This editor is a Bible-believing Christian, non-denominationalist, graduate of Bible College and Seminary, and universities (USA and England), holding 5 graduate degrees. I have concentrated study in math, science, electronics, Bible, modern history, ancient history, classics, Greek, Hebrew, linguistics, health science, Spanish, alcohol/drug dependence, and counseling. I have home-schooled, taught private school from 1st grade through 12th grade, taught Bible college, seminary, and university. I play trumpet, keyboard, and a little harmonica. At the moment I am working on the project of producing the "Transformation Bible," a new version as a revision of the ASV (1901); the Bible language aspect is done, though there are always corrections to make; but my special parallelism structure is a continuing project. I have enough education to realize that there is a lot I do not know.
As to epistemology, I hold these truths to be self-evident axioms: 1) I exist. 2) The sky is blue (unless you live in England), 3) If A = B, then A + C = B + C. 4) The God of the Bible exists. 5) The Bible is the Word of God. With these axioms, one can do a lot of theology and arrive at a lot of knowledge.
Aside from the above, it is to be noted that the Bible offers fulfilled prophecy as evidence that it is the Word of God (e.g., in Isaiah 40 and following chapters, here and there). Also, the Bible indicates that creation should convince one that God exists. But I do not say that the Bible is true because the Bible says it is true (circular reasoning). I say that axioms 4 and 5 above are self-evident and that every man owns the problem of affirming them or denying them for himself at his own peril. You must directly perceive that God exists (as, for illustration, Paul indicates in Acts 17). You must read the Bible and affirm for yourself that it is the Word of God -- that is your homework, not mine for you.
Without axioms, one cannot do logic, for logic depends upon starting with givens; and if the givens are not self-evident, ultimately logic cannot lead to certain truth. Why do I affirm proposition A? Well, prop A is true becs of reason B. Yes, but how do you know that reason B is correct? Glad you asked, reason B is true because of reason C. Yes, but how do you know that C is true? Well, C is true becs of D. Now tell me, how do you know that D is true? This is an endless process which leads to no certainty, as one can always demand a reason why the reason is valid. Logic must start with axioms, self-evident truths which can be used as givens upon which one may apply logic.
My approach to faith (pistis) is that objective faith is being convinced that something is so, while subjective Christian faith is trusting the Lord Jesus. I reject that idea that faith is essentially affirming some proposition without evidence, though in modern English the term seems to be used that way more and more. I put it to you that objective faith (convinced that something is so) can indeed be for poor reason, no reason, sufficient evidence, or absolute proof -- it is all faith. But I put it to you that proper objective faith is the resting of the soul in the sufficiency of the evidence and in the obviousness of the self-evident. There are gullible fools who would buy the Brooklyn Bridge exercising faith, but such faith is not proper faith, but credulity. And credulity is foolishness.
The Greek words for faith
Pisteuō [ πιστεύω ] (verb) = I believe (trust, have faith). Pistis [ πίστις ] (noun) = faith. I am about to quote the BDAG Greek lexicon, so I encourage the reader to learn the Greek alphabet (if you don't know it). The alphabet is really the one & only alphabet man has ever produced, though modified much (so far as I know). Essentially learning the Greek alphabet is mostly just learning a new font (like ligature cursive in English, small letters vs capital letters). I will explain the ones that look odd or that you cannot guess. Some you probably know from math symbols.
�α, β, γ = g (gamma), it may be written with a loop at the bottom; δ, ε, ζ = z (looks like cursive captial C with a hook at bottom); η = ē (e in Spanish Señor); θ = th ι, κ, λ = l (L); μ = m (mu, familiar in math); ν = n (looks like a mishappen capital N with 1 leg missing); ξ = x ο, π = p (pi familiar from math); ρ = r (rho); σ / ς = s (sigma); τ, υ, ψ = ps (source of ps in words like psychology); χ = ch (as in Scottish Loch, x in Mexico); φ = ph (source of ph in many words like phone); ω = ō (omega, the mega (big) o; looks like oo jammed together & pulled apart).
BDAG LEXICON on Faith (Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich) abridged
[Note under pistis below how one meaning is proof, and never is a meaning given as "belief without evidence," which is unfortunately the degenerated meaning now popular in English.]
ABBREVIATIONS of BDAG: case abbreviations: acc; = accusative, dat = dative inf = infinitive; abs = absolute(ly) (no object); pers = person; foll = following obj = object; v.l. = variant reading D = the "western text," an inferior text type
πιστεύω pisteuo [I believe] (the word does not occur in Phlm, 2 Pt, 2 and 3J, Rv. But it is a special favorite of J and 1J, where it is found 96 times and 9 times respectively;
πίστις pistis [faith] is not found in the gospel at all, and occurs in 1J only once, 5:4.
1. to consider someth. to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust, believe
a. believe (in) someth., be convinced of someth., w. that which one believes (in) . . . δ. by means of the dat. of thing give credence to, believe On πιστεύειν εἰς τὸ ὄνομά τινος …Rather in the sense ‘put one’s trust in’ Sir 32:21 μὴ πιστεύσῃς ἐν ὁδῷ ἀπροσκόπῳ. … —ἐπί τινι [upon something]: πιστεύειν [to believe] ἐπὶ πᾶσιν [upon all things] οἷς ἐλάλησαν οἱ προφῆται [which spoke the prophets] Lk 24:25; Ro 9:33.
b. w. the pers. to whom one gives credence or whom one believes, in the dat. …τοῖς θεασαμένοις αὐτὸν ἐγηγερμένον οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν they did not believe those who saw him after he was raised from the dead Mk 16:14.
.—Also of Jesus and God whom one believes, in that one accepts their disclosures without doubt or contradiction: Jesus: … Gal 3:6; Js 2:23; (all three Gen 15:6). ὁ μὴ πιστεύων [the one not believing] τῷ θεῷ [in (the) God] ψεύστην πεποίηκεν αὐτόν [liar has made Him] 1J 5:10b.
2. to entrust oneself to an entity in complete confidence, believe (in), trust, w. implication of total commitment to the one who is trusted. In our lit. God and Christ are objects of this type of faith that relies on their power and nearness to help, in addition to being convinced that their revelations or disclosures are true.
—Pass. be believed in ἐπιστεύθη ἐν κόσμῳ [was believed in (the) world] 1 Ti 3:16. —π. τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ υἱοῦ believe in the name of the Son, i.e. believe in the Son and accept what his name proclaims him to be 1J 3:23.
ε. π. ἔν τινι believe in someone is questionable in our lit.: in J 3:15 the best rdg. is ἐν αὐτῷ [in him] and is prob. to be construed w. ἔχῃ [may have]
—Participles in the var. tenses are also used almost subst.: (οἱ) πιστεύοντες (the) believers, (the) Christians Ac 2:44; Ro 3:22; 1 Cor 14:22ab (opp. οἱ ἄπιστοι); 1 Th 1:7; (οἱ) πιστεύσαντες (those) who made their commitment = (those) who became believers, (the) Christians, Ac 2:44 v.l.; 4:32; 2 Th 1:10a. οἱ πεπιστευκότες [the ones having believed] those who became (and remained) believers Ac 19:18; 21:20.
c. A special kind of this faith is the confidence that God or Christ is in a position to help suppliants out of their distress, have confidence (some of the passages already mentioned might just as well be classified here) abs. ὡς ἐπίστευσας γενηθήτω σοι may it be done to you in accordance with the confidence you have Mt 8:13. ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε πιστεύοντες whatever you pray for with confidence 21:22. Cp. Mk 5:36; 9:23f; Lk 8:50; 2 Cor 4:13a (Ps 115:1), b.
W. ὅτι foll.: πιστεύετε ὅτι δύναμαι τοῦτο ποιῆσαι; do you have confidence that I am able to do this? Mt 9:28. —Mk 11:23.
3. entrust τινί τι someth. to someone τὸ ἀληθινὸν τίς ὑμῖν πιστεύσει; Lk 16:11. αὐτόν [self] τινι [to someone] trust oneself to someone J 2:24.
4. be confident about, a unique use found in ὃς μὲν πιστεύει φαγεῖν πάντα, someth. like the one is confident about eating anything Ro 14:2 (a combination of two ideas: ‘the pers. is so strong in the faith’ and: ‘the pers. is convinced that it is permissible to eat anything’; in brief: not cultically fussy. Another probability is the sense
5. think/consider (possible), in Ro 14:2 perh. holds everything possible; cp. J 9:18 οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν they refused to entertain the possibility, and Ac 9:26.
πίστις, εως, ἡ (Hes., Hdt.+; ranging in meaning from subjective confidence to objective basis for confidence). 1. that which evokes trust and faith a. the state of being someone in whom confidence can be placed, faithfulness, reliability, fidelity, commitment
b. a solemn promise to be faithful and loyal, assurance, oath, troth c. a token offered as a guarantee of someth. promised, proof, pledge 2. state of believing on the basis of the reliability of the one trusted, trust, confidence, faith in the active sense=‘believing’, . . . in our lit. directed toward God and Christ, their revelations, teachings, promises, their power and readiness to aid. a. God: πίστις θεοῦ faith, trust, confidence in God. . . b. Christ α. of belief and trust in the Lord’s help in physical and spiritual distress; —Cp. ἔχει πίστιν τοῦ σωθῆναι (the lame man) had faith that he would be cured Ac 14:9.
c. πίστις can also be characterized by an objective gen. of the thing: ἡ πίστις τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ faith in his (Jesus’) name d. πίστις is found mostly without an obj., faith, firm commitment α. as true piety, genuine devotion δ. faith as fidelity to Christian teaching. ε. Ro 14:22 and 23 π. as freedom or strength in faith, conviction
ζ. In addition to the πίστις that every Christian possesses (s. 2dα above) Paul speaks of a special gift of faith that belongs to a select few 1 Cor 12:9. Here he understands π. as an unquestioning belief in God’s power to aid people with miracles, the faith that ‘moves mountains’ 13:2 (cp. Mt 17:20.—21:21; s. 2a above). This special kind of faith may be what the disciples had in mind when they asked πρόσθες ἡμῖν πίστιν Lk 17:5. . . . 3. that which is believed, body of faith/belief/teaching, . . . [The above from BDAG has been abridged by this writer so one can see the forest and not just trees.]