Zund_Gang_nach_Emmaus_1877-320-webby Peter Smythe – Used by permission

“And Jesus answering, saith to them, “Have the faith of God.” (Worrell).

“And Jesus answering, saith to them, “Exete pistin theou” (Phonetic Greek).

In beginning a series on faith, I thought it best to start out with the small, but controversial statement that Jesus made about faith in Mark 11:22. While the statement is just three Greek words, it has generated quite a stir in the Body of Christ for the last twenty or so years. Word of Faith preachers, especially Kenneth Hagin, have been maligned for holding to the translation, “Have the faith of God,” or “Have the God-kind of faith,” instead of the “orthodox” translation of “Have faith in God.” From the research that I’ve done, I believe that A.S. Worrell puts it best:

“Have the faith of God; translators generally render this, “Have faith in God;” but if this had been the thought, it would have been easy to have expressed it in the Greek. Faith originates with God; and those who have real faith have His faith; the same perhaps as “the faith which is of the Son of God.” Gal. 2:20. Worrell, A.S., Worrell New Testament, note on Mark 11:22.

A.S. Worrell’s translation is used by many serious Bible students because it is deemed to be a more accurate translation of the original text than the King James. Worrell’s translation in the past was preferred by Baptists because of his rendering of the Greek word for baptism as “immersion.” In this note, he strikes upon the grammatical and theological problems posed by rendering Mark 11:22 as “faith in God.” There are too-many-to-count instances in the New Testament where the word ?? (in) is used to convey the very same thought that exete pistin en theo (“faith in God”) would have. Since Jesus didn’t say exete pistin en theo(“faith in God”), there is more than a good chance that He purposely meant “possess the faith of God.”

For those who’d like a little more (with the Greek) and to avoid any run-ins with Rick Nanez, let me add the following:

First off is Jesus’s word, exete. That word is the imperative for “to possess or contain, have or own” with the understood subject of “you” or “y’all.” The word’s nuances include “to take hold of something” or “to grip” or “of holding something in one’s hand.” This definition comes from A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature which is otherwise known as BDAG by Greek scholars. The Louw & Nila Greek/English Lexicon of the New Testament defines the word as “to have or possess objects or property (in the technical sense of having control over the use of such objects) – “to have, to own, to possess, to belong to.” This lexicon is also a favorite of scholars. Personally, I like the term “possess.” For instance, “Possess the faith of God.”

The word pistin is translated “faith” throughout the New Testament.

The “controversy” surrounds the nature of the grammatical form of theou (“God”). In Greek, the grammatical form is called a “genitive” which usually denotes possession which is “subjective.” See Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek at 44. In that sense, “Have faith of God” is perfectly doable. The trouble comes when the theologians argue whether Jesus’s statement is “subjective” or some other kind of genitive (“objective”). I say “theologians” because grammarians can’t make the call on this one. It is somewhat like the English word “gay.” Does “gay” mean happy-go-lucky (like it used to) or does it mean sexual preference (like it does now). Reading “Is he gay?” doesn’t answer the question unless you know its context, a 1930’s novel or a 2007 political referendum.

While Mark 11:22’s use of the genitive may be in the eye of the theological beholder, A.S. Worrell does not stand alone:

“Here again we must appeal to the root idea of the genitive as the case of genus or kind. The resultant idea is due to the context and one must not suppose that the Greek genitive means all the different English prepositions used to translate the resultant idea. Thus Mark 11:22 exete pistin theou we rightly translate ‘have faith in God,’ though the genitive does not mean ‘in,’ but only the God-kind of faith. Cf. Romans 3:22. Robertson, A. T., A Grammar of the Greek New Testament In the Light of Historical Research at 500.

A.T. Robertson was known as the “granddaddy” of all Greek grammarians when he was alive. His book, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in Light of Historical Research is considered one of the most advanced Greek grammars. As is shown in this quotation, while Robertson agrees with the “faith in God” translation, he emphasizes that “in” doesn’t mean “in” as we, English speakers think of it. He marks out that the genitive inculcates a “genus” or “kind” and holds that Jesus’s phrase involves the “God-kind of faith.”

