Faith in Action
1 Now faith is the
things hoped for, the
things not seen.
2 For by it the elders
obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the
worlds were framed
by the word of God, so that
things which are seen
not made of
things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he
obtained witness that he was righteous,
God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead
5 By faith Enoch was
translated that he should
not see death; and was
not found, because God had translated him: for
before his translation
he had this testimony, that he
6 But without faith it is
impossible to please him: for he that
cometh to God must
believe that he is, and that he is
a rewarder of them that
diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of
things not seen as yet,
moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he
condemned the world, and became
heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,
obeyed; and he went out,
not knowing whither he went.
9 By faith he sojourned in the
land of promise, as in a
strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the
heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath
foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
11 Through faith also Sara herself
received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she
judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and
him as good as dead, so many
as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
13 These all
died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and
were persuaded of them, and
embraced them, and
confessed that they were strangers and
pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had
opportunity to have returned.
16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore
God is not ashamed to be called their God: for
he hath prepared for them
17 By faith Abraham, when he was
offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his
only begotten son.
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from
whence also he received him
in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning
things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years,
refused to be called the
son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 Choosing rather to
suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy
the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt: for he
had respect unto the
recompense of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt,
not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed
through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
32 And what shall I more say? for the
time would fail me to tell of
Gedeon, and of
Barak, and of
Samson, and of
David also, and
Samuel, and of
33 Who through faith
stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire,
escaped the edge of the sword,
out of weakness were made strong,
waxed valiant in fight,
turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were
not accepting deliverance;
that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel
mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were
sawn asunder, were
slain with the sword: they
wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having
obtained a good report through faith,
received not the promise:
40 God having provided
some better thing for us, that they
without us should not be
Gr. pistis, "trust", "confidence", "faith", also
"faithfulness", "reliability". The word pistis may denote
either an attitude of mind or a pattern of conduct, faithful conduct
being the product of an attitude of faith. The two shades of
meaning are closely interwoven throughout the chapter,
for in each instance of faith
cited an attitude of faith led to faithful deeds.
Gr. hupostasis, "substantial nature," "essence," "actual
being," "reality," and in an extended sense, as here, "confident
assurance." There is no such thing as blind faith. Genuine faith
always rests upon the firm, underlying "substance" of sufficient
evidence to warrant confidence in what is not yet seen.
Hupostasis is used in the ancient papyri of the legal documents
by which a person proved his ownership of property. The documents
were not the property, but they provided evidence of its existence
and of his right to it. Accordingly,
hupostasis might here be rendered
By faith the Christian considers himself
already in possession of what has been promised him. His utter
confidence in the One who has made the promises leaves no
uncertainty as to their fulfillment in due time. Faith thus enables
a Christian not only to lay claim to promised blessings but to
receive and to enjoy them now. Thus, the promised inheritance
becomes a present possession. The good things to come are no longer
only dreams to be fulfilled in the future, but living realities in
the present. To the eye of faith what is otherwise invisible becomes
Things hoped for.
That is, the promised inheritance into which the saints are to enter
at the coming of Christ.
Gr. elegchos, here meaning "proof," "conviction." Faith
is not abstract belief that evidence exists, but a settled
assurance, based on confidence that God will fulfill His promises.
We may never have seen the generator that produces the electricity
we use in our homes, but we rightly consider the presence of the
electricity sufficient evidence of the existence of the generator.
Similarly, we believe that our physical, mental, and spiritual
energy testify to the existence of a supernatural Source of life and
power. On the other hand, faith is not to be confused with
credulity, for faith is reinforced, to a degree, by evidence.
Things not seen.
These are the "things hoped for," the promised inheritance.
Gr. presbuteroi, here meaning "the ancients," "men of
old" (RSV), not necessarily old men.
Obtained a good report.
Literally, "were witnessed to," "were, approved," "were
attested." The faith of "the elders" led to faithful conduct, which
in turn testified to the reality of their faith. It was their faith
that won for them divine approval. We may wonder how some of those
named in this chapter could ever have obtained "a good report." But
if only flawless heroes of faith were listed here, the account would
provide little encouragement for the common man. If men who were
subject to "like passions as we are" (James 5:17) could obtain "a
good report," there is every reason to believe that even the weakest
of God's children today may do likewise.
