The Surprising Difference Between Trust And Belief

What’s the difference between trust and belief?

A person can find it relatively easy to have belief in a person, idea, or thing. For when we believe, we simply acknowledge the existence of the said thing, person or idea. When belief turns into trust, the individual goes beyond mere belief and enters into a contract, declaring to themselves and the world around them that they rely on another outside of themselves. Trust creates vulnerability.

A lot of people have a belief in God, but what does it mean to trust Him?

Do you trust God?

Do the people you care about most trust in God?

Every Christian goes through their own faith journey and it can be a very personal and sometimes frightful time.

I recall my own experience a number of years ago when I had faith in God, but my life didn’t match those values.

When God showed me I wasn’t living my life in a way that reflected trusting Him, I realized I had a major problem.

Over the years, He has guided me and showed me the way I should go, and I hope discovering the difference between trust and belief will help you on your journey.

To understand the difference between trust and belief, let’s define what each word means and then we can come to a conclusion that not only helps us understand the difference, but apply it to our lives in a meaningful way.

What is Belief?

I have always defined the word belief as thinking something is true but not having the evidence to back it up.

I’ve always seen belief used in a negative way.

For example – when your child tells you he didn’t take the last cookie from the jar. Then he proceeds to ask if I believe him. 

For a more reliable definition, I want to turn your attention to the definition of the 1828 edition of Webster’s Dictionary.

A persuasion of the truth, or an assent of mind to the truth of a declaration, proposition or alleged fact, on the ground of evidence, distinct from personal knowledge; as the belief of the gospel; belief of a witness. Belief may also by founded on internal impressions, or arguments and reasons furnished by our own minds; as the belief of our senses; a train of reasoning may result in belief. Belief is opposed to knowledge and science.

Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.
Trust and Belief Know The Difference

Let’s condense this down a bit and restate it in an easy-to-understand way.

Belief is the act of being convinced of the truth that is outside of our own personal knowledge.

It captures the essence I believe… see what I did there? ūüėČ

What are some beliefs you currently hold?

For me, being a Christian, much of my faith is founded upon belief. I wasn’t there for the creation of the world, the flood, the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everything foundational in my faith came through the act of belief in the Bible as God’s Word.

Other acts of faith in my life are lived out in everyday activities. Driving, sitting, working, and so on. There are specifics in each of those acts I do every day that I have no personal knowledge or insight into and yet I’m convinced of the truth of them. That the car will go, the chair will hold me and the work will result in pay.

Bible Verses About Belief

So they said,¬†‚ÄúBelieve on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.‚ÄĚ

Acts 16:31

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:18

What Is Trust?

I can read for days a bunch of books on bicycles and believe every word on the pages. I can know everything about the way the gears, chain, spokes, and wheels all work together to push the bike forward. Does it mean I know how to ride a bike though? No.

Faith, and being convinced of the truth only get us so far.

We have to get on the bike.

Let’s first define the word trust. We’ll use the same resource as we did for the word belief.

Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.

Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.
Trust and Belief Differences

If belief happens in the mind, trust happens in the heart and mind.

Going back to the bicycle example, it’s easy to read about bikes, but to go outside and ride one requires a lot of work and confidence in what you are doing.

You can know the car you drive is safe, but if you see a consumer report about how unsafe they are on snow, will you still drive it in the snow?

The difference between trust and belief is knowing the truth in our minds (belief) and acting based on the belief (trust).

What beliefs are you acting on in trust?

I’m under the belief of that the Bible is true and good for instruction. Therefore I spend time in the Scriptures every day. I also teach the Scriptures to my children and raise them to know God according to His Word.

Bible Verses About Trust

5Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.

Jeremiah 17:7

The Winning Formula


When belief and trust are combined, they equal faith. Faith in God is both trust and belief working together through faith.

Faith is the fuel in our spiritual tanks sort of speak.

It’s God who supplies it, but we do play an important role.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17

Reading the Word of God daily helps build our faith tanks. This results in understanding our Creator more and more the deeper we dive into His Word and His truth. This encourages our walks with Christ and it builds our trust in God.

The difference between trust and belief can be summed up like this: belief is easy to have, but trust requires us to rely on someone other than ourselves, creating vulnerability.

That vulnerability is the only way God can use us for His glory. He enables us to live our lives the way He intended it–walking in fellowship with Him.