“Although pistin theou is often taken as an objective genitive (i.e. faith in God), it is possible that a genitive of origin should be preferred (i.e. faith of God); see also Mark 1:14 [to euangelion tou theou – good news of God]; Acts 19:20 [tou kuriou o logos – word of the Lord]; Romans 1:1 [doulos Christo Iesou – servant of Christ Jesus]; 17 [dikaiosune theou – righteousness of God], 3:21-22 [dikaiosune theou – righteousness of God; pistews Iesou Christou – faith of Jesus Christ]; 4:11 [dikaiosunes tes pistews – righteousness of the faith], 13 [dikaiosunes pistews – righteousness of faith]; 15:16; Phil. 3:9). We have already drawn attention to references in Jewish literature suggesting that faith was conceived of as an eschatological gift from God. (e.g. 1 Enoch 108:13; Sib. Or. 3-584-5; Test. Isaac 1.8) and this background would be consistent with the Markan text of pistin theou,where faith is portrayed as a means by which acts of God are performed. Wallis, Ian, The Faith of Jesus Christ in Early Christian Traditions at 53-54.

Ian Wallis’s book, The Faith of Jesus Christ in Early Christian Traditions is an excellent study of the use of the genitive construction in the Greek New Testament. (In this quote, the bracketed parts are mine. I sought to demonstrate the Greek genitive construction and English translation in the cited verses.) Wallis holds Mark 11:22 out in the same manner as both Worrell and Robertson. One interesting thing that Wallis has confirmed in his book is that the Apostle Paul never used an objective genitive in his texts which raises questions about the “orthodox” “faith in God” translation.

While Richard Hays says that Mark 11:22 is an objective genitive (i.e. faith in God), he concedes that “it is probably wisest to accept that the objective genitive construction after pistis is possible, though rare, in N.T. Greek.” Hays, Richard, The Faith of Jesus Christ at 149. In his book, Hays states that Mark 11:22 is an objective genitive (i.e. faith in God), but then quickly steers away from that with this quote. Greek Grammarian Daniel Wallace takes the same position as Hays in saying that Mark 11:22 is a “clear example of pistis + objective personal genitive,” but concedes that similar genitive constructions, such as Galatians 2:16, 20 (whether pistews Iesou Christou is “faith in Christ” or “faith of Christ”) must be resolved theologically because the grammar is “ambiguous.” Wallace, Daniel, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics at 119.

In this series on faith, we will see that “faith of God” in the sense of Worrell’s, Robertson’s, and Wallis’s constructions are consistent throughout the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles. Indeed, it appears that only those who actually take Jesus at His word in Mark 11:22 as “[you] possess the faith of God” actually get to experience verses 23 and 24.

[Note: Originally, this was written using the New Testament Greek words. Recent versions of WordPress do not acknowledge Greek lettering. Consequently, the essay is now written using phonetic Greek.]


    1. Seems to me that Faith can only be God’s Faith. Everything we have comes from God. We cannot claim anything to be ours, but we must remember that God has given us a “will” and with that will we make a decision for or against God. Remember God said choose life so He has given us a will to choose how we will live our life.
      With that said the Apostle Paul said it was Christ living in him that was doing the work of God, therefore it must be the Faith of God that Paul was using to do everything he done.

    1. Thank you so much Jan for the link and the eBook you are sharing.. I am so grateful. This is my email emmylguitar@gmail.com in case you have more to share. Thanks a million.

      1. Author

        A big thank you to both of you, but I can’t help but mention that the book that link goes to is a book that came from this site. Notice on the cover it says HopeFaithPrayer Blog – Copy Freely. We do not put a copyright on these great books that we find and process. We love you all. Rex

        The following is a link to our free books page which has over 250 such books – https://www.hopefaithprayer.com/online-books/

        The following is a link to this book – https://www.hopefaithprayer.com/books/The_Real_Faith_Charles_Price.pdf

        1. Thanks for that link. The message of that book is exactly what I was lacking. Am reading it right now.

          I went to make a small donation, but I don’t want to use a credit card on the Web. Paypal is problematic too, so I hope for an alternative to come soon. If there were an address I’d send a check.

  1. While I was praying in the morning, God open my spiritual eyes fast I must have, to possess, to get the faith of God from God, by entering His presence coming into His store house of arsenal, through the blood of Jesus Christ, to engage the spiritual warfare. Because our own faith can’t bring us victory. So, everything from our own can’t conquered the world(even or own little faith), so that we’re can’t boast in our flesh. Only one thing He ask us from our own heart(because He loves us first), to love Him with everything we have, and to love our neighbours as ourself!

  2. Having just come across this site I have been so blessed by the contents and most of the comments.
    Our Heavenly Father has given us all that we need for this life through to the next.
    He knew we would need faith, so He has put it in us when we were born again.
    The same Holy Spirit that moved upon the void and brought things into being, is the same Holy Spirit that dwells in us. God spoke this world into being and we are to believe God and with the faith He has instilled within us (Mark 11:22-23) we are to speak to whatever the ‘mountain’ represents. Praise be to Yeshua!

  3. Only God’s elect will recieve the Faith of God…and this happens by and when the Holy Spirit indwells God’s predestined….only the remnant can understand/believe this….Only through Jesus Christ the begotten Son of the Father Amen. (This hidden truth to the unsaved ,is abhorrent to the spiritually “blind/deaf” who do not understand His perfect justice and mercy according to his good pleasure)

  4. Thank you for such an “inspired interpretation” of Mark 11:22! I was having a conversation with a friend, recently! I mentioned to him that we have “ABSOLUTELY NOTHING” to do with our Salvation! We do not “CHOOSE” Him! Rather, He “CHOOSES ” us! We are “DRAWN” to The Father and Blessed with “THE GIFT” OF ETERNAL SALVATION! (John 6:44) It is “A GIFT” from Yahweh Elohim (The Almighty “ETERNAL” Creator) through His Only Begotten Son, Yehusuha HaMashiac (Jesus Christ)!” His response was, “Well, aren’t we required to have “FAITH” to receive Salvation?” For a moment, he had me “STUMPED,” because obviously we must have “faith” to please Yahweh Elohim (God)!” Then I replied to him that “the faith” mentioned in Ephesians 2:8 is not “our faith,” rather it is “Yahweh Elohim’s (God) “FAITH” given to us through The Holy Spirit! “NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING” we possess of The Spirit originates from within our own selves! Yahweh Elohim (God) through His Son, and Ruach Haqodesh (The Holy Spirit) has given us “ALL” things pertaining to “LIFE AND GODLINESS!” (1 Peter 1:3-10) (3) “EVERYTHING,” all Spiritual Blessings, in Heavenly Places, come from Our Sovereign Creator, Yahweh Elohim (God) through His Son, Yehushua HaMashiac (Jesus Christ! (Ephesian 1:1-23) (1:3) SHALOM!

  5. What in God’s name does Opera News do in my focus of bringing the knowledge of the Creator God in Christ to this perishing and corrupt world?

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this. Just this morning I awakened with this WORD in my spirit, “the good news is that these thi gs are not for our condemnation, but that we can have bold confidence before God.” I fully embrace the understanding of ‘the God kind of faith’. Being made partakers of the divine nature simply, wonderfully and thankfully just that! Our gracious, most generous and loving Heavenly Father has provided all that we have need of for life and godliness in Christ Jesus, whose name in Heaven btw is th Word of God.
    His High-Priestly prayer; John 17, states expressly His and the Father’s purpose and intent that we should be one even as they ARE One. No wonder the angels long to look into these things!!! In spirit and truly, truly ‘AMAZING GRACE shall always be’ the song of praise of us all, the redeemed!!!


  7. I am not a scholar, but it seams to me that have faith in God is having faith in something he is going to do. Have the God kind of faith is us believing or doing what he wants us to do. So moving a mountain is something only he can do but is an example of what we can do about some problems in our lives. We can move a mountain (problem) with the faith he has given us (the God kind of faith).

  8. Wow. That is good. Thanks. Here is my unscholarly answer! Well, I noticed that the KJV uses both ‘in,’ and ‘of,’ in the text. So I considered them in context as written. The use of ‘in’ might mean something like, let’s say that it is cold, it might mean something like we see the coat and we know that it is warm. And we want to be warm so we put the coat on. Then we have the warmth of the coat. So ‘of’ implies the warmth of the coat, as the result of wearing it. So there is warmth ‘in’ the coat, but only if we are wearing it. And if we are wearing it, we recognize the warmth of doing so. The warmth of the coat benefits us when we are wearing it, but when the coat is in the closet we recognize that there is warmth in it. Jesus is living, of course, so the warmth is His. And it becomes ours by putting it on. So to recognize the coat is one thing, and to possess it is better. Much better.

