Van Deventer, Cornelia. "The Mosaic of Belief in the Fourth Gospel." Neotestamentica 55:1, 2021, 155-170.
Van Deventer evaluates belief in the Fourth Gospel as what emerges from the community ethos. The purpose of the written Gospel is to make believers. However, van Deventer considers the behavioral ethos described to be relatively "thin" (van Deventer 2021, 155). She therefore examines the text using word study methods to see if there is a more clear-cut set of behavior sto accompany the beliefs (van Deventer 2021, 156).
The Fourth Gospel never actually uses the noun πίστις, but routinely uses the verb πιστεύω and its participle as a substantive (van Deventer 2021, 156). The verb with εἰς and the accusative rather than ἐν and the dative has often been taken to refer to a complete trust.
To express belief, van Deventer notes the evangelist normally uses πιστεύω with the dative or with ὅτι (van Deventer 2021, 157). This syntax regularly is used to describe belief of a statement or claim.
In contrast, van Deventer notes that πιστεύω + εἰς + accusative is used to refer to placing trust in a divine person or name (van Deventer 2021, 158). She provides an extensive list of such usages in the Gospel.
The picture drawn in the preceding two paragraphs is not quite accurate, however. Van Deventer finds the reality to be less clear-cut than the general principles would suggest (van Deventer 2021, 159). For instance, in chapter two, the response of belief is different, as evidenced by Jesus' response to his disciples and to "the many". The disciples are encouraged to believe based on Jesus' signs, but the larger crowd is not. In chapter 14, "Jesus commands his already-believing disciples tobelieve into the Father and himself" (van Deventer 2021, 160), and states a desire that the belief would continue.
This suggests to van Deventer that we should exmaine the state of belief more as a dynamic relationship which can grow over time than as a snapshot of status which would be relatively static (van Deventer 2021, 161). In John chapter four the Samaritan townspeople are said to believe in Jesus and subsequently enter a relationship with him. In John chapter eight, for that matter, those in a trusting relationship with Jesus are accused by him of evil including unbelief. They may accurately be considered "children of the devil" (van Deventer 2021, 162).
The overall picture which emerges through the course of the Fourth Gospel is that of people who believe in Jesus, who came to that belief in a variety of ways, and who express it in varying degrees, hopefully growing in maturity over time (van Deventer 2021, 163). Van Deventer sees the journey to begin with some sort of definitive realization, and to continue in such a way as to set one apart from the unbelieving community (van Deventer 2021, 164).
Belief on Jesus, for van Deventer, is characterized in the Fourth Gospel by the fact that the substantive participle ὁ πιστεύων is only ever used in the present tense, signaling a progressive view of the action (van Deventer 2021, 165). The one believing is regularly told to do something, an ethical demand, predicated on the belief (van Deventer 2021, 167).