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Hebrews 11:1

"Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see."

Man in field walking into the fog.

The New Living Translation offers a somewhat curious rendering of Hebrews 11:1. Indeed, the NLT version of this verse is a bit difficult to understand. How can faith show the reality of what we hope for? How can faith be the evidence of things we cannot see? A more popular, and much more comprehensible translation is provided by the New International Version. It presents this verse as, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."

In this version, we learn that faith has to do with believing strongly in something that we cannot empirically prove. It is not that we cannot prove the veracity of our belief to others; the issue is that we have faith when we believe something we cannot prove to ourselves. If I saw a flying saucer land on my front lawn and then fly away, I would not need faith to believe it happened. I would believe it because I empirically verified it. I may not be able to convince anyone else of this fact, but since I was present and saw the saucer, heard the sound of it's approach, and felt the disruption of its landing, I would know it occurred. Faith is not necessary in this case.

Faith comes to life when I believe strongly in something I did not personally verify. Someone else has told me about something and I accept it. An idea comes to my mind that I believe in. This is the type of faith that we are talking about when we say we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. I have not met Jesus personally. I did not see him perform a miracle or hear his words of wisdom for myself. And yet I believe in his divinity and his resurrection. I am confident of these things even though I have not seen the Lord.

If you posses this same faith, ask yourself why you do. When you answer this question, don't approach this query as if you need to convince someone else. Ask yourself, "why am I convinced of this?" Perhaps if you can better understand your own faith, you will be better at articulating it to others.

(New Living Translation; photo credit: Zach Vessels via Unsplash)

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