May 14, 2022

What Is the Origin of the Phrase ‘A Leap of Faith’?

Although Christians do not have to take “a leap of faith” when they place faith in Christ, there will be many trials and tribulations that will require us to act in true faith. These trials will be hard in our lives, but God is bigger and stronger.

“A leap of faith” is a common phrase used by many individuals in reference to Christians. Many individuals believe Christians take “a leap of faith” when they place faith in Christ. The truth is that Christians do not take a blind “leap of faith” when they believe in Christ.

Christians place faith in Jesus because we know He is who He says He is through Bible reading, talking with other believers, and doing research on the Bible. Converting to Christianity is not taking a blind “leap of faith.”

The Origin of the Phrase

The origin of the phrase “a leap of faith” started in the mid-1800s, but it did not become popular until the 1900s. The phrase “a leap of faith” comes from the Latin words “saltus fidei.” This phrase was created by Søren Kierkegaard, who was a Danish philosopher.

His interpretation of his created saying “a leap of faith” meant “to believe in something or someone based on faith rather than evidence; an attempt to achieve something that has little chance of success” (Ibid.).

Kierkegaard’s definition of his metaphor “a leap of faith” was arguing for the standpoint that God was only spiritual and not physical; thus an individual could only understand God through faith rather than logic (Ibid.).

God is spirit, but the second member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, took on physical flesh and became a human (John 1:14). It is incorrect to view God as only spiritual because He did take on physical human flesh.

Even though this phrase has roots in religious and spiritual ideas, “a leap of faith” can be used in everyday secular conversations, such as “applying for that job is a leap of faith” or “trusting your friend to do the right thing is a leap of faith!”

Kierkegaard’s definition of “a leap of faith” comes from the idea that science, logic, and faith cannot work together. Kierkegaard believed that since God was a spirit, God had no part in science or logic.

This theory is incorrect because science and logic point to the Creator of our souls. Individuals can understand God through the means of science, reason, and logic rather than just blindly taking “a leap of faith” into oblivion.

Taking a Leap?

As previously mentioned, Christians do not take “a leap of faith” when they place faith in Christ. The exact opposite actually occurs because one has to weigh the costs before following Christ (Luke 14:28-35).

Similarly, Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” The writer of Hebrews is clear there is no reason for “a leap of faith.”

Rather, the writer of Hebrews is telling us that faith is being confident in Christ and assured in what we do not yet see.

As Christians, we have never seen the physical Jesus with our human eyes, but we know He is real through our Bible reading, His working in our lives, and in historical record.

Placing faith in Jesus is logical, well-thought-out, and weighed carefully. Nobody would place faith in something they did not believe was true. The disciples and the early church are great examples of having faith in Christ.

Almost all of Jesus’ disciples died for their faith in Him. Each of them deeply believed in Christ because of His miracles, His death, and His resurrection. The disciples believed so much and were so dedicated that they willingly died for their faith in Christ.

Nobody would die for something they did not believe to be true. There was no “leap of faith” for the disciples or the early church. They firmly believed Jesus was God because of what He did, said, and accomplished.

True Faith

Truly walking in faith does not require taking a blind “leap of faith.” Nowhere in the Bible does God command us to take “a leap of faith.” Rather, we can have faith in God because He is who He says He is, and He has proven that in the Bible.

Throughout the course of the Old Testament and the New Testament, we are constantly told of individuals who are having faith in God, yet never are they said to be taking “a leap of faith.” Their faith is built on their trust and knowledge in God.

It is not simply jumping out into the unknown. We can have solid faith in God by being active in reading the Bible, praying, and spending time with God. Through doing these things, our faith in God will grow stronger.

Reading the Bible stories from the Old Testament and the New Testament gives us wonderful examples of a myriad of different people’s faith in God.

Hebrews 11 goes through a list of the “Faith Hall of Fame,” in which people were mentioned who demonstrated great faith in God, including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, and many more (Hebrews 11:4-38).

God wants us to have faith in Him, but it is not blind faith or a “leap of faith.” The idea of blind faith or a leap of faith connotes the idea that faith is not based on knowledge or reason. Nobody places faith in something they do not trust.

In the same way, nobody places faith in Christ unless they trust Him. There are no “leaps of faith” in the Christian walk because our faith is rooted in the true unchanging and perfect nature of God.

Trusting God

Although Christians do not have to take “a leap of faith” when they place faith in Christ, there will be many trials and tribulations that will require us to act in true faith. The trials, temptations, and tribulations will be hard in our lives, but God is bigger and stronger.

He will walk with us through the trials and tribulations of life, and He will also strengthen us through our temptations to give us a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). Our faith in Christ will grow and strengthen the more we trust in God and follow after Him.

Faith is not something that simply leaps into existence or comes into being overnight. Rather, faith takes time, and trust has to be formed before faith comes forth. The origin of the phrase “a leap of faith” was coined back in the mid-1800s by Søren Kierkegaard and is still in use today, but it is by no way biblical.

Søren Kierkegaard based his definition of the phrase on his own distorted understanding of the scriptures. As believers today, it is vital that we understand the true meaning of faith and how it is rooted in trust in God.

Faith is not something that is a quick decision or a mindless decision. A leap of faith is not a biblical concept, and it would be best for us to help educate others into knowing the true definition of faith — in which there are no “leaps of faith” nor is their blind faith.

Romans 10:17 rightly tells us, “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

credit: christianity.com

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