TO BELIEVE, TO PERSUADE INVOLVE MAN'S WILL
I) THE NORMATIVE USAGE OF THE WORDS RENDERED PERSUADE AND BELIEVE IN THE LANGUAGES OF THE BIBLE AND THE WORLD INVOLVES THE HUMAN WILL
Since there is a commonly used category of expression found in ancient and modern languages of the world occurring in various settings such as in a tribunal or court hearing wherein an individual presents arguments in order to persuade others to decide on the innocence or guilt of an individual;
and since the context of these settings includes the choice of the will of those one is attempting to persuade, especially a jury in a trial;
then the use of the word persuade cannot be limited to exclude the exercise of the will.
As a matter of fact there is no lexicon, dictionary or grammar book in any language that specifically stipulates or even implies that the word persuade or the word believe does not involve the human will. Furthermore, if one is persuaded to believe outside of ones will, then one is actually persuaded, i.e., coerced to believe against ones will because the original belief from which one is persuaded to another belief would necessarily be, at the time of persuasion, a matter of ones free will choice.. unless all humans are robots from the moment they are conceived - which wreaks havoc with God’s system of individual accountability. And then why does God in His Word even ask individuals to believe in His Son for eternal life if they are forced against their will to do so in the first place????
Furthermore, the words in ancient and modern languages of the world which mean to coerce can be defined as to persuade against the will, i.e., a persuasion which excludes the freedom of choosing via the exercise of ones will. Hence if the expression ‘to be persuaded against ones will’ is used to define what coercion means then the verb to persuade does not automatically include an exclusion of the exercise of ones will unless it is stipulated as such, i.e., as an adverbial modifier of the verb to persuade such as “I was persuaded against my will to believe in Jesus Christ in order to receive eternal life” which is utter nonsense.
II) KEY PASSAGES IN THE BIBLE WHICH CONTAIN THE STRONGS # G3982 = OFTEN RENDERED “PERSUADE” WHICH INCLUDES THE EXERCISE OF THE HUMAN WILL
Mark 10:24 w/Strongs #’s
And 1161 the disciples 3101 were astonished 2284 at 1909 his 846 words 3056. But 1161 Jesus 2424 answereth 611 again 3825, and saith 3004 unto them 846, Children 5043, how 4459 hard 1422 is it 2076 for them that trust 3982 in 1909 riches 5536 to enter 1525 into 1519 the kingdom 932 of God 2316!
[Notice that the Greek word “pepoithotas”, Str. #3982 lit., having trusted, rendered “trust” in the NIV is a declension of the Greek word for persuade, Str. #3982. It implies a voluntary choice of the human will to allow riches to control ones life. This cannot be an involuntary act, outside of the human will, that Jesus is referring to wherein one is persuaded against ones will to succumb to the possession of riches in ones life such that it does not involve the deliberate choice of the human will!! Otherwise the passage deteriorates into nonsense]
And 1161 he said 2036 unto him 846, If 1487 they hear 191 not 3756 Moses 3475 and 2532 the prophets 4396, neither 3761 will they be persuaded 3982 , though 1437 one 5100 rose 450 from 1537 the dead 3498.
[The context of the passage demands the exercise of the human will in order to be persuaded, for the message is about those individuals who refuse to choose to be persuaded - which involves the will - to believe in Jesus Christ unto salvation neither by the evidence of the Scriptures, (Moses and the prophets) nor by the resurrection.]
AC 13:42 NIV "As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath.
AC 13:43 NIV When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them [epeithon = lit., were persuading them, Str. # 3982] to continue in the grace of God."
AC 13:43 with Strongs #'s: "Now 1161 when the congregation 4864 was broken up 3089 , many 4183 of the Jews 2453 and 2532 religious 4576 proselytes 4339 followed 190 Paul 3972 and 2532 Barnabas 921: who 3748, speaking 4354 to them 846, persuaded [“epeithon”] 3982 them 846 to continue 1961 in the grace 5485 of God 2316."
[The context of “epeithon” in v. 43 demands a voluntary persuasion by the will of the individual - certainly not a coercion of those Jews and devout converts who followed Paul and Barnabas only to be forced to continue in the grace of God against their wills.]
