If – The Biggest Word in the Bible

by Rex Rouis

The word ‘if’ is interesting. It is one of the most important words in the Bible because it speaks directly to our responsibility to God. Most promises in the Bible have conditions and the word ‘if’ speaks to those conditions. Our responses to God’s commands affect our relationship with Him and determine our receiving from Him.

Jesus used the word ‘if’ all the time. Almost half of the 574 occurrences in the New Testament are in the four Gospels. Jesus always put the ‘if’ on man’s side and never on God’s side. The following are many uses of the word ‘if’ in the Bible:

If and Hear

If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say. – Job 34:16

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me! – Psalm 81:8

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, – Psalm 95:7

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark 4:23, and Revelation 13:9

As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” – Hebrews 3:15, 3:7, 4:7

If and Listen

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. Deuteronomy 11:26, 27, 28, and 13:18, 15:5

The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, – Deuteronomy 28:13

If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers. – I Samuel 12:14, 15

But it will come about, if you listen attentively to Me,” declares the LORD, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, – Jeremiah 17:24, and 17:27

And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, – Jeremiah 26:4

If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. – Malachi 2:2

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. – Matthew 18:15, 16, 17

But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” – Luke 16:31

If and Obey

Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; – Exodus 19:5

But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. – Exodus 23:22

If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. – Leviticus 26:18

All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: – Deuteronomy 28:2

They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses. – Judges 3:4

If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land; – Isaiah 1:19

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. – Luke 17:6

If you truly obey his voice and do all that I say…
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. – II Thessalonians 3:14

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? – I Peter 4:17

If and Voice

And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.” – Exodus 15:26

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. – Revelation 3:20

If and heart

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. – I Chronicles 28:9

If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear; – Psalm 66:18

My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” – Matthew 18:35

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. – Galatians 6:9

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. – James 1:26

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; – I John 3:21

If and Faith

And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. – Matthew 17:20

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. – Matthew 21:21

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. – Luke 17:6

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. – I Corinthians 13:2

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test? – II Corinthians 13:5

If you have faith and do not doubt…
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – I Timothy 5:8

But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. Hebrews 10:38

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. – James 2:17

and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. – James 5:15

If and Believe

For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. – John 5:46

But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” – John 5:47

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” – John 11:40

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, – Romans 6:8

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. – I Thessalonians 4:14

If and Word(s)

If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. – Numbers 30:2

If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, – Deuteronomy 28:58

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; – John 8:31

“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” – John 8:51

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. – John 14:23

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. – John 15:7

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; – James 1:23

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. – I John 1:10

If and Jesus

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. – Matthew 16:24

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” – Matthew 19:21

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. – Matthew 21:21

And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” – Mark 9:23

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. – John 7:37

So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” – John 8:19

If you believe, you will see the glory of God.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; – John 8:31

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. – John 8:39

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. – John 8:42

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, – John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” – John 11:40

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. – John 14:23

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. – Romans 8:11

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test? – II Corinthians 13:5

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. – I Thessalonians 4:14

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. – I John 1:7

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; – I John 2:1

And finally

My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The Bible principle is this – “If man does” then “God will.” Religion takes the ‘if” off man and puts it on God.

Jesus always put the ‘if’ on man’s side and never on God’s side – If man does, God will.

Comments

  1. Great work on one of the most important laws in scripture, the law of conditions (or the law of if) if wanna call it that! I heard a song in church service and in it was a line “I am a friend of God”… Everyone looked happy singing it. So it got me thinking how many children of God miss studying these important conjunctions. Jesus said, you are my friends IF you do what I command you.” There’s a big condition – obedience to commands! I’m not saying I’m good in the area of obedience, sometimes I fall short. But we ought to be vigilant and take heed of the ifs in scripture!
    God bless you.

    1. Agreed. I’ve experienced reading the same scripture several times and discovering something new each time. All the words are important!

  2. I believe God desires us to trust Him because of His Word. His written Word. Sometimes He tells us His plan other times He does not. Just like S,M and A…they did not know if God would save them from the furnace, it did not matter to them, they had Faith in God regardless. Often when times are difficult, and I do not know what tomorrow will bring, my Faith in God gives me the peace and strength to go on, because I know God will be there and all things work for my good.

  3. Thanks for putting all the scriptures together in this great message and teaching ! IF , is POWERFUL !

  4. Without all the “if’s”, “but’s”, “and’s” and “maybe’s” used to prop up religion, it would be seen to be the “emperor without clothes” that it is. With them, the cross changed nothing, and we are worse off than the ancient Israelis were, having to confess sin only once a year. It there is ONE thing that “orthodoxy” holds to unyieldingly, it is that when Jesus said “it is finished”, he was actually lying!

      1. Kay, the same goes for me – without God at the centre, my life would be worthless.

  5. Wonderful job! .. Rex, you did a wonderful job putting this together. Often I come across individuals who are stuck on the concept of ‘Gods in Control of Everything.’ Often it’s simply an excuse to be passive towards being spiritually responsible.

    I know I’ll use this material when I minister in this area again. Kudos my Brother! Be blessed, Brother Carl

    1. Author

      Carl – Thank you for your comment. I totally agree.

      Submission to the will of God is not faith in the will of God. Faith requires knowing the will of God, not some vague ‘whatever happens happens, and I will take whatever I get.’ General submission will never want to walk on water, or even know to walk on water, and it surely will never have the ability to walk on water.

        1. Author

          Kay – Sure, and He shares with us a piece of that secret knowledge of the future, and that is the basis of our faith. That is why Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the (spoken) word of Christ.” Faith is being told a small piece of the future will and foreknowledge of God. How do we know what He knows about the future? He tells us. Our faith then is essentially inerrant because it is backed by the voice and will of God Himself.

          Two of the Gifts of the Spirit are a Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom. Both of them are described as a ‘word’ not a sentence, letter, or book. Words are short, just enough knowledge for us to believe and obey. The Word of Knowledge is a short look into the mind of God concerning the present, and the Word of Wisdom is the same about the future.

          If too much is said, then less faith would be required. God is rather short sometimes in His communications. He only says what is needed. And then we need to obey. Like, Jesus only saying, “Come” to Peter’s request to walk on water. That word from Jesus conveyed that His will for Peter to walk on water was a ‘Yes.’ That ‘Yes’ was all that Peter needed to believe enough to throw his leg over the side of the boat and walk on water.

          This is why we emphasize the seeking of God’s will when in need of faith. In seeking faith, what we are seeking is His will in the situation. Kenneth E. Hagin would say that “Faith begins where the will of God is known.” Hearing from God, I believe, is more than receiving mere information. There is a grace and an anointing, that comes with it that produces what we call ‘Faith’ in our heart. The conveyance of His will in this is the conveyance of faith. This article is an analogy of this – Hearing From God Is Knowing the Future – An Analogy of Faith.

          Hebrews 11:1 calls this the foundation (sub-stance) of our hopes. The word ‘substance’ (KJV) or ‘assurance’ (NASB) in that verse also means ‘title-deed.’ The word spoken to us as the basis of our faith is the legal documentation of our desired hopes, the (legal) evidence of things not (yet) seen. For more on this see – Faith Is ‘hupostasis’ – Hebrews 11:1. Wow that was longer than I thought it would be. We love you. God bless. Rex

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