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Jumat, 13 September 2013

Bible Study Hebrews 11 : Heroes of Faith

Bible Study
THE TRUE MEANING OF FAITH (Hebrews 11-12:3)

Outline of Hebrews 11-12:3
The nature of faith (1-3).
The first examples of Faith (4-7)
The men who pleased God: The faith of Abel, Enoch and Noah (4-7)
The faith of Abraham and Sarah (8-12)
Interlude : a faith of Pilgrims (13-16)
The second examples of Faith (17-38)
The faith of Isaac, Jacob & Joseph (17-22)
The faith of Moses, the Israelites & Rahab (23-31)
The faith of others (32-38)
Outcome (39-40)
The ultimate faith of Christ (12:1-3)

Group Discussion. Share about what most help you to persevere in difficult situations?

Personal Reflection. Have you ever face a difficult situation which make you fear, worry and choose actions which disobey God? What factors make you take the disobedience decisions?

1. Analyze carefully Hebrews 11:1-3 , what is the definition of true faith? Give your observation of two nature of faith. Hebrews 11:3 tells us that what is seen, the universe, was made from God's command which is invisible. Share your thoughts on verse 3 and its relation with the definition of faith.

2. Abel, Enoch and Noah lived before the flood. What qualities in the life the Abel, Enoch and Noah which make them acceptable in God's eyes?

3. How do you feel when God lead you into unknown or unfamiliar place and situation? See Hebrews 11:8-12 & 11:17-19. What is the meaning of obedience from the faith of Abraham? Share in the group about the most meaningful aspects of faith of Abraham and Sarah which is suitable to your life situation?

4. Isaac, Jacob and Esau had faith that look beyond their death (17-22). They believe of the future which is unseen yet, they died before they see the fulfillment of their faith. What lesson we can you drawn about faith and the future?

5. The faith of Moses. Why do you think Moses choose to reject the prestige and power as the son of Pharaoh's daughter? Israelites crossed over Red Sea and made fell down the walls of Jericho, what can you learn from their active faith? What situation in the story that makes God's promise seems impossible? What is the cost if they were disbelief?

6. Look closely to the faith of other men mentioned in verse (32-40). Sometime our faith grows and stretch out in a difficult, tough, even painful condition. Learn from the example of Hebrews 11:32-40, what is the relation between faith, endurance and perseverance in hard times?

7. Jesus is our great Example of faith who enter the path of faith and obedience, endure the shame and the agony of the cross (12:1-5). Why do you think Jesus choose the sacrificial way of the cross? (see also Heb 2:14-18; 5:7-9; 9:14-15,26; and 10:9-10, 19).

8. “Faith is our believing response to what Christ has done in the cross, and the hope of our future of perfect salvation in the eternal life with God”. Share about your opinion of this statement!

9. Application – bridging into your context. Share in the group what kind of difficulties that you face in our society today? How can you persevere in your faith of Jesus Christ till the end in the midst of difficulties and challenges toward your faith in our world today?

10. Think of one practical application to exercise your faith this week!

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Leader's NotesQuestion 1. The nature of faith (1-3). Donald A Hagner used two keywords to expressed the nature of faith in Hebrew 11:1 “to be sure of our hope” and “to be certain of the reality of what is not yet seen”1.

Question 2. The faith of Abel, Enoch and Noah (4-7). The faith of Abel, Enoch and Noah won God's approval, acceptance and favor. There was some qualities in their life which make them acceptable in God's eyes. Faith of Abel intertwined with the action of giving the best quality of his offering (the quality of the offering itself resulted by the sincere heart and faith of the giver). Enoch walked with God, he pleased God and seek Him because of his faith of God's existence. The quality of faith of Noah laid on his holy fear and total obedience to God's word. From the example of Abel, Enoch, and Noah, all of them commended as righteous by God. Faith here results to gracious acceptance and approval as righteous by God.

Question 3. The faith of Abraham and Sarah (8-12). Abraham is one of the outstanding example of those who live by faith and the father of all who believe. Raymond Brown sketches out five different aspect of Abraham's faith. It is responsive, sacrificial, courageous, persistent and dependent2. In Gen 15:6, Abraham's faith has two way dynamic of the covenant relationship: “And he (Abraham) believed the Lord; and the LORD reckoned it to him as righteousness.”3There are some conditions which challenged Abraham's faith. First he did not know where he was going, he still lived as stranger in God's promise land, he was past age, and Sarah was barren. All God's promises was seemly different from the visible reality. But amidst of all this opposite realities, Abraham keep his faith in God's promise. The ultimate faith of Abraham is when he willing to sacrifice Isaac, the promised son. Hebrews 11:19 told us “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the death.” This is one of the ultimate faith: believe in God's existence and God's power, even over death.

Question 4. The faith of Isaac, Jacob & Joseph (17-22). Isaac, Jacob and Esau had faith that look beyond death. They were sure that God will work out His promise even after their death. They saw the future which is unseen yet, and they believe in God who give the vision of the things to come. They speak with confidence of what would happen after their death. The word were spoken, but the fulfillment only can be seen by faith. They were die in their faith, not yet receive the things promised. Leon Morris stated “their faith, being stronger than death, in a way overcome death, for their words were fulfilled”4.

Question 5. The faith of Moses, the Israelites & Rahab (23-31). In the life of Moses, when he was infant, Moses was saved by the faith which overcome fear in the midst of terror, executions of Pharaoh. When he grew up, he realized that his identity is part of community of slave of Hebrews. Moses chose suffering than pleasures. Raymond Brown described that by faith Moses abandon social honors, physical satisfaction, material gain which offered for him as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. True faith suffered reproach for loyalty to Christ5. In Israel exodus from Egypt and their conquest to Canaan, Israel's faith conquered their own fear and teared down the barrier/obstacles of impossibilities in front of them. Faith is active in obedience.

Question 6. The faith of others (32-38). Not all the heroes of faith experienced immediate victory over their circumstances, but they demonstrated their faith in God by persevering and stand firm in their faith in the midst of persecution, harsh trials and afflictions because of their faith. Their life were not being controlled by their surroundings or circumstances, but they live by faith, by the hope/the conviction of the invisible future in Christ. Faithful does not always ended to deliverance, faith demonstrated in endurance and perseverance in hard times. Suffering is part of Christian journey in following Christ. Our journey in life is not always related to success, richest or triumph immediate victories. But we follow the way of the crown of thorns and the way of suffering-rejection-forsaken on the cross. Through our own cross, our faith being demonstrated.

Question 7. The ultimate faith of Jesus (12:1-5). In God's plan, Christ sacrificial death on the cross is for the substitution and redemption of our sin. Some varying emphases of the meaning of Jesus in the bible6 : (1) the substitutionary nature of his sacrificial death, (2) God's righteousness, not ours, (3) It is for the destruction of Satan's Kingdom, (4) new relationship between man with God, (5) victory assured over sin's power, (6) eternity with God guaranteed.


1Donald A Hagner, p.1602Raymond Brown, p.2033DCT Sheriffs, Dictionary of the Old Testament Pentateuch, T Desmond Alexander & David W Baker (Ed), (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003), p.2814Leon Morris, The Expositor Commentary of Hebrews, Vol 12, Frank E. Gaebelein, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), p. 1235Donald A.Hagner, p. 1836Ada Lum,Luke: New Hope, New Joy, A Life Guide Bible Study (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity press, 1992), p.93

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