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Faith

11 Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. People who lived in the past became famous because of faith.

It is by faith we understand that the whole world was made by God’s command. This means that what we see was made by something that cannot be seen.

It was by faith that Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. God said he was pleased with the gifts Abel offered. So God called Abel a good man because of his faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.

It was by faith that Enoch was taken to heaven. He never died. He could not be found, because God had taken him away. Before he was taken, the Scripture says that he was a man who truly pleased God. Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him.

It was by faith Noah heard God’s warnings about things that he could not yet see. He obeyed God and built a large boat to save his family. By his faith, Noah showed that the world was wrong. And he became one of those who are made right with God through faith.

It was by faith Abraham obeyed God’s call to go to another place that God promised to give him. He left his own country, not knowing where he was to go. It was by faith that he lived in the country God promised to give him. He lived there like a visitor who did not belong. He lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who had received that same promise from God. 10 Abraham was waiting for the city[a] that has real foundations—the city planned and built by God.

11 He was too old to have children, and Sarah was not able to have children. It was by faith that Abraham was made able to become a father. Abraham trusted God to do what he had promised.[b] 12 This man was so old that he was almost dead. But from him came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. They are as many as the grains of sand on the seashore that cannot be counted.

13 All these great men died in faith. They did not get the things that God promised his people. But they saw them coming far in the future and were glad. They said that they were like visitors and strangers on earth. 14 When people say such things, then they show that they are looking for a country that will be their own country. 15 If they had been thinking about that country they had left, they could have gone back. 16 But those men were waiting for a better country—a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God. For he has prepared a city for them.

17 It was by faith that Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice. God made the promises to Abraham. But God tested him. And Abraham was ready to offer his own son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said, “The descendants I promised you will be from Isaac.”[c] 19 Abraham believed that God could raise the dead. And really, it was as if Abraham got Isaac back from death.

20 It was by faith that Isaac blessed the future of Jacob and Esau. 21 It was by faith that Jacob blessed each one of Joseph’s sons. He did this while he was dying. Then he worshiped as he leaned on the top of his walking stick.

22 It was by faith that Joseph spoke about the Israelites leaving Egypt while he was dying. He told them what to do with his body.

23 It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born. They saw that Moses was a beautiful baby. And they were not afraid to disobey 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 daughter. 25 He chose to suffer with God’s people instead of enjoying sin for a short time. 26 He thought that it was better to suffer for the Christ than to have all the treasures of Egypt. He was looking only for God’s reward. 27 It was by faith that Moses left Egypt. He was not afraid of the king’s anger. Moses continued strong as if he could see the God that no one can see. 28 It was by faith that Moses prepared the Passover and spread the blood on the doors. It was spread so that the one who brings death would not kill the firstborn sons of Israel.

29 It was by faith that the people crossed the Red Sea as if it were dry land. The Egyptians also tried to do it, but they were drowned.

30 It was by faith that the walls of Jericho fell. They fell after the people had marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days.

31 It was by faith that Rahab, the prostitute, welcomed the spies and was not killed with those who refused to obey God.

32 Do I need to give more examples? I do not have time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Through their faith they defeated kingdoms. They did what was right and received what God promised. They shut the mouths of lions, 34 stopped great fires and were saved from being killed with swords. They were weak, and yet were made strong. They were powerful in battle and defeated other armies. 35 Women received their dead relatives raised back to life. Others were tortured and refused to accept their freedom. They did this so that they could be raised from death to a better life. 36 Some were laughed at and beaten. Others were tied and put into prison. 37 They were killed with stones and they were cut in half.[d] They were killed with swords. Some wore the skins of sheep and goats. They were poor, abused, and treated badly. 38 The world was not good enough for them! They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the earth.

39 All these people are known for their faith. But none of them received what God had promised. 40 God planned to give us something better. Then they would be made perfect, but only together with us.

Footnotes

  1. 11:10 city The spiritual “city” where God’s people live with him. Also called “the heavenly Jerusalem.” (See Hebrews 12:22.)
  2. 11:11 It . . . promised. Some Greek copies refer to Sarah’s faith, rather than Abraham’s.
  3. 11:18 “The descendants . . . Isaac.” Quotation from Genesis 21:12.
  4. 11:37 they were cut in half Some Greek copies also include, “and they were tested.”

Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for(A) and assurance about what we do not see.(B) This is what the ancients were commended for.(C)

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command,(D) so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended(E) as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings.(F) And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.(G)

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a](H) For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him(I) must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen,(J) in holy fear built an ark(K) to save his family.(L) By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.(M)

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance,(N) obeyed and went,(O) even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land(P) like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents,(Q) as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.(R) 10 For he was looking forward to the city(S) with foundations,(T) whose architect and builder is God.(U) 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age,(V) was enabled to bear children(W) because she[b] considered him faithful(X) who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead,(Y) came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.(Z)

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised;(AA) they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,(AB) admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.(AC) 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.(AD) 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.(AE) Therefore God is not ashamed(AF) to be called their God,(AG) for he has prepared a city(AH) for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.(AI) He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c](AJ) 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead,(AK) and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.(AL)

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons,(AM) and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.(AN)

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born,(AO) because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.(AP)

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.(AQ) 25 He chose to be mistreated(AR) along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace(AS) for the sake of Christ(AT) as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.(AU) 27 By faith he left Egypt,(AV) not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer(AW) of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.(AX)

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.(AY)

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.(AZ)

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[d](BA)

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon,(BB) Barak,(BC) Samson(BD) and Jephthah,(BE) about David(BF) and Samuel(BG) and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms,(BH) administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,(BI) 34 quenched the fury of the flames,(BJ) and escaped the edge of the sword;(BK) whose weakness was turned to strength;(BL) and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.(BM) 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again.(BN) There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging,(BO) and even chains and imprisonment.(BP) 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e](BQ) they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword.(BR) They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,(BS) destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves(BT) and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended(BU) for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,(BV) 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us(BW) would they be made perfect.(BX)

Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 11:5 Gen. 5:24
  2. Hebrews 11:11 Or By faith Abraham, even though he was too old to have children—and Sarah herself was not able to conceive—was enabled to become a father because he
  3. Hebrews 11:18 Gen. 21:12
  4. Hebrews 11:31 Or unbelieving
  5. Hebrews 11:37 Some early manuscripts stoning; they were put to the test;

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