    1. Author

      Michael – I like it. Well done. I can see that you are meditating on the word of God. You don’t get this kind of stuff without spending time in the word and with God. Bravo. Keep it up. God bless. Rex

    2. I am in total agreement because Nigerians need to be covenanted to God that He might do His great
      GOOD deeds with and through us that EVIL might be overwhelmed forever to the glory of our Father in heaven, pleasing the Lord Amen.

  9. It is difficult (if not impossible) to resolve the riddle of “the faith of God” until that of “the righteousness of God” (righteous nature of God) is resolved. For only those who have “the righteousness of God” can have have”the faith of God”
    If it is not unthinkable to have “the righteousness of God” why would anyone think it is weird to have “the faith of God”

  10. I’m not sure if my posting will attract any criticism but my purpose here is to give a genuine account of my testimony.

    I’ve always been taught that we should have faith in God and that has been my learning all those years as a Christian. Until sometime around 2007 while I was jogging, an impression came upon me so clearly that speaks to my heart saying “Let go your faith and take on mine!” I was so stunt and I asked,”How is that possible?” How can a mortal person “Have the faith of God”? I was never taught that way nor have I come across this phrase in the bible. While I thug this in my heart all these years, I didn’t verify that phrase until recently that phrase came to my thoughts again and within a week for the first time hearing one paster preaching about “the faith of God” in Mark 11:22. So that’s why I’m here hoping to learn more and hence, decide to share my experience with you guys.

    God bless!

    1. Author

      Maurice – A lot of things that Jesus said if taken literally can really shake up ‘common’ doctrine. Read John chapters 14 through 17. We love you. Rex

  11. I don’t think that God needs faith while He’s the object of faith. God is operating at higher dimension far above ours as humans. Since God knows everything with absolutely certainty, meaning He knows beforehand everything He said will come to pass as planned, I don’t see how faith is really something that He needs.

    1. You’re right when you say God knows everything. And since He created everything as well, even faith, then why wouldn’t He tell us to have His faith? The faith that He Himself created?

  12. It is not my first time to pay a visit this web site, i am visiting this website dailly and obtain good
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    1. Author

      Ruth – Thank you for the gracious comment. We have plenty more to add. We are working on it. Pray for us, this has become almost a full time job. We have to make the next step in cost and management. We have increased by about 80,000 visits just this month alone. We have over 300,000 visits per month and it is growing. Rex

  13. What is your perception of Hebrews 11:1-3, especially the phrase, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed.” Would it be a stretch to say that this is the faith of God instead of the faith of the believer? Especially in view of, “when he could swear by no greater, etc.” The faith of God in creation. The exaltation of God’s word above his own name leads me to believe that God exercised faith in his own person.

  14. What is especially interesting is that most–if not all–word of faith teachers state emphatically that only believers have the God-kind of faith. Yet, the disciples were not even born again in Mark 11 and the woman with the issue of blood certainly wasn’t born again so this point is proven to be misleading when this is considered.

    And there are not two types of faith–one before and one after the cross.


  15. I think the question of “faith of God” or faith in God” can be simply answered by thinking of it as, “water of the well, as the same as water from the well.” Or, faith of God, means faith from God.

      1. It is not the same thing sir. The woman with the issue of blood exercised faith in Christ, Joshua, in commanding the heavenlies, exercised the faith of God.

  16. ‘One interesting thing that Wallis has confirmed in his book is that the Apostle Paul never used an objective genitive in his texts’

    I don’t think this is true. I just checked out the examples in Winer Moulton 3rd edition pp185-6. There are 3/4 examples of phobos theou alone: Romans 3:8, 2 Corinthians 5:11 (and probably 7:1 – except P46), Ephesians 5:2.Romans 10:2 zhlov theou has to be zeal for God I think.

    You may well be right about pisis theou.

    You may well have sorted out the Greek script by now, but if not, Google it, and you have to go into the database tables and change from Latin something to utf-8 or some such by memory. You have to do the tables on by one – a dozen or so, I can’t remember, but it worked for me.


    2Re 6:16 Eliseo le respondió:
    —No tengas miedo. ¡Son más los que están con nosotros que los que están con ellos!

