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Hebrews 1-5New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

God Has Spoken by His Son

Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son,[a] whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains[b] all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

The Son Is Superior to Angels

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

“I will be his Father,
    and he will be my Son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

“Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,
    and his servants flames of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is[c] forever and ever,
    and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your[d] kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And,

“In the beginning, Lord, you founded the earth,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like clothing;
12 like a cloak you will roll them up,
    and like clothing[e] they will be changed.
But you are the same,
    and your years will never end.”

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”?

14 Are not all angels[f] spirits in the divine service, sent to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Warning to Pay Attention

Therefore we must pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the message declared through angels was valid, and every transgression or disobedience received a just penalty, how can we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? It was declared at first through the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him, while God added his testimony by signs and wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, distributed according to his will.

Exaltation through Abasement

Now God[g] did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere,

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,[h]
    or mortals, that you care for them?[i]
You have made them for a little while lower[j] than the angels;
    you have crowned them with glory and honor,[k]
    subjecting all things under their feet.”

Now in subjecting all things to them, God[l] left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower[m] than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God[n] he might taste death for everyone.

10 It was fitting that God,[o] for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father.[p] For this reason Jesus[q] is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters,[r] 12 saying,

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,[s]
    in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

“Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[t] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Moses a Servant, Christ a Son

Therefore, brothers and sisters,[u] holy partners in a heavenly calling, consider that Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses also “was faithful in all[v] God’s[w] house.” Yet Jesus[x] is worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s[y] house as a servant, to testify to the things that would be spoken later. Christ, however, was faithful over God’s[z] house as a son, and we are his house if we hold firm[aa] the confidence and the pride that belong to hope.

Warning against Unbelief

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    as on the day of testing in the wilderness,
where your ancestors put me to the test,
    though they had seen my works 10 for forty years.
Therefore I was angry with that generation,
and I said, ‘They always go astray in their hearts,
    and they have not known my ways.’
11 As in my anger I swore,
    ‘They will not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers and sisters,[ab] that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses? 17 But with whom was he angry forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

The Rest That God Promised

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.[ac] For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God[ad] has said,

“As in my anger I swore,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

though his works were finished at the foundation of the world. For in one place it speaks about the seventh day as follows, “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this place it says, “They shall not enter my rest.” Since therefore it remains open for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he sets a certain day—“today”—saying through David much later, in the words already quoted,

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

For if Joshua had given them rest, God[ae] would not speak later about another day. So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; 10 for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.

12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

14 Since, then, 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 who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested[af] as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.

So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,

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

as he says also in another place,

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

In the days of his flesh, Jesus[ag] offered up prayers 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 reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Warning against Falling Away

11 About this[ah] we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those whose faculties have been trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 1:2 Or the Son
  2. Hebrews 1:3 Or bears along
  3. Hebrews 1:8 Or God is your throne
  4. Hebrews 1:8 Other ancient authorities read his
  5. Hebrews 1:12 Other ancient authorities lack like clothing
  6. Hebrews 1:14 Gk all of them
  7. Hebrews 2:5 Gk he
  8. Hebrews 2:6 Gk What is man that you are mindful of him?
  9. Hebrews 2:6 Gk or the son of man that you care for him? In the Hebrew of Psalm 8.4–6 both man and son of man refer to all humankind
  10. Hebrews 2:7 Or them only a little lower
  11. Hebrews 2:7 Other ancient authorities add and set them over the works of your hands
  12. Hebrews 2:8 Gk he
  13. Hebrews 2:9 Or who was made a little lower
  14. Hebrews 2:9 Other ancient authorities read apart from God
  15. Hebrews 2:10 Gk he
  16. Hebrews 2:11 Gk are all of one
  17. Hebrews 2:11 Gk he
  18. Hebrews 2:11 Gk brothers
  19. Hebrews 2:12 Gk brothers
  20. Hebrews 2:17 Gk brothers
  21. Hebrews 3:1 Gk brothers
  22. Hebrews 3:2 Other ancient authorities lack all
  23. Hebrews 3:2 Gk his
  24. Hebrews 3:3 Gk this one
  25. Hebrews 3:5 Gk his
  26. Hebrews 3:6 Gk his
  27. Hebrews 3:6 Other ancient authorities add to the end
  28. Hebrews 3:12 Gk brothers
  29. Hebrews 4:2 Other ancient authorities read it did not meet with faith in those who listened
  30. Hebrews 4:3 Gk he
  31. Hebrews 4:8 Gk he
  32. Hebrews 4:15 Or tempted
  33. Hebrews 5:7 Gk he
  34. Hebrews 5:11 Or him
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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