Faith: “Evidence of Things Not Seen”

The Life and Teachings of Jesus and his Apostles, Instructor’s Guide (Rel 211–12), (2000), 103–4


Faith is the power by which eternal life is obtained.

Theme Analysis

  • A.

    Faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel and is the foundation of all righteousness.

  • B.

    Faith is a living, active trust or confidence in God, through the Spirit, that finds expression in godly actions or works.

  • C.

    Faith is the assurance men may have of truths which are unseen but which are true.

  • D.

    Faith is the great principle of power through which all things are upheld and by which the man of God may progress toward eternal life.

  • E.

    The trial of our faith in God is an essential part of our mortal existence.

  • F.

    Without faith, it is impossible to please God.

Study Sources

New Testament Reading Assignment

Hebrews 11-13

Course Manual

Chapter 48, Faith: “Evidence of Things Not Seen”

Standard Works

Hebrews 11:1. What basic definition of faith is given by Paul? (Note: In the Prophet’s Inspired Version of the scriptures, the word assurance is substituted for substance.

Alma 32:21. How is Alma’s definition similar to Paul’s? How is it different?

Acts 4:12; 2 Nephi 9:23. On whom must our faith be ultimately based? Why?

Alma 34:14, 15. What gives man faith that may lead to full repentance?

Alma 37:33. What is the key to overcoming every temptation and overcoming the trials of life?

Acts 15:9. How can faith be a purifier?

Matthew 23:23. Why is faith one of the “weighter matters”?

Hebrews 11:6. Why is it impossible to please God without faith?

Alma 32:26-35. What is the process of developing faith in one’s life?

Moroni 7:37. How is faith a principle of power?

Matthew 7:21 and James 2:17. How important is works in the expression of faith?

Alma 32:36-43. What are the fruits of faith, and how can they be developed in one’s individual life?

Basic Library

Teachings, pp. 148-49. The origin of faith explained.

A of F, pp. 96-108. An exposition on faith.

Gos. Doc, p. 100. What one must have faith in.

Teachings, p. 270. Faith is always accompanied by spiritual gifts.

Discourses, pp. 153-55. Faith-brings the power of God unto salvation.

DS, 2:302. Faith unto salvation.

M of F, pp. 206-8. Faith and works.

Additional Sources

Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith, Lecture First. What faith is. (Note: The entire seven lectures are most instructive concerning what faith is, on what it rests, and the effects that flow from it.)

Stephen L Richards in CR, Oct. 1937, pp. 36-40. Steps in acquiring faith.

Spencer W. Kimball in CR, Oct. 1954, pp. 50-54. Faith and the importance of obedience.

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 261-67. An exposition on faith.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

A Possible Illustration of Alma 32

Cycle of Faith-Levels of Faith, Hope, and Knowledge

Once the teacher has illustrated Alma 32, he can then draw parallels to Paul’s discussion of faith in Hebrews.

Faith in Jesus Christ: “Turn to the Lord with Full Purpose of Heart”

The following could be presented as a handout or a chalkboard discussion:

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (not just faith) is the first principle of the gospel. To exercise faith in another is to trust him, to have confidence in his ability to do what he says he will do, to believe enough in what he says to act upon it. The opposite of faith is fear and doubt. Men who doubt that God knows all things when he says he does, doubt God’s own word on the matter. They cannot, therefore, act in faith on that word. As defined in scripture, faith is the foundation of hope. It is trusting in the truth of unseen things and the substance of our earnest expectations. It becomes a major reason why we engage ourselves in the work of the Lord. Exceeding faith in Christ brings forgiveness and greater faith; calling upon God in faith brings power to withstand every temptation. Thus, by faith men “lay hold upon every good gift.” (Moroni 10:30.) It is this fact that makes faith the first principle of the gospel. It is not first only in the sense that it precedes all action; it is first in importance as well. Using the scriptures in the study sources, help the students study what the prophets have taught us about faith.

The Scope of Faith, the First Principle of the Gospel

The following quote from Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone could be discussed or given in a handout to help students better comprehend the great scope of this principle of the gospel:

“You know, what a great thing it is if we understand what faith is. What is faith? How does it work? Do you have total faith? When we come to a full and total understanding of faith, then I think we ought to move on to repentance. When we understand that totally, then we should move through the principles. But I doubt we will ever really get through an understanding and complete knowledge of faith in a lifetime. I don’t care how intellectual you are, or how long you study, I doubt you will ever come to an end of the study of faith, the first principle of the gospel.’ (“As If They Would Ask Him to Tarry a Little Longer,” BYU Speeches of the Year, 1975, p. 375.)