Hebrews 1-6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
1 Long ago in many ways and at many times God’s prophets spoke his message to our ancestors. 2 But now at last, God sent his Son to bring his message to us. God created the universe by his Son, and everything will someday belong to the Son. 3 God’s Son has all the brightness of God’s own glory and is like him in every way. By his own mighty word, he holds the universe together.
After the Son had washed away our sins, he sat down at the right side[a] of the glorious God in heaven. 4 He had become much greater than the angels, and the name he was given is far greater than any of theirs.
God’s Son Is Greater than Angels
5 God has never said
6 When God brings his first-born Son[b] into the world, he commands all of his angels to worship him.
7 And when God speaks about the angels, he says,
“I change my angels into wind
8 But God says about his Son,
“You are God,
10 The Scriptures also say,
“In the beginning, Lord,
13 God never said to any
14 Angels are merely spirits sent to serve people who are going to be saved.
This Great Way of Being Saved
2 We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won’t drift away. 2 The message spoken by angels proved to be true, and all who disobeyed or rejected it were punished as they deserved. 3 So if we refuse this great way of being saved, how can we hope to escape? The Lord himself was the first to tell about it, and people who heard the message proved to us that it was true. 4 God himself showed that his message was true by working all kinds of powerful miracles and wonders. He also gave his Holy Spirit to anyone he chose to.
The One Who Leads Us To Be Saved
5 We know that God did not put the future world under the power of angels. 6 Somewhere in the Scriptures someone says to God,
“What makes you care
God has put everything under our power and has not left anything out of our power. But we still don’t see it all under our power. 9 What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels. Because of God’s wonderful kindness, Jesus died for everyone. And now that Jesus has suffered and died, he is crowned with glory and honor!
10 Everything belongs to God, and all things were created by his power. So God did the right thing when he made Jesus perfect by suffering, as Jesus led many of God’s children to be saved and to share in his glory. 11 Jesus and the people he makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why he isn’t ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters. 12 He even said to God,
“I will tell them your name
13 He also said,
“I will trust God.”
Then he said,
“Here I am with the children
14 We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15 But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16 Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham’s descendants. 17 He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18 And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.
Jesus Is Greater than Moses
3 My friends, God has chosen you to be his holy people. So think about Jesus, the one we call our apostle and high priest! 2 Jesus was faithful to God, who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in serving all of[e] God’s people. 3 But Jesus deserves more honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house deserves more honor than the house. 4 Of course, every house is built by someone, and God is really the one who built everything.
5 Moses was a faithful servant and told God’s people what would be said in the future. 6 But Christ is the Son in charge of God’s people. And we are those people, if we keep on being brave and don’t lose hope.
A Rest for God’s People
7 It is just as the Holy Spirit says,
“If you hear God’s voice today,
10 “Then God got tired of them
12 My friends, watch out! Don’t let evil thoughts or doubts make any of you turn from the living God. 13 You must encourage one another each day. And you must keep on while there is still a time that can be called “today.” If you don’t, then sin may fool some of you and make you stubborn. 14 We were sure about Christ when we first became his people. So let’s hold tightly to our faith until the end. 15 The Scriptures say,
“If you hear his voice today,
16 Who were those people that heard God’s voice and rebelled? Weren’t they the same ones that came out of Egypt with Moses? 17 Who were the people that made God angry for forty years? Weren’t they the ones that sinned and died in the desert? 18 And who did God say would never enter his place of rest? Weren’t they the ones that disobeyed him? 19 We see that those people did not enter the place of rest because they did not have faith.
4 The promise to enter the place of rest is still good, and we must take care that none of you miss out. 2 We have heard the message, just as they did. But they failed to believe what they heard, and the message did not do them any good. 3 Only people who have faith will enter the place of rest. It is just as the Scriptures say,
“God became angry
God said this, even though everything has been ready from the time of creation. 4 In fact, somewhere the Scriptures say that by the seventh day, God had finished his work, and so he rested. 5 We also read that he later said, “You people will never enter my place of rest!” 6 This means that the promise to enter is still good, because those who first heard about it disobeyed and did not enter. 7 Much later God told David to make the promise again, just as I have already said,
“If you hear his voice today,
8 If Joshua had really given the people rest, there would not be any need for God to talk about another day of rest. 9 But God has promised us a Sabbath when we will rest, even though it has not yet come. 10 On that day God’s people will rest from their work, just as God rested from his work.
11 We should do our best to enter that place of rest, so that none of us will disobey and miss going there, as they did. 12 What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. 13 Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.
Jesus Is the Great High Priest
14 We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him. 15 Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! 16 So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help.
5 Every high priest is appointed to help others by offering gifts and sacrifices to God because of their sins. 2 A high priest has weaknesses of his own, and he feels sorry for foolish and sinful people. 3 That is why he must offer sacrifices for his own sins and for the sins of others. 4 But no one can have the honor of being a high priest simply by wanting to be one. Only God can choose a priest, and God is the one who chose Aaron.
5 That is how it was with Christ. He became a high priest, but not just because he wanted the honor of being one. It was God who told him,
“You are my Son, because today
6 In another place, God says,
“You are a priest forever
7 God had the power to save Jesus from death. And while Jesus was on earth, he begged God with loud crying and tears to save him. He truly worshiped God, and God listened to his prayers. 8 Jesus is God’s own Son, but still he had to suffer before he could learn what it really means to obey God. 9 Suffering made Jesus perfect, and now he can save forever all who obey him. 10 This is because God chose him to be a high priest like Melchizedek.
Warning against Turning Away
11 Much more could be said about this subject. But it is hard to explain, and all of you are slow to understand. 12 By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of solid food. 13 People who live on milk are like babies who don’t really know what is right. 14 Solid food is for mature people who have been trained to know right from wrong.
6 We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn’t need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God. 2 And we shouldn’t need to keep teaching about baptisms[g] or about the laying on of hands[h] or about people being raised from death and the future judgment. 3 Let’s grow up, if God is willing.
4-6 But what about people who turn away after they have already seen the light and have received the gift from heaven and have shared in the Holy Spirit? What about those who turn away after they have received the good message of God and the powers of the future world? There is no way to bring them back. What they are doing is the same as nailing the Son of God to a cross and insulting him in public!
7 A field is useful to farmers, if there is enough rain to make good crops grow. In fact, God will bless that field. 8 But land that produces only thornbushes is worthless. It is likely to fall under God’s curse, and in the end it will be set on fire.
9 My friends, we are talking this way. But we are sure that you are doing those really good things that people do when they are being saved. 10 God is always fair. He will remember how you helped his people in the past and how you are still helping them. You belong to God, and he won’t forget the love you have shown his people. 11 We wish that each of you would always be eager to show how strong and lasting your hope really is. 12 Then you would never be lazy. You would be following the example of those who had faith and were patient until God kept his promise to them.
God’s Promise Is Sure
13 No one is greater than God. So he made a promise in his own name when he said to Abraham, 14 “I, the Lord, will bless you with many descendants!” 15 Then after Abraham had been very patient, he was given what God had promised. 16 When anyone wants to settle an argument, they make a vow by using the name of someone or something greater than themselves. 17 So when God wanted to prove for certain that his promise to his people could not be broken, he made a vow. 18 God cannot tell lies! And so his promises and vows are two things that can never be changed.
We have run to God for safety. Now his promises should greatly encourage us to take hold of the hope that is right in front of us. 19 This hope is like a firm and steady anchor for our souls. In fact, hope reaches behind the curtain[i] and into the most holy place. 20 Jesus has gone there ahead of us, and he is our high priest forever, just like Melchizedek.[j]
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