Rahab, faith & works – ATA

Was Rahab saved by faith (Hebrews 11:31) or by works (James 2:25)? Is there a contradiction?

This question has been the focus of many religious debates throughout the years, not just about Rahab, but about us all; are we saved by faith or by works?

Indeed, the writer of Hebrews, in the midst of a chapter on faith plainly states, “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe…” Here is a key question; when was Rahab saved by faith? The latter part of the verse gives the answer: “…when she had received the spies with peace.” Hebrews 11:31 doesn’t teach that Rahab was saved by faith alone; she was saved by faith when she DID something. In fact, read through Hebrews 11 (a chapter extolling faith), and you will see that faith and works are inseparable.

  • By faith Abel offered…
  • By faith Noah prepared…
  • By faith Abraham obeyed…
  • By faith Moses forsook…
  • By faith they passed through the Red Sea…
  • By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they were encircled for seven days…

In the context of James 2, the question being addressed is this: if we have faith but not works, can faith save us (2:14)? Throughout the text, the answer sounds forth:

  • …faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead… (17)
  • Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (18)
  • …faith without works is dead. (20)
  • …faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect… (22)
  • …a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (24)
  • …as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (26)


Faith and works are both essential for salvation, whether we are talking about Rahab or anyone else.

There is no contradiction.

A response to 1001 Bible Contradictions.

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