Some of the best advice in the Amplified Bible is in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us….”
Since this chapter, Chapter 12, starts in the middle of a thought – there can’t be a “therefore” unless something important came before – taking a moment to see what came before is a necessary step. That means looking at Chapter 11, which is a long chapter about faith. Not only is faith defined for us in the familiar “faith is the assurance of what we hope for, the proof of what we do not see,” but explicit examples of faith are given from the lives of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Isaac, Joseph, and others.
These are some of the individuals who make up the “great cloud of witnesses” surrounding us. The point of naming them is to encourage us to look to their example and realize that their faith shows us how to function in faith in our own lives, how to run with patience and endurance the unique race set before each one of us.
Check back next week for another thought or two about this chock-full verse.