building in some countries – if she wanted to . Is that God’s command? Is it necessary to eternally praise him? Can’t we just be extremely appreciative and move on? No Alex, I’m afraid its you who might be duped. Why do i suspect so? Simply because If insignificant me can effortlessly conceive a God who is less judgemental, less picky, less mysoginistic , less fearful, more kind, and above all has a sense of humour, then I’m pretty sure you’re vision is wrong. And actually I think I’m pretty ‘religious’, in that I do offer my thanks and appreciation every day whilst following many of the moral edicts the bible also supports and if me and my daughter did that together , it wouldn’t make a ha’peth of difference where she was in her biological cycle. As it happens she’s not interested in doing that with me as she seems to be too busy socialising and partying! You know what Alex, my prayers will be for you tonight! In energy Fraser!

  12. Sene added to the conversation

    Thanks to Google that I land in your website. It’s really interesting but while I read through your comments the H/S gave me a good example of faith and believe I believe in Him that doesnt mean I have faith in Him. I give my tithe but not faithfully so I need faith to do my tithe and Ill see His glory.

    Thanks Chris

  13. Marlo See added to the conversation

    I found your definition of belief to be helpful. I can’t say the same about your definition of faith. As you stated, faith takes action. But many people act on their beliefs. It would be hard to walk into a voting booth and not act on ones beliefs. Can you please give a more precise definition of what faith is?

    • added to the conversation

      Heya Marlo! I thought I did. Faith is acting on your beliefs with confidence.

      People place their faith in all sorts of things including politicians. While faith has some religious connotations I don’t think the best definition of the word is exclusively religious. A person’s faith is only as valid as the object in which that faith is placed.

      • Tommy added to the conversation


        Hebrews 11:1 gives us a comprehensive definition of faith and I would like to expand it with what Book of James and others say so that a differentiation with belief can be made. Yes I agree that faith is acting on belief WITH confidence. Your statement gives rise to the question, confidence based on what? Where does this confidence emanates. In my opinion i think God’s revelation is the answer. The revelation could be God’s instruction in the form of voice, image, word from scripture etc. in the heart of the recipient..

        This instruction, in my opinion, forms the “evidence” or “title deed” of unseen realties as expressed in the definition of the verse above. Jesus never acted without first “seeing” the Father do (i.e. without instruction from above). From this analysis, I think I can safely say that belief is failing to act when fully persuaded in the heart (I think that is what James referred to by dead faith)

        Unbelief, on the other hand, could involve action but not based God’s command, i.e. agape. (I think the disciples of Jesus wanted to cast the demon out of the boy without getting instructions from above, hence Jesus’ advice to them to pray and fast so that they can also “see” ( i.e., have God kind of faith) what the Father does..

        God Bless

  14. Stanislaw Kacicki added to the conversation

    thank you for your post on faith and belief this was a well thought out writing and enjoyed it, it is a great help to our group topic God Bless you

  15. Nicole added to the conversation

    I am very grateful for your elaboration concerning this subject because it is one that people oftentimes misconstrue. I would like to further expound upon what you have said by giving my own illustration of the difference between faith and belief and how you can correlate the two in order to bring optimum results. Hebrew 11:16 ” But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” Keeping in line with this thought, Many believe that God is, and does exist, but not many diligently seek him. Christians fail to receive the reward given by the Rewarder because they equate belief with faith,when this scripture clearly identify a distinction between the two. God said to those who believe (being fully persuaded) I AM, by faith, a rewarder to those who diligently seek me, implies belief has to accompany faith (actions). So in this text God is saying without actions following your belief, you will not please (satisfy) me enough to produce the promises located in my word. Believing >is a state of mind, (unseen) whereas faith >is a manifestation of what you believe. (visible belief) That’s why Hebrews 11:1 can bold say “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. Your faith is your assurance before God you have the promises located in his word as you continue seeking him.

  16. Dave added to the conversation

    Rom 12:3 .”….but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” It appears from this that God has dealt every man a measure of faith. If that is so then it would appear to me that faith comes from God and belief comes from me.
    Would be interested in your thoughts.

  17. Cindy added to the conversation

    Hi Chris,
    For some reason I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and while doing my meditation I wanted to know what Jesus said about beief and faith. I typed it in and found your straight forward article. Now I wish I had found this 6 weeks ago because I started a SOM class that asked us to define the difference between faith and belief. The question really confused me after awhile because of the very point you make about the two being so closely related. Thanks for making this more clear in my mind. Take care and keep writing those articles!

  18. abiola faith added to the conversation

    I read your Holy Ghost inspired comparative teaching on the thin diference between FAITH & BELIEF. Am blessed and convienced you are absolutely correct.Remain blessed and remain connected to the Holy Ghost our best teacher.

  19. Emmanuel added to the conversation

    Hi Chris,
    Thanks for an enlightening post.
    From Heb11:1>> Belief >is a state of acceptance (unseen but hoped for) whereas Faith >is manifest confidence in a belief (substance/evidence of belief).
    Both are closely related (faith builds on belief) but reside in different parts of a man>> Belief >is of the heart/soul (Rom10:10) whereas Faith >is of the spirit (2Corr4:13a) and comes from God to all (Rom12:3b) as a gift of the Holy Spirit (1Corr12:9).
    I hope this is helpfully simple.
    God bless you!

  20. Todd added to the conversation

    Greetings. I’m somewhat still confused as to the main difference between faith and belief. I see belief as being I believe in God through experiences, evidences, and my own view on His truth through the bible. Faith to me seems to take belief further and follow the Lord’s teachings and live my life to serve Him. This is a very brief description but I’m curious as to whether I’m seeing things correctly. I would appreciate any feedback.

    • added to the conversation


      I found very curious topic on the difference between faith and belief here.Actually I have been confused by the word “믿음 [midum]” in Korean bible, despite they are distinguished by different words faith,belief,trust in English bible. I came to know it’s from ” 3 key elements of faith for salvation.”



      • added to the conversation

        There are three essential elements of faith:

        1) knowledge(=getting by seeing or hearing)
        2) assent(=belief,emotional aspect, after internal process of checking whether true or not)
        3) trust(=volitional aspect of faith).

        No faith, No salvation!

  21. Misty added to the conversation

    Just wanted to say, I am writing a Senior Thesis paper on Faith, youth and the lack of involvement in the Church. I found your explanation easy to understand and very helpful. Thank you for your work Chris.

  22. Sundararajaniyer added to the conversation

    Faith and belief or different, but belief seems to be based on logic, as you have explained. My version of the interpretation of the bible is, that belief is blind, and faith is fully knowing that belief will work, and therefore it is at a higher level, Both are not logical, and miracles will have to be beyond logic. If not it is not a miracle at all.

  23. shane ward added to the conversation

    Hey Chris I love this post I am copy and pasting some of your content to I can print this and stick it on my wall. I would disable comments if I were you. The reason I wanted to print this on my wall is because it is so simple. I truly shake my head and say “NO” when I see other people comment on this and the comment is even longer than the actual content. Thank you!

  24. Lanre Eniola added to the conversation

    Thank God for the passion for God’s word which i see from all contributors. My personal perception is that the big resemblance between ‘belief’ and ‘faith’ can be misleading while the little difference between the two is the secret power that make christians to stand out like those mentioned in Heb 11. Belief is the ‘knowing’ of something/someone to be real, genuine, true etc. Faith takes you from where belief lands you! Dont be surprised if a believer inherits hell! God has given men ‘free will’. I have seen people who will say “yes i’m sure God exists-his name is Jehovah, and Jesus is Lord”! The point i am making here is that Shadrak, Meshak and Abednego would’nt have reflected in Heb 11 if they had ‘decided’ to bow to the idol for the fear of death, though they believed in Jehovah-God. Faith is the unshaking fearless/bold expression of trust in the existence of God and in His supremacy over everything in Heaven and on earth-over all holy angels, over all angels of darkness and over Satan! This expression which is not only reflected in the words of mouth but also in actions is called Faith. And it is ‘faith’ that brings results not ‘belief’

  25. josh added to the conversation

    now there is a lot difference btw faith and belief. James said in chapter 2 vs 19 that you believe that there is one God thou do well the devils also believe and tremble does that mean they have faith. no. faith is not something you use

  26. toby added to the conversation

    thank u guys for the productive discussion concerning faith and believing. i think faith in biblical context is believing at face value what is written in the bible about God and acting upon it. faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word if God. for one to have faith, the Word of God must be alive im him. it takes meditation prayer and fasting to grow this faith. one cannot have it at the click of a button. on the other hand i think believing is comes easly once the facts on the facts on the ground convince you. believing is young brother to faith.

  27. Sander added to the conversation

    If you believe in something that is not true then your belief is false no matter how strongly you believe it. If you have faith in something then it becomes true no matter how little your faith is.

    • toby added to the conversation

      Sander i buy your point of view(apologies for my previous post that i couldn’t edit) especially the second point. Its true little faith can achieve much (even moving mountains ),but it also stands to reason that there are certain situations which call for a little bigger than average or little faith. For example, the faith required to get a job is certainly not enough to make you go straight through all security checks into the kings palace or state house unhindered, without an appointment only to tell the king that he must repent.

