People Commended for Their Faith
11 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see. 2 For by it the people of old 1 received God’s commendation. 2 3 By faith we understand that the worlds 3 were set in order at God’s command, 4 so that the visible has its origin in the invisible. 5 4 By faith Abel offered God a greater sacrifice than Cain, and through his faith 6 he was commended as righteous, because God commended him for his offerings. And through his faith 7 he still speaks, though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he did not see death, and he was not to be found because God took him up. For before his removal he had been commended as having pleased God. 6 Now without faith it is impossible to please him, for the one who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, when he was warned about things not yet seen, with reverent regard 8 constructed an ark for the deliverance of his family. Through faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place he would later receive as an inheritance, and he went out without understanding where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as a foreigner 9 in the promised land as though it were a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, who were fellow heirs 10 of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, 11 whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, 12 he received the ability to procreate, 13 because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy. 12 So in fact children 14 were fathered by one man – and this one as good as dead – like the number of stars in the sky and like the innumerable grains of sand 15 on the seashore. 16 13 These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, 17 but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners 18 on the earth. 14 For those who speak in such a way make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 In fact, if they had been thinking of the land that they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, 19 they aspire to a better land, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. 17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He had received the promises, 20 yet he was ready to offer up 21 his only son. 18 God had told him, “Through Isaac descendants will carry on your name,” 22 19 and he reasoned 23 that God could even raise him from the dead, and in a sense 24 he received him back from there. 20 By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped as he leaned on his staff. 25 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, 26 mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel 27 and gave instructions about his burial. 28
23 By faith, when Moses was born, his parents hid him 29 for three months, because they saw the child was beautiful and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith, when he grew up, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to enjoy sin’s fleeting pleasure. 26 He regarded abuse suffered for Christ 30 to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed on 31 the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt without fearing the king’s anger, for he persevered as though he could see the one who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, 32 so that the one who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. 29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea as if on dry ground, but when the Egyptians tried it, they were swallowed up. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho 33 fell after the people marched around them 34 for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute escaped the destruction of 35 the disobedient, because she welcomed the spies in peace.
32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. 33 Through faith they conquered kingdoms, administered justice, 36 gained what was promised, 37 shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, 38 escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, 39 became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight, 35 and women received back their dead raised to life. 40 But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. 41 36 And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, sawed apart, 42 murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth. 39 And these all were commended 43 for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. 44 40 For God had provided something better for us, so that they would be made perfect together with us. 45
The Lord’s Discipline
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 1 we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, 2 keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 2 3 Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. 4 You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed 3 in your struggle against sin. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
“My son, do not scorn 4 the Lord’s discipline
or give up when he corrects 5 you.
6 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves and chastises every son he accepts.” 6
7 Endure your suffering 7 as discipline; 8 God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? 8 But if you do not experience discipline, 9 something all sons 10 have shared in, then you are illegitimate and are not sons. 9 Besides, we have experienced discipline from 11 our earthly fathers 12 and we respected them; shall we not submit ourselves all the more to the Father of spirits and receive life? 13 10 For they disciplined us for a little while as seemed good to them, but he does so for our benefit, that we may share his holiness. 11 Now all discipline seems painful at the time, not joyful. 14 But later it produces the fruit of peace and righteousness 15 for those trained by it. 12 Therefore, strengthen 16 your listless hands and your weak knees, 17 13 and make straight paths for your feet, 18 so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but be healed.
Do Not Reject God’s Warning
14 Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, 19 for without it no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, that no one be like a bitter root springing up 20 and causing trouble, and through him many become defiled. 16 And see to it that no one becomes 21 an immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 22 17 For you know that 23 later when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no opportunity for repentance, although he sought the blessing 24 with tears. 18 For you have not come to something that can be touched, 25 to a burning fire and darkness and gloom and a whirlwind 19 and the blast of a trumpet and a voice uttering words 26 such that those who heard begged to hear no more. 27 20 For they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 28 21 In fact, the scene 29 was so terrifying that Moses said, “I shudder with fear.” 30 22 But you have come to Mount Zion, the city 31 of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the assembly 23 and congregation of the firstborn, who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous, who have been made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator 32 of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks of something better than Abel’s does. 33
25 Take care not to refuse the one who is speaking! For if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less shall we, if we reject the one who warns from heaven? 26 Then his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven too.” 34 27 Now this phrase “once more” indicates the removal of what is shaken, that is, of created things, so that what is unshaken may remain. 28 So since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom, let us give thanks, and through this let us offer worship pleasing to God in devotion and awe. 29 For our God is indeed a devouring fire. 35