I like to dig, go to the source, discover the deeper meaning. For this reason, I love a good dictionary and a solid concordance. Most of us know what a dictionary is. In case you are unaware, many Bibles come with a small concordance at the end; an alphabetical index of the principle words used and where to find them.
In particular, I love The Strongest Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which is one heck of a big book. (They don’t make the whole thing on Kindle yet.) In it, each entry (or word) is numbered. The back of mine comes with a Greek and Hebrew dictionary to look up the original meaning, once you find the word.
In the interest of understanding the depths of what God means when He talks about faithfulness, I started with our dictionary. I found:
Faithful1. obsolete : full of faith2: steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal3: firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty :conscientious4: given with strong assurance : binding <a faithful promise>5: true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original <a faithfulcopy>
— faith·ful·lyadverb— faith·ful·nessnoun
It struck me as confusing. Why would they say it’s obsolete for faithfulness to mean “full of faith?” But they did.
Let’s keep digging. Onto other venues.
What did the original writers of the Bible mean when they talked about faithfulness?
In the Old Testament, faithfulness included: conviction of the truth of anything, belief; God’s sureness, reliability. The New Testament shows us how faithfulness shows how God or we “stand firm, trust, or believe in something or someone.” It means, “made firm, sure, lasting.”
While we can be full of faith in God because of our conviction of His truth, we can also stand firm or trust our relationships. The Bible makes multiple references to the faithfulness of God as a way of showing His reliability and His firm, lasting, sureness in our lives.
Psalm 57:10 declares God’s faithfulness to us:
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Joshua 24:14 talks about our faithfulness to God:
Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.
Proverbs 14:22 opens our eyes to faithfulness in our relationships:
Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
When you think about faithfulness? Which definitions appeal to you and which challenges you?