What Faith Does

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Digging into the Word of God opens up so much understanding. Our human nature wants to take information in and process it from our own point of view instead of seeing the greater picture of how that information can be viewed from every angle. One way I have talked about in the past in how to read the bible from at least one different perspective is by looking at the original meanings of the words of a particular verse or set of verses from its original language.

I have read before that Hebrews 11:1 does not define what faith is, but rather it describes what faith does for us. I hope my expanded version of faith from Hebrews 11:1 will help you, as it did me, see more clearly what God desires to do for us as we put your faith in Him.

Here are the key words of Hebrews 11:1 defined per the original Greek passage:

faith” – the persuasion of a belief. For a Christian, faith is the complete reliance upon Jesus Christ for everything -n past, present, future.

substance” – the conviction or confidence, the grounding anchor

things-hoped-for” – (single word ĕlpizō in the Greek language) meaning trust. This word is presented in the Greek in this verse with a continuous tense added onto it, which would translate then to mean a continual longing for something to base one's life on and trust in.

evidence” – conviction of proof which also encapsulates re-checking/investigating the data or facts given

seen” – to have open eyes to what is really being unconcealed, but as it is presented in the Greek continuous tense, it would mean to constantly have eyes open ready for the what is being revealed

Expanded version of Hebrews 11:1
Now the persuasions behind our beliefs are the support we are given through our continual longings to trust in Christ's ability to save us and work through us for His kingdom, it is a conviction we hold based on our thorough investigation of the data we take in each day as we walk with the Lord which is gathered in our continuous seeking of the things Jesus reveals to us about Himself each day.”

Those continual longings for something greater that all humans have are the seeds for faith. Some trust in Jesus to fulfill those longings yet most try to fill that space with many inadequate substitutions. For those who take the step to act on their belief, God provides continual evidence in their lives of His presence, activity, and existence. For the rest, they do not open their eyes and therefore they miss even seeing the many evidences of God around them.

Faith grows through your life as you build your case on the existence of God on your past experiences with Him. For those of us who have staked our lives on believing in Him we have much evidence to support that He is not some figment of our imaginations. But, the evidence is not revealed until a person's heart is willing to receive it and has open eyes to seek it - before the evidence is given - that is why it is called faith.


  1. It seems we need to constantly exercise our faith muscles. Faith is such a good gift of God, and we best not waste it by lack of use. I think we have to practice thinking upon what all He has done. It is easy to fall into taking things for granted. Not only do we then fail to give Him thanks, but we also fail to have that arsenal of remembrances of what He has done to bolster our faith when the going gets rough.

  2. So true Janice - we need that arsenal full. I love in the Old Testament how people would often give places names related to what God did in that there or build monuments to remind them of God's great faithfulness at a particular time in history. These remembrances do ground us greater and greater in the God who calls us to draw nearer to Him each day and trust Him just a bit more than we did the day before. - Peggy


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