According to Marcus Borg, before 1600 the verb “to believe” did not mean to believe something to be true. The object of the verb was not an idea, statement or a theory, but a person. To say that we believed someone meant that we trusted them, felt loyal to them and loved them.
Borg says, “Most simply, to believe meant to belove.”
These days believing is all about buying into certain ideas, statements or theories, and it causes strife. If someone’s ideas, statements of theories differ from ours, the love gets lost.
When we say “I believe you” in the pre-1600 context, it adds another wonderful layer to a relationship. We don’t just believe what a person is saying in a particular instance, we belove them as a whole person.
What, or better yet, who do you believe?
Source: Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary, by Marcus Borg