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Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of [things] hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

< Hebrews 10:38
Hebrews 11:1 >

      Heb 11:1-40. DEFINITION OF THE FAITH JUST SPOKEN OF (Heb 10:39): EXAMPLES FROM THE OLD COVENANT FOR OUR PERSEVERANCE IN FAITH.

      1. Description of the great things which faith (in its widest sense: not here restricted to faith in the Gospel sense) does for us. Not a full definition of faith in its whole nature, but a description of its great characteristics in relation to the subject of Paul's exhortation here, namely, to perseverance.
      substance, &c.--It substantiates promises of God which we hope for, as future in fulfilment, making them present realities to us. However, the Greek is translated in Heb 3:14, "confidence"; and it also here may mean "sure confidence." So ALFORD translates. THOMAS MAGISTER supports English Version, "The whole thing that follows is virtually contained in the first principle; now the first commencement of the things hoped for is in us through the assent of faith, which virtually contains all the things hoped for." Compare Note, see on Heb 6:5, "tasted . . . powers of the world to come." Through faith, the future object of Christian hope, in its beginning, is already present. True faith infers the reality of the objects believed in and honed for (Heb 11:6). HUGO DE ST. VICTOR distinguished faith from hope. By faith alone we are sure of eternal things that they ARE: but by hope we are confident that WE SHALL HAVE them. All hope presupposes faith (Ro 8:25).
      evidence--"demonstration": convincing proof to the believer: the soul thereby seeing what the eye cannot see.
      things not seen--the whole invisible and spiritual world: not things future and things pleasant, as the "things hoped for," but also the past and present, and those the reverse of pleasant. "Eternal life is promised to us, but it is when we are dead: we are told of a blessed resurrection, but meanwhile we moulder in the dust; we are declared to be justified, and sin dwells in us; we hear that we are blessed, meantime we are overwhelmed in endless miseries: we are promised abundance of all goods, but we still endure hunger and thirst; God declares He will immediately come to our help, but He seems deaf to our cries. What should we do if we had not faith and hope to lean on, and if our mind did not emerge amidst the darkness above the world by the shining of the Word and Spirit of God?" [CALVIN]. Faith is an assent unto truths credible upon the testimony of God (not on the reasonableness of the thing revealed, though by this we may judge as to whether it be what it professes, a genuine revelation), delivered unto us in the writings of the apostles and prophets. Thus Christ's ascension is the cause, and His absence the crown, of our faith: because He ascended, we the more believe, and because we believe in Him who hath ascended, our faith is the more accepted [BISHOP PEARSON]. Faith believes what it sees not; for if thou seest there is no faith; the Lord has gone away so as not to be seen: He is hidden that He may be believed; the yearning desire by faith after Him who is unseen is the preparation of a heavenly mansion for us; when He shall be seen it shall be given to us as the reward of faith [AUGUSTINE]. As Revelation deals with spiritual and invisible things exclusively, faith is the faculty needed by us, since it is the evidence of things not seen. By faith we venture our eternal interests on the bare word of God, and this is altogether reasonable.

JFB.


Questions Related to this Verse

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Hebrews Images and Notes

The Book of Hebrews

Hebrews 1:1-3 - God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Hebrews 8:6 - But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

Hebrews 11:1-3 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report. 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.

Hebrews in The New Testament - A Brief Overview

Painting of the Apostle Paul by Rembrandt - 1657
Painting of a Hebrew Scribe

Introduction to The Book of Hebrews

Brief Summary. The Main theme of the book of Hebrews can be found in the opening verses. Jesus Christ is clearly greater than anything that the Old Covenant had produced. Jesus is the great high priest, the eternal mediator between God and man who never stops mediating, and is the perfect fulfillment of all prophecies and types and shadows pointing to the Hebrew Messiah within the Old Covenant. The book of Hebrews unveils Christ as the One who is greater than each of the types and shadows that were pointing to him in the Old Covenant. Moses was the great lawgiver, but Christ was the perfect fulfillment of the law. The high priest in the Old Testament offered sacrifices each year, Jesus the eternal high Priest offered himself once and for all. The promises contained in the Old Covenant were for a season, but the New Testament is  built on better promises that are forever written on men's hearts.

