The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is a well-known discourse on men and women in the Old Testament whose lives were defined and characterized as being faithful to God. The phrase “the just shall live by faith” is found four times in the Scriptures. The first occurrence is in Habakkuk 2:4. Then it is found three times in the New Testament, with a different emphasis determined by the epistle in which it is found. In Romans 1:16-17, the emphasis is on what it means to be right with God (“the just”). The focus in Galatians 3:11-12 (“shall live”) speaks to the letter’s theme of being free in Christ. Then in Hebrews 10:38-39 (“by faith”) there is a concentration on the personal integrity of any Christ follower, as displayed in Hebrews 11. Here are some ways to enjoy and embrace and even experience some of the features of Hebrews chapter 11 in a personal or community setting:
- Try to unpack the definition of living by faith in vv1-2.
- It is not possible to please God without faith. This involves three things described in v.6.
- The men and women in this chapter were from an Old Testament context. What names and narratives would be included if this were written from a New Testament setting? What about a modern day context?
- Which person(s) in this chapter would provoke and/or stimulate a good conversation?
- Consider the ambivalence of the unexpected triumphs and the unexplained tragedies involved in a lifestyle of faith.
- What are some of the interesting phrases attached to the examples of faith in this chapter? For example, of Enoch it was said that as a result of walking with God, “he could not be found.” Or consider Abraham who “went out, not knowing where he was going.”
- Consider those “named” in the passage as well as those “not named.”