The journey continues: More Apostolic Fathers’ citations

Several years ago I recounted some of my journey’s milestones in grappling with the phrase “faith of Christ.”  Did the biblical authors use this phrase referring to our faith in Christ or Christ’s faith/ Christ’s faithfulness?

Even if all nine occurrences of the faith of Christ in the biblical text refer to Christ’s faith, this does not greatly alter our understanding of salvation because other verses teach about the necessity of our faith. So what’s the point of digging into these details? We want to do our best to accurately understand what the biblical authors intended.

Due diligence suggested exploring whether the early Christian writers, known as the Apostolic Fathers, might have also used the phrase “faith of ___.” The Journey’s Data Depot provided some of that evidence. This addition adds a more complete listing.   Continue reading “The journey continues: More Apostolic Fathers’ citations”

The journey continues (5): the weakest link?

The previous article in this series is The Data Depot

Whenever people wish to dismiss an idea, they gravitate toward their perception of the weakest link. Discredit that link. Feel justified in rejecting the idea.

While such a decisive response is probably neither justified nor wise, what might each perspective in the “faith of Christ” discussion regard as the opposing viewpoint’s weakest link? Ironically, both sides might point to whether or not this phrase should be rendered with “in.”

For those favoring “faith in Christ,” they might perceive the opposing opinion as fighting an uphill battle against the combined testimony of classic Greek grammars and commentaries. However, for those supporting “faith of Christ,” they might view “in” as being unwarranted by the text.

In my journey, two important questions surfaced: 1) How appropriate is it to translate a genitive with “in”? 2) Should “faith of Christ” be identified as an objective or subjective genitive?  Here are some milestones influencing my path. Continue reading “The journey continues (5): the weakest link?”

The journey’s data depot (4): faith in Christ and faith of Christ

The previous article in this series is Gleaning Genitive Gems

If  the following characteristics describe you, have you considered the evidence for yourself?

  1. Don’t dismiss the professionals, just recognize they are human.
  2. The normal functioning and understanding is preferred over a claim for an unusual or exceptional one.
  3. Since scripture is the standard, follow the evidence.
  4. Our goal will determine what we find. Value truth.

Before unveiling more milestones from my journey, today’s article provides a way station, an organized table of the data. To be sure, additional ideas will still need to be addressed. Nevertheless, if you have been following this journey, you may want to review the data for yourself. Continue reading “The journey’s data depot (4): faith in Christ and faith of Christ”

The journey continues (3): gleaning genitive gems

The previous article in this series is Analyzing the Authorities.

Imagine landing on a remote deserted island with a small group of people. To your delight, you encounter unknown exotic plants, fruits and animals. Probably before too long names will be assigned. Will your group create names by appearance, smell, function or something else?

In a similar way, grammarians enter the world of language identifying how words function and relate to each other within sentences. Labels are assigned describing these characteristics.

In my journey, I learned Greek alters the forms of its nouns, pronouns and adjectives by sticking little suffix flags on them to indicate their function and relationship within a particular sentence. Neat eh? One of these suffix forms, the genitive, lies at the heart of the controversy swirling around the “faith of Christ.” Continue reading “The journey continues (3): gleaning genitive gems”

The journey continues (2): analyzing the authorities

This is the second in a series. The first article can be found here.

Ever sought a second opinion? Why explore additional insight? Aren’t doctors highly educated? Of course they are. Nevertheless, even when professionals are very proficient, sometimes their opinions will vary for a variety of reasons.

Would you be surprised at Greek experts disagreeing? Before delving further into my journey to explore what those “faith of Christ” texts mean, consider a little story about the Greek preposition “eis.”
Continue reading “The journey continues (2): analyzing the authorities”

The journey begins (1): faith in Christ and faith of Christ

Perhaps your experiences are similar to mine. As a young adolescent reading a King James Bible, I would occasionally stumble upon the phrase “faith of Christ,” as in Galatians 2:16. Since I had never heard anything about the faith of Christ, this phrase seemed to be an incomprehensible anomaly. After all, we were the ones who needed to have faith!

I smiled a sense of relief when I later discovered that other translations rendered this phrase as “faith in Christ.” However, my journey did not end here. This was only the beginning. Here’s the first few milestones from my journey as well as a few initial suggestions. Continue reading “The journey begins (1): faith in Christ and faith of Christ”


A stout man shouted down a very lengthy stone hallway, “Leave now.  You do not belong here!” My fellow college intern and I had casually strolled into an architecturally interesting building having finished touring the nearby Tower of London. Curiosity had led us to open the massive door and step inside.

There would be no answers. There would be no access.  Being cast out was unsettling. Continue reading “Access”

Ephesians 2:8, Comedy and Baptism

In that 1930’s and 40’s classic burlesque routine, “Who’s on First?” Abbot accurately quoted Costello many times. To Costello’s question, “Who’s on first,” Abbot would retort, “That’s what I am saying. Who’s on first?”

Asserting that Ephesians 2:8, dispenses with the necessity of baptism might very well cause us to mimic Abbott in this classic comedy skit. Only this time it is not funny.

Continue reading “Ephesians 2:8, Comedy and Baptism”

Digging Out God’s Message

by Barry Newton
While God’s message is not difficult, sometimes to arrive at a Biblical understanding requires more than a casual glance. Studying to show yourself approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15) demands more than quickly embracing our initial impressions. One valuable Bible study tool for English readers involves studying scripture in various translations.

Reading Philippians 3:9 in different translations immediately reveals further digging is warranted. The NIV has, “be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, … but that which is through faith in Christ.” On the other hand, the KJV reads, “be found in him, not having my own righteousness, … but that which is through the faith of Christ.” Some newer translations, like the NET, support the KJV: “be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness …, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness.”

To accurately excavate God’s message, was Paul communicating in this text that Christians are righteousness in Christ because of their faith in Christ or because of Christ’s faith?

Continue reading “Digging Out God’s Message”