To say that faith is a major theme of the Bible is an understatement. What better place to begin than the great Faith Chapter of the Bible, Hebrews 11. In this chapter the noun faith is found 24 times and the verb believe once (which are both from the same word family in the Greek).
Hebrews 11 could be called Case Studies in Faith. Here are real people much like us who struggled with major problems and overcame them by faith. The writer refers to Bible characters in Genesis, Exodus, Joshua, etc.
What are the characteristics of faith? First, faith is the assurance that what we do not see is real (v. 1). There are three categories of what we do not see: 1) things in the past (v. 3); 2) things in the present (v. 6); and 3) things in the future (vv. 7, 10)
Second, faith acts. It does something. “By faith Abel offered unto God....By faith Noah...prepared an ark....By faith Abraham...obeyed....By faith Abraham ...offered up Isaac....”
Third, faith enables us to please God (vv. 2, 6, 39). God is pleased when we live in such a way that proves we trust Him.
And fourth, faith brings a great reward (v. 6). God richly blesses those who live by faith, not by sight.
Note the words that immediately precede the Faith Chapter: “But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul” (10:38 -39 NASB).