Hebrews Chapter 13
Heb 13:1MKJV Let brotherly love continue.
Brotherly love -- The final test of character is love, in deed and in truth.
Continue -- Let it increase, let it abound. (Russell)
Let brotherly love continue: The writer to the Hebrews uses the ancient Greek word philadelphia here. He assumes that there is brotherly love among Christians. He simply asks that it would continue among them.
In the ancient Greek language the New Testament was written in, there were four words at hand that we might translate love. Eros was one word for love. It described, as we might guess from the word itself, erotic love. It refers to sexual love. Storge was a second word for love. It refers to family love, the kind of love there is between a parent and child, or between family members in general. Agape is another word for love. It is the most powerful word for love in the New Testament, and is often used to describe God’s love towards us. It is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting re-payment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given - it gives because it loves, it does not love in order to receive. Agape love isn’t about feelings, it is about decisions.
But the word for love used in Heb_13:1 is philadelphia, coming from the root philia. This ancient Greek word speaks of a brotherly friendship and affection. It is the love of deep friendship and partnership. There should always be plenty of this kind of love among Christians, and it should continue.
Do you have Philadelphia love for your brethren?
Heb 13:2 MKJV Do not be forgetful of hospitality, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Two manifestations of “brotherly love,” hospitality and care for those in bonds.
entertained angels unawares — Abraham and Lot did so (Gen_18:2; Gen_19:1). To obviate the natural distrust felt of strangers, Paul says, an unknown guest may be better than he looks: he may be unexpectedly found to be as much a messenger of God for good, as the angels (whose name means messenger) are; nay more, if a Christian, he represents Christ Himself. There is a play on the same Greek word, Be not forgetful and unaware; let not the duty of hospitality to strangers escape you; for, by entertaining strangers, it has escaped the entertainers that they were entertaining angels. Not unconscious and forgetful of the duty, they have unconsciously brought on themselves the blessing. (JFB)
Be not forgetful -- The Lord's people should always be on the alert to show hospitality. A heart desire to entertain should always be present whether opportunity for the exercise of that desire be found or not.
Entertain strangers -- We should be particularly careful to exercise hospitality toward all in whom we recognize the Master's likeness, his spirit, even though they be strangers to us. To whatever extent these divine injunctions are disregarded we are in danger of losing a blessing, of failing to cultivate generosity. Hospitality does not signify lavish expenditure beyond one's means, nor that better should be provided for a guest than for one's own family. (Russell)
Do not forget to entertain strangers: Hospitality is an important virtue, and often it is commanded of Christians and leaders (Rom_12:10-13; 1Ti_3:2; Tit_1:7-8; 1Pe_4:9). In the ancient world, “motels,” where they did exist, were notorious for immorality. It was important for traveling Christians to find open homes from other Christians. This was simply a practical way to let brotherly love continue.
Strangers: The point is that we do this for other Christians who are strangers to us. If you invite your best friends over for lunch, that is wonderful - but it doesn’t fulfill this command. A wonderful way to fulfill this command is to meet and befriend strangers at church, and to entertain them with hospitality.
- The ancient Greek word for hospitality (used in passages like Rom_12:13) is literally translated, “love for strangers.” Brotherly love means love for all our brothers and sisters in Jesus, not just those who are currently our friends.
For by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels: When we are hospitable to others, we really welcome Jesus (Mat_25:35), and perhaps angels. Abraham (Gen_18:1-22) and Lot (Gen_19:1-3) are examples of those who unwittingly entertained angels. (Guzik)
Are you hospitable?
Do you open your home to brethren?
Heb 13:3 MKJV Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them, those who suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
Remember — in prayers and acts of kindness. (JFB)
Remember them that are in bonds - All who are “bound;”… those who are imprisoned for righteousness’ sake, or those held in slavery. The word used here will include all instances where “bonds, shackles, chains were ever used.” Perhaps there is an immediate allusion to their fellow-Christians who were suffering imprisonment on account of their religion, of whom there were doubtless many at that time, but the “principle” will apply to every case of those who are imprisoned or oppressed. The word “remember” implies more than that we are merely to “think” of them; compare Exo_20:8; Ecc_12:1. It means that we are to remember them “with appropriate sympathy;” or as we should wish others to remember us if we were in their circumstances. That is, we are
(1) To feel deep compassion for them;
(2) We are to remember them in our prayers;
(3) We are to remember them, as far as practicable, with aid for their relief (Barnes)
Remember them that are in bonds,.... Not for criminal actions, or for debt, though such should be remembered, and pity showed them, especially the latter; but such as are in bonds for the sake of Christ, and the Gospel. This has been often the lot of God's people, who should be remembered, by praying for them, sending comfortable letters to them, personally visiting them, and relieving them under their distresses:
as bound with them; as if it were so, as if in the same condition, and circumstances; by sympathizing with them. (Gill)
Do you even know any who fit this category?
Do you remember them? How do you remember them?
