Hebrews 11:40 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 11:40, NIV: since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:40, ESV: since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:40, KJV: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:40, NASB: because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:40, NLT: For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.

Hebrews 11:40, CSB: since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.

What does Hebrews 11:40 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verse 40 is the last statement associated with chapter 11, but chapter and verse divisions were not originally part of the Bible. The statements given in verses 1 and 2 of chapter 12 are critical. Those upcoming verses provide the application for what's been stated over the prior passage. In those verses, the writer of Hebrews held up vivid examples (Hebrews 11:17–32) of godly faith—meaning a trust in God and His promises leading to obedience (Hebrews 11:1–3)—as well as the achievements of those faithful ones (Hebrews 11:33–35).

At the same time, these believers who "held fast" to their faith often suffered as a result. Some endured pain, suffering, and torture. Others were murdered for their faith. And, in many cases, they died without seeing God's earthly fulfillment of those promises (Hebrews 11:35–39). These points were made, in part, to remind persecuted Christians that God is still faithful, and can still "work together for good" our experiences, even when we can't understand how that can be possible (Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:12–13). It also convicts us to keep a proper perspective on our hardships, which are often far less extreme.

This verse drives home an even more humbling and convicting point. The ultimate reward promised to believers in God has not yet been delivered—God has not yet completed His ultimate victory over evil and suffering. The "city with foundations," used to symbolize that ultimate hope (Hebrews 11:10), has not yet appeared (Revelation 21:9–14). Why hasn't God delivered this, yet? According to this verse, the answer is: us! We are that reason.

Those who are alive and able to hear the gospel today have access to even more evidence of God's faithfulness than those who went before. God has delayed the end of His plan (2 Peter 3:9), for our sake, allowing those of us who believe today to share in the rewards of those former heroes. That, in and of itself, speaks to the love God has for us, even if we don't see ourselves in the same spiritual league as men like Moses and Abraham.