Hebrews , CHAPTER 11
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.
Because of it the ancients were well attested.
By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.
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.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and "he was found no more because God had taken him." Before he was taken up, he was attested to have pleased God.
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.
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.
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.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and maker is God.
By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age--and Sarah herself was sterile--for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy.
So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.
All these died in faith. They did not receive what had been promised but saw it and greeted it from afar and acknowledged themselves to be strangers and aliens on earth,
for those who speak thus show that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of the land from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return.
But now they desire a better homeland, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son,
of whom it was said, "Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name."
He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.
By faith regarding things still to come Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.
By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and "bowed in worship, leaning on the top of his staff."
By faith Joseph, near the end of his life, spoke of the Exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions about his bones.
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.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
he chose to be ill-treated along with the people of God rather than enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin.
He considered the reproach of the Anointed greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the recompense.
By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king's fury, for he persevered as if seeing the one who is invisible.
By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted it they were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell after being encircled for seven days.
By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with the disobedient, for she had received the spies in peace.
What more shall I say? I have not time to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
who by faith conquered kingdoms, did what was righteous, obtained the promises; they closed the mouths of lions,
put out raging fires, escaped the devouring sword; out of weakness they were made powerful, became strong in battle, and turned back foreign invaders.
Women received back their dead through resurrection. Some were tortured and would not accept deliverance, in order to obtain a better resurrection.
Others endured mockery, scourging, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, sawed in two, put to death at sword's point; they went about in skins of sheep or goats, needy, afflicted, tormented.
The world was not worthy of them. They wandered about in deserts and on mountains, in caves and in crevices in the earth.
Yet all these, though approved because of their faith, did not receive what had been promised.
God had foreseen something better for us, so that without us they should not be made perfect.