Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 10

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

Shadow (σκιαν). The contrast here between σκια (shadow, shade caused by interruption of light as by trees, Mark 4:32) and εικων (image or picture) is striking. Christ is the εικων of God (2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). In Colossians 2:17 Paul draws a distinction between σκια for the Jewish rites and ceremonies and σωμα for the reality in Christ. Children are fond of shadow pictures. The law gives only a dim outline of the good things to come (Hebrews 9:11).

Continually (εις το διηνεκες). See this phrase also in Hebrews 7:3; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:14. Nowhere else in N.T. From διηνεγκα (διαφερω), to bear through.

They can (δυναντα). This reading leaves ο νομος a nominativus pendens (an anacoluthon). But many MSS. read δυνατα (it--the law--can). For the idea and use of τελειωσα see Hebrews 9:9.

Verse 2

Else they would not have ceased? (επε ουκ αν επαυσαντο;). Ellipsis of condition after επε (since if they really did perfect) with the conclusion of the second-class condition (αν and the aorist middle indicative of παυομα).

To be offered (προσφερομενα). Regular idiom, participle (present passive) with παυομα (Acts 5:42).

Because (δια το). Δια with the accusative of the articular infinitive, "because of the having" (εχειν) as to the worshippers (τους λατρευοντας, accusative of general reference of the articular participle), not "would have had."

No more conscience of sins (μηδεμιαν ετ συνειδησιν αμαρτιων). Rather "consciousness of sins" as in Hebrews 9:14.

Having been once cleansed (απαξ κεκαθαρισμενους). Perfect passive participle of καθαριζω, "if they had once for all been cleansed."

Verse 3

A remembrance (αναμνησις). A reminder. Old word from αναμιμνησκω, to remind, as in Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:24.

Verse 4

Should take away (αφαιρειν). Present active infinitive of αφαιρεω. Old verb and common in N.T., only here and Romans 11:27 with "sins". Cf. Hebrews 9:9.

Verse 5

When he cometh into the world (εισερχομενος εις τον κοσμον). Reference to the Incarnation of Christ who is represented as quoting Psalms 40:7-9 which is quoted. The text of the LXX is followed in the main which differs from the Hebrew chiefly in having σωμα (body) rather than ωτια (ears). The LXX translation has not altered the sense of the Psalm, "that there was a sacrifice which answered to the will of God as no animal sacrifice could" (Moffatt). So the writer of Hebrews "argues that the Son's offering of himself is the true and final offering for sin, because it is the sacrifice, which, according to prophecy, God desired to be made" (Davidson).

A body didst thou prepare for me (σωμα κατηρτισω μο). First aorist middle indicative second person singular of καταρτιζω, to make ready, equip. Using σωμα (body) for ωτια (ears) does not change the sense, for the ears were the point of contact with God's will.

Verse 6

Thou hadst no pleasure (ουκ ευδοκησας). First aorist active indicative of ευδοκεω, common for God's good pleasure (Matthew 3:17). God took no pleasure in the animal offering (θυσιαν), the meal-offering (προσφοραν), the burnt-offering (ολοκαυτωματα), the sin-offering (περ αμαρτιας, concerning sin).

Verse 7

Then (τοτε). When it was plain that God could not be propitiated by such sacrifices.

Lo, I am come (Ιδου ηκω). The Messiah is represented as offering himself to do God's will (του ποιησα το θελημα σου, the genitive articular infinitive of purpose).

In the roll of the book it is written of me (εν κεφαλιδ βιβλιου γεγραπτα περ εμου). Stands written (γεγραπτα, perfect passive indicative). Κεφαλις is a diminutive of κεφαλη (head), a little head, then roll only here in N.T., but in the papyri. Here it refers "to the O.T. as a prediction of Christ's higher sacrifice" (Moffatt).

Verse 8

Saying above (ανωτερον λεγων). Christ speaking as in verse Hebrews 10:5. "Higher up" (ανωτερον, comparative of ανω, up) refers to verses Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 10:6 which are quoted again.

Verse 9

The which (αιτινες). "Which very things" (θυσια).

