How to Have Genuine Faith

11/30/2018 0 Comments

Many people know that they must have faith yet they do not know how to acquire it; they do not know what they need to do in order to have genuine faith. Others ask if reading the Bible could help them gain faith.

Reading the Bible can lead us to the genuine faith, however, not all people are destined to understand the Bible. Of course, anybody may read the Bible but not all people may understand the Bible because understanding of what you are reading is a gift from God. Acts 8:29-35 says,

29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him and heard him read the prophet Isaiah, and said, understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
32 The place of the Scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:
33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?
35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

The eunuch, who happened to be the caretaker of all the wealth of the queen of the Ethiopians, went to Jerusalem to worship. On his way back to Ethiopia, the Holy Spirit urged Philip to join the eunuch in his chariot. And when he ran to be with him, he heard him reading the book of the prophet Isaiah. Obviously, he was reading aloud; he was not doing a silent reading. We may perceive that the eunuch had the intention of letting the other people in the chariot hear what he was reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah. When Philip came close to the eunuch he asked him, “Do you understand what you read?” The eunuch replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?”

What the eunuch said was right. He was just reading but he didn’t understand what he was reading, not until Philip, the evangelist, came and explained to him that the sheep being referred to was Jesus.

Yes, the Bible can guide one to the true faith IF the one reading it understands what he reads. Unfortunately, not all who read the Bible understand what they read. Mark 4:11-12 says,

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.

Therefore, not everybody that will read the Bible would understand it; and not everyone that will hear the word of God would understand it either. Acts 16:14 says,

And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Lydia, who was listening to the words of God being preached by the Apostle Paul, needed the divine intervention of the Lord to open her heart for her to understand what the Apostle Paul was saying. If in listening personally to Apostle Paul you need divine intervention to understand what he was saying (like what happened to Lydia), the more that you will need divine intervention when you are simply reading his gospel all by yourself. In other words, understanding the words of God written in the Bible is possible if there is a divine intervention.

The ability to understand the Scriptures is a gift from God. We must realize that the depth of God’s thinking and intelligence is something that cannot be readily fathomed by men. Isaiah 55:8-9 says,

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God’s thinking is something beyond measure. It is compared to the distance between the heavens and the earth. No human mind and understanding can penetrate deep into the understanding of God.

The Bible is the embodiment of God’s thoughts, which cannot be fathomed by human mind. To understand the Bible, we need divine intervention, or the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Actually, even a person of authority has to admit that he does not know everything when it comes to religious belief.

What I am trying to point out is, genuine and true faith is revealed by God; it is taught by God; it is given by God. Jude 1:3 says,

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

True faith or genuine faith is delivered by God unto the saints. What is the reason why it should be given? Because it cannot be obtained by reading alone; and neither can it be obtained through human efforts. It is given by God; it is a gift from God. And to have faith you need to have understanding first. You will not have faith without the necessary understanding of the word of God in the Bible. Understanding comes first. When you understand, then you can have faith. Faith is developed through understanding. Ephesians 1:13 says,

In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,

So belief, or faith, comes after hearing and understanding the word of truth. Without understanding or comprehension of the word of God, faith will not be developed. If there is a faith in you without understanding the word of God, then, that is not true faith but a false faith. It is just like the faith of those outside the true Church of God; their faith is not a genuine faith because it is not based on understanding the word of God. Instead, it is a mere fanaticism because, even if they already understand that they are wrong, they continue to cling to it.

The gift of understanding could be given even to illiterates, like Peter and John. Acts 4:13 says,

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

People who listened to them marveled at the firmness of their faith and at their understanding despite their being unlearned. And they knew that it was because they had been in the company of Jesus, our Lord. In other words, it is never a shame to be led by somebody who is without a college degree or a professional title because when it comes to faith, educational attainment does not count at all. 1 Corinthians 1:19-21 says,

19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

In fact, wisdom of the world, or earthly wisdom, is even a hindrance in understanding the word of God. As written in 1 Corinthians 2:6-8,

6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught:
7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Both the Romans and the Greeks were regarded as people of wisdom in the early times. They were the most educated people during the time of Christ and the apostles, but none of them had known the wisdom of God. Not even the highest of authorities in the Roman Empire had known the wisdom of God, not even King Herod and Pontius Pilate – both of whom had high educational attainment, because had they known it, they should not have crucified the Lord of glory. So, the wisdom of God is something which cannot be achieved even by the most learned man, all by himself. It is something that is given by God.