The Bible’s Heroes Aren’t Role Models

The Bible tells amazing accounts of how ordinary people did extraordinary things, but it also informs us of their struggles. While these men and women weren’t perfect, they looked to another who provided the strength we all needed.

In the Book of Hebrews, the author is on a mission to prove that Jesus is better than anything else you can imagine. In the description of sin, the author’s solution to fighting sin is by treasuring Jesus more.

As you read Hebrews 12:1-2, look for the author’s description of confronting sin.

12 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

In Heb. 12:1, you notice that the author spoke of a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Who are they? The “therefore” at the beginning of the verse helps us understand that the author must have just mentioned these witnesses. In fact, the writer archived 16 biblical figures in Hebrews 11. From Abel to David, the author shows how these distinct individuals all experienced different trials but proved to be faithful throughout their lives. These people weren’t perfect, but they did show progress.

Can you name an area of disobedience for these people mentioned? If you are unsure, use the accompanying verses to discover the answers.

  • Abraham (Gen. 12:10-13) 
  • Sarah (Gen. 18:9-15) 
  • Jacob (Gen. 27:14-20)  
  • Moses  (Deut. 32:48-52) 
  • Rahab (Joshua 2:1) 
  • David (2 Sam. 11:2-5, 14-15)  

Even in the Bible’s archive of faith heroes, we see each of them with certain challenges and particular propensities towards specific sins. In those descriptions, you might discover unique struggles with which to relate and others that you honestly can’t imagine.

So why are these wayward figures contained in such a list? While all were sinners (Rom. 3:23), these individuals portrayed faith in God’s promises amid their blatant inconsistencies. 

Look at how the author described Moses in Heb. 11:24-26. How would you summarize Moses’ thinking regarding sin?

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter 25 and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin. 26 For he considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward.

Hebrews 11:24-26

Moses is a part of that great cloud of witnesses (Heb. 12:1). Their examples are not perfect track records but progressive faith stories. God brought about hope for many seemingly hopeless cases. Like Moses, many of these individuals ended better than they started. The author of Hebrews wants us to keep their stories in mind as we fight against sin. In these verses, we discover four steps which we should remember:

  1. Learn From Those Before You
  2. Lay Aside the Sin That Entangles You
  3. Labor Through the Race Before You
  4. Look to Jesus Who Can Keep You