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Bible Dictionary: Define Unbelief, Definition of Unbelief


Unbelief can be simply a lack of spiritual maturity or it can be outright rebellion against God.  Spiritual maturity, holiness, and redemption (freedom from slavery to Satan, the culture, and the sinful flesh) come by hearing God voice, having His faith come and give access to grace, and allowing grace to do the works of God through us in thought, word, and deed.  At every moment, every person hears two voices.  One is the voice of God through which faith comes.  The other is the voice of the evil one who tells lies constantly.  God speaks through many ways, and there seems to be a special authority given to the Scripture through which He speaks.  Satan speaks through many ways as well, the culture, the media, entertainments, false teachers, directly through spirit messengers, through our own fleshly natures, etc.  Unbelief is a repitition of Adam's and Eve's sin who chose to believe Satan rather than believing God. Click for more info.

(some caveats about hearing God's Voice)

Words sometimes translated as unbelief but actually mean something more sinister.

apeitheia, apeitheo, antilego, apisteo are very different from a person who merely lacks faith, the supernatural belief that comes from hearing the voice of God.  This implies a dicision to reject God, His will, and His Words regardless of the way that God is communicating with the person who is hostile to God.  Each Christ-follower is commanded to speak as the oracle, the very mouthpiece, of God.  It is likely that no Christ-follower can claim to be certain that they always follow this, but many follow this command quite regularly.  When they do speak as the oracle of God, they speak those things that can be found in Scripture, though they may or may not quote Scripture directly.  Anyone who rejects that they say is rejecting God.  Anyone who hears Scripture and rejects what he or she hears is rejecting God.  Anyone who rejects Christ is rejecting God.  Anyone who rejects any person who has been sent by God is rejecting God.  Anyone who rationalizes any Scripture away is rejecting God.  They are in obstinate opposition to the will of God, at least regarding the word that they are rejecting.

570 apistia ap-is-tee’-ah
from 571; TDNT-6:174,849; {See TDNT 634} n f
AV-unbelief 12; 12
1) unfaithfulness, faithless
2) want of faith, unbelief
3) weakness of faith

3640  oligopistos ol-ig-op'-is-tos
from 3641 and 4102; TDNT-6:174,849; n f
AV-of little faith 5; 5
1) of little faith, trusting too little

543 apeitheia ap-i’-thi-ah
from 545; TDNT-6:11,818; {See TDNT 611} n f
AV-unbelief 4, disobedient 3; 7
1) obstinacy, obstinate opposition to the divine will

544 apeitheo ap-i-theh’-o
from 545; TDNT-6:10,818; {See TDNT 611} v
AV-believe not 8, disobedient 4, obey not 3, unbelieving 1; 16
1) not to allow one’s self to be persuaded
1a) to refuse or withhold belief
1b) to refuse belief and obedience
2) not to comply with

483 antilego an-til’-eg-o
from 473 and 3004;; v
AV-speak against 5, deny 1, contradict 1, gainsay 1, gainsayer 1, answer again 1; 10
1) to speak against, gainsay, contradict
2) to oppose one’s self to one, decline to obey him, declare one’s self against him, refuse to have anything to do with him

569 apisteo ap-is-teh’-o
from 571; TDNT-6:174,849; {See TDNT 634} v
AV-believe not 7; 7
1) to betray a trust, be unfaithful
2) to have no belief, disbelieve to refuse belief, be incredulous, disbelieve, prove false, violate one's faith, be unfaithful,

Last updated: Mar, 2013
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