Doubt Is Not a Virtue

This meme is a statement of agnosticism.

If you consider the Scriptures, they say exactly the opposite. The first question in the Bible was from the serpent, and it was an introduction of doubt against the knowledge Eve had of God. She had certain knowledge, and that was cast into doubt by his question.

Yes, Jesus asked questions, and these were to expose the rebellion in the hearts of His hearers. Questions were asked of Jesus, and these were often meant to trap Him in His words. But the context of all these questions is that there is a truth that is knowable and certain, and that truth is Jesus Christ. He didn’t seek to arrive at truth by a dialogue, but used that method to expose error, corruption, and ignorance (Nicodemus). Jesus did not ask questions to learn the answers. Honest questions seek a certain answer, not a discussion of a range of opinions.

I can find no place in Scripture where doubt (the opposite of certainty) is commended as a virtue, or a fruit of godliness. It is everywhere condemned, while certainty and conviction are set as goals for the believer.

It may be that the meme author is confusing doubt with humility, but to do that would require us to believe that certainty is somehow a proud thing, something to avoid. It is very possible to be both humble and certain. God actually commands both, so He expects both.

Acts 2:36 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

James 1:5–8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Hebrews 11:1 11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

“Confidence” (related to certainty) occurs about 31 times in the NT (in Greek), and is translated as confidence, boldness, courage, plainness. It is this boldness that, when expressed by Christians, is so despised by the world today. It is often fine with others if we are hesitating, uncertain, uncomfortable, and “nuanced” about our faith, but it is very offensive to assert it as though we are absolutely certain that it is true.

Fact and Faith


“The grand distinction between Christianity and all systems of philosophy, and all other religions, so called, consists in this, that it is not a mere system of notions, but a series of facts. Its first promulgators could all adopt, as their own, the words of John: “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you” (1 John 1:1–3). It is this that makes it everlasting; for deeds once done can never be altered: it is this that makes it universal; for duly accredited facts fall within the reach of those also who could not follow a chain of abstract reasoning: it is this that makes it so mighty; for simple facts are stronger than the most elaborate arguments. That a thorough investigation of these facts is a duty, may be taught us by Luke; but their reality being once ascertained, it results, from his words to Theophilus, that the ἀσφάλεια of the faith can no longer be called in question. Would that they who, in reading the Gospel narratives, have continually in their mouths the words, myth, tradition, legend, might enter into the spirit of Luke’s prologue, and, after due research, might feel and experience that here, if anywhere, they are treading on the firm ground of the most unquestionable reality!”

J. P. Lange, 1802-1884

John Peter Lange and J. J. van Oosterzee, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Luke, trans. Philip Schaff and Charles C. Starbuck (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 13.

Objective Faith

Commenting on Ephesians 6:12, Lloyd-Jones writes:

Ephesians 6:11–13 (ESV)

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

“Is it not strange, Christian people, that we think so little about these things, that this whole aspect of the matter comes so little into our thoughts? It is because we are too subjective. We start with ourselves and we end with ourselves. ‘I want peace with God, I want my sins forgiven, I want to feel happy, I want joy in my life, I want this, I want that, I want to overcome temptation …!’ Why do we not realize that our salvation is always to be thought of in objective, scriptural terms primarily? You may have many experiences, and enjoy what you regard as blessings, but if you do not realize this truth you will still be in bondage and your Christian life will be very poor. As the Scriptures state the case, we have to be delivered from the power of darkness, from the power of the devil, before we can receive forgiveness of sins. That is the first thing according to what our Lord told Paul in His commission on the road to Damascus.”

David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Warfare: An Exposition of Ephesians 6:10–13 (Edinburgh; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976), 60–61.