Section 19, Chapter 12
What faith is. Its wonderful fruits and efficacy demonstrated in the fathers.
11:1. Now, faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.
11:2. For by this the ancients obtained a testimony.
11:3. By faith we understand that the world was framed by the word of God: that from invisible things visible things might be made.
11:4. By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice exceeding that of Cain, by which he obtained a testimony that he was just, God giving testimony to his gifts. And by it he being dead yet speaketh.
11:5. By faith Henoch was translated that he should not see death: and he was not found because God had translated him. For before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God.
11:6. But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is: and is a rewarder to them that seek him.
11:7. By faith Noe, having received an answer concerning those things which as yet were not seen, moved with fear, framed the ark for the saving of his house: by the which he condemned the world and was instituted heir of the justice which is by faith.
11:8. By faith he that is called Abraham obeyed to go out into a place which he was to receive for an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing whither he went.
He that is called Abraham. . .or, Abraham being called.
11:9. By faith he abode in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in cottages, with Isaac and Jacob, the co-heirs of the same promise.
11:10. For he looked for a city that hath foundations: whose builder and maker is God.
11:11. By faith also Sara herself, being barren, received strength to conceive seed, even past the time of age: because she believed that he was faithful who had promised,
11:12. For which cause there sprung even from one (and him as good as dead) as the stars of heaven in multitude and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
11:13. All these died according to faith, not having received the promises but beholding them afar off and saluting them and confessing that they are pilgrims and strangers on the earth.
11:14. For they that say these things do signify that they seek a country.
11:15. And truly, if they had been mindful of that from whence they came out, they had doubtless, time to return.
11:16. But now they desire a better, that is to say, a heavenly country. Therefore, 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 Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
11:18. (To whom it was said: In Isaac shalt thy seed be called:)
11:19. Accounting that God is able to raise up even from the dead. Whereupon also he received him for a parable.
For a parable. . .That is, as a figure of Christ, slain and coming to life again.
11:20. By faith also of things to come Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.
11:21. By faith Jacob, dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and adored the top of his rod.
Adored the top of his rod. . .The apostle here follows the ancient Greek Bible of the seventy interpreters, (which translates in this manner, Gen. 47. 31.,) and alleges this fact of Jacob, in paying a relative honour and veneration to the top of the rod or sceptre of Joseph, as to a figure of Christ's sceptre and kingdom, as an instance and argument of his faith. But some translators, who are no friends to this relative honour, have corrupted the text, by translating it, he worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff; as if this circumstance of leaning upon his staff were any argument of Jacob's faith, or worthy the being thus particularly taken notice of by the Holy Ghost.
11:22. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the going out of the children of Israel and gave commandment concerning his bones.
11:23. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents: because they saw he was a comely babe, and they feared not the king's edict.
11:24. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, denied himself to be the son of Pharao's daughter:
11:25. Rather choosing to be afflicted with the people of God than to have the pleasure of sin for a time:
11:26. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasure of the Egyptians. For he looked unto the reward.
11:27. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the fierceness of the king: for he endured, as seeing him that is invisible.
11:28. By faith he celebrated the pasch and the shedding of the blood: that he who destroyed the firstborn might not touch them.
11:29. By faith they passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land: which the Egyptians attempting, were swallowed up.
11:30. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, by the going round them seven days.
11:31. By faith Rahab the harlot perished not with the unbelievers, receiving the spies with peace.
11:32. And what shall I yet say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, Barac, Samson, Jephthe, David, Samuel, and the prophets:
11:33. Who by faith conquered kingdoms, wrought justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
11:34. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, recovered strength from weakness, became valiant in battle, put to flight the armies of foreigners.
11:35. Women received their dead raised to life again. But others were racked, not accepting deliverance, that they might find a better resurrection.
11:36. And others had trial of mockeries and stripes: moreover also of bands and prisons.
11:37. They were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted:
11:38. Of whom the world was not worthy: wandering in deserts, in mountains and in dens and in caves of the earth.
11:39. And all these, being approved by the testimony of faith, received not the promise:
11:40. God providing some better thing for us, that they should not be perfected without us.