For 10¢ a day you can enjoy StudyLight.org ads
free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.Click here to learn more!
Heb 13:1. The main argument of this epistle is completed and the present chapter is given to various subjects pertaining to the church and individual duties. Brotherly love signifies the love extended to others by reason of the common relationship in the family of God.
Heb 13:2. Entertain strangers is from a Greek word that is defined in the lexicon as hospitality, especially toward those outside one's immediate personal acquaintances. Entertained angels unawares was done by Abraham in Genesis 18. However, Jesus taught the principle of discretion in the bestowal of favors (Mat 7:6), hence a Christian is not required to keep "open house" for all stragglers regardless of circumstances.
Heb 13:3. The bonds were the chains fastened upon disciples because of their devotion to Christ. Those who are fortunate enough not to be in chains as yet, should consider themselves as partakers of the same persecutions. Also in the body refers to the body of Christ ( the church); being in the same body with the persecuted ones should create a feeling of brotherly sympathy.
Heb 13:4. Marriage is honorable because it is the Lord's arrangement for the perpetuation of the race, hence the marriage bed should be regarded as undefiled. As an inducement for man to cooperate with God in this plan, He has made the intimate relation a pleasurable one. All good things may be abused, hence there are people who use this relationship for the one purpose only. Such people should remember the case of Onan in Gen 38:8-10 and beware. The fact of having contracted legal marriage does not justify Christians in counteracting God's original purpose for the insti- tution. Whoremongers refers especially to men who are immoral and adulterers to either sex.
Heb 13:5. Conversation means one's conduct or manner of life, and the sentence means that their lives should not be influenced by an overmuch desire for the wealth of this world. To be content does not deny one the right to "look out for a rainy day," or to acquire more of the good things of life than he needs for his own personal use; such a theory would contradict Eph 4:28. The thought is that while we are making lawful efforts to produce the desirable things of life, we should not be fretting because we are not as successful as others or as much so as we had expected to be ourselves. We may always have the assurance that we will be cared for in some way.
Heb 13:6. We may boldly or confidently say that the Lord is our helper. Men may persecute us even to the extent of depriving us of the comforts of life, yet we should not fear about the outcome if we are faithful to Him.
Heb 13:7. Remember means to be mindful of these rulers which means the elders. They have spoken the word of God in their work as shepherds over the flock (Act 20:28). Whose faith follow. That is we should imitate the example of faithfulness in the discharge of their duties. Verse 17 is more direct in its requirements of the treatment of the rulers in association with the flock, hence the present verse has especial reference to the ones who have gone on out of life, but whose examples of faith were still worthy of imitation. The disciples are told to consider the object and outcome of those noble lives of faith.
Heb 13:8. This verse continues the thought begun in the preceding one, telling us what was the end or object or motive of the faithful lives of the rulers, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. Since He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever, to have Him as the motive of one's life would insure a life of faithfulness till death.
Heb 13:9. The divers (different) and strange (from the outside) doctrines (or teachings) refers especially to the disturbances of the Judaizers. To be carried about indicates something that can be moved with the wind and hence having very little weight. Paul wishes them to be established or firmly set with the grace or favor of Christ, instead of relying on the regulations of the old law regarding meats. A few more verses are devoted to some contrasts and likenesses between the two dispensations.
Heb 13:10. The Mosaic system had a literal altar service on which animals were burned in sacrifice. Some parts of the beasts were reserved for food to be eaten by the priests who performed the service. We Christians also have an altar that is not a literal or temporal one; it is the sacrificial service of Christ. Those who accept the teaching of the Judaizers in going back to the old tabernacle, forfeit their right to the benefits of Christ's sacrifice; they have fallen from grace (Gal 5:4).
Heb 13:11. The bodies of those beasts, etc. (See Exo 29:14.) The blood of those beasts was used in the most holy place while the bodies were taken to the outside of the camp and burned as a sacrifice for sin.
Heb 13:12. There is a beautiful parallel drawn here between the bodies referred to and that of Christ. He was taken outside the city of Jerusalem to be put to shame by death on the cross as the worst of criminals.
Heb 13:13. But this humiliating treatment of Jesus was imposed upon him by his enemies, although it was a part of God's great plan of salvation to be accomplished through His only begotten Son. True followers of Him therefore will not be ashamed to "stand by" Him in his humiliation and will take joy in sharing in the reproach.