Then hath he said (τοτε ειρηκεν). That is Christ. Perfect active indicative with which compare τοτε ειπον (second aorist active) in verse Hebrews 10:7 which is quoted again.

He taketh away the first (αναιρε το πρωτον). Present active indicative of αναιρεω, to take up, to abolish, of a man to kill (Matthew 2:16). By "the first" (το πρωτον) he means the system of animal sacrifices in verse Hebrews 10:8.

That he may establish the second (ινα το δευτερον στηση). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist active (transitive) subjunctive of ιστημ, to place. By "the second" (το δευτερον) he means doing God's will as shown in verse Hebrews 10:9 (following verse Hebrews 10:8). This is the author's exegesis of the Psalm.

Verse 10

We have been sanctified (ηγιασμενο εσμεν). Periphrastic perfect passive indicative of αγιαζω, to set apart, to sanctify. The divine will, unfulfilled in animal sacrifices, is realized in Christ's offering of himself. "He came to be a great High Priest, and the body was prepared for him, that by the offering of it he might put sinful men for ever into the perfect religious relation to God" (Denney, The Death of Christ, p. 234).

Verse 11

Standeth (εστηκεν). Perfect active indicative of ιστημ (intransitive), vivid picture.

Ministering and offering (λειτουργων κα προσφερων). Present active participles graphically describing the priest.

Take away (περιελειν). Second aorist active infinitive of περιαιρεω, old verb to take from around, to remove utterly as in Acts 27:20.

Verse 12

When he had offered (προσενεγκας). Second aorist active participle (with first aorist ending -ας in place of -ον) of προσφερω, single act in contrast to present participle προσφερων above.

One sacrifice (μιαν θυσιαν). This the main point. The one sacrifice does the work that the many failed to do. One wonders how priests who claim that the "mass" is the sacrifice of Christ's body repeated explain this verse.

For ever (εις το διηνεκες). Can be construed either with μιαν θυσιαν or with εκαθισεν (sat down). See Hebrews 1:3 for εκαθισεν.

Verse 13

Henceforth expecting (το λοιπον εκδεχομενος). "For the rest" or "for the future" (το λοιπον, accusative of extent of time). The expectant attitude of Christ here is that of final and certain victory (John 16:33; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

Till his enemies be made (εως τεθωσιν ο εχθρο αυτου). Purpose and temporal clause with εως and the first aorist passive subjunctive of τιθημ. He quotes Psalms 110:1 again.

Verse 14

He hath perfected (τετελειωκεν). Perfect active indicative of τελειοω. He has done what the old sacrifices failed to do (verse Hebrews 10:1).

Them that are sanctified (τους αγιαζομενους). Articular participle (accusative case) present passive of αγιαζω (note perfect in verse Hebrews 10:10) either because of the process still going on or because of the repetition in so many persons as in Hebrews 2:11.

Verse 15

And the Holy Ghost also beareth witness to us (μαρτυρε δε ημιν κα το πνευμα το αγιον). Μαρτυρεω is common in Philo for Scripture quotation. The author confirms his interpretation of Psalms 40:7-9 by repeating from Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:31) what he had already quoted (Hebrews 8:8-12).

After he hath said (μετα το ειρηκενα). Accusative case after μετα of the articular infinitive perfect active, "after the having said."

Verse 16

With them (προς αυτους). The author changes τω οικω Ισραελ (Hebrews 8:10) thus without altering the sense. He also changes the order of "heart" (καρδιας) and "mind" (διανοιαν) from that in Hebrews 8:10.

Verse 17

Here again the writer adds "their iniquities" (των ανομιων) to "sins" of Hebrews 8:12 and reads μνησθησομα (first future passive) with ου μη rather than μνησθω (first aorist passive subjunctive) of Hebrews 8:12 (the more common idiom). It is uncertain also whether the writer means verse Hebrews 10:17 to be the principal clause with Hebrews 10:15; Hebrews 10:16 as subordinate or the whole quotation to be subordinate to μετα το ειρηκενα of verse Hebrews 10:15 with anacoluthon in verse Hebrews 10:18. At any rate verse Hebrews 10:17 in the quotation does not follow immediately after verse Hebrews 10:16 as one can see in Hebrews 8:10-12 (skipping part of Hebrews 8:10 and all of Hebrews 8:11).

Verse 18

There is no more offering for sin (ουκετ προσφορα περ αμαρτιας). This is the logical and triumphant conclusion concerning the better sacrifice offered by Christ (Hebrews 9:13-10). As Jeremiah had prophesied, there is actually remission (αφεσις, removal) of sins. Repetition of the sacrifice is needless.

Verse 19

Having therefore (εχοντες ουν). The author now gives a second (the first in Hebrews 8:1-6) resume of the five arguments concerning the superior priestly work of Christ (Hebrews 10:19-25) coupled with an earnest exhortation like that in Hebrews 4:14-16, with which he began the discussion, before he proceeds to treat at length the fifth and last one, the better promises in Christ (Hebrews 10:26-12).

Boldness (παρρησιαν). This is the dominant note all through the Epistle (Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 10:19; Hebrews 10:35). They were tempted to give up Christ, to be quitters. Boldness (courage) is the need of the hour.

Into the holy place (των αγιων). That is, the heavenly sanctuary where Jesus is (Hebrews 6:18-20). This is the better sanctuary (Hebrews 9:1-12).

By the blood of Jesus (εν τω αιματ Ιησου). This is the better sacrifice just discussed (Hebrews 9:13-10).

Verse 20

By the way which he dedicated for us (ην ενεκαινισεν ημιν οδον). This "new" (προσφατον, freshly killed, newly made, from προς and the root of φατος, in the papyri, only here in N.T.) and "living" (ζωσαν) Jesus opened ("dedicated") for us by his Incarnation and Death for us. Thus he fulfilled God's promise of the "New Covenant" (Hebrews 8:7-13) in Jeremiah. The language is highly symbolic here and "through the veil" here is explained as meaning the flesh of Christ, his humanity, not the veil opening into heaven (Hebrews 6:20). Some do take "veil" here as obscuring the deity of Christ rather than the revelation of God in the human body of Christ (John 1:18; John 14:9). At any rate because of the coming of Christ in the flesh we have the new way opened for access to God (Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:16).

Verse 21

A great priest (ιερεα μεγαν). As has been shown in Hebrews 4:14-7.

Over the house of God (επ τον οικον του θεου). As God's Son (Hebrews 3:5).

Verse 22

Let us draw near (προσερχωμεθα). Present middle volitive subjunctive as in Hebrews 4:16 with which exhortation the discussion began. There are three exhortations in verses Hebrews 22:25 (Let us draw near, προσερχωμεθα, let us hold fast, κατεχωμεν, let us consider one another, κατανοωμεν αλληλους). Four items are added to this first exhortation.

With a true heart (μετα αληθινης καρδιας). With loyalty and fealty.

In fulness of faith (εν πληροφορια πιστεως). See Hebrews 6:11 for this very phrase.

Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience (ρεραντισμενο τας καρδιας απο συνειδησεως πονηρας). Perfect passive participle of ραντιζω with the accusative retained in the passive, an evident allusion to the sprinkling of blood in the old tabernacle (Hebrews 9:18-22) and the shedding of Christ's blood for the cleansing of our consciences (Hebrews 10:1-4). Cf. 1 Peter 1:2 for "the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ."

Our body washed with pure water (λελουσμενο το σωμα υδατ καθαρω). Perfect passive (or middle) of λουω, old verb to bathe, to wash. Accusative also retained if passive. Hυδατ can be either locative (in) or instrumental (with). See Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5 for the use of λουτρον. If the reference here is to baptism (quite doubtful), the meaning is a symbol (Dods) of the previous cleansing by the blood of Christ.

Verse 23

Let us hold fast (κατεχωμεν). Present (keep on holding fast) active volitive subjunctive of κατεχω as in Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14.

That it waver not (ακλινη). Common compound adjective (alpha privative and κλινω, unwavering, not leaning, here only in N.T. It is a confession of hope, not of despair.

