He Who Doubts

by Scarlett Stough

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: Believe and Not Doubt.

Doubt is one of the greatest enemies of our faith, along with fear (topic of the December 2016 issue), discouragement and disobedience (to God). This doubt is not an intellectual doubt; we should have proof or evidence of what we believe is factual or true (Acts 17:11). The "doubt" which is an enemy to faith has its roots in a love of this world's system over a love of God. This doubt is the same kind of doubt Adam and Eve expressed when they believed the devil's lie instead of God’s revelation. They knew God existed; he walked with them in the garden, and he taught them directly. They had "proof" and "evidence" of God’s existence and authenticity. But they were tempted by a "get wisdom quick" scheme offered by the devil (Genesis 3:6.) There is only one way to true wisdom: ask God for it: (See the Editor’s Note for the definitions of the Greek words italicized in the Bible verses below.)

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt (1252, diakrino), because he who doubts (1252, diakrino) is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded (1374, dipsuchos) man, unstable (182, akatastatos) in all he does.
James 1:5-7

The doubt or wavering which hinders our faith is a hesitating between desiring the things of this world (thinking this will make us happy and prosperous) while still trying to be on "God's good side."

We are exhorted in Hebrews 10:23:

Let us hold unswervingly (186, aklines) to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

And again in Romans 4:20, we are given Abraham as an example for our faith:

He staggered (1252, diakrino) not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.

Abraham's faith was based on his conviction that God is faithful (Hebrews 11:8-12, 17-19). God's faithfulness can eliminate doubt, wavering, hesitating, double-mindedness and an unsettled mind. If we belong to Christ, then we too must believe that God is faithful to keep his promises.

Editor's Note: The following definitions are from The New Strong's Expanded Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

182. The word "unstable" is translated from "akatastatos" [which] means 'unsettled, unstable, disorderly'.

186. The word "aklines" means unsettled, unstable, disorderly.

1252. The KJV translates diakrino as "nothing wavering" and "wavereth" (rather than "not doubt" and "doubts" as in the NIV) which conveys more of the meaning, especially in light of verse 8 and the words "double-minded" (1374) and "unstable" (182.) The word translated as "staggered" in Romans 4:20 is the same word (diakrino, 1252) translated doubt in James 1:6.

1374. The word "dipsuchos" translated "double-minded" "lit. means 'two-souled,' hence, 'double-minded.' This person lives one life for himself and lives another for God."

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