Jean’s Gospel: Faith Is Not A Feeling

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22 Responses

  1. Steve Wright says:

    There are two different words used for dog in the New Testament which is no small detail when it comes to the hermeneutics of this passage…you might consult the BDAG lexicon on that detail

  2. Jean says:

    Thanks Steve. I am quite aware of the different words for dog (and what they mean). How does that distinction in your view impact your interpretation of the passage?

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    That comment just brought back a wave of bad memories. The CC pastor standing at his podium. grabbing the lapels of his Hawaiian shirt with his thumb and forefinger and saying smugly – “What the original Greek says … poodle”

    Shivers brother – I say shivers it gave me. 🙂

  4. Siggy the Terrible says:

    Reminds me of this parable (cute puppy or nasty ol’ mutt, we are still unclean)

    Luke seventeen:7“Which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come immediately and sit down to eat’? 8“But will he not say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterward you may eat and drink’? 9“He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10“So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’”

  5. Michael says:


    A very good word today and one I needed to hear…thank you.

  6. Jean says:

    Thank you Michael. I actually loved your intro to the article on FB. That is often the case for Christians bearing their crosses. I hope you are OK.

  7. Michael says:

    I persevere… 🙂

    We have a lot of folks who are persevering as well and I hope this encourages them to hang on to the promises of God.

  8. em ... again says:

    to echo Jean’s wise pastor, another wise pastor used to teach that feelings were intended to be the appreciators, not the governors, of life

  9. JD says:

    Here’s another one spouted out on the airwaves of late: “Faith is a verb”.

  10. Jean says:

    Hi JD. I’m saddened, but not surprised. The Gospel is always under attack.

  11. Jean says:


    Good comment and nice to have wisdom shared here.

  12. Steve Wright says:

    I would never say faith is a verb but my guess is that is a reference to the fact that the same basic Greek word is used for both the noun, faith, and the verb, believe. Our English has different words for the same Greek word. Thus, those guys who preach some dramatic distinction between belief and faith are way out of bounds, Biblically speaking.

    An English example would be our word, run. It can be a noun, go on a run, and of course a verbal.

    As to the dog word, to answer the question, Jesus specifically did NOT use the severe, insulting word, which of course he could have and did in other verses and contexts. I think the issue is she approached Him on a Messiah of Israel basis (Son of David) explaining the Lord’s hesitation when He references Israel. When she simply addresses Him as Lord, He responds. No severity at all. At least none concluded by using that particular word for dog. (And no, MLD, I am not saying poodle.)

    As an aside, just 2 or 3 weeks ago I made a major portion of my message that “faith is not a feeling”. I agree it is a very important point.

  13. Steve Wright says:

    I’m old fashioned. I first do my observation of the text. All the who, when, where, what questions of the words of Scripture in the passage. This involves looking at the words God used to give us the text.

    Only from that starting point, does interpretation begin to form, including questions like, why did Jesus use this word for dog instead of the other word used elsewhere in the NT.

    The cultural, historical, background synthesizes observation and interpretation with an exegetical goal of what the original audience would have understood by the text.

    Only then do I seek a modern application for myself and my audience (congregation).

    I sometimes jokingly say with a smile, “not sure if the text means this, but it preaches good” 🙂

  14. Michael says:

    So…when I got up and read this I really wasn’t interested in or needful of a scholarly exegesis of the passage.
    I did need to be reminded of the goodness of God and the veracity of His promises.

    Jean nailed that…I already have some commentaries.

  15. filbertz says:

    while I generally agree with Jean’s article, I offer this consideration–faith isn’t only ‘belief’ either. Faith certainly isn’t an emotional response–though deep feeling may accompany one’s faith–but it isn’t only a head response either. Faith requires a suspension of rationalism to embrace what can’t be seen or proven–but taken by trust in the word of another. Thoughts?

  16. Jean says:

    “Faith requires a suspension of rationalism to embrace what can’t be seen or proven–but taken by trust in the word of another. Thoughts?”


    Your observation is spot on. That is the message of 1 Cor 1. I agree 100%. This is why the Holy Spirit must illumine our hearts; because human wisdom (as you said “rationalism”) considers the Gospel foolishness.

  17. filbertz says:

    Thanks–I hoped you didn’t mean that faith was a head-response because it was not a heart-response. In a sense, faith defies both. A soul-response, perhaps?

  18. filbertz says:

    I believe the age of rationalism brought about efforts to quantify and clarify the gospel to the point where it was analyzed, understood, and agreed upon–in the mind. But the power of the gospel defies that explanation and containment. It is more.

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Why do we classify faith as a response – whether head, heart or soul?

    Faith is a gift that is planted in us by the word of God.

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I really like the Canaanite woman.
    1.) In the end, she is the beginning of the New Israel. Jesus is done with Old Israel and this lady represents the New based on faith / belief — not on bloodline.
    2.) She knows who Jesus is and recognizes him as Lord – she also recognizes herself as a dog.
    3.) Most of all, she holds Jesus to his promises – “pony up Jesus!”

  21. Victor says:

    No comments on Hebrews 11?

  22. Jim Vander Spek says:

    What then is faith?

    Tozer, in Pursuit of God chapter 7, explains it in a way that has profoundly changed me. It is the “gaze of the soul.” Hebrews 12:2.

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