Or, "by faith," as elsewhere in the chapter.
Gr. aiones, literally, "ages," but here meaning this "world"
considered from the viewpoint of time. Reference is not necessarily
to other worlds than ours.
By the word of God.
See on Gen. 1:3; cf. Ps. 33:6, 9.
which are seen.
That is, the natural world of earth, sea, and sky, together with
their varied forms of life.
God was not indebted to pre-existing matter. By His mighty power
God called matter into being, and then by that same power imparted
life to creatures formed from it. Prior to the dawn of the so-called
Atomic Age it was one of the prime tenets of science that matter is
eternal, that it can be neither created nor destroyed. But now
scientists declare that matter and energy are interchangeable. Why,
then, should it be thought strange that an almighty God can create
matter that did not previously exist?
which do appear.
The world and everything in it were made out of nothing, by the
exercise of infinite power.
4. By faith.
See on vs. 1, 3.
For the record of the incident here referred to see Gen. 4:3-10.
Literally, "was witnessed to." The clause may be rendered, "by
which he was approved as righteous" (see on v. 2). By faith Abel
grasped the promise of a Redeemer. His offering had no atoning value
in itself, but faith in the promise led him to bring the sacrifice
God had prescribed. God accepted his "gifts" as evidence of his
God accepted Abel's "gifts" and refused those of Cain. The
difference was not simply in the character of the gifts themselves,
but also in the character and attitude of the givers as reflected in
the gifts they brought.
Abel's faith has borne a living witness down through the
centuries. There was power in Abel's faith that led him to conform
to the course of action God had prescribed, and the powerful
influence of his faith lives on today - it "yet speaketh."
5. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
See on Gen. 5:22.
The writer does not mean that Enoch had faith that God would
translate him, but that he was translated as a result of his faith
and his faithfulness - "he pleased God." Inspiration speaks only of
Enoch and Elijah being translated to heaven without seeing death.
According to sacred chronology Enoch was a little more than 300
years old when Adam died. For those who were faithful to God the
death of Adam must have cast a shadow of uncertainty over the
future, for despite his repentant, godly life he died as verily as
every sinner dies. To dispel the cloud of uncertainty that hung over
the future and to give His faithful people assurance that a life of
faith will be rewarded, God translated Enoch, the seventh from Adam.
As with Adam, God demonstrated that "the wages of sin is death," so
with Enoch He demonstrated that "the gift of God is eternal life"
(Rom. 6:23). The translation of Enoch proved that although sin
separates man from God, a way has been provided by which that
separation may be terminated and man may return to God. That way is
the way of faith.
Enoch is a type of those who are to be translated from the last
generation, from among the living. Enoch became a friend of God,
walked with Him, and at last went home with Him. All may therefore
take courage. Whoever serves God with a heart full of faith and
walks with Him day by day in the changing experiences of life will
have an abundant entrance into the paradise of God.
Not see death.
That is, not experience death.
These words imply an attempt to find Enoch after his
disappearance. Such an attempt was later made following the
translation of Elijah (see 2 Kings 2:16-18).
Enoch's godly way of life was well known to his contemporaries.
Literally, "he was testified to." Through Enoch, God had
provided the world with a demonstration of the kind of character
that will meet with His approval. There was no possibility that men
would ask, after the translation of so pious a saint, "How can God
accept a man like that?"
Enoch's faith in God and his faithfulness to God met with divine
approval. His life and character were a demonstration of what God
would have all men be.
Or, "apart from faith," or, "apart from faithfulness". Whereas the
Creator is infinite, His creatures are irrevocably finite, and there
are, accordingly, things which they must take by faith. Indeed, to
take God at His word is the most exalted exercise of which the human
mind is capable. Indeed, he must take God at His word if he is to
fill perfectly the place designed for him in a perfect universe,
for a realization of the love of God culminates in faith. In the
divine-human person of the Saviour, Godlike love and human faith met
together for the first time.
Impossible to please him.
That is, impossible to measure up to His requirements. There is no
room in a perfect universe for a created being who lacks faith in
the Ruler of the universe. The only alternative to faith in God is
fear and resentment, and ultimately, despair.
