The following is a simple study sheet that contains a brief outline of the chapter and a few questions that focus on the text. One of the first and most important parts of good Bible study is observation. What does the text say? Until we know what the text says, it is fruitless to try to discover what it means and how it applies. Most of the questions are designed to do little more than help the reader observe the text. There may be an occasional question that asks for deeper meaning or application.
I. Faith Defined and Described (11:1-3)
A. The sacrifice of animals (1-4).
B. The sacrifice of Jesus (5-10).
II. Faith Demonstrated (11:4-40)
A. Abel, Enoch, and Noah (4-7)
B. Abraham and Sarah (8-19)
C. Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (20-22)
D. Moses (23-29)
E. Jericho and beyond (30-40)
- How does the writer define faith (11:1)?
- How did Abel demonstrate his faith (11:4)?
- What must one do to please God (11:6)?
- How did Noah demonstrate his faith (11:7)?
- How did Abraham demonstrate his faith (11:8-9)?
- How did the patriarchs view their lives on earth (11:13)?
- What kind of country were the patriarchs seeking (11:16)?
- Why did Abraham not hesitate to offer Isaac as God instructed him (11:19)?
- How did Moses demonstrate his faith (11:23-29)?
- How many blessings of faith can you find in 11:33-34?
- How many forms of hardship and persecution can you find in 11:34-38?
- What has God provided for Christians that the Old Testament faithful did not experience (11:39-40)?
When we read this chapter, especially verses 35-38, the writer gets personal. In common vernacular, he gets all up in our business. When I look up from reading the record of the hardships of those ancient saints, I must then look in my mirror and say to myself, “Now tell me again how tough your life is. Tell me again how bad you have it. Tell me again what it is that has your faith so shaky.” The things that try my faith today pale in comparison to the things that tried theirs.
Your second car only gets 20 miles per gallon? You don’t have enough money this month to buy that 7th pair of shoes? Everything in your overflowing closet is at least two years old? The electric bill for your 3 bedroom house is 30% more than what it was last year? Your co-worker rolled her eyes at you because you refused to join her for a drink? Your cousin “un-friended” and blocked you on Facebook because you defended the truth on some question of morality?
How terrible for us.
May God forgive us for complaining about petty things, and may he help us to develop the kind of trust and endurance that our ancient brethren had.