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True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > Theology  > What Is Doubt? Is It A Sin? How Biblical Translation May Confuse The Issue

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Old 06-08-2009, 05:10 PM
DanielSlack's Avatar
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Default What Is Doubt? Is It A Sin? How Biblical Translation May Confuse The Issue

“Doubt is part of all religion. All the religious thinkers were doubters. Any belief worth having must survive doubt” ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Recently, I was contacted by a young lady who was confused about faith in relationship to the example her parents had set. I had received a number of email concerning the fact that in many Christians opinions, doubt is equivalent to sin. You may read it here:

Newsvine - "How Can I Have Faith When I Watch My Parents Sin?" Beatitude Commentary

Unfortunately, we may read the English translation of what we call The Bible, The Gospels, and The Epistles, the English language leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to accuracy of though or feeling of the words that are translated from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. We English speakers fail to recognize the reason why many older languages include various nuances when it comes to the understanding of concept or emotion in each individual word.

Let us use “Doubt” for example:

Every person has experienced doubt. Doubt in religion, doubt in science, doubt in other people, and doubt in ourselves. Some are taught that doubt is bad, it is a sin. We should never doubt our Faith. We should never doubt our country. We should never doubt our friends. We should never doubt ourselves, but do we truly understand the nature of doubt?

The word “doubt” is derived from Latin dubitare or dubius from which we get "dubious." There are two different concepts of "doubt." The definition of doubt is:

Unbelief, disbelief, rejection, denial, agnosticism, faithlessness.
a. "Cartesian doubt" begins by doubting all things, but refuses to doubt its doubts.
b. Skeptics and scoffers begin with contempt and derision to prove their preconceived
unbelief.
Or

Uncertainty, lack of confidence, reservation, problematic, misgivings, skeptical, questioning,
wavering, indeterminate.

Which of these definitions define a sin? Which of these definitions define a state of the normal human spiritual experience?

The problem is not having “Doubt.” The problem is the English language. There are different definitions and levels of doubt that we must contend with. For example, the individual who wrote me that email asked me how she could have faith when her parents contradicted their faith with their actions.

She was not doubting G-D. she was not doubting Holy Scripture. She is doubting her faith when compared to her parents actions.

When look into the various translations of the Bible, we have to understand that the complexities of the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin texts may not be truly understood in our language.

Let us look at the Greek words that are translated as "Doubt" in English:

Diakrino:

1. To separate, make a distinction, discriminate, to prefer.
2. To learn by discrimination, to try, decide, give judgment, decide a dispute
3. To withdraw from one, desert
4. To separate one's self in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with dispute, contend
5. To be at variance with one's self, hesitate, doubt

Description: Uncertainty on what to believe.

Diakrino is a superficial form of doubt that comes from uncertainty in knowing what to believe or who to trust, and often comes before someone has made a decision about what to have faith for.

Example: I tell a person with Kidney Failure that God can heal them. “No Way!” they answer. “How do you know? Are you sure?”

“Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully ( Diakrino) what is said.” 1 Cor 14:29 NIV

The emphasis was on judging the truth or falsity of the WORDS of the prophets, clergy, or laymen and exposing any lies in a prophecy or teaching. Everyone was to take note of this discerning process and the one in error was to be corrected. This process of discerning was to protect the truth from being corrupted, no matter who had brought forth the word of the moment.

Scripture Reference:
Jude 1:22, James 1:6

Distazo:

1. Doubt/waver

Description: Intellectually reconsidering whether or not something one is believing for can or will occur. Skepticism.

Distazo is a form of doubt or skepticism that traces itself to a lack of commitment to the choice one has already made or knows he should make. He then reconsiders his original belief and either changes his mind and substitutes another belief, or he constantly wavers about the outcome.

Example: The person with Kidney failure whom I prayed for continues to worsen and concludes the prayer isn’t working so he distazos and decides it isn’t going to work, and he becomes skeptical. The Scriptures show this sort of doubt comes through giving up one’s conviction of faith based on what one sees or feels.

Scripture Reference:
Matt 14:31, Matt 28:17

Apistea:

1. Lacking confidence in the performer, unfaithfulness, faithless

2. Want of faith, unbelief

3. Weakness of faith

Description: Doubting God’s willingness or ability to alter the circumstances one is in.

Apistea is a form of unbelief that often shows a lack of a confidence in God to do what He has promised to do, and its cure requires repentance rather then merely overcoming intellectual doubt.

Example: Our Kidney failure patient agrees the Bible indicates that God can heal anyone of anything, but he says: “The doctor says I only have two years! Why should I believe God will heal me at this late date?!” This is more of a conscious choice to doubt, rather than a doubt motivated by fear.

Scripture Reference:

Matt 13:58, Matt 17:20, Mark 6:6, Mark 9:24, Mark 16:14, Romans 3:3, Rom. 4:20, Romans 11:2, Romans 11:23, 1Tim 1:13, Heb 3:12, Heb 3:19

Apeitheia:

1. Obstinate, rebellious, refusal to believe, apathetic.

Apeithei is the hardest form of unbelief, and refers to a person who has dug in his heels and simply refuses to believe even if he knows he is wrong--possibly to the point of actually preaching against the truth. Example: Our Kidney Failure patient agrees God can heal him and that the Bible says it’s correct to pray for healing, but he says “I don’t care whether the Bible says God will heal me or not--it’s obvious I’m going to die, so why pray for healing?!” Otherwise, apeithei can trace itself to a sincere but false belief that a person refuses to give up.