Heb 13:4 MKJV Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Marriage is honorable in all - The object here is to state that “honor” is to be shown to the marriage relation. It is not to be undervalued by the pretence of the superior purity of a state of celibacy, as if marriage were improper for any class of people or any condition of life; and it should not be dishonored by any violation of the marriage contract. The course of things has shown that there was abundant reason for the apostle to assert with emphasis, that “marriage was an honorable condition of life.” There has been a constant effort made to show that celibacy was a more holy state; that there was something in marriage that rendered it “dishonorable” for those who are in the ministry, and for those of either sex who would be eminently pure. This sentiment has been the cause of more abomination in the world than any other single opinion claiming to have a religious sanction. It is one of the supports on which the Papal system rests, and has been one of the principal upholders of all the corruptions in monasteries and nunneries. The apostle asserts, without any restriction or qualification, that marriage is honorable in all; and this proves that it is lawful for the ministers of religion to marry, and that the whole doctrine of the superior purity of a state of celibacy is false. (Barnes)
“Fornication and adultery are not synonymous in the New Testament: adultery implies unfaithfulness by either party to the marriage vow, while the word translated “fornication” covers a wide range of sexual irregularities.” (Bruce)
whoremongers and adulterers God will judge; the former of these may be rendered "fornicators", as it is by the Vulgate Latin version: fornication is a sin committed by single persons, unmarried ones; and though it was reckoned among the Gentiles a thing indifferent, yet is contrary to the law of God, and is a work of the flesh, and makes unfit for the kingdom of God, and brings down the judgments of God both here and hereafter. And this is in opposition to marriage, which is appointed to prevent it. The sin "adulterers" are guilty of, is a sin committed by persons, who are either one or both in a married state, and so is directly a pollution of the marriage bed: this was punishable with death by the law of God, and light of nature; and though men may make light of it, God will judge and punish such as commit it… for however secretly it may be committed, God, who is omniscient, sees it, and will bring it into judgment; nor shall any be able to escape the righteous judgment of God, for he is omnipotent, as well as omniscient. (Gill)
Do you believe sex outside of marriage is a sin?
Do you believe it is a sin to cheat on your spouse?
Heb 13:5 MKJV Let your way of life be without the love of money, and be content with such things as you have, for He has said, "Not at all will I leave you, not at all will I forsake you, never!"
conversation — “manner of life.” The love of filthy lust and the love of filthy lucre follow one another as closely akin, both alienating the heart from the Creator to the creature.
such things as ye have — literally, “present things” (Php_4:11). (JFB)
Conversation -- Conduct--not only words, but also the looks and acts of life.
Covetousness -- A desire to have, keep, enjoy; especially applied to something that belongs to another and which we do not possess. Includes holding back what belongs to the Lord, and a desire to have and enjoy something that belongs to another. Sometimes a desire for more ease, comfort, wealth and social influence; a protest against a share of the aches and pains of the groaning creation; or against the illness and death of a loved one. Dissatisfaction with what divine providence has shaped for them.
And be content -- Spiritual Israel should use wisely such things as are within their reach, accepting all as God's gifts with thanksgiving. We are promised earthly things that are needful. Whatever we have more than necessity is that much more than the Lord has promised us in this present time. The example and counsel of the saints should be that of contentment and cheerful submission to present trials in sure hope of the good time coming.
In proportion as discontent is spread, in that proportion unhappiness is present, and an anarchistic spirit begotten. Discontent and selfish ambition are in antagonism to the spirit of Christ--meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly kindness, love. Contentment and the faith which it implies are necessary to godliness.
Things as ye have -- We have found the pearl of great price, and are not only content with the terms upon which it is offered to us, but most gladly, willingly, joyfully, we count all else but loss and dross.
This does not mean that it would be improper to avail ourselves of providential doors opened by the Lord for the betterment of our condition.
I will never leave thee -- The true ground of contentment; the realization of the Lord's care and that his wisdom and grace are being exercised towards us, and such things as he grants are the things which are best for us. We are not alone, for we have the companionship of him who promised this. "Fear not, I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward." (Gen_15:1) (Russell)
Paul had the right idea in Php_4:11-13 : Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Contentment has much more to do with what you are on the inside rather than what you have. (Guzik)
Are you content with the things that God has given you?
Are you convinced that the Lord will never leave or forsake you?
Heb 13:6 MKJV so that we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me."
So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper.” Real contentment comes only when we trust in God to meet our needs and to be our security. It is amazing that we are often more likely to put security and find contentment in things far less reliable and secure than God Himself! (Guzik)
may — rather as Greek, expressing confidence actually realized, “So that we boldly (confidently) say” (Psa_56:4, Psa_56:11; Psa_118:6). Punctuate as both the Hebrew and the Greek require, “And (so) I will not fear: what (then) shall man do unto me?” (JFB)
What man shall do -- Man is powerless to harm a hair of our head unless it is permitted of our Father in heaven for His glory and our highest welfare. (Russell)
1Jn 4:18 KJV There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Are you afraid of what others think?
Do you allow others to think for you?
