Friday, February 27, 2009

Exegesis of Hebrews 11:1

Anonymous. "Illustration of Hebrews XI. 1." Methodist Review 4 (1821): 133-35.

In this brief article the author simply argues that the word ὑποστασις must mean "confidence" rather than "substance" in Hebrews 11:1. He says, "surely faith . . . cannot be the substance of those divine realities for which the believer hopes in a future world" (133). Nor is the object of faith in view, since the author is giving a definition of faith itself. The word ὑποστασις is rendered "confidence" in such passages as 2 Corinthians 9:4; 11:17 and Hebrews 3:14, and it makes perfectly good sense to translate it as "confidence" in Hebrews 11:1 as well. This argument seems to me to be quite sound.


  1. Faith must have an object in which to be capture. Jesus Christ is that object which leads one correctly to receive God's gift of rest forever in Him. Sometimes we tend to over think things like this and in doing so create potholes for others to drive into. Simply put Abraham faith in God and my faith in Jesus and His work at the cross and resurrection from the dead lead to the same place. A house not made with hands eternal in Heaven.

  2. "the believer hopes in a future world (133)" ??? faith is as much for this world as the future. The examples of what was hoped for in Chapter 11 were things that happened in and during the life of people here on earth (except for one example), not something they had faith for in a future life or world. While some translations use confidence, I like Adam Clarke's commentary - it, faith is the foundation for the thing hoped for to stand on