Old Testament Examples of Faith
(1) Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see. (2) This is the faith for which the people of old were commended.
(3) By faith we understand that the universe was created at God’s command, so that what is seen was not created out of what was visible.
(4) By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God than the sacrifice offered by his brother Cain. God accepted Abel’s gifts, for he was found righteous because of his faith. And by his faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.
(5) By faith Enoch was taken up from this life, so that he did not die. As it is written in Genesis 5:24, “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken alive, Enoch was honored as one who pleased God. (6) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because whoever comes to God must believe that he exists, and that he rewards those who passionately seek him.
(7) By faith Noah, when he was warned about the events that were about to happen, in holy fear built a large boat (an ark) to save his family. By his faith he condemned this world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
(8) By faith Abraham, when he was called to go to the land where he would later receive his inheritance, obeyed God and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (9) By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with Abraham of the same promise. (10) For Abraham was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
(11) And by faith Sarah, whose body was too old to have children, received the ability to have a child because she considered God faithful to his promise. (12) Therefore, from Abraham’s body—which was as good as dead—came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore (see Genesis 22:17).
(13) All of these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised by God; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, confessing that they were foreigners and exiles in this world. (14) For people who confess these things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland of their own. (15) If they had been thinking of the country they had left behind, they would have had opportunity to return. (16) Instead, they longed for a far better country—a homeland in heaven. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a heavenly city for them.
(17) By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced God’s promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, (18) even though God had said to him in Genesis 21:12, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will come.” (19) Abraham believed that God had the power to raise the dead, and so figuratively speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.
(20) By faith Isaac imparted blessings on Jacob and Esau concerning their future.
(21) By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped God as he leaned on the top of his staff.
(22) By faith Joseph, when he was ready to die, spoke about Israel’s exodus from Egypt and gave instructions about taking his bones out of Egypt to be buried in the promised land.
(23) By faith Moses’s parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was an extraordinary child, and they were not afraid of Pharoah’s command.
(24) By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, (25) choosing instead to be mistreated along with God’s people rather than to enjoy the temporal pleasures of sin. (26) He esteemed disgrace for the sake of Christ as greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (27) By faith Moses left Egypt, unafraid of Pharaoh’s anger; he persevered because he saw the invisible God. (28) By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not be able to touch Israel’s firstborn.
(29) By faith God’s people passed through the Red Sea on dry land; but when the Egyptians chased them, they were drowned.
(30) By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after Israel’s army had marched around them for seven days.
(31) By faith the prostitute Rahab was not killed with the disobedient, because she welcomed Israel’s spies in Jericho.
(32) And what more can I say? I do not have time to tell you about the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the other (Old Testament) prophets (33) who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, (34) quenched the powerful flames of fire, and escaped death by the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength, and they became powerful in battle and chased foreign armies away. (35) Women received back their dead by resurrection. There were others who were tortured because they refused to be released from prison, so that they would gain a better resurrection. (36) Some suffered mocking and beatings and chains and imprisonment. (37) They were killed by the throwing of rocks, sawed in two, and put to death by the sword. They lived their lives dressed in sheepskins and goatskins, in poverty, persecuted, and mistreated. (38) They wandered about in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. This world was not worthy of these men and women of faith! (39) These were all honored for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, (40) because God had planned something better for us, so that only together with us would they be made perfect.