When trying to get to grips with a passage, and understand it’s meaning, it can be helpful to look at how it is divided up into sections, and I shall use this structure:
|A||11:1-3||Introduction: the ancients commended for their faith – but they did not see [its fulfilment – implied]|
|B||11:4-12||Examples of men and women of faith – Abel to Abraham|
|C||11:13-16||Interlude: Pilgrim faith sees beyond the grave|
|B’||11:17-38||Examples of men and women of faith – Abraham to Maccabean revolt|
|A’||11:39-40||Conclusion: these men and women were commended for their faith – but did not see the fruit of it|
Straightaway this structure tells us something important about the central message of this chapter – faith is not based upon what we can see, i.e., it’s not based on experience. As we shall see, faith is focussed on the person who makes the promise – Jesus the Christ.