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What Is Faith?

11 Faith means ·being sure [the assurance; or the tangible reality; or the sure foundation] of the things we hope for and ·knowing that something is real even if we do not see it [the conviction/assurance/evidence about things not seen]. Faith is the reason ·we remember [or God commended/approved] ·great people who lived in the past [the people of old; the ancients; our spiritual ancestors].

It is by faith we understand that the ·whole world [universe; cosmos; ages] was made by God’s ·command [word; Gen. 1] so what we see was ·made by something that cannot be seen [L not made from/by visible things].

It was by faith that Abel offered God a ·better [more acceptable] sacrifice than Cain [Gen. 4:4–8]. God ·said he was pleased with [commended him for; bore testimony to] the gifts Abel offered and ·called Abel [commended him as; testified that he was] a ·good [righteous] man because of his faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking [12:24].

It was by faith that Enoch was taken to heaven so he would not ·die [experience/L see death]. He could not be found, because God had taken him away [Gen. 5:22–24]. Before he was taken, ·the Scripture says that he was [L he was commended as] a man who truly pleased God. [L And] Without faith no one can please God. [L For; Because] Anyone who comes to God must believe that he ·is real [exists] and that he rewards those who ·truly want to find [earnestly/sincerely seek] him.

It was by faith that Noah heard God’s warnings about things he could not yet see [Gen. 6:13–22]. He ·obeyed God [responded with reverent fear] and built a ·large boat [T ark] to save his ·family [household]. By his faith, Noah ·showed that the world was wrong [L condemned/pronounced judgment against the world], and he became ·one of those who are made right with God [L an heir of the righteousness that comes] through faith.

It was by faith Abraham obeyed God’s call to go to another place ·God promised to give him [L he would later receive as an inheritance; Gen. 12:1–4, 7]. He left his own country, not knowing where he was ·to go [going]. It was by faith that he lived like a ·foreigner [stranger; resident alien] in the ·country God promised to give him [Promised Land]. He lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who ·had received [were co-heirs of] that same promise from God. 10 [L For] Abraham was waiting for the city [C the heavenly Jerusalem, symbolic of the presence of God; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 21:2] that has real foundations—the city ·planned and built by [L whose architect/designer and builder is] God.

11 ·He was too old to have children, and Sarah [or Sarah was too old and] ·could not have children [was barren/sterile]. It was by faith that ·Abraham was made able to become a father, because he [or Sarah was made able to bear children, because she] ·trusted God [L considered God faithful/trustworthy] to do what he had promised[a] [Gen. 21:2]. 12 This man was so old he was ·almost [as good as] dead, but from ·him [L one man] ·came [L were fathered/T begotten] as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. Like the sand on the seashore, they could not be counted [Gen. 15:5; 22:17; 32:12].

13 All these great people died in faith. They did not ·get [receive] the things that God promised his people, but they saw them ·coming far in the future [L from afar] and ·were glad [welcomed/greeted them]. They ·said [acknowledged/recognized that] they were like ·strangers [foreigners] and ·visitors [sojourners; refugees; resident aliens] on earth. 14 When people say such things, they show they are looking for a ·country that will be their own [homeland]. 15 If they had been thinking about the country they had left, they ·could have gone back [L would have had an opportunity to return]. 16 But [as it is; L now] they were ·waiting [desiring; longing] for a better country—a heavenly one. So God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them.

17 It was by faith that Abraham, when God tested him, offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice [Gen. 22:1–10]. ·God made the promises to Abraham, but Abraham [L The one who received the promises] was ready to offer his ·own [unique; one of a kind; John 3:16] son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said, “·The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac [Through Isaac your offspring/seed will carry on your name; Gen. 21:12].” 19 Abraham ·believed [considered; reasoned] that God ·could [had the power to] raise the dead, and ·really [in one sense; in a manner of speaking; figuratively speaking], it was as if Abraham ·got [received] Isaac back from death.

20 It was by faith that Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau ·in regard to their future [L concerning things to come; Gen. 27]. 21 It was by faith that Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each one of Joseph’s sons [Gen. 49]. Then he ·worshiped [or bowed in reverent worship] as he leaned on the top of his ·walking stick [staff; Gen. 47:31].

