Hebrews 11:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 11:6, NIV: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Hebrews 11:6, ESV: "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

Hebrews 11:6, KJV: "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Hebrews 11:6, NASB: "And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him."

Hebrews 11:6, NLT: "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."

Hebrews 11:6, CSB: "Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

What does Hebrews 11:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This is a popular verse from the book of Hebrews, and also one easily misunderstood out of context. Taken all by itself, the verse presents a truth which is fairly easy to understand. Namely, that God's first and foremost concern is with our faith—our attitude towards Him and trust in Him—rather than in our actions. This does not make our behaviors unimportant. On the contrary: what we do reflects what we truly believe (James 2:14–17). However, as this verse shows, merely "going through the motions" is not what God is looking for. Those who want to please God need to have faith, not simple agreement, and not merely reluctant cooperation.

The problem with quoting or reading this verse out of its context is the specter of "blind faith," or wishful thinking. As shown in prior passages, the writer of Hebrews is not advocating for a gullible, wishful-thinking attitude. On the contrary, this entire letter has been an exercise in evidence and logic. The writer's point is meant to emphasize the primacy of true faith over insincere works: robotic obedience without legitimate trust in God is worthless. This lesson is given as part of a description of Old Testament figures whose actions prove their faith.