Heb 13:7 MKJV Remember those leading you, who have spoken to you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conduct:
Remember — so as to imitate: not to invoke in prayer, as Rome teaches.
have the rule — rather, “who have had the rule over you”: your spiritual leaders.
who — Greek, “the which”: such persons as.
have spoken unto you — “spake” (so the Greek aorist means) during their lifetime. This Epistle was among those written later, when many of the heads of the Jerusalem Church had passed away.
whose faith — even unto death: probably death by martyrdom, as in the case of the instances of faith in Heb_11:35. Stephen, James the brother of our Lord and bishop of Jerusalem, as well as James the brother of John (Act_12:2), in the Palestinian Church, which Paul addresses, suffered martyrdom.
considering — Greek, “looking up to,” “diligently contemplating all over,” as an artist would a model.
the end — the termination, at death. The Greek, is used of decease (Luk_9:31; 2Pe_1:15).
of their conversation — “manner of life”: “religious walk” (Gal_1:13; Eph_4:22; 1Ti_4:12; Jas_3:13). Considering how they manifested the soundness of their faith by their holy walk, which they maintained even to the end of that walk (their death by martyrdom). (JFB)
Are you following those who are following Christ and laying down their life for him? Or are you following those on the easy path?
Heb 13:8 MKJV Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.
This verse is not, as some read it, in apposition with “the end of their conversation” (Heb_13:7), but forms the transition. “Jesus Christ, yesterday and to-day (is) the same, and (shall be the same) unto the ages (that is, unto all ages).” The Jesus Christ (the full name being given, to mark with affectionate solemnity both His person and His office) who supported your spiritual rulers through life even unto their end “yesterday” (in times past), being at once “the Author and the Finisher of their faith” (Heb_12:2), remains still the same Jesus Christ “to-day,” ready to help you also, if like them you walk by “faith” in Him. Compare “this same Jesus,” Act_1:11. He who yesterday (proverbial for the past time) suffered and died, is to-day in glory (Rev_1:18). “Yesterday in the time of our predecessors, and to-day in our age” [Bengel]. So the doctrine is the same, not variable: this verse thus forms the transition between Heb_13:7 and Heb_13:9. He is always “the same” (Heb_1:12). The same in the Old and in the New Testament. (JFB)
His unchanging nature provides a measure for all Christian conduct, particularly in the word and in worship. We should not expect something completely “new” as if it were from a “new Jesus.” The nature of Jesus as it is revealed in the Bible is the same nature of Jesus that should be seen in the church today. (Guzik)
Do you expect the Lord to deal differently with you than he has with his Church in the Past?
Heb 13:9 MKJV Do not be carried about with different and strange doctrines, for it is good for the heart to be established with grace, not with foods, in which those who have walked in them were not helped.
about — rather, as oldest manuscripts read, “carried aside”; namely, compare Eph_4:14.
divers — differing from the one faith in the one and the same Jesus Christ, as taught by them who had the rule over you (Heb_13:7).
strange — foreign to the truth.
doctrines — “teachings.”
established with grace; not with meats — not with observances of Jewish distinctions between clean and unclean meats, to which ascetic Judaizers added in Christian times the rejection of some meats, and the use of others: noticed also by Paul in 1Co_8:8, 1Co_8:13; 1Co_6:13; Rom_14:17, an exact parallel to this verse: these are some of the “divers and strange doctrines” of the previous sentence. Christ’s body offered once for all for us, is our true spiritual “meat” to “eat” (Heb_13:10), “the stay and the staff of bread” (Isa_3:1), the mean of all “grace.”
which have not profited — Greek, “in which they who walked were not profited”; namely, in respect to justification, perfect cleansing of the conscience, and sanctification. Compare on “walked,” Act_21:21; namely, with superstitious scrupulosity, as though the worship of God in itself consisted in such legal observances. (JFB)
Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines: There has never been a shortage of various and strange doctrines in the church. The ones specifically in mind here seem to deal with a return to Mosaic ceremonies and laws that were fulfilled in Jesus.
For it is good that the heart be established by grace: Our hearts will only be established by grace. We are established by an understanding and appropriation of God’s undeserved approval of us, and not by an assumed approval gained through keeping a list of rules (not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them). (Guzik)
Do you think your traditions will make you acceptable to God?
Do you think you have to keep the “Law” and the “Gospel”?
If you think the Christian has dietary requirements of the Old Testament, you are not established with grace.
Heb 13:10 MKJV We have an altar of which they have no right to eat, those who serve the tabernacle.
