3 By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, 3 so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
4 4 By faith Abel offered to God a sacrifice greater than Cain's. Through this he was attested to be righteous, God bearing witness to his gifts, and through this, though dead, he still speaks.
6 5 But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
7 By faith Noah, warned about what was not yet seen, with reverence built an ark for the salvation of his household. Through this he condemned the world and inherited the righteousness that comes through faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
14 for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.
19 6 He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.
20 By faith regarding things still to come Isaac 7 blessed Jacob and Esau.
23 By faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after his birth, because they saw that he was a beautiful child, and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
24 8 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
32 What more shall I say? I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
40 God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect. 9
1 [1-40] This chapter draws upon the people and events of the Old Testament to paint an inspiring portrait of religious faith, firm and unyielding in the face of any obstacles that confront it. These pages rank among the most eloquent and lofty to be found in the Bible. They expand the theme announced in Hebrews 6:12, to which the author now returns (Hebrews 10:39). The material of this chapter is developed chronologically. Hebrews 11:3-7 draw upon the first nine chapters of Genesis (Genesis 1-9); Hebrews 11:8-22, upon the period of the patriarchs; Hebrews 11:23-31, upon the time of Moses; Hebrews 11:32-38, upon the history of the judges, the prophets, and the Maccabean martyrs. The author gives the most extensive description of faith provided in the New Testament, though his interest does not lie in a technical, theological definition. In view of the needs of his audience he describes what authentic faith does, not what it is in itself. Through faith God guarantees the blessings to be hoped for from him, providing evidence in the gift of faith that what he promises will eventually come to pass (Hebrews 11:1). Because they accepted in faith God's guarantee of the future, the biblical personages discussed in Hebrews 11:3-38 were themselves commended by God (Hebrews 11:2). Christians have even greater reason to remain firm in faith since they, unlike the Old Testament men and women of faith, have perceived the beginning of God's fulfillment of his messianic promises (Hebrews 11:39-40).
2  Faith is the realization . . . evidence: the author is not attempting a precise definition. There is dispute about the meaning of the Greek words hypostasis and elenchos, here translated realization and evidence, respectively. Hypostasis usually means ＂substance,＂ ＂being＂ (as translated in Hebrews 1:3), or ＂reality＂ (as translated in Hebrews 3:14); here it connotes something more subjective, and so realization has been chosen rather than ＂assurance＂ (RSV). Elenchos, usually ＂proof,＂ is used here in an objective sense and so translated evidence rather than the transferred sense of ＂(inner) conviction＂ (RSV).
3  By faith . . . God: this verse does not speak of the faith of the Old Testament men and women but is in the first person plural. Hence it seems out of place in the sequence of thought.
4  The ＂Praise of the Ancestors＂ in Sirach 44:1-50:21 gives a similar list of heroes. The Cain and Abel narrative in Genesis 4:1-16 does not mention Abel's faith. It says, however, that God ＂looked with favor on Abel and his offering＂ (Genesis 4, 4); in view of v 6 the author probably understood God's favor to have been activated by Abel's faith. Though dead, he still speaks: possibly because his blood ＂cries out to me from the soil＂ (Genesis 4:10), but more probably a way of saying that the repeated story of Abel provides ongoing witness to faith.
6  As a symbol: Isaac's ＂return from death＂ is seen as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. Others understand the words en parabole to mean ＂in figure,＂ i.e., the word dead is used figuratively of Isaac, since he did not really die. But in the one other place that parabole occurs in Hebrews, it means symbol (Hebrews 9:9).
7 [20-22] Each of these three patriarchs, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, had faith in the future fulfillment of God's promise and renewed this faith when near death.
8 [24-27] The reason given for Moses' departure from
9  So that without us they should not be made perfect: the heroes of the Old Testament obtained their recompense only after the saving work of Christ had been accomplished. Thus they already enjoy what Christians who are still struggling do not yet possess in its fullness.