A Definition of Faith

The following is quoted from the 1828 edition of Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language. I find it very thought provoking and helpful.



  1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another testifies is the truth. I have strong faith or no faith in the testimony of a witness, or in what a historian narrates.

  2. The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another; belief, on probable evidence of any kind.

  3. In theology, the assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers, is called historical or speculative faith; a faith little distinguished from the belief of the existence and achievements of Alexander or of Caesar.

  4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith, is the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God's testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God's character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God's testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation.
    • Being justified by faith. Romans 5.
    • Without faith it is impossible to please God. Hebrews 11.
    • For we walk by faith, and not by sight. 2 Cor. 5.
    • With the heart man believeth to righteousness. Romans 10.
    • The faith of the gospel is that emotion of the mind, which is called trust or confidence, exercised towards the moral character of God, and particularly of the Savior. Dwight
    • Faith is an affectionate practical confidence in the testimony of God. J. Hawes.
    • Faith is a firm, cordial belief in the veracity of God, in all the declarations, of his word; or a full and affectionate confidence in the certainty of those things which God has declared, and because he has declared them. L. Woods.

  5. The object of belief; a doctrine of system of doctrines believed; a system of revealed truths received by christians.
    • They heard only that he who persecuted us in times past, now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. Galatians 1.

  6. The promises of God, or his truth and faithfulness.
    • Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? Romans 3.

  7. An open profession of gospel truth.
    • Your faith is spoken of thoughout the whole world. Romans 1.

  8. A persuasion or belief of the lawfulness of things indifferent.
    • Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Romans 14.

  9. Faithfulness; fidelity; a strict adherence to duty and fulfillment of promises.
    • Her failing, while her faith to me remains, I would conceal. Milton.

  10. Word or honor pledged; promise given; fidelity. He violated his plighted faith.
    • For you alone I broke my faith with injured Palamon. Dryden

  11. Sincerity; honesty; veracity; faithfulness. We ought, in good faith, to fulfill all our engagements.

  12. Credibility or truth. [Unusual ]
    • The faith of the foregoing narrative. Mitford.

The little poem below is by Gale Harris,
and was printed in The ABC Memory Plan,
published by Bible Memory Association, 1969.
Is believing
What God says will be.

Is receiving
What God gives to me.

Is just taking
His promise so free.

Forsaking All I Trust Him