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Bible Commentaries

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament
Hebrews 2

 

 

Verses 1-18

DOCTRINAL HINTS.

In this Epistle, as in the Gospel of John, the doctrine is based on the Divine nature of Christ, and on His incarnation. As in the Gospel (John 1:1-18) it is said that the Word was God and became flesh, and this double truth pervades the book, so in the Hebrews the Deity and the humanity of the Son form the foundation of the entire treatise, and give strength and consistency to its teaching. The double truth is not worked as a pattern on the surface, it forms part of the texture.

In this last dispensation God is said to speak to us in His Son. The Son is the medium of the revelation. As revealer He has as His associates the apostles. But this office of Christ is quite subordinate. His true character is that He is Himself the revelation. To know God and His Son Jesus Christ is eternal life. God in Christ, Christ as God,—redeeming, renewing, sanctifying,—is the saving doctrine of the Gospel.

There is a double Trinity in Scripture—the Trinity of the Old Testament: the Trinity of the eternity that precedes the incarnation, wherein Christ shares the glory He had with the Father, wherein He made the worlds; the Trinity of the New Testament, wherein He, as incarnate Son of God, becomes Messianic King, and regains with accumulated honours His original glory—the second founded on the first, revealing it in clearer colours, with greater tenderness, and in closer relation to ourselves; again, perhaps, to become subordinate to the first, when God Himself in His essential nature shall be all in all (chaps. 1 and 2.).

PRACTICAL HINTS.

Hebrews 1:1. God is the chief teacher of the Church, and what He taught of old has still its authority and its lessons even under the Gospel (Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 1:8, etc.).

Hebrews 1:2. The author of the Old Testament is also the author of the New. It is God who gives Christ the supremacy. To put Moses or some ‘son of David’ above Christ is to disobey God. By whom: Christ, then, is a distinct person from the Father, and yet He is Creator of all things.

Hebrews 1:3. As the sun is manifested only by its effulgence, so the Father is revealed to us by Him who is Light of Light, God of God. He who upholds all things is our Redeemer and sacrifice. The atonement of sin is effected not by our doings or sufferings, but by Christ, and was completed by Him before He ascended. . . .

Hebrews 1:4. Names are qualities and character when God gives them. ... To give angels the worship that is due to Christ is to frustrate the Divine purpose, and to give to the servant what belongs only to the Son or the Father.

Hebrews 1:5. In the first age of the Church, Scripture determined what was truth, and that is its province still.

Hebrews 2:2-3. Not to believe the Gospel is a greater sin than to break the law. . . . When men are warned or exhorted, the first person is more impressive than the second, ‘How shall we escape?’

Hebrews 2:4. The rejection of the Gospel is rejection of the doctrine which Christ and His apostles preached. Post-apostolic doctrine has no Divine authority. . . . The doctrine is Divine which miracles confirm; the miracles are false when the doctrine they support is not Divine.

Hebrews 2:6-7. The Gospel, which is sometimes said to libel human nature,—so darkly does it paint our character,—gives man highest dignities, and raises him to the greatest blessedness.

Hebrews 2:9. Faith is insight, and sees much that to the unbelieving remains unseen.

Hebrews 2:11. The poorest, feeblest Christian who is sanctified and believes is recognised by Christ as a ‘brother.’

Hebrews 2:13. Christ Himself is a believer, one with us in the covenant of grace. He lived a life of faith even as we.

Hebrews 2:15. There is a natural fear of death in man not always felt, but easily wakened. Christ’s death delivers man from the danger of death, and from the fear of it. None but the true Christian is really free.

HOMILETIC HINTS.

Hebrews 1:1-2. Revelation progressive and complete. (Trench, Titcomb). The possibility and necessity, the certainty, the characters, the methods, the perfections of Divine revelation (B. W. Williams). Divine revelation variously communicated (Dr. Ryland). The personal ministry of Christ a revelation of God (Chandler). The Gospel preached under the Old Testament (Mather).

Hebrews 1:1-4. How the New Testament fulfils the Old (Maurice).

Hebrews 1:1-12. The Son, the Creator and Ruler of the worlds (Bishop Hobart).

Hebrews 1:3. Providence (Dr. Collinges). Christ’s sufferings the purging of sin (Is. Ambrose). The Feast of the Ascension.

Hebrews 1:5-6. Messiah the Son of God. Messiah worshipped by angels (John Newton). The adoration of Christ vindicated from the charge of idolatry (Pye Smith). The similarity and contrasts of the first and second advents (Auriol).

