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Hebrews 9:12-19

Context
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 1  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, 2  9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our 3  consciences from dead works to worship the living God.

9:15 And so he is the mediator 4  of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the eternal inheritance he has promised, 5  since he died 6  to set them free from the violations committed under the first covenant. 9:16 For where there is a will, the death of the one who made it must be proven. 7  9:17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it carries no force while the one who made it is alive. 9:18 So even the first covenant was inaugurated with blood. 8  9:19 For when Moses had spoken every command to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats with water and scarlet wool and hyssop and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,

1 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.”

2 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).

3 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.

4 tn The Greek word μεσίτης (mesith", “mediator”) in this context does not imply that Jesus was a mediator in the contemporary sense of the word, i.e., he worked for compromise between opposing parties. Here the term describes his function as the one who was used by God to enact a new covenant which established a new relationship between God and his people, but entirely on God’s terms.

5 tn Grk “the promise of the eternal inheritance.”

6 tn Grk “a death having occurred.”

7 tn Grk “there is a necessity for the death of the one who made it to be proven.”

8 sn The Greek text reinforces this by negating the opposite (“not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood”), but this double negation is not used in contemporary English.



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