Three Approaches to Interpret Christian Faith


What is the Christian faith? How to interpret Christian faith? Faith is knowing God intellectually, loving Christ in a personal relationship with God, and following Christ in your daily life.


Christians are commonly called “believers” today, and Christianity today is largely characterized by its emphasis on faith and beliefs. A commitment to Christianity typically involves a confession of faith. However, what is Christian faith? And why is the faith so important to Christian living? Based on Paul’s teaching about faith, Martin Luther argued that Christians must interpret their salvation as sola fide – “by faith alone.
Most people might not know that faith, in the OT and NT, carries several meanings.
  • Faith may mean simply trust in God or in the Word of God.
  • Faith may also be equivalent to active obedience.
  • Faith also suggests something to be embodied in personal life, which means the entire body of received Christian teaching or truth.


    Have you heard people encourage you like this “you just gotta believe!” This kind of faith has no intellectual aspect. It simply rests on our feeling, passion, or enthusiasm. This kind of faith is not biblical. John Calvin said: “Faith rests not on ignorance, but on knowledge.” For Calvin, faith consisted in the knowledge of God, of Christ, and of the Word. Thus, faith has an intellectual aspect. As Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Faith is not believing for no reason at all, but it rests on the truth and it has an intellectual aspect.

    A woman wearing Christian sweatshirt, metallic print Sola Fide


    It is true that faith has an intellectual aspect, however, faith cannot merely be intellectual. Genuine faith must involve more than just the knowledge of certain doctrines or facts. Genuine faith must have a personal relationship with God. Without this relationship, faith means simply knowing things about God. This is the kind of faith in demons. “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe and shudder!” Christian faith cannot merely know things about God, it must involve knowing God in the relationship.


    How many of you can say, in the humble confidence of your own heart, that you have a personal relationship with Jesus? In order to answer this question, you might ask: “How do I know?”
    “So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” James 2:17 (ESV). Faith is not a work but expresses itself in work, and the result of this work is life-changing. Faith itself is not something from our nature, but a free gift from God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV) This free gift will eventually change the way how we think and the way how we live.

    A woman comes up to her pastor after worship on a Sunday morning, and she says, “I just want to be a Christian. I like my life the way it is. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and I will be with Him when I die. Why do I have to be a follower of Jesus in my life?” What do you think you would say? Or you think that way too? Dallas Willard says that we sort of wants to get rung up by the great scanner in the sky, and he calls this “bar code Christianity.” Faith, what the Bible teaches, will not turn us into a user of Jesus, but a follower of Jesus in our daily life, because faith will express itself in work, and this work will eventually cause a life-changing. This is the genuine grace of God through genuine faith.


    What is the Christian faith? How to interpret Christian faith? Faith is knowing God intellectually, loving Christ in a personal relationship with God, and following Christ in your daily life.

    1 comment

    Thank you for posting. This was really helpful.

    Susan Lundby May 07, 2020

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