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Chapter 11

1Faith means the assurance of what we hope for; it is our conviction about things that we cannot see. 2For it was by it that the men of old gained God’s approval.

3It is faith that enables us to see that the universe was created at the command of God, so that the world we see did not simply arise out of matter. 4Faith made Abel’s sacrifice greater in the sight of God than Cain’s; through faith he gained God’s approval as an upright man, for God himself approved his offering, and through faith even when he was dead he still spoke. 5Faith caused Enoch to be taken up from the earth without experiencing death; he could not be found, because God had taken him up. For before he was taken up there is evidence that he pleased God, 6but without faith it is impossible to please him; for whoever would approach God must have faith in his existence and in his willingness to reward those who try to find him. 7Faith led Noah, when he was warned by God of things no one then saw, in obedience to the warning to build an ark in which to save his family, and by such faith he condemned the world, and came to possess that uprightness which faith produces. 8Faith enabled Abraham to obey when God summoned him to leave his home for a region which he was to have for his own, and to leave home without knowing where he was going. 9Faith led him to make a temporary home as a stranger in the land he had been promised, and to live there in his tents, with Isaac and Jacob, who shared the promise with him. 10For he was looking forward to that city with the sure foundations, designed and built by God. 11Faith made even Sarah herself able to have a child, although she was past the time of life for it, because she thought, that he who had made the promise would keep it. 12And so from one man, for any prospect of descendants as good as dead, there sprang a people in number like the stars in the heavens or the countless sands on the seashore.

13All these people lived all their lives in faith, and died without receiving what had been promised; they only saw it far ahead and welcomed the sight of it, recognizing that they themselves were only foreigners and strangers here on earth. 14For men who recognize that show that they are in search of a country of their own. 15And if it had been the country from which they had come to which their thoughts turned back, they would have found an opportunity to return to it. 16But, as it is, their aspirations are for a better, a heavenly country! That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city to receive them.

17Faith enabled Abraham, when he was put to the test, to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had accepted God’s promises was ready to sacrifice his only son, 18of whom he had been told, “Your posterity is to arise through Isaac!” 19For he believed that God was able to raise men even from the dead, and from the dead he did indeed, to speak figuratively, receive him back. 20Faith enabled Isaac to bequeath to Jacob and Esau blessings that were still to be. 21Faith made Jacob when he was dying give a blessing to each of Joseph’s sons, and bow in worship even while leaning on his staff. 22Faith inspired Joseph when he was dying to tell of the future migration of the Israelites, and to give instructions about his own body. 23Faith led Moses’ parents to hide him for three months after his birth, because they saw that he was a beautiful child and they would not respect the edict of the king. 24Faith made Moses, when he was grown up, refuse to be known as a son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25for he preferred sharing the hardships of God’s people to a short-lived enjoyment of sin, 26and thought such contempt as the Christ endured was truer wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking forward to the coming reward. 27Faith made him leave Egypt, unafraid of the king’s anger, for he persevered as though he saw him who is unseen. 28Faith made him institute the Passover and splash the blood upon the door-posts, to keep the angel that destroyed the firstborn from touching them. 29Faith enabled them to cross the Red Sea as though it were dry land, although the Egyptians when they tried to follow them across it were drowned. 30Faith made the walls of Jericho fall, after they had marched around them each day for seven days. 31Faith saved Rahab the prostitute from being destroyed with those who disobeyed God, because she had given a friendly welcome to the scouts.

32And why should I go on? For my time would fail me if I told of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, 33who by their faith conquered kingdoms, attained uprightness, received new promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34put out furious fires, escaped death by the sword, found strength in their time of weakness, proved mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35Women had their dead restored to them by resurrection. Others endured torture, and refused to accept release, that they might rise again to the better life. 36Still others had to endure taunts and blows, and even fetters and prison. 37They were stoned to death, they were tortured to death, they were sawed in two, they were killed with the sword. Clothed in the skins of sheep or goats, they were driven from place to place, destitute, persecuted, misused— 38men of whom the world was not worthy wandering in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground.

39Yet though they all gained God’s approval by their faith, they none of them received what he had promised, 40for God had resolved upon something still better for us, that they might not reach the fulfilment of their hopes except with us.

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