Hebrews 12Expanded Bible (EXB)
Follow Jesus’ Example
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of ·people whose lives tell us what faith means [L witnesses], let us run the race that is before us ·and never give up [with endurance/perseverance]. ·We should [Let us] ·remove from our lives [get rid of; cast aside] anything that ·would get in the way [impedes/hinders us] and the sin that so easily ·holds us back [entangles/clings to us]. 2 Let us ·look only to [keep our eyes on] Jesus, the ·One who began [Pioneer/Founder of; or Leader/Prince of] our faith and who ·makes it perfect [completes it]. He ·suffered death on [L endured] the cross, ·accepting the shame as if it were nothing [L disregarding/despising the shame] because of the joy that ·God put before [lay ahead for] him. And now he is sitting at the right ·side [L hand] of God’s throne [1:3; 13; Ps. 110:1]. 3 Think about Jesus, who endured such ·hostility [opposition] from sinful people, so that you will not ·get tired [grow weary; get discouraged] and ·stop trying [give up].
God Is like a Father
4 You are struggling against sin, but your ·struggles [resistance; opposition] have not yet ·caused you to be killed [resulted in bloodshed/L blood]. 5 ·You have forgotten [or Have you forgotten…?] the ·encouraging words [exhortation] that ·call you his [or address you as] ·children [or sons]:
“My ·child [or son], don’t ·think the Lord’s discipline is worth nothing [scorn/treat lightly/make light of the Lord’s discipline],
7 ·So hold on through your sufferings, because they are like a father’s discipline [L Persevere in discipline]. God is treating you as ·children [or sons]. ·All children are [L For what child/son is not…?] disciplined by their fathers. 8 If you are never disciplined (and every ·child [or son] must be disciplined), you are ·not true children [L illegitimate and not (true) children/sons]. 9 [Furthermore; Moreover] We have all had ·fathers [or parents] here on earth who disciplined us, and we respected them. So it is even more important that we accept discipline from ·the Father of our spirits [or our spiritual Father; or the Father of all spirit beings; 12:23; Num. 16:22] so we will have [C eternal or true spiritual] life. 10 ·Our fathers on earth [L They] disciplined us for a short time in the way they thought was best. But God disciplines us ·to help us [for our good/benefit], so we can ·become holy as he is [L share in his holiness]. 11 We do not enjoy being disciplined. It is painful at the time, but later, after we have ·learned from [been trained by] it, ·we have peace [L it produces/bears the fruit of peace], ·because we start living in the right way [or …and righteousness].
Be Careful How You Live
12 ·You have become weak, so make yourselves strong again [L Therefore, strengthen your drooping arms/hands and your weak/disabled knees; Is. 35:3]. 13 ·Keep on the right path [L Make straight/clear paths for your feet; Prov. 4:27], so the ·weak [lame] will not ·stumble [be disabled; put out of joint] but rather be ·strengthened [healed].
14 ·Try to live in [L Pursue] peace with all people, and ·try to live free from sin [L pursue holiness/sanctification]. [L For] Anyone whose life is not ·holy [sanctified] will never see the Lord. 15 ·Be careful [See to it; Take heed] that no one ·fails to receive [falls short of] God’s grace and ·begins to cause trouble among you [L that no bitter root/plant grows up to cause trouble]. ·A person like that [Such a root/plant] can ·ruin [defile; pollute; corrupt] many of you. 16 ·Be careful [See to it; Take heed] that no one takes part in sexual sin or is like Esau and ·never thinks about God [is godless/profane/worldly-minded]. ·As the oldest son, Esau would have received everything from his father, but he sold all that for a single meal [L …who sold his own birthright for one meal; Gen. 25:29–34]. 17 You remember that after Esau did this, he wanted to ·get [L inherit] his father’s blessing, but ·his father refused [L he was rejected]. Esau could find no way to ·change [or repent of] what he had done, even though he ·wanted [pleaded for; sought] the blessing so much that he cried [Gen. 27:34–41].
18 You have not come to ·a mountain [L something] that can be touched and that is burning with fire [C a description of Mount Sinai when Israel received the Law; Ex. 19:18; Deut. 4:11]. You have not come to darkness, gloom, and ·storms [a whirlwind]. 19 You have not come to the noise of a trumpet [Ex. 19:16, 19] or to the sound of ·a voice [L words] like the one the people of Israel heard and begged not to hear another word [C fearing God’s wrath, Israel asked Moses to mediate God’s message; Ex. 20:19; Deut. 5:5; 18:16]. 20 [L For] They ·did not want to hear [could not bear/endure] the command: “If anything, even an animal, touches the mountain, it must be put to death with stones [Ex. 19:12–13].” 21 [Indeed,] What they saw was so ·terrible [terrifying] that Moses said, “I am ·shaking [trembling] with fear [Deut. 9:19].”
22 But you have come to Mount Zion [C another name for Jerusalem, here meaning the spiritual city of God’s people; Gal. 4:26; Rev. 21:2], to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem [11:10]. You have come to ·thousands of [tens of thousands/myriads of; countless] angels ·gathered together with joy [in joyful assembly; Deut. 33:2]. 23 You have come to the ·meeting [assembly; congregation; or church] of God’s firstborn [C the first son in a Jewish family received special privileges and a greater share of the inheritance; all God’s people are “firstborn”] children ·whose names are written [who are registered as citizens; Luke 10:20; Rev. 21:27] in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of ·all people [everything; all], and to the spirits of ·good [righteous] people who have been made perfect. 24 You have come to Jesus, the ·One who brought [mediator of] the new ·agreement from God to his people [covenant; contract; 8:1–13; Jer. 31:31–34], and you have come to the sprinkled blood [C Jesus’ blood shed on the cross; Heb. 9:19–22] that ·has a better message [speaks of something better; or pleads more insistently] than the blood of Abel [C murdered by his brother Cain; Abel’s “blood cried out” to God for vengeance (Gen. 4:10), but Jesus’ blood cries out with a message of forgiveness and reconciliation].
25 So ·be careful and [see that you] do not refuse to listen when God speaks. If those who refused to listen to him when he warned them on earth did not escape, how much worse will it be for us if we refuse to listen to God who warns us from heaven? 26 When he spoke ·before [then], his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once again I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens [Hag. 2:6, 21].” 27 The words “once again” clearly show us that everything that was made—things that can be shaken—will be ·destroyed [removed]. [So that] Only the things that cannot be shaken will remain.
28 So let us be thankful, because we ·have [are receiving] a kingdom that cannot be shaken. [As a result; or In this way] We should worship God in a way that pleases him with ·respect [reverence; devotion] and ·fear [awe], 29 because our God is ·like a fire that burns things up [L a consuming/devouring fire; Deut. 4:24; 9:3].
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