Hebrews 11:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 11:13, NIV: All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Hebrews 11:13, ESV: These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Hebrews 11:13, KJV: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Hebrews 11:13, NASB: All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Hebrews 11:13, NLT: All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.

Hebrews 11:13, CSB: These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth.

What does Hebrews 11:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Prior verses referred to various Old Testament figures who exemplified faith in God. Names such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah were referenced. This verse ties together the reason for including these various stories. In this case, the point is that each of these people had a faith that "looked forward." Despite not having a crystal-clear view of the future, they chose to trust in God and obey (Hebrews 11:1–2). In some cases, such as Abraham and Sarah, they did not even live to see the promises fulfilled. And yet, their perspective was eternal, rather than temporary. As an earlier verse pointed out, these were men and women "looking forward" to God's ultimate plans (Hebrews 11:10).

Here, the writer points out the depth of this perspective. For those who truly trust in God, life on earth is merely a temporary journey. Christian songwriters and poets often refer to the idea that this life, and this earth, is not our real home. Instead, as the book of Hebrews indicates, we are "strangers and exiles on the earth." This is the kind of faith which allows us to trust God despite personal abuse, as did Abel (Hebrews 11:4). We can obey difficult and confusing commands, as did Noah (Hebrews 11:7). We can trust God to make good on His word, even when it seems as if He's waited too long, as did Abraham and Sarah (Hebrews 11:8–12).

These figures accepted God's promises and "greeted them from afar," from that perspective. This is the kind of faith which the writer of Hebrews wants to inspire in those who read this letter.