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11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

11:3 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.

11:4 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.

11:5 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.

11:6 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.

11:7 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.

11:8 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.

11:9 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: 11:10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11:11 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.

11:12 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.

11:13 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.

11:14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

11:15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

11:16 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.

11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, 11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: 11:19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

11:23 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.

11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; 11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

11:32 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: 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.

11:34 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.

11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 11:37 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; 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Hebrews
Book: Hebrews
Chapter: 11

The nature and power of Faith described. (1-3) It is set forth
By instances from Abel to Noah. (4-7) By Abraham and his
descendants. (8-19) By Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Israelites, and
Rahab. (20-31) By other Old Testament believers. (32-38) The
better state of believers under the Gospel. (39,40)

1-3 Faith always has been the Mark of God's servants, from the
beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted By the
regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the Truth to be
received, concerning Justification By the sufferings and merits
of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our Hope,
are the object of our Faith. It is a firm persuasion and
expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in
Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things
now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, By the
First-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind,
the reality of things that cannot be seen By the bodily Eye. It
is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and
good. This view of Faith is explained By many examples of
persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an
honourable character in the Word of God. Faith was the principle
of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient
sufferings. The Bible gives the most true and exact account of
the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to
wrest the Scripture account of the Creation, because it does not
suit with the differing fancies of men. All that we see of the
Works of Creation, were brought into being By the command of

4-7 Here follow some illustrious examples of Faith from the Old
Testament. Abel brought a Sacrifice of Atonement from the
firstlings of the flock, acknowledging himself a sinner who
deserved to die, and only hoping for Mercy through the great
Sacrifice. Cain's proud rage and Enmity against the accepted
Worshipper of God, led to the awful effects the same principles
have produced in every Age; the cruel Persecution, and even
Murder of believers. By Faith Abel, being dead, yet speaketh; he
left an instructive and speaking Example. Enoch was translated,
or removed, that he should not see Death; God took him into
Heaven, as Christ will do the saints who shall be alive at his
second coming. We cannot come to God, unless we believe that he
is what he has revealed himself to be in the Scripture. Those
who would find God, must seek him with all their Heart. Noah's
Faith influenced his practice; it moved him to prepare an Ark.
His Faith condemned the unbelief of others; and his obedience
condemned their contempt and rebellion. Good examples either
convert sinners or condemn them. This shows how believers, being
warned of God to flee from the wrath to come, are moved with
fear, take Refuge in Christ, and become heirs of the
Righteousness of Faith.

8-19 We are often called to leave worldly connections,
interests, and comforts. If heirs of Abraham's Faith, we shall
obey and go forth, though not knowing what may befall us; and we
shall be found in the way of duty, looking for the performance
of God's promises. The trial of Abraham's Faith was, that he
simply and fully obeyed the Call of God. Sarah received the
promise as the promise of God; being convinced of that, she
truly judged that he both could and would perform it. Many, who
have a part in the promises, do not soon receive the things
promised. Faith can lay Hold of blessings at a great distance;
can make them present; can Love them and rejoice in them, though
strangers; as saints, whose home is Heaven; as pilgrims,
travelling toward their home. By Faith, they overcome the
terrors of Death, and bid a cheerful farewell to this world, and
to all the comforts and crosses of it. And those once truly and
savingly called out of a sinful state, have No mind to return
into it. All true believers desire the heavenly inheritance; and
the stronger Faith is, the more fervent those desires will be.
Notwithstanding their meanness By nature, their vileness By Sin,
and the poverty of their outward condition, God is not ashamed
to be called the God of all true believers; such is his Mercy,
such is his Love to them. Let them never be ashamed of being
called his people, nor of any of those who are truly So, how
much soever despised in the world. Above all, let them take care
that they are not a shame and reproach to their God. The
greatest trial and act of Faith upon record is, Abraham's
Offering up Isaac, Ge 22:2. There, every Word shows a trial.
It is our duty to reason down our doubts and fears, By looking,
as Abraham did, to the Almighty power of God. The best way to
enjoy our comforts is, to give them up to God; he will then
again give them as shall be the best for us. Let us look how far
our Faith has caused the like obedience, when we have been
called to lesser Acts of self-denial, or to make smaller
sacrifices to our duty. Have we given up what was called for,
fully believing that the Lord would make up all our losses, and
even Bless us By the most afflicting dispensations?