    2Re 6:17 Luego Eliseo oró y dijo: «Dios, te ruego que lo ayudes a darse cuenta de lo que sucede». Entonces Dios ayudó al sirviente, y este vio que la montaña estaba llena de caballos y carros de fuego que rodeaban a Eliseo

    1. Author

      I think I am getting what you are saying – “IN SUMMARY God not only convinces us, THROUGH FAITH makes us see what he sees, knowing what he knows…”

      I agree. Faith is a piece of the foreknowledge of God, imparted to us to bring to reality that foreknowledge. I believe the word ‘hearing’ in Romans 10:17 for example, is more than just hearing. It can mean speaking to us, imparting a knowing inside our heart, showing a vision, etc. God bless you and thanks for the comment. Rex

      1. Hi Rex. How did you come to the conclusion that faith is more than “hearing”? Thanks.

        1. Author

          Petey – Not more than ‘hearing’ but different ways of ‘hearing.’ For example, He can show us something about our future or give us a knowing about something, and on both accounts, I would call that a ‘hearing’ from God in the context if Romans 10:17.

          1. Awake awake!! Faith originates with God!! To have faith in God is waiting on something to happen!! But to have the faith of God is living in what already happened 2000 years ago!! We already have the faith of God, and it will begin to work when we knowledge this. The whole context of the Bible is whatever happen through the image of Adam was reversed through Christ!!

  18. Have the God-kind of faith is really a simple concept. Faith is not based on what is not known – but on what is known. We cannot have faith in Christ until we know what Christ did – His death for our pardon and reconciliation unto God.

    Faith, then, is more a certainty that what is said will (by virtue of being spoken) come to pass. God has perfect faith because He knows that everything He said will be will, in fact, be (hence none of His words fall to the ground or return to Him void – they do what He sent them to do). When we speak out in faith it is that same confidence – being fully persuaded (if you will) that what you said is going to be will be because of who you are in Christ.

    Given the context (Jesus telling a tree to die and it subsequently dying – and Peter seeming to be amazed at the fact it died) it is reasonable to think along those same lines – Jesus was saying (if I may paraphrase) Be like God in that you are fully assured that what you say will happen will come to pass.

    1. Author


      Excellent quote – “Be like God, in that you are fully assured that what you say will happen, and will come to pass.” I am going to add it to my Faith Quotes page. Thank you for your great comment. Keep reading the Word and building your faith. That is what will give you victory in life. You get it!

  19. “Have faith of God” would be best understood as “have the kind of faith that God gives”. I have heard w.o.f. preachers enthusiastically say, “Have the God-kind of faith”, but without going into much if any detail about what that might mean. I get the impression that they mean “have the kind of faith that God has”. In light that God is omniscient and eternal, that statement would be nonsensical, because by definition, God doesn’t have faith. Faith is a reaching forward for things not yet known. Faith is belief, specifically, belief that what God said, He will do: even if it is not yet made manifest. God can not be limited by “not yet knowing, not yet seeing”. He sees the end from the beginning; He knows all, the deepest thoughts and intents of man’s hearts. He designed and created the entire universe from great galactic clusters to the tiniest quark, sub-atomic particle, and He knows it all intimately. There is nothing hidden from Him, neither past, nor future. So the word “faith” simply does not apply to God. Therefore, “have the God-kind of faith” is somewhat misleading; it would be better to say, “have the kind of faith that God instills into you (not just your own level of ordinary faith).”

    1. Here I am, commenting 10+ years later.

      Ironically, your comment convinced me that there is something to the “faith of God” concept.

      God does not need faith as we normally construe it. He knows, He doesn’t need to exert faith.

      Mk 11.22, taken with that understanding, is saying that we also should have the kind of faith that knows and is settled, rather than requires belief. And that understanding is expanded on in the next two verses.

  20. It can easily be resolved theologically as if it is about “our faith in God” we are back to works (& this cannot be, “lest any man should boast”). Faith is a gift of God, which “Comes by hearing”.

    It is not about our faith in God but about “His faith (deposited) in us (by His grace)”. If we have His faith, we literally would move mountains just as Jesus say’s in MK11. It is about His faith for His purposes to be achieved.

  21. This text on Mark 11:22 is very helpful. I was familiar with the statement, that exete pistin theou means “have the faith of God” or “have the God kind of faith” but was irritated time and again by the nearly overwhelming amount of scholars and theologians that have a different opinion – even Kenneth S. Wuest does not mention the possibility of the genitive here (and he’s usually very accurate in his comments). Thank you!

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