New English Translation
Introduction: God Has Spoken Fully and Finally in His Son
1 After God spoke long ago[a] in various portions[b] and in various ways[c] to our ancestors[d] through the prophets, 2 in these last days he has spoken to us in a son,[e] whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world.[f] 3 The Son is[g] the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence, and he sustains all things by his powerful word,[h] and so when he had accomplished cleansing for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.[i] 4 Thus he became[j] so far better than the angels as[k] he has inherited a name superior to theirs.
The Son Is Superior to Angels
5 For to which of the angels did God[l] ever say, “You are my son! Today I have fathered you”?[m] And in another place[n] he says,[o] “I will be his father and he will be my son.”[p] 6 But when he again brings[q] his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him!”[r] 7 And he says[s] of the angels, “He makes[t] his angels winds[u] and his ministers a flame of fire,”[v] 8 but of[w] the Son he says,[x]
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,[y]
and a righteous scepter[z] is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.
So God, your God, has anointed you over your companions[aa] with the oil of rejoicing.”[ab]
“You founded the earth in the beginning, Lord,[ac]
and the heavens are the works of your hands.
11 They will perish, but you continue.
And they will all grow old like a garment,
12 and like a robe you will fold them up
and like a garment[ad] they will be changed,
but you are the same and your years will never run out.”[ae]
13 But to which of the angels[af] has he ever said, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?[ag] 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to serve those[ah] who will inherit salvation?
Warning Against Drifting Away
2 Therefore we must pay closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For if the message spoken through angels[ai] proved to be so firm that every violation[aj] or disobedience received its just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first communicated through the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard him, 4 while God confirmed their witness[ak] with signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed[al] according to his will.
Exposition of Psalm 8: Jesus and the Destiny of Humanity
“What is man that you think of him[ao] or the son of man that you care for him?
7 You made him lower than the angels for a little while.
You crowned him with glory and honor.[ap]
8 You put all things under his control.”[aq]
For when he put all things under his control, he left nothing outside of his control. At present we do not yet see all things under his control,[ar] 9 but we see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while,[as] now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death,[at] so that by God’s grace he would experience[au] death on behalf of everyone. 10 For it was fitting for him, for whom and through whom all things exist,[av] in bringing many sons to glory, to make the pioneer[aw] of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For indeed he who makes holy and those being made holy all have the same origin,[ax] and so[ay] he is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,[az] 12 saying, “I will proclaim your name to my brothers;[ba] in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.”[bb] 13 Again he says,[bc] “I will be confident in him,” and again, “Here I am,[bd] with[be] the children God has given me.”[bf] 14 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in[bg] their humanity,[bh] so that through death he could destroy[bi] the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), 15 and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. 16 For surely his concern is not for angels, but he is concerned for Abraham’s descendants. 17 Therefore he had[bj] to be made like his brothers and sisters[bk] in every respect, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in things relating to God, to make atonement[bl] for the sins of the people. 18 For since he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted.
Jesus and Moses
3 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters,[bm] partners in a heavenly calling, take note of Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess,[bn] 2 who is faithful to the one who appointed him, as Moses was also in God’s[bo] house.[bp] 3 For he has come to deserve greater glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house deserves greater honor than the house itself! 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God. 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s[bq] house[br] as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken. 6 But Christ[bs] is faithful as a son over God’s[bt] house. We are of his house,[bu] if in fact we hold firmly[bv] to our confidence and the hope we take pride in.[bw]
Exposition of Psalm 95: Hearing God’s Word in Faith
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,[bx]
“Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks![by]
8 “Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of testing in the wilderness.
9 “There your fathers tested me and tried me,[bz] and they saw my works for forty years.
10 “Therefore, I became provoked at that generation and said, ‘Their hearts are always wandering[ca] and they have not known my ways.’
11 “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’”[cb]
12 See to it,[cc] brothers and sisters,[cd] that none of you has[ce] an evil, unbelieving heart that forsakes[cf] the living God.[cg] 13 But exhort one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” that none of you may become hardened by sin’s deception. 14 For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence[ch] firm until the end. 15 As it says,[ci] “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks![cj] Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”[ck] 16 For which ones heard and rebelled? Was it not all who came out of Egypt under Moses’ leadership?[cl] 17 And against whom was God[cm] provoked for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose dead bodies fell in the wilderness?[cn] 18 And to whom did he swear they would never enter into his rest, except those who were disobedient? 19 So[co] we see that they could not enter because of unbelief.
God’s Promised Rest
4 Therefore we must be wary[cp] that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in[cq] with those who heard it in faith.[cr] 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’”[cs] And yet God’s works[ct] were accomplished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works,”[cu] 5 but to repeat the text cited earlier:[cv] “They will never enter my rest!” 6 Therefore it remains for some to enter it, yet those to whom it was previously proclaimed did not enter because of disobedience. 7 So God[cw] again ordains a certain day, “Today,” speaking through David[cx] after so long a time, as in the words quoted before,[cy] “Oh, that today you would listen as he speaks![cz] Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God[da] would not have spoken afterward about another day. 9 Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. 10 For the one who enters God’s[db] rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. 11 Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from God,[dc] but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account.
Jesus Our Compassionate 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 to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.[dd]
5 For every high priest is taken from among the people[de] and appointed[df] to represent them before God,[dg] to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 He is able to deal compassionately with those who are ignorant and erring, since he also is subject to weakness, 3 and for this reason he is obligated to make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. 4 And no one assumes this honor[dh] on his own initiative,[di] but only when called to it by God,[dj] as in fact Aaron was. 5 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming high priest, but the one who glorified him was God,[dk] who said to him, “You are my Son! Today I have fathered you,”[dl] 6 as also in another place God[dm] says, “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”[dn] 7 During his earthly life[do] Christ[dp] offered[dq] both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered.[dr] 9 And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 and he was designated[ds] by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek.[dt]
The Need to Move on to Maturity
11 On this topic we have much to say[du] and it is difficult to explain, since you have become sluggish[dv] in hearing. 12 For though you should in fact be teachers by this time,[dw] you need someone to teach you the beginning elements of God’s utterances.[dx] You have gone back to needing[dy] milk, not[dz] solid food. 13 For everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced in the message of righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, whose perceptions are trained by practice to discern both good and evil.
6 Therefore we must progress beyond[ea] the elementary[eb] instructions about Christ[ec] and move on[ed] to maturity, not laying this foundation again: repentance from dead works[ee] and faith in God, 2 teaching about ritual washings,[ef] laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this is what we intend to do,[eg] if God permits. 4 For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened, tasted the heavenly gift, become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 tasted the good word of God and the miracles of the coming age, 6 and then have committed apostasy,[eh] to renew them again to repentance, since[ei] they are crucifying the Son of God for themselves all over again[ej] and holding him up to contempt. 7 For the ground that has soaked up the rain that frequently falls on[ek] it and yields useful vegetation for those who tend it receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is useless and about to be cursed;[el] its fate is to be burned. 9 But in your case, dear friends, even though we speak like this, we are convinced of better things relating to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name, in having served and continuing to serve the saints. 11 But we passionately want each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of your hope until the end, 12 so that you may not be sluggish,[em] but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises.
13 Now when God made his promise to Abraham, since he could swear by no one greater, he swore by himself, 14 saying, “Surely I will bless you greatly and multiply your descendants abundantly.”[en] 15 And so by persevering, Abraham[eo] inherited the promise. 16 For people[ep] swear by something greater than themselves,[eq] and the oath serves as a confirmation to end all dispute.[er] 17 In the same way[es] God wanted to demonstrate more clearly to the heirs of the promise that his purpose was unchangeable,[et] and so he intervened with an oath, 18 so that we who have found refuge in him[eu] may find strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us through two unchangeable things, since it is impossible for God to lie. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast, which reaches inside behind the curtain,[ev] 20 where Jesus our forerunner entered on our behalf, since he became a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.[ew]
The Nature of Melchizedek’s Priesthood
7 Now this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, met Abraham as he was returning from defeating the kings and blessed him.[ex] 2 To him[ey] also Abraham apportioned a tithe[ez] of everything.[fa] His name first means[fb] king of righteousness, then king of Salem,[fc] that is, king of peace. 3 Without father, without mother, without genealogy, he has neither beginning of days nor end of life but is like the son of God, and he remains a priest for all time. 4 But see how great he must be, if[fd] Abraham the patriarch gave him a tithe[fe] of his plunder. 5 And those of the sons of Levi who receive the priestly office[ff] have authorization according to the law to collect a tithe from the people, that is, from their fellow countrymen,[fg] although they too are descendants of Abraham.[fh] 6 But Melchizedek[fi] who does not share their ancestry[fj] collected a tithe[fk] from Abraham and blessed[fl] the one who possessed the promise. 7 Now without dispute the inferior is blessed by the superior, 8 and in one case tithes are received by mortal men, while in the other by him who is affirmed to be alive. 9 And it could be said that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid a tithe through Abraham. 10 For he was still in his ancestor Abraham’s loins[fm] when Melchizedek met him.
Jesus and the Priesthood of Melchizedek
11 So if perfection had in fact been possible through the Levitical priesthood—for on that basis[fn] the people received the law—what further need would there have been for another priest to arise, said to be in the order of Melchizedek and not in Aaron’s order? 12 For when the priesthood changes, a change in the law must come[fo] as well. 13 Yet the one these things are spoken about belongs to[fp] a different tribe, and no one from that tribe[fq] has ever officiated at the altar. 14 For it is clear that our Lord is descended from Judah, yet Moses said nothing about priests in connection with that tribe. 15 And this is even clearer if another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become a priest not by a legal regulation about physical descent[fr] but by the power of an indestructible life. 17 For here is the testimony about him:[fs] “You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”[ft] 18 On the one hand a former command is set aside[fu] because it is weak and useless,[fv] 19 for the law made nothing perfect. On the other hand a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And since[fw] this was not done without a sworn affirmation—for the others have become priests without a sworn affirmation, 21 but Jesus[fx] did so[fy] with a sworn affirmation by the one who said to him, “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, ‘You are a priest forever’”[fz]— 22 accordingly Jesus has become the guarantee[ga] of a better covenant. 23 And the others[gb] who became priests were numerous, because death prevented them[gc] from continuing in office,[gd] 24 but he holds his priesthood permanently since he lives forever. 25 So he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26 For it is indeed fitting for us to have such a high priest: holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need to do every day what those priests do, to offer sacrifices first for their own sins and then for the sins of the people, since he did this in offering himself once for all. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men subject to weakness,[ge] but the word of solemn affirmation that came after the law appoints a son made perfect forever.
The High Priest of a Better Covenant
8 Now the main point of what we are saying is this:[gf] We have such a high priest, one who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,[gg] 2 a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle that the Lord, not man, set up. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. So this one too had to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest, since there are already priests who offer[gh] the gifts prescribed by the law. 5 The place where they serve is[gi] a sketch[gj] and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, just as Moses was warned by God as he was about to complete the tabernacle. For he says, “See that you make everything according to the design[gk] shown to you on the mountain.”[gl] 6 But[gm] now Jesus[gn] has obtained a superior ministry, since[go] the covenant that he mediates is also better and is enacted[gp] on better promises.[gq]
“Look, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will complete a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
9 “It will not be like the covenant[gw] that I made with their fathers, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not continue in my covenant and I had no regard for them, says the Lord.
10 “For this is the covenant that I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord. I will put[gx] my laws in their minds[gy] and I will inscribe them on their hearts. And I will be their God and they will be my people.[gz]
11 “And there will be no need at all[ha] for each one to teach his countryman or each one to teach his brother saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ since they will all know me, from the least to the greatest.[hb]
12 “For I will be merciful toward their evil deeds, and their sins I will remember no longer.”[hc]
The Arrangement and Ritual of the Earthly Sanctuary
9 Now the first covenant,[hf] in fact, had regulations for worship and its earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tent was prepared, the outer one,[hg] which contained[hh] the lampstand, the table, and the presentation of the loaves; this[hi] is called the Holy Place. 3 And after the second curtain there was a tent called the holy of holies. 4 It contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered entirely with gold. In this ark[hj] were the golden urn containing the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. 5 And above the ark[hk] were the cherubim[hl] of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Now is not the time to speak of these things in detail. 6 So with these things prepared like this, the priests enter continually into the outer tent[hm] as they perform their duties. 7 But only the high priest enters once a year into the inner tent,[hn] and not without blood that he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.[ho] 8 The Holy Spirit is making clear that the way into the Holy Place had not yet appeared as long as the old tabernacle[hp] was standing. 9 This was a symbol for the time then present, when gifts and sacrifices were offered that could not perfect the conscience of the worshiper. 10 They served only for matters of food and drink[hq] and various ritual washings; they are external regulations[hr] imposed until the new order came.[hs]
Christ’s Service in the Heavenly Sanctuary
11 But now Christ has come[ht] as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 12 and he entered once for all into the Most Holy Place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured[hu] eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity,[hv] 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our[hw] consciences from dead works to worship the living God.
15 And so he is the mediator[hx] of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised,[hy] since he died[hz] to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant. 16 For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven.[ia] 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it carries no force while the one who made it is alive. 18 So even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood.[ib] 19 For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that God has commanded you to keep.”[ic] 21 And both the tabernacle and all the utensils of worship he likewise sprinkled with blood. 22 Indeed according to the law almost everything was purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. 23 So it was necessary for the sketches[id] of the things in heaven to be purified with these sacrifices,[ie] but the heavenly things themselves required[if] better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands—the representation[ig] of the true sanctuary[ih]—but into heaven itself, and he appears now in God’s presence for us. 25 And he did not enter to offer[ii] himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the sanctuary year after year with blood that is not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice. 27 And just as people[ij] are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment,[ik] 28 so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many,[il] to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin[im] but to bring salvation.[in]
Concluding Exposition: Old and New Sacrifices Contrasted
10 For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.[io] 2 For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have[ip] no further consciousness of sin? 3 But in those sacrifices[iq] there is a reminder of sins year after year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 So when he came into the world, he said,
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.
6 “Whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you took no delight in.
7 “Then I said, ‘Here I am:[ir] I have come—it is written of me in the scroll of the book—to do your will, O God.’”[is]
8 When he says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you did not desire nor did you take delight in them”[it] (which are offered according to the law), 9 then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.”[iu] He does away with[iv] the first to establish the second. 10 By his will[iw] we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands day after day[ix] serving and offering the same sacrifices again and again—sacrifices that can never take away sins. 12 But when this priest[iy] had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, he sat down at the right hand[iz] of God, 13 where he is now waiting[ja] until his enemies are made a footstool for his feet.[jb] 14 For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. 15 And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying,[jc] 16 “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put[jd] my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,”[je] 17 then he says,[jf] “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.”[jg] 18 Now where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Drawing Near to God in Enduring Faith
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters,[jh] since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us[ji] through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,[jj] 21 and since we have a great priest[jk] over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings,[jl] because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience[jm] and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works,[jn] 25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day[jo] drawing near.[jp]
26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us,[jq] 27 but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury[jr] of fire that will consume God’s enemies.[js] 28 Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to death[jt] without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.[ju] 29 How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for[jv] the Son of God, and profanes[jw] the blood of the covenant that made him holy,[jx] and insults the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,”[jy] and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”[jz] 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 But remember the former days when you endured a harsh conflict of suffering after you were enlightened. 33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions, and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way. 34 For in fact you shared the sufferings of those in prison,[ka] and you accepted the confiscation of your belongings with joy, because you knew that you certainly[kb] had a better and lasting possession. 35 So do not throw away your confidence, because it[kc] has great reward. 36 For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised.[kd] 37 For just a little longer[ke] and he who is coming will arrive and not delay.[kf] 38 But my righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, I[kg] take no pleasure in him.[kh] 39 But we are not among those who shrink back and thus perish, but are among those who have faith and preserve their souls.[ki]
- Hebrews 1:1 tn Or “spoke formerly.”
- Hebrews 1:1 tn Or “parts.” The idea is that God’s previous revelation came in many parts and was therefore fragmentary or partial (L&N 63.19), in comparison with the final and complete revelation contained in God’s Son. However, some interpret πολυμερῶς (polumerōs) in Heb 1:1 to mean “on many different occasions” and would thus translate “many times” (L&N 67.11). This is the option followed by the NIV “at many times and in various ways.” Finally, this word is also understood to refer to the different manners in which something may be done, and would then be translated “in many different ways” (L&N 89.81). In this last case, the two words πολυμερῶς and πολυτρόπως (polutropōs) mutually reinforce one another (“in many and various ways,” NRSV).
- Hebrews 1:1 tn These two phrases are emphasized in Greek by being placed at the beginning of the sentence and by alliteration.
- Hebrews 1:1 tn Grk “to the fathers.”
- Hebrews 1:2 tn The Greek puts an emphasis on the quality of God’s final revelation. As such, it is more than an indefinite notion (“a son”) though less than a definite one (“the son”), for this final revelation is not just through any son of God, nor is the emphasis specifically on the person himself. Rather, the focus here is on the nature of the vehicle of God’s revelation: He is no mere spokesman (or prophet) for God, nor is he merely a heavenly messenger (or angel); instead, this final revelation comes through one who is intimately acquainted with the heavenly Father in a way that only a family member could be. There is, however, no exact equivalent in English (“in son” is hardly good English style).sn The phrase in a son is the fulcrum of Heb 1:1-4. It concludes the contrast of God’s old and new revelation and introduces a series of seven descriptions of the Son. These descriptions show why he is the ultimate revelation of God.
- Hebrews 1:2 tn Grk “the ages.” The temporal (ages) came to be used of the spatial (what exists in those time periods). See Heb 11:3 for the same usage.
- Hebrews 1:3 tn Grk “who being…and sustaining.” Heb 1:1-4 form one skillfully composed sentence in Greek, but it must be broken into shorter segments to correspond to contemporary English usage, which does not allow for sentences of this length and complexity.
- Hebrews 1:3 tn Grk “by the word of his power.”
- Hebrews 1:3 sn An allusion to Ps 110:1, quoted often in Hebrews.
- Hebrews 1:4 tn Grk “having become.” This is part of the same sentence that extends from v. 1 through v. 4 in the Greek text.
- Hebrews 1:4 tn Most modern English translations attempt to make the comparison somewhat smoother by treating “name” as if it were the subject of the second element: “as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, CEV). However, the Son is the subject of both the first and second elements: “he became so far better”; “he has inherited a name.” The present translation maintains this parallelism even though it results in a somewhat more awkward rendering.sn This comparison is somewhat awkward to express in English, but it reflects an important element in the argument of Hebrews: the superiority of Jesus Christ.
- Hebrews 1:5 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 1:5 tn Grk “I have begotten you.”sn A quotation from Ps 2:7.
- Hebrews 1:5 tn Grk “And again,” quoting another OT passage.
- Hebrews 1:5 tn The words “he says” are not in the Greek text but are supplied to make a complete English sentence. In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence, but English does not normally employ such long and complex sentences.
- Hebrews 1:5 tn Grk “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me.”sn A quotation from 2 Sam 7:14 (cf. 1 Chr 17:13).
- Hebrews 1:6 tn Or “And again when he brings.” The translation adopted in the text looks forward to Christ’s second coming to earth. Some take “again” to introduce the quotation (as in 1:5) and understand this as Christ’s first coming, but this view does not fit well with Heb 2:7. Others understand it as his exaltation/ascension to heaven, but this takes the phrase “into the world” in an unlikely way.
- Hebrews 1:6 sn A quotation combining themes from Deut 32:43 and Ps 97:7.
- Hebrews 1:7 sn The Greek correlative conjunctions μέν and δέ (men and de) emphasize the contrastive parallelism of vs. 7 (what God says about the angels) over against vv. 8-9 and vv. 10-12 (what God says about the son).
- Hebrews 1:7 tn Grk “He who makes.”
- Hebrews 1:7 tn Or “spirits” (so KJV, NKJV). The Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma) can mean either “wind” or “spirit” depending on the context. Since the context here concerns the superiority of the Son to the angels, many interpreters and most modern English translations see the present verse emphasizing the transitory or ephemeral nature of God’s other servants, the angels, and thus underscoring their inferiority to the Son.
- Hebrews 1:7 sn A quotation from Ps 104:4.
- Hebrews 1:8 tn Or “to.”
- Hebrews 1:8 tn The verb “he says” (λέγει, legei) is implied from the λέγει of v. 7.
- Hebrews 1:8 tn Or possibly, “Your throne is God forever and ever.” This translation is quite doubtful, however, since (1) in the context the Son is being contrasted to the angels and is presented as far better than they. The imagery of God being the Son’s throne would seem to be of God being his authority. If so, in what sense could this not be said of the angels? In what sense is the Son thus contrasted with the angels? (2) The μέν…δέ (men…de) construction that connects v. 7 with v. 8 clearly lays out this contrast: “On the one hand, he says of the angels…on the other hand, he says of the Son.” Thus, although it is grammatically possible that θεός (theos) in v. 8 should be taken as a predicate nominative, the context and the correlative conjunctions are decidedly against it. Hebrews 1:8 is thus a strong affirmation of the deity of Christ.
- Hebrews 1:8 tn Grk “the righteous scepter,” but used generically.
- Hebrews 1:9 sn God…has anointed you over your companions. God’s anointing gives the son a superior position and authority over his fellows.
- Hebrews 1:9 sn A quotation from Ps 45:6-7.
- Hebrews 1:10 sn You founded the earth…your years will never run out. In its original setting Ps 102:25-27 refers to the work of God in creation, but here in Hebrews 1:10-12 the writer employs it in reference to Christ, the Lord, making a strong argument for the essential deity of the Son.
- Hebrews 1:12 tc The words “like a garment” (ὡς ἱμάτιον, hōs himation) are found in excellent and early mss (P46 א A B D* 1739) though absent in a majority of witnesses (D1 Ψ 0243 0278 33 1881 M lat sy bo). Although it is possible that longer reading was produced by overzealous scribes who wanted to underscore the frailty of creation, it is much more likely that the shorter reading was produced by scribes who wanted to conform the wording to that of Ps 102:26 (101:27 LXX), which here lacks the second “like a garment.” Both external and internal considerations decidedly favor the longer reading, and point to the author of Hebrews as the one underscoring the difference between the Son and creation.sn The phrase like a garment here is not part of the original OT text (see tc note above); for this reason it has been printed in normal type.
- Hebrews 1:12 sn A quotation from Ps 102:25-27.
- Hebrews 1:13 sn The parallel phrases to which of the angels in vv. 5 and 13 show the unity of this series of quotations (vv. 5-14) in revealing the superiority of the Son over angels (v. 4).
- Hebrews 1:13 sn A quotation from Ps 110:1.
- Hebrews 1:14 tn Grk “sent for service for the sake of those.”
- Hebrews 2:2 sn The message spoken through angels refers to the OT law, which according to Jewish tradition was mediated to Moses through angels (cf. Deut 33:2; Ps 68:17-18; Acts 7:38, 53; Gal 3:19; and Jub. 1:27, 29; Josephus, Ant. 15.5.3 [15.136]).
- Hebrews 2:2 tn Grk “through angels became valid and every violation.”
- Hebrews 2:4 tn Grk “God bearing witness together” (the phrase “with them” is implied).
- Hebrews 2:4 tn Grk “and distributions of the Holy Spirit.”
- Hebrews 2:5 sn The phrase the world to come means “the coming inhabited earth,” using the Greek term which describes the world of people and their civilizations.
- Hebrews 2:5 sn See the previous reference to the world in Heb 1:6.
- Hebrews 2:6 tn Grk “remember him.”
- Hebrews 2:7 tc Several witnesses, many of them early and significant (א A C D* P Ψ 0243 0278 33 1739 1881 al lat co), have at the end of v 7, “You have given him dominion over the works of your hands.” Other mss, not quite as impressive in weight, lack the words (P46 B D2 M). In spite of the impressive external evidence for the longer reading, it is most likely a scribal addition to conform the text of Hebrews to Ps 8:6 (8:7 LXX). Conformity of a NT quotation of the OT to the LXX was a routine scribal activity, and can hardly be in doubt here as to the cause of the longer reading.
- Hebrews 2:8 tn Grk “you subjected all things under his feet.”sn A quotation from Ps 8:4-6.
- Hebrews 2:8 sn The expression all things under his control occurs three times in 2:8. The latter two occurrences are not exactly identical to the Greek text of Ps 8:6 quoted at the beginning of the verse, but have been adapted by the writer of Hebrews to fit his argument.
- Hebrews 2:9 tn Or “who was made a little lower than the angels.”
- Hebrews 2:9 tn Grk “because of the suffering of death.”
- Hebrews 2:9 tn Grk “would taste.” Here the Greek verb does not mean “sample a small amount” (as a typical English reader might infer from the word “taste”), but “experience something cognitively or emotionally; come to know something” (cf. BDAG 195 s.v. γεύομαι 2).
- Hebrews 2:10 tn Grk “for whom are all things and through whom are all things.”
- Hebrews 2:10 sn The Greek word translated pioneer is used of a “prince” or leader, the representative head of a family. It also carries nuances of “trailblazer,” one who breaks through to new ground for those who follow him. It is used some thirty-five times in the Greek OT and four times in the NT, always of Christ (Acts 3:15; 5:31; Heb 2:10; 12:2).
- Hebrews 2:11 tn Grk “are all from one.”
- Hebrews 2:11 tn Grk “for which reason.”
- Hebrews 2:11 tn Grk “brothers,” but the Greek word may be used for “brothers and sisters” as here (cf. BDAG 18 s.v. ἀδελφός 1, where considerable nonbiblical evidence for the plural ἀδελφοί [adelphoi] meaning “brothers and sisters” is cited). The context here also indicates both men and women are in view; note especially the collective τὰ παιδία (ta paidia) in v. 14.
- Hebrews 2:12 tn Here, because of its occurrence in an OT quotation, τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς (tois adelphois) has been translated simply as “brothers” rather than “brothers and sisters” (see the note on the latter phrase in the previous verse).
- Hebrews 2:12 sn A quotation from Ps 22:22.
- Hebrews 2:13 tn Grk “and again,” as a continuation of the preceding.
- Hebrews 2:13 tn Grk “behold, I,” but this construction often means “here is/there is” (cf. BDAG 468 s.v. ἰδού 2).
- Hebrews 2:13 tn Grk “and.”
- Hebrews 2:13 sn A quotation from Isa 8:17-18.
- Hebrews 2:14 tn Or “partook of” (this is a different word than the one in v. 14a).
- Hebrews 2:14 tn Grk “the same.”
- Hebrews 2:14 tn Or “break the power of,” “reduce to nothing.”
- Hebrews 2:17 tn Or “he was obligated.”
- Hebrews 2:17 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 2:11.
- Hebrews 2:17 tn Or “propitiation.”
- Hebrews 3:1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 2:11.
- Hebrews 3:1 tn Grk “of our confession.”
- Hebrews 3:2 tn Grk “his”; in the translation the referent (God) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 3:2 tc ‡ The reading adopted by the translation follows a few early mss and some versions (P13,46vid B vgms co Ambr). The majority of mss (א A C D Ψ 0243 0278 33 1739 1881 M lat sy) insert “all” (“in all his house”), apparently in anticipation of Heb 3:5 which quotes directly from Num 12:7. On balance, the omission better explains the rise of ὅλῳ (holō, “all”) than vice versa. NA28 puts ὅλῳ in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
- Hebrews 3:5 tn Grk “his”; in the translation the referent (God) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 3:5 sn A quotation from Num 12:7.
- Hebrews 3:6 sn The Greek makes the contrast between v. 5 and v. 6a more emphatic and explicit than is easily done in English.
- Hebrews 3:6 tn Grk “his”; in the translation the referent (God) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 3:6 tn Grk “whose house we are,” continuing the previous sentence.
- Hebrews 3:6 tc The reading adopted by the translation is found in P13,46 B sa, while the vast majority of mss (א A C D Ψ 0243 0278 33 1739 1881 M latt) add μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν (mechri telous bebaian, “secure until the end”). The external evidence for the omission, though minimal, has excellent credentials. Considering the internal factors, B. M. Metzger (TCGNT 595) finds it surprising that the feminine adjective βεβαίαν should modify the neuter noun καύχημα (kauchēma, here translated “we take pride”), a fact that suggests that even the form of the word was borrowed from another place. Since the same phrase occurs at Heb 3:14, it is likely that later scribes added it here at Heb 3:6 in anticipation of Heb 3:14. While these words belong at 3:14, they seem foreign to 3:6.
- Hebrews 3:6 tn Grk “the pride of our hope.”
- Hebrews 3:7 sn The following quotation is from Ps 95:7b-11.
- Hebrews 3:7 tn Grk “today if you hear his voice.”
- Hebrews 3:9 tn Grk “tested me by trial.”
- Hebrews 3:10 tn Grk “they are wandering in the heart.”
- Hebrews 3:11 tn Grk “if they shall enter my rest,” a Hebrew idiom expressing an oath that something will certainly not happen.
- Hebrews 3:12 tn Or “take care.”
- Hebrews 3:12 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 2:11.
- Hebrews 3:12 tn Grk “that there not be in any of you.”
- Hebrews 3:12 tn Or “deserts,” “rebels against.”
- Hebrews 3:12 tn Grk “in forsaking the living God.”
- Hebrews 3:14 tn Grk “the beginning of the confidence.”
- Hebrews 3:15 tn Grk “while it is said.”
- Hebrews 3:15 tn Grk “today if you hear his voice.”
- Hebrews 3:15 sn A quotation from Ps 95:7b-8.
- Hebrews 3:16 tn Grk “through Moses.”
- Hebrews 3:17 tn Grk “he”; in the translation the referent (God) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 3:17 sn An allusion to God’s judgment pronounced in Num 14:29, 32.
- Hebrews 3:19 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “So” to indicate a summary or conclusion to the argument of the preceding paragraph.
- Hebrews 4:1 tn Grk “let us fear.”
- Hebrews 4:2 tn Or “they were not united.”
- Hebrews 4:2 tc A few mss (א and a few versional witnesses) have the nominative singular participle συγκεκερασμένος (sunkekerasmenos, “since it [the message] was not combined with faith by those who heard it”), a reading that refers back to the ὁ λόγος (ho logos, “the message”). There are a few other variants here (e.g., συγκεκεραμμένοι [sunkekerammenoi] in 104, συγκεκεραμένους [sunkekeramenous] in 1881 M), but the accusative plural participle συγκεκερασμένους (sunkekerasmenous), found in P13vid,46 A B C D* Ψ 0243 0278 33 81 1739 2464, has by far the best external credentials. This participle agrees with the previous ἐκείνους (ekeinous, “those”), a more difficult construction grammatically than the nominative singular. Thus, both on external and internal grounds, συγκεκερασμένους is preferred.
- Hebrews 4:3 sn A quotation from Ps 95:11.
- Hebrews 4:3 tn Grk “although the works,” continuing the previous reference to God. The referent (God) is specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 4:4 sn A quotation from Gen 2:2.
- Hebrews 4:5 tn Grk “and in this again.”
- Hebrews 4:7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 4:7 sn Ps 95 in the Hebrew does not mention David either in the text or the superscription. The writer of Hebrews might attribute Psalms as a whole to David, though some psalms are specifically attributed to other individuals or groups. Yet the Greek inscription for Ps 95 in the LXX credits the psalm to David, and the author of Hebrews frequently uses the LXX.
- Hebrews 4:7 tn Grk “as it has been said before” (see Heb 3:7).
- Hebrews 4:7 tn Grk “today if you hear his voice.”
- Hebrews 4:8 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 4:10 tn Grk “his”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 4:13 tn Grk “him”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 4:16 tn Grk “for timely help.”
- Hebrews 5:1 tn Grk “from among men,” but since the point in context is shared humanity (rather than shared maleness), the plural Greek term ἀνθρώπων (anthrōpōn) has been translated “people.”
- Hebrews 5:1 tn Grk “who is taken from among people is appointed.”
- Hebrews 5:1 tn Grk “appointed on behalf of people in reference to things relating to God.”
- Hebrews 5:4 sn Honor refers here to the honor of the high priesthood.
- Hebrews 5:4 tn Grk “by himself, on his own.”
- Hebrews 5:4 tn Grk “being called by God.”
- Hebrews 5:5 tn Grk “the one”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 5:5 tn Grk “I have begotten you”; see Heb 1:5.sn A quotation from Ps 2:7.
- Hebrews 5:6 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 5:6 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4.
- Hebrews 5:7 tn Grk “in the days of his flesh.”
- Hebrews 5:7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Christ) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 5:7 tn Grk “who…having offered,” continuing the description of Christ from Heb 5:5-6.
- Hebrews 5:8 sn There is a wordplay in the Greek text between the verbs “learned” (ἔμαθεν, emathen) and “suffered” (ἔπαθεν, epathen).
- Hebrews 5:10 tn Grk “having been designated,” continuing the thought of Heb 5:9.
- Hebrews 5:10 sn The phrase in the order of Melchizedek picks up the quotation from Ps 110:4 in Heb 5:6.
- Hebrews 5:11 tn Grk “concerning which the message for us is great.”
- Hebrews 5:11 tn Or “dull.”
- Hebrews 5:12 tn Grk “because of the time.”
- Hebrews 5:12 tn Grk “the elements of the beginning of the oracles of God.”
- Hebrews 5:12 tn Grk “you have come to have a need for.”
- Hebrews 5:12 tc ‡ Most texts, including some early and significant ones (א2 A B* D Ψ 0122 0278 1881 M sy Cl), have καί (kai, “and”) immediately preceding οὐ (ou, “not”), but other equally significant witnesses (P46 א* B2 C 33 81 1739 lat Or Did) lack the conjunction. As it was a natural tendency for scribes to add a coordinating conjunction, the καί appears to be a motivated reading. On balance, it is probably best to regard the shorter reading as authentic. NA28 has καί in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
- Hebrews 6:1 tn Grk “Therefore leaving behind.” The implication is not of abandoning this elementary information, but of building on it.
- Hebrews 6:1 tn Or “basic.”
- Hebrews 6:1 tn Grk “the message of the beginning of Christ.”
- Hebrews 6:1 tn Grk “leaving behind…let us move on.”
- Hebrews 6:1 sn It is clear from the context that the phrase “dead works” are works that need to be repented from and thus are sins. The same phrase occurs in Heb 9:14 in which the author of Hebrews states that our consciences need to be purified from them. As Bruce states, they are works “that belong to the way of death and not the way of life” (F. F. Bruce, Hebrews [NICNT], 138).
- Hebrews 6:2 sn See Hebrews 9:10 and Mark 7:4 for other references to the Jewish practice of ritual washings.
- Hebrews 6:3 tn Grk “and we will do this.”
- Hebrews 6:6 tn Or “have fallen away.”
- Hebrews 6:6 tn Or “while”; Grk “crucifying…and holding.” The Greek participles here (“crucifying…and holding”) can be understood as either causal (“since”) or temporal (“while”).
- Hebrews 6:6 tn Grk “recrucifying the son of God for themselves.”
- Hebrews 6:7 tn Grk “comes upon.”
- Hebrews 6:8 tn Grk “near to a curse.”
- Hebrews 6:12 tn Or “dull.”
- Hebrews 6:14 tn Grk “in blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply you,” the Greek form of a Hebrew idiom showing intensity.sn A quotation from Gen 22:17.
- Hebrews 6:15 tn Grk “he”; in the translation the referent (Abraham) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 6:16 tn The plural Greek term ἄνθρωποι (anthrōpoi) is used here in a generic sense, referring to both men and women, and is thus translated “people.”
- Hebrews 6:16 tn Grk “by something greater”; the rest of the comparison (“than themselves”) is implied.
- Hebrews 6:16 tn Grk “the oath for confirmation is an end of all dispute.”
- Hebrews 6:17 tn Grk “in which.”
- Hebrews 6:17 tn Or “immutable” (here and in v. 18); Grk “the unchangeableness of his purpose.”
- Hebrews 6:18 tn Grk “have taken refuge”; the basis of that refuge is implied in the preceding verse.
- Hebrews 6:19 sn The curtain refers to the veil or drape in the temple that separated the holy place from the holy of holies.
- Hebrews 6:20 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4, picked up again from Heb 5:6, 10.
- Hebrews 7:1 sn A series of quotations from Gen 14:17-19.
- Hebrews 7:2 tn Grk “to whom,” continuing the description of Melchizedek. Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Hebrews 7:2 tn Or “a tenth part.”
- Hebrews 7:2 sn A quotation from Gen 14:20.
- Hebrews 7:2 tn Grk “first being interpreted,” describing Melchizedek.
- Hebrews 7:2 sn These words are repeated from the quotation of Gen 14:18 in the previous verse.
- Hebrews 7:4 tn Grk “to whom.”
- Hebrews 7:4 tn Or “a tenth part.”
- Hebrews 7:5 tn Or “the priesthood.”
- Hebrews 7:5 tn Grk “from their brothers.” See BDAG 18-19 s.v. ἀδελφός 2.b.
- Hebrews 7:5 tn Grk “have come from the loins of Abraham.”
- Hebrews 7:6 tn Grk “the one”; in the translation the referent (Melchizedek) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 7:6 tn Grk “is not descended from them.”
- Hebrews 7:6 tn Or “a tenth part.”
- Hebrews 7:6 sn The verbs “collected…and blessed” emphasize the continuing effect of the past actions, i.e., Melchizedek’s importance.
- Hebrews 7:10 tn Grk “in the loins of his father” (a reference to Abraham). The name “Abraham” has been repeated in the translation at this point (cf. v. 9) in order to clarify the referent (i.e., what ancestor was in view).sn The point of the phrase still in his ancestor’s loins is that Levi was as yet unborn, still in his ancestor Abraham’s body. Thus Levi participated in Abraham’s action when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek.
- Hebrews 7:11 tn Grk “based on it.”
- Hebrews 7:12 tn Grk “of necessity a change in the law comes to pass.”
- Hebrews 7:13 tn Grk “shares in.”
- Hebrews 7:13 tn Grk “from which no one.”
- Hebrews 7:16 tn Grk “a law of a fleshly command.”
- Hebrews 7:17 tn Grk “for he/it is witnessed that.”
- Hebrews 7:17 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see Heb 5:6 and 6:20).
- Hebrews 7:18 tn Grk “the setting aside of a former command comes to pass.”
- Hebrews 7:18 tn Grk “because of its weakness and uselessness.”
- Hebrews 7:20 sn The Greek text contains an elaborate comparison between v. 20a and v. 22, with a parenthesis (vv. 20b-21) in between; the comparison is literally, “by as much as…by so much” or “to the degree that…to that same degree.”
- Hebrews 7:21 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 7:21 tn The words “did so” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
- Hebrews 7:21 sn A quotation from Ps 110:4 (see Heb 5:6; 6:20, and 7:17).
- Hebrews 7:22 tn Or “surety.”
- Hebrews 7:23 tn Grk “they on the one hand” in contrast with “he on the other hand” in v. 24.
- Hebrews 7:23 tn Grk “they were prevented by death.”
- Hebrews 7:23 tn Grk “from continuing” (the words “in office” are supplied for clarity).
- Hebrews 7:28 sn See Heb 5:2 where this concept was introduced.
- Hebrews 8:1 tn Grk “the main point of the things being said.”
- Hebrews 8:1 sn An allusion to Ps 110:1; see Heb 1:3, 13.
- Hebrews 8:4 tn Grk “there are those who offer.”
- Hebrews 8:5 tn Grk “who serve in,” referring to the Levitical priests, but focusing on the provisional and typological nature of the tabernacle in which they served.
- Hebrews 8:5 tn Or “prototype,” “outline.” The Greek word ὑπόδειγμα (hupodeigma) does not mean “copy,” as it is often translated; it means “something to be copied,” a basis for imitation. BDAG 1037 s.v. 2 lists both Heb 8:5 and 9:23 under the second category of usage, “an indication of someth. that appears at a subsequent time,” emphasizing the temporal progression between the earthly and heavenly sanctuaries.sn There are two main options for understanding the conceptual background of the heavenly sanctuary imagery. The first is to understand the imagery to be functioning on a vertical plane. This background is Hellenistic, philosophical, and spatial in orientation and sees the earthly sanctuary as a copy of the heavenly reality. The other option is to see the imagery functioning on a horizontal plane. This background is Jewish, eschatological, and temporal and sees the heavenly sanctuary as the fulfillment and true form of the earthly sanctuary which preceded it. The second option is preferred, both for lexical reasons (see tn above) and because it fits the Jewish context of the book (although many scholars prefer to emphasize the relationship the book has to Hellenistic thought).
- Hebrews 8:5 tn The word τύπος (tupos) here has the meaning “an archetype serving as a model, type, pattern, model” (BDAG 1020 s.v. 6.a). This is in keeping with the horizontal imagery accepted for this verse (see sn on “sketch” earlier in the verse). Here Moses was shown the future heavenly sanctuary which, though it did not yet exist, became the outline for the earthly sanctuary.
- Hebrews 8:5 sn A quotation from Exod 25:40.
- Hebrews 8:6 sn The Greek text indicates a contrast between vv. 4-5 and v. 6 that is difficult to render in English: Jesus’ status in the old order of priests (vv. 4-5) versus his superior ministry (v. 6).
- Hebrews 8:6 tn Grk “he”; in the translation the referent (Jesus) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 8:6 tn Grk “to the degree that.”
- Hebrews 8:6 tn Grk “which is enacted.”
- Hebrews 8:6 sn This linkage of the change in priesthood with a change in the law or the covenant goes back to Heb 7:12, 22 and is picked up again in Heb 9:6-15 and 10:1-18.
- Hebrews 8:7 tn Grk “no occasion for a second one would have been sought.”
- Hebrews 8:8 tn Grk “for,” but providing an explanation of the God-intended limitation of the first covenant from v. 7.
- Hebrews 8:8 sn The “fault” or limitation in the first covenant was not in its inherent righteousness, but in its design from God himself. It was never intended to be his final revelation or provision for mankind; it was provisional, always pointing toward the fulfillment to come in Christ.
- Hebrews 8:8 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 8:8 tc ‡ Several witnesses (א* A D* I K P Ψ 33 81 326 365 1505 2464 al latt co Cyr) have αὐτούς (autous) here, “[in finding fault with] them, [he says],” alluding to Israel’s failings mentioned in v. 9b. (The verb μέμφομαι [memphomai, “to find fault with”] can take an accusative or dative direct object.) The reading behind the text above (αὐτοίς, autois), supported by P46 א2 B D2 0278 1739 1881 M, is perhaps a harder reading theologically, and is more ambiguous in meaning. If αὐτοίς goes with μεμφόμενος (memphomenos, here translated “showing its fault”), the clause could be translated “in finding fault with them” or “in showing [its] faults to them.” If αὐτοίς goes with the following λέγει (legei, “he says”), the clause is best translated, “in finding/showing [its] faults, he says to them.” The accusative pronoun suffers no such ambiguity, for it must be the object of μεμφόμενος rather than λέγει. Although a decision is difficult, the dative form of the pronoun best explains the rise of the other reading and is thus more likely to be original.
- Hebrews 8:9 tn Grk “not like the covenant,” continuing the description of v. 8b.
- Hebrews 8:10 tn Grk “putting…I will inscribe.”
- Hebrews 8:10 tn Grk “mind.”
- Hebrews 8:10 tn Grk “I will be to them for a God and they will be to me for a people,” following the Hebrew constructions of Jer 31.
- Hebrews 8:11 tn Grk “they will not teach, each one his fellow citizen…” The Greek makes this negation emphatic: “they will certainly not teach.”
- Hebrews 8:11 tn Grk “from the small to the great.”
- Hebrews 8:12 sn A quotation from Jer 31:31-34.
- Hebrews 8:13 tn Grk “when he says, ‘new,’” (referring to the covenant).
- Hebrews 8:13 tn Grk “near to disappearing.”
- Hebrews 9:1 tn Grk “the first” (referring to the covenant described in Heb 8:7, 13). In the translation the referent (covenant) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 9:2 tn Grk “the first,” in order of approach in the ritual.
- Hebrews 9:2 tn Grk “in which [were].”
- Hebrews 9:2 tn Grk “which,” describing the outer tent.
- Hebrews 9:4 tn Grk “in which”; in the translation the referent (the ark) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 9:5 tn Grk “above it”; in the translation the referent (the ark) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 9:5 sn The cherubim (pl.) were an order of angels mentioned repeatedly in the OT but only here in the NT. They were associated with God’s presence, glory, and holiness. Their images that sat on top of the ark of the covenant are described in Exod 25:18-20.
- Hebrews 9:6 tn Grk “the first tent.”
- Hebrews 9:7 tn Grk “the second tent.”
- Hebrews 9:7 tn Or perhaps “the unintentional sins of the people”; Grk “the ignorances of the people.” Cf. BDAG 13 s.v. ἀγνόημα, “sin committed in ignorance/unintentionally.” This term seems to be simply a synonym for “sins” (cf. Heb 5:2) and does not pick up the distinction made in Num 15:22-31 between unwitting sin and “high-handed” sin. The Day of Atonement ritual in Lev 16 covered all the sins of the people, not just the unwitting ones.
- Hebrews 9:8 tn Grk “the first tent.” The literal phrase “the first tent” refers to either (1) the outer chamber of the tabernacle in the wilderness (as in vv. 2, 6) or (2) the entire tabernacle as a symbol of the OT system of approaching God. The second is more likely given the contrast that follows in vv. 11-12.
- Hebrews 9:10 tn Grk “only for foods and drinks.”
- Hebrews 9:10 tc Most witnesses (D1 M) have “various washings, and external regulations” (βαπτισμοῖς καὶ δικαιώμασιν, baptismois kai dikaiōmasin), with both nouns in the dative. The translation “washings; they are…regulations” renders βαπτισμοῖς, δικαιώματα (baptismois, dikaiōmata; found in such significant mss as P46 א* A I P 0278 33 1739 1881 al sa) in which case δικαιώματα is taken as the nominative subject of the participle ἐπικείμενα (epikeimena). It seems far more likely that scribes would conform δικαιώματα to the immediately preceding datives and join it to them by καί than they would to the following nominative participle. Both on external and internal evidence the text is thus secure as reading βαπτισμοῖς, δικαιώματα.
- Hebrews 9:10 tn Grk “until the time of setting things right.”
- Hebrews 9:11 tn Grk “But Christ, when he came,” introducing a sentence that includes all of Heb 9:11-12. The main construction is “Christ, having come…, entered…, having secured…,” and everything else describes his entrance.
- Hebrews 9:12 tn This verb occurs in the Greek middle voice, which here intensifies the role of the subject, Christ, in accomplishing the action: “he alone secured”; “he and no other secured.”
- Hebrews 9:13 tn Grk “for the purifying of the flesh.” The “flesh” here is symbolic of outward or ritual purity in contrast to inner purity, that of the conscience (cf. Heb 9:9).
- Hebrews 9:14 tc The reading adopted by the translation is attested by many authorities (A D* K P 365 1739* al). But many others (א D2 0278 33 1739c 1881 M lat sa) read “your” instead of “our.” The diversity of evidence makes this a difficult case to decide from external evidence alone. The first and second person pronouns differ by only one letter in Greek, as in English, also making this problem difficult to decide based on internal evidence and transcriptional probability. In the context, the author’s description of sacrificial activities seems to invite the reader to compare his own possible participation in OT liturgy as over against the completed work of Christ, so the second person pronoun “your” might make more sense. On the other hand, TCGNT 599 argues that “our” is preferable because the author of Hebrews uses direct address (i.e., the second person) only in the hortatory sections. What is more, the author seems to prefer the first person in explanatory remarks or when giving the logical grounds for an assertion (cf. Heb 4:15; 7:14). It is hard to reach a definitive conclusion in this case, but the data lean slightly in favor of the first person pronoun.
- Hebrews 9:15 tn The Greek word μεσίτης (mesitēs, “mediator”) in this context does not imply that Jesus was a mediator in the contemporary sense of the word, i.e., he worked for compromise between opposing parties. Here the term describes his function as the one who was used by God to enact a new covenant which established a new relationship between God and his people, but entirely on God’s terms.
- Hebrews 9:15 tn Grk “the promise of the eternal inheritance.”
- Hebrews 9:15 tn Grk “a death having occurred.”
- Hebrews 9:16 tn Grk “there is a necessity for the death of the one who made it to be proven.”
- Hebrews 9:18 sn The Greek text reinforces this by negating the opposite (“not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood”), but this double negation is not used in contemporary English.
- Hebrews 9:20 tn Grk “which God commanded for you (or in your case).”sn A quotation from Exod 24:8.
- Hebrews 9:23 tn Or “prototypes,” “outlines,” referring to the earthly sanctuary. See Heb 8:5 above for the prior use of this term.
- Hebrews 9:23 tn Grk “with these”; in the translation the referent (sacrifices) has been specified for clarity.
- Hebrews 9:23 tn Grk “the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”
- Hebrews 9:24 tn Or “prefiguration.”
- Hebrews 9:24 tn The word “sanctuary” is not in the Greek text at this point, but has been supplied for clarity.
- Hebrews 9:25 tn Grk “and not that he might offer,” continuing the previous construction.
- Hebrews 9:27 tn Here ἀνθρώποις (anthrōpois) has been translated as a generic noun (“people”).
- Hebrews 9:27 tn Grk “and after this—judgment.”
- Hebrews 9:28 sn An allusion to Isa 53:12.
- Hebrews 9:28 tn Grk “without sin,” but in context this does not refer to Christ’s sinlessness (as in Heb 4:15) but to the fact that sin is already dealt with by his first coming.
- Hebrews 9:28 tn Grk “for salvation.” This may be construed with the verb “await” (those who wait for him to bring them salvation), but the connection with “appear” (as in the translation) is more likely.
- Hebrews 10:1 tn Grk “those who approach.”
- Hebrews 10:2 tn Grk “the worshipers, having been purified once for all, would have.”
- Hebrews 10:3 tn Grk “in them”; the referent (those sacrifices) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Hebrews 10:7 tn Grk “behold,” but this construction often means “here is/there is” (cf. BDAG 468 s.v. ἰδού 2).
- Hebrews 10:7 sn A quotation from Ps 40:6-8 (LXX). The phrase a body you prepared for me (in v. 5) is apparently an interpretive expansion of the HT reading “ears you have dug out for me.”
- Hebrews 10:8 sn Various phrases from the quotation of Ps 40:6 in Heb 10:5-6 are repeated in Heb 10:8.
- Hebrews 10:9 tc The majority of mss, especially the later ones (א2 0278vid 1739 M lat), have ὁ θεός (ho theos, “God”) at this point, while most of the earliest and best witnesses lack such an explicit addressee (so P46 א* A C D K P Ψ 33 1175 1881 2464 al). The longer reading is apparently motivated in part by the wording of Ps 40:8 (39:9 LXX) and by the word order of this same verse as quoted in Heb 10:7.
- Hebrews 10:9 tn Or “abolishes.”
- Hebrews 10:10 tn Grk “by which will.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- Hebrews 10:11 tn Or “daily,” “every day.”
- Hebrews 10:12 tn Grk “this one.” This pronoun refers to Jesus, but “this priest” was used in the translation to make the contrast between the Jewish priests in v. 11 and Jesus as a priest clearer in English.
- Hebrews 10:12 sn An allusion to Ps 110:1.
- Hebrews 10:13 tn Grk “from then on waiting.”
- Hebrews 10:13 sn An allusion to Ps 110:1.
- Hebrews 10:15 tn Grk “after having said,” emphasizing the present impact of this utterance.
- Hebrews 10:16 tn Grk “putting…I will inscribe.”
- Hebrews 10:16 sn A quotation from Jer 31:33.
- Hebrews 10:17 tn Grk “and.”
- Hebrews 10:17 sn A quotation from Jer 31:34.
- Hebrews 10:19 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 2:11.
- Hebrews 10:20 tn Grk “that he inaugurated for us as a fresh and living way,” referring to the entrance mentioned in v. 19.
- Hebrews 10:20 sn Through his flesh. In a bold shift the writer changes from a spatial phrase (Christ opened the way through the curtain into the inner sanctuary) to an instrumental phrase (he did this through [by means of] his flesh in his sacrifice of himself), associating the two in an allusion to the splitting of the curtain in the temple from top to bottom (Matt 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). Just as the curtain was split, so Christ’s body was broken for us, to give us access into God’s presence.
- Hebrews 10:21 tn Grk “and a great priest,” continuing the construction begun in v. 19.
- Hebrews 10:22 tn Grk “in assurance of faith.”
- Hebrews 10:22 sn The phrase our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience combines the OT imagery of the sprinkling with blood to give ritual purity with the emphasis on the interior cleansing provided by the new covenant: It is the heart that is cleansed and the conscience made perfect (cf. Heb 8:10; 9:9, 14; 10:2, 16).
- Hebrews 10:24 tn Grk “let us consider one another for provoking of love and good deeds.”
- Hebrews 10:25 sn The day refers to that well-known time of Christ’s coming and judgment in the future; see a similar use of “day” in 1 Cor 3:13.
- Hebrews 10:25 tn This paragraph (vv. 19-25) is actually a single, skillfully composed sentence in Greek, but it must be broken into shorter segments for English idiom. It begins with several subordinate phrases (since we have confidence and a great priest), has three parallel exhortations as its main verbs (let us draw near, hold, and take thought), and concludes with several subordinate phrases related to the final exhortation (not abandoning but encouraging).
- Hebrews 10:26 tn Grk “is left,” with “for us” implied by the first half of the verse.
- Hebrews 10:27 tn Grk “zeal,” recalling God’s jealous protection of his holiness and honor (cf. Exod 20:5).sn An allusion to Zeph 1:18.
- Hebrews 10:27 tn Grk “the enemies.”sn An allusion to Isa 26:11.
- Hebrews 10:28 tn Grk “dies.”
- Hebrews 10:28 sn An allusion to Deut 17:6.
- Hebrews 10:29 tn Grk “tramples under foot.”
- Hebrews 10:29 tn Grk “regarded as common.”
- Hebrews 10:29 tn Grk “by which he was made holy.”
- Hebrews 10:30 sn A quotation from Deut 32:35.
- Hebrews 10:30 sn A quotation from Deut 32:36.
- Hebrews 10:34 tc Most witnesses, including some significant ones (א D2 1881 M), read δεσμοῖς μου (desmois mou, “my imprisonment”) here, a reading that is probably due to the widespread belief in the early Christian centuries that Paul was the author of Hebrews (cf. Phil 1:7; Col 4:18). It may have been generated by the reading δεσμοῖς without the μου (so P46 Ψ 104), the force of which is so ambiguous (lit., “you shared the sufferings with the bonds”) as to be virtually nonsensical. Most likely, δεσμοῖς resulted when a scribe made an error in copying δεσμίοις (desmiois), a reading which makes excellent sense (“[of] those in prison”) and is strongly supported by early and significant witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western text-forms (A D* H 6 33 81 1739 lat sy co). Thus, δεσμίοις best explains the rise of the other readings on both internal and external grounds and is strongly preferred.
- Hebrews 10:34 tn Grk “you yourselves.”
- Hebrews 10:35 tn Grk “which,” but showing the reason.
- Hebrews 10:36 tn Grk “the promise,” referring to the thing God promised, not to the pledge itself.
- Hebrews 10:37 sn A quotation from Isa 26:20.
- Hebrews 10:37 sn A quotation from Hab 2:3.
- Hebrews 10:38 tn Grk “my soul.”
- Hebrews 10:38 sn A quotation from Hab 2:4.
- Hebrews 10:39 tn Grk “not…of shrinking back to perdition but of faith to the preservation of the soul.”