Hebrews 9:11-14

Christ’s Service in the Heavenly Sanctuary

9:11 But now Christ has come as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, 9:12 and he entered once for all into the most holy place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured eternal redemption. 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

tn Grk “But Christ, when he came,” introducing a sentence that includes all of Heb 9:11-12. The main construction is “Christ, having come…, entered…, having secured…,” and everything else describes his entrance.

tn This verb occurs in the Greek middle voice, which here intensifies the role of the subject, Christ, in accomplishing the action: “he alone secured”; “he and no other secured.”

tn Grk “for the purifying of the flesh.” The “flesh” here is symbolic of outward or ritual purity in contrast to inner purity, that of the conscience (cf. Heb 9:9).

tc The reading adopted by the translation is attested by many authorities (A D* K P 365 1739* al). But many others (א D2 0278 33 1739c 1881 Ï lat sa) read “your” instead of “our.” The diversity of evidence makes this a difficult case to decide from external evidence alone. The first and second person pronouns differ by only one letter in Greek, as in English, also making this problem difficult to decide based on internal evidence and transcriptional probability. In the context, the author’s description of sacrificial activities seems to invite the reader to compare his own possible participation in OT liturgy as over against the completed work of Christ, so the second person pronoun “your” might make more sense. On the other hand, TCGNT 599 argues that “our” is preferable because the author of Hebrews uses direct address (i.e., the second person) only in the hortatory sections. What is more, the author seems to prefer the first person in explanatory remarks or when giving the logical grounds for an assertion (cf. Heb 4:15; 7:14). It is hard to reach a definitive conclusion in this case, but the data lean slightly in favor of the first person pronoun.