New English Translation
People Commended for Their Faith
11 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. 2 For by it the people of old[a] received God’s commendation.[b] 3 By faith we understand that the worlds[c] were set in order at God’s command,[d] so that the visible has its origin in the invisible.[e] 4 By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith[f] he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith[g] he still speaks, though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. 6 Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard[h] constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner[i] in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs[j] of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations,[k] whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old,[l] he received the ability to procreate,[m] because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy. 12 So in fact children[n] were fathered by one man—and this one as good as dead—like the number of stars in the sky and like the innumerable grains of sand[o] on the seashore.[p] 13 These all died in faith without receiving the things promised,[q] but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners[r] on the earth. 14 For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is,[s] they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises,[t] yet he was ready to offer up[u] his only son. 18 God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,”[v] 19 and he reasoned[w] that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense[x] he received him back from there. 20 By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff.[y] 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life,[z] mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel[aa] and gave instructions about his burial.[ab]
23 By faith, when Moses was born, his parents hid him[ac] for three months, because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith, when he grew up, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin’s fleeting pleasure. 26 He regarded abuse suffered for Christ[ad] to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on[ae] the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt without fearing the king’s anger, for he persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood,[af] so that the one who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if on dry ground, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were swallowed up. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after the people marched around them[ag] for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of[ah] the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. 33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice,[ai] gained what was promised,[aj] shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire,[ak] escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness,[al] became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, 35 and women received back their dead raised to life.[am] But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life.[an] 36 And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, sawed apart,[ao] murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth. 39 And these all were commended[ap] for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised.[aq] 40 For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us.[ar]
- Hebrews 11:2 tn Or “the elders,” “the ancients.”
- Hebrews 11:2 tn Grk “were attested,” “received commendation”; and Heb 11:4-6 shows this to be from God.
- Hebrews 11:3 tn Grk “ages.” The temporal (ages) came to be used of the spatial (what exists in those time periods). See Heb 1:2 for same usage.
- Hebrews 11:3 tn Grk “by God’s word.”
- Hebrews 11:3 sn The Greek phrasing emphasizes this point by negating the opposite: “so that what is seen did not come into being from things that are visible.”
- Hebrews 11:4 tn Or “through his sacrifice”; Grk “through which.”
- Hebrews 11:4 tn Or “through his sacrifice”; Grk “through it.”
- Hebrews 11:7 tn Cf. BDAG 407 s.v. εὐλαβέομαι 2, “out of reverent regard (for God’s command).”
- Hebrews 11:9 tn Or “settled as a resident alien.”
- Hebrews 11:9 tn Or “heirs with him.”
- Hebrews 11:10 tn Grk “that has foundations.”
- Hebrews 11:11 tn Grk “past the time of maturity.”
- Hebrews 11:11 tn Grk “power to deposit seed.” Though it is not as likely, some construe this phrase to mean “power to conceive seed,” making the whole verse about Sarah: “by faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and too old, she received ability to conceive, because she regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy.”
- Hebrews 11:12 tn Grk “these”; in the translation the referent (children) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 11:12 tn Grk a collective “the sand.”
- Hebrews 11:12 sn An allusion to Gen 22:17 (which itself goes back to Gen 15:5).
- Hebrews 11:13 tn Grk “the promises,” referring to the things God promised, not to the pledges themselves.
- Hebrews 11:13 tn Or “sojourners.”
- Hebrews 11:16 tn Grk “now.”
- Hebrews 11:17 tn Here “received the promises” refers to the pledges themselves, not to the things God promised.
- Hebrews 11:17 tn Grk “he was offering up.” The tense of this verb indicates the attempt or readiness to sacrifice Isaac without the actual completion of the deed.
- Hebrews 11:18 tn Grk “in Isaac seed will be named for you.”sn A quotation from Gen 21:12.
- Hebrews 11:19 tn Grk “having reasoned,” continuing the ideas of v. 17.
- Hebrews 11:19 tn Grk “in/by a symbol.”
- Hebrews 11:21 tn Grk “worshiped on the top of his staff,” a quotation from Gen 47:31 (LXX).
- Hebrews 11:22 tn Grk “coming to an end,” “dying.”
- Hebrews 11:22 sn Joseph’s prophecy about the exodus of the sons of Israel is found in Gen 50:24.
- Hebrews 11:22 tn Grk “about his bones,” which refers by metonymy to the disposition of his bones, i.e., his burial.sn The instructions about his burial are recorded in Gen 50:25.
- Hebrews 11:23 tn Grk “Moses, when he was born, was hidden by his parents.”
- Hebrews 11:26 tn Grk “the abuse [or ‘reproach’] of Christ.”
- Hebrews 11:26 tn Grk “he was looking away to.”