Cometh to God.
That is, professes allegiance to Him.
that he is.
Belief that God really exists is the ultimate foundation of the
Christian faith. Through nature, through His Word, and through His
providential leading God has provided men with all the evidence of
His existence that intelligent beings need and can make use of (cf.
Rom. 1:20). The writer here rules out such distorted concepts of God
as those held by pantheists.
Here, the writer rules out concepts of God such as those of
Deism and universalism. It makes a difference whether men respond to
God's love and comply with His revealed will. "He hath appointed a
day, in the which he will judge the world" (Acts 17:31), a day when
He "will render to every man according to his deeds" (Rom. 2:6). The
awful prospect of someday standing before the great Judge of the
universe is undeniably a powerful incentive to right living. To be
sure, great fear of the fires of hell will never save any man, but
it may be a factor - a potent factor - in shaking him out of his
lethargy. The infinite love of God as revealed in Christ Jesus
provides man with the ultimate and only effective incentive to
Or, "seek him out," "search for him." To "seek" God is to endeavour
to understand more fully His infinite character and His will for
men. The writer does not imply that God has deliberately made it
difficult for men to find Him, but stresses the need of an earnest
desire to understand God and to become like Him both in mind and in
7. By faith.
See on vs. 1, 3.
For the experience here referred to see Gen. 6:13-22.
There was no evidence that such a catastrophe as the Flood ever
would, or ever could, happen. To prepare for the event was an act
of faith on Noah's part.
Noah was profoundly impressed by the revelation that God purposed to
destroy the earth by a flood, and heeded the instructions given him.
However, it was not so much fear of the coming flood that led Noah
to build the ark as it was faith in what God had revealed to him
concerning the catastrophe.
The construction of the ark testified to Noah's decision against
"the world," here meaning wicked men and their way of life. His
renunciation of the world that then was, testified to his faith in
of the righteousness.
Noah's faith, as reflected by his faithfulness in action
commensurate with that faith, entitled him, by God's grace, to be
accounted righteous. For comments on righteousness by faith see on
8. By faith.
See on vs. 1, 3.
For the experience here referred to see on Gen. 12:1-5.
He believed what God told him and acted accordingly. His faith found
expression in faithful obedience.
According to Gen. 12:5 Abraham and his family "went forth to go
into the land of Canaan." This does not necessarily mean that he
knew at the time of his departure what his destination was to be. He
simply "went forth to go into [what turned out to be] the land
Canaan." Obviously God instructed him as to the direction in which
he was to set out and the route he was to follow.
For a period of some 215 years (see Vol. 1, p. 184). Events that
occurred during Abraham's sojourn "in the land of promise" are
recorded in Gen. 12 to 25.
That is, the land that God promised to Abraham.
Or, "foreign country." Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all lived as
foreigners in the land God had promised them. God gave Abraham no
inheritance in Canaan, "no, not so much as to set his foot on" (Acts
Heirs with him.
The original promise included Abraham's descendants, but God
repeated the covenant promises to Isaac and later to Jacob.
10. A city.
Here, apparently, not any city of the literal land of Canaan.
Abraham's ultimate objective was the eternal inheritance God has
provided for those who love and serve Him. Compare chs. 12:22;
Foundations imply permanence. Tents (v. 9) have no foundations.
See on vs. 1,3.
For the experience here referred to see Gen. 17:15-21; 18:9-15;
Sarah was 90 years of age at the birth of Isaac. Her childless state
up to that time made conception a most impressive miracle.
From the human point of view there was no basis for believing God's
promise that she would give birth to a child. The only way to accept
the promise was by faith. Sarah accepted it only because she
believed in God, and her acceptance of the promise testified to her
On the birth of Isaac see Gen. 21:1-5.
good as dead.
Abraham was 100 years of age at the birth of Isaac. No one can read
the record of events leading up to his birth without being impressed
by the lack of faith displayed by both Abraham (Gen. 15:2-4; 16:1-3;
17:16, 17) and Sarah (ch. 18:9-15). But both finally overcame their
natural doubts, and Isaac was, on both sides of the family, a child
As the stars.
See Gen. 15:5; 22:17.
13. These all.
That is, the faithful from Abel (v. 4) to Abraham (vs. 8-12).
Doubtless many others during this long span of time met with God's
approval, but the worthies here named are singled out as shining
examples of the principle that faith is the decisive factor in godly
Died in faith.
They saw the promises afar off - by faith. They were persuaded of
the reality of the promised inheritance. On the basis of these
promises they renounced the present and lived exclusively for the
future. They never entered into possession of the inheritance,
either of the promised earthly Canaan or of the eternal kingdom.
Textual evidence attests (cf. p. 10) the omission of these
words. Obviously, however, they "were persuaded" of the substantial
reality of the promised inheritance or they would not have
"embraced" the promises.
Or, "greeted," "saluted," "welcomed." Compare John 8:56.
on the earth.
Though in the world, they realized that they were not of it.
They had another, grander objective in view. They realized the
transient quality of things in this present life, and the permanence
of things which, as yet, they saw only "afar off" by faith. They
lived for the future, not for the present.
That is, declare themselves to be "strangers and pilgrims on the
Or, "homeland" (RSV), literally, "fatherland." By declaring
themselves to be "strangers and pilgrims on the earth," the worthies
of old made it clear that they did not consider this present world
to be their home. They realized that there is more to live for than
this present world has to offer.
Literally, "had kept in mind," "had been thinking [intently]
Opportunity to have returned.
Abraham doubtless had had a good home in Haran, as before that in Ur
of Chaldea. When famine came to the land of Canaan (see Gen. 12:10), he might reasonably have considered returning to Haran, where
he had friends and close relatives. But Abraham was not one to
retreat to a land which the Lord had instructed him to leave.
Gr. oregomai, "to aspire to," "to strive for," "to desire."
Men of faith live with their eyes fixed on something better than
this world has to offer. To them, eternal things alone are worth
striving for. They see the things of time and eternity in their true
perspective (see on Matt. 6:24-34).
God is not
He is not "ashamed" to be known as their God, because they reflect
His character. Christ warned that in the last great day He will be
"ashamed" of every man who has made the attempt to "save his life"
by gaining what the world has to offer (see Mark 8:34-38). On the
other hand, the man who is willing to "lose" -forfeit - his life for
Christ will actually be saving it.
Compare John 14:1-3; Rev. 21:2.
The heavenly Jerusalem (see chs. 12:22; 13:14).
17. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
For the record of the experience here referred to see Gen. 22:1-9.
Or, "tested." The account of this experience in Genesis begins with
the statement that "God did tempt [test] Abraham" (Gen. 22:1). To
be sure, God knew in advance what Abraham would do, and the test was
not necessary so far as God's information about Abraham was
concerned. But Abraham needed to go through this trying experience
in order that his faith might reach maturity, it was the crowning
experience of his life.
See Gen. 22:1-19.
Gr. monogenes, literally, "unique," "only" (see on John 1:14). Numerically speaking, Isaac was not Abraham's "only begotten,"
or even his first begotten, Isaac was Abraham's "only" son in the
unique sense that he was the only one of Abraham's children eligible
to be the covenant heir (see on v. 18).
18. In Isaac.
In view of God's repeated and emphatic declarations that Isaac
was to be the one through whom the covenant promises were to be
fulfilled, it was a most extraordinary demonstration of faith on the
part of Abraham to be willing to comply with God's instructions to
offer up Isaac as a sacrificial victim. It must have appeared to
Abraham that God was on the point of rendering the fulfillment of
His promises utterly impossible.
The insertion of this quotation from Gen.
21:12 at this point in the author's comment on Abraham's faith
explains the sense in which he refers to Isaac as Abraham's "only
begotten" in Heb. 11:17. Isaac was the only son of Abraham who could
qualify as successor to the covenant promises made to Abraham.
Or, "considering." It was faith in the power of God to resurrect
Isaac that gave Abraham the courage to set out to offer up his son.
Only thus could the aged patriarch reconcile God's promise that
Isaac was to be his heir, with God's mandate to take Isaac's life.
