New International Version

Hebrews 11:1-40

Faith in Action

1Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2This is what the ancients were commended for.

3By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

5By 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.”11:5 Gen. 5:24 For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

8By 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. 9By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she11:11 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 considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

17By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.”11:18 Gen. 21:12 19Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

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

21By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

22By 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.

23By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

24By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

29By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

30By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.

31By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.11:31 Or unbelieving

32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37They were put to death by stoning;11:37 Some early manuscripts stoning; they were put to the test; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

New International Reader’s Version

Hebrews 11:1-40

Faith That Produces Action

1Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see. 2That is what the people of long ago were praised for.

3We have faith. So we understand that everything was made when God commanded it. That’s why we believe that what we see was not made out of what could be seen.

4Abel had faith. So he brought to God a better offering than Cain did. Because of his faith Abel was praised as a godly man. God said good things about his offerings. Because of his faith Abel still speaks. He speaks even though he is dead.

5Enoch had faith. So he was taken from this life. He didn’t die. “He couldn’t be found, because God had taken him away.” (Genesis 5:24) Before God took him, Enoch was praised as one who pleased God. 6Without faith it is impossible to please God. Those who come to God must believe that he exists. And they must believe that he rewards those who look to him.

7Noah had faith. So he built an ark to save his family. He built it because of his great respect for God. God had warned him about things that could not yet be seen. Because of his faith Noah showed the world that it was guilty. Because of his faith he was considered right with God.

8Abraham had faith. So he obeyed God. God called him to go to a place he would later receive as his own. So he went. He did it even though he didn’t know where he was going. 9Because of his faith he made his home in the land God had promised him. Abraham was like an outsider in a strange country. He lived there in tents. So did Isaac and Jacob. They received the same promise he did. 10Abraham was looking forward to the city that has foundations. He was waiting for the city that God planned and built. 11And Sarah had faith. So God made it possible for her to become a mother. She became a mother even though she was too old to have children. But Sarah believed that the God who made the promise was faithful. 12Abraham was past the time when he could have children. But many children came from that one man. They were as many as the stars in the sky. They were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. No one could count them.

13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They didn’t receive the things God had promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a long way off. They openly said that they were outsiders and strangers on earth. 14People who say things like that show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15What if they had been thinking of the country they had left? Then they could have returned to it. 16Instead, they longed for a better country. They wanted a heavenly one. So God is pleased when they call him their God. In fact, he has prepared a city for them.

17Abraham had faith. So when God tested him, Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice. Abraham had held on tightly to the promises. But he was about to offer his one and only son. 18God had said to him, “Your family line will continue through Isaac.” (Genesis 21:12) Even so, Abraham was going to offer him up. 19Abraham did this, because he believed that God could even raise the dead. In a way, he did receive Isaac back from death.

20Isaac had faith. So he blessed Jacob and Esau. He told them what was ahead for them.

21Jacob had faith. So he blessed each of Joseph’s sons. He blessed them when he was dying. Because of his faith he worshiped God. Jacob worshiped as he leaned on the top of his walking stick.

22Joseph had faith. So he spoke to the people of Israel about how they would leave Egypt someday. When his death was near, he spoke about where to bury his bones.

23Moses’ parents had faith. So they hid him for three months after he was born. They saw he was a special child. They were not afraid of the king’s command.

24Moses had faith. So he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. That happened after he had grown up. 25He chose to be treated badly together with the people of God. He chose not to enjoy sin’s pleasures. They only last for a short time. 26He suffered shame because of Christ. He thought it had great value. Moses considered it better than the riches of Egypt. He was looking ahead to his reward. 27Because of his faith, Moses left Egypt. It wasn’t because he was afraid of the king’s anger. He didn’t let anything stop him. That’s because he saw the God who can’t be seen. 28Because of his faith, Moses was the first to keep the Passover Feast. He commanded the people of Israel to sprinkle blood on their doorways. He did it so that the destroying angel would not touch their oldest sons.

29The people of Israel had faith. So they passed through the Red Sea. They went through it as if it were dry land. The Egyptians tried to do it also. But they drowned.

30Israel’s army had faith. So the walls of Jericho fell down. It happened after they had marched around the city for seven days.

31Rahab, the prostitute, had faith. So she welcomed the spies. That’s why she wasn’t killed with those who didn’t obey God.

32What more can I say? I don’t have time to tell about all the others. I don’t have time to talk about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah. I don’t have time to tell about David and Samuel and the prophets. 33Because of their faith they took over kingdoms. They ruled fairly. They received the blessings God had promised. They shut the mouths of lions. 34They put out great fires. They escaped being killed by swords. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became powerful in battle. They beat back armies from other countries. 35Women received back their dead. The dead were raised to life again. There were others who were made to suffer greatly. But they refused to be set free. They did this so that after death they would be raised to an even better life. 36Some were made fun of and even whipped. Some were held by chains. Some were put in prison. 37Some were killed with stones. Some were sawed in two. Some were killed by swords. They went around wearing the skins of sheep and goats. They were poor. They were attacked. They were treated badly. 38The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains. They lived in caves. They lived in holes in the ground.

39All these people were praised because they had faith. But none of them received what God had promised. 40That’s because God had planned something better for us. So they would only be made perfect together with us.