  28. Das Mookken added to the conversation

    Faith is the confidence, trust and hope in our knowledge.

    But there are TWO types of Knowledge, Physical and Spiritual.

  29. Stephen added to the conversation

    Faith and belief…..I believe in the existence of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit because a Power Greater than myself has restored me to sanity, from a state of sinful insanity. (“I was lost but now am found”). I am Blessed with Faith by the Grace of the Father because I believe that the Son is “the way, the truth and the Life.”

    “Faith: the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I chose to seek through prayer and meditation the knowledge of God’s will for me and the Power to carry it out.

    I find respectful Discussion helpful, provocative and educational. Being right or the drive to be is counter productive and egotistical.

    Diarrhea of the keyboard does not fulfill the principle that “it is better to be thought a fool than to open ones mouth (keyboard) and prove it.” Abraham Lincoln

  30. Chris Banzet added to the conversation

    I think you did a great job on at least attempting to lay out the foundational differences between “faith” and “belief”. However, I think there is one VERY important ingredient missing here… And, its the one MOST Christians cannot seem to hang their hat on, so to speak.

    First, WHAT moves us to actually “take action” as you point out above? With belief, we will take action because we have a firm conviction based on “Wisdom(knowledge+experience)” that allows us to have the confidence to move to action….

    Here is where FAITH genuinely gains ground above ALL other forms of wisdom… And why faith is absolutely different from belief. FAITH is a movement to action based upon a core fundamental belief in God, YET the actual events that we’re about to partake in or become involved in, we feel unsure and or have no previous experience in.

    When I joined the Evangelism Explosion program(how I was saved), They used ONE analogy which was so incredibly wonderful that I have remembered it for life! Imagine you are standing at the edge of a very high cliff. And you need to get to the other side. It’s approximately 1 football field across to the other side and there is a very thin swaying cable, with winds whisking by. You have ZERO belief in your own skills to balance yourself across that cable and arrive at the other side. But next to you, Jesus has a wheelbarrow, and he says, trust me, get in, I’ll get us safely to the other side.

    THIS is FAITH! Its beyond belief because it requires us to not calculate a risk, or to formulate a value based upon our own preconceived knowledge or experience. Instead, it asks us to place that in God.

    Now, I don’t want to lessen the value of what I just said, but I want to say that “faith” is not only a religious word. In order to be a STRONG Christian, we must also be able to understand the most core fundamental basis of FAITH.

    We use faith in a Biblical sense because we ALL know that God if the PUREST form of faith. However, FAITH in our own lives is ESSENTIAL as well. God is not only outside of us, but INSIDE us as well. We MUST learn to accept that through him(us) all things are possible. We are NOT Gods. but each of us has but a piece of him within us. I believe that is why God gave the most perfect answer, and why humans cannot fathom who God genuinely “is”. But when asked by Moses he said, “I AM THAT I AM” – Meaning he is not one corporeal form. He may be called God by one, luck by another, And cursed as the evil of man by another. In God’s perfect form, he is not one, but all. And that includes being within us…

    So having FAITH within yourself starts by first understanding that within you, is him. And even modern science proves that on the planck scale there is an intelligent source which runs through all things. Both living and dead. Having FAITH simply means that you leave on set of footprints in the sand.

    God did not “carry” you in those footprints.. I smile when I see this poster all the time. To say it that way, means God is corporeal. He was ALREADY present within you! Those are still your footprints, its just God’s inner spirit which helped you place one foot in front of the other…… Using “faith” within HIM and within YOU!

    • Tommy added to the conversation

      FAITH is a predecessor to BELIEVE. It is like a branch (you) attached to the vine (Christ). One cannot create faith on own volition. Remember, faith comes from hearing, hearing by the word of God, Roman 10:17 Faith takes hold of your being when Jesus Christ , through the Holy Spirit, speaks to your (human) spirit. This is justifying faith. It is logos turned into rhema. Rhema is instant, problem and time specific, and personal. In other words, we need fresh rhema daily. habakkuk 2:4 the just shall live by faith, matthew 4:4. To receive rhema one must learn a prayer species that takes you into the holy of holies to commune with Christ. God imputes righteousness to you when you receive rhema often in the secret room. This faith( Spirit talking to spirit) [deep unto deep] will then come easily even outside the secret room e.g. when preaching, reading scriptures or listening to other anointed man of God etc.

