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Hebrews 11English Standard Version (ESV)

By Faith

11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king's edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 11:37 Some manuscripts add they were tempted
English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Hebrews 11The Voice (VOICE)

11 Faith is the assurance of things you have hoped for, the absolute conviction that there are realities you’ve never seen. It was by faith that our forebears were approved. Through faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God; everything we now see was fashioned from that which is invisible.

Faith begins as hope and indeed is unseen; so many doubt that it is real. What follows is the proof that faith is a reality that can be trusted.

By faith Abel presented to God a sacrifice more acceptable than his brother Cain’s. By faith Abel learned he was righteous, as God Himself testified by approving his offering. And by faith he still speaks, although his voice was silenced by death.

By faith Enoch was carried up into heaven so that he did not see death; no one could find him because God had taken him. Before he was taken up, it was said of him that he had pleased God. Without faith no one can please God because the one coming to God must believe He exists, and He rewards those who come seeking.

By faith Noah respected God’s warning regarding the flood—the likes of which no one had ever seen—and built an ark that saved his family. In this he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham heard God’s call to travel to a place he would one day receive as an inheritance; and he obeyed, not knowing where God’s call would take him. By faith he journeyed to the land of the promise as a foreigner; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, his fellow heirs to the promise 10 because Abraham looked ahead to a city with foundations, a city laid out and built by God.

11 By faith Abraham’s wife Sarah became fertile long after menopause because she believed God would be faithful to His promise. 12 So from this man, who was almost at death’s door, God brought forth descendants, as many as the stars in the sky and as impossible to count as the sands of the shore.

13 All these I have mentioned died in faith without receiving the full promises, although they saw the fulfillment as though from a distance. These people accepted and confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on this earth 14 because people who speak like this make it plain that they are still seeking a homeland. 15 If this was only a bit of nostalgia for a time and place they left behind, then certainly they might have turned around and returned. 16 But such saints as these look forward to a far better place, a heavenly country. So God is not ashamed to be called their God because He has prepared a heavenly city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when he endured God’s testing, offered his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice. The one who had received God’s promise was willing to offer his only son; 18 God had told him, “It is through Isaac that your descendants will bear your name,”[a] 19 and he concluded that God was capable of raising him from the dead, which, figuratively, is indeed what happened.

20 By faith Isaac spoke blessings upon his sons, Jacob and Esau, concerning things yet to come.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed the sons of his son Joseph, bowing in worship as he leaned upon his staff.[b]

22 By faith Joseph, at his life’s end, predicted that the children of Israel would make an exodus from Egypt; and he gave instructions that his bones be buried in the land they would someday reach.

23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born because they saw that he was handsome; and they did not fear Pharaoh’s directive that all male Hebrew children were to be slain.

24 By faith Moses, when he was grown, refused to be identified solely as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter 25 and chose instead to share the sufferings of the people of God, not just living in sin and ease for a time. 26 He considered the abuse that he and the people of God had suffered in anticipation of the Anointed One more valuable than all the riches of Egypt because he looked ahead to the coming reward.

27 By faith Moses left Egypt, unafraid of Pharaoh’s wrath and moving forward as though he could see the invisible God. 28 Through faith, he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of blood on the doorposts among the Hebrews so that the destroyer of the firstborn would pass over their homes without harming them. 29 By faith the people crossed through the Red Sea as if they were walking on dry land, although the pursuing Egyptian soldiers were drowned when they tried to follow.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho toppled after the people had circled them for seven days. 31 By faith the prostitute Rahab welcomed the Hebrew spies into her home so that she did not perish with the unbelievers.

32 I could speak more of faith; I could talk until time itself ran out. If I continued, I could speak of the examples of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, of David and Samuel and all the prophets. 33 I could give accounts of people alive with faith who conquered kingdoms, brought justice, obtained promises, and closed the mouths of hungry lions. 34 I could tell you how people of faith doused raging fires, escaped the edge of the sword, made the weak strong, and—stoking great valor among the champions of God—sent opposing armies into panicked flight.

35 I could speak of faith bringing women their loved ones back from death and how the faithful accepted torture instead of earthly deliverance because they believed they would obtain a better life in the resurrection. 36 Others suffered mockery and whippings; they were placed in chains and in prisons. 37 The faithful were stoned, sawn in two,[c] killed by the sword, clothed only in sheepskins and goatskins; they were penniless, afflicted, and tormented. 38 The world was not worthy of these saints. They wandered across deserts, crossed mountains, and lived in the caves, cracks, and crevasses of the earth.

Stories of faith and faithfulness are central to the First Testament. The writer of Hebrews recalls some of the most memorable examples of how people of faith lived their lives. But what is faith? Faith is more than belief; it is trust, assurance, and firm conviction. Ironically most of those who lived by faith never fully realized the promises God had made. Like us they journeyed as strangers and exiles, longing for another country. We should remember their patient faith when we face prolonged hardships and allow the trials we face to strengthen our faith rather than destroy it. If we are comfortable here and don’t face suffering for our faith, perhaps we aren’t fully living by faith and looking forward to a future hope.

39 These, though commended by God for their great faith, did not receive what was promised. 40 That promise has awaited us, who receive the better thing that God has provided in these last days, so that with us, our forebears might finally see the promise completed.

Footnotes:

  1. 11:18 Genesis 21:12
  2. 11:21 Genesis 47:31
  3. 11:37 Some early manuscripts read “sawn in two.” Other early manuscripts read “tempted.” Later manuscripts have both.
The Voice (VOICE)

The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

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