A A A A A
Bible Book List

Hebrews 1-2 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Introduction[a]

Chapter 1

In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe,

who is the refulgence of his glory,
    the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

II. The Son Higher Than the Angels

Messianic Enthronement.[b] For to which of the angels did God ever say:

“You are my son; this day I have begotten you”?

Or again:

“I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me”?

And again, when he leads[c] the first-born into the world, he says:

“Let all the angels of God worship him.”

Of the angels he says:

“He makes his angels winds
    and his ministers a fiery flame”;

but of the Son:

“Your throne, O God,[d] stands forever and ever;
    and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom.
You loved justice and hated wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, anointed you
    with the oil of gladness above your companions”;

10 and:

“At the beginning, O Lord, you established the earth,
    and the heavens are the works of your hands.
11 They will perish, but you remain;
    and they will all grow old like a garment.
12 You will roll them up like a cloak,
    and like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

13 But to which of the angels has he ever said:

“Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies your footstool”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent to serve, for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

Chapter 2

Exhortation to Faithfulness.[e] Therefore, we must attend all the more to what we have heard, so that we may not be carried away. For if the word announced through angels proved firm, and every transgression and disobedience received its just recompense, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? Announced originally through the Lord, it was confirmed for us by those who had heard. God added his testimony by signs, wonders, various acts of power, and distribution of the gifts of the holy Spirit according to his will.

Exaltation Through Abasement.[f] For it was not to angels that he subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. Instead, someone has testified somewhere:

“What is man that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man that you care for him?
You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you crowned him with glory and honor,
    subjecting all things under his feet.”

In “subjecting” all things [to him], he left nothing not “subject to him.” Yet at present we do not see “all things subject to him,” but we do see Jesus “crowned with glory and honor” because he suffered death, he who “for a little while” was made “lower than the angels,” that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers,” 12 saying:

“I will proclaim your name to my brothers,
    in the midst of the assembly I will praise you”;

13 and again:

“I will put my trust in him”;

and again:

“Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Now since the children share in blood and flesh, he likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. 16 Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; 17 therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:1–4 The letter opens with an introduction consisting of a reflection on the climax of God’s revelation to the human race in his Son. The divine communication was initiated and maintained during Old Testament times in fragmentary and varied ways through the prophets (Hb 1:1), including Abraham, Moses, and all through whom God spoke. But now in these last days (Hb 1:2) the final age, God’s revelation of his saving purpose is achieved through a son, i.e., one who is Son, whose role is redeemer and mediator of creation. He was made heir of all things through his death and exaltation to glory, yet he existed before he appeared as man; through him God created the universe. Hb 1:3–4, which may be based upon a liturgical hymn, assimilate the Son to the personified Wisdom of the Old Testament as refulgence of God’s glory and imprint of his being (Hb 1:3; cf. Wis 7:26). These same terms are used of the Logos in Philo. The author now turns from the cosmological role of the preexistent Son to the redemptive work of Jesus: he brought about purification from sins and has been exalted to the right hand of God (see Ps 110:1). The once-humiliated and crucified Jesus has been declared God’s Son, and this name shows his superiority to the angels. The reason for the author’s insistence on that superiority is, among other things, that in some Jewish traditions angels were mediators of the old covenant (see Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19). Finally, Jesus’ superiority to the angels emphasizes the superiority of the new covenant to the old because of the heavenly priesthood of Jesus.
  2. 1:5–14 Jesus’ superiority to the angels is now demonstrated by a series of seven Old Testament texts. Some scholars see in the stages of Jesus’ exaltation an order corresponding to that of enthronement ceremonies in the ancient Near East, especially in Egypt, namely, elevation to divine status (Hb 1:5–6); presentation to the angels and proclamation of everlasting lordship (Hb 1:7–12); enthronement and conferral of royal power (Hb 1:13). The citations from the Psalms in Hb 1:5, 13 were traditionally used of Jesus’ messianic sonship (cf. Acts 13:33) through his resurrection and exaltation (cf. Acts 2:33–35); those in Hb 1:8, 10–12 are concerned with his divine kingship and his creative function. The central quotation in Hb 1:7 serves to contrast the angels with the Son. The author quotes it according to the Septuagint translation, which is quite different in meaning from that of the Hebrew (“You make the winds your messengers, and flaming fire your ministers”). The angels are only sent to serve…those who are to inherit salvation (Hb 1:14).
  3. 1:6 And again, when he leads: the Greek could also be translated “And when he again leads” in reference to the parousia.
  4. 1:8–12 O God: the application of the name “God” to the Son derives from the preexistence mentioned in Hb 1:2–3; the psalmist had already used it of the Hebrew king in the court style of the original. See note on Ps 45:7. It is also important for the author’s christology that in Hb 1:10–12 an Old Testament passage addressed to God is redirected to Jesus.
  5. 2:1–4 The author now makes a transition into exhortation, using an a fortiori argument (as at Hb 7:21–22; 9:13–14; 10:28–29; 12:25). The word announced through angels (Hb 2:2), the Mosaic law, is contrasted with the more powerful word that Christians have received (Hb 2:3–4). Christ’s supremacy strengthens Christians against being carried away from their faith.
  6. 2:5–18 The humanity and the suffering of Jesus do not constitute a valid reason for relinquishing the Christian faith. Ps 8:6–7 is also applied to Jesus in 1 Cor 15:27; Eph 1:22; and probably 1 Pt 3:22. This christological interpretation, therefore, probably reflects a common early Christian tradition, which may have originated in the expression the son of man (Hb 2:6). The psalm contrasts God’s greatness with man’s relative insignificance but also stresses the superiority of man to the rest of creation, of which he is lord. Hebrews applies this christologically: Jesus lived a truly human existence, lower than the angels, in the days of his earthly life, particularly in his suffering and death; now, crowned with glory and honor, he is raised above all creation. The author considers all things as already subject to him because of his exaltation (Hb 2:8–9), though we do not see this yet. The reference to Jesus as leader (Hb 2:10) sounds the first note of an important leitmotif in Hebrews: the journey of the people of God to the sabbath rest (Hb 4:9), the heavenly sanctuary, following Jesus, their “forerunner” (Hb 6:20). It was fitting that God should make him perfect through suffering, consecrated by obedient suffering. Because he is perfected as high priest, Jesus is then able to consecrate his people (Hb 2:11); access to God is made possible by each of these two consecrations. If Jesus is able to help human beings, it is because he has become one of us; we are his “brothers.” The author then cites three Old Testament texts as proofs of this unity between ourselves and the Son. Ps 22:23 is interpreted so as to make Jesus the singer of this lament, which ends with joyful praise of the Lord in the assembly of “brothers.” The other two texts are from Is 8:17, 18. The first of these seems intended to display in Jesus an example of the trust in God that his followers should emulate. The second curiously calls these followers “children”; probably this is to be understood to mean children of Adam, but the point is our solidarity with Jesus. By sharing human nature, including the ban of death, Jesus broke the power of the devil over death (Hb 2:14); the author shares the view of Hellenistic Judaism that death was not intended by God and that it had been introduced into the world by the devil. The fear of death (Hb 2:15) is a religious fear based on the false conception that death marks the end of a person’s relations with God (cf. Ps 115:17–18; Is 38:18). Jesus deliberately allied himself with the descendants of Abraham (Hb 2:16) in order to be a merciful and faithful high priest. This is the first appearance of the central theme of Hebrews, Jesus the great high priest expiating the sins of the people (Hb 2:17), as one who experienced the same tests as they (Hb 2:18).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

  Back

1 of 1

You'll get this book and many others when you join Bible Gateway Plus. Learn more

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes