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Bible Commentaries

Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Hebrews 13

Verse 1

Love to Christians on account of their likeness to Christ is a fruit of the Spirit, and an evidence of being born of God. It is also a means of promoting our love to Christ and the enjoyment of his presence. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16 . This is a reason why Satan hates Christian love, and so often employs such as speak lies and sow discord among brethren to prevent it; and also a reason why such persons are mentioned in the Bible as children of the devil, and as one of the seven abominations which the Lord abhors. John 8:44 ; Proverbs 6:19 .

Verse 2

Entertained angels ; Genesis 18:2-19 ; Genesis 19:1-3 .

Verse 3

Remember ; sympathize with, pray for, and be ready, as you have opportunity, to assist them that are in bonds ; whatever be the kind of bondage, especially those who are bound or imprisoned on account of their religion.

In the body ; and of course liable to similar trials. Love to Christians for Christ’s sake will lead all who possess it deeply to sympathize with such as are in bonds, to pray for them, and in all suitable ways endeavor to benefit them.

Verse 4

Honorable ; right, proper, and for ministers of the gospel as well as others. As marriage is God’s institution for the happiness of man and the prevention of fornication and other abominable vices, he who forbids or discourages it increases the temptations to these crimes, and exposes himself to the just indignation of God.

Verse 5

Conversation ; manner of life.

Covetousness ; inordinate regard for money or such things as money will procure.

I will never leave thee , nor forsake thee ; the words occur in Deuteronomy 31:6 , as a promise to all Israel, and again in 1 Chronicles 28:20 , as a promise to Solomon. The apostle has simply put them in the first person. Christians, in principle, precept, and practice, should show their abhorrence of covetousness, should be contented with the allotments of Providence, be grateful for mercies, and never fear the want of any needful good, for the Lord has engaged to supply them. Psalms 34:4-10 .

Verse 7

Them which have the rule ; your leaders and guides; those who have proclaimed to you the will of God.

The end ; of their earthly course; their peaceful, happy, joyful death. Acts 7:59-60 ; Philippians 1:23 . These words should not be connected with the following verse, as is plain from the construction of the original.

Verse 8

Jesus Christ-for ever ; rather, Jesus Christ is the same, etc. Of course he can sustain, comfort, and bless you, as he did them.

Verse 9

Be not carried about ; from one opinion to another; or, according to another reading, carried away, namely, from the right path. Adhere steadfastly to your steadfast Saviour, and the truth concerning him as ye have received it.

Not with meats ; the Jewish distinctions of meats, and the whole ceremonial law connected with them. The words intimate that it is the grace of Christ alone, not these carnal ordinances, that has power to establish the heart. To treat external rites and ceremonies as the chief thing does much evil and exposes men to the loss of their souls, because it tends to prevent their reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 10

We ; Christians.

Have an altar ; a spiritual altar. We are spiritual priests, and partake by faith of Christ’s body sacrificed for us; from which they are excluded who still depend on Jewish sacrifices.

Verse 11

Whose blood is brought into the sanctuary ; the reference is to the bullock and goat that were offered as sin-offerings in the great day of atonement, and whose blood was carried by the high-priest into the holy of holies, Leviticus 16:27 . In being thus burned without the camp they typified the sacrifice of Jesus, who suffered without the gate of Jerusalem, which city corresponded to the camp in the wilderness.

Verse 12

With his own blood ; carrying it as their great High-priest into the true holy of holies, that is, into God’s presence in heaven. Chap Hebrews 9:12 ; Hebrews 9:24 .

Without the gate ; John 19:17-18 .

Verse 13

Let us go forth-without the camp ; some, taking the Israelitish camp as a symbol of the Mosaic economy, suppose the meaning to be, Let us forsake Judaism, cleave to Christ, and suffer with him. But the more natural meaning of this verse is, Let us follow Jesus in his shame and suffering.

Bearing his reproach ; bearing it with him, as members of his body. See note to chap Hebrews 11:26 . Christians should not fear any reproach or shame which they are called of God to suffer for his sake, but like Christ should cheerfully endure any cross, despising the shame, that they may with him sit down on the right hand of the majesty on high; remembering that their shame will be short, and their honors eternal.

Verse 14

Here have we no continuing city ; our stay on earth will be short. This is a reason why we should cheerfully bear reproach with Jesus, that we may share with him the glory of the heavenly city that is to come.

Verse 15

By him ; as our great High-priest, not by Jewish priests on Jewish altars.

The sacrifice of praise ; the spiritual thank-offering of praise, which the Mosaic thank-offerings shadowed forth.

The fruit of our lips ; quoted after the Greek version from Hosea 14:2 , where the Hebrew has, "the calves of our lips"; that is, sacrifices of praise. Ephesians 5:19-20 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:16 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:18 .

Verse 16

To communicate ; impart blessings as you have opportunity to the needy. It is not enough for men to be pious, devotional, and grateful: they must also be beneficent, disposed to communicate of their blessings to others. This they are prone to forget, and they need often to be reminded that it is with such things God is well pleased. They would thus give evidence that their natural selfishness, which if continued will ruin them, is in a way of being subdued.

Verse 17

Them that have the rule ; who guide you, by making known to you the will of God.

Submit yourselves ; to be governed by his will, which they declare.

Watch for your souls ; their object is to promote your salvation, by obeying God to whom they are accountable.

With joy ; in having been instrumental of saving you.

Unprofitable for you ; if you refuse to follow their guidance when they point out the path of duty, you not only grieve them, but injure yourselves and incur the wrath of God.

Verse 18

Honestly ; uprightly, in a manner suitable to a minister of the gospel and an inspired apostle. Enlightened ministers of Christ often express a desire for the prayers of Christians on earth, but never ask or desire others to ask for them the prayers of Peter, Paul, Mary, or any of the saints in heaven.

Verse 19

Restored to you the sooner ; be sooner able to visit you. Prayer is efficacious not only with regard to spiritual, but temporal things. It often enables persons to do what they otherwise could not do, and to confer and receive blessings of which they and others without prayer would fail. But in order to receive the full benefits of the prayers of others, men must pray themselves; and not only for themselves, but also for their fellow-men; and must be disposed in this way to confer the blessings on others which they wish to receive from them.

Verse 20

Through the blood of the everlasting covenant ; these words are best connected with the preceding part of the verse. It was by virtue of the expiatory blood of Christ, by which he ratified the everlasting covenant of grace, that God raised him from the dead and exalted him to universal dominion. The question here is not one of mere power, but of fitness. It was meet that, in view of his propitiation for the sins of the world through the bloody death of the cross, God should exalt him, as he did by his resurrection and ascension to heaven. Compare Philippians 2:9-11 .

Verse 21

Every thing thought, felt, or done by men which is holy and acceptable to God, is the fruit of his working in them both to will and to do. It comes to them in consequence of the death of Christ as a propitiation for their sins and the sins of the world; and to him all who feel and act rightly will give glory for ever.

Verse 23

If he come shortly ; to me; for though set at liberty he was yet absent from the writer.

Verse 24

All-and all the saints ; the ministers and brethren of the churches.

They ; the Christians in Italy, whence this epistle was written, the great object of which was to enable the Jewish Christians rightly to understand the Old Testament, especially its rites and ceremonies, and to persuade them to persevere in their attachment and obedience to Jesus Christ.

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Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Hebrews 13". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". American Tract Society. 1851.