Doctrine of Pistis

July 23, 2010


1.    Etymology.

A.    The Attic Greek word PISTIS is used in the sense of trusting.

B.    The adjective PISTOS has the connotation of being worthy of trust.

C.    In the Attic Greek, PISTIS was used as an abstract noun for confidence, trust, certainty, and conviction.

D.    The Stoics used PISTIS for reliability or faithfulness.

E.    In the Koine Greek of the New Testament, PISTIS has three meanings.

1)    As an attribute, or what causes faith, it is translated reliability or faithfulness.

2)    As a non-meritorious system of perception which emphasizes the object of faith, such as Christ in salvation, it is translated “faith.”

3) It also means that which is believed, the content of faith, the body of belief, and so is translated “doctrine.”

2.    PISTIS Translated as Doctrine.

A.    The usage of PISTIS for doctrine is very common, though not properly translated throughout the New Testament.

B.    Orthodox doctrine handed down to the church is called PISTIS in 2 Peter 1:1 and Jude 3; this is the justification for translating PISTIS as doctrine.

C.    In 1 Timothy 4:6, the noun PISTIS is used for doctrine, and possibly in Galatians 2:20 and Hebrews 11:1, which says, “Doctrine is the subject of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

D.    The “mystery of faith” or PISTIS in 1 Timothy 3:9 is a reference to the mystery doctrine of the great power experiment of the Church Age.

E.    The noun PISTIS is also used for the teaching of doctrine in Acts 6:7; Ephesians 4:5.

F.    In Eph 3:17, PISTIS is used to describe spiritual autonomy in terms of doctrine.  “So that Christ may be at home in your right lobes through doctrine.”  In other words, this goes right back to the pattern that doctrine must have number one priority, and from it comes your occupation with the person of Christ.

3.    Summary.

A.    The active use of PISTIS is saving faith or the faith-rest drill.  In Romans 4:20, PISTIS is used for the faith-rest drill as well as in Hebrews 4:2.

B.    The attribute of PISTIS is translated “faithfulness” or “reliability” in 2 Thessalonians 1:4 and Titus 2:10.

C.    The passive use of PISTIS is translated “doctrine,” and should be translated as such in Galatians 1:23, 2:20; 1 Timothy 1:19, 4:1, 6, 6:10; 2 Timothy 2:8, 4:7; 2 Peter 1:5.