By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
Here we have the first person listed in this "Hall of Faith." Here we have Abel, who we know so little about, but we do know that it was faith that was at work in his life.
This is hugely important for several reasons. One is that Abel was a real man and not some myth. Next, notice that even though there was no written word at this time, it is his faith, not his deeds that declared him to be a righteous man.
It is also interesting that his faith allows him to speak, even though he is dead.