Closing the Gap – Week 8 Study Guide

By February 25, 2018Small Group Study Guide

Hebrews 11:17-40

17 By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. 21 By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when his end was near, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones. 23 By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel. 29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. 31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient. 32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 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. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37 They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated — 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

Commentary on Hebrews 11:17-40

The author has described the nature of faith as a conviction of certainty about what we do not see. This kind of faith motivated the godly men and women of the past to move toward the promises even though they did not inherit them (11: 4– 40).[1]

Faith exhibited: an exalted vision (11:17–23). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses’ parents all looked beyond present circumstances to a future shaped by God’s promise. Abraham’s vision is most stunning. Told to sacrifice his son Isaac, he was so totally convinced that God would keep His promise to give him offspring by Isaac that he concluded God would raise his son from the dead. Abraham knew that the vision God gave of the future would come true—as he continued to obey God.

Faith exhibited: difficult choices (11:24–28). As “son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” Moses was in line to inherit Egypt’s throne. Yet he chose to cast his lot with the slave people of his parents, valuing God’s promises more than earthly treasures. Faith transforms our values and shapes our choices.

Faith exhibited: victories and defeats (11:29–38). Faith is no guarantee of earthly success, though faith has won great victories. What acts of faith do guarantee is that we will please God and ultimately be rewarded by Him.

Faith’s fulfillment (11:39–40). It’s easy to wonder at the Bible’s heroes of faith. Especially when we realize they had relatively little knowledge of God. How motivated we who know Jesus should be to complete what they have begun and live a life of faith today.[2]


Study Guide Hebrews 11:17-40

  1. To say “no pain, no gain” is certainly true in muscle development. But is it also true in faith development? Why or why not?
    • Now consider Abraham’s life. There was a conflict in Abraham’s heart and mind between what seemed to be a word from God that Isaac would become a nation and a word from God that he was to be sacrificed.
      1. How do you make sense out of that?
      2. How do you work that out in your mind?
  • What was Abraham’s conclusion?
  • Concerning a faith response, do you agree/disagree with the following statement: when we respond to God in faith to the current situation, we are becoming spiritually resilient for what is ahead. If we try to evade or avoid the current challenge, we find ourselves increasingly unprepared for future challenges. Please explain why?
  1. Seeing the invisible: v27 “Moses persevered through challenges because he saw him who is invisible.” Why is this statement not a contradiction?
  2. These individuals in Chapter 11 are sometimes called the “Hall of “Faith.” What is the main point of this passage?
  3. What faith choice is in front of you right now?
    • What are the potential costs involved in making that choice?
    • What are the costs of not making it?
    • What is God offering you by giving you this faith choice to make?
    • Do you see his invitation to gain through this pain?
    • Will you take his invitation?
  1. Remember the point of faith is not us, it is God’s faithfulness. The only reason to grow more in spiritual discipline is to be positioned to have deeper relationship with God. We don’t train to prove ourselves to God…we train to be near Him and to be like Him.
    • Why say, “no” to things that war against your soul?
    • Why say, “yes” to things that nourish and grow your soul?

[1] Lea, Thomas. The New Testament: Its Background and Message (p. 505). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[2] Richards, L. O. (1991). The Bible reader’s companion (electronic ed., p. 865). Wheaton: Victor Books.

Leave a Reply