Hebrews 13:1-8

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

PRACTICAL EXHORTATIONS

INTRODUCTION:

 

Chapter 13 concludes the fifth major section of Hebrews which began in 10:19.

 

In this section it has been learned that Christ has provided a better way of life, the life of faith.

 

In 10:19-25 believers were called upon to hold fast their confession; and in 10:26-39 an alternative was given for those who were wavering: it is either Christ, or it is judgment.

 

In 11:1-40 some Old Testament examples of faith were shown.

 

In Hebrews 12:1-17 it was seen that believers should follow the example of the Old Testament saints and run with patience the race that is set before them including the chastisement; whereas, it was shown in 12:18-24 that God can be approached through Jesus.

 

Therefore, according to Hebrews 12:25-29 , no one should refuse God; or he will not escape.

 

In 13:1-21 some miscellaneous practical exhortations are given followed by the conclusion of the epistle in 13:22-25.

 

As the writer of Hebrews concludes his epistle, he mentions a number of practical topics: brotherly love, entertaining strangers, suffering bonds and adversity, marriage and immorality, covetousness, remembering leaders, going unto Jesus outside the camp of Israel, spiritual sacrifices, submission to spiritual leaders, a request for prayer, and a benediction.

We see that we should –

    I.     LET BROTHERLY LOVE CONTINUE – 13:1

 

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

 

Brotherly love is a love for a brother or a love for a sister; and in particular it is a love for a brother in the Christian faith, a love for a fellow believer, a love for a member of the family of God.

 

Love is the term for fondness.

 

It is not the term which means to give oneself completely on behalf of another without expecting anything in return.

 

Christian brothers have a built-in fondness for one another, and the believers are commanded to let brotherly love continue.

 

Continue is used in the sense of remain, stay, last, persist, survive, or be permanent.

 

The implication of let brotherly love continue is that it was already in progress and should be continued.

We also see that we should –

  II.     REMEMBER TO SHOW HOSPITALITY – 13:2

 

Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

 

Be not forgetful implies that an activity is already going on and needs to be stopped.

 

They were forgetful, but they were to stop being forgetful, i.e. they were to stop neglecting, to stop overlooking, or to stop caring nothing about.

 

To entertain strangers means hospitality.

 

Thus, this phrase means that they should stop caring nothing about hospitality or that they should stop neglecting hospitality.

 

For introduces the reason they should stop neglecting hospitality and is understood in the sense of because.

 

Thereby is through this or by means of this where this has reference to hospitality.

 

It is because of hospitality that some have entertained angels unawares.

 

Some is indefinite as to the persons and their number, but it is definite that there were some who did this.

 

Have entertained, which means received as guests, is the translation of a participle used adverbially modifying the main verb of the clause. It is understood in the sense of although they entertained (or received as guests), when they entertained (or received as guests), or and they entertained (or received as guests).

 

That they have entertained angels unawares means that they entertained angels without knowing that they were entertaining angels.

 

In Genesis 18 three men appeared to Abraham.

 

One of the three was the Lord Jesus Christ in a pre-incarnate appearance, and the other two were angels who proceeded to Sodom and destroyed it.

 

When Abraham first saw them, he did not know who they were.

Next, we see that we should –

 III.     REMEMBER THOSE IN PRISON FOR THE CAUSE OF CHRIST – 13:3A

 

Hebrews 13:3 a – Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them. . . .

 

Remember means remind yourselves, recall to mind, or keep in mind in the sense of be (i.e. keep on or continue) reminding yourselves (i.e. recalling to mind, remembering, or keeping in mind.

 

What they are to remember is them that are in bonds or simply the prisoners, which suggests those who are prisoners for the cause of Christ.

 

As bound with them is as having been bound with them, as having been put in chains with them, or as fellow-prisoners with them.

In addition, we see that we should –

 IV.     REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING ADVERSITY – 13:3B

 

Hebrews 13:3 b – Remember . . . them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

 

And is in italics to indicate that it did not appear in the Greek text but was inserted by the translators in order to aid the understanding of the English reader.

 

It introduces some others these believers are to remember: them which suffer adversity, i.e. the ones who are maltreated or the ones who are tormented.

 

Its tense indicates continuing action and means the ones who are being maltreated or the ones who are being tormented.

 

As being yourselves also in the body tells how these believers are to remember those who are suffering adversity, and it implies that it is as if the readers are there, actually suffering with them in their bodies.

 

Yourselves is used for emphasis.

 

It is as if you yourselves are in the body suffering either along with them or perhaps instead of them.

We furthermore see that –

   V.     MARRIAGE IS HONORABLE – 13:4A

 

Hebrews 13:4 a – Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled. . . .

 

Honourable has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text. In this context it means held in honor or respected.

 

The gender of all is either masculine or neuter; so, it may mean in all persons or in all things.

 

If masculine, it means that marriage is honorable in all persons; thus, it is right and proper for everyone to be married.

 

If neuter, it is understood in the sense of marriage is honorable is all respects.

 

In other words, everything about marriage is honorable; thus, marriage is right and proper.

 

The bed, meaning the marriage bed, is undefiled.

 

The bed is a euphemistic or vague way of saying something which some people might find offensive. In this verse it is a euphemistic way of saying sexual intercourse.

 

It means that it is proper for a husband and wife to have sex.

 

However, sex between persons who are not married to each other is wrong under all circumstances as the next phrase indicates.

Moreover, we see that –

 VI.     IMMORALITY WILL BE JUDGED BY GOD – 13:4B

 

Hebrews 13:4 b – . . . But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

 

But introduces a mild contrast.

 

Whoremongers may mean male prostitutes, or it may mean fornicators or those who practice sexual immorality.

 

And introduces a second group: adulterers, who are married persons who have sex outside of marriage, i.e. with people other than their spouses.

 

The phrase fornicators and adulterers is placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text.

 

God likely refers to God the Father, and will judge indicates something which will definitely happen in the future. It is not merely probable or possible; it is definite.

 

Will judge is used in the sense of will administer justice or will condemn.

Negatively, we see that –

VII.     WE SHOULD NOT BE COVETOUS – 13:5

 

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 

Let your has been supplied by the translators because no verb is present in the first portion of this verse.

 

Conversation is a term whose English meaning has changed in the centuries since the King