20-31 Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, concerning things to come.
Things present are not the best things; No Man knoweth Love or
Hatred By having them or wanting them. Jacob lived By Faith, and
he died By Faith, and in Faith. Though the Grace of Faith is of
use always through our whole lives, it is especially So when we
come to die. Faith has a great work to do at last, to help the
believer to die to the Lord, So as to honour him, By patience,
Hope, and joy. Joseph was tried By temptations to Sin, By
Persecution for keeping his integrity; and he was tried By
honours and power in the Court of Pharaoh, yet his Faith carried
him through. It is a great Mercy to be free from wicked laws and
edicts; but when we are not So, we must use all lawful means for
our security. In this Faith of Moses' parents there was a
mixture of unbelief, but God was pleased to overlook it. Faith
gives strength against the sinful, slavish fear of men; it sets
God before the soul, shows the vanity of the Creature, and that
all must give way to the will and power of God. The pleasures of
Sin are, and will be, but short; they must End either in speedy
Repentance or in speedy ruin. The pleasures of this world are
for the most part the pleasures of Sin; they are always So when
we cannot enjoy them without deserting God and his people.
Suffering is to be Chosen rather than Sin; there being more evil
in the least Sin, than there can be in the greatest suffering.
God's people are, and always have been, a reproached people.
Christ accounts himself reproached in their reproaches; and thus
they become greater riches than the treasures of the richest
empire in the world. Moses made his choice when ripe for
Judgment and enjoyment, able to know what he did, and why he did
it. It is needful for persons to be seriously religious; to
despise the world, when most capable of relishing and enjoying
it. Believers may and ought to have respect to the recompence of
reward. By Faith we may be fully sure of God's Providence, and
of his gracious and powerful presence with us. Such a sight of
God will enable believers to keep On to the End, whatever they
may meet in the way. It is not owing to our own Righteousness,
or best performances, that we are saved from the wrath of God;
but to the Blood of Christ, and his imputed Righteousness. True
Faith makes Sin Bitter to the soul, even while it receives the
Pardon and Atonement. All our spiritual privileges On Earth,
should quicken us in our way to Heaven. The Lord will make even
Babylon fall before the Faith of his people, and when he has
some great thing to do for them, he raises up great and strong
Faith in them. A true believer is desirous, not only to be in
Covenant with God, but in Communion with the people of God; and
is willing to fare as they fare. By her Works Rahab declared
herself to be just. That she was not justified By her Works
appears plainly; because the work she did was faulty in the
manner, and not perfectly good, therefore it could not be
answerable to the perfect Justice or Righteousness of God.

32-38 After all our searches into the Scriptures, there is more
to be learned from them. We should be pleased to think, how
great the number of believers was under the Old Testament, and
how strong their Faith, though the objects of it were not then
So fully made known as now. And we should lament that now, in
Gospel times, when the rule of Faith is more clear and perfect,
the number of believers should be So small, and their Faith So
weak. It is the excellence of the Grace of Faith, that, while it
Helps men to do great things, like Gideon, it keeps from high
and great thoughts of themselves. Faith, like Barak's, has
recourse unto God in all dangers and difficulties, and then
makes grateful returns to God for all mercies and deliverances.
By Faith, the servants of God shall overcome even the roaring
lion that goeth about seeking whom he may devour. The believer's
Faith endures to the End, and, in dying, gives him victory over
Death and all his deadly enemies, like Samson. The Grace of God
often fixes upon very undeserving and ill-deserving persons, to
do great things for them and By them. But the Grace of Faith,
wherever it is, will Put men upon acknowledging God in all their
ways, as Jephthah. It will make men bold and courageous in a
good cause. Few ever met with greater trials, few ever showed
more lively Faith, than David, and he has left a Testimony as to
the trials and Acts of Faith, in the Book of Psalms, which has
been, and ever will be, of great value to the people of God.
Those are likely to grow up to be distinguished for Faith, who
begin betimes, like Samuel, to Exercise it. And Faith will
enable a Man to serve God and his Generation, in whatever way he
may be employed. The interests and powers of Kings and kingdoms,
are often opposed to God and his people; but God can easily
subdue all that set themselves against him. It is a greater
honour and happiness to work Righteousness than to work
miracles. By Faith we have comfort of the promises; and By Faith
we are prepared to wait for the promises, and in due time to
receive them. And though we do not Hope to have our dead
relatives or friends restored to Life in this world, yet Faith
will support under the loss of them, and direct to the Hope of a
better resurrection. Shall we be most amazed at the wickedness
of human nature, that it is capable of such awful cruelties to
fellow-creatures, or at the excellence of Divine Grace, that is
able to Bear up the Faithful under such cruelties, and to carry
them safely through all? What a difference between God's
judgement of a Saint, and Man's Judgment! The world is not
worthy of those scorned, persecuted saints, whom their
persecutors reckon unworthy to live. They are not worthy of
their company, Example, counsel, or other benefits. For they
know not what a Saint is, nor the worth of a Saint, nor how to
use him; they hate, and drive such away, as they do the offer of
Christ and his Grace.

39,40 The world considers that the righteous are not worthy to
live in the world, and God declares the world is not worthy of
them. Though the righteous and the worldlings widely differ in
their Judgment, they agree in this, it is not fit that good men
should have their Rest in this world. Therefore God receives
them out of it. The Apostle tells the Hebrews, that God had
provided some better things for them, therefore they might be
sure that he expected as good things from them. As our
advantages, with the better things God has provided for us, are
So much Beyond theirs, So should our obedience of Faith,
patience of Hope, and labour of Love, be greater. And unless we
get true Faith as these believers had, they will rise up to
condemn us at the last Day. Let us then pray continually for the
increase of our Faith, that we may follow these bright examples,
and be, with them, at length made perfect in Holiness and
happiness, and shine like the Sun in the kingdom of our Father
for evermore.

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