Faith is being sure of what we hope for. Faith is pleasing to God. The Old Testament heroes lived by faith.
NIV translation: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
of things hoped for. How can you be more assured of the things you hope for? How can you be more certain of answered prayer?
Luke 18:42. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.”
VERSE 2. For by this, the elders obtained testimony.
VERSE 3. By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.
by the word of God. The spoken words of the LORD God brought about the universe.
Some Christians believe that faith becomes “certain” when we speak the words aloud. Instead of mentally praying a request, we need to say it out loud. Or at least whisper it.
Similarly, once you have asked God for something, from that point on you should only thank him that the answer is on the way. Thank him out loud. Or at least whisper it.
VERSE 4. By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead, still speaks.
VERSE 5. By faith, Enoch was taken away, so that he wouldn’t see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God.
Enoch … wouldn’t see death. The Bible describes both Enoch and Elijah as being taken body and soul into heaven without dying:
Genesis 5:24. Enoch walked with God, and he was not found, for God took him.
2 Kings 2:11. As they continued on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated them, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Sirach 48:9. [Elijah] was taken up in a whirlwind of fire, and in a chariot of fiery horses:
Sirach 49:14. No man was created upon the earth such as was Enoch; For he was taken up from the earth.
Hebrews 11:5. By faith, Enoch was taken away, so that he wouldn’t see death, and he was not found, because God translated him. For he has had testimony given to him that before his translation he had been well pleasing to God.
Revelation 4:1. After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, “Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this.”
Revelation 11:12. I heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” They went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies saw them.
VERSE 6. Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him, for he who comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.
NIV translation: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Psalm 78:22. because they didn’t believe in God, and didn’t trust in his salvation.
VERSE 7. By faith, Noah, being warned about things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared a ship for the saving of his house, through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
VERSE 8. By faith, Abraham, when he was called, obeyed to go out to the place which he was to receive for an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he went.
Abram is often referred to as our father in faith. He wasn’t “saved” by good works or by keeping the Old Testament Law, but by trusting the words of God. Read more »
VERSE 9. By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.
VERSE 10. For he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
VERSE 11. By faith, even Sarah herself received power to conceive, and she bore a child when she was past age, since she counted him faithful who had promised.
received power to conceive. Abraham and Sarah each received miraculous healing. Together, they were able to conceive.
VERSE 12. Therefore as many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as innumerable as the sand which is by the sea shore, were fathered by one man, and him as good as dead.
VERSE 13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
died in faith. The heroes of the Old Testament died without having received the answer to their hopes and dreams.
strangers and pilgrims on the earth. We believers are not citizens of this world. Our allegiance transcends national or cultural boundaries. On this earth, we are strangers and aliens. Read more »
VERSE 14. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.
VERSE 15. If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return.
VERSE 16. But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
VERSE 17. By faith, Abraham, being tested, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had gladly received the promises was offering up his one and only son,
VERSE 18. to whom it was said, “Your offspring will be accounted as from Isaac,”
VERSE 19. concluding that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Figuratively speaking, he also did receive him back from the dead.
VERSE 20. By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even concerning things to come.
VERSE 21. By faith, Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
VERSE 22. By faith, Joseph, when his end was near, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.
VERSE 23. By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.
VERSE 24. By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
VERSE 25. choosing rather to share ill treatment with God’s people than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time,
VERSE 26. considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
VERSE 27. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
VERSE 28. By faith, he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them.
VERSE 29. By faith, they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do so, they were swallowed up.
passed through the Red Sea. Some Christians trivialize the crossing of the Red Sea. They say it was only knee-deep. However:
the Egyptians … were swallowed up. The Egyptian army drowned.
If the Red Sea were only knee-deep, the mighty Egyptian army would not have drowned in it.
NIV translation: By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days.
encircled for seven days. Faith motivates us to do things. Joshua son of Nun believed God’s promise that the walls would fall. So they walked around them until they did.
In your own life, is there something you are hoping for? Is there something you are trusting God for? Is there something you believe he has promised you?
How about taking a step of faith? How about doing something? Why not show God you believe?
VERSE 31. By faith, Rahab the prostitute didn’t perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.
Rahab the prostitute. Rahab is a great hero of the faith!
Joshua 2:6. But she had brought them up to the roof, and hidden them under the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof.
Hebrews 11:31. By faith, Rahab the prostitute didn’t perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.
James 2:25. In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute also justified by works, in that she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
VERSE 32. What more shall I say? For the time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets,
VERSE 33. who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked out righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
VERSE 34. quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee.
from weakness were made strong. In Jesus Christ, we who are weak can be made strong.
Judges 14:6. The LORD’s Spirit came mightily on him, and he tore him as he would have torn a young goat with his bare hands, but he didn’t tell his father or his mother what he had done.
Judges 14:19. The LORD’s Spirit came mightily on him, and he went down to Ashkelon and struck thirty men of them. He took their plunder, then gave the changes of clothing to those who declared the riddle. His anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house.
Isaiah 49:5. Now the LORD, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, says to bring Jacob again to him, and to gather Israel to him, for I am honorable in the LORD’s eyes, and my God has become my strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9. He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me.
Hebrews 11:34. quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, grew mighty in war, and caused foreign armies to flee.
VERSE 35. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection.
VERSE 36. Others were tried by mocking and scourging, yes, moreover by bonds and imprisonment.
VERSE 37. They were stoned. They were sawn apart. They were tempted. They were slain with the sword. They went around in sheep skins and in goat skins; being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated—
VERSE 38. of whom the world was not worthy—wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and the holes of the earth.
VERSE 39. These all, having had testimony given to them through their faith, didn’t receive the promise,
VERSE 40. God having provided some better thing concerning us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
some better thing concerning us. This chapter has presented the great heroes of the faith. Even though they are truly great, God has something even greater for us. It will be described in the next chapter.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.