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The Meaning of Faith

11 Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about[a] and the certainty that what we cannot see exists.[b] By faith our ancestors won approval.

By faith we understand that time was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are invisible.

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did,[c] and by faith[d] he was declared to be righteous, since God himself accepted his offerings. And by faith[e] he continues to speak, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken away without experiencing death. He could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he won approval as one who pleased God. Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently search for him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, reverently prepared an ark to save his family, and by faith[f] he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who also inherited the same promise, 10 because he was waiting for the city with permanent foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 By faith Sarah, even though she was old and barren, received the strength to conceive, because she was convinced that the one who had made the promise was faithful. 12 Abraham[g] was as good as dead, yet from this one man came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people died having faith. They did not receive the things that were promised, yet they saw them in the distant future and welcomed them, acknowledging that they were strangers and foreigners on earth. 14 For people who say such things make it clear that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking about what they had left behind, they would have had an opportunity to go back. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered Isaac—he who had received the promises was about to offer his unique son[h] in sacrifice, 18 about whom it had been said, “It is through Isaac that descendants will be named for you.”[i] 19 Abraham[j] was certain that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did get Isaac[k] back in this way.

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

21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons “and worshipped while leaning[l] on the top of his staff.”

22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelis and gave them instructions about burying[m] his bones.

23 By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after he was born, because they saw that he was a beautiful child and were not afraid of the king’s order.

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 because he preferred being mistreated with God’s people to enjoying the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He thought that being insulted for the sake of the Messiah[n] was of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.

27 By faith he left Egypt, without being afraid of the king’s anger, and he persevered because he saw the one who is invisible.

28 By faith he established the Passover and the sprinkling of blood to keep the destroyer of the firstborn from touching the people.[o]

29 By faith they went through the Red Sea as if it were dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do this, they 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 die with those who were disobedient, because she had welcomed the spies with a greeting of[p] peace.

32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, received promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 put out raging fires, escaped death by[q] the sword, found strength in weakness, became powerful in battle, and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received their dead raised back to life. Other people were brutally tortured, but refused to be ransomed, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Still others endured taunts and floggings, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, sawed in half, and killed with swords. They went around in sheepskins and goatskins. They were needy, oppressed, and mistreated. 38 The world wasn’t worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and from caves to holes in the ground.

39 All these people won approval for their faith but they did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us, so that they would not be perfected without us.


  1. Hebrews 11:1 The Gk. lacks will come about
  2. Hebrews 11:1 The Gk. lacks exist
  3. Hebrews 11:4 The Gk. lacks did
  4. Hebrews 11:4 Lit. it
  5. Hebrews 11:4 Lit. it
  6. Hebrews 11:7 Lit. it
  7. Hebrews 11:12 Lit. He
  8. Hebrews 11:17 Lit. unique one
  9. Hebrews 11:18 Cf. Gen 21:12
  10. Hebrews 11:19 Lit. He
  11. Hebrews 11:19 Lit. him
  12. Hebrews 11:21 The Gk. lacks while leaning
  13. Hebrews 11:22 The Gk. lacks burying
  14. Hebrews 11:26 Or Christ
  15. Hebrews 11:28 Lit. them
  16. Hebrews 11:31 The Gk. lacks a greeting of
  17. Hebrews 11:34 Lit. by the edge of