The Berean Expositor
Volume 17 - Page 33 of 144
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We are not perfect till we find the seven."
#47.  The perfecting of faith (11:).
Encouragement and reproof.
pp. 44 - 47
The sevenfold analysis of perfected faith that occupies the bulk of Heb. 11: is
introduced by a statement that reveals the underlying and essential character of this faith
in all and every one of its manifestations; "Now faith is the SUBSTANCE of things
hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen." This passage may be taken apart from its
context as a general definition of faith, but its real force can only be appreciated as it is
seen at the head of this sevenfold exposition of perfected faith.
Moreover, viewing the statement in its context, it cannot be separated from the closing
words of chapter 10: There the believer is seen "losing" in this life, but sustained by the
consciousness of that "possession of a better and more lasting nature" (10: 34), which was
held in faith and prospect. The words immediately preceding the definition of faith in
Heb. 11: 1 speak of a future day when those who have "lost their soul" for Christ's sake
shall "gain" or "acquire it". Now it is evident that if these believers were to really take
joyfully the spoiling of their goods, they must have had very vividly before them "the
better and more lasting possessions" that awaited them in glory.
Substance and evidence.
As we examine the testimony of this chapter to the faith of Abel, Abraham, Moses and
others, we shall see how much and how readily they gave up life, home, and wealth for
the Lord's sake, and of them all it could be said that they were sustained by that faith
which is the substance of things hoped for. Moses "endured as seeing Him Who is
invisible". What therefore are we to understand by the words "substance" and
In preparation for this article we covered a fairly wide circle in the examination of this
word substance, and its usage, but nothing revealed the intention of the apostle so well as
the way in which it is used in the LXX, or Greek version of the O.T. Hupostasis, the
word translated "substance", is found in a number of passages in the O.T., a few of them
being given hereafter as illuminating Heb. 11: 1: "And now, Lord, what wait I for, my
hope is in Thee" (Psa. 39: 7). Where the Hebrew has the simple word "hope", the
LXX has "My hupostasis (or ground of hope) is in Thee". "I sink in deep mire where
there is no standing." In the next reference it is difficult to avoid a lengthy explanation if
a literal rendering, together with the LXX parallels, be demanded. It so happens that in
the A.V. the two adjoining verses contain the word "substance" as a rendering of other
words. We think, however, that sufficient for our purpose will be provided by ignoring