Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see.
For by it the saints of old won God's approval.
Through faith we understand that the worlds came into being, and still exist, at the command of God, so that what is seen does not owe its existence to that which is visible.
Through faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain did, and through this faith he obtained testimony that he was righteous, God giving the testimony by accepting his gifts; and through it, though he is dead, he still speaks.
Through faith Enoch was taken from the earth so that he did not see death, and he could not be found, because God had taken him; for before he was taken we have evidence that he truly pleased God.
But where there is no faith it is impossible truly to please Him; for the man who draws near to God must believe that there is a God and that He proves Himself a rewarder of those who earnestly try to find Him.
Through faith Noah, being divinely taught about things as yet unseen, reverently gave heed and built an ark for the safety of his family, and by this act he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which depends on faith.
Through faith Abraham, upon being called to leave home and go into a land which he was soon to receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he was going to.
Through faith he came and made his home for a time in a land which had been promised to him, as if in a foreign country, living in tents together with Isaac and Jacob, sharers with him in the same promise;
for he continually looked forward to the city which has the foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Through faith even Sarah herself received strength to become a mother--although she was past the time of life for this--because she judged Him faithful who had given the promise.
And thus there sprang from one man, and him practically dead, a nation like the stars of the sky in number, and like the sands on the sea shore which cannot be counted.
All these died in the possession of faith. They had not received the promised blessings, but had seen them from a distance and had greeted them, and had acknowledged themselves to be foreigners and strangers here on earth;
for men who acknowledge this make it manifest that they are seeking elsewhere a country of their own.
And if they had cherished the remembrance of the country they had left, they would have found an opportunity to return;
but, as it is, we see them eager for a better land, that is to say, a heavenly one. For this reason God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has now prepared a city for them.
Through faith Abraham, as soon as God put him to the test, offered up Isaac. Yes, he who had joyfully welcomed the promises was on the point of sacrificing his only son
with regard to whom he had been told, "It is through Isaac that your posterity shall be traced."
For he reckoned that God is even able to raise a man up from among the dead, and, figuratively speaking, it was from among the dead that he received Isaac again.
Through faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even in connexion with things soon to come.
Through faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and, leaning on the top of his staff, worshipped God.
Through faith Joseph, when he was near his end, made mention of the departure of the descendants of Israel, and gave orders about his own body.
Through faith the child Moses was hid for three months by his parents, because they saw his rare beauty; and the king's edict had no terror for them.
Through faith Moses, when he grew to manhood, refused to be known as Pharaoh's daughter's son,
having determined to endure ill-treatment along with the people of God rather than enjoy the short-lived pleasures of sin;
because he deemed the reproaches which he might meet with in the service of the Christ to be greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt; for he fixed his gaze on the coming reward.
Through faith he left Egypt, not being frightened by the king's anger; for he held on his course as seeing the unseen One.
Through faith he instituted the Passover, and the sprinkling with blood so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites.
Through faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing over dry land, but the Egyptians, when they tried to do the same, were swallowed up.
Through faith the walls of Jericho fell to the ground after being surrounded for seven days.
Through faith the notorious sinner Rahab did not perish along with the disobedient, for she had welcomed the spies and had sheltered them.
And why need I say more? For time will fail me if I tell the story of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, and of David and Samuel and the Prophets;
men who, as the result of faith, conquered whole kingdoms, brought about true justice, obtained promises from God, stopped lions' mouths,
deprived fire of its power, escaped being killed by the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put to flight foreign armies.
Women received back their dear ones alive from the dead; and others were put to death with torture, refusing the deliverance offered to them--that they might secure a better resurrection.
Others again were tested by cruel mockery and by scourging; yes, and by chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tried by temptation, they were killed with the sword. They went from place to place in sheepskins or goatskins, enduring want, oppression and cruelty.
(They were men of whom the world was not worthy.) They wandered across deserts and mountains, or hid themselves in caves and in holes in the ground.
And although by their faith all these people won God's approval, none of them received the fulfilment of His great promise;
for God had provided for them and us something better, so that apart from us they were not to attain to full blessedness.