FAITH–Is Your Faith Genuine and Biblical or Counterfeit? (10+ different types of faith in the Bible)

SUMMARY: The Bible lists at least 7-8 kinds of love in the Bible in Greek according to researchers (phileo/brotherly love, eros/sexual love, agape/unselfish love, and others, Christians talk about love languages , etc.) . Similarly, there are several kinds of faith in the Bible. Jesus talked about 4 kinds of belief/faith, both false and true, in one parable, the parable of the sower, alone.

So far, I have identified ~10 types of faith in the Bible, and it’s very important to understand these different types because not knowing or being confused about them results in being many troubles in life, being deceived in various ways, crippling your work for God, and possibly losing eternal life.

The theologian Paul Tillich states: “There is hardly a word in the religious language, both theological and popular, which is subject to more misunderstandings, distortions, and questionable definitions than the word “faith”. Unfortunately, many Christians have faith that is not based on what the Bible says about faith. This causes much harm in this life, can fracture relationships, can cause people to believe false doctrines, can cripple or destroy the power of witnessing (esp. the wholly unbiblical false “faith” that disconnects faith from facts, truth and proof) and some forms of fake faith can cause the loss of eternal life. So it is very important to know what God says on this issue.

Some types of faith relate to how God has given powerful evidence, certain truth and infallible proof that He is real. Other types connect us to God who covers our sin and empowers us to conquer evil. There are counterfeit and dead forms of faith. Others help us trust God about what happened in the past and future and for things we cannot see. The most important types help us persevere through trials and bring others into God’s kingdom with us.

The Bible says that to please God, we need faith (Heb. 11:6). There are at least 10 aspects or types of faith. There are of course deceptions about faith. False/dead/counterfeit faith rejects God’s way of salvation, ignores God’s freeing truths/laws and/or denies Jesus (James 2:14-17, 19-20, 2 Timothy 3:8 ,Jude 3, 4, 2 Peter 2:1-3).

Godly faith “that God exists and…rewards” people (Heb. 11:6) and will give us eternal life is based on certain truth (Luke 1:3,4) and proof that Jesus resurrected (Acts 1:3) and is the Messiah (Acts 9:22). We are “saved by faith” (Eph. 2:8-9) and “made right from start to finish by faith” (Romans 1:17) that Jesus’ sacrifice covers our sins (Galatians 1:4, Hebrews 7:27). Godly faith empowers us to conquer sin and be free (Romans 6:6,7, Romans 8:2) and to do good works for God and people that God created us to do (Eph. 2:10, James 2:14-16, 18,  2 Cor. 3:18, 2 Corinthians 6:7, 3 John 1:3). God answers prayers of faith, sometimes with miracles or to change lives and hearts (James 5:15, Philemon 1:6, Psalm 65:5). Because we have proof of God’s reality, love and ultimate trustworthiness, our faith in His testimony about the past, the future, heaven and things we cannot see becomes itself evidence that these things are true (Hebrews 11:1, Jeremiah 29:11, Genesis 1:1, Hebrews 1:2). True faith also gives us complete confidence that God will give us power to persevere through trials and that He will complete His work in us, so we can have full confidence and know we have eternal life (2 Tim. 3:14, 1 Peter 1:5-6 Revelation 6:9   Rev. 14:12, Phil. 1:6, 1 John 5:13).

God tells us that we need to fight the good fight of faith and contend for the faith that God gave to our biblical ancestors.

“Fight the good fight of the faith, take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you testified so well to your faith before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 CJB

“I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all time handed down to the saints.” Jude 3

Of course we cannot do this by ourselves. The source of faith is God’s gift to us. But we can choose to accept or reject this gift, to use it badly or well.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8

“Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.” Romans 12:3 (NLT)

To fight God’s faith effectively, we have to understand what faith actually is. But this is a prime target of deception unfortunately, since it is so foundational to Christianity. In his introduction to Dynamics of Faith, the theologian Paul Tillich states:

“There is hardly a word in the religious language, both theological and popular, which is subject to more misunderstandings, distortions, and questionable definitions than the word “faith”.