Example: our Kidney failure patient is from a conservative Christian denomination and says “I don’t care what the Epistle of James says, our church teaches that was for the days of the Apostles, and we don’t believe God heals anymore, except through medicine, so I refuse to let you pray for me to get healed!” Both show an obstinate hardness of heart that must be repented from in order to remove the barrier to faith in a matter.

Scripture Reference:
Romans 11:30, Romans 11:32, Eph 2:2, Eph 5:6, Col 3:6, Heb 4:6, Heb 4:11, Heb 4:6, Heb 4:11

These are but a few words in that have been translated as Doubt, but have very different intrinsic meanings. There are also:

Aporeo "To be without a way" or "Perplexed"
Mark 6:20, John 13:22, Luke 24:4, Acts 25:20,2 Cor 4:8, Gal 4:20

Diaporeo "Asunder," "Perplexity amounting to frustration or despair"
Acts 2:12, Acts 5:24, Acts 10:17

Meterizo "To be in," or "Make to"
Mic 4:1, Ezek 10:16, Obad 1:4, Luke 12:29

Psuchen Airo "To hold in suspense," "an objective suspense due to lack of light," "Failed past expectations"
John 10:24

Dialogismos "Expresses reasoning or questioning hesitation,"
1 Tim 2:8, Rom 14:1

In the context of the Bible, which of these forms of doubt are sins and which are just the normal spiritual walk?

Remember, Jesus did not condemn Thomas for his "Doubt," he offered himself up as proof to him. Doubt is proof of Faith, in many cases. By questioning your own belief, you are affirming your humanity. You are affirming the foundation of your own beliefs. Most of all, doubt forces us to make sure in the accuracy of the who, what, and why of our path. When you do not doubt, you lose the ability to identify your own fallibility.


“We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be”~C.S. Lewis

Last edited by DanielSlack : 06-09-2009 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 06-08-2009, 06:07 PM
BruceG
 
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Default Re: What Is Doubt? Is It A Sin? How Biblical Translation May Confuse The Issue

"When you do not doubt, you lose the ability to identify your own fallibility."


Well, that is just great. Let's all doubt and then we will know how fallible we are!


Do we need a lesson to learn this? We need no lessons in how weak we are. Sadly, many have not learned this though but doubt is not the teacher, the law is.

"He that doubteth is damned if he eats, becasue he does not do it in faith. For whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

Another lesson where God uses sin to teach us humility?

"Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? God forbod! How can we that are dead to sin live any longer therein!

We need no more lessons in our fallibility. But we need a darned good one in how able our God is though.

Paul said this.

"I KNOW in whom I have believed and am confidant that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."

Where are the men and women of faith among us who have sure and unwavering confidance in where they have placed their faith? No wonder we are the mess we have evolved into. We make excuses for continuing in sin and holiness is not found among His people, nor even a real hunger for it.

James said this, Daniel:

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.

A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways."

James 1:6-8

Do you not see we have, my brother, in our efforts to intellectualize our Christianity, to understand all the translations and translators and their intents, we have sacrificed our faith on the alter of intelligence? God help us.

I will say this. A shaking is coming, like it or not. All that can be shaken will be shaken, so that only the things of Him remain standing. If our hearts are not now anchored in Him and the belief in His word alone, with no caveats, no excuses, no reasons why it did not mean what it plainly says, deep trouble looms ahead.
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: What Is Doubt? Is It A Sin? How Biblical Translation May Confuse The Issue

But what versions of the word "doubt" is each of your passages talking about. Doubt has many levels, some types of doubt are bigotry, other types of doubt are simple questioning. G-D does not condemn those who are righteous who doubt. Doubting is what prevents heresy in the Church.
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Old 06-09-2009, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: What Is Doubt? Is It A Sin? How Biblical Translation May Confuse The Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSlack View Post
But what versions of the word "doubt" is each of your passages talking about. Doubt has many levels, some types of doubt are bigotry, other types of doubt are simple questioning. G-D does not condemn those who are righteous who doubt. Doubting is what prevents heresy in the Church.
You are correct Danial. Diakrino or discernment is "calling into question" by discernment. If we choose to use the term "doubt" to translate into English, then we would certainly have to say that by this definition, not only is it not sin, but it is "missing the mark" not to "discern the spirits." That which is established as truth should not be doubted, that which is not established must be established throught diakrino and must be discerned as to whether it is true or not.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: What Is Doubt? Is It A Sin? How Biblical Translation May Confuse The Issue

But let me add that we must use diakrino with any and all incoming presentations from individual persons (including myself and this very post). It is discernment, plain and simple. That is why Scripture tells us to "contend for the Faith," and to "convince," because all of us are obliged to separate the wheat from the chaff--and you are correct, that is how heresies are discerned. But this is the importance of established doctrine, dogma, or establishment of truth--to have a measure of truth to see if what I have just said, for example, "makes the cut," or if it is just garbage.
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Old 06-09-2009, 08:53 PM
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Default Re: What Is Doubt? Is It A Sin? How Biblical Translation May Confuse The Issue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
But let me add that we must use diakrino with any and all incoming presentations from individual persons (including myself and this very post). It is discernment, plain and simple. That is why Scripture tells us to "contend for the Faith," and to "convince," because all of us are obliged to separate the wheat from the chaff--and you are correct, that is how heresies are discerned. But this is the importance of established doctrine, dogma, or establishment of truth--to have a measure of truth to see if what I have just said, for example, "makes the cut," or if it is just garbage.
But this leads to a further question. In regards to the nature of the translations of all Bibles that we read. The explanation of terms seems even more necessary. In the English language translated form Greek, one "doubt" is a sin, another "doubt" is not, But we call both of these "doubt"

Does this not lead people to call others sinning when they are innocent, does this not lead the guilty to be called innocent because of the misunderstanding of a single word, or translation?
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