      BELIEVE is the corresponding action taken (physically, mentally, orally etc.) after receiving rhema. No action, action contrary to rhema, or action taken without rhema is UNBELIEVE. Faith needs action., and without action to give substance to your faith, it dies i.e. becomes ineffectual. That is why apostle James that effective prayer avail much. He was actually telling us to receive rhema and believe it (take action) and we will see result.This righteousness he referred to is from God and as I said, you get it when you are sanctified in the secret room by faith. And again remember how faith comes. You do not just wish for it but must do the “works”. Saying in John 14:12 that we will do greater works, He was referring to secret room communion not signs and wonders or miracles because he was leaving soon and the disciples had to learn to pray more to receive rhema (believe in him) . No one can be or do anything more than Jesus Christ has done. Anyway He is the one still doing the miracles today..

      There is no such a thing as a blind faith in the spiritual realm. You act because you believe what God told you is truth (knowledge has come) and will be fulfilled. Jesus said in Mark 16:17 ‘those who believe in my name will cast out..’ What he meant was that those who hear His instructions in the form of rhema and carry them out (believe) will do wonders and signs.

      Hope this help.


      . .

  31. james oliverjnr added to the conversation

    What’s he is trying to tell us, is that the differences between faith and belief is (action) how sure is he,he should not mis-interprete the bible due to different bible translation. Because when we belief there confidence and the process of believing is action likewise faith, so i don’t like the mis-interpretation between english words and bible translation. For me there is no definite different between the two words. That my opinion for now, thank you every. Please next topic we are going to deal with,will be the difference between this three words HOPE, FAITH, BELIEF

  32. Akum added to the conversation

    @Chris.. thank you for the explanation on Faith and Belief. According to my understanding Belief is the acceptance of the unseen/seen and Faith is the action based on Belief. Faith and Belief are two sides of the same coin. Romans 10 : 9 -10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that your profess your faith and are saved.”

    I am not a bible scholar so my views might differ from the well learned scholars. Any constructive criticism would be appreciated.

    Warrior of Christ,

    • Richard Hartley added to the conversation

      Thank you for the explanation good stuff…yes simple or complex belief comes from the heart by mouth confessing your faith based on the truth of God’s word…

  33. carol added to the conversation

    Chris, Thank you. What you wrote was beautiful and enlightening. I couldn’t agree more. But, what you wrote was also of the Spirit of God. Some things are out of our own intellect. What you wrote, however, was of the Holy Spirit. I have no doubt that if you reread your own post, then your spirit will give witness that my statement is true. Thus, I would commend and caution you. When God has spoken to you, keep speaking only that which He gives to you. Believe me when I say to you that God does not need a lawyer, He’s got that covered. He only needs someone that He can use. And clearly, you are someone that He can use. And, if Satan tries to stir up something, with even the slightest amount of confusion through a person’s own logic or any method or form…reply not. Only continue to love your brother. God requires nothing more.

  34. Henry nii boi Quaye added to the conversation

    Wow , this is good knowledge to acquire to move the christain experience forward. .As a leader of a bible study group in Ghana the difference has not been clearer until I found this God richly bless you with good health and more grace to make such wonderful presentation.

  35. Charles added to the conversation

    Thank yo so much chris, I read your Holy Ghost inspired comparative teaching on the diference between FAITH & BELIEF. Am blessed and convienced you are absolutely correct.Remain blessed and remain connected to the Holy Ghost and not be upset by people who base their teaching on human logic. who see faith as a religious sect.

  36. Bruce added to the conversation

    Just like to point out that according to Romans 12:3 EVERY man is given a measure of FAITH
    But like the spirit that the apostles were unable to cast out,after JESUS cast him out, the mans prayer was not for more faith but to help his UNBELIEF Mark 9

  37. Feven Bekele added to the conversation

    I am very much blessed with the clarification given on Belief and Faith. Yes, Indeed the confusion we have between the two hinders us from experiencing Faith. I see here that one of the basic element of faith is Belief;It is like a prerequisite of Faith.
    May GOd bless you for revealing to us the basics.

  38. Sarah added to the conversation

    This is an AWESOME description of faith versus belief. Very helpful and exactly what I needed to read this evening!
    Thank you …and I will definitely be reading more of your posts!

  39. Azande added to the conversation

    Thank u Chris for staring this blog. May the Creator bless u with abundant wisdom. Based in what i understand and have experienced i would like to say that we all have a description of what FAITH is based on our level of wisdom. My one says ” While Faith is believing on the things unseen. It is certainly what propels us to act towards what we believe to be true with our thoughts & our actions”. Thank u to all who shared their insights and interpretations of the Bible.

    God bless u all.
    Much love: Azande

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