Faith Is The Substance: The Meaning Of Hebrews 11:1

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Published by Shannon Jacobs



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We all know Abraham, the Father of All Nations. As a man of immense faith, he embarked on an extraordinary journey. God called him to leave his homeland, promising blessings and a great nation. Without hesitation and by faith, Abraham obeyed, guided by a trust that defied logic.

Along the way, doubts crept in, leading to a hasty decision with unintended consequences. Yet God remained steadfast, renewing his covenant and assuring Abraham that the impossible was possible. In due time, against all odds, Sarah gave birth to Isaac, a miraculous testament to God’s faithfulness.

Abraham’s story embodies the very essence of faith[1]. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, as described in Hebrews 11:1. It teaches us to embrace God’s promises with unwavering confidence, even when circumstances seem bleak.

What Does It Mean That Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For (Hebrews 11:1)?

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

— Hebrews 11:1 (New King James Version)

Faith As The Substance Of Things Hoped For

When the author of Hebrews describes faith as the “substance of things hoped for,” it suggests that faith is the underlying reality or foundation upon which our hopes are built. The Greek word hupostasis means substance.

Just as a building requires a solid foundation, our hopes and aspirations need the bedrock of faith to become a reality. Faith is the substance that gives form to our dreams and desires, allowing them to take shape and manifest in our lives.

Faith As Evidence

According to the verse, faith is “the evidence of things not seen.” It enables us to comprehend the existence of entities beyond our senses, affirming their reality. Faith convinces us that something is present or will occur, despite its invisibility to our physical sight. It grants us perception and understanding of the intangible realm.

Faith And Trust

Faith thrives on trust, the core foundation of belief. It entails unwavering reliance on a higher entity, transcending ourselves about “things hoped for.” At its essence, faith encapsulates the profound conviction that our aspirations will materialize, guided by an inherent belief in a divine blueprint. To embrace faith is to relinquish control, recognize our limitations, and entrust our deepest desires and aspirations to a supreme force beyond our grasp.

Faith And Action

While faith is an inner conviction, it is not a passive state. True faith inspires action. In the subsequent verses of Hebrews 11, often referred to as the “Hall of Faith,” we encounter individuals who demonstrated their faith through tangible actions. By faith, Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain, with God testifying of his gift. By faith, Enoch was taken by God to escape the experience of death.

From Noah building the ark to Abraham journeying to an unknown land, their faith propelled them to step out in obedience and undertake remarkable feats. Faith without action is incomplete; it should spur us to actively pursue our hopes and dreams.

Cultivating And Growing In Faith

Faith transcends exclusivity as an innate quality and instead emerges as a nurtured and refined endowment. It parallels how physical vigor is amplified through exercise. Faith, too, can be honed through prayer, introspection, engagement with sacred literature, and communion with like-minded individuals.

Our convictions are fortified by expanding our understanding of the divine and fostering an intimate connection with its origins, and we encounter the transformative power embedded within the faith. Thus, faith, the substance of things hoped for, emerges not as an unattainable privilege but as an accessible and life-altering potential awaiting exploration.

How Does Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For (Hebrews 11:1) Give Encouragement?

1. Assurance Amid Uncertainty

The New King James Version verse highlights that faith is the substance of things hoped for. The Greek word hupostasis means substance. It suggests that faith gives meaning or a tangible reality to our hopes and desires, even when we cannot see or perceive them.

Faith offers reassurance for those encountering difficulties, uncertainty, or awaiting answers to their prayers. By faith, Abel offered an animal sacrifice to please the Lord, with God testifying of his gift. It assures them that their aspirations and longings are meaningful and grounded in a firm foundation of belief in something greater than themselves.

2. Confidence In The Unseen

The verse also refers to faith as the evidence of things, not only of things hoped for but also of things not seen. It implies that faith provides conviction and confidence in the existence and fulfillment of something beyond our immediate perception. By faith, Enoch was taken away, not to see death.

In faith, people are urged to rely on God, his promises, and his guidance, even without visible proof or primary outcomes. It assures them that a greater truth is in motion, transforming their faith into substantiation for their convictions.

3. Empowerment To Overcome Obstacles

The New King James Version verse encourages individuals to keep their faith despite challenges and obstacles. The phrase “Faith is the substance of things hoped for”, serves as a source of strength and resilience when faced with difficult circumstances or discouragement.

It reminds believers that their faith has the power to move mountains and overcome obstacles, as referenced in other parts of the Bible. This assurance can motivate and uplift individuals, enabling them to persevere and maintain hope, knowing that their faith can bring about positive change.

4. Foundation For A Meaningful Life

Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as the cornerstone of a purposeful existence. Individuals discover direction, purpose, and a sense of belonging by entrusting themselves to a higher power. It offers motivation through a broader outlook, infusing actions, relationships, and encounters with profound significance and meaning.

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How Can We Apply Hebrews 11:1 To Our Lives?

Trusting In God’s Promises

Faith is the substance that encourages us to have unwavering trust in our aspirations and the things we hope for. We can do so by relying on the promises outlined in God’s Word. This notion necessitates a steadfast conviction in God’s faithfulness and the assurance that he will fulfill his promises in his perfect timing.

Overcoming Doubt

Hebrews 11:1 speaks of having conviction in things not seen. It encourages us to overcome doubt and believe in the unseen. We can apply this by maintaining faith in God’s plans and purposes, even when circumstances seem uncertain or challenging. It requires focusing on God’s character and ability to work in ways beyond our understanding.

Living By Faith

This verse underscores the dynamic nature of faith, urging us to integrate it into our everyday lives. We can put it into practice by allowing our trust in God to shape our choices instead of solely relying on what our senses perceive. By faith, Abel chose to sacrifice the fatty portion of an animal. Living by faith involves relinquishing our worries, seeking divine guidance, and trusting God’s provision to meet our needs. It becomes an active and transformative force in our lives.

Holding On To Hope

Hebrews 11:1 mentions the “assurance of things hoped for.” We can apply this by cultivating hope in our hearts. When prayers are unanswered and circumstances are challenging, we can cling to hope in God’s promises. This hope is an anchor, keeping our spirits steady and empowering us to endure and discover resilience in the face of trials.

Strengthening Our Relationship With God

Living out Hebrews 11:1 requires cultivating a profound and personal bond with God. We achieve this through prayer, studying and reflecting on his Word, and actively inviting his presence into our lives. As we deepen our connection with him, our faith flourishes, and we encounter a sense of confidence and certainty that stems from a closer relationship with our Creator.

faith over fear in text


The Bible presents a profound understanding of faith’s essence and importance. It reveals how faith gives substance and proof to our aspirations, enabling us to trust what we cannot see and have confidence in a greater force at work.

Faith is not merely a passive state but calls us to action, urging us to step out with courage and pursue our aspirations. God gracefully rewards those who diligently seek him. By nurturing and growing in faith, we can embrace its power and experience its transformative impact on our lives.

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