Hebrews 11:32—Should some of the men listed in this “hall of faith” really be included?

Problem: Why should Barak, Samson, and Jephthah be listed among the great men of faith such as Abraham, Moses, and Joseph? After all, they failed in many ways.

Solution: It is true that Barak did not want to go to war without Deborah and showed lack of leadership. Samson had a flare for women, and Jephthah negotiated with the Ammonites which he should not have done. Yet none of these acts should necessarily exclude these men from being listed. For, as the NT says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). This is true even of others mentioned in the list of great men of faith. Abraham lied concerning Sarah his wife, and Moses killed a man. David will always be remembered for his adulterous act with Bathsheba, yet God called him a man “who followed Me with all his heart” (1 Kings 14:8). What separates these men from other individuals is their faith, not their sinfulness. Their heroic faith warranted their inclusion in the “Faith Hall of Fame.” For example, even after Samson’s decline, he performed mighty acts of faith and accomplished great things for God, destroying more of God’s enemies in his death than he did in his life (Jud. 16:30).

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.