Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
For by it the men of old received divine approval.
By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he received approval as righteous, God bearing witness by accepting his gifts; he died, but through his faith he is still speaking.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was attested as having pleased God.
And without faith it is impossible to please him. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.
For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.
Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.
For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.
If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.
But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son,
of whom it was said, "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named."
He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.
By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau.
By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff.
By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his burial.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful; and they were not afraid of the king's edict.
By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,
choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
He considered abuse suffered for the Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he looked to the reward.
By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king; for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the first-born might not touch them.
By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if on dry land; but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given friendly welcome to the spies.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets--
who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.
Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated--
of whom the world was not worthy--wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised,
since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? --"My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him.
For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
Strive for peace with all men, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" spring up and cause trouble, and by it the many become defiled;
that no one be immoral or irreligious like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.
For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire, and darkness, and gloom, and a tempest,
and the sound of a trumpet, and a voice whose words made the hearers entreat that no further messages be spoken to them.
For they could not endure the order that was given, "If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned."
Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, "I tremble with fear."
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less shall we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
His voice then shook the earth; but now he has promised, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven."
This phrase, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of what is shaken, as of what has been made, in order that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe;
for our God is a consuming fire.
Let brotherly love continue.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for God will judge the immoral and adulterous.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, "I will never fail you nor forsake you."
Hence we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid; what can man do to me?"
Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God; consider the outcome of their life, and imitate their faith.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.
Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is well that the heart be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited their adherents.
We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat.
For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp.
So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
Therefore let us go forth to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured.
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city which is to come.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account. Let them do this joyfully, and not sadly, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things.
I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,
equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I appeal to you, brethren, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.
You should understand that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon.
Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings.