Monday, 24 November 2014

Faith’s “Hall of Fame”

Most readers of this blog will be familiar with the list of men and women of faith in Hebrews 11. But many fail to notice that the list is not simply a haphazard collection of names, but a perfectly balanced, symmetrical exposition of acts of faith.

If we follow the use of the little expression “by faith” in the chapter, we will find it used seventeen times in relation to a specific person or event. Not haphazardly, but in perfect symmetry: the list begins with three antediluvian saints (Abel, Enoch and Noah), followed by four scenes from Abraham’s life (the fourth character named). Next come three more individual references (Isaac, Jacob and Joseph), then another four scenes from the life of the fourth (Moses). Closing the list, we have another three individual events in Israel’s history.

The perfect balance and symmetry of this collection of people and events is worth noticing, and will help us to discover lessons for our spiritual benefit.

Both of the illustrations that accompany this post (they only differ in the colour scheme used) can be downloaded in high definition for printing on an A3 sheet of paper (download dark coloured chart or light coloured chart).

Note that the illustrations only list occurrences of expressions that follow the formula “By faith someone did something”. Six other names are mentioned in v. 32, but they follow a different pattern to the ones highlighted here.

© W. J. Watterson

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