Hebrews 11:6

 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Read more from Expositors Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament

6 Though the OT does not say that Enoch had faith, the author goes on to explain why he can speak of it so confidently. It is impossible to please God without faith, and Enoch pleased God.

Therefore, it is clear that he must have had faith. The author lays it down with the greatest of emphasis that faith is absolutely necessary.

He does not say simply that without faith it is difficult to please God; he says that without faith it is impossible to please him!


There is no substitute for faith. He goes on to lay down two things required in the worshiper. First, he must believe that God exists. This is basic. Without it there is no possibility of faith at all. But it is not enough of itself. After all, the demons can know that sort of faith (Jas 2:19).


There must also be a conviction about God's moral character, belief "that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." Without that deep conviction, faith in the biblical sense is not a possibility.

Hebrews 11:1




11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Read more from Expositors Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament

1 Faith is a present and continuing reality, not simply a virtue sometimes practiced in antiquity. It is a living thing, a way of life the writer wishes to see continued in the practice of his readers. Faith, he tells us, is a "being sure" of things hoped for. The word used here sometimes has a subjective meaning, as NIV translates it (cf. also "confidence" in 3:14).

But it may also be used more objectively ("substance"), though this does not seem to be what the writer is saying. There are realities for which we have no material evidence, though they are not the less real for that. Faith enables us to know that they exist and, while we have no certainty apart from faith, faith does give us genuine certainty.

Faith is the basis, the substructure of all that the Christian life means, all that the Christian hopes for.

There is a further ambiguity about the word translated "certain", which usually signifies a "proof" or "test." Some take it here as "test" and some see its legal use,

while many prefer to understand it in much the same sense as the preceding expression (e.g., NIV). If we were to adopt the meaning "test," then the author is saying that faith,

in addition to being the basis of all that we hope for, is that by which we test things unseen. We have no material way of assessing the significance of the immaterial. But Christians are not helpless. We have faith and by this we test all things. "What we do not see" excludes the entire range of visible phenomena which here stand for all things earthly. Faith extends beyond what we learn from our senses. Its tests are not those of the senses, which yield uncertainty.


Bedouin tents near Beersheba.
James 2:19

19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Read more from Expositors Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament

19 The second argument offered in support of the proposition stated in v.17 concerns the nature of saving faith. All faithful Jews believed the creed known as the Shema found in Dt 6:4: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.


" James commends his Jewish Christian readers for believing "that there is one God." This is "good!" But such acceptance of a creed is not enough to save a person. To prove his point, James declares that "even demons believe" the Shema.

They know that there is but one God, and as a result they "shudder" from fear. That the demons are afraid of God is evidence that their belief is a thorough conviction. However, their response is also evidence that their faith is not saving faith. Their belief has not brought them peace with God. Saving faith, then, is not mere intellectual acceptance of a theological proposition. It goes much deeper, involving one's whole inner being and