v1-3 - This famous chapter is often referred to as the Hall of Faith. Faith is one of those words that we read and use often, but struggle to accurately define. These opening verses give us a robust definition of what faith is:
confidence | assurance | realization | substance
of the things hoped for
conviction | proof | assurance | evidence
of what we do not see.
Through faith, you can see
God created everything out of nothing. (v3)
Without faith you can not please God, but
through faith you believe He exists and seek His rewards. (v6)
v4-7 - The first inductees to the Hall of Faith are the first generations of mankind:
Abel: by faith brought a better offering, was commended as righteous. This act of faith has been a testimony for all of human history. (Genesis 4)
Enoch: by faith pleased God and was taken directly to heaven (Genesis 5:21-24)
Noah: - by faith saved his family and inherited righteousness (Genesis 6:13-22)
v8-12 - Abraham's faith:
enabled him to pack his entire operation and move even though he didn't know where;
looked forward to a city built by God even as he lived in tents;
along with Sarah's faith brought a son whose descendants outnumber the stars and sand.
v13-16 - The author takes a step back from focusing on the faith of individuals to demonstrate what they all had in common:
These faithful people all have died;
They didn't receive the full promise in their lifetimes, but they could see it from a distance;
They lived their lives longing for their heavenly home.
Therefore, God has prepared a city for them.
v17-22 - The faith of the patriarchs is described:
Abraham faithfully obeyed God's command to sacrifice Isaac, whom God had promised He would fulfill His promises through; (Genesis 22:1-10)
Jacob blessed Joseph's sons, after decades of thinking that Joseph was dead; (Genesis 48:1-22)
Joseph had faith God would deliver Israel from Egypt centuries before Israel was even enslaved there; (Genesis 50:24-25)
v23-29 - The faith of Moses (Exodus 12:21-23):
Was first demonstrated by his parents, who hid him so he could live;
Moses gave his loyalty to God's enslaved people, rather than to his position in Pharaoh's government (because he considered Christ (!!) to be a greater value);
Observed the first Passover and led God's people through the sea.
v30-40 - Perhaps the author sensed how long this passage would be if he described the tremendous acts of faith of all the Old Testament saints, so he speeds up and summarizes the many demonstrations of faith and the results of that faith. The chapter finishes by picking up on the key theme first established in v13:
None of these champions of faith received what they'd been promised.
Because God planned something better for us,
Together they and us would be made perfect.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
As has often been the case in Hebrews, there are lots of OT references in each chapter. Pick one of the faith champions and using the above references, read about their acts of faith.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Which one of these places is not mentioned in this chapter? Egypt, the Red Sea, Jericho, and Jerusalem. (See verses 22, 29, and 30.)
In looking at all of the fantastic examples of faith in this chapter, try and make a case for each of these statements:
It was easier for them to have faith than it is for people today;
It was harder for them to have faith than it is for people today.
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The one who formed the universe at His command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible (v3).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask that God will help you live by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: