"And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies." NIV translation
Paul explains that he is just giving us a brief look into this hall of faith. Books and, in fact, a whole library could be written about the long list of people who have walked in faith. The main thing that they all had in common was the fact that it was only through the power of God that they were made strong. They are winners because of the power of God! We must also remember that, throughout the Bible, it was mostly misfits and the weak that God has used for His purposes.
"Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated - the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground." NIV translation
As we see here, with this faith and wonders came persecution. Many times it was out of jealousy and greed. Men and women of faith did not live the charmed life in luxury. For the most part, they suffered for their faith and were rejected by the world just as Jesus was rejected.
That brings up questions about the modern prosperity preachers and the ministers living in mansions here on the earth. Although we are free in Christ to enjoy the things of this world, it still comes back to the old catchphrase: What would Jesus do? We can see the answer in the way that He walked here on the earth. He even explained that He had no place to rest His head (Matthew 8:20).
"These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect." NIV translation
The promise that is spoken of is eternal life in a resurrected body without the struggles of the flesh and sin. Even these great heroes of faith struggled while they were here on the earth but they were looking forward to the time when the struggle would end and they would be reunited with the Father. Only when all of God's chosen are gathered in will any of us be complete.