Hebrews 11:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 11:15, NIV: If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:15, ESV: If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:15, KJV: And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

Hebrews 11:15, NASB: And indeed if they had been thinking of that country which they left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Hebrews 11:15, NLT: If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.

Hebrews 11:15, CSB: If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return.

What does Hebrews 11:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Those with a truly biblical faith trust God, despite not knowing all of the details (Hebrews 11:1). The prior verses described many examples of this perspective, including Abel, Noah, and Abraham. These men obeyed God, though they could not see all of the twists and turns ahead in their futures. Abraham, in particular, did not live to see the complete fulfillment of God's promises. And yet, Abraham—like these other examples—was not limited by an earthly perspective. This part of Hebrews specifically tells us that men like Abraham were "looking forward" to a something eternal (Hebrews 11:10).

This verse makes a common-sense point to support this idea. If men like Abraham were merely looking for some physical territory, they had every opportunity to go back to where they'd started (Genesis 12:1–4). And yet, they did not. Their reason for waiting, faithfully, was an understanding that God's ultimate plan for them reached into eternity. The next verse will put a very direct point on this teaching: faith in God gives us a heavenly, eternal perspective, rather than a limited physical one. This gives us confidence to "hold fast" despite temporary setbacks or hardships.