December 21

Hebrews 11:1 — 13:25


11
Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld. 2 For by means of this the men of old times had witness borne to them.
      3
 By faith we perceive that the systems of things were put in order by God’s word, so that what is beheld has come to be out of things that do not appear.
      4
 By faith Abel offered God a sacrifice of greater worth than Cain, through which [faith] he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness respecting his gifts; and through it he, although he died, yet speaks.
      5
 By faith Enoch was transferred so as not to see death, and he was nowhere to be found because God had transferred him; for before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well. 6 Moreover, without faith it is impossible to please [him] well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.
      7
 By faith Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; and through this [faith] he condemned the world, and he became an heir of the righteousness that is according to faith.
      8
 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed in going out into a place he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, although not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he resided as an alien in the land of the promise as in a foreign land, and dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the very same promise. 10 For he was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which [city] is God.
      11
 By faith also Sarah herself received power to conceive seed, even when she was past the age limit, since she esteemed him faithful who had promised. 12 Hence also from one [man], and him as good as dead, there were born [children] just as the stars of heaven for multitude and as the sands that are by the seaside, innumerable.
      13
 In faith all these died, although they did not get the [fulfillment of the] promises, but they saw them afar off and welcomed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land. 14 For those who say such things give evidence that they are earnestly seeking a place of their own. 15 And yet, if they had indeed kept remembering that [place] from which they had gone forth, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But now they are reaching out for a better [place], that is, one belonging to heaven. Hence God is not ashamed of them, to be called upon as their God, for he has made a city ready for them.
      17
 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, as good as offered up Isaac, and the man that had gladly received the promises attempted to offer up [his] only-begotten [son], 18 although it had been said to him: “What will be called ‘your seed’ will be through Isaac.” 19 But he reckoned that God was able to raise him up even from the dead; and from there he did receive him also in an illustrative way.
      20
 By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
      21
 By faith Jacob, when about to die, blessed each of the sons of Joseph and worshiped leaning upon the top of his staff.
      22
 By faith Joseph, nearing his end, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel; and he gave a command concerning his bones.
      23
 By faith Moses was hid for three months by his parents after his birth, because they saw the young child was beautiful and they did not fear the order of the king. 24 By faith Moses, when grown up, refused to be called the son of the daughter of Pharaoh, 25 choosing to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin, 26 because he esteemed the reproach of the Christ as riches greater than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked intently toward the payment of the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, but not fearing the anger of the king, for he continued steadfast as seeing the One who is invisible. 28 By faith he had celebrated the passover and the splashing of the blood, that the destroyer might not touch their firstborn ones.
      29
 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land, but on venturing out upon it the Egyptians were swallowed up.
      30
 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who acted disobediently, because she received the spies in a peaceable way.

32 And what more shall I say? For the time will fail me if I go on to relate about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David as well as Samuel and the [other] prophets, 33 who through faith defeated kingdoms in conflict, effected righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 stayed the force of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from a weak state were made powerful, became valiant in war, routed the armies of foreigners. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection; but other [men] were tortured because they would not accept release by some ransom, in order that they might attain a better resurrection. 36 Yes, others received their trial by mockings and scourgings, indeed, more than that, by bonds and prisons. 37 They were stoned, they were tried, they were sawn asunder, they died by slaughter with the sword, they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, while they were in want, in tribulation, under ill-treatment; 38 and the world was not worthy of them. They wandered about in deserts and mountains and caves and dens of the earth.

39 And yet all these, although they had witness borne to them through their faith, did not get the [fulfillment of the] promise, 40 as God foresaw something better for us, in order that they might not be made perfect apart from us.


12
So, then, because we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also put off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Indeed, consider closely the one who has endured such contrary talk by sinners against their own interests, that YOU may not get tired and give out in YOUR souls.

4 In carrying on YOUR contest against that sin YOU have never yet resisted as far as blood, 5 but YOU have entirely forgotten the exhortation which addresses YOU as sons: “My son, do not belittle [the] discipline from Jehovah, neither give out when you are corrected by him; 6 for whom Jehovah loves he disciplines; in fact, he scourges every one whom he receives as a son.”