Verse Heb 13:14. The material things of this world are all finally to pass away. Even the cherished city of Jerusalem in which was located the temple and center of the Mosaic worship, was then about to be destroyed by the Romans. Then why not give attention to the service under Christ which will prepare one for the city which is to come and which will never pass away.
Heb 13:15. Instead of the material incense that was used with the sacrifices of the Mosaic system, let us offer the kind that is spiritual. Instead of the fruit of the field or sheepfold, let it be the fruit of our lips in the form of praise to God for all the wonderful blessings which we have received.
Heb 13:16. Not that all physical or temporal services are to be dropped from our activities. We may still do good to others by communicating or sharing with them the good things necessary to their personal wellbeing. God is still pleased with that kind of sacrifices.
Heb 13:17. Obey is from PEITHO and Thayer defines it at this place as follows: "To listen to, obey, yield to, comply with." The definition agrees with the connection in which it is used here. The persons are said to have the rule which could not be accomplished unless they were obeyed. This thought is repeated by the word submit which is from HUPEIKO, which Thayer defines in the same passage as follows: "To give way, yield, to yield to authority and admonition, to submit." No institution can succeed without government, and that calls for governors or rulers. But such officers cannot govern unless they are obeyed, hence the members of the church are commanded to be obedient to the rulers which means the elders. They watch for your souls. Since the souls of men cannot be seen it follows that the elders must watch the actions of their bodies. The members sometimes resent their elders and seem to think they have a strong complaint when they say "we are being watched." But the elders are not doing their duty unless they watch the actions of the members. The elders will have to give account for the conduct of the flock, and if the members do not live in obedience to their rulers the account will not be a joyous one. lf the facts require an unfavorable report to the Chief Shepherd, such an account will be unprofitable for the sheep for it will cause their souls to be rejected at the day of judgment.
Heb 13:18. Pray for us. Inspired apostles felt the need of fellowship and the benefit of the prayers of their brethren. Paul professes to have a good conscience which was doubtless suggested by the accusations that had been made against him, making him a prisoner in Rome. The original for honestly is really a stronger word than it, for a man could be honest while doing wrong. It truly means to live "so that there shall be no room for blame"--Thayer. In order for a man to have a good conscience in the sight of God, it is necessary that his life be right as measured by the will of God.
Heb 13:19. Evidently the Hebrew brethren to whom this epistle was written were principally those living in Judea. Paul was in Rome and detained as a prisoner on account of his testimony for Christ. He besought the brethren to pray for his deliverance so that he might again come among them and labor in the work of the Lord.
Heb 13:20. God of peace is said of Him because he is the source of all genuine peace that is in harmony with divine wisdom (Jas 3:17). He brought his Son from the dead in order to give the assurance of genuine peace to all true servants of righteousness. Great shepherd of the sheep is Christ who is called the "chief Shepherd" in 1Pe 5:4. This emphasized title is given to Christ because elders are referred to as shepherds in that tney are told to "feed the church of God" which is termed the flock (Act 20:28). The things Paul wishes God to do for them in the next verse are to be accomplished through the blood of the everlasting covenant. It is called everlasting because it was not to be replaced by any other as was the Mosaic covenant
Heb 13:21. Make you perfect means to equip them completely for every good work in doing His will. It is to be done through Jesus Christ which will make it well-pleasing in his (God's) sight.
Heb 13:22. Exhortation means to insist on doing one's known duty, and Paul has clearly made known to them their duty to serve under Christ and not Moses. Few words is a comparative term. The epistle to the Hebrews though consisting of several chapters, yet it embraces arguments covering the books of Exodus and Leviticus and parts of others in the Old Testament. That makes the book of Hebrews comparatively "few words."
Heb 13:23. This is the only place I have found that mentions the imprisonment of Timothy. Paul's confidence in the prospect of his own release (verse 19) was so strong that he planned on joining Timothy soon in going to meet with these brethren.
Heb 13:24. Salute means to give a friendly greeting which implies a wish for the wellbeing of the one saluted. This was to include the rulers (elders) as well as other saints (Christians). Others in Italy (of which Rome was the capital) joined Paul in his salutation for the brethren in Judea.
Heb 13:25. Grace means the unmerited favor of the Lord and it was the sincere wish of Paul that his brethren everywhere should so live as to receive that favor. Amen is from a Greek word that is spelled the same as English. In the King James Version it is rendered "amen" 50 times and "verily" 100 times.
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hebrews 13". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/hebrews-13.html. 1952.