22 It was by faith that Joseph, while he was dying, spoke about ·the Israelites leaving Egypt [L the exodus of the children/sons of Israel] and ·gave instructions [commanded] about ·what to do with his body [L his bones; Gen. 50:24–25; Ex. 13:19].

23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born [Ex. 2:2–3]. [L …because] They saw that Moses was a ·beautiful baby [or special child], and they were not ·afraid to disobey [intimidated by; L afraid of] the king’s order.

24 It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of ·the king of Egypt’s [L Pharaoh’s] daughter [Ex. 2:10]. 25 He chose to ·suffer [be mistreated/oppressed] with God’s people instead of enjoying ·sin for a short time [L the temporary/fleeting pleasures of sin]. 26 He thought it was better to suffer ·for [the disgrace/stigma/ humilation of] ·Christ [or the Messiah/Anointed One] than to have all the treasures of Egypt, because ·he was looking for [or his eyes were fixed on] God’s reward. 27 It was by faith that Moses left Egypt and was not afraid of the king’s anger [Ex. 10:28–29]. Moses ·continued strong [persevered; was resolute] as if he could see the ·God that no one can see [L one who is invisible; v. 13]. 28 It was by faith that Moses ·prepared [celebrated; kept] the Passover [Ex. 12] and ·spread the blood on the doors [L the sprinkling of blood; 10:22] so the ·one who brings death [destroyer] would not ·kill [L touch] the firstborn sons of Israel [Ex. 12:7, 13, 29–30].

29 It was by faith that the people crossed the Red Sea as if it were dry land [Ex. 14:21–30]. But when the Egyptians tried it, they were ·drowned [destroyed; L swallowed].

30 It was by faith that the walls of Jericho fell after the people had ·marched around [encircled] them for seven days [Josh. 6].

31 It was by faith that Rahab, the prostitute, ·welcomed [L welcomed with peace] the spies and ·was not killed [did not perish] with ·those who refused to obey God [the disobedient; or the unbelievers; Josh. 2].

32 ·Do I need to give more examples [L What more shall I say]? I do not have time to tell you about Gideon [Judg. 6—8], Barak [Judg. 4], Samson [Judg. 13—16], Jephthah [Judg. 10:6—12:15], David [1 Sam. 16—1 Kin. 2], Samuel [1 Sam. 1—16], and the prophets. 33 Through their faith they defeated kingdoms. They ·did what was right [practiced righteousness; or administered justice], received ·God’s promises [or what God promised], and shut the mouths of lions [Dan. 6]. 34 They ·stopped [quenched; extinguished] great fires and ·were saved [escaped; fled] from being killed with swords. ·They were weak, and yet were made strong [Their strength was turned to weakness; or They recovered from illnesses]. They were powerful in battle and ·defeated [routed; drove back] ·other [foreign] armies. 35 Women received their dead relatives raised back to life [1 Kin. 17:22; 2 Kin. 4:35]. [But] Others were tortured and refused to accept ·their freedom [release; redemption] so they could ·be raised from the dead [gain/obtain a resurrection] to a better life. 36 Some were ·laughed at [mocked] and ·beaten [flogged; scourged]. Others were put in chains and thrown into prison [Gen. 39:20; Jer. 20:2; 37:15]. 37 They were stoned to death [1 Kin. 21:13], they were ·cut [sawn] in half [C Jewish tradition reported that Isaiah was martyred this way],[b] and they were killed with swords [1 Kin. 19:10; Jer. 26:23]. Some ·wore [L traveled about in] the skins of sheep and goats. They were ·poor [destitute], ·abused [persecuted; oppressed], and treated badly. 38 The world was not ·good enough for [worthy of] them! They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the earth.

39 All these people ·are known for [were commended for; or won approval through] their faith, but none of them received what God had promised. 40 God ·planned to give us [had provided] something better so that they would be made perfect, but ·only together with us [L not without us].

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 11:11 It … promised. Some Greek copies refer to Sarah’s faith, rather than Abraham’s.
  2. Hebrews 11:37 they were cut in half Some Greek copies also include, “they were tested.”

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