11 Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. 2 God was pleased with the people who lived a long time ago because they had faith like this.
3 Faith helps us understand that God created the whole world by his command. This means that the things we see were made by something that cannot be seen.
4 Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God. But Abel offered a better sacrifice to God because he had faith. God said he was pleased with what Abel offered. And so God called him a good man because he had faith. Abel died, but through his faith he is still speaking.
5 Enoch was carried away from this earth, so he never died. The Scriptures tell us that before he was carried off, he was a man who pleased God. Later, no one knew where he was, because God had taken Enoch to be with him. This all happened because he had faith. 6 Without faith no one can please God. Whoever comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who sincerely try to find him.
7 Noah was warned by God about things that he could not yet see. But he had faith and respect for God, so he built a large boat to save his family. With his faith, Noah showed that the world was wrong. And he became one of those who are made right with God through faith.
8 God called Abraham to travel to another place that he promised to give him. Abraham did not know where that other place was. But he obeyed God and started traveling because he had faith. 9 Abraham lived in the country that God promised to give him. He lived there like a visitor who did not belong. He did this because he had faith. He lived in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who also received the same promise from God. 10 Abraham was waiting for the city[a] that has real foundations. He was waiting for the city that is planned and built by God.
11 Sarah was not able to have children, and Abraham was too old. But he had faith in God, trusting him to do what he promised. And so God made them able to have children. 12 Abraham was so old he was almost dead. But from that one man came as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. So many people came from him that they are like grains of sand on the seashore.
13 All these great people continued living with faith until they died. They did not get the things God promised his people. But they were happy just to see those promises coming far in the future. They accepted the fact that they were like visitors and strangers here on earth. 14 When people accept something like that, they show they are waiting for a country that will be their own. 15 If they were thinking about the country they had left, they could have gone back. 16 But they were waiting for a better country—a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God. And he has prepared a city for them.
17-18 God tested Abraham’s faith. God told him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham obeyed because he had faith. He already had the promises from God. And God had already said to him, “It is through Isaac that your descendants will come.”[b] But Abraham was ready to offer his only son. He did this because he had faith. 19 He believed that God could raise people from death. And really, when God stopped Abraham from killing Isaac, it was as if he got him back from death.
20 Isaac blessed the future of Jacob and Esau. He did that because he had faith. 21 And Jacob, also because he had faith, blessed each one of Joseph’s sons. He did this while he was dying, leaning on his rod and worshiping God.
22 And when Joseph was almost dead, he spoke about the people of Israel leaving Egypt. And he told them what they should do with his body. He did this because he had faith.
23 And the mother and father of Moses hid him for three months after he was born. They did this because they had faith. They saw that Moses was a beautiful baby. And they were not afraid to disobey the king’s order.
24-25 Moses grew up and became a man. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose not to enjoy the pleasures of sin that last such a short time. Instead, he chose to suffer with God’s people. He did this because he had faith. 26 He thought it was better to suffer for the Messiah than to have all the treasures of Egypt. He was waiting for the reward that God would give him.
27 Moses left Egypt because he had faith. He was not afraid of the king’s anger. He continued strong as if he could see the God no one can see. 28 Moses prepared the Passover and spread the blood on the doorways of the people of Israel, so that the angel of death[c] would not kill their firstborn sons. Moses did this because he had faith.
29 And God’s people all walked through the Red Sea as if it were dry land. They were able to do this because they had faith. But when the Egyptians tried to follow them, they were drowned.
30 And the walls of Jericho fell because of the faith of God’s people. They marched around the walls for seven days, and then the walls fell.
31 And Rahab, the prostitute, welcomed the Israelite spies like friends. And because of her faith, she was not killed with the ones who refused to obey.
32 Do I need to give you more examples? I don’t have enough time to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 All of them had great faith. And with that faith they defeated kingdoms. They did what was right, and God helped them in the ways he promised. With their faith some people closed the mouths of lions. 34 And some were able to stop blazing fires. Others escaped from being killed with swords. Some who were weak were made strong. They became powerful in battle and defeated other armies. 35 There were women who lost loved ones but got them back when they were raised from death. Others were tortured but 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 up and put in prison. 37 They were killed with stones. They were cut in half. They were killed with swords. The only clothes some of them had were sheepskins or goatskins. They were poor, persecuted, and treated badly by others. 38 The world was not good enough for these great people. They had to wander in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground.
39 God was pleased with all of them because of their faith. But not one of them received God’s great promise. 40 God planned something better for us. He wanted to make us perfect. Of course, he wanted those great people to be made perfect too, but not before we could all enjoy that blessing together.
- Hebrews 11:10 city The spiritual “city” where God’s people live with him. Also called “the heavenly Jerusalem.” See Heb. 12:22.
- Hebrews 11:17
Quote from Gen. 21:12.
- Hebrews 11:28 angel of death Literally, “the destroyer.” To punish the Egyptians, God sent an angel to kill the oldest son in each home. See Ex. 12:29-32.