That promised (ο επαγγειλαμενος). First aorist middle articular participle of επαγγελλω. This is the argument remaining to be discussed (Hebrews 10:26-12) and already alluded to (Hebrews 6:13; Hebrews 8:6). The ministry of Jesus rests upon "better promises." How better? God is "faithful," but he made the other promises also. We shall see.

Verse 24

Let us consider one another (κατανοωμεν αλληλους). Present (keep on doing so) active volitive subjunctive of κατανοεω. The verb used about Jesus in Hebrews 3:1.

To provoke (εις παροξυσμον). Our very word "paroxysm," from παροξυνω (παρα, οξυνω from οξυς, sharp), to sharpen, to stimulate, to incite. So here in good sense (for incitement to), but in Acts 15:39 the word is used of irritation or contention as in the LXX and Demosthenes. Hippocrates uses it for "paroxysm" in disease (so in the papyri).

Unto love and good works (αγαπης κα καλων εργων). Objective genitive. So Paul seeks to stir up the Corinthians by the example of the Macedonians (2 Corinthians 8:1-7).

Verse 25

Not forsaking (μη εγκαταλειποντες). "Not leaving behind, not leaving in the lurch" (2 Timothy 4:10).

The assembling of yourselves together (την επισυναγωγην εαυτων). Late double compound from επισυναγω, to gather together (συν) besides (επ) as in Matthew 23:37; Luke 17:27. In N.T. only here and 2 Thessalonians 2:1. In an inscription 100 B.C. for collection of money (Deissmann, Light, etc., p. 103).

As the custom of some is (καθως εθος τισιν). "As is custom to some." For εθος (custom) see Luke 22:39; John 19:40. Already some Christians had formed the habit of not attending public worship, a perilous habit then and now.

So much the more as (τοσουτω μαλλον οσω). Instrumental case of measure or degree, "by so much the more as," both with τοσουτω and οσω.

The day drawing nigh (εγγιζουσαν την ημεραν). The Second Coming of Christ which draws nearer all the time (Romans 13:12).

Verse 26

If we sin wilfully (εκουσιως αμαρτανοντων ημων). Genitive absolute with the present active participle of αμαρτανω, circumstantial participle here in a conditional sense.

After that we have received (μετα το λαβειν). "After the receiving" (accusative case of the articular infinitive second aorist active of λαμβανω after μετα).

Knowledge (επιγνωσιν). "Full knowledge," as in Hebrews 6:4.

There remaineth no more (ουκετ απολειπετα). "No longer is there left behind" (present passive indicative as in Hebrews 4:9), for one has renounced the one and only sacrifice for sin that does or can remove sin (Hebrews 10:1-18).

Verse 27

Expectation (εκδοχη). Usually reception or interpretation from εκδεχομα (Hebrews 11:10), only here in N.T. and in unusual sense like προσδοκια, like απεκδεχομα (Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23; Romans 8:25), this sense apparently "coined by the writer" (Moffatt) from his use of εκδεχομα in Hebrews 10:13. The papyri have it in the sense of interpretation.

A fierceness of fire (πυρος ζηλος). An anger (zeal, jealousy) marked (genitive) by fire. Language kin to that in Isaiah 26:11; Zephaniah 1:19; Psalms 79:5. See also 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 for a like picture of destined doom.

Devour (εσθιειν). "To eat" (figuratively), present active infinitive.

The adversaries (τους υπεναντιους). Old double compound adjective (υπο, εν, αντιος), in N.T. only here and Colossians 2:14. Those directly opposite.

Verse 28

Hath set at naught (αθετησας). First aorist active participle of αθετεω, late compound, very common in LXX, from alpha privative and τιθημ, to render null and void, to set aside, only here in Hebrews (see Mark 7:9), but note αθετησις (Hebrews 7:18; Hebrews 9:26).

Without mercy (χωρις οικτιρμων). See 2 Corinthians 1:3. This was the law (Deuteronomy 17:6) for apostates.

On the word of two or three (επ δυσιν η τρισιν). "On the basis of two or three." For this use of επ with the locative see Hebrews 9:17.

