This word has a
strange history among different languages. Mixed is the word omen with
augury, some tongues showing the first form, some the last. Omen is found
in Latin (into antiquity), Swedish, Danish, Dutch, German, Polish, and
Hungarian, while augury is found in Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian,
Romanian, and Welsh. The use varies not by strict language family
decendency but apparently by borrowing from one to another. The Celtic
languages use a different form altogether.
From TWOT: (The numbers refer to
Strong's Exhaustive Concordace.)
to confirm, support, uphold (Qal); to
be established, be faithful (Niphal); to be certain, i.e. to believe in (Hiphil).
verily, truly, amen.
OT542, (omman): steady-handed
OT529, (emun): faithful, trusting.
OT530, (emuna): firmness, fidelity,
OT545, (omna): bringing up,
OT546, (omna): verily, truly.
OT548, (amana): faith, support,
OT552, (umnam): verily indeed.
OT551, (omnam): verily, truly.
OT571, (emet): firmness, truth.
From these references one can find the
appropriate passage in Strong.
One can compare cognates in Arabic, (amina, amuna),
Aramaic, (aman), Ethiopic, (amna) and Assyrian, showing the
very ancient use of the term.
This very important concept in biblical doctrine gives clear evidence of the
biblical meaning of "faith" in contradistinction to the many popular concepts of
the term. At the heart of the meaning of the root is the idea of certainty. And
this is borne out by the NT definition of faith found in Heb 11:1.
The basic root idea is firmness or certainty. In the Qal it expresses the
basic concept of support and is used in the sense of the strong arms of the
parent supporting the helpless infant. The constancy involved in the verbal idea
is further seen in that it occurs in the Qal only as a participle (expressing
continuance). The idea of support is also seen in 2 Kings 18:16,
where it refers to pillars of support.
In the Hiphil (causative), it basically means "to cause to be certain, sure"
or "to be certain about," "to be assured." In this sense the word in the Hiphil
conjugation is the biblical word for "to believe" and shows that biblical faith
is an assurance, a certainty, in contrast with modern concepts of faith as
something possible, hopefully true, but not certain.