Faith Is The Substance Of Things Hoped For

25 Jun

Question Text:   What is the meaning of Faith is the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1)? 
Answer Text  Your question indicates that you are probably using the KJV of the Bible for your study of God`s Word. The KJV was translated some 400 years ago and the language that is used in that version is so profound and wonderful that no other trnslation of the Bible could possibly be compared with it for the same. But over the years the English language has changed and we are told that there are more than 300 words in the KJV which we still use today, but with a different meaning. So some one living in our times will surely find it difficult to understand what the translators meant when they used those words. Therefore it is very essential to keep a modern version of the Bible along with the KJV for our study of the Scripture. There are so many different translations available and one begins to wonder what to do with all of those stuff out there. May I suggest you to keep the New Living Translation along with KJV as you study the Scripture. NLT uses up-to-date language and when they take a little freedom to deviate from the original they will give the literal meaning of it in the margin. So it is like using three versions side by side. You have KJV which is very close to the original but the language is old, NLT which gives the meaning in modern language and NLT margin tells you what exactly is the literal translation of the original.

Now coming to Heb.11:1, I shall give you a very quick word-study and also a few other translations and I think the meaning would be clear.

The word used is: ὑπόστασις in the Greek. (hupostasis)

Total KJV Occurrences: 5 confidence, (2) 2Co_11:17, Heb_3:14

confident, (1) 2Co_9:4

person, (1) Heb_1:3

substance, (1) Heb_11:1

 In other words only in Heb.11:1 even KJV uses the word `substance` to translate the original word. Confidence, confident,  person are the other renderings.

Now look at different tanslations of Heb.11:1. Heb 11:1 Now faith is the essence of things being hoped, the evidence of things not having been seen.(LITV)

Heb 11:1 To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.(GNB)

Heb 11:1 Faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see.(CEV)

Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the sign that the things not seen are true.(BBE)

Heb 11:1 Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.(ASV)

So permit me to express the meaning of Heb.11:1 in the following way. `Now faith is assurance, or confidence, or being sure of the things we hope for`. I hope the answer is helpful.

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Posted by on June 25, 2008 in Bible Questions


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