Bible Commentaries

Hebrews 11

Verses 1-40

Then follows a series of illustrations of the power of faith taken from the history of the Hebrew people. The first is that by faith men know that the ages have been fashioned by the Word of God.

After this comes the rapid survey of the triumphs of faith. Abel worshiped on the basis of sacrifice. Enoch walked in days of general defection. Noah worked as against all outward appearance. Abraham obeyed the divine call, obtained a son contrary to the course of Nature, and offered him at the apparent risk of bitterest disappointment Isaac predicted the line of divine activity. Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph. Joseph provided for moving his bones to the land of his fathers. Moses was preserved as a child by his parents, made choice as a man, and established the nation. The nation itself made its exit from Egypt, and, finally, found its way into Canaan. Then comes the story of a woman outside the covenant who, acting on the principle of faith, was included in the record of its triumphs.

Then comes a list of names, every one of which has its own story of triumph through faith; and, immediately succeeding, a list of deeds and victories accomplished in the same power. The pathway of faith had been a pathway of suffering, and those who have thus endured are described as being such "of whom the world was not worthy."

The fruitfulness of faith in all these instances is yet more clearly revealed in that none of them received the promise. Faith was strong enough to enable them to endure even to the end, postponing the final realization until the purposes of God should be wrought out in the history of men.