Hebrews 1:8. Christ’s sceptre on earth a sceptre of uprightness and a source of gladness (J. H. Stewart).

Hebrews 1:13-14. The nature and ministry of holy angels (H. Wilkinson, W. H. Mill). Michaelmas (Bishop Bull, Tillotson, Conybeare, Wesley, R. Hall).

Hebrews 2:1. The great danger of carelessness in religion (Stillingfleet, Chalmers, Guthrie).

Hebrews 2:3. The great salvation (Keach, Conant, J. Superville, S. Walker, E. Cooper, Melville, etc.).

Hebrews 2:4. Miraculous evidence as proof of the truth of the Gospel (Collyer, Maltby, Conybeare, etc.).

Hebrews 2:5-9. The ‘world to come’ subject to Christ (M’Neile). The just prerogative of human nature (Dr. Snape).

Hebrews 2:8. Missions (R. Wilberforce). Succour in Christ for the tempted (H. Alford).

Hebrews 2:9-10. The reasons and end of the sufferings of Christ. Sufferings necessary to perfection (Jones of Nayland). Good Friday (S. Walker, Jay). Christ (rather God) preparing His people for glory (Blunt). Christ made perfect through suffering (Sheppard and Vaughan).

Hebrews 2:11. The mystery of godliness (Newman). The condescension of Christ (Balmer).

Hebrews 2:14. The incarnation and its design (Dr. Peddie, Simeon).

Hebrews 2:14-15. The fear of death (Saurin, Three Sermons), and deliverance from it (Usher, Bishop Hall, Dr. Bates, P. Norris, Dr. M’Crie).

Hebrews 2:16. Fallen man redeemed (South, Berriman). Discriminating mercy (Hyatt).

Hebrews 2:16-18. The merciful High Priest (M’Cheyne).

Hebrews 2:17. The incarnation of Christ and its purpose. The reconciliation of sinners by the death of Christ (Winchester).

Hebrews 2:18. Christ’s temptations (Girdlestone). Christ’s power to succour the tempted (Simeon).


Introduction

Verse 1

Hebrews 2:1. We have heard, rather ‘[the things] heard,’ an expression less definite, and intended to include all that was spoken by our Lord and by His servants, whatever was heard by them and reported to us, or directly by ourselves. The dignity of the messenger adds greatly to the responsibility of those who hear the message (Mark 12:6).

Lest haply, possibly, we drift away from them. The A. V. (‘let them slip’) is, in a general sense, accurate; but it fails to represent the figure, and conceals part of the lesson. It is not the truths of the Gospel that slip away, but we who slip or ‘fleten’ past them, as Wycliffe expressed it. The word well describes the subtle power of temptation. We have simply to do nothing, and we shall be carried along to our ruin. To fall away requires no effort. To stand firm, to hold stedfast, is the difficulty.


Verses 1-4

Hebrews 2:1-4. These verses are closely connected with the first chapter, and scarcely less closely with the subsequent verses of the second. It is characteristic of these warnings and exhortations that they never interrupt the thought. They spring naturally from what precedes, and lead as naturally to what follows.


Verse 2

Hebrews 2:2. The word spoken by (rather, through or in the midst of) angels. If the attendance of angels at the giving of the Law added force and dignity to the precepts of that economy, how much greater is the honour and the authority of the Gospel which was given by Him whom angels worship and serve (chap. Hebrews 1:6-14)! The ministration of angels in giving the Law is mentioned elsewhere in Scripture (see parallel passages in the margin of the text), though not at great length. Josephus speaks of it more distinctly (Antiq. xv. 5, § 3), and Wetstein quotes Jewish authorities which speak of ‘the angels of service’ whom Moses saw. In Galatians 3:19 this ministration is referred to as a mark of the inferiority of the law. In Acts 7:53 the contrast seems to be between a law given by man and one having higher authority. Such allusions, however, must be carefully distinguished from passages that speak of the ‘angel of His presence’ in whom was God’s name—‘the messenger of the covenant’—passages that refer, though dimly, to the Son of God Himself (see Pye Smith and Dorner).

Was stedfast, rather, became or proved to be stedfast, i.e the command was confirmed in authority and obligation by the punishment of transgressors.

Transgression and disobedience. Every violation of the command is here included: all actual transgression of the law in the first, and all neglect or contempt of divine precepts in the second. Ethically the two mental states involve each the other. Commissions and omissions are both transgressions and disobedience. The first are things done in violation of law; the second are things left undone in violation of law also—the neglect, for example, spoken of in the following verse.

Recompence of reward is a happy tautology. What is given back to a man in return for what he has done, whether good or bad, is the meaning of the Greek, as it is the meaning of both expressions in old English, though both are now used in a good sense only. (See Psalms 94:2.)


Verse 3

Hebrews 2:3. By the Lord, rather through, by the instrumentality of. When instrumentality is clearly expressed in the context, as when it is said, ‘By whom He made the worlds’ (chap. Hebrews 1:2), no change is needed; but when, as here, ‘by’ is ambiguous, making it uncertain whether it describes a mere agent or the originating cause, it is important to mark the distinction. The Lord is here regarded as the divine messenger, whose message God Himself attested (Hebrews 2:4).

The Lord. The title thus given to Christ has special dignity, and is not common in this Epistle, being found only in Hebrews 7:14, Hebrews 13:20, and perhaps in Hebrews 12:14. It is the word used in the Septuagint to translate Jehovah.

Was confirmed unto us has been quoted to prove that Paul did not write this Epistle, he having affirmed elsewhere that he received his doctrine directly from Christ Himself (Galatians 1:12; 1 Corinthians 9:1, etc.) There is, however, no inconsistency. The writer is here speaking of the Gospel as attested by many human witnesses whom he, and those he is addressing, had heard.

So great salvation. Nothing is said here of the greatness of the salvation beyond the qualities immediately named, viz. that the Gospel began with the teaching of the Lord, and was confirmed by the testimony and experience of those that heard it; still farther by the variety and the diffusion of miraculous and spiritual gifts—God’s own witnesses. A gospel originated in this way, and sustained by such evidence, has the strongest claim on our attention. The primary evidence of Christianity is Christ and Christians—the character of Him who first taught it, and next the testimony of men who have believed it, and who can tell of its fitness to bring peace and to produce holiness; and all this evidence is permanent, as clear and as strong now as in the first age.

Neglect. The sin rebuked here is not the rejection of the Gospel or contempt of it. It is simply neglect or indifference. The hearers did not care to examine the truths and duties it revealed. Tell men what God is and what God has done to make them happy and good, and the character of men is as fully tested by their indifference as by their formal rejection of the truth. Not to care about a message of reconciliation and holiness decides the character and the destiny of many who have heard but will not regard. We have only to ‘neglect’ salvation and we lose it, as in the previous verse we have only to take no heed; and we are carried away to our ruin in both cases.


Verse 4

Hebrews 2:4. God also bearing them witness, i.e God bearing witness with them to the Gospel they preached, confirming their word by the signs that followed (Mark 16:20).

With signs, wonders, and miracles. This is the threefold division of the miraculous acts which prove the superhuman mission of those who work them. As ‘miracles’ ( δυνάμεις), they display Divine power; as ‘wonders,’ they excite surprise; as ‘signs’ (St. John’s usual word), they supply evidence which remains after the sensuous excitement of miraculous power has passed away—evidence which is the usual proof and accompaniment of a divine revelation (2 Corinthians 12:12).

The gifts of the Holy Ghost are illustrated in their diversity (to one man one gift; to another, another) in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, God Himself distributing them (as in First Corinthians it is the Holy Ghost who is said to distribute them) according to His own will.


Verse 5

Hebrews 2:5. For. This verse introduces a new proof of the superiority of the Gospel; but it is also connected with what precedes. The most natural explanation is to connect the ‘for’ with Hebrews 1:14. Angels are not sons: they are ministering spirits appointed only to serve. Not unto angels is the government of men under the Gospel committed. The new dispensation economy, the kingdom of God, the order of things under the Messiah, is committed to man, as was the world of old (Psalms 8); to the model man, however, the ideal man, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven. The name, ‘the world to come’ (see note on Hebrews 1:2), was quite familiar to the Jews, who called their own economy ‘this world,’ and was used after the Jewish economy had practically ceased (comp. Matthew 12:32), as Christ Himself is called, even after He had come, ‘the Coming One’ (Romans 5:14). This world of the future was already introduced; but the description was still appropriate, and is used again in this Epistle (Hebrews 9:10-11, Hebrews 10:1), partly because it was the name that described the hope of the Jews, and partly because the temple was still standing. Some regard the name as applying to the new heaven and the new earth, some to the heavenly state itself. It really includes them both, only it is wider, and applies to the whole order of things and to the government of men (see Gr.) under the Messiah. (See chap, Hebrews 6:5.)


Verse 6

Hebrews 2:6. But one in a certain place. Some one somewhere testifies. This is not the language of uncertainty nor even of indefiniteness. It is a common formula found in Philo and, as Schoetgenius shows, in Jewish writers, when they quote from what is supposed to be well known to their readers. Some one, you know who, in a certain place, you know where the expression is found only here and in chap. Hebrews 4:4.

What is man...or the son of man? Both expressions point in the original passage to man as fallen and feeble. It is human nature that is thus honoured—human nature, not probably in its original state, but as subject to death because of sin, the chief quality in which angels excel men. This human nature God crowns and makes supreme over the work of His hands—a supremacy one day to be made complete in the person of our Lord.

A little lower may (in the Hebrew and Greek) mean a little in degree (as in Proverbs 15:16; Hebrews 13:22), or for a little [time] (as in Psalms 37:10). If spoken of man as originally created, it means a little; if spoken of man as humbled, brought down through sin and the penalty due to it, and spoken of Christ as incarnate, it may mean for a little, ‘A little lower,’ however, is the more probable meaning both in the Psalm and in this passage. Both senses are true of man as fallen and redeemed, and of Christ as incarnate and suffering.

Than the angels. This is the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew of the Psalm. The original may mean ‘than God,’ or than ‘the Divine,’ as we say. The expression is applied in Scripture to magistrates and rulers, who are ‘hedged round with a Divinity,’ and the word is rendered ‘than kings’ in the Chaldee paraphrase. The translation ‘than angels’ is sanctioned by most of the Jewish commentators (see Gill), and is to be preferred, unless we take ‘than the Divine,’ the Hebrew plural form admitting this abstract sense (see chap. Hebrews 1:6).

Thou hast set him, etc. These words are omitted by some ancient authorities and by the earlier critical editors (vide Griesbach, etc.); but the preponderance of evidence is now in favour of retaining them. The supremacy they describe was given to Adam after his creation (Genesis 1:28), and again to Noah after the fall (Hebrews 9:2).

‘Lord, what is man? extremes how wide

In his mysterious nature join:

The flesh to worms and dust allied,

The soul immortal and divine!


‘But Jesus, in amazing grace,

Assumed our nature as His own,

Obeyed and suffered in our place,

Then took it with Him to His throne.


Nearest the throne, and first in song,

Man shall His hallelujahs raise;

While wondering angels round Him throng,

And swell the chorus of His praise.’


Verse 8-9

Hebrews 2:8-9. The supremacy is certainly promised, and is intended to be complete; for nothing is excepted, though as yet (Hebrews 2:9) the promise is imperfectly fulfilled. The humiliation is clear enough, and the crowning with glory is begun. By and by there will be universal subjection, and He will be universal king. Meanwhile we may well turn from the imperfect conquest which it is so easy to see, and contemplate (see Gr.) the great spectacle—Jesus made man, tasting death for men, crowned, and awaiting His full reward. From that spectacle suffering Christians will gather fresh patience and faith. This use of the expression, ‘subject to Him,’ and its application to Christ, is found only in Paul’s Epistles: 1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22; Philippians 3:21. The words, ‘for the suffering of death,’ are connected by the ablest scholars (Tyndale, De Wette, Winer, etc.) with the words that follow: ‘because of the suffering of death He was crowned,’ as in Philippians 2:9; and this rendering is all but essential if we are to do justice to the Greek ( διά with the accusative expressing an actual existing reason, not an end to be gained). To connect them with the previous clause, ‘a little lower,’ etc., as if dying were the purpose of His humiliation, is to do violence to the original, and to anticipate and so repeat the thought of the next clause, ‘that He might taste death for every man.’ ‘To taste death’ is a common Hebraism for to die (Matthew 16:28; John 8:52). Merely to taste is sometimes the meaning of the Latin gustare, but that meaning must not be pressed here. In classic Greek, the phrase means to give oneself up to; but the Hebrew meaning ‘to die’ is nearer the truth, with the added idea, perhaps, that He experienced and felt it, and so came to understand more fully what death is....And yet all this suffering—the ground of our Saviour’s honour and exaltation—was by God’s grace. Herein is love, love in its noblest form, that God sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. If God Himself be not deeply concerned in this work, if the Divine nature have no share in what Christ did and suffered, the whole teaching of Scripture is confounded; and for our salvation we owe more to a ‘man’ than to the blessed God. God is outdone by a creature in the exercise of His noblest perfections, and that in the very dispensation which was intended to reveal them.

For every man; rather, for every one. The extent, the design, and the effect of the death of Christ have been, as is well known, the subjects of great controversy. Some hold that He so died for all, that all are to be saved by Him; others, that He died only for all whom the Father gave Him; and others, that He died for all, inasmuch as His sufferings and death remove the obstacles to the pardon of sinners which are created by the character and government of God. The question is partly verbal, and may be raised in relation to all God’s gifts—the Bible, the means of grace, blessings of every kind. The thing that may be safely affirmed here is that the explicit teaching of this Epistle makes it impossible to accept these words in the first sense. Those who are saved by His death are ‘the sanctified,’ ‘the brethren,’ ‘the many sons;’ not those who reject the Gospel and die in unbelief; and yet so large a company made heirs of blessings, moreover, so numerous, so varied, and so lasting, that if the dignity of His person gives value to His sacrifice, the efficacy of His sacrifice reflects back a glorious light on the dignity of His person.


Verse 10-11

Hebrews 2:10, etc. It became him. This arrangement (whereby one made lower than the angels was to be supreme) was not only in harmony with God’s intention, as foreshadowed in nature and revealed in Scripture; it was in itself befitting. It was worthy of God, and it completed the Saviour’s qualifications for His office. In this way He, as sin-bearer, cleanses us from sin, and stands in the same relation to God as those who are to be cleansed. He becomes their brother, pays to the same Father the same tribute of grateful praise, exercises the same trust as they, and presents them with Himself completely redeemed (Hebrews 2:11-13). Meanwhile His mercy, His faithfulness, His help are all perfected through the experience and the sufferings He has undergone (16-18).—It became him, i.e God, who is Himself deeply concerned in His great work, for whom are all things, and this among them.

For whom are all things, etc. The same language (which is found elsewhere in N. T. only in Paul’s writings) is applied with characteristic differences to God (Romans 11:36) and to Christ (Colossians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6).

In bringing is the right rendering, though ‘having brought’ is a possible meaning of the tense form. The words refer not to the saints of the old economy chiefly, but to all who are being saved. The saints of old—David, Israel, etc.—typified Christ in their sufferings: to Him, therefore, they were conformed. But we as well as they. And as it is to the coming glory the writer refers, the words are eminently true of us.

Captain, translated elsewhere author (Hebrews 12:2), and prince (Acts 5:31), means properly originator or author, and so sometimes leader.

Perfect: that is, in His office as Saviour. The personal perfection in obedience which He learned through suffering is touched later (chap. Hebrews 5:2). . . . Sanctification includes all that is needed to make men fit for the service of God—freedom from guilt, and personal holiness.—Of one, i.e not of the same race, but of one Father; not in the sense in which the race are said to be God’s ‘offspring,’ but in the deeper sense of the Divine sonship which begins in our case with spiritual renewal, the sonship which begins with the second birth, not the first, when men are begotten again by the Father, by the Spirit, through the truth.


Verse 12

Hebrews 2:12. The church. The Old Testament name is the congregation. But in modern usage the congregation is one thing, and the church is another; and it is the church that best represents the sense, the exact meaning of the original and the force of the argument.


Verse 13

Hebrews 2:13. I will put my trust in him. Christ’s oneness with us is not only proved by the fact that we have one Father and are brothers, all ‘partakers of a Divine nature,’ but by the further fact that we have the same trials and struggles, and faith—the principle of our spiritual life. The brotherhood, moreover, that begins on His part with His incarnation and sufferings (Hebrews 2:12; see Psalms 22) continues till His work is complete, and all the children, Himself and we, are presented perfect before God (Hebrews 2:13; see Isaiah 8:18).


Verse 14

Hebrews 2:14. He himself likewise. The Greek word here is not easily rendered. It implies great likeness without absolute identity; very closely like, and absolutely like so far as flesh and blood are concerned. He partook in the main of our nature. His was an actual incarnation—Jesus Christ in the flesh (1 John 4:2), but with the difference which His personal sinlessness implied. The word rebukes the Doketism (the mere appearance of a human nature) of the early heresies, the mythical dreams of Strauss and other modern inquirers, but without admitting that He was in every respect as man is, still less that He was only man.


Verse 15

Hebrews 2:15. Through death. The Fathers and the later commentators (Bengel notably) delight in marking how Christ destroyed death by dying, and cast out the prince of the world—the king of death—on the cross, the weakness Droving as often to be the power of God.

He might destroy is too strong; abolish, bring to nought, render of none effect, neutralize the power of, permanently paralyze, take away the occupation of, are all nearer the meaning. It is a favourite word of St. Paul, who uses it twenty-five times in his acknowledged Epistles. It occurs, besides, only here and in Luke 13:7.

Subject to bondage. Aristotle calls death ‘the most fearful of all fearful things; and ancient believers often looked upon it with dread. Even now Christians are freed from this dread only by a firm faith in Christ’s victory over it, and by a clear insight into the significancy of His dying. Christ died not for His own sins, but for ours. If by faith we are one with Him, death is no longer the penalty of sin: it is only the completion of our holiness and the way into the blessed life above.


Verse 16

Hebrews 2:16. Verily is feeble, as is even assuredly. The word means, it is known, admitted, and admitted everywhere; it is nowhere questioned.

He took not on him; rather, ‘on angels (or in later English, of angels) He laid not hold,’ but on the seed of Abraham He laid hold, i.e to help and save them (see the same word in Hebrews 8:9). It is not angels whom Christ delivers (Hebrews 2:15), nor is it angels He succours (Hebrews 2:18), but the seed of Abraham, the theocratic name of the people of God peculiar to Paul. This is now generally accepted as the meaning of the verse. In the early Church the phrase ‘took not on Him’ was applied pretty generally, as in the Authorized Version, to the assumption of a human nature, and so it was understood by Calvin, Luther, Owen, and others. The active voice of the same Greek verb (here it is in the middle) is used by Greek writers in the sense of assuming a nature. But the tense is present, the voice is middle, and the word ‘nature’ is not expressed, and can hardly be supplied, so that we seem shut up to the meaning which is admittedly found in Hebrews 8:9, and in other sixteen places where it is used in N. T., including 1 Timothy 6:19, and seven passages in the Acts.


Verse 17

Hebrews 2:17. It behoved him. The word expresses moral fitness and consequent obligation, as in Hebrews 5:3; Hebrews 5:12, based on the nature of His mediatorial work.

In all things like, i.e all things essential to His mediation. The exception, ‘without sin,’ is expressed later (chap. Hebrews 4:15), and is less necessary here because of the limitation implied in Hebrews 2:14.

A merciful and faithful high priest. The Greek may mean that ‘he may be merciful and a faithful high priest,’ but the quality of mercy in the priest is really part of the thought. How much we need a merciful high priest, as well as one who shall be faithful to his trust, is shown by the preceding description of our state. It is the one quality which is needed to win men to God. God knew, no doubt, what our guilt and sufferings were, and felt them; but we needed proof that He knew and felt in order that we might trust in His mercy. This proof is supplied by Christ as incarnate, and perhaps Christ as incarnate and suffering became capable of higher sympathy than the blessed God Himself.

To make reconciliation for the sins of the people. It is unfortunate that this Old Testament expression is used in the N. T. only here, while the expression commonly used in N. T. to express the same Greek word, ‘propitiation’ is not found in the O. T. at all. It will help the reader if he note that ‘atonement for,’ ‘reconciliation for,’ ‘propitiation for,’ are all forms of one and the same Greek word and of one and the same Hebrew word. When followed by the word ‘sin’ or its equivalent, the Hebrew and Greek mean to make atonement for; when followed by a word describing a person, they mean to pacify or appease, to make propitiation, with special reference to the moral sentiment of justice or right in the person appeased. This double sense pervades all the teaching of both Testaments.


Verse 18

Hebrews 2:18. In that he suffered, being tempted, is on the whole the best rendering of the Greek. It may admit of a limited sense, ‘In that wherein He suffered, being tempted,’ or, ‘having been tempted in what He suffered.’ The first sense includes these senses and others too. And the wider the meaning we give the words, the greater the justice that is done by them to the completeness of the fitness of Christ to win our confidence and to help us by His sympathy and grace.

It may aid the reader of this Epistle to gather lessons for himself if we note briefly some of the hints which are suggested by these first two chapters—doctrinal, practical, and homiletic.

 


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Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Hebrews 2:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/hebrews-2.html. 1879-90.

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Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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