Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV)
This passage has become one of the most famous definitions of faith in the Bible. And for good reason, it doesn’t just tell us what faith is but also how to live it out. The Hebrews 11:1 meaning is one that all Christians should know.
This is a powerful passage that can change the way you view your faith and give you hope in the difficult seasons of life. If you spend a few minutes learning the meaning of Hebrews 11:1 I believe your faith will be encouraged.
The Context Of Hebrews 11:1
Previously in Hebrews 10 the author talks about the faithfulness of God, and in Hebrews 11 the focus shifts to our faithfulness. This chapter has become one of the most known and loved chapters on faith, so much so that it’s earned the nickname the “faith chapter.”
In Hebrews 11 we see clear definition and examples of what true faith looks like. And that’s followed by an encouragement to live it out. If we have faith then it should be followed by obedience.
What the author does in this chapter is defines faith as trust. To place our faith in God means that we trust him. And that’s what we are going to see in the meaning of Hebrews 11:1.
So, let’s dive into this incredible passage and see what it has for us today.
The Hebrews 11:1 Meaning
This often quoted verse gives us an incredible definition of what faith really is. To help you better understand the Hebrews 11:1 meaning, I’m going to break this verse into two sections.
Now Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For Meaning
Faith is the substance, or the confidence, of what we hope for. The author here is saying that our faith is foundational for the Christian life.
So, what is the substance? What instills this confidence we hope for? Jesus. It’s the work that he has done for us that can be a firm foundation for our faith.
Now, this isn’t a blind faith. These words that the author uses show us that there is substance, or evidence, to trust in God. Christianity is a reasonable faith. In other words, there is a firm foundation for us to build our faith on.
In this first part of Hebrews 11:1 we see the author telling us that there are valid reasons to place our trust, our faith, in God. We can have secure hope in Christ.
The Evidence Of Things Not Seen Meaning
Now, just because there are real reasons to have faith, we also don’t have the full picture. We have evidence of the things we hope for, but we have not yet fully seen these things.
The word for “evidence” or “assurance” is hypostasis in the original Greek. And it commonly means confidence. Again, the author is showing us that though we might not be able to fully see, fully understand everything, we can be confident in our faith.
Therefore, we should hold firm. We should not just say we have confidence but actually live confidently in what Jesus has done for us.
Dr Tom Constable sums up this verse this way: “Essentially faith is confidence that things yet future and unseen will happen as God has revealed they will. This is the basic nature of faith. Hebrews 11:1 describes faith rather than defining it.”
Faith is living confidently, trusting that God’s promises will come true. We can have this confidence because of what he’s done for us in the past.
3 Lessons From Hebrews 11:1
Now that we’ve looked at the Hebrews 11:1 meaning, I want to end by giving you three practical ways you can apply this verse to your life.
1. Place Your Trust In God
The Author of Hebrews is describing what we should be doing. This is what faith is, trusting God.
To trust God means that we listen to him even when it might not make sense. It means we follow what he says is best rather than the voices around us. It means to trust that things will be made right for all who place their faith in him.
This is the foundation of faith, to place our full trust in God.
2. Look To What Is Unseen
We are often tempted to live by what we see in front of us. When life isn’t going the way we expected, it’s easy to assume that God isn’t in control. The problem is we can’t see what God sees.
Followers of Jesus are called to take a different approach to life. Rather than focusing only on what’s happening around us, we look to what we cannot see. We look past our struggles and toward God.
Hebrews 11:1 is telling us that we should cling to the hope we have in God. We should place our trust in him, even though we can’t fully see him. That means that Christians should cling to the promises that God has made.
Rather than looking to what we can see, we should look to what God has done and what he has promised.
For more check out: The Powerful Meaning Of 2 Corinthians 5:7 (for we live by faith not by sight)
3. Cling To Hope In The Dark
The reality is we will all go through dark seasons. We will all face struggles, suffering, grief, and loss. And it’s in these times that we ought to cling to the hope we have in God.
Jesus never promised his followers that we would have an easy life, but he did promise us that he would be with us. He did promise us that one day things will be made right, that we will spend eternity with him. We have an incredible hope in him.
Yes we will face trials, but they are temporary and we do not walk alone. God is with you right now. He will lead you through it and his promises are still true.
Cling to him. Cling to that hope. Remind yourself of it in the dark times, don’t lose sight.
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