Heroes of Faith 1
Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.
For by it our ancestors were approved.
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain [did]. By this he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through this.
By faith, Enoch was taken away so that he did not experience death, and he was not to be found because God took him away. For prior to his transformation he was approved, having pleased God.
Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.
By faith Noah, after being warned about what was not yet seen, in reverence built an ark to deliver his family. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was going.
By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, co-heirs of the same promise.
For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
By faith even Sarah herself, when she was barren, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the One who had promised was faithful.
And therefore from one man-in fact, from one as good as dead-came offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as innumerable as the grains of sand by the seashore.
These all died in faith without having received the promises, but they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth.
Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been remembering that land they came from, they would have had opportunity to return.
But they now aspire to a better land-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 he was tested, offered up Isaac; he who had received the promises was offering up his unique son,
about whom it had been said, In Isaac your seed will be called.
He considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead, from which he also got him back as an illustration.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and, he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave instructions concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn't fear the king's edict.
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter
and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the short-lived pleasure of sin.
For he considered reproach for the sake of the Messiah to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since his attention was on the reward.
By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king's anger, for he persevered, as one who sees Him who is invisible.
By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after being encircled for seven days.
By faith Rahab the prostitute received the spies in peace and didn't perish with those who disobeyed.
And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,
quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength after being weak, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight.
Women received their dead raised to life again. Some men were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection,
and others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated.
The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts, mountains, caves, and holes in the ground.
All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised,
since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.