Where Does Faith Come From?

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What is faith? Is faith a gift from God, or does it originate in a person? Where does faith come from? It’s only natural to have questions about the source of your religious convictions and to wonder where they originate from. Let’s take a closer look.

In This Article:

What Is Faith?

In general terms, faith might be thought of as a disposition of trust or confidence in someone or something. Hence, if I believe that my legs are strong and healthy, then I will be confident in their ability to support my full body weight if I stand up, or to safely transport me from one place to another. In this case, I might be said to have faith or confidence in the ability of my legs to do what they were designed to do. If my faith is well-placed, we might say it is because my legs are reliable, dependable and trustworthy.

The term faith carries much the same meaning in the Bible.1 The supreme object of human faith is God. This is entirely appropriate, for God is our Creator and Redeemer. God loves us and “sent his Son to be the Savior of the world,” (1 Jn. 4:14; see also Jn. 3:16). He alone possesses the power and wisdom to lovingly redeem his people from sin, death and evil. The Bible repeatedly urges humanity to “trust in the Lord,” (Ps. 37:3, 115:9; Prov. 3:5; Isa. 26:4) because the Lord is “the faithful God,” (Deut. 7:9) who “never lies,” (Tit. 1:2), and who works “all things,” after “the counsel of his will,” (Eph. 1:11). His character is completely trustworthy, reliable and dependable; hence, our faith in him is always well-placed.

Scripture About Hope and Faith

Christians often find their faith to be a source of comfort and solace, particularly when they are going through difficult times. In the midst of serious health issues, personal difficulties like divorce or after the death of a loved one, turning to Scripture about hope and faith may instill a renewed sense of optimism for the future.

The Bible offers many verses regarding the similar concepts of hope and faith. Here are a few examples:

  • “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” — Hebrews 11:1, NIV
  • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” — Ephesians 2:8, NIV
  • "And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” — Romans 5:5, NIV
  • "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” — Romans 15:13, NIV

If you find yourself going through a difficult time in life, you may wish to reflect on these Bible verses and consider how they might be applicable to your life.

Scripture About Faith in God

As we noted earlier, the Bible repeatedly calls upon people to “trust in the Lord” (e.g. Ps. 37:3, 115:9; Prov. 3:5; Isa. 26:4). In light of this, you may wish to reflect upon the following verses about having faith in God and glorifying his name:

  • "Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” — 1 Chronicles 16:10-11, NIV
  • "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” — Psalm 115:1, NIV
  • "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” — Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV
  • "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7, NIV
  • “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” — Hebrews 3:6, NIV
  • “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” — Romans 5:2, ESV
  • “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” — 1 Thessalonians 1:3, NIV
  • “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” — 1 Corinthians 15:19, NIV

Want To Learn More About the Origins of Faith?

If you’re still curious about the origins of faith and what Scripture says about the concept, consider exploring the theology and ministry degree programs available at Grand Canyon University. The College of Theology offers a wide assortment of degree options, all featuring curricula rooted in biblical truths. Our Christian university strives to encourage our students to emulate a Christ-like nature and to faithfully serve Christ in all that we do. 

One degree program that may interest students who wish to take a deep dive into biblical teachings is the Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies with an Emphasis in Biblical Studies. Throughout this program, you will be prompted to examine Christian doctrine, history and theology, exploring biblical interpretations of the Old and New Testaments. 

If you see yourself as a future minister, you might want to consider applying for enrollment in the Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministry degree program. This program is designed for aspiring pastoral leaders, as it teaches how to apply biblical truths to everyday situations. 

In this Trending Faith video, GCU Pastor and Dean of Students Tim Griffin, EdD, and Dean of the College of Theology Jason Hiles, PhD, sat down to discuss this question.

While it is impossible to cover every aspect of this question, Dr. Hiles started the discussion by examining scripture on faith in God. Specifically, he examines a story that takes place in Mark 9, when a man comes to Jesus and brings his son who has been tortured by demons. This father is at his wits end, and he asks Jesus to help his son.

Jesus questions the man’s belief, and the man responds by asking Jesus to help him with his unbelief. While the man was moving toward Jesus in faith, there was still distance between him and Jesus due to his unbelief — and he needed Jesus to help him overcome this.

This story can help us to see the dynamic of both our side as well as God’s when it comes to faith. While there is a sense that faith is a gift from God, it can be hard to understand how God can give us something that we are responsible for exercising on our own.

God draws people to him and interacts with them. To demonstrate this, Dr. Hiles uses an analogy of a rock. You can pick up a rock, throw it and it will go where you want it to. However, God does not treat us like rocks. God interacts with us in ways that are in line with who we are, as humans made in his image. He communicates with us on a spiritual and moral level, and he deals with our hearts.

Dr. Hiles goes on to say that God transforms our hearts and brings us back to life in order for our faith to be steadfast and genuine, even in the midst of persecution. This is a gift from God, and it is only possible with his help. On the other hand, we also know that faith comes through hearing. As God makes himself known to us, our minds can begin to understand God’s heart, and God will then draw us near to him.

To hear the full discussion, watch the video below:

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Explore the wide range of theology and ministry degree programs at GCU. Fill out the form on this page to learn more about joining our Christian learning community. 

Approved by the Christian worldview instructor of the College of Theology on May 16, 2024. 

1 Packer, J. I. (1992). Faith. In Walter A. Elwell (Ed.), Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (pp. 399-402). Baker. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.