I would fully agree. So we need to check the Bible and what it says faith is. Since the Bible mentions belief of demons, dead faith and counterfeit faith, that points to there being true and false forms of faith. I contend that based on the Bible verses below, there are ~10 different types of faith. You might be able to combine a couple of them, or separate some into more types, but this is a decent summary of useful categories of faith that justify identifying 10 different types of faith in the Bible. All the different types fit into 2 major categories of true or false faith and the Bible tells us it is important to test our faith to see if our faith is the true/genuine kind.

“Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.” 2 Corinthians 13:5

In regard to the first type, for some reason, when people hear that faith is based on certain truth and proof, they often have some serious reservations. One reason is because of claims in western culture that originate from pagan Greek philosophy and secularism that faith has no connection to evidence, truth, proof and reason that have been unthinkingly accepted by many Christians. Another reason is the idea that proof is only things you can see, touch directly, etc. But this is not the definition of proof in the bible, in courts or in academia, where proof is when you have the majority of evidence, over 50%, on one side, which mathematically means nothing else can beat it.

First, we’ll look at dangerous kinds of faith. These destroy eternal life and also damage life seriously on earth. Avoid them at all costs.

The demons believe in God, and they know for certain He is real. But they don’t love or obey Him, they tremble and war against him. They have a demonic faith, that knows God is real but rebels against His principles. (James 2:19). Some agnostics/atheists have this kind of demonic faith.

  • “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” James 2:19-20

There is dead faith that does not put God’s principles of love into actions, does not change lives, and won’t save anyone

  • “Faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” James 2:14-17
  • “I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude 3, 4

This is faith by supposedly religious teachers that betrays God’s truths, often for greed or some kind of depravity and God says it is denial of Jesus.

  •  “These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith.” 2 Timothy 3:8 
  • “But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 
  • “You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared.” 1 John 2:18

In addition to the above, anything that goes against the principles below is also false faith.


But there are several kinds of godly faith as well, and these are very crucial to understand and with God’s help incorporate into our lives. Confusing them can also cause misunderstandings of God’s wonderful gifts and how to use them best.

There is faith that God really exists, created the universe, lived on earth in the person of Jesus, the Messiah God, etc. based on fully rational evidence of different kinds.

  • “It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 NLT

And what is this belief that God exists based on? This kind of faith is based on the strongest evidence, certain truth and proof. (Luke 1:3-4, 2 Peter 1:16-18, Isaiah 41, 44 and many others)

  • “He also showed Himself alive by many infallible proofs and unquestionable demonstrations, appearing to them over a period of forty days and talking to them about the things concerning the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3 AMP
  • “But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.” Acts 14:3
  • “Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus couldn’t refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.” Acts 9:22
  • “He went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there…he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.”  ” Acts 17:17,31(NLT)
  • If Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless…But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” 1 Cor. 15:14, 20
  • Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope and confident assurance elicited by faith that is within you, yet do it with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15 AMP
  • “We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy through your belief in the truth.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Unfortunately, in the 1900s, various philosophical influences, many non-Christian, converged in the work of Cornelius Van Til, a professor at Princeton and then Westminster Theological Seminary who invented presuppositional apologetics in the early 1900s. Many Christians fell for a new idea that we should assume or even presuppose our faith instead of basing it on facts, certain truth and proof as God and all inspired Bible authors did.

“Cornelius Van Til taught apologetics for one year at Princeton Theological Seminary, and then for the rest of his career at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He advocated a new approach in apologetics which has come to be known as “presuppositional apologetics.” Presuppositionalism [is] a radical departure from the Old Princeton evidentialist approach…”Van Til’s presuppositional apologetics is a twentieth century Reformed response to the post-Kantian philosophical focus on epistemology…Presuppositionalism is largely an attempt to work out in apologetics the tension between Kuyper’s notions of common grace and the antithesis…”Common grace” allowed him to appreciate the insights of non-Christian philosophers.” [1] 

This has all kinds of disastrous consequences, ranging from destroying unity to crippling witnessing to people losing faith entirely. Both the Bible and EGW repeatedly warns against gullibly believing things and assuming without checking carefully:

“The gullible believe anything they are told, but clever people know to question every step.” Proverbs 14:15  NLT

“Fools base their thoughts on foolish assumptions, so their conclusions will be wicked madness;” Eccl. 10:13 NLT

Dr. Paul Copan, a Christian philosopher is just as blunt and correct about assuming what you want to believe at the start (also called presuppositionalism, the secular form of methodological naturalism is most dangerous, but the theistic version is only slightly less dangerous): 

“I would also disagree with presuppositionalism… First, it…[assumes] what one wants to prove. It begins with the assumption that God exists, and then concludes that God exists. Such reasoning would get you an “F” in any logic class worthy of the name!” Copan, Paul. “Questioning Presuppositionalism.” March 12, 2012. 

