Hebrews 11 examines faith in detail

Anderson, Boone say Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies

This is Dutch artist Rembrandt’s depiction of Abraham being stopped by an angel from proving his faith by obeying God and sacrificing his son Isaac. Rembrandt lived from 1606-69. (Courtesy Photo)

No one knows who wrote the New Testament Book of Hebrews and it would be well worth knowing just for its famous Chapter 11 about faith.

Ministers Glen Anderson and Leslie Boone say the writer’s citations of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson and others are instructive because without faith it is impossible to please God.

“The scholars aren’t in complete agreement as to who wrote Hebrews,” said the Rev. Anderson, pastor of the First Methodist Church in Crane. “It might have been Jesus’ brother James, the Apostle James or Apollos.

“It was written for the Jewish audience, trying to bring the Jewish people into the Christian line of thought that Jesus was the fulfillment of all those promises in the Old Testament.”

Anderson said Verses 32-39 sum up the chapter, saying that those heroes “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice and gained what was promised, who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword, whose weakness was turned to strength and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”

Anderson said the Book of Job is similarly inspirational in that Job maintained his faith through severe suffering.

“Christ is our reward,” he said. “Our redemption from sin and death is received through him. The Christian audience should look at this, see the steadfastness of God’s promise and continue in our faith.”

Referring to Jesus, he said, Hebrews 12:4 says, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

Boone, minister of the Andrews Church of Christ, said the Hebrews writer “was trying to show that all these folks were just regular people who put their faith in God and how we can do the same.

“They were doing what was needed at the moment,” Boone said. “That was what honored God.

“We should hold onto Christ no matter what is going on in our lives. Faith is where the rubber meets the road.”

Boone said faith can be strengthened by reading the Bible, going to church, praying and being with people who are good examples.

He said fasting can also be useful, not just abstinence from food but also the eschewal of telephones, TVs and computers.

“We can set these things aside to focus on God,” Boone said.