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12 For the word of God is living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]. It is sharper than any two-edged [a]sword, penetrating as far as the division of the [b]soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, and revealed to the eyes of Him with whom we have to give account.

14 Inasmuch then as we [believers] have a great High Priest who has [already ascended and] passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith and cling tenaciously to our absolute trust in Him as Savior]. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin. 16 Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].

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Footnotes

  1. Hebrews 4:12 In addition to “sword,” the word in Greek was used for the knife used by the priests to slit the throats of the sacrificial lambs and for the knife (scalpel) used by a surgeon.
  2. Hebrews 4:12 “soul and spirit” used here to emphasize the whole person, not two separate entities as in other passages.

12 For (A)the word of God is living and (B)active, (C)sharper than any (D)two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and (E)discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And (F)no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are (G)naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since then we have (H)a great high priest (I)who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, (J)let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest (K)who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been (L)tempted as we are, (M)yet without sin. 16 (N)Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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12-13 God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one can resist God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.

The High Priest Who Cried Out in Pain

14-16 Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

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