Pistis. A Greek word. In the English language, it is translated as FAITH. Different languages offer their own translation of it. Examples of such are “pananampalataya” in Filipino/Tagalog, “xinyang” in Chinese Mandarin, “fe” in Spanish “fidem (“fidei” in genitive form)” in Latin and many others. Different dictionaries,books and other literary materials has their “own” definition of it. Merriam-Webster defines it as “strong belief or trust in someone or something” and also links it with words such as fidelity and loyalty. Wikipedia defines it with a wider scope as ” confidence or trust in a person or thing; or the observance of an obligation from loyalty; or fidelity to an entity, promise, or engagement“. In the theological context, faith has different facets; depending on the denomination,group,religion and/or organization. This simple yet profound word brings a variety of opinion and views, creates an enormous “library” of “life stories” and sometimes, creates an atmosphere of unifying everyone, regardless of economic status, background, ethnicity and the like.
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen (KJV)“. Powerful. Compelling. Encouraging. Such are the words that we could express and utter with this definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1. Using this reference, we could find three key words that serve as the foundation and the basic framework of this simple, yet profound word. First, it is SUBSTANCE. When we talk about substance, it talks about the quality of something vital, something important, something that is necessary and something that is meaningful. In Chemistry, a substance is referred to as something that constitute a material, tangible and intangible alike. With these analogies, faith is indeed a substance; not just an ordinary substance, but an “indispensable” substance that could make a difference in someone’s life. Second, we have HOPE. Hope can be used in its noun and verb form. When used as a noun, it talks about feeling and is synonymous with words such as desire, aspiration and goal. As a verb, it implies expectation and anticipation; most of the time, inducing an atmosphere of positivism. Looking at the word “hope” in its grammatical context, faith serves as a perfect representation of a “lighthouse” that serves as a pathway and a guide; thus, assuring someone of a safe and accurate arrival to one’s destination amidst the dark voyage in the middle of a quiet and sometimes raging sea waters. Lastly, the word EVIDENCE. Evidence is something that one requires in order to express approval and/or acceptance to someone or something. It serves as a leverage in order to win an argument, a debate and a law suit. Associating evidence with the word “leverage”, faith serves as our confidence and advantage in whatever situation and circumstance we face, no matter how easy, light or severe it is. It serves as our ‘inner confidant” that we could rely and put our trust to.
Faith is indeed a SUBSTANCE, a HOPE and an EVIDENCE. As a substance, it is indispensable in one’s life. As a hope, it fends off the crimson of darkness whenever we are faced with an insurmountable feat. As an evidence, it gives us an edge and the upper-hand in our personal battles.
To wrap things up, the definition of faith concludes as we read on its definition in the eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews. It is plain, simple,not ambiguous and straightforward. It is stated as,
“…..for without FAITH, it is impossible to PLEASE GOD” .