Memories from my childhood bring a mix of emotions. My parents divorced when I was five, so my mom raised her four boys alone. Some memories bring me to tears: My mom at the table late at night, working with the checkbook, trying to make ends meet. Mom consoling me after playing at a friend’s house when I felt sad because he had a dad and I didn’t. But other memories fill me with joy: Mom taking us to a local burger joint for a treat. Mom taking us swimming on hot summer afternoons. Looking back, I now recognize the constant in each one of these memories: my faithful mom, loving her boys with all she had, never ever wavering in her devotion and care. If anyone ever had a reason to give up, it would have been my mom. But instead, she embodied in every way what it means to be faithful.

The word “faithful” means “steadfast in affection or allegiance, firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty.”1 It embodies commitment to someone for the long haul. The Greek word for “faithful” is πιστός (pistos). It has a similar meaning as the English word, but it focuses on the response that faithfulness engenders: “pertaining to being worthy of belief or trust.”2 In short, faithful people are worthy of faith. They are committed and show that commitment through thick and thin.

It will come as no surprise that the Bible calls believers to be faithful in our relationship to God. In the parable of the talents, Jesus calls disciples to a life of faithful service to God (Matt 25:14– 30). Paul exalts being faithful as the most important quality of a minister (1 Cor 4:2). We must remember that being faithful to God is only possible because God himself is faithful to us. Paul reminds us that God is faithful to bring the full blessings of salvation to those who have faith in Christ (1 Cor 1:9). John encourages us that God is faithful to forgive our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness when we come to him in humble confession (1 John 1:9). God is indeed faithful to those he loves in Christ. Because of that perfect faithfulness, we can be faithful to him with a life of worship and obedience.

Just as my mom was faithful to me, I want to be faithful to her. She is now suffering from Alzheimer’s, and we cannot talk and laugh together like we used to. But every chance I get, I tell her I love her. She has been faithful to me my whole life, and I want to be faithful to her for the rest of hers. And in her faithfulness, I see the faithfulness of our God who loves us no matter what and who sacrificed His Son so we might live. I gratefully give back to Him my life in faithful worship and obedience. May we all do the same as we experience the faithfulness of our God in Christ!

2 William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 2000), 820.

About the Contributors

Michael H. Burer

Before beginning his faculty service Dr. Burer worked for many years with as an editor and assistant project director for the NET Bible. He was also instrumental in the completion of the New English Translation-Novum Testamentum Graece diglot, published jointly by and the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft of Stuttgart, Germany. An ordained minister, Dr. Burer is active in his local church and has ministered frequently with The Evangelical Alliance Mission in France. He has served as a visiting teacher at the Faculté Libre de Théologie Évangélique in Vaux-sur-Seine, France. His research and teaching interests include Greek language and exegesis, the Gospels, and Jesus studies.