The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews

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The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews

  • Who Wrote: The Apostle Paul[1]
  • Where Written: Rome
  • When Written c. 61 C.E.


God Speaks by Means of His Son

1 Long ago God spoke to the fathers by the prophets at different times and in many ways, 2 in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the world.[2] 3 He is the radiance[3] of his glory and the exact representation of his nature, and he sustains all things by the word of his power. When he made purification for our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 4 having become as much better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they.

The Supremacy of God’s Son

For to which of the angels did he ever say,

“You are my son,
    today I have begotten you,”

and again,

“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the inhabited earth, he says,

“And let all the angels of God bow down[4] to him.”

Regarding Jesus’ reign

Of the angels he says,

“The one who makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God,[5] is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of his kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”[6]

10 And,

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
    And they all will become old like a garment,
12 And like a mantle you will roll them up;
    Like a garment they will also be changed.
But you are the same,
    And your years will have no end.”

Regarding Jesus’ Reward

13 But to which of the angels has he ever said,

“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?[7]

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?


Pay Much Closer Attention

2 For this reason we must pay much closer attention[8] to the things that have been heard, so that we do not drift away[9] from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved reliably certain, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his own will.

All Things Subjected to Jesus

For it was not to angels that God subjected the inhabited earth to come, about which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere, saying,

“What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor;[10]
you have put all things in subjection under his feet.”[11]

For in subjecting all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.

Jesus Humbled

But we do see him, who was made a little lower than angels, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Jesus and His Brothers

10 For it was fitting for him, for whom are all things and through whom are all things in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder[12] of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For both the one who sanctifies and the ones who are sanctified are all from one, for which reason he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing in praise of you.”[13]

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”[14]

And again,

“Behold, I and the children whom God has given me.”[15]

14 Therefore, since the children share in blood and flesh, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he could destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and that he might set free all those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. 16 For surely he is not concerned with angels, but he is concerned with the seed[16] of Abraham. 17 Therefore, he was obligated to be made like his brothers in all respects, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since he himself was tested in that which he has suffered, he is able to come to the aid of those who are tested.


Jesus Greater Than Moses

3 Therefore, holy brothers, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle[17] and High Priest of our confession; being faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was in all his house. For he[18] has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. Now Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later; but Christ was faithful as a Son over his house; whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

Warning Against Lack of Faith

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the provocation,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
11 As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”[19]

Encourage One Another Daily

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart,[20] in falling away[21] from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.[22] 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm until the end, 15 while it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the provocation.”[23]

The Example of Unfaithfulness

16 For who provoked him when they had heard? Indeed, did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.


Danger of Not Entering Into God’s Rest

4 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering his rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard[24] did not profit them, because it was[25] not united by faith in those who heard. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,[26]
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”[27]

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;”[28] and again in this passage,

“They shall not enter my rest.”[29]

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he designates a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”[30]

For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day. So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 10 For the one who has entered his rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.

Exhortation to Enter Into God’s Rest

11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one may fall in the same example of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must give an account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.


Jesus Superior to Human High Priests

5 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins; being able to deal gently with the ignorant and erring ones, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself. And no one takes the honor to himself, but when he is called of God, even as was Aaron.

According to the Order of Melchizedek

So also Christ did not glorify himself to become high priest, but the one who said to him,

“You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”;[31]

just as he says also in another passage,

“You are a priest forever,
    according to the order of Melchizedek.”[32]

In the days of his flesh, he offered up both supplications and prayers with loud crying and tears to the one able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his godly fear. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered. And having been made perfect, he became to all those who obey him the source of eternal salvation, 10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Warning Against Immaturity

11 Concerning whom we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.[33] 12 For in view of the time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you from the beginning the elementary things of the sayings[34] of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes of milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food belongs to the mature, to those who through practice have their discernment trained to distinguish between good and evil.


Press on to Maturity

6 Therefore, leaving behind the elementary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith in God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.

Those Falling Away Crucify the Son Again

For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away,[35] it is impossible to renew[36] them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put him to public shame. For ground that drinks the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth vegetation usable to those people for whose sake it is also cultivated, receives a blessing from God; but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

Make Your Hope Sure

But even if we are speaking in this way, beloved ones, we are persuaded of better things concerning you, and belonging to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the holy ones, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same diligence to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish,[37] but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

The Certainty of God’s Promise

13 For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For men swear by someone greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17 In the same way God, wanting to show even more to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of his resolve, guaranteed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us; 19 which we have like an anchor of the soul, both firm and steadfast, and entering into the inside of the curtain, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.


The Priestly Order of Melchizedek

7 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brothers, although these are descended from Abraham. But this man who does not have his descent from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises. It is beyond dispute that the inferior is blessed by the superior. In the one case tithes are received by mortal men, but in the other case, by one of whom it is testified that he lives. And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10 for he was still in the loins of his forefather when Melchizedek met him.

Superiority of Christ’s Priesthood

11 Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the Law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, and not according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood changes, of necessity there is a change of the Law also. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.

15 And this becomes even clearer when another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become such not according to the legal requirement that depends on fleshly descent, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is witnessed of him,

“You are a priest forever,
    according to the order of Melchizedek.”[38]

18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

20 And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but he with an oath through the one who said to him,

“The Lord has sworn
    and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever;’”)

22 so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.

23 And indeed many have become priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but he, because he continues forever, holds the priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore he is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it is fitting for us to have such a high priest who is loyal, innocent, undefiled, separated from the sinners,[39] and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who have weakness, but the statement of the oath, after the Law, appoints a Son, who is made perfect forever.


Jesus, High Priest of a Better Covenant

8 Now this is the main point in what has been said: we have a high priest such as this, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer. Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “See,” he says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.”[40] But now he has attained a more excellent ministry, by as much as he is also mediator of a better covenant which has been enacted upon better promises.

Old and New Covenants Contrasted

For if that first covenant had been faultless, occasion would not have been sought for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
    when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
    and with the house of Judah,
not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
    on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
    and so I showed no concern for them, says the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
    and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen
    and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
    from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
    and I will never[41] remember their sins no more.”

13 In his saying, “a new covenant,” he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.


The Earthly Holy Place

9 Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. For there was a sacred tent[42] prepared, the first one,[43] in which were the lampstand and the table and the loaves of presentation;[44] this is called the holy place. Behind the second curtain there was a sacred tent[45] which is called the Holy of Holies, having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant[46] covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and the rod of Aaron that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

Now when these things have been so prepared, the priests are continually entering the first tent performing the sacred services, but into the second, only the high priest enters once a year, not without blood, which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been revealed while the first tent is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly, both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until a time of reformation.

Redemption Through the Blood of Christ

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things having come,[47] then through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, he entered the holy place once for all, obtaining eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the purity of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our[48] conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Mediator of a New Covenant

15 That is why he is a mediator of a new covenant, in order that because a death has occurred for their release by ransom from the transgressions under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only over the dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled both the sacred tent and all the vessels of the ministry with the blood. 22 And according to the Law, nearly all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

The Heavenly Sanctuary

23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that he would offer himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, he would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now he has appeared once at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.[49] 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time without reference to sin to those who eagerly await him for salvation.


Christ’s Sacrifice Once for All

10 Since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the same form[50] of the things, it can never make those who approach perfect by the same sacrifices continually offered year after year. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Christ’s Sacrifice Once For All Time

Therefore, when he comes into the world, he says,

“‘Sacrifice and offering you did not want,
    but a body you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
    you have taken no pleasure.’[51]
Then I said, ‘Look! I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of me)
    To do your will, O God.’”[52]

When he said above,

“Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and offerings for sin

you did not want, nor did you delight in,”

(these are offered according to the Law), then he added, 

“Behold, I have come to do your will.”[53] He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10 By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 But this one, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
    after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
    and write them on their minds,”[54]

17 then he adds,

“And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”[55]

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

The Full Assurance of Faith

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way which he inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the custom of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Warning against Willful Sin

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the accurate knowledge[56] of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”[57] And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[58] 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Confidence and Faith to Endure

32 But remember the former days in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle[59] through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you both sympathized with the prisoners and accepted joyfully the plundering of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what was promised.

37 For, “yet in a very little while,
    he who is coming will come, and will not delay.
38 But my righteous one shall live by faith,
    and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”[60]

39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.


By Faith

11 Now faith[61] is the assurance[62] of things hoped for, the convicting evidence[63] of things not seen. For by means of it, the men of old[64] had witness borne to them. By faith we understand that the worlds[65] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

Examples of Faith

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith,[66] though he is dead, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was changed[67] so as not to see death, and he was not to be found because God had changed him; for before he was changed, he obtained the witness that he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he is and that is the rewarder of those seeking  him. By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed in going out[68] into a place he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive,[69] even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man who was as good as dead in these things, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number and as innumerable as the sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land.[70] 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a home territory of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that territory from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better territory, that is, a heavenly one.[71] Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up[72] Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up[73] his only begotten son, 18 of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed[74] shall be called,” 19 having reasoned that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking,[75] he did receive him back. 20 By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. 21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and he gave a command[76] concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they did not fear the edict of the king. 24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of the daughter of Pharaoh, 25 choosing to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin, 26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of the blood, that the destroyer of the firstborn should not touch them. 29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as on dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted it, they were swallowed up.[77] 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, brought about righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release,[78] so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 Others received their trial by mockings and scourgings, indeed, more than that, by chains and prisons. 37 They were stoned, they were tried, they were sawn in two, they were slaughtered by the sword, they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated; 38 and the world was not worthy of them. They wandered about in deserts and mountains and caves and dens of the earth.

39 And all these, having obtained a testimony through their faith, did not receive the promise, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.


Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

12 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author[79] and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do Not Disregard the Father’s Discipline

For consider the one who endured such hostility by sinners against himself, so that you will not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
    nor faint when you are reproved by him.
For those whom the Lord loves he disciplines,
    and scourges every son whom he receives.”[80]

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that hang down and the weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and a tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and to the sound of words which those who heard begged that not another word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not endure what was commanded: “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”[81] 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am very fearful and trembling.”[82] 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and congregation of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from the heavens. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”[83] 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken, that is, things that have been made, in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.


Sacrifices Pleasing to God

13 Let love of the brothers continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you yourselves also are in the body. Let marriage be honorable among all, and let the marriage bed be without defilement, for God will judge sexually immoral people[84] and adulterers. Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
    I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which do not benefit those occupied with them. 10 We have an altar from which those who serve in the tabernacle do not have the right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as an offering for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate. 13 So, let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come. 15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not neglect to do good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for this would be unprofitable for you.

18 Keep praying for us, for we trust we have an honest conscience, as we wish to conduct ourselves honestly in all things. 19 I urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you the sooner.


20 Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21 equip you in every good thing to do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

22 Now I urge you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for indeed I have written to you briefly. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24 Greet all of your leaders and all the holy ones. Those from Italy greet you. 25 Grace be with you all.

[1] THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS: Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews? (April 23, 2020)

[2] Lit the ages

[3] Shining: Jesus, the Son, is the sense of radiance from God (That is, the Father); or Jesus is the reflection of the Father’s brightness.

[4] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature says to express in attitude or gesture one’s complete dependence on or submission to a high authority figure, (fall down and) worship, do obeisance to, prostrate oneself before, do reverence to, welcome respectfully (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 882.

[5] Or, based on grammar, context, and Psalm 45:6-7, an alternative reading could be, God is your throne.

[6] A quotation from Ps 45:6-7

[7] A quotation from Ps 110:1

[8] Pay Attention: (προσέχω prosechō) The sense of προσέχω prosechō is to give heed or the need to pay attention. One must hold more firmly to what they believe or what they have known to be true. Paul is telling these Hebrew Christians, who no longer have the visual aids like the temple or the Jewish high priest, you need to hold more firmly to the things that you have heard.

[9] Drift Away: (παραρρέω pararreō) The sense of pararreō is to disbelieve or drift away gradually or slowly from what one had formerly known to be true. It is like being carried away by the water current. Because of their daily harassment from the Jews in and around Jerusalem, these Hebrew Christians, who were living where they could see what we now call the eighth wonder of the world, the Jewish temple, was gradually giving up their belief in the truth. – Heb. 2:1.

[10] The original wording was “crowned him with glory and honor,” supported by the two earliest manuscripts P46 B and D2 Maj. We have a variant, which reads, “crowned him with glory and honor, and appointed him over the works of your hands,” supported by three early manuscripts (א A C), as well as D* P Ψ 0243 0278 33 1739 it vg (syr) cop arm eth al. This was added by copyists to harmonize it with the OT at Ps 8:7 (LXX), Ps 8:6 (Eng.).

[11] A quotation from Ps 8:4-6

[12] Author, Prince of Life: (ἀρχηγός archēgos) The Greek term means originator, founder, author (Ac 3:15; Heb. 2:10; 12:2), pioneer, or chief leader. (Ac 5:31) It references Christ Jesus, the Author of life, who has freed faithful humans from sin and death, giving them the hope of eternal life.

[13] A quotation from Ps 22:22

[14] A quotation from Isa 8:17

[15] A quotation from Isa 8:18

[16] That is, offspring

[17] Apostle: (ἀπόστολος apostolos) The basic sense of the word is a “messenger, representative,” or “sent one.” This was a special messenger or envoy of Jesus Christ. In the Greek NT, “apostolos” is used primarily concerning those who were taught directly by Jesus and who were given the authority to speak in his place, especially the twelve disciples that Jesus personally selected. Matthias was chosen to replace Judas Iscariot. Paul, a direct choice of the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ, was also referred to as an apostle. – Matt 10:2; Mark 3:14; Ac 2:37; 14:14; Rom. 1:1; Heb. 3:1.

[18] That is, Jesus

[19] A quotation from Ps 95:7b-11

[20] Heart, Evil and Unbelieving: (Gr. καρδία kardia, πονηρός ponēros ἀπιστία apistia) The sense of kardia is the inner person, the person’s thoughts (mind), volition (decisions, choices, desires), emotions, and knowledge of right and wrong, That is, the conscience. The sense of ponēra is evil, wicked, morally bad, or wrong. The sense of apistias is unbelief. In the context of the book of Hebrews, it is the trait of not trusting in or relying on God and his Word. Paul warned the Hebrew Christians about developing an evil, unbelieving heart. We cannot remain “pure in heart” if we develop a heart “lacking faith.”–Heb. 3:12

[21] Falling Away: (Gr φίστημι aphistēmi) Lit to standoff; to abandon a cognitive position. to cause to rebel, to depart, to forsake. This here is a case of apostasy; that is, one who abandons the faith, who stands off from the truth, who now rejects their former biblical views so that they have now forsaken Jesus Christ.

[22] Sin, Hardened by Deceitfulness of: (Gr. sklērynthē apatē hamartias) The sense of sklērynthē is stubborn or to be hardened. One is being stubborn and obstinate when it comes to the truth. The sense of apatē is deception. A person causes another to believe something that is not true by misleading or deceptive views. The sense of hamartias is sin, failure or falling short. Hamartia is anything that is not in harmony with or contrary to God’s personality, standards, ways, and will. This can be in word, deed, or failing to do what should be done, or in mind or heart attitude.–Heb. 3:13.

[23] A quotation from Ps 95:7b-8

[24] Lit of hearing

[25] Two early mss read they were

[26] Anger/Wrath: (Heb. אַף aph Gr. ὀργή orgē) The Hebrew term basically means “nose; nostril.” It is frequently used figuratively for “anger” because of the enraged person’s intense, vicious breathing or snorting. The sense of the Greek term is wrath, which is a feeling of intense anger that does not lessen, often on an extreme level. This is a state of fury, not some righteous indignation. – Ps 18:7-8; Eze 38:18; Mk 3:5; Eph 4:31; Col 3:8; 1Ti 2:8; Heb 3:11; 4:3; Jas 1:19-20.

[27] A quotation from Ps 95:11

[28] A quotation from Gen 2:2

[29] A quotation from Ps 95:11

[30] A quotation from Ps 95:7b-8 (see also Heb. 3:7-8, 15)

[31] A quotation from Ps 2:7

[32] A quotation from Ps 110:4

[33] Hearing, Dull of: (Gr. Nōthros tais akoais) This is an idiom, which literally means that one has ‘lazy ears.’ In other words, they are slow to learn, to understand, to react, lacking intellectual perception, with the implication that this is so because they are lazy. Have we become lethargic in the truth, to the point of having lazy ears? Are we slow to learn, to understand, to react, lacking intellectual perception?–Heb. 5:11.

[34] Sayings: (Gr. logia, on [only in the plural]) A saying or message, usually short, especially divine, gathered into a collection.–Acts 7:38; Romans 3:2; Hebrews 5:12; 1 Peter 4:11.

[35] Fall Away, Forsake, or Turn Away: (παραπίπτω parapiptō) The sense of parapiptō is to fall away or forsake the truth. – Heb. 6:6.

[36] Renew, Restore, or Bring Back: (ἀνακαινίζω anakainizō) The sense of anakainizō is to cause change to a previous state, to start anew. – Heb. 6:6.

[37] Lazy, Slothful, or Sluggish: (νωθρός nōthros) The sense of nōthros is slow and apathetic. Paul warned them “them not to become lazy. – Heb. 6:12.

[38] A quotation from Ps 110:4

[39] Sinner: (חָטָא chata ἁμαρτωλός hamartōlos) In the Scriptures “sinners” is generally used in a more specific way, that is, referring to those willfully living in sin, practicing sin, or have a reputation of sinning. – Matt. 9:10; Mark 2:15; Luke 5:30; 7:37-39; John 9:16; Rom. 3:7; Gal. 2:15; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 7:26; Jam. 4:8; 1 Pet 4:18; Jude 1:15.

[40] A quotation from Exod 25:40

[41] This combination of two Greek negative particles ο µ (ou mē) and the aorist subjunctive with reference to a future event is the strongest negation possible in Greek, meaning absolutely not at all, in no way, by no means in any way to something in the future, this being known as the Subjunctive of Emphatic Negation.

[42] Or tabernacle

[43] That is, first section

[44] Or sacred bread

[45] Or tabernacle

[46] Ark of the Covenant of Jehovah: (אֲר֥וֹן בְּרִית־יְהוָ֖ה berith Jehovah; Gr. κιβωτός διαθήκη kibōtos diathēkē) The original chest was made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. The cover was of solid gold with two cherubs facing each other, which the Israelites kept in the Most Holy of the tabernacle and later in the Most Holy of the temple that Solomon built. It contained the Ten Commandments and was associated with God’s presence. –  Deut. 31:26; 1 Ki 6:19; Heb. 9:4.

[47] Some manuscripts (א A D2 Ivid 0278 33 Maj) good things about to come

[48] Some MSS your

[49] Or by His sacrifice

[50] Lit image

[51] A quotation from Ps 40:6

[52] A quotation from Ps 40:8

[53] A quotation from Ps 40:8

[54] A quotation from Jer 31:33

[55] A quotation from Jer. 31:34

[56] Accurate Knowledge: (ἐπίγνωσις epignōsis) This is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. It is a personal recognition where one understands something clearly and distinctly or as true and valid. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis. Paul uses the term 15 times, while Peter uses it four times. Paul wrote about some who were “always learning and yet never able to come to accurate knowledge of truth.” (2Ti 3:6-7) He also prayed for those in the Colossian church, who clearly had some knowledge of the will and purposes of the Father, for they had become Christians, “that [they] may be filled with the accurate knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” (Col 1:9) All Christians should desire to obtain or achieve accurate knowledge of God’s Word. (Eph 1:15-17; Php 1:9; 1Ti 2:3-4), It is crucial in one’s effort at putting on the new person that Paul spoke of, and in gaining peace. – Rom. 1:28; Eph. 1:17; Phil. 1:9; Col. 1:9-10; 3:10; 1 Tim 2:4; 2Pe 1:2.

