Dr. Couch, what is the difference in "believing" in Jesus and "believing Jesus" as found in John 8:30-31? Some say believing in Jesus is a reference to salvation, while simply believing Jesus is just understanding what He has said, without a reference to saving faith. What do you say?
ANSWER: The key of course is found in the grammar of the Greek text. In verse 30 the Jews "believed 'upon' (the preparation epi) Him." In verse 31 it says "those who have believed in Him," using a Perfect Active Participle of "believe." "Those who have through a process believed 'into' Him." In verse 31, the "Him" is in a Dative case—"into Him." There is no stand-alone preparation here.
I do not believe there is a substantive difference between the two grammar forms. In verse 30, faith is being placed "upon" Him. In verse 31, faith is being placed "within" Him. Both are strong ways to say that their faith is real and in both verses we see the placing of a firm trust in Christ!
Nicoll seems to argue for a difference in the two verses but he does not go on and substantiate that distinction or difference. In other words, he does not prove the fact that there is a difference. He puts weight on the fact that Christ said "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine."
I hope this helps. Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch (5/10)