1:1 After God spoke long ago 1 in various portions 2 and in various ways 3 to our ancestors 4 through the prophets, 1:2 in these last days he has spoken to us in a son, 5 whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he created the world. 6
1:5 For to which of the angels did God 7 ever say, “You are my son! Today I have fathered you”? 8 And in another place 9 he says, 10 “I will be his father and he will be my son.” 11 1:6 But when he again brings 12 his firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him!” 13
1 tn Or “spoke formerly.”
2 tn Or “parts.” The idea is that God’s previous revelation came in many parts and was therefore fragmentary or partial (L&N 63.19), in comparison with the final and complete revelation contained in God’s Son. However, some interpret πολυμερῶς (polumerw") in Heb 1:1 to mean “on many different occasions” and would thus translate “many times” (L&N 67.11). This is the option followed by the NIV: “at many times and in various ways.” Finally, this word is also understood to refer to the different manners in which something may be done, and would then be translated “in many different ways” (L&N 89.81). In this last case, the two words πολυμερῶς and πολυτρόπως (polutropw") mutually reinforce one another (“in many and various ways,” NRSV).
3 tn These two phrases are emphasized in Greek by being placed at the beginning of the sentence and by alliteration.
4 tn Grk “to the fathers.”
5 tn The Greek puts an emphasis on the quality of God’s final revelation. As such, it is more than an indefinite notion (“a son”) though less than a definite one (“the son”), for this final revelation is not just through any son of God, nor is the emphasis specifically on the person himself. Rather, the focus here is on the nature of the vehicle of God’s revelation: He is no mere spokesman (or prophet) for God, nor is he merely a heavenly messenger (or angel); instead, this final revelation comes through one who is intimately acquainted with the heavenly Father in a way that only a family member could be. There is, however, no exact equivalent in English (“in son” is hardly good English style).
sn The phrase in a son is the fulcrum of Heb 1:1-4. It concludes the contrast of God’s old and new revelation and introduces a series of seven descriptions of the Son. These descriptions show why he is the ultimate revelation of God.
7 tn Grk “he”; the referent (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
8 tn Grk “I have begotten you.”
sn A quotation from Ps 2:7.
9 tn Grk “And again,” quoting another OT passage.
10 tn The words “he says” are not in the Greek text but are supplied to make a complete English sentence. In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence, but English does not normally employ such long and complex sentences.
11 tn Grk “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to me.”
12 tn Or “And again when he brings.” The translation adopted in the text looks forward to Christ’s second coming to earth. Some take “again” to introduce the quotation (as in 1:5) and understand this as Christ’s first coming, but this view does not fit well with Heb 2:7. Others understand it as his exaltation/ascension to heaven, but this takes the phrase “into the world” in an unlikely way.