Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 11

The faith of Sarah

Hebrews 11:11

Many modern Bible translations consider this verse to be about Abraham’s faith. Because Abraham trusted God, his wife Sarah had a baby in her old age.

However, several other Bible translations say that this verse is about Sarah’s faith. And that is the meaning that I prefer. The author’s purpose is to show us how both men and women in the Bible trusted God (Hebrews 11:35). And Sarah was a truly great woman. We can see that fact from how the Book of Genesis describes her death (Genesis chapter 23). And Paul gave her great honour in Galatians 4:22-31. Even God showed her honour when he gave her a new name (Genesis 17:15-16). The name ‘Sarah’ means ‘princess’.

The author of Hebrews seems to express surprise that even Sarah had faith (active belief and trust in God). Sarah knew that she was too old to have a baby. She even laughed when God promised it. She did not believe then, but she soon felt ashamed about that. God reminded her that nothing is too difficult for him to do (Genesis 18:10-15).

From that time on, Sarah believed. She saw that God was using her to carry out his promises to Abraham. And she understood that her son, Isaac, would receive the benefit of those promises. She even understood that fact when Abraham did not (Genesis 21:10-12; Galatians 4:30).

At Isaac’s birth, Sarah declared that she now had a proper reason to laugh (Genesis 21:6). She had great joy because God had carried out his promise to her (Genesis 17:16; Genesis 21:1). He had done what Sarah herself was unable to do. He had given her a son.

Next part: The results of Abraham’s faith (Hebrews 11:12)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.