Christianity and Judaism are so totally distinct, that “they who serve the (Jewish) tabernacle,” have no right to eat our spiritual Gospel meat, namely, the Jewish priests, and those who follow their guidance in serving the ceremonial ordinance. He says, “serve the tabernacle,” not “serve IN the tabernacle.” Contrast with this servile worship ours.
an altar — the cross of Christ, whereon His body was offered. The Lord’s table represents this altar, the cross; as the bread and wine represent the sacrifice offered on it. Our meat, which we by faith spiritually eat, is the flesh of Christ, in contrast to the typical ceremonial meats. The two cannot be combined (Gal_5:2). That not a literal eating of the sacrifice of Christ is meant in the Lord’s Supper, but a spiritual is meant, appears from comparing Heb_13:9 with Heb_13:10, “with GRACE, NOT with MEATS.” (JFB)
The writer to the Hebrews insists that we have an altar, and it is an altar that those who insist on clinging to the Levitical system have no right to. Essentially, our altar is the cross - the centerpiece of the Christian gospel and understanding (1Co_1:18-24; 1Co_2:1-5). (Guzik)
Have an altar -- Christ and his consecrated sacrifice. A superior altar. Not sanctified by the blood of bulls and goats, but by the precious blood of Christ
"Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb_4:16)
They -- The unconsecrated, the world. The Levitical priesthood. Contrasting the Aaronic Priesthood and the antitypical Priesthood. No right to eat -- The house of Aaron has no right to our place, they have no right to come into the antitypical Holy, which we enter. We have a right to eat of a spiritual altar, of which others may not eat. (Russell)
Which altar do you choose? The one that is no longer in existence? Or the Eternal one?
Heb 13:11 MKJV For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the Holy of Holies by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp.
For just as “the bodies of those beasts whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by ... are burned without the camp,” so “Jesus also that ... suffered without the gate” of ceremonial Judaism, of which His crucifixion outside the gate of Jerusalem is a type.for — reason why they who serve the tabernacle, are excluded from share in Christ; because His sacrifice is not like one of those sacrifices in which they had a share but answers to one which was “wholly burned” outside (the Greek is “burnt completely,” “consumed by burning”), and which consequently they could not eat of. Lev_6:30, gives the general rule, “No sin offering whereof any of the blood is brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal in the holy place, shall be eaten; it shall be burnt in the fire.” The sin offerings are twofold: the outward, whose blood was sprinkled on the outward altar, and of whose bodies the priests might eat; and the inward, the reverse.
without the camp — in which were the tabernacle and Levitical priests and legal worshippers, during Israel’s journey through the wilderness; replaced afterwards by Jerusalem (containing the temple), outside of whose walls Jesus was crucified. (JFB)
Those beasts -- The bullock and the Lord's goat. Only these two had their blood sprinkled in the Most Holy and were burned outside the Camp.
Whose blood -- The blood represents the surrender of earthly rights and privileges and life, willingly. The sprinkling of the blood upon and before the Mercy Seat.
The sanctuary -- The Most Holy. Only the blood of the sin-offering is taken within the veil--to sprinkle the Mercy Seat; fixing our identity with "the Lord's goat" of Leviticus 16. Within the veil to make atonement on the Mercy Seat.
For sin -- As a sin-offering. Made annually on the Day of Atonement. (Lev_16:1-34)
The sin atonement effected by the blood of the bullock and the Lord's goat represented the atonement for original Adamic sin and all the weaknesses and imperfections traceable directly thereto.
Are burned -- Represented steady, continuous submission to the fiery ordeal of suffering. Represented our Lord's sacrifice as viewed from the standpoint of man, the dis-esteem in which the offering will be viewed by those outside the camp--not in covenant relationship with God--the unfaithful.
The offerings of the Atonement Day were always burned, but the later trespass-offerings, after the Day of Atonement, were not burned, but eaten by the priests. (Russell)
Heb 13:12 MKJV Therefore Jesus also, so that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
Wherefore Jesus — In order that the Antitype might fulfil the type.
sanctify — Though not brought into the temple “sanctuary” (Heb_13:11) His blood has been brought into the heavenly sanctuary, and “sanctifies the people” (Heb_2:11, Heb_2:17), by cleansing them from sin, and consecrating them to God.
his own — not blood of animals.
without the gate — of Jerusalem; as if unworthy of the society of the covenant-people. The fiery ordeal of His suffering on the cross, answers to the burning of the victims; thereby His mere fleshly life was completely destroyed, as their bodies were; the second part of His offering was His carrying His blood into the heavenly holiest before God at His ascension, that it should be a perpetual atonement for the world’s sin. (JFB)
Jesus -- As the antitypical bullock. Our Lord offered himself at baptism, when he gave himself to do the Father's will. He finished the offering of his gift when he laid down his life on Calvary. Later he ascended to God to make application of the sin-offering.
The people -- All people--all who ever will accept sanctification, cleansing, reconciliation through him.
With his own blood -- The basis for the forgiveness of our sins. "Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." (Rev_5:9) It was the giving up of Christ's life that paid our ransom price.
Without the gate -- Outside the gate. On the cross, shedding his blood--entering death. Jesus was not only crucified outside the gate of Jerusalem, but suffered as an outcast from the social and religious systems of the time. He suffered shame, ignominy, and destruction of the flesh, to accomplish the antitype. (Russell)
Do you believe that Jesus paid the Ransom?
What is the Ransom?
How does it affect your life?
Heb 13:13 MKJV Therefore let us go forth to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
Let us -- The Church, the Lord's goat class. The Royal Priesthood. Unquestionable evidence that the Lord's followers are represented by the "Lord's goat," and that their sacrifice constitutes part of the world's sin-offering.
Go forth therefore unto him -- All that was done with the bullock was done with the goat. Let us then, if we would walk in his steps, share with him in his sacrifice. A class of believers who daily follow in the footsteps of the Lord, sharers in his sufferings, and partakers of the glories to follow. For us now to follow our Lord outside the camp would be to go outside of the present environments, viz., outside of Christendom, ignoring the views, teachings, approval and snares of Christendom.
Without the camp -- Outside the camp. Take up our cross, whatever sacrifice it might mean; willing to go to the Lord and be faithful and loyal to him at any cost, no matter how others may view it. Sacrificing worldly interests. A place which typifies the outcast condition.
Present our bodies a living sacrifice; be crucified with Christ. According to the flesh, we are still in the world, but not of the world.
In our Lord's day, the camp condition was the Jewish nation. Today, it means all of Christendom.
Bearing his reproach -- Bearing the reproach with him. Just as the slain goat was carried outside the camp and there consumed, as the bullock had been. To suffer with Christ social ostracism, and with deadness toward the world. Suffering shame, ignominy and revilings, even unto death. Sharing the reproaches as members of his Body.
To "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (Col_1:24)
"The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." (Rom_15:3) (Russell)
bearing — as Simon of Cyrene did.
his reproach — the reproach which He bare, and which all His people bear with Him. (JFB)
Jesus . . . suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach: If our Savior was rejected and His sacrifice (performed at the cross, our altar) was branded illegitimate, what better do we expect? Identifying with Jesus often means bearing His reproach, the very thing many are quite unwilling to do.
Outside the camp: The camp referred to is institutional Judaism, which had rejected Jesus and Christianity. Though these Christians from Jewish backgrounds had been raised to consider everything outside the camp as unclean and evil, they must follow Jesus there.(Guzik)
Are you willing to go outside of the camp where Jesus is?
Can going forth outside the camp be the same as coming out of Babylon?
Heb 13:14 MKJV For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
here — on earth. Those Hebrews who clung to the earthly sanctuary are representatives of all who cling to this earth. The earthly Jerusalem proved to be no “abiding city,” having been destroyed shortly after this Epistle was written, and with it fell the Jewish civil and religious polity; a type of the whole of our present earthly order of things soon to perish.
one to come — (Heb_2:5; Heb_11:10, Heb_11:14, Heb_11:16; Heb_12:22; Php_3:20). (JFB)
No continuing city -- We journey through the wilderness of sin. We are pilgrims, strangers, travelers; en route to the heavenly Canaan.
Seek one to come -- The New Jerusalem, the glorified Church. (Russell)
For here we have no continuing city ... - We do not regard this as our final home, or our fixed abode, and we should be willing to bear reproaches during the little time that we are to remain here; compare notes, Heb_11:10, Heb_11:13-14. If, therefore, in consequence of our professed attachment to the Saviour, we should be driven away from our habitations, and compelled to wander, we should be willing to submit to it, for our permanent home is not here, but in heaven. The object of the writer seems to be to comfort the Hebrew Christians on the supposition that they would be driven by persecution from the city of Jerusalem, and doomed to wander as exiles. He tells them that their Lord was led from that city to be put to death, and they should be willing to go forth also; that their permanent home was not Jerusalem, but heaven, and they should be willing in view of that blessed abode to be exiled from the city where they dwelt, and made wanderers in the earth. (Barnes)
For here have we no continuing city - Here is an elegant and forcible allusion to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem that was below was about to be burnt with fire, and erased to the ground; the Jerusalem that was from above was that alone which could be considered to be μενουσαν, permanent. The words seem to say: “Arise, and depart; for this is not your rest: it is polluted:” About seven or eight years after this, Jerusalem was wholly destroyed. (Clark)
For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come: The difficult job of bearing His reproach is easier when we remember that the city or society we are cast out of is only temporary. We seek, and belong to, the permanent city yet to come. (Guzik)
Are you seeking the New Jerusalem? Or are you quite happy here on earth?
Heb 13:15 MKJV By Him, then, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, confessing His name.
Sacrifice of praise -- This sacrifice under the Law was represented in the "peace-offerings" and the "thank-offerings." As the spirit of loving zeal was demonstrated in Jesus' case, so in our case; otherwise we should not be permitted to be members of that Body. "For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ." (2Co_2:15) "Much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints." (Rev_8:3) Fruit of our lips -- "That we may render unto thee the fruit of our lips--our praise." (Hos_14:2) (Russell)
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise - He has now fulfilled all vision and prophecy, has offered the last bloody sacrifice which God will ever accept; and as he is the gift of God’s love to the world, let us through him offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, this being the substitute for all the Levitical sacrifices.
The Jews allowed that, in the time of the Messiah, all sacrifices, except the sacrifice of praise, should cease. To this maxim the apostle appears to allude; and, understood in this way, his words are much more forcible. … This was, in effect, quoting the authority of one of their own maxims, that now was the time of the Messiah; that Jesus was that Messiah; that the Jewish sacrificial system was now abolished; and that no sacrifice would now be accepted of God, except the sacrifice of praise for the gift of his Son. (Clarke)
That is, the fruit of our lips - The phrase “fruit of the lips.” is a Hebraism, meaning what the lips produce; that is, words; compare Pro_18:20; Hos_14:2. (Barnes)
Are you offing the sacrifice of praise continually to God?
How is that done?
Heb 13:16 MKJV But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
But — But the sacrifice of praise with the lips (Heb_13:15) is not enough; there must be also doing good (beneficence) and communicating (that is, imparting a share of your means, Gal_6:6) to the needy.
with such — and not mere ritualistic sacrifices. (JFB)
To communicate -- Commune on spiritual things with those we meet. We should be anxious and careful to use whatever God has put into our hands, and to be faithful whether over a few things or many things. If it is a joy and privilege to be God's stewards to a greater or less degree in earthly goods, how much more blessed is it to be permitted to dispense the spiritual blessings.
Tell the story simply, plainly; be entirely swallowed up with the grandeur of your theme. Let it be all "of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love." R126:5
We should do good and communicate until we feel it--to give a dollar, or a moment, or an hour for which we have no other use, is no sacrifice. (Russell)
But to do good and to communicate - These are continual sacrifices which God requires, and which will spring from a sense of God’s love in Christ Jesus. Praise to God for his unspeakable gift, and acts of kindness to men for God’s sake. No reliance, even on the infinitely meritorious sacrifice of Christ, can be acceptable in the sight of God if a man have not love and charity towards his neighbor. Praise, prayer, and thanksgiving to God, with works of charity and mercy to man, are the sacrifices which every genuine follower of Christ must offer: and they are the proofs that a man belongs to Christ; and he who does not bear these fruits gives full evidence, whatever his creed may be, that he is no Christian. (Clarke)
Praise is not the only sacrifice that pleases God. We also perform sacrifice that pleases God when we do good and share. Praise and worship are important, but the Christian’s obligation do not end there. (Guzik)
Does your Love for the Lord prompt you to do good things to others?
Heb 13:17 MKJV Yield to those leading you, and be submissive, for they watch for your souls, as those who must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you.
Obey them -- Honor. The elders chosen by vote of all the saints. Those whom we believe to be over us in the Lord.
Rule -- Supervision.
Submit yourselves -- Be submissive. So long as teachers are recognized as being God-provided, so long as they approve themselves by conduct and the Word of God, they have more honor and their opinion is given more weight than others.
They watch -- And pray. The reason for submission and obedience is because they "keep watch on your behalf."
For your souls -- Your interests and welfare.
Must give account -- Shall render an account to the Lord. The power rests with the congregation to reject any teacher according to their judgment of the Word and will of God.
Do it with joy -- In choosing, seek not your own will or glory, neither that of other brethren, but the will and glory of God only. (Russell)
Sadly, many have taken the idea of submission to leaders in the church much too far; the “Shepherding Movement” was a clear example of this kind of abuse (which many seem to welcome, wanting someone else to be responsible for their lives). “A teacher should teach us to submit to God, not to himself.” (Chuck Smith)
As those who must give account: Why should we obey and submit to our leaders? Because God has put them in a place of responsibility and accountability over us. Of course, this does not relieve individual responsibility, but it puts an additional accountability and responsibility to leaders. (Guzik)
Do you vote for your Elders or ministers like they did in the Bible?
Do you follow the qualifications of Timothy and Titus in choosing your ministers?
Do you then give respect to those you have voted into office?
Heb 13:18 MKJV Pray for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
Pray for us — Paul usually requests the Church’s intercessions for him in closing his Epistles, just as he begins with assuring them of his having them at heart in his prayers (but in this Epistle not till Heb_13:20, Heb_13:21), Rom_15:30. “Us,” includes both himself and his companions; he passes to himself alone, Heb_13:19.
we trust we have a good conscience — in spite of your former jealousies, and the charges of my Jewish enemies at Jerusalem, which have been the occasion of my imprisonment at Rome. In refutation of the Jews’ aspersions, he asserts in the same language as here his own conscientiousness before God and man, (JFB)
Pray for us - Even the success of apostles depended, in a certain way, on the prayers of the Church. Few Christian congregations feel, as they ought, that it is their bounden duty to pray for the success of the Gospel, both among themselves and in the world. The Church is weak, dark, poor, and imperfect, because it prays little.
We trust we have a good conscience - We are persuaded that we have a conscience that not only acquits us of all fraud and sinister design, but assures us that in simplicity and godly sincerity we have labored to promote the welfare of you and of all mankind. (Clarke)
Are you praying for your ministers, the ministry, and your brethren?
Heb 13:19 MKJV But I beseech you the rather to do this, so that I may be more quickly restored to you.
the rather — Greek, “I the more abundantly beseech you.”
to do this — to pray for me.
that I may be restored to you — (Phm_1:22). It is here first in the letter he mentions himself, in a way so unobtrusive, as not to prejudice his Hebrew readers against him, which would have been the result had he commenced this as his other Epistles, with authoritatively announcing his name and apostolic commission.(JFB)
That I may be restored to you the sooner - It is here clearly implied that the writer was deterred from visiting them by some adverse circumstances over which he had no control. This might be either by imprisonment, or sickness, or the want of a convenient opportunity of reaching them. The probability is, judging particularly from the statement in Heb_13:23, that he was then a prisoner, and that his detention was on that account. The language here is such as Paul would use on the supposition that he was then a prisoner at Rome, and this is a slight circumstance going to show the probability that the Epistle was composed by him. (Barnes)
Do you ask others for prayers?
Do you believe the prayers of others will help you?
Heb 13:20 MKJV Now may the God of peace (who brought again our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant)
God of peace — So Paul, Rom_15:33; Rom_16:20; 2Co_13:11; Php_4:9; 1Th_5:23; 2Th_3:16. The Judaizing of the Hebrews was calculated to sow seeds of discord among them, of disobedience to their pastors (Heb_13:17), and of alienation towards Paul. The God of peace by giving unity of true doctrine, will unite them in mutual love.
brought again from the dead — Greek, “brought up,” etc.: God brought the Shepherd; the Shepherd shall bring the flock. Here only in the Epistle he mentions the resurrection. He would not conclude without mentioning ‘the connecting link between the two truths mainly discussed; the one perfect sacrifice and the continual priestly intercession - the depth of His humiliation and the height of His glory - the “altar” of the cross and the ascension to the heavenly Holy of Holies.
Lord Jesus — the title marking His person and His Lordship over us. But Heb_13:21, “through Jesus Christ.” His office, as the Anointed of the Spirit, making Him the medium of communicating the Spirit to us, the holy unction flowing down from the Head on the members (compare Act_2:36).
shepherd of the sheep — A title familiar to his Hebrew readers, from their Old Testament (Isa_63:11; Septuagint): primarily Moses, antitypically Christ: already compared together, Heb_3:2-7.
through the blood — Greek, “in,” in virtue of the blood (Heb_2:9); it was because of His bloody death for us, that the Father raised and crowned Him with glory. The “blood” was the seal of the everlasting covenant entered into between the Father and Son; in virtue of the Son’s blood, first Christ was raised, then Christ’s people shall be so (Zec_9:11, seemingly referred to here; Act_20:28).
everlasting — The everlastingness of the covenant necessitated the resurrection. This clause, “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” is a summary retrospect of the Epistle (compare Heb_9:12). (JFB)
This is a blessing in the style of the priestly blessing of Num_6:22-27 : The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.
In this blessing, God is first recognized in His attributes: peace, power (brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead), loving care (that great Shepherd), and ever giving love (the blood of the everlasting covenant). (Guzik)
Do you pronounce blessings on your brethren?
Heb 13:21 MKJV make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
Make you perfect — properly said of healing a rent; join you together in perfect harmony [Bengel].
to do his will, working in you — (Heb_10:36); rather as Greek, “doing in you.” Whatever good we do, God does in us.
well-pleasing in his sight — (Isa_53:10; Eph_5:10).
through Jesus Christ — “God doing (working) in you that ... through Jesus Christ” (Php_1:11). (JFB)
Make you perfect -- Knit you together--make you completely one with the Shepherd as his "members" both in sufferings and in glory to follow. If we abide in his love he will perfect us as New Creatures by the privileges granted us of sharing in the sufferings of Christ, particularly in the shedding of the blood of the Everlasting Covenant, which, as the New Covenant, will bring blessings to Israel and then to the world. (Russell)
Make you perfect - Καταρτισια ὑμας· Put you completely in joint. See the note on 2Co_13:9, where the meaning of the original word is largely considered. From the following terms we see what the apostle meant by the perfection for which he prays. They were to do the will of God in every good work, from God working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight.
1. This necessarily implies a complete change in the whole soul, that God may be well pleased with whatsoever he sees in it; and this supposes its being cleansed from all sin, for God’s sight cannot be pleased with any thing that is unholy.
2. This complete inward purity is to produce an outward conformity to God’s will, so they were to be made perfect in every good work.
3. The perfection within and the perfection without were to be produced by the blood of the everlasting covenant; for although God is love, yet it is not consistent with his justice or holiness to communicate any good to mankind but through his Son, and through him as having died for the offenses of the human race.
To whom be glory for ever - As God does all in, by, and through Christ Jesus, to him be the honor of his own work ascribed through time and eternity. Amen. (Clarke)
Are you joining together with your Lord and brethren?
Are you doing the Lord’s work?
Heb 13:22 MKJV And I beseech you, brothers, allow the word of exhortation. For I have written a letter to you in few words.
The writer to the Hebrews reminds us of his purpose. His desire was to write a word of exhortation, that would encourage discouraged Christians, both then and now.
In Act_13:15, the phrase word of exhortation is used to refer to a sermon. Perhaps the writer to the Hebrews means in Heb_13:22 that he has given his readers a written sermon. (Guzik)
suffer the word — The Hebrews not being the section of the Church assigned to Paul (but the Gentiles), he uses gentle entreaty, rather than authoritative command.
few words — compared with what might be said on so important a subject. Few, in an Epistle which is more of a treatise than an Epistle (compare 1Pe_5:12). On the seeming inconsistency with Gal_6:11. (JFB)
When you talk to your brethren or others who don’t see things clearly—do you demand they see it your way, or are you gentle in your approach?
Heb 13:23 MKJV Know that our brother Timothy has been set at liberty, with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you.
our brother Timothy — So Paul, 1Co_4:17; 2Co_1:1; Col_1:1; 1Th_3:2.
is set at liberty — from prison. So Aristarchus was imprisoned with Paul. Birks translates, “dismissed,” “sent away,” namely, on a mission to Greece, as Paul promised (Php_2:19). However, some kind of previous detention is implied before his being let go to Philippi. Paul, though now at large, was still in Italy, whence he sends the salutations of Italian Christians (Heb_13:24), waiting for Timothy to join him, so as to start for Jerusalem: we know from 1Ti_1:3, he and Timothy were together at Ephesus after his departing from Italy eastward. He probably left Timothy there and went to Philippi as he had promised. Paul implies that if Timothy shall not come shortly, he will start on his journey to the Hebrews at once. (JFB)
Is set at liberty - Απολελυμενον· Is sent away; for there is no evidence that Timothy had been imprisoned. It is probable that the apostle refers here to his being sent into Macedonia, Php_2:19-24, in order that he might bring the apostle an account of the affairs of the Church in that country. In none of St. Paul’s epistles, written during his confinement in Rome, does he give any intimation of Timothy’s imprisonment, although it appears from Php_1:1; Col_1:1; Phm_1:1; that he was with Paul during the greatest part of the time. (Clarke)
with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you; by which it seems that Timothy was now absent from the apostle, but that he expected him to come in a short time; when, if he should, they would both come together, and visit the Hebrews; which looks as if the apostle was at liberty himself, or at least had some hopes of his deliverance from prison; but whether he ever had his liberty after this, and saw the Hebrews any more, cannot be said; the contrary seems most probable. (Gill)
When going through a trial of your own, is your heart set on your brethren?
Heb 13:24 MKJV Greet all those leading you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.
all — The Scriptures are intended for all, young and old, not merely for ministers. Compare the different classes addressed, “wives,” Eph_5:22; little children, 1Jn_2:18; “all,” 1Pe_3:8; 1Pe_5:5. He says here “all,” for the Hebrews whom he addresses were not all in one place, though the Jerusalem Hebrews are chiefly addressed.
They of Italy — not merely the brethren at Rome, but of other places in Italy. (JFB)
Salute all them that have the rule over you - Salute all your leaders or guides.
And all the saints - All the Christians; for this is the general meaning of the term in most parts of St. Paul’s writings. But a Christian was then a saint, i.e. by profession a holy person; and most of the primitive Christians were actually such. But in process of time the term was applied to all that bore the Christian name; as elect, holy people, sanctified, etc., were to the nation of the Jews, when both their piety and morality were at a very low ebb.
They of Italy salute you - Therefore it is most likely that the writer of this epistle was then in some part of Italy, from which he had not as yet removed after his being released from prison. By they of Italy probably the apostle means the Jew’s there who had embraced the Christian faith. These salutations show what a brotherly feeling existed in every part of the Christian Church; even those who had not seen each other yet loved one another, and felt deeply interested for each other’s welfare. (Clarke)
Do you let your brethren know you love them (Do you love them)?
Do you love brethren whom you don’t know personally?
How do you show that you love them?
Heb 13:25 MKJV Grace be with you all. Amen.
Paul’s characteristic salutation in every one of his other thirteen Epistles, as he says himself, 1Co_16:21, 1Co_16:23; Col_4:18; 2Th_3:17. It is found in no Epistle written by any other apostle in Paul’s lifetime. The Greek here is, “The grace (namely, of our Lord Jesus Christ) be with you all.” (JFB)
Grace be with you all: This is a fitting end for a book that documents the passing of the Old Covenant and the institution of the New Covenant. Grace be with you all indeed, under what God has given through the superior Savior, Jesus Christ! Amen! (Guzik)
Grace be with you all - May the Divine favor ever rest upon you and among you; and may you receive, from that source of all good, whatsoever is calculated to make you wise, holy, useful, and happy! And may you be enabled to persevere in the truth to the end of your lives! Amen. May it be so! May God seal the prayer by giving the blessings! (Clarke)
Do you, like Paul wish this for your brethren?