When people presuppose their faith, they are giving up rationality. If person A presupposes Christianity, person B presupposes buddhism, person C presupposes atheism and person D presupposes Hinduism, each of these denying any contrary evidence to their current view (which is what presuppositions do), then no one will change any views towards truth and there can never be true unity. Presuppositional thinking I contend is a top primary reason why many lose faith, and why so many Christians and missionaries are so ineffective in witnessing. Presuppositional thinking directly causes many to make claims like this:

  • “Faith requires belief without evidence. ..Presuppositionalism is really BS as well, and that is me putting it nicely.” ” Jay L,
  • “Faith is a belief that is assumed without evidence and defended against all evidence to the contrary”. “Faith is what people believe in when they do not want to know the truth.” Or I could cite Twain, “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Aron
  • “…It is dishonest to assert as fact that which is not evidently true. Yet that’s what all religions do.”
  • “Faith is what allows people to smuggle in insufficient evidence to support their claim.”
  • “A one-time missionary kid in India, trained in Christian schools, but realized that when beliefs and evidence are in contradiction, the evidence should win out.” Doug M (former Adventist, now agnostic)
  • “Religion is about… taking things on faith and believing things even when your mind tells you they can’t be true.  Even if you’re able to ask hard questions, your always told the answer is to be found in one book and only one book. They’re just two polar opposite ways of looking at the world.”

When Christians abandon the Bible’s foundation of certain truth (Luke 1:3-4) and proof based faith (Acts 1:3 and many other verses), they will inevitably cause many to think like the above. Many, probably millions will be lose eternal life because of this.

See much more on how faith that God is real is based on proof and why this is crucial to complete God’s Great Commission here:

5) SAVING FAITH (Justification)
 This faith trusts God’s promise to cover our sins with Jesus’ sacrifice & gives Jesus’ authority to cover us with His robe of righteousness to represent us in front of God as our advocate (Acts 10:43, 1 John 2:1-2).

  • “For by such grace you have been saved through faith. This does not come from you; it is the gift of God and not the result of actions, to put a stop to all boasting.” Eph. 2:8-9 ISV
  • “From infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures that are able to give you the wisdom you need for salvation through faith in the Messiah Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:15 ISV
  • “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins.”  1 Corinthians 15:16-18
  • “Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.” Galatians 1:4 
    “Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.”  Hebrews 7:27
  • “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life.’” Romans 1:17
  • “Your faith has a goal, to save your souls. And you are receiving that goal—your salvation.” 1 Peter 1:9

6) PRAYING FAITH (prayerful faith is part of all other types of faith, and prayer could be considered a great partner, but distinct from faith, but they are mentioned together a lot in scripture).
This is faith in prayer, laying hold on the promises of God and believing that God will keep His promises to us.

  • “Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.” James 5:15 NLT
  • “And I am praying that you will put into action the generosity that comes from your faith as you understand and experience all the good things we have in Christ.” Philemon 1:6 NLT
  • “You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior.” Psalm 65:5 NLT 
  • “You can pray for anything, and if you have faith, you will receive it.” Matthew 21:22 NLT (eg. John 14:13)
  • “And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. Luke 5:20**
  • “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:32

7) EMPOWERING FAITH TO CONQUER SIN(sanctification #1):
This faith works with God’s Spirit to help us to quit harming others with addictions, destructive habits, dysfunctional thinking, abusive & dehumanizing behaviors, etc. (Acts 26:18, Romans 6:10,11, 22, 1 Cor. 15:17)

  • “We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.” Romans 6:6,7
  • “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9
  • “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. Romans 8:2 


