I remember when I first learned, many years ago, that what we call The Bible is not what it seems.
First of all, it’s not a book, but a library of books. And those books were written by many different people, and frequently not the people whose names appeared on the book. And these writers, probably mostly men, had agendas and points of view, also not made clear at the outset. They told stories and invented myths that supported their own points of view.
These facts do not illustrate a deception; it’s just the way things were done a long, long time ago. Later I learned that these biblical stories, like all great art, told a lie to tell the truth.
But is it the truth?
I would argue that it is the truth – in many ways, the painting depicts a truth better than if we were looking directly at the woman sitting in front of us.
What we’re looking at, when we look at the Mona Lisa, is Leonardo Da Vinci’s rendering of a woman with a slight smile. It is Leonardo’s opinion.
Does that make it a deception? Obviously, Da Vinci is doing his level best to pretend that the picture is a woman.
Back to The Bible…
What we read in these ancient scriptures today, thousands of years after their original composition, has been copied, re-copied, edited, augmented and then translated into English. Sometimes more than once, from more than one language.
Such is the case with pretty much every document in the Christian scripture, most of which were written in a version of Greek, called Koiné (COIN-ay) Greek, by Paul – the founder of what became Christianity.
By the time we get to Jesus’ own words, for example, somebody – probably several somebodies – tried to remember what he said – in Aramaic - and kept it in their heads for decades before either writing it down or dictating it to someone else. In any event, it got translated into Greek, and written down again. Then, years later, that was translated to Greek and, over time, different versions diverged, and stuff was edited and added to, again according to the religious, social and political agendas of the writers. In 1611 that was translated into English – or rather the official scholarly English of the 15th century, and that’s how we got the King James Bible.
Fast forward to today, and you get something like 900 translations of the Bible into English.
So, there is no official, “inerrant word of God” called “The Bible.” There are only versions of other fragmented versions of dubious origin.
But, like any great work of art (like the Mona Lisa), the truth rises up out of these scriptures and we can see it and hear it. It’s a miracle that the meanings inside so much of Jesus’ teachings survived all these centuries. We can only wonder what did not.
This is why it’s so important to look at the amazing spiritual principles being taught in this amazing literary collection of and understand the truth they contain. When we do this, it’s important from time to time, to uncover the meaning being told to us by understanding a bit about the translation process that got this scripture to our English eyes.
Let’s look at one incredibly important word in the Bible – arguably the most important word it contains: FAITH.
So much of what the Bible teaches has to do with this word, especially in the teachings of Jesus.
There’s a huge problem with the translation of this word from the original languages of Aramaic and Greek into English.
In English, we generally use the words faith and belief interchangeably. But spiritually they mean very different things.
Belief is a noun – a thing. The verb for belief is believe. That’s the action version of the noun, belief.
Now let’s look at FAITH.
Faith is the noun – the thing. And so what is the verb - the action word for faith?
Well, in English, there isn’t one.
When we translate from the Greek (for which there is a verb for faith), we must substitute believe, because we have no other word to use.
If there was a verb for FAITH, it might be FAITHE (rhymes with bathe).
What is this so important?
Because the words have different meanings to begin with, and to simply miss the action word for faith – the verb - leaves us with a weaker version of the word.
If you look up the definitions of belief and faith in a dictionary, you will find that belief is “an opinion”, whereas faith is “belief multiplied by confidence and action.”
So, belief is weak enough that it doesn’t necessarily require action. It doesn’t require than anything happens. But faith is actionable. It requires something happens.
The words are not interchangeable.
Faithing is what makes the difference between demonstrated, answered prayer – something that happens - and nothing. Without an actionable mindset, one that invokes the very picture of things in motion, prayer is just an empty wish. And that action word is missing from our language.
Think about it.
Now, obviously you don’t need to say – or even know – the word, faithe to experience answered prayer. But you must at least have its mental equivalent.
I believe this is just one of the many reasons so many prayers go unanswered. People may believe healing is theoretically possible, but not faithe enough to rise to the level of expectation.
So, you may be asking, “How do I generate such a level of faithing?”
Since faith requires action, take some kind of action. Action exercises your “faithing muscle.”
My twelve step friends are great at this. I once heard one say, “Bring your body; your mind will follow.” In other words, “Keep going to the meetings and eventually that action will lead to your action of sobriety.”
And here’s one of those powerful spiritual lessons from Jesus that survived:
Notice that ask, seek and knock are all action words.
The Divine never refuses the “show me” prayer. It’s the ultimate “ask.” It is the most readily answered prayer known to humanity.
So, ask, seek and knock. And expect an answer. Through the process of active faithing, the world would change overnight.
Nona Brooks, one of the great early Divine Science teachers said, “Our lives are answered prayers.” She also writes:
Use your inborn, intuitive faithing to set an intention to embody an active consciousness of faith. You’ll soon know exactly what to do.
Expect wonderful things in your life in every single moment and watch what happens!