Trust is an important theme throughout the Bible. It is clear that a life lived to its fullest is a life lived out of trust in God. As I reflected on the importance of trust, I was curious how many times God actually says “Trust me” in the Bible, so I did a quick word search on Accordance. What I found surprised me.
Nowhere in the Bible does God say “Trust me.” There is one phrase that comes close, which is found in Jeremiah 49:11: “Leave your orphans, I will keep them alive; and let your widows trust in me.” Other than this verse, the only time a command is given to trust in God, it’s always a human giving the command. Despite the fact that God never makes the command himself, most positive instances of trust in the Old and New Testament is about finding trust in God.
Stick with me, because I learned some interesting stuff about the word “trust” in the Bible. In the rest of this post, we’ll talk about the Hebrew and Greek words behind our English word trust and we’ll look at a few examples of how trust is used in the Bible.
“Trust” In Hebrew And Greek
The main reason that God never says the phrase “trust me” in the Bible is relatively simple. “Trust me” is an English colloquialism. We use this phrase a lot in casual conversation when what we really mean is “believe me.”
As I write this article, my dog is lying next to me on the couch, flat on his back with his feet in the air. I’m scratching his belly between sentences. This is a beautiful example of what trust looks like. My dog is in his most vulnerable position. By showing me his belly, he’s showing that he trusts me. He believes that I have his best interests at heart. He knows that I would never do anything to harm him or to abuse his trust.
This isn’t just a clever comparison, either. The Hebrew word for trust reflects the same root that in other ancient Semitic languages literally means “to lie extended on the ground.” So to trust someone is to be comfortable and vulnerable around them, to let your guard down. To let them rub your belly. Okay, so maybe my dog’s trust for me isn’t the perfect example.
Having a relationship with someone that is defined by the total trust is a beautiful thing. But it’s also a dangerous thing. What happens when you place your trust in the wrong people or let down your guard at the wrong time?
How Many Times “Trust” Appears In The Hebrew And Greek Scriptures
The Hebrew word appears in the Hebrew Bible 158 times across 152 verses. The Greek verb appears in the New Testament 52 times. But wait! The verb only carries the sense of “trust” when it appears in the perfect tense. The verb appears in the perfect tense only 23 times.
Through the rest of this article, we’ll take a look at these uses and try to figure out what it means to trust and what that means for us in our relationship with God today. (Keep in mind that the following verse lists are not exhaustive. I’ve left out uses of the verbs that don’t directly relate to trusting someone. For instance, instances where the word is often translated as “secure” or “unexpected” have been excluded.)
Verses About Trusting God
Despite the fact that God never commands anyone to trust in him, positive instances of the verb in the Old Testament almost always refer to trusting God. In fact, there’s only one instance where trust is described positively that God is not the referent of that trust. We’ll get to that verse in a later section. For now, here’s a list of 37 Old Testament verse that describes people who trust in God using the verb
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