[57] Quote from Deut. 32:35

[58] Quote from Deut. 32:36

[59] Lit were exposed as in a theater

[60] A quotation from Hab. 2:3-4

[61] Faith (πίστις pistis) is trust, strong conviction, reliance on, what can be believed, a state of certainty with regard to belief (Ac 17:31); trust, believe to a complete trust (Mk 11:22; Ac 24:24; Eph 4:29 v.r.); trustworthiness, the state of complete dependability (Ro 3:3); Christian faith, belief in the Gospel (Ro 1:8; Eph 2:8; Gal 1:23; Jude 3).

[62] Or, assured expectation; (ὑπόστασις hupostasis) trust, confidence, being sure

[63] The Greek term (ἔλεγχος elegchos) has the sense of convicting evidence; evidence for, proof that makes someone fully agree, understand, and realize the truth, usually based on argument or discussion.

[64] Or of ancient times; Lit older men; Gr presbyteroi.

[65] Or universe; Lit ages

[66] Lit it

[67] The Greek word (metatithemai) rendered changed in the Updated American Standard Version literally means depart, change, and transfer. The sense of change is that of going from one state or place to another.

[68] Lit to go out

[69] Lit power into throwing down of seed

[70] Lit on the earth; the Greek (ges) literally means “earth, land, region, humanity,” and it is the context that determines our word choice. The Greek here means the surface of the earth as the habitation of humanity. (BDAG) Dods and Lane, take it in reference to the land of Canaan. (Dods, “Hebrews,” 357; Lane, Hebrews 9–13, 357) See vs 16 note

[71] The patriarchs were not looking for any spiritual, heavenly resurrection

[72] An interpretive translation could read, “as good as offered up Isaac.” The Greek verb here (prosenenochen) translated “offered up” is in the perfect tense, where the writer describes “a completed verbal action that occurred in the past but which produced a state of being or a result that exists in the present (in relation to the writer). The emphasis of the perfect is not the past action so much as it is as such but the present ‘state of affairs’ resulting from the past action.” (GMSDT) Dods and Moffatt take the perfect tense to refer only to a past act with no emphasis being suggested by the author. (Dods, “Hebrews,” 358; Moffatt, Hebrews, 176.)

[73] The Greek verb here (prosepheren) translated “was offering up” is in the imperfect tense, “where the writer portrays an action in process or a state of being that is occurring in the past with no assessment of the action’s completion.” (GMSDT) Therefore, this rendering is in harmony with what actually happened.

[74] Or descendants; offspring

[75] Lit in a parable; Gr enparabolei

[76] Or gave instructions; gave orders

[77] Or they were drowned

[78] Lit redemption

[79] Author, Prince of Life: (ἀρχηγός archēgos) The Greek term means originator, founder, author (Ac 3:15; Heb. 2:10; 12:2), pioneer, or chief leader. (Ac 5:31) It references Christ Jesus, the Author of life, who has freed faithful humans from sin and death, giving them the hope of eternal life.

[80] A quotation from Prov 3:11-12

[81] A quotation from Ex 19:12-13

[82] A quotation from Deut. 9:19

[83] A quotation from Hag 2:6

[84] Sexual Immorality: (זָנָה zanah; πορνεία porneia) A general term for immoral sexual acts of any kind: such as adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between people not married to each other, homosexuality, and bestiality. – Num. 25:1; Deut. 22:21; Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 5:1.

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