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Hebrews 10:19-39

Context
Drawing Near to God in Enduring Faith

10:19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, 1  since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, 10:20 by the fresh and living way that he inaugurated for us 2  through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 3  10:21 and since we have a great priest 4  over the house of God, 10:22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, 5  because we have had our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience 6  and our bodies washed in pure water. 10:23 And let us hold unwaveringly to the hope that we confess, for the one who made the promise is trustworthy. 10:24 And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, 7  10:25 not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day 8  drawing near. 9 

10:26 For if we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins is left for us, 10  10:27 but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment and a fury 11  of fire that will consume God’s enemies. 12  10:28 Someone who rejected the law of Moses was put to death 13  without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 14  10:29 How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for 15  the Son of God, and profanes 16  the blood of the covenant that made him holy, 17  and insults the Spirit of grace? 10:30 For we know the one who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” 18  and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 19  10:31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

10:32 But remember the former days when you endured a harsh conflict of suffering after you were enlightened. 10:33 At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and afflictions, and at other times you came to share with others who were treated in that way. 10:34 For in fact you shared the sufferings of those in prison, 20  and you accepted the confiscation of your belongings with joy, because you knew that you certainly 21  had a better and lasting possession. 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence, because it 22  has great reward. 10:36 For you need endurance in order to do God’s will and so receive what is promised. 23  10:37 For just a little longer 24  and he who is coming will arrive and not delay. 25  10:38 But my righteous one will live by faith, and if he shrinks back, I 26  take no pleasure in him. 27  10:39 But we are not among those who shrink back and thus perish, but are among those who have faith and preserve their souls. 28 

1 tn Grk “brothers.” See note on the phrase “brothers and sisters” in 2:11.

2 tn Grk “that he inaugurated for us as a fresh and living way,” referring to the entrance mentioned in v. 19.

3 sn Through his flesh. In a bold shift the writer changes from a spatial phrase (Christ opened the way through the curtain into the inner sanctuary) to an instrumental phrase (he did this through [by means of] his flesh in his sacrifice of himself), associating the two in an allusion to the splitting of the curtain in the temple from top to bottom (Matt 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). Just as the curtain was split, so Christ’s body was broken for us, to give us access into God’s presence.

4 tn Grk “and a great priest,” continuing the construction begun in v. 19.

5 tn Grk “in assurance of faith.”

6 sn The phrase our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience combines the OT imagery of the sprinkling with blood to give ritual purity with the emphasis on the interior cleansing provided by the new covenant: It is the heart that is cleansed and the conscience made perfect (cf. Heb 8:10; 9:9, 14; 10:2, 16).

7 tn Grk “let us consider one another for provoking of love and good deeds.”

8 sn The day refers to that well-known time of Christ’s coming and judgment in the future; see a similar use of “day” in 1 Cor 3:13.

9 tn This paragraph (vv. 19-25) is actually a single, skillfully composed sentence in Greek, but it must be broken into shorter segments for English idiom. It begins with several subordinate phrases (since we have confidence and a great priest), has three parallel exhortations as its main verbs (let us draw near, hold, and take thought), and concludes with several subordinate phrases related to the final exhortation (not abandoning but encouraging).

10 tn Grk “is left,” with “for us” implied by the first half of the verse.

11 tn Grk “zeal,” recalling God’s jealous protection of his holiness and honor (cf. Exod 20:5).

sn An allusion to Zeph 1:18.

12 tn Grk “the enemies.”

sn An allusion to Isa 26:11.

13 tn Grk “dies.”

14 sn An allusion to Deut 17:6.

15 tn Grk “tramples under foot.”

16 tn Grk “regarded as common.”

17 tn Grk “by which he was made holy.”

18 sn A quotation from Deut 32:35.

19 sn A quotation from Deut 32:36.

20 tc Most witnesses, including some important ones (א D2 1881 Ï), read δεσμοῖς μου (desmoi" mou, “my imprisonment”) here, a reading that is probably due to the widespread belief in the early Christian centuries that Paul was the author of Hebrews (cf. Phil 1:7; Col 4:18). It may have been generated by the reading δεσμοῖς without the μου (so Ì46 Ψ 104 pc), the force of which is so ambiguous (lit., “you shared the sufferings with the bonds”) as to be virtually nonsensical. Most likely, δεσμοῖς resulted when a scribe made an error in copying δεσμίοις (desmioi"), a reading which makes excellent sense (“[of] those in prison”) and is strongly supported by early and significant witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western texttypes (A D* H 6 33 81 1739 lat sy co). Thus, δεσμίοις best explains the rise of the other readings on both internal and external grounds and is strongly preferred.

21 tn Grk “you yourselves.”

22 tn Grk “which,” but showing the reason.

23 tn Grk “the promise,” referring to the thing God promised, not to the pledge itself.

24 sn A quotation from Isa 26:20.

25 sn A quotation from Hab 2:3.

26 tn Grk “my soul.”

27 sn A quotation from Hab 2:4.

28 tn Grk “not…of shrinking back to perdition but of faith to the preservation of the soul.”



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