Page 4 - January 2020 - Truth & Tidings
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his article is designed to draw the   defending the content of faith. The issue
              reader’s attention to a use of the   in hand was Jude’s wish to encourage the
        Tword “faith” which differs from its   Christians to defend the truths in which
        usual use in Scripture. As the other articles   their faith had been placed.
        show, its principal use is to describe the   Another earlier example of this usage
        attitude of trust that a person may have   appears in Galatians. Paul refers to the
        in God or Christ. But there are some oc-  fact that he now preached “the faith which
        casions in Scripture where “the faith”   once he destroyed” (1:23). Again, the
        describes the core beliefs of Christianity.  expression “the faith” is only intelligible
          That certain words may “jump” from   if it refers to certain truths which define
        one meaning to another is well attested.   Christianity. Paul would not have sought
        The phenomenon is called metonymy.    to destroy faith as an animating feature of
        Metonymy is the process by which one   spiritual life. But he had been opposed to
        name or noun is used instead of another   the Lord Jesus, His death and resurrection.
        to which it has a close relation. Thus,   Thus “the faith” is only intelligible here if
        for example, the writer is sometimes   it refers to what Christians believed.
        substituted for his writings: “They have
        Moses [i.e., his writings] and the prophets   Another example may be found
        [i.e., their writings]; let them hear them”   in Philippians where  he encourages
        (Luk 16:29);  the tongue for what is spoken   Christians to strive together “for the faith
                  1
        by it: “they flatter with their tongue” (Psa   of the gospel” (Php 1:27). His purpose is
        5:9); the sword for war: “I came not to send   to encourage Christians to work together
        peace, but a sword” (Mat 10:34).      to promote the truths of Christ’s death,
          The clearest example of this specialised   resurrection and ascension. “The faith”
        use of “faith” is in Jude where the   of the gospel are the basic truths that
        Christians are called upon to “earnestly   underpin the gospel.
        contend for the faith which was once    Inevitably, there are occasions where
        delivered unto the saints” (v3). “The faith”   it can be difficult to decide whether it is
        here is “delivered” to the saints. Jude   personal faith or the body of truth that is
        counsels the Christians to “contend” for   in view. Thus when Paul states, “I have
        this faith. Contend means “to struggle” or   kept [ten pistin] the faith” (2Ti 4:7), he
        “fight.” Since the context of this epistle is   probably has in mind “the form of sound
        focused on the need to defend Christian   words.” The NLT, however, translates, “I
        beliefs from false teachers, it is likely   have remained faithful.” The following
        that contending for “the faith” refers to   are examples of other occasions where
        ¹ All Scripture quotations in this article are from   “the faith” refers to the body of truth (Act
        the KJV unless otherwise noted.       6:7; 2Co 13:5; Col 1:23; 1Ti 4:1; 5:8; 6:10).

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