Summary of The Book of Hebrews

Purpose. The main purpose of the epistle is to establish Christianity as being superior to the Law. The writer exalts the superiority of Christ to angels, to Moses and Joshua, and to the Levitical high-priesthood. The book of Hebrews also makes a contrast between the tabernacle and its sacrifices and the sacrifice of Christ. The write strongly warns the Hebrew Christian to remain faithful to the Christian religion and its principles and to separate from Judaism, which had served its purpose and which was about to lose their rituals, sacrifices, and Temple.

Audience. The writer titles his epistle "To the Hebrews" and every chapter and verse of the book is clearly designed to instruct and encourage those who were Hebrew in blood and had become followers of Jesus Christ. It appears that the Temple was still standing at the time this epistle was written because it is often alluded to.

Author. Unknown, evidence points to Paul. There has been much controversy regarding the authorship of the book of Hebrews. Some say that it was written by Barnabas, others say it was Luke, or Apollos. The author of the book does not state his name, but it is definitely Pauline in style. A greater number of scholars have attributed this book to Paul than any other author. The writer refers to "our brother Timothy" (Hebrews 13:23) and "they of Italy" (Hebrews 13:24). It also appears that the writer was imprisoned, from his request for prayers that he might be restored to his readers. Paul was imprisoned several times and this could refer to any of those. The only absolute conclusion is that which Origen expressed: "God only knows who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews."

Date. The book of Hebrews was probably written shortly after AD 60.

Place Written. It says in Hebrews 13:24 "They of Italy salute you" and this phrase indicates that the letter was written from Italy. It is probable that the Epistle was written near his second Roman imprisonment, about 60-62 AD.

Outline of the Book of Hebrews

Christ Greater Than the Prophets and Angels - Chapters 1-2
Christ Greater Than Moses and Joshua - Chapters 3-4
Christ Greater Than the Aaronic Priesthood - Chapters 5-8
Christ's New Covenant Greater Than the Old - Chapters 8-10
Faith in Christ Greater Than the Law - Chapters 11-13

Jesus written in Hebrew
The Name Jesus In Ancient Hebrew Text
"Yeshua" in First Century Hebrew Text. This is how the name "Jesus" would have been written in ancient Hebrew documents. The four letters or consonants from right to left are Yod, Shin, Vav, Ayin (Y, SH, OO, A). Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua or Y'shua which means "The LORD or Yahweh is Salvation".

Hebrews Maps and Resources

Map of the Roman Empire (14 A.D.) - This map reveals the Roman Empire during the time shortly after the birth of Jesus, in 14 AD at the time of the death of Augustus. The order which prevailed in this extensive empire, the good military roads, and the use of Koine Greek as the general language of culture throughout the area were among the factors which multiplied the rapid spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's First Missionary Journey (48 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Second Missionary Journey (51 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his second missionary journey. Paul re-visits a couple cities in Asia, one of which was Lystra where he was stoned and left for dead a few years earlier. He later has a vision that leads him over to Greece and Paul and his companions travel and minister in various cities in Greece (Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth. Later Paul returns to Ephesus and finally to Caesarea and Antioch. (Color Map)

Map of Paul's Third Missionary Journey (54 A.D.) - This map reveals the areas in Asia and Greece where Paul visited in his third missionary journey. On Paul's third missionary journey he returned to the cities he had first visited on his first missionary journey. During this time he decided to remain in Ephesus for about 3 years, and this city was the main focus of his activities and an important Christian community (Acts 19). (Color Map)

Map of the New Testament World - This map reveals the "Nations" within the ancient world during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the areas of Israel, Asia, Greece, and Italy. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Greece This map reveals the cities within Greece in the ancient world during the first century A.D.,The map includes the principal cities of Greece like: Athens, Corinth, and Thessalonica, and provinces like Macedonia and Achaia. (Color Map)

Map of New Testament Asia - This map shows the cities within Asia Minor during the first century A.D., the time of the New Testament. The map includes the principal cities of Asia including Tarsus, Ephesus, and Colossae, and provinces like Galatia and Pamphilia. (Color Map)