- Hebrews 11:28 tn Grk “the pouring out of the blood.”sn The sprinkling of the blood refers here to the application of the blood to the doorways of the Israelite houses (cf. Exod 12:7, 13).
- Hebrews 11:30 tn Grk “after they had been encircled.”
- Hebrews 11:31 tn Grk “did not perish together with.”
- Hebrews 11:33 tn This probably refers to the righteous rule of David and others. But it could be more general and mean “did what was righteous.”
- Hebrews 11:33 tn Grk “obtained promises,” referring to the things God promised, not to the pledges themselves. sn Gained what was promised. They saw some of God’s promises fulfilled, even though the central promise remained unfulfilled until Christ came (cf. vv. 39-40).
- Hebrews 11:34 tn Grk “quenched the power of fire.”
- Hebrews 11:34 tn Or “recovered from sickness.”
- Hebrews 11:35 tn Grk “received back their dead from resurrection.”
- Hebrews 11:35 tn Grk “to obtain a better resurrection.”
- Hebrews 11:37 tc The reading ἐπρίσθησαν (epristhēsan, “they were sawed apart”) is found in some significant witnesses (P46 [D* twice reads ἐπίρσθησαν, “they were burned”?] syp sa Orpt Eus). Other mss have ἐπειράσθησαν (epeirasthēsan, “they were tempted”), either before “sawed apart” ([א] L P  33 81 326 1505 syh), after “sawed apart” (P13vid A D1 Ψ 1739 1881 M lat bo Orpt), or altogether in place of “sawed apart” (0150 vgmss Cl). Since the two words ἐπρίσθησαν and ἐπειράσθησαν are so much alike in sight and sound, and since the position of “they were tempted” varies in the mss, it seems best to say that ἐπειράσθησαν is an accidental transcriptional error of ἐπρίσθησαν or an intentional change to a more common word (the root of ἐπρίσθησαν [πρίζω, prizō] occurs only here in the NT, while the root of ἐπειράσθησαν [πειράζω, peirazō] occurs 38 times). The best reading here seems to be “sawed apart” without any addition before or after. (See TCGNT 603-4, for a discussion of emendations that scholars have proposed for this difficult problem.)
- Hebrews 11:39 sn The expression these all were commended forms an inclusio with Heb 11:2: The chapter begins and ends with references to commendation for faith.
- Hebrews 11:39 tn Grk “the promise,” referring to the thing God promised, not to the pledge itself.
- Hebrews 11:40 tn The Greek phrasing emphasizes this point by negating the opposite: “so that they would not be made perfect without us.”
New International Version
Faith in Action
3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command,(D) so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
4 By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended(E) as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings.(F) And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.(G)
5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a](H) For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him(I) must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen,(J) in holy fear built an ark(K) to save his family.(L) By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.(M)
8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance,(N) obeyed and went,(O) even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land(P) like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents,(Q) as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.(R) 10 For he was looking forward to the city(S) with foundations,(T) whose architect and builder is God.(U) 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age,(V) was enabled to bear children(W) because she[b] considered him faithful(X) who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead,(Y) came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.(Z)
13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised;(AA) they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance,(AB) admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.(AC) 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.(AD) 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.(AE) Therefore God is not ashamed(AF) to be called their God,(AG) for he has prepared a city(AH) for them.
17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice.(AI) He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”[c](AJ) 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead,(AK) and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future.(AL)
21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons,(AM) and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions concerning the burial of his bones.(AN)
24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.(AQ) 25 He chose to be mistreated(AR) along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace(AS) for the sake of Christ(AT) as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.(AU) 27 By faith he left Egypt,(AV) not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer(AW) of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.(AX)
29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.(AY)
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.(AZ)
32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon,(BB) Barak,(BC) Samson(BD) and Jephthah,(BE) about David(BF) and Samuel(BG) and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms,(BH) administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,(BI) 34 quenched the fury of the flames,(BJ) and escaped the edge of the sword;(BK) whose weakness was turned to strength;(BL) and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.(BM) 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again.(BN) There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging,(BO) and even chains and imprisonment.(BP) 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e](BQ) they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword.(BR) They went about in sheepskins and goatskins,(BS) destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves(BT) and in holes in the ground.
39 These were all commended(BU) for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised,(BV) 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us(BW) would they be made perfect.(BX)
- Hebrews 11:5 Gen. 5:24
- Hebrews 11:11 Or By faith Abraham, even though he was too old to have children—and Sarah herself was not able to conceive—was enabled to become a father because he
- Hebrews 11:18 Gen. 21:12
- Hebrews 11:31 Or unbelieving
- Hebrews 11:37 Some early manuscripts stoning; they were put to the test;
King James Version
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of 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 were 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 yet speaketh.
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 pleased God.
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 country.
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 a city.
17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, 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 recompence 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 Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, 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 tortured, 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 tempted, 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 made perfect.