peitho pistis elpis
This last week, I had a study that was going to focus on the word “peitho” which is variously translated persuade, trust, obey, assure belief, confidence, trust and yield. It can be tricky to try to get to the deeper meaning of a verse when a word has been selected in English that might not be the best match for the Greek word.
In considering the process of being persuaded, I had to include the results of such persuasion (that in which we come to trust) faith (pistis). However, this also led to the consideration of hope (elpis) as well. A picture began to emerge of something flowing into a life (truth) of which one becomes persuaded, then trust in, and by extension becomes that upon which one has hope.
Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
One might also see the connection between these three words as past, present, and future. Having been persuaded that something is true we can come to trust in it and then looking towards the future have a “substance” upon which to build hope.
I originally became interested in the word peitho because it is translated “obey” in Hebrews.
Heb 13:17a Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves:...
In doing some research, I came to conclude that a better translation might be “stop resisting and allow yourselves to be persuaded by those you have chosen to follow”. Another component of the alternative translation is that the word “rule” is hegemon that implies leadership more than rulership.
Considering word definitions and translations
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