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Hebrews 11-13 Common English Bible (CEB)

Description of faith

11 Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see. The elders in the past were approved because they showed faith.

Acts of faith by God’s people

By faith we understand that the universe has been created by a word from God so that the visible came into existence from the invisible.

By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain, which showed that he was righteous, since God gave approval to him for his gift. Though he died, he’s still speaking through faith.

By faith Enoch was taken up so that he didn’t see death, and he wasn’t found because God took him up.[a] He was given approval for having pleased God before he was taken up. It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.

By faith Noah responded with godly fear when he was warned about events he hadn’t seen yet. He built an ark to deliver his household. With his faith, he criticized the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes from faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out without knowing where he was going.

By faith he lived in the land he had been promised as a stranger. He lived in tents along with Isaac and Jacob, who were coheirs of the same promise. 10 He was looking forward to a city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 By faith even Sarah received the ability to have a child, though she herself was barren and past the age for having children, because she believed that the one who promised was faithful. 12 So descendants were born from one man (and he was as good as dead). They were as many as the number of the stars in the sky and as countless as the grains of sand on the seashore. 13 All of these people died in faith without receiving the promises, but they saw the promises from a distance and welcomed them. They confessed that they were strangers and immigrants on earth. 14 People who say this kind of thing make it clear that they are looking for a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking about the country that they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return to it. 16 But at this point in time, they are longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God isn’t ashamed to be called their God—he has prepared a city for them.

17 By faith Abraham offered Isaac when he was tested. The one who received the promises was offering his only son. 18 He had been told concerning him, Your legitimate descendants will come from Isaac.[b] 19 He figured that God could even raise him from the dead. So in a way he did receive him back from the dead.

20 By faith Isaac also blessed Jacob and Esau concerning their future.

21 By faith Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons as he was dying and bowed in worship over the head of his staff.[c]

22 By faith Joseph recalled the exodus of the Israelites at the end of his life, and gave instructions about burying his bones.

23 By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months when he was born, because they saw that the child was beautiful and they weren’t afraid of the king’s orders.

24 By faith Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter when he was grown up. 25 He chose to be mistreated with God’s people instead of having the temporary pleasures of sin. 26 He thought that the abuses he suffered for Christ were more valuable than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking forward to the reward.

27 By faith he left Egypt without being afraid of the king’s anger. He kept on going as if he could see what is invisible.

28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, in order that the destroyer could not touch their firstborn children.

29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if they were on dry land, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were drowned.

30 By faith Jericho’s walls fell after the people marched around them for seven days.

31 By faith Rahab the prostitute wasn’t killed with the disobedient because she welcomed the spies in peace.

32 What more can I say? I would run out of time if I told you about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. 33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, brought about justice, realized promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 put out raging fires, escaped from the edge of the sword, found strength in weakness, were mighty in war, and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured and refused to be released so they could gain a better resurrection.

36 But others experienced public shame by being taunted and whipped; they were even put in chains and in prison. 37 They were stoned to death, they were cut in two, and they died by being murdered with swords. They went around wearing the skins of sheep and goats, needy, oppressed, and mistreated. 38 The world didn’t deserve them. They wandered around in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground.

39 All these people didn’t receive what was promised, though they were given approval for their faith. 40 God provided something better for us so they wouldn’t be made perfect without us.

Let’s also run the race

12 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.

Run the race with discipline

Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up. In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood, and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters:

My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline
    or give up when you are corrected by him,
because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves,
        and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts.[d]

Bear hardship for the sake of discipline. God is treating you like sons and daughters! What child isn’t disciplined by his or her father? But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters. What’s more, we had human parents who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live? 10 Our human parents disciplined us for a little while, as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our benefit so that we can share his holiness. 11 No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.

12 So strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees! 13 Make straight paths for your feet so that if any part is lame, it will be healed rather than injured more seriously. 14 Pursue the goal of peace along with everyone—and holiness as well, because no one will see the Lord without it. 15 Make sure that no one misses out on God’s grace. Make sure that no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people. 16 Make sure that no one becomes sexually immoral or ungodly like Esau. He sold his inheritance as the oldest son for one meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected because he couldn’t find a way to change his heart and life, though he looked for it with tears.

Priestly service in heavenly Jerusalem

18 You haven’t drawn near to something that can be touched: a burning fire, darkness, shadow, a whirlwind, 19 a blast of a trumpet, and a sound of words that made the ones who heard it beg that there wouldn’t be one more word. 20 They couldn’t stand the command, If even a wild animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.[e] 21 The sight was so frightening that Moses said, “I’m terrified and shaking!”

22 But you have drawn near to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, to countless angels in a festival gathering, 23 to the assembly of God’s firstborn children who are registered in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than Abel’s blood.

25 See to it that you don’t resist the one who is speaking. If the people didn’t escape when they refused to listen to the one who warned them on earth, how will we escape if we reject the one who is warning from heaven? 26 His voice shook the earth then, but now he has made a promise: Still once more I will shake not only the earth but heaven also.[f] 27 The words “still once more” reveal the removal of what is shaken—the things that are part of this creation—so that what isn’t shaken will remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude.[g] With this gratitude, let’s serve[h] in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe, 29 because our God really is a consuming fire.

Our acts of service and sacrifice

13 Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place. Marriage must be honored in every respect, with no cheating on the relationship, because God will judge the sexually immoral person and the person who commits adultery. Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have. After all, he has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.[i] This is why we can confidently say,

The Lord is my helper,
    and I won’t be afraid.
What can people do to me?[j]

Remember your leaders who spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Don’t be misled by the many strange teachings out there. It’s a good thing for the heart to be strengthened by grace rather than by food. Food doesn’t help those who live in this context. 10 We have an altar, and those who serve as priests in the meeting tent don’t have the right to eat from it. 11 The blood of the animals is carried into the holy of holies by the high priest as an offering for sin, and their bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy with his own blood.

13 So now, let’s go to him outside the camp, bearing his shame. 14 We don’t have a permanent city here, but rather we are looking for the city that is still to come.

15 So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. 16 Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.

Closing greeting and blessing

17 Rely on your leaders and defer to them, because they watch over your whole being as people who are going to be held responsible for you. They need to be able to do this with pleasure and not with complaints about you, because that wouldn’t help you. 18 Pray for us. We’re sure that we have a good conscience, and we want to do the right thing in every way. 19 I’m particularly asking you to do this so that I can be returned to you quickly.

20 May the God of peace,
        who brought back the great shepherd of the sheep,
        our Lord Jesus,
        from the dead by the blood of the eternal covenant,
21     equip you with every good thing to do his will,
        by developing in us what pleases him through Jesus Christ.
    To him be the glory forever and always. Amen.

22 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to put up with this message of encouragement, since I’ve only written a short letter to you! 23 You should know that our brother Timothy has been set free. If he comes soon, we will travel together to see you.

24 Greet your leaders and all of God’s holy people. The group from Italy greets you.

25 May grace be with all of you.

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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