Q. My question concerns the word “heart” that is used several times in the New Testament. We can take Romans 10: 9 where the Bible says “…and believe in your heart..”. I’m always tempted to think that the Bible doesn’t refer to the heart that pumps blood in our body but our spiritual heart. Can you please explain further what the Bible is referring to? Your opinion will help me make sense when I’m responding to questions my Sunday school kids ask.
A. The phrase “believe in your heart” is a way of explaining the difference between just knowing and truly believing.
For example, a person can know that Jesus died and is no longer in His grave. This is something that can be demonstrated logically, since there are eye witnesses accounts of both His death and His resurrection.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean he also believes the reason Jesus died was to pay for his sins. That goes beyond logic and involves emotion.
When logic asks, “Why would Jesus do something like that for me?” Emotion answers, “Because He loves me.”
Throughout history, knowing has always been associated with our brain. It’s the repository of our knowledge, where we come to logical conclusions.
But believing has been associated with our heart because traditionally the heart has been thought of as the seat of our emotion. Today we know this is not scientifically correct, but emotional issues are still thought of as matters of the heart.
This is why salvation involves believing in our heart (Romans 10:9). It’s an emotional issue that transcends logic.
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).