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Discussion Guide - By Faith: Enoch (Hebrews 11:5-6)

 

 

 

Hebrews 11:5-6

“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 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." 

 

SUMMARY

The author now mentions a second pre-Abraham example of faith, Enoch, whose story is told in Genesis 5:21-24. We’re not told much, but after Enoch’s son Methusaleh was born, he “walked with God” (Genesis 5:22). The last thing we’re told about him is that he “walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24) That is, this man who walked with God never experienced death.

The Genesis text doesn’t mention Enoch’s faith, just as it never mentioned Abel’s. But the author can confidently speak of their faith because of Habakkuk 2:3-4 (quoted in 10:38): “my righteous one shall live by faith”.

The lesson he draws from Habakkuk is that faith pleases God. Anyone we find in Scripture then that God is pleased with must have had faith. So, though “faith” isn’t explicitly mentioned in Genesis 5, we can conclude that to “walk with God” is to live a life of faith.

Enoch exemplifies the truth behind Habakkuk 2:3-4, which the author sums up in verse 6: “without faith it is impossible to please [God]”. God’s pleasure in us and our faith in him are inseparably connected. If we want to please God, we need to “walk with God”, that is, live a life of faith. 

Because faith is so important, the author comments briefly on some aspects of it. First, living a life of faith means that we regularly approach God (“whoever would draw near to him”).[1] Second, faith believes that “[God] exists”. This involves more than believing a god exists, but that the God who revealed himself in the Bible is the true God.[2] And on the basis of that belief, believing he exists also “means commitment to his presence and involvement in every part of our lives”.[3] 

Lastly, faith believes that God “rewards those who seek him”. Faith acknowledges that nothing we do for God goes unnoticed by him. It acknowledges that he is generous and that we will always find him if we seek him (see Jeremiah 29:13).

  

DISCUSS 

Enoch “walked with God”. What kind of relationship with God does this phrase suggest Enoch had?

 

Does the kind of deepening intimacy contained in the phrase “walked with God” describe anyone you know? In what ways? To what extent does it describe your own life?

  

According to verse 6, faith a) approaches God regularly, b) acknowledges his involvement in our daily lives, and c) trusts that he sees and rewards everything we do for him. How does this verse’s discussion of faith convict you? How does it comfort you?

 

[1] Approaching or drawing near to God has been a consistent theme in Hebrews (4:16; 7:25; 10:1, 22).

[2] F.F. Bruce, Hebrews, pp 286-287

[3] Raymond Brown, Hebrews, p 201

 

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