AC 18:1 NIV After this, Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. 2 NIV There he met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, 3 NIV and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them. 4 NIV Every Sabbath he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
[Act 18:4 w/Strongs #'s] "And 1161 he reasoned 1256 in 1722 the synagogue 4864 2596 every 3956 sabbath 4521, and 5037 persuaded 3982 the Jews 2453 and 2532 the Greeks 1672."
[Notice that Paul reasoned, i.e., appealed to their minds - their will to accept or reject what he was “trying to persuade” them to accept. So to persuade is to reason with someone which involves a voluntary mode of accept or reject, i.e., the human will]
Pray 4336 for 4012 us 2257: for 1063 3754 we trust 3982 we have 2192 a good 2570 conscience 4893, in 1722 all things 3956 willing 2309 to live 390 honestly 2573.
HEB 13:18 NIV Pray for us. We are sure [peithometha] that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.
[The Greek word "peithometha" rendered ‘we are persuaded’ is connected with having a clear conscience, which involves the human will. So one has persuaded oneself that one has a clear conscience. If the human will is not involved in this persuasion then one can be said to persuade himself against his own will????? ]
III) OLD TESTAMENT PASSAGES WHICH CONTAIN PERSUADE OR BELIEVE
JDG 19:1 In those days Israel had no king. Now a Levite who lived in a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim took a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 But she was unfaithful to him. She left him and went back to her father's house in Bethlehem, Judah. After she had been there four months, 3 her husband went to her to persuade her to return. He had with him his servant and two donkeys. She took him into her father's house, and when her father saw him, he gladly welcomed him. 4 His father-in-law, the girl's father, prevailed upon him to stay; so he remained with him three days, eating and drinking, and sleeping there.
2KI 18:28 Then the commander stood and called out in Hebrew: "Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria! 29 This is what the king says: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you. He cannot deliver you from my hand. 30 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the LORD when he says, 'The LORD will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.'
2KI 18:31 "Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then every one of you will eat from his own vine and fig tree and drink water from his own cistern, 32 until I come and take you to a land like your own, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!
"Do not listen to Hezekiah, for he is misleading you when he says, 'The LORD will deliver us.' 33 Has the god of any nation ever delivered his land from the hand of the king of Assyria? 34 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah? Have they rescued Samaria from my hand? 35 Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"
2KI 18:36 But the people remained silent and said nothing in reply, because the king had commanded, "Do not answer him."
IV) MAN HAS THE CAPACITY TO OBEY GOD AND UNDERSTAND AND BELIEVE IN WHAT GOD HAS SAID BUT
HIS SINFUL NATURE HAS TURNED HIS WILL TOTALLY AGAINST THE EXERCISE OF
A) [Compare Ro 8:5-15]:
5) "For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the
things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the
things of the Spirit.
(v. 6) For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7) because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does
not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,
(v. 8) and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can
it do so. (v. 8) Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please
1) [Compare Jn 12:37-40]:
(v. 37) '''Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him.
38) This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet: "Lord, who has
believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?"
(v. 39) For this reason they could not believe, because, as Isaiah says elsewhere:
40) "He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can
neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor
turn--and I would heal them."
has the capacity to obey even believe in God and His Son for eternal life but his sinful nature has turned his will
totally against the exercise of those capacities, hence he cannot please
God because he will not.
as some individuals with the capacity and intelligence to do well in
school cannot do well because they will not, i.e., they have an
incorrigible attitude problem - they will not do homework, nor study,
nor carry books, nor appear studious in any way because it would
jeopardize their self-image and association with a peer group or for a
number of other arbitrarily rebellious reasons;
all unsaved individuals all of which have the capacity to trust alone
in Christ alone unto eternal life, (otherwise God would not ask them to
trust in His Son, (Jn 3:5-18, etc.), cannot please God by trusting in
Christ as Savior because they will not, i.e., because they all have
totally depraved natures that simply will not accept anything that God
commands them to do. They cannot believe in Christ as Savior because
they will not even accept the sovereignty of God in their lives over
their eternal destiny.
consider the wife who in spite of the evidence presented cannot believe
her husband has been unfaithful because she just will not accept the
Since finite man has the capacity but cannot believe certain things relative to his temporal life because of prejudices, so it is indeed possible - which you have not ruled out - that man has the capacity to hear God with understanding and believe in the gospel but cannot because of his prejudice against God, i.e., his depraved will. He cannot because he will not.