Hebrews 11 – What Is Faith?

By Wayne Jackson

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews has often been called the biblical “Hall of Faith.” Certainly it does present an informative discussion of what constitutes genuine belief. Note the following points.

Faith Is Rational

By faith we “understand” that the universe is not self-existent; rather, it was designed by the Creator (v. 3). The notion that one cannot be intelligent without being anti-religious is a myth propagated by those who hate God. Logic and faith are companions.

Faith Depends upon Revelation

God has, in history, “borne witness,” “warned,” “called,” etc. (v. 4,5,7,8). Man does not intuitively know how to serve God. The Lord has spoken (Heb. 1:1), and, in the final analysis, that revelation is embodied in the Holy Scriptures.

Faith Involves Trusting Our Maker

When Noah was warned of God, though he had never seen a flood, he prepared the ark (v. 7). Abraham left Chaldea “not knowing whether he went” (v. 8). Clearly, trusting the unseen God is a vital component of true faith.

Faith Is an Action Word

Whereas many seem to entertain the notion that faith is merely a mental conviction, this chapter reveals that faith, in order to be valid, must act. By faith Abel “offered” a sacrifice (v. 4), Noah “prepared” an ark (v. 7), and Abraham “obeyed” the Lord (v. 8). Faith, divorced from obedience, is dead (Jas. 2:26).

Faith Discriminates

It chooses the spiritual over the material, the eternal over the temporal. Moses chose heavenly riches over the treasures of Egypt (v. 26).

Thus, somewhere in your margin write: The nature of true faith. Then, under that, list the five components outlined (and italicized) above, and the verse numbers appropriate to each of them.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.