Listening for God's Voice
Beginning the Journey (for new Christians).
1, 2, and 3 John
1 & 2 Thessalonians
1 & 2 Timothy
2 Peter, Jude
7 Last Words of Christ
Christ Powered Life (Rom 5-8)
David, Life of
Glorious Kingdom, The
Jesus and the Kingdom
Lamb of God
Names of God
Names of Jesus
Rebuild & Renew: Post-Exilic Books
Sermon on the Mount
13. Let Us Love: Workings of Faith (Hebrews 13:1-25)
Illuminated manuscript showing the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem. Apocalypse, folio 25v, Heavenly Jerusalem (manuscript on parchment 430 x 304 mm, London? (c. 1255-60), Cambridge, Trinity College. Larger image.
Interestingly, this last chapter of Hebrews includes some of the book's most beloved passages.
Love within the Christian Community (13:1-3)
Our author begins this final chapter by exhorting his readers to love.
"1Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. 3Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." (13:1-3)
Christianity is not a mere set of religious doctrines, beliefs about God. It is about relationships -- a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and relationships with fellow believers. As Jesus' band of twelve was a family, so we Christians are part of a family of believers, a community in which our life is to be lived out. Christianity lived without being part of a local congregation is truncated, sterile, somehow. Verses 1-3 encourage:
- Brotherly love
- Caring for believers in prison
Brotherly Love (13:1)
"Keep on loving each other as brothers." (13:1)
In Greek, this verse consists of three words, literally: "The brotherly-love continue." The keyword is philadelphia, name of the chief city of Pennsylvania. It's original meaning is "love for blood brothers or sisters." In the New Testament's understanding of the Christian faith as a family of brothers and sisters, it refers to "affection for a fellow Christian."1 The verb in this short sentence is menō, "continue, persist"2 in the imperative voice -- a command.
It is possible to slack in this special love we are to hold for our Christian brothers and sisters. Selfishness can get in the way as well as greed. Sometimes we are hurt in a church and as a result shy away from any close relationships that might cause us pain. Christians are not called to be hermits, but to love each other passionately. Within the family we learn to love so that outside the family we know what Christian love is all about.
Show Hospitality (13:2)
"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." (13:2)
Next we are exhorted to show hospitality. The noun philoxenia in this sentence is a compound word from philos, "love" + xenos, "stranger," that is "hospitality,"3 translated "entertain strangers" (NIV, KJV) or "show hospitality to strangers" (NRSV). A similar word is "entertain" (NIV, KJV) or "show hospitality" (NRSV) in the second part of the sentence. Xenizō, "to show hospitality, receive as a guest, entertain."5
We consider ourselves good hosts if we invite friends over for a meal or take them out to a restaurant. But these commands refer to strangers. Xenos, "stranger" is an integral part of both words. Our author exhorts us not to "forget" (NIV, cf. KJV) or "neglect" (NRSV) this duty. We must not "be inattentive to, neglect, overlook, care nothing about" hospitality.5
Throughout the Old Testament, hospitality to strangers was considered a deep value. When Abraham is visited by three men, he exhorts them to stay long enough for him to prepare a meal for them (Genesis 18). For Abraham that means making bread, selecting a calf from the herd, butchering it, and preparing it. No microwave meal indeed! It turns out that the three men include Yahweh himself and two angels!
The culture of rural America -- especially the South -- used to be known for its hospitality. Now coming to someone's door uninvited is considered rude. Is there openness in our heart to strangers? Yes, such hospitality can be abused. The late first century document the Didache gives some guidelines because it could be taken advantage of.6 But for most of us, the problem is not hospitality that is too generous, but the opposite.
Remember the Prisoners (13:3)
The third exhortation to love is towards the imprisoned.
"Remember those in prison7 as if you were their fellow prisoners,8 and those who are mistreated9 as if you yourselves were suffering." (13:3)
During a previous time of persecution, the church to which this letter is directed saw some of their number imprisoned. "You stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison" (10:33-34). Now he commands them to continue this ministry to prisoners -- "as if you yourselves were suffering" (13:3b). Paul taught, "If one member suffers, all suffer together" (1 Corinthians 12:26).
The context of this command is to care for believers who became prisoners because of persecution for their faith. Does this exhortation extend to criminals who find Christ in prison and are seeking to live out their Christian life within prison walls? Yes, by extension, since we are to have compassion and care for our brothers and sisters wherever they are suffering, even if it is their own fault.
Q1. (Hebrews 13:1-3) How do hospitality to strangers and visiting prisoners relate to brotherly love (philadelphia)? Where are you strong in brotherly love? Where are you weak?
Sexual Purity (13:4)
The next exhortation is toward sexual purity.
"Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." (13:4)
I once had a couple in my church who were going together. Both were earnestly trying to serve the Lord. But the man was struggling. "I don't see anything wrong with not waiting to have sex until after we are married," he said. "I don't see where the Bible says we have to wait until marriage?" What does the Bible say?
Three New Testament passages are pretty clear: 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Corinthians 7:9, 36-37, and this passage in Hebrews. It teaches three things:
- We are to honor marriage. The adjective here is timios, "held in honor, respected."10 Our author means to honor marriage by keeping it free from any kind of sexual sin. We also honor marriage by exercising our sexuality within the bounds of marriage. Premarital intercourse dishonors marriage.
- We are to keep our marriages sexually pure, that is, no extramarital sex is to sully our marriages. They are to be "undefiled, pure" in a religious and moral sense.11
- God will punish sexual sin. "No one will know," Satan tells us. God knows and God will surely punish sexual sin.
We may think that our culture is much more sex-saturated than ancient cultures, but it isn't true. Though the Jews held a high standard sexually, the cities of the Mediterranean in the first century were rampant with casual sex and all kinds of perversions. Consider the activities of the Greek and Roman gods and you can understand how the people viewed sex. Even more than in our day, the ancient culture pressured people to give in to their passions. Our author uses two words to forbid sexual looseness. God will punish:
- Adulterers (moichos), "one who is unfaithful to a spouse, adulterer," both male and female.12
- The sexually immoral (pornos). Originally the word meant "male whore, prostitute," then more generally, "one who practices sexual immorality, fornicator."13 Of these two words, pornos is the more general, including a whole range of sexual deviations and sins. It would include sex with a prostitute, as well as perversions such as homosexuality, sex with boys, and bestiality. It is used for sex outside of marriage in general.14
If this weren't a problem, the writer of Hebrews wouldn't have included his exhortation here. But we need constant reminders of right and wrong -- especially in cultures that have looser and looser sexual mores.
The Security of God's Presence (13:5-6)
Now the author exhorts against greed and a focus on money and wealth as the source of our security.
"Keep your lives free from the love of money15 and be content with what you have, because God has said,
'Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.'
So we say with confidence,16
'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?'" (13:5-6)
Greed is one of the sins of America. We are one of the most prosperous nations in history, but always seem to want more. People from third world countries who have learned to do without can often see our greed much more clearly than we can. The dictionary defines "greed" as "a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed."17
The opposite of greed is contentment. "Be content" is arkeō, which has the basic meaning, "be enough, sufficient." Here it means, "be satisfied/content with something."18
Christians whose sense of security is based on how much they have saved up for retirement are missing out. Yes, in cultures where elderly parents don't normally live with their children, we should save for retirement. But that must not be the source of our security. Our author quotes two passages from the Old Testament:
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
is a quote from Deuteronomy 31:6. The NIV translation by beginning each clause with "never" brings out the force of the Greek, which uses a double negative (ou mē) that intensifies the force, "never, most certainly not." This word combination "is the most decisive way of negativing something in the future."19
Following the symbolic parallelism of the Hebrew, our author uses two words that state what God will certainly not do. Both have the same meaning, "abandon, desert," but each has its own flavor. "Leave" (aniēmi) emphasizes loosening of the connection, "loosen, unfasten," of chains and ropes.20 "Forsake" (engkataleipō) emphasizes leaving behind, "to separate connection with someone or something, forsake."21 Together they provide a strong assurance that God -- and all his resources -- will always be at our disposal. If we are poor, what of it? God hasn't left us!
The second quotation is from Psalm 118:6-7:
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"
Again he points to the fact that lack of physical goods does not mean that we are destitute. God is our "Helper" (boēthos) from the verb boētheō, "to render assistance to someone in need, furnish aid."22 You are not on your own! Your God is always present to help you!
Q2. (Hebrews 13:5-6) How can we recognize greed in ourselves? What will be the signs? What is the antidote for greed in our lives? What would be the earmarks of a greed-free life? If not money, what should be the basis of our security for the future? What promises do you find in verses 5 and 6?
Imitate Your Leaders (13:7)
The word "leaders" (the participle of hēgeomai) is used three times in this chapter. The verb means "to be in a supervisory capacity, lead, guide," used of military commanders, religious leaders, and heads of Christian congregations.23 Christians are given three commands regarding leaders:
- Imitate their faith (13:7)
- Obey them and submit to them (13:17)
- Greet them on the author's behalf (13:24)
Here the author says:
"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith." (13:7)
In this verse he is speaking of leaders who have since died, since "spoke the word of God to you" is in the past tense. How did they live? How did they die? We are to "give careful thought to"24 the "outcome"25 of their "way of life" (NRSV, NIV) or "conversation" (KJV). The word anastrophē here refers to "conduct expressed according to certain principles, way of life, conduct, behavior."26 It's not what they said as teachers of the Word, but how they lived that validates their lives. Such leaders we are to "imitate" (mimeomai), "to use as a model, emulate, follow."27
I am convinced that one of the reasons we need to attend church is to have before us the lives of leaders who can be role models for our lives in faith, love, and Christian maturity. Being around them makes us better, for their way of life rubs off on us.
The Unchangeable Christ (13:8)
Here in the final sentences of Hebrews is a gem that has inspired millions:
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (13:8)
At first glance it seems to stand alone with little context. But upon reflection it follows verses 5-7.
- God will never forsake us (13:5).
- God is our helper (13:6).
- Revered leaders have died in the faith, but are no longer present with us (13:7).
- But Jesus Christ has never changed and is with us forever (13:8).
What are the implications of this verse? Like God the Father, I AM THAT I AM, the eternally existent One (Exodus 3:14), so Jesus continues eternally -- past, present, future. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End (Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; John 8:56-58; Revelation 1:4, 8, 17-18; 21:6; 22:13).
This means that the promises that Jesus made when on earth are eternally true and in force. Jesus who forgave and saved men and women in the first century does so today. He who healed leprosy, blindness, and grave illness, who raised the dead to life, can do so today. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Theologians may limit miracles to apostolic days -- and by their unbelief achieve a self-fulfilling prophecy. But they cannot bind the Living Christ. Where people trust him today, he is still active with the same power that was seen in the first century. He is the same. He does not change.
In terms that the writer of Hebrews has laid down:
"Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them." (7:24-25)
Q3. (Hebrews 13:8) What is the significance of this verse for the original readers? For you? For understanding just who Jesus is? For believing in the power of God for today?
Strengthened by the Altar (13:9-10)
Now comes a mysterious passage:
"9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. 10We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat." (13:9-10)
Rather than the strict dietary laws of Judaism, followers of Christ are strengthened28 by God's grace, his free, unearned, undeserved favor. We trust in that grace, not in righteousness achieved by keeping the minutiae of ceremonial law.
So far, so good. But now he declares, "We have an altar (thusiastērion)...." The priests of the Old Covenant ate portions of the sacrifice and burned the rest on the altar of burnt offering (for example, Leviticus 7:11-17). Paul wrote in the context of the Lord's Supper, "Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?" (1 Corinthians 10:18). What does the author of Hebrews mean? Here are some possibilities:
- The cross of Christ is the Christian altar, but it is unlikely that the author is introducing such a physical symbolism here.
- The Eucharistic altar is the altar, though the Eucharistic table itself wasn't called an altar until Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, who died in 258 AD.29
- "The word 'altar' is used by metonymy for 'sacrifice' -- 'as when, for example, we say that a man keeps a good table, meaning thereby good food.'"30
The latter altar = sacrifice makes the most sense to me. But consider the verse again: "We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat." The context is eating of the sacrifice, so it seems to me that the Lord's Supper may be in view in the background in the same sense as we see in 1 Corinthians 10:18, though we can't be dogmatic here.
Christ's Suffering as the Sin Offering (13:11-14)
"11The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come." (13:11-14)
Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, outside of the holy city of Jerusalem, in a place of disgrace and defilement, "outside the camp," to use the language of the Old Covenant (Numbers 19:3; Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:12; etc.). As Jesus bore disgrace to make us holy,31 to atone for our sins, so we must be willing to be rejected by society, "the city" of man and bear disgrace32 as Jesus' followers.
We don't seek the approval of the world, represented by human cities that seem to endure from one generation to the next.33 Rather we long for "the city that is to come,"34 the Eternal City, the New Jerusalem, heaven, the presence of God himself.
That city, God's presence, is we are "looking for" (NIV, NRSV) or "seek" (KJV). The Greek verb is epizēteō, "search for," here, "to be seriously interest in or have a strong desire for, 'wish, wish for."35 Do you long for God's presence like that? The better you get to know him and love him, the greater the longing will be. Paul writes to Timothy just before his death: " Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day -- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed (apagaō) for his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:9).
The Sacrifice of Praise and Sharing with Others (13:15-16)
Throughout this letter the author has reinterpreted the Jewish priesthood and sacrificial system in terms of Christ's fulfillment. Now he reinterprets physical sacrifice -- for which there is no longer any need -- in terms of praise and good works.
"15Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -- the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." (13:15-16)
1. The Sacrifice of Praise (13:15)
Christ's offering is the one and final atoning sacrifice. But our praise37 can be considered a sacrifice. Not in the English language sense of "giving up something" but in the Old Testament sense of "offering up" to God. Notice that we are commanded to offer up praise -- not only occasionally, but "continually."38
Notice how "the sacrifice of praise" is described, "the fruit of lips that confess his name." With our lips we both acknowledge before men that we are Christians and with those same lips offer praise to God. Our writer is quoting Hosea 14:2: "that we may offer the fruit of our lips" (NIV, NRSV), which follows the ancient Greek Septuagint translation. The KJV follows the Hebrew text, "so will we render the calves of our lips," that is, "offer our lips as sacrifices of bulls" (NIV margin).
2. The Sacrifice of Good Deeds (13:16)
But our sacrifices to God don't just stop with words. They are fleshed out in actions -- "to do good39 and share40 with others." By our lives we can bring glory to God. As Jesus said:
"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
When we offer praise with our lips and with our lives we delight God. There is nothing that we can do to earn his favor. But like a parent who hears his children's loving words and sees them beginning to internalize the parent's values, so God takes delight in us his children. "Pleased" is euaresteō, "please," here in the passive with the idea, "to experience pleasure, be pleased, take delight."41 Paul inspires us by his aim: "So we make it our goal to please (eurestos) him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it" (1 Corinthians 5:9). The closely-related adjective eurestos ("well-pleasing") appears in verse 20. Do you love God? What can you do to delight him? Praise actively with your mouth and live out his life in your world.
Q4. (Hebrews 13:15-16) Though the sacrifice for atonement have been completed in Christ, what kinds of sacrifices or offerings are Christians called upon to make? What effect do these offerings have on God?
Obey Leaders Who Are Responsible to God (13:17)
We're near the end. But now the writer exhorts his readers about "follower-ship":
"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." (13:17)
The command in this verse is two-fold:
- Obedience. "Obey" is peithō, "convince," here with the meaning, "to be won over as the result of persuasion," specifically, "obey, follow."42
- Submission. "Submit" (KJV, NRSV) or "submit to their authority" (NIV) is hupeikō, originally, "withdraw, give way to," then figurative, as in our passage, "to yield to someone's authority, yield, give way, submit."43
It is possible to obey with "eye-service" but not from the heart. Our writer uses both words to remind us of the seriousness of the command.
Pastors and congregational leaders are charged with a solemn obligation to "watch over" the flock.44 The awesomeness of this task is emphasized by the writer's use of the term "souls," that part of the person that transcends this life and will last for eternity.45 As the NRSV puts it, "They are keeping watch over46 your souls." Moreover, they will be called to account47 before Almighty God to answer for how well they cared for the flock. It's hard enough, says our author, under normal conditions. Don't compound their task by fighting them and refusing to submit to their leadership. Resisting godly leaders brings two bad results:
- The leader is burdened. The word is stenazō, "sigh, groan," to express oneself involuntarily in the face of an undesirable circumstance.48
- The member undoes any good effect that the pastor's care would have garnered. Our writer says that such resistance hurts the resistant member himself. It is "of no advantage" (NIV), "harmful" (NRSV), "unprofitable" (KJV). The underlying Greek word (alusitelēs) is a commercial technical term, that means "not covering one's expenses," thus by extension, this pastoral leadership is "unprofitable."49
No, pastors and church leaders are not perfect, nor are they always right. But through them God can bless both you and the congregation if you make up your mind to follow rather than resist. Pray earnestly that God will lead your leaders -- and then do your best to follow. No, don't follow into false doctrine, illegal acts, or immorality. But to the degree that you can in conscience follow, do so. Unless God has called you to be the leader -- and with it take the awesome responsibility that will answer directly to God -- get out of the way and let your leader lead!
A Request for Prayer (13:18-19)
"Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon." (13:18-19)
Now the author requests prayer. Prayer in general and prayer that he may soon join them.50
A Benediction from the God of Peace (13:20-21)
What follows is one of the most beautiful and powerful benedictions in all of the Bible:
"20May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (13:20-21)
It is intended as a formal prayer for the readers. Notice how the writer recalls many of the points he has written about at length in the body of the letter:
- "The God of peace," that is, the God who brings and seeks peace with us.
- "The blood of the eternal covenant."
- The resurrection, "brought back51 from the dead our Lord Jesus,
- "The Great Shepherd of the sheep" recalls him "a great high priest" (4:14) on behalf of all of us.
He has mentioned the Father and the Son, the blood of the cross and the resurrection from the dead. Now he turns to the blessing and action that he prays for his readers. He asks God to "equip" (NIV), "make complete" (NRSV), "make perfect" (KJV) the believers. The verb is katartizō, which we saw in 11:3. Here it means, "put into proper condition, adjust, complete, make complete something." It is used in classical Greek of a trainer who adjusts parts of the body. The same root (katartismos) is used in Ephesians of the role of pastors and teachers, to the effect that body might be built up to maturity.
so that they might
- Do God's will, and
- Let God work in their hearts the fruit of the Spirit, "what is pleasing to him."
As a pastor, I love to speak this benediction over God's people, to speak the words out loud and trust God to bring the ancient prayer to pass in the lives of believers today. They speak power and inspire me as I say them.
Q5. (Hebrews 13:16, 20-21) What are the actual requests being made of God in this great benediction? What "pleases" God according to verses 16 and 20? Why should we "make it our aim to please him" (2 Corinthians 5:9, NRSV)?
Concluding Words (13:22-25)
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Now the writer concludes:
"22Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter. 23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. 24 Greet all your leaders and all God's people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. 25 Grace be with you all." (13:22-25)
And so ends the Epistle to the Hebrews, one of the most powerful letters in the New Testament. Oh, it may seem tedious here and there with its detailed exposition of Christ's fulfillment of the Old Testament priesthood. But it when it soars, it flies high and with wings of angels points to Jesus Christ, that great Shepherd of the sheep, who is "the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Father, this Letter has inspired me afresh. I want to imitate the faith of those who have gone before. I want to trust the unchanging Christ. I want to offer sacrifices of praise to you along with deeds that honor you. Thank you so much for your offering of your life for ours. Thank you for the City of God that is to come. Thank you for our hope in you of eternal life. Thank you! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Key Verses"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'" (Hebrews 13:5)
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise -- the fruit of lips that confess his name." (Hebrews 13:15)
"May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21)
- Philadelphia, BDAG 1055.
- Meno, BDAG 630-631, 2.b. The word is also used in 13:14.
- Philoxenia, BDAG 1058.
- Xenizō, BDAG 683-684.
- Epilanthanomai is used three times in Hebrews, here, 6:10 and 13:16. (BDAG 374).
- Didache 11-13.
- "In bonds (KJV) or "in prison" (NIV, NRSV) is desmios, "prisoner" (BDAG 219).
- "Be fellow prisoners" is sundeō, "bind someone with, put someone in chains with" (BDAG 966).
- "Mistreated" (NIV), "tortured" (NRSV), "suffer adversity" (KJV) is kakoucheō, "maltreat, torment" (BDAG 502).
- Timios, BDAG 1005-1006, 1.c.
- Amiantos, BDAG 54.
- Moichos, BDAG 657, 1.
- Pornos, BDAG 855, 1.
- F. Hauck and S. Schulz, pornē, TDNT 6:579-595.
- "Love of money" (NIV, NRSV) or "covetousness" (KJV) is aphilarguros, "not loving money, not greedy" (BDAG 157). The more common word for this in the New Testament is pleonexia, "covetousness."
- "Confidence" (NIV, NRSV) or "boldly" (KJV) is tharreō, "to have certainty in a matter, be confident, be courageous" (BDAG 444).
- Merriam Webster's 11th Collegiate Dictionary.
- Arkeō, BDAG 131-132. It is used here 1 Timothy 6:8; Luke 3:14; and 3 John 10.
- Mē, BDAG 644-646, 4.
- Aniēmi, BDAG 82.
- Engkataleipō, BDAG 273.
- Boētheō, BDAG 180.
- Hēgeomai, BDAG 434.
- "Consider" is anatheōreō, "to give careful thought to, consider" (BDAG 63).
- "Outcome" is ekbasis, has the basic meaning, "endpoint of a duration, end," here it means "outcome of an event or state" (BDAG 299-300, 2.).
- Anastrophē, BDAG 73.
- Mimeomai, "imitate," is from mimos, "imitator, mimic" (BDAG 651).
- "Strengthened" is bebaioō, means first, "confirm, establish," here probably with the sense, "to make a person firm in commitment, establish, strengthen." (Bebaioō, BDAG 172-173).
- Ellingworth, Hebrews, pp. 708-712, citing P.E. Hughes 578.
- Bruce, Hebrews, p. 378, citing R. Anderson, The Buddha of Christendom (London, 1899), p. 302 for the quote). According to Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition), "metonymy" is "a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (as 'crown' in 'lands belonging to the crown')."
- "To make holy" (NIV) or "sanctify" (NRSV, KJV) is hagiazō, "consecrate, dedicate, sanctify, include a person in the inner circle of what is holy, in both cultic and moral associations of the word" (BDAG 10, 2.).
- "Disgrace" (NIV), "abuse" (NRSV), "reproach" (KJV) is oneidismos, "the act of disparagement that results in disgrace, reproach, reviling, disgrace, insult" (BDAG 710).
- "Enduring" (NIV), "lasting" (NRSV), "continuing" (KJV) is the present participle of menō, "remain," here with the meaning, "to continue to exist, remain, last persist, continue to live," in our passage, "a permanent city" (BDAG 630-631, 2.b.).
- "That is to come" is the present preposition of mellō, "be about to," here with the meaning, "(in the) future, to come" (BDAG 628, 3.).
- Epizēteō, BDAG 371, 2.a.
- "Offer" (NIV) is anapherō (subjunctive present active 1 person), "bring up," here, "to offer as a sacrifice, offer up," specifically as a cultic technical term (BDAG 75, 3.).
- "Praise" is ainesis, "praise," used rarely in Greek. Here a quotation from the Septuagint of Psalm 73:28. (BDAG 27).
- "Continually" is dia pas, using the preposition dia as a "marker of extension in time, "of a whole period of time, to its very end, throughout, through, during," with pan, "all," it means, "always, continually, constantly" (BDAG 224, 2.a.).
- "Do good" is eupoiia, "rendering of service, with implication of being generally recognized as laudable, well-doing" (BDAG 410).
- "To share" is koinōnia, "sharing," here with the meaning, "attitude of good will that manifests an interest in a close relationship, generosity, fellow-feeling, altruism" (BDAG 552-553, 2.).
- Euaresteō, BDAG 403, 2.b. The adjectival form, euarestos, "pleasing, acceptable," is found in 13:20, "may he work in us what is pleasing to him...." It was used in the Greek world of things and especially of persons noted for their civic-minded generosity and who endeavor to do things that are pleasing. (BDAG 403).
- Peithō, BDAG 791-792, 3.b.
- Hupeikō, BDAG 1030.
- "Keep watch" is agrupneō, "be alert," here, "to be alertly concerned about, look after, care for" (BDAG 16, 2.).
- "Souls" is psuchē, "the seat and center of the inner human life in its many and varied aspects, soul," here emphasizing that which transcends the earthly, of apostles and congregation leaders concerned about the souls of believers (BDAG 1098-1100, 2.d.).
- "For" or "over" is huper, a marker indicating that an activity or event is in some entity's interest, "for, in behalf of, for the sake of someone/something" (BDAG 1030, A.1.).
- "Give account" is apodidōmi, "yield," here, "to meet a contractual or other obligation, fulfill," specifically, of fulfilling various responsibilities (BDAG 110, 2.c.). "Account" is logos, is used in two senses, "word" and "computation, reckoning," a formal accounting, especially of one's actions, and frequently with figurative extension of commercial terminology, "account, accounts, reckoning" (BDAG 599-601, 2.a.).
- Stenazō, BDAG 942, 1.
- Alusitelēs, BDAG 48.
- "Be restored" is apokathistanō, "restore," here, "to return someone to a former place or relationship, "bring back, give back, restore" (BDAG 111-112, 2.).
- "Brought back" (NIV, NRSV), "brought again" (KJV) is anagō, "to lead or bring from a lower to a higher point, lead, bring up" (BDAG 61-62, 1.).
- Katartizō, BDAG 526, 1.b.
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