This faith connects us to God’s Spirit who empowers us to do every good work that we were created to do (Eph. 2:10). The Bible speaks repeatedly of “faithful obedience” in different ways. This is faith that trusts that following God’s principles are wiser than man’s ways and with God’s Spirit lives consistently according to God’s truths (and repent whenever we realize we have erred and ask for God’s power to be restored to God’s path). This living brings the results God has promised including hope for a good future on earth (peace, health, wealth, loving relationships, progress to become a great nation, etc.), overcoming challenges/crises, a powerful witness to bring non-believers to Jesus, certainty of eternal life and more (Ex. 15:26, Deuteronomy 7:12, 1 Kings 8:61, 2 Kings 18:6, Prov. 14:34, John 8:32, Hebrews 11:8, all of Hebrews 11, Revelation 14:12, ***etc.).

  • “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7 KJV
  • “but now has been made known through the prophets to all the gentiles, in keeping with the decree of the eternal God to bring them to the obedience that springs from faith.” Romans 16:26 ISV
  • “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do… “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” James 2:14-16,18  NLT
  • “even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” 1 Peter 3:1-2
  • “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18) 
    “We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.”  2 Corinthians 6:7 NLT
  • “Some of the traveling teachers recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth.” 3 John 1:3

    See also:

This faith trusts God’s claims about the distant past and future things that we haven’t seen and is basically trust. It is not a fallacious assumption (which God warns as foolish and wicked madness). It is an extension of the previous types of faith. We cannot see the future or heaven, but we can have certain confidence that God will care for us in the future and that heaven is real. Why? We know for certain that God is real and loving based on powerful evidence, certain truth and proof, our relationship with Him, prophecies, science, miracles, that Jesus certainly resurrected based on infallible proofs (Acts 1:3), and many other things.

We trust what God has told us about the future, prophecies that will happen, heaven where He lives, just like we trust a very honest parent, relative or friend words/testimony about places they have been and their experiences. This trusting faith becomes itself an evidence for things we have not seen. Historians and reporters call this secondary evidence, trusting the words/experiences of other trustworthy people regarding what we have not personally seen and it is commonly used all over history books and the news. None of us saw Ramses, Alexander the Great or Lincoln, but because other witnesses saw them, we trust they are real.   It’s similar with the future and heaven.

We may not know what the future holds exactly and have not seen heaven, but we know WHO holds the future in His hands.

  • “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1
  • Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. Matt. 8:26 (the disciples did not have trusting faith at this time)
  • “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (God told Moses who told us, secondary evidence)
  • “through the Son he created the universe.” Hebrews 1:2 (God told Paul who told us, secondary evidence)
  • “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
  • “It was by faith that Isaac promised blessings for the future to his sons, Jacob and Esau. Hebrews 11:20

This is rock solid faith that God gives His faithful people to protect them so they have power to stand boldly for truth and endure through trials, crises, persecution, even martyrdom (Hebrews 11, Revelation 2:13, etc.)

  • “But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you.” 2 Tim. 3:14
  • “I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns”.Phil. 1:6,
  • “through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while.” 1 Peter 1:5-6 NLT
  • “I saw under the altar the souls of all who had been martyred for the word of God and for being faithful in their testimony.” Revelation 6:9  
  • “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13
  • “Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to their faithfulness in Jesus.” Rev. 14:12

Paul in the Bible talks several times about the importance of growing from the basics of faith, filling in the gaps in our faith, growing to the higher levels of faith.

  • “Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
  • “Night and day we pray earnestly for you, asking God to let us see you again to fill the gaps in your faith.”  1 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT
  • “Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7 NLT

So study the different kinds of faith above, avoid the false, fake and destructive ones, and grow deeper and stronger in the different kinds of faith with God’s help so that you will be able to overcome every crisis in life, be a better witness for God, be saved for eternity and also bring as many others as you can to eternal life as well! Then you will be able to say with Paul:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. ” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

For 10 ways to grow/increase/develop faith, read more here:


[1] Timothy Irwin McConnel  “The historical origins of the presuppositional apologetics of Cornelius Van Til”  01/1999.;  “Presuppositional Apologetics” in Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia; (Wikimedia Foundation Inc.) [encyclopedia on-line]; available from; Internet; retrieved  17 February, 2021.