To have faith in the integrity of a person who makes a promise and a
demand that seem to be so mutually exclusive is the ultimate in the
perfection of faith. Abraham must have realized that God was testing
him, and concluded that God would, if need be, raise Isaac from the
dead. In view of the fact that, as yet, no human being had been
raised from the dead, this was faith of the highest order.
Whence also he received him.
So far as Abraham was concerned, his son Isaac
was dead. And
when God halted the test and restored Isaac to his father, it was as
if Isaac had indeed returned from death.
Or, "figuratively speaking."
20. By faith.
See on vs. 1, 3.
For the record of this incident see Gen. 27:1-40.
Things to come.
To Isaac, when he realized the deception that had been practiced
upon him, the future of his family must have loomed dark indeed. His
plans for Esau had been shattered. He was blind physically, but he
lifted his eyes of faith and discerned the shape of "things to
come," the way by which the infinite purpose of God was to be
21. By faith.
See on vs. 1, 3.
For the record of the incident here referred to see Gen.
48:1-22. Jacob sojourned, and eventually died, in a land of exile.
Thus he revealed faith in the divine promises when he pronounced
blessings on his sons.
22. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
For the incident related see Gen. 50:24, 25; cf. Ex. 13:19. Joseph
had no concrete evidence on which to base his expectation that the
family would return to Canaan and occupy the land. His request for
interment in the Promised Land, when
the family should return to dwell there,
was based on faith in God's promises.
23. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
For the record of the incident referred to see Ex. 2:1-10. During
Moses' infancy it was the faith of his parents that triumphed over
"the king's commandment." It was faith in a higher destiny than
servitude in Egypt that led Amram and Jochebed to act in
contravention of the royal decree. As Moses reached maturity he
exhibited the same kind of faith on his own behalf, as the writer of
Hebrews goes on to relate (see Heb. 11:24-29).
24. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
For the record of the incidents referred to in vs. 24-29 see Ex.
2:11-25; 12:18-36; 14:10-31.
Moses refused present honour, rank, and power because of his
confidence in the high destiny God had marked out for him and his
people. To all appearances nothing could be more futile than to hope
for such a thing, since the Hebrew people were in abject servitude
to the strongest nation on earth. Only faith in the promises of God
could have led him to refuse the throne of Egypt.
of Pharaoh's daughter.
See on Ex. 2:5, 10, 15; cf. Vol. 1, p. 192.
His choice lay between the throne of the world's greatest empire
and association with a race of slaves.
Even as leader of the Hebrew people he was subject to "affliction."
They were irremediably stiff-necked and rebellious, and forever
murmuring. From any point of view the lot he chose had little to
offer by way of worldly power and renown.
pleasures of sin.
Moses might have reasoned that as king of Egypt he would be in
an ideal position to liberate his people. But the ruler of Egypt was
also a priest in its idolatrous system of religion. Furthermore, he
always would have been subject to the corrupting influences of court
life. See on Ex. 2:11.
Reproach of Christ.
That is, "reproach" suffered for Christ or because of Christ. Moses
understood the promise of the Messiah, and realized that more was
involved in the liberation of the Hebrew people from Egypt than
either they or the Egyptians realized at the time. Afar off his eye
of faith saw the coming of the seed promised to Abraham through whom
all nations would be blessed (see Gen. 22:18; cf. Gal. 3:8, 16).
These included the land with all its wealth, the service of all its
people, the splendour of its court, the power of its throne and its
Literally, "looked to." His eye was fixed upon the promises and
privileges of the covenant relationship. Like Paul 15 centuries
later (see Phil. 3:7,8), Moses voluntarily exchanged the impressive
but gaudy glory and power of the present for the less obvious, even
invisible, promises and privileges of the covenant.
Recompense of the reward.
simply, "reward." The more remote reward, one
that could be seen only with the eye of faith, appealed more
strongly to Moses than the more immediate, material rewards that
accompanied the throne of Egypt.
27. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
See Ex. 2:15.
Noting the circumstances of Moses' flight from Egypt to Midian at
the age of 40, some have assigned his departure of v. 27 to the
Exodus, at the age of 80 years. It is true that the word translated
"forsook" (kataleipo may mean simply "to leave," without
implying more than the simple fact of departure. It is also true
that Moses boldly confronted a wrathful ruler throughout the time of
the plagues, and that, by itself, v. 27 might be taken as applying
to the Exodus. However, in this brief synopsis of incidents in
Moses' life that reflect his faith, it seems that vs. 28, 29 were
intended tc cover the Exodus. Repetition of the expression "by
faith" in v. 27 seems to imply that the writer was considering the
occasion there referred to as distinct from the other incidents in
the sequence on the faith of Moses (cf. vs. 23,24,28,29).
From the narrative of Ex. 2:11-15 (cf. ch.
4:19) it appears that fear for his personal safety played no small
part in Moses' decision to flee the land of Egypt. Nevertheless,
uppermost in his mind was the fate of his people and the role
envisioned for them by the promise made to Abraham. In fact, it was
his abortive attempt to initiate a series of events he hoped would
lead to their liberation that made his flight necessary (see Acts
7:25). In spite of his mistake he apparently had faith that,
somehow, God would still use him to accomplish their deliverance.
Accordingly, he sought a temporary refuge where he might await
Even before the incident with the Egyptian
taskmaster it took great faith to believe that the covenant promises
would be fulfilled - circumstances being what they were. Now that an
error of judgment had banished him from Egypt altogether, Moses must
have needed even greater faith to believe in their fulfilment. How
could a forlorn exile in Midian whose death had been decreed by an
imperial edict ever expect to liberate the slaves of the monarch who
sought this life? Nothing could have seemed more impossible! Here, if
ever, was opportunity for the exercise of faith!
See on vs. I, 3.
For the record of events mentioned in this verse see Ex. 12:1-36.
After the ninth plague Pharaoh had placed Moses under the threat of
death should he again appear in the royal presence (see Ex. 10:28).
It must have taken great faith on Moses' part to issue the
instructions he did with regard to the tenth plague, the Passover,
and the Exodus. For the duration of the first nine plagues Pharaoh
had stubbornly refused to let Israel go. There was no human reason
to believe he would do so under the tenth plague.
29. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
the Red sea.
For the record of the incident here mentioned see Ex. 14:10-31. The
deliverance of God's chosen people at the Red Sea is referred to
more often throughout the OT than any other manifestation of divine
provision for them in all their history. The greatness of the
deliverance reflects the magnitude of the crisis, and the magnitude
of the crisis is a measure of the degree of faith needed by God's
appointed representative, Moses.
30. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
For the record of the incident here referred to see Joshua 6:1-24.
From a military point of view the procedure Joshua took to subdue
Jericho was sheer folly, but the orders he issued were in accord
with the instructions God had given him. As an experienced general,
he might well have substituted what would have appeared to be a
better plan. But Joshua was a man of great faith as well as of great
military experience, and he was ready to place more confidence in
God's revealed will than in his own knowledge of war. His
faithfulness in carrying out the plan of battle God had revealed to
him testified eloquently to his prowess as a man of faith.
31. By faith.
See on vs. I, 3.
For the record of the incident here referred to see Joshua 2:1-24;
6:23-25. At first glance the name of Rahab may seem out of place in
this roster of heroes' of faith, for she was a heathen as well as a
harlot. But this very fact makes her deed of faith all the more
remarkable. For an insight into her thinking see Joshua 2:8-13. Her
name appears also in Matthew's genealogy (see on Matt. 1:5) as one
of the honoured progenitors of Christ.
What shall I more say?
The list might be extended indefinitely, but enough
illustrations have been provided to prove the principle that faith
and faithfulness are the essence of godly living.
The writer's purpose was not to prepare a catalogue of all of
God's faithful ones down through the centuries, but only to
illustrate his point that faith and faithfulness are essential to
patient waiting for the coming of the Lord and the fulfilment of His
promises. The thrilling recital may have already taken more space
than he at first intended, and he realizes that space does not
permit an ex-tension of what has provided a worthy climax to the
theme of the book. He set out to prove that we have a great High
Priest ministering on our behalf in the heavenly sanctuary, and to
appeal to all Christians to enter into His presence by faith (see ch.
4:14, 16). In the 11th chapter he implies that, by faith, the
worthies of old lived, as it were, in the very presence of God.