7 It is for discipline YOU are enduring. God is dealing with YOU as with sons. For what son is he that a father does not discipline? 8 But if YOU are without the discipline of which all have become partakers, YOU are really illegitimate children, and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we used to have fathers who were of our flesh to discipline us, and we used to give them respect. Shall we not much more subject ourselves to the Father of our spiritual life and live? 10 For they for a few days used to discipline us according to what seemed good to them, but he does so for our profit that we may partake of his holiness. 11 True, no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.

12 Hence straighten up the hands that hang down and the enfeebled knees, 13 and keep making straight paths for YOUR feet, that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather that it may be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all people, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, 15 carefully watching that no one may be deprived of the undeserved kindness of God; that no poisonous root may spring up and cause trouble and that many may not be defiled by it; 16 that there may be no fornicator nor anyone not appreciating sacred things, like Esau, who in exchange for one meal gave away his rights as firstborn. 17 For YOU know that afterward also when he wanted to inherit the blessing he was rejected, for, although he earnestly sought a change of mind with tears, he found no place for it.

18 For YOU have not approached that which can be felt and which has been set aflame with fire, and a dark cloud and thick darkness and a tempest, 19 and the blare of a trumpet and the voice of words; on hearing which voice the people implored that no word should be added to them. 20 For the command was not bearable to them: “And if a beast touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” 21 Also, the display was so fearsome that Moses said: “I am fearful and trembling.” 22 But YOU have approached a Mount Zion and a city of [the] living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels, 23 in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, 24 and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the blood of sprinkling, which speaks in a better way than Abel’s [blood].

25 See that YOU do not beg off from him who is speaking. For if they did not escape who begged off from him who was giving divine warning upon earth, much more shall we not if we turn away from him who speaks from the heavens. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, saying: “Yet once more I will set in commotion not only the earth but also the heaven.” 27 Now the expression “Yet once more” signifies the removal of the things being shaken as things that have been made, in order that the things not being shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore, seeing that we are to receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us continue to have undeserved kindness, through which we may acceptably render God sacred service with godly fear and awe. 29 For our God is also a consuming fire.

13
Let YOUR brotherly love continue. 2 Do not forget hospitality, for through it some, unknown to themselves, entertained angels. 3 Keep in mind those in prison bonds as though YOU have been bound with them, and those being ill-treated, since YOU yourselves also are still in a body. 4 Let marriage be honorable among all, and the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge fornicators and adulterers. 5 Let [YOUR] manner of life be free of the love of money, while YOU are content with the present things. For he has said: “I will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.” 6 So that we may be of good courage and say: “Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

7 Remember those who are taking the lead among YOU, who have spoken the word of God to YOU, and as YOU contemplate how [their] conduct turns out imitate [their] faith.
      8
 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.
      9
 Do not be carried away with various and strange teachings; for it is fine for the heart to be given firmness by undeserved kindness, not by eatables, by which those who occupy themselves with them have not been benefited.

10 We have an altar from which those who do sacred service at the tent have no authority to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is taken into the holy place by the high priest for sin are burned up outside the camp. 12 Hence Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 Let us, then, go forth to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach he bore, 14 for we do not have here a city that continues, but we are earnestly seeking the one to come. 15 Through him let us always offer to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips which make public declaration to his name. 16 Moreover, do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

17 Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among YOU and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over YOUR souls as those who will render an account; that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to YOU.
      18
 Carry on prayer for us, for we trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things. 19 But I exhort YOU more especially to do this, that I may be restored to YOU the sooner.
      20
 Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an everlasting covenant, our Lord Jesus, 21 equip YOU with every good thing to do his will, performing in us through Jesus Christ that which is well-pleasing in his sight; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
      22
 Now I exhort YOU, brothers, to bear with this word of encouragement, for I have, indeed, composed a letter to YOU in few words. 23 Take note that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes quite soon, I shall see YOU.
      24
 Give my greetings to all those who are taking the lead among YOU and to all the holy ones. Those in Italy send YOU their greetings.
      25
 The undeserved kindness be with all of YOU.