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Does the Bible Teach Faith Without Evidence?
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Does the Bible Teach Faith Without Evidence?

Faith is central to the Christian life. The Bible says that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). But there is much debate over the nature of faith. Some claim that biblical faith means believing without evidence. Is that true? Does the Bible teach we should have faith without evidence?

Let’s examine what the Bible says about faith and evidence. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Faith in the Bible is relational trust, not blind belief.
  • Jesus provided public evidence to give rational justification for faith.
  • Biblical faith is based on historical witnesses and verifiable testimony.
  • Scripture encourages believers to test and examine truth claims carefully.
  • While faith involves belief in unseen realities, it is not belief despite the evidence.
Does the bible teach faith without evidence?

The Biblical Meaning of Faith

In the Bible, the original Greek word for faith is pistis. This word denotes trust, confidence, assurance, and fidelity in relationships between people. Biblical faith is trusting in the reliability, fidelity, and faithfulness of someone’s character and abilities.

Wayne Grudem defines faith as “trust or dependence on God based on the fact that we take him at his word and believe what he has said.”1 Biblical faith trusts in God’s promises because it trusts in God’s proven faithfulness and reliability.

Faith is trusting in someone, not just mentally agreeing to certain ideas apart from proof. Faith is personal reliance on God’s trustworthiness. The emphasis is on right relationship with a faithful, proven Person. This stands in contrast to a view of faith as belief despite the evidence.

Jesus Provided Public Evidence

When Jesus walked the earth, He provided extensive public evidence to justify rational faith in who He claimed to be. Jesus did not expect people to follow Him on blind faith. Rather, He pointed people to verifiable evidence as the basis for faith. As John writes:

Jesus provided many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

The miracles Jesus performed served as public evidence that He was the Messiah. Jesus repeatedly appealed to His miracles and resurrection as proof of His claims (Luke 24:25-27; John 2:11; 5:36; 10:25; 10:38). Jesus expected people to look at the evidence of His divine identity and believe based on rational consideration of that evidence.

Clearly, Jesus did not teach or model faith without evidence. He continually provided eyewitnesses and miraculous signs to justify rational, evidence-based faith.

Biblical Faith Based on Witnesses

Biblical faith depends on historical witnesses who saw physical evidence of God’s actions and testified about what they saw. As the apostle John writes:

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That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard. (1 John 1:1, 3)

John is declaring he saw, heard, and touched Jesus firsthand. The original disciples emphasized they were eyewitnesses who directly encountered the risen Christ (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:32). They appealed to their own experience of the crucifixion, empty tomb, and resurrection appearances as empirical evidence to verify they were telling the truth.

Biblical faith was never expected to be belief without evidence. From the beginning it was rooted in historical, verifiable witness testimony. As Luke writes:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught. (Luke 1:1-4)

Luke emphasizes he carefully investigated the events to have certainty. Biblical faith depends on evidence from trustworthy witnesses, not blind belief.

Testing Truth Claims Carefully

Far from encouraging blind faith, the Bible tells believers to carefully and rationally test all truth claims to discern truth from falsehood. As the apostle John wrote:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world…This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (1 John 4:1,6)

The Bible commends carefully examining truth claims instead of blindly believing anything claimed in God’s name. Paul also tells believers to “test everything” and “hold on to what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The book of Acts describes how the Bereans were considered noble for examining the evidence to confirm if what Paul taught was true (Acts 17:11).

Proverbs repeatedly warns against foolishness and simple-mindedness, encouraging the wise use of reason and evidence:

The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. (Proverbs 14:15)

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. (Proverbs 27:12)

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. (Proverbs 18:15)

Biblical faith embraces critical thinking, careful examination of evidence, and rational consideration of truth claims. It is never portrayed as belief without evidence.

Belief in Unseen Realities

It’s important to note that while biblical faith is based on evidence, the object of faith includes unseen realities that can’t be directly observed. As Hebrews 11:1 states:

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Biblical faith accepts the existence of objective truth beyond what we can tangibly see and test in the visible world. Belief in God’s existence and eternal promises requires faith in the unseen spiritual realm.

But this belief in unseen realities does not mean faith lacks evidence or justification. Biblical faith has warrant through general revelation in creation (Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20), moral experience (Romans 2:14-15), the witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:14-16), and Christ’s miracles and resurrection (Hebrews 2:3-4).

While certain objects of belief cannot be directly seen, biblical faith still has a rational basis. There is a difference between believing in unseen realities based on evidence, versus belief despite evidence. Biblical faith is in the former category.

Conclusion

In summary, the consistent teaching and testimony of the Bible is that authentic faith has a firm foundation in historical evidence. Jesus and biblical writers appealed to firsthand testimony, verifiable witnesses, logic, human experience, historical fact, and tested truth claims as giving rational justification for faith.

Biblical faith is never portrayed as human determination to believe something despite the facts or despite a lack of evidence. While faith trusts God’s word on matters beyond scientific proof, it is always evidence-based in its foundation. Ultimately, biblical faith is inherently rational because it trusts in the revealed truth of a God who is inherently logical.

Footnotes

  1. Grudem, W. (2009). Do Miracles Give Reason for Faith?. Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith, p. 333. Zondervan Academic.

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Pastor duke taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.