Inasmuch as they enjoyed that privilege and were able to remain
faithful, so may we.
Or, Gideon (see Judges 6 and 7).
See Judges 4 and 5.
See Judges 13 to 16.
Or, Jephthah (see Judges 11).
The exploits of David form a large part of the historical books
of 1 and 2 Samuel and portions of other books.
The ministry of Samuel as priest, prophet, and judge is recorded in
1 Samuel 2 to 25.
Almost to a man the prophets suffered because of their faithful
witness for God (see Acts 7:52).
See on vs. 1, 3. The writer never tires of mentioning faith as the
essence of triumph over every obstacle. Long lists of heroes might
be compiled for nearly every category of achievement listed in vs.
33-37, but suffice it to say that each instance was a shining
example of victory through faith.
Like Joshua and David.
Like Samuel and Elijah. The expression may also be translated,
"wrought justice," or "enforced justice" (RSV). Numerous judges and
kings might be included in the latter category.
Like Abraham, Joshua, and Daniel.
Stopped the mouths of lions.
Like Samson, David, and Daniel.
Quenched. . . fire.
Like the three Hebrew worthies in Babylon.
Escaped. . . the sword.
Like the two spies at Jericho, and like David before Saul.
Like kings Hezekiah and Jehoshaphat.
Like Joshua, Deborah and Barak, and Gideon.
Received their dead.
Like the Shunammite woman and the widow of Sarepta.
Like the prophet Jeremiah.
That is, to escape torture at the price of being disloyal to
they might obtain.
To a man, these worthies of old proved courageous and faithful in
the face of difficulty and danger, because of the faith in their
hearts that God would fulfil all of His promises. They believed the
future inheritance of the just to be worth every sacrifice and every
suffering they might meet or pass through in this present life.
36. Mockings and scourgings.
These, together with "bonds and imprisonment," were the experience
of such men as Joseph, Jeremiah, and Paul.
Like Naboth of Jezreel, and Stephen.
According to tradition this was the fate of Isaiah.
Or, "tested." A lengthy list of noble men and women might be drawn
up who passed the great tests of their lives successfully.
with the sword.
Like Gedaliah, the priests of Nob, and James the brother of John.
Like Elijah and David.
World was not worthy.
The world did not realize how much it owed to these worthy men, who
were in reality "the salt of the earth" (see on Matt. 5:13). Today
the world does not appreciate the contributions made to the welfare
of mankind by men who have sought to apply Christian principles to a
solution of its problems.
See on v. 37.
Obtained a good report.
Or, "though well attested" (RSV). See on vs. 1, 4.
See on vs. 1, 3.
Received not the promise.
Their faithfulness at moments of crisis often brought signal aid
or deliverance, but they did not enter upon the inheritance promised
to Abraham and the fathers. For comment see on v. 13.
Gr. problepo, "to foresee." The English word "provide" also
literally means "to foresee," being from the Latin
and videre, "to see." God foresaw the end from the beginning.
He knew that in future ages there would be other galaxies of
faithful men and women, youth and children. In His infinite wisdom
He ordained that the faithful of all ages should enter upon the
eternal inheritance together (see on 1 Cor. 15:51, 52; 1 Thess.
4:16,17; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8). As to the great gift of eternal life, none
would have advantage, or priority, over another.
Not something better than He proposed to award the faithful of ages
past, but rather that, from our point of view, it has been better
that God has granted us an opportunity to join their ranks.
In the providence of God we have been accorded time in which to
develop character and to prepare for admission to the eternal
inheritance of the saints. The opportunity is ours as it was theirs.
In the opening verses of ch. 12 the writer draws his conclusion:
"Let us lay aside every weight, . . . let us run with
patience.. . "
Gr. teleioo, here in the passive, "to be completed," "to
be brought to perfection." Here, to be "made perfect" is to enter
upon the eternal inheritance promised to Abraham and the fathers
(see on Heb. 10:35-38).2
References and notes
1. King James Authorized Version
2. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary - Vol. 7, pgs 470-479
3. John Gill's
Exposition of the Bible - http://eword.gospelcom.net/comments/hebrews/gill/hebrews11.htm