Verse 29

How much (ποσω). Instrumental case of degree or measure. An argument from the less to the greater, "the first of Hillel's seven rules for exegesis" (Moffatt).

Think ye (δοκειτε). An appeal to their own sense of justice about apostates from Christ.

Sorer (χειρονος). "Worse," comparative of κακος (bad).

Punishment (τιμωριας). Genitive case with αξιωθησετα (first future passive of αξιοω, to deem worthy). The word τιμωρια originally meant vengeance. Old word, in LXX, only here in N.T.

Who hath trodden under foot the Son of God (ο τον υιον του θεου καταπατησας). First aorist active articular participle of καταπατεω, old verb (Matthew 5:13) for scornful neglect like Zechariah 12:3. See same idea in Hebrews 6:6.

Wherewith he was sanctified (εν ω ηγιασθη). First aorist passive indicative of αγιαζω. It is an unspeakable tragedy that should warn every follower of Christ not to play with treachery to Christ (cf. Hebrews 6:4-8).

An unholy thing (κοινον). Common in the sense of uncleanness as Peter used it in Acts 10:14. Think of one who thus despises "the blood of Christ wherewith he was sanctified." And yet there are a few today who sneer at the blood of Christ and the gospel based on his atoning sacrifice as "a slaughter house" religion!

Hath done despite (ενυβρισας). First aorist active participle of ενυβριζω, old verb to treat with contumely, to give insult to, here only in the N.T. It is a powerful word for insulting the Holy Spirit after receiving his blessings (Hebrews 6:4).

Verse 30

We know him that said (οιδαμεν τον ειποντα). God lives and is true to his word. He quotes Deuteronomy 32:35 (cf. Romans 12:19). For εκδικησις see Luke 18:7. God is the God of justice. He is patient, but he will punish.

And again (κα παλιν). Deuteronomy 32:36.

Verse 31

A fearful thing (φοβερον). Old adjective (from φοβεω, to frighten). In N.T. only in Heb. (Hebrews 10:27; Hebrews 10:31; Hebrews 12:21). The sense is not to be explained away. The wrath of God faces wrongdoers.

To fall (το εμπεσειν). "The falling" (articular infinitive second aorist active of εμπιπτω, to fall in, followed here by εις). We are not dealing with a dead or an absentee God, but one who is alive and alert (Hebrews 3:12).

Verse 32

Call to remembrance (αναμιμνησκεσθε). Present middle imperative of αναμιμνησκω, as in 2 Corinthians 7:15 "remind yourselves." The former days were some distance in the past (Hebrews 5:12), some years at any rate. It is a definite experience of people in a certain place. Jerusalem Christians had had experiences of this nature, but so had others.

After ye were enlightened (φωτισθεντες). First aorist passive participle of φωτιζω in the same sense as in Hebrews 6:4 (regeneration) and like "the full knowledge of the truth" in Hebrews 10:26.

Conflict (αθλησιν). Late word from αθλεω, to engage in a public contest in the games (2 Timothy 2:5), only here in the N.T. It occurs in the inscriptions. Cf. Hebrews 2:10 for the benefit of "sufferings" in training.

Verse 33

Partly (τουτο μεν)

and partly (τουτο δε). Accusative of general reference (τουτο) with μεν and δε for contrast.

Being made a gazing-stock (θεατριζομενο). Late verb to bring upon the stage, to hold up to derision. See Paul's use of θεατρον of himself in 1 Corinthians 4:9.

By reproaches and afflictions (ονειδισμοις τε κα θλιψεσιν). Instrumental case. See Romans 15:3.

Partakers (κοινωνο). Partners (Luke 5:10) with those (των objective genitive).

So used (ουτως αναστρεφομενων). Present middle articular participle of αναστρεφω, to conduct oneself (2 Corinthians 1:12).

Verse 34

Ye had compassion on (συνεπαθησατε). First aorist active indicative of συνπαθεω, old verb to have a feeling with, to sympathize with.

Them that were in bonds (τοις δεσμιοις). Associative instrumental case, "with the prisoners" (the bound ones). Used of Paul (Ephesians 3:1; 2 Timothy 1:8).

Took joyfully (μετα χαρας προσεδεξασθε). First aorist middle (indirect) indicative, "ye received to yourselves with joy." See Romans 13:1; Romans 13:3; Romans 15:7.

The spoiling (την αρπαγην). "The seizing," "the plundering." Old word from αρπαζω. See Matthew 23:35.

Of your possessions (των υπαρχοντων υμων). "Of your belongings." Genitive of the articular present active neuter plural participle of υπαρχω used as a substantive (cf. υμων genitive) as in Matthew 19:21.

That ye yourselves have (εχειν εαυτους). Infinitive (present active of εχω) in indirect discourse after γινωσκοντες (knowing) with the accusative of general reference (εαυτους, as to yourselves), though some MSS. omit εαυτους, some have εαυτοις (dative, for yourselves), and some εν εαυτοις (in yourselves). The predicate nominative αυτο could have been used agreeing with γινωσκοντες (cf. Romans 1:22).

A better possession (κρεισσονα υπαρξιν). Common word in the same sense as τα υπαρχοντα above, in N.T. only here and Acts 2:45. In place of their plundered property they have treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20).

Abiding (μενουσαν). Present active participle of μενω. No oppressors (legal or illegal) can rob them of this (Matthew 6:19).

Verse 35

Cast not away therefore your boldness (μη αποβαλητε ουν την παρρησιαν υμων). Prohibition with μη and the second aorist active subjunctive of αποβαλλω. Old verb to throw away from one as worthless, only twice in the N.T., here in a figurative sense and Mark 10:50 in a literal sense (garment by Bartimaeus). The Jewish Christians in question were in peril of a panic and of stampeding away from Christ. Recall κατεχωμεν in verse Hebrews 10:23.

Verse 36

Which (ητις). Your boldness of verse Hebrews 10:35.

Recompense of reward (μισθαποδοσιαν). Late double compound, like μισθαποδοτης (Hebrews 11:6), from μισθος (reward, wages) and αποδιδωμ, to give back, to pay (repay). In N.T. only here, Hebrews 2:2; Hebrews 11:26.

Of patience (υπομονης). Old word for remaining under trial (Luke 8:15). This was the call of the hour then as now.

Having done the will of God (το θελημα του θεου). This is an essential prerequisite to the exercise of patience and to obtain the promised blessing. There is no promise to those who patiently keep on doing wrong.

That ye may receive the promise (ινα κομισησθε την επαγγελιαν) Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist middle subjunctive of κομιζω, old verb to carry (Luke 7:37), in the middle to get back one's own (Matthew 25:27), to receive. See also Hebrews 11:39. Now the author is ready to develop this great idea of receiving the promise in Christ.

Verse 37

A very little while (μικρον οσον οσον). From Isaiah 26:20 as an introduction to the quotation from Habakkuk 2:3.

He that cometh (ο ερχομενος). The article ο is added to ερχομενος in Habakkuk 2:3 and is given here a Messianic application.

Verse 38

If he shrink back (εαν υποστειλητα). Condition of third class with εαν and the first aorist middle subjunctive of υποστελλω, old verb to draw oneself under or back, to withdraw, as already in Acts 20:20; Acts 20:27; Galatians 2:12. See Romans 1:17 for the quotation also of "the just shall live by faith."

Verse 39

But we (ημεις δε). In contrast to renegades who do flicker and turn back from Christ.

Of them that shrink back unto perdition (υποστολης εις απωλειαν). Predicate genitive of υποστολη, as in Hebrews 12:11, from υποστελλω with same sense here, stealthy retreat in Plutarch, dissimulation in Josephus. Here alone in the N.T.

Unto the saving of the soul (εις περιποιησιν ψυχης). Old word from περιποιεω, to reserve, to preserve (Luke 17:33) to purchase (Acts 20:28). So here preserving or saving one's life as in Plato, but possession in Ephesians 1:14, obtaining in 1 Thessalonians 4:9. Papyri have it in sense of preservation.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 10". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.