Hebrews 11:1-7


Between 10:39 and 12:1 the author inserts examples of people who have taken the encouragement from the end of chapter 10 and ran with it as advised in 12:1


Men and women who have gone before us and handed the faith off to us had nothing but the promises of God.  Many times they lived and died waiting.  They lived their lives, set their priorities, made decisions and kept the faith with nothing more than a promise.  In many cases they never saw the “reward” or the “fulfillment.”  They lived their lives with the conviction that these promises (the word of God) were true.


Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.


εἰμί     δέ    πίστις         ἐλπίζω                        ὑπόστασις         πρᾶγμα         ἔλεγχος      οὐ         βλέπω

now     is     faith    of things being hoped        reality              of things        proof          not     being seen


Faith is now.  Faith is in the present.

ὑπόστασις “hupostasis” “reality”  

  • NIV “being sure”
  • KJ “substance”
  • American Standard Version “assurance”
  • Weymouth “confident assurance”
  • Rotherham’s “confidence”
  • Berkley “faith forms a solid ground for what is hoped for”
  • Montgomery “title-deed”
  • The Linguistic Key says: “Assurance.  The word has a number of connotations and usages: essence, reality, substance, foundation, or confidant assurance, hope or guarantee, attestation, as in documents that attest or provide evidence of ownership”
  • This word has been used twice in Hebrews:
    • 1:3 where the Son is said to be the exact representation of God’s “hupostasis” (translated: “being”)
    • 3:14 where the believers are told to hold firmly till the end the “hupostasis” (translated: “confidence”)
  • The meaning of this word can be objective or subjective:
    • Objective (KJ, NEB) where it speaks of “substance” or “reality”.  This is the use of “hupostasis” in 1:3.
    • Subjective (ERV RSV) where it speaks of “assurance” or “confidence”.  This is the use of “hupostasis” in 3:14.  Read Paul in Romans 8:24 “hope that is seen is no hope at all.”


ἔλεγχος “elenchos” means “evidence” “proof” “certain”

  • This word is found in ancient papyri of legal proofs of an accusation.
  • “elenchos”  has the same two-fold meaning as the English word “conviction”
    • 2 Tim. 3:16 where it is the conviction or refutation of error
    • Also it means assurance, conviction or evidence as is the case with Moses in 11:27 where Moses “saw him who is invisible.”


“do not see” is used because the promises are:

  1. Spiritual
  2. Future


This is what the ancients were commended for.

ἐν       οὗτος       γάρ                μαρτυρέω                                                  πρεσβύτερος
by       this           for              obtained witness         the                          elders

“commended for” or “obtained witness” is aorist indicative passive which means someone else testified to their faith.  That someone else is God.

“elders” is the list of names that follows in chapter 11.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

πίστις             νοιέω                      καταρτίζω                            αἰών         ῥῆμα           θεός                
by faith     we understand       to have been adjusted    the        ages        word         of God     

εἰς            μή          ἐκ       φαίνω                                              βλέπω                    γίνομαι
so as        not         out     things appearing     the thing        being seen       to have become

To understand anything about faith and reality we must understand that it all began when God spoke.  Everything that is seen comes from the unseen. 

Faith is the doorway into reality.  Faith is not fantasy, but confidence in the truth.
In this case the truth comes to us in the forms of promises or the word of God.

νοιέωunderstand” expresses a mental perception and not a sensuous perception.

καταρτίζω “was formed” or “to have been adjusted” speaks of the creation and its vast variety and its unity.  The tense of the word indicates this is still seen in creation.

αἰών “ages” speaks of Time and Space

ῥῆμα  “Rhema” or “word” “utterance” is the spoken word and is not logos

Romans 1:20 Paul says we can perceive or understand the invisible through having seen the visible.


By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.

πίστις        πλείων                       θυσία             Ἄβελ            παρά             Κάϊν              προσφέρω          
By faith     a greater (a better)    sacrifice       Abel             than                Cain               offered         

θεός             διά             ὅς                 μαρτυρέω                  εἰμί              δίκαιος                μαρτυρέω
to God      through       which       he obtained witness    to be             just                    witnessing 

ἐπί                δῶρον           αὐτός                  θεός      καί         διά       αὐτός    ἀποθνήσκω   ἔτι      λαλέω
over   the       gifts             of him                   God      and    through      it          having died   still    speaks


By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

πίστις      Ἐνώχ         μετατίθημι              μή       ὁράω      θάνατος      καί      οὐ      εὑρίσκω     διότι
by faith    Enoch       was removed            not      to see      death         and    not    was found   because

μετατίθημι     αὐτός        θεός     πρό      γάρ         μετάθεσις          μαρτυρέω   
removed            him           God    before   for            removal          he has obtained witness

εὐαρεστέω                                                θεός
to having been well pleasing                 to God


And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

 χωρίς    δέ     πίστις       ἀδύνατος        εὐαρεστέω       πιστεύω      γάρ      δεῖ           προσέρχομαι
without   but   faith        impossible        well pleasing    to believe    for          it     the  approaching

 θεός        ὅτι         εἰμί        καί               ἐκζητέω       αὐτός        μισθαποδότης         γίνομαι
to God     that      he is       and    the     seeking out    him          a rewarder               becomes


By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

πίστις         χρηματίζω      Νῶε      περί               μηδέπω       βλέπω      εὐλαβέομαι        κατασκευάζω


κιβωτός       εἰς        σωτηρία            οἶκος      αὐτός      διά     ὅς       κατακρίνω            κόσμος


καί              κατά        πίστις       δικαιοσύνη        γίνομαι         κληρονόμος