Hebrews 11:1
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

King James Bible
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Darby Bible Translation
Now faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

World English Bible
Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, proof of things not seen.

Young's Literal Translation
And faith is of things hoped for a confidence, of matters not seen a conviction,

Hebrews 11:1 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for - On the general nature of faith, see the notes on Mark 16:16. The margin here is, "ground or confidence." There is scarcely any verse of the New Testament more important than this, for it states what is the nature of all true faith, and is the only definition of it which is attempted in the Scriptures. Eternal life depends on the existence and exercise of faith Mark 16:16, and hence, the importance of an accurate understanding of its nature. The word rendered "substance" - ὑπόστασις hupostasis - occurs in the New Testament only in the following places. In 2 Corinthians 9:4; 2 Corinthians 11:17; Hebrews 3:14, where it is rendered "confident" and "confidence;" and in Hebrews 1:3, where it is rendered "person," and in the passage before us; compare the notes on Hebrews 1:3. Prof. Stuart renders it here "confidence;" Chrysostom, "Faith gives reality or substance to things hoped for."

The word properly means "that which is placed under" (Germ. Unterstellen); then "ground, basis, foundation, support." Then it means also "reality, substance, existence," in contradistinction from what is unreal, imaginary, or deceptive (tuschung). "Passow." It seems to me, therefore, that the word here has reference to something which imparts reality in the view of the mind to those things which are not seen, and which serves to distinguish them from those things which are unreal and illusive. It is what enables us to feel and act as if they were real, or which causes them to exert an influence over us as if we saw them. Faith does this on all other subjects as well as religion. A belief that there is such a place as London or Calcutta, leads us to act as if this were so, if we have occasion to go to either; a belief that money may be made in a certain undertaking, leads people to act as if this were so; a belief in the veracity of another leads us to act as if this were so. As long as the faith continues, whether it be well-founded or not, it gives all the force of reality to what is believed. We feel and act just as if it were so, or as if we saw the object before our eyes. This, I think, is the clear meaning here. We do not see the things of eternity. We do not see God, or heaven, or the angels, or the redeemed in glory, or the crowns of victory, or the harps of praise; but we have faith in them, and this leads us to act as if we saw them. And this is, undoubtedly, the fact in regard to all who live by faith and who are fairly under its influence.

Of things hoped for - In heaven. Faith gives them reality in the view of the mind. The Christian hopes to be admitted into heaven; to be raised up in the last day from the slumbers of the tomb, to be made perfectly free from sin; to be everlastingly happy. Under the influence of faith he allows these things to control his mind as if they were a most affecting reality.

The evidence of things not seen - Of the existence of God; of heaven; of angels; of the glories of the world suited for the redeemed. The word rendered "evidence" - ἔλεγχος elengchos - occurs in the New Testament only in this place and in 2 Timothy 3:16, where it is rendered "reproof." It means properly proof, or means of proving, to wit, evidence; then proof which convinces another of error or guilt; then vindication, or defense; then summary or contents; see "Passow." The idea of "evidence" which goes to demonstrate the thing under consideration, or which is adapted to produce "conviction" in the mind, seems to be the elementary idea in the word. So when a proposition is demonstrated; when a man is arraigned and evidence is furnished of his guilt, or when he establishes his innocence; or when one by argument refutes his adversaries, the idea of "convincing argument" enters into the use of the word in each case.

This, I think, is clearly the meaning of the word here. "Faith in the divine declarations answers all the purposes of a convincing argument, or is itself a convincing argument to the mind, of the real existence of those things which are not seen." But is it a good argument? Is it rational to rely on such a means of being convinced? Is mere "faith" a consideration which should ever convince a rational mind? The infidel says "no;" and we know there may be a faith which is no argument of the truth of what is believed. But when a man who has never seen it believes that there is such a place as London, his belief in the numerous testimonies respecting it which he has heard and read is to his mind a good and rational proof of its existence, and he would act on that belief without hesitation. When a son credits the declaration or the promise of a father who has never deceived him, and acts as though that declaration and promise were true, his faith is to him a ground of conviction and of action, and he will act as if these things were so.

In like manner the Christian believes what God says. He has never seen heaven; he has never seen an angel; he has never seen the Redeemer; he has never seen a body raised from the grave. "But he has evidence which is satisfactory to his mind that God has spoken on these subjects," and his very nature prompts him to confide in the declarations of his Creator. Those declarations are to his mind more convincing proof than anything else would be. They are more conclusive evidence than would be the deductions of his own reason; far better and more rational than all the reasonings and declarations of the infidel to the contrary. He feels and acts, therefore, as if these things were so - for his faith in the declarations of God has convinced him that they are so - The object of the apostle, in this chapter, is not to illustrate the nature of what is called "saving faith," but to show the power of "unwavering confidence in God" in sustaining the soul, especially in times of trial; and particularly in leading us to act in view of promises and of things not seen as if they were so. "Saving faith" is the same kind of confidence directed to the Messiah - the Lord Jesus - as the Saviour of the soul.

Hebrews 11:1 Parallel Commentaries

Library
February 3. "He Went Out, not Knowing Whither He Went" (Heb. xi. 8).
"He went out, not knowing whither He went" (Heb. xi. 8). It is faith without sight. When we can see, it is not faith but reasoning. In crossing the Atlantic we observed this very principle of faith. We saw no path upon the sea nor sign of the shore. And yet day by day we were marking our path upon the chart as exactly as if there had followed us a great chalk line upon the sea; and when we came within twenty miles of land we knew where we were as exactly as if we had seen it all three thousand miles
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Pilgrim's Longings
Now, our position is very similar to theirs. As many of us as have believed in Christ have been called out. The very meaning of a church is, "called out by Christ." We have been separated. I trust we know what it is to have gone without the camp, bearing Christ's reproach. Henceforth, in this world we have no home, no true home for our spirits; our home is beyond the flood; we are looking for it amongst the unseen things; we are strangers and sojourners as all our fathers were, dwellers in this wilderness,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

The Voices of the Dead
"And by it he being dead yet speaketh." Hebrews xi. 4. Much of the communion of this earth is not by speech or actual contact, and the holiest influences fall upon us in silence. A monument or symbol shall convey a meaning which cannot be expressed; and a token of some departed one is more eloquent than words. The mere presence of a good and holy personage will move us to reverence and admiration, though he may say and do but little. So is there an impersonal presence of such an one; and, though
E. H. Chapin—The Crown of Thorns

The Practice of Piety; Directing a Christian How to Walk that He May Please God.
Whoever thou art that lookest into this book, never undertake to read it, unless thou first resolvest to become from thine heart an unfeigned Practitioner of Piety. Yet read it, and that speedily, lest, before thou hast read it over, God, by some unexpected death, cut thee off for thine inveterate impiety. The Practice of Piety consists-- First, In knowing the essence of God, and that in respect of, (I.) The diverse manner of being therein, which are three persons--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (II.)
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Cross References
Romans 8:24
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

2 Corinthians 4:18
while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 5:7
for we walk by faith, not by sight--

Hebrews 3:6
but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house-- whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Hebrews 3:14
For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end,

Hebrews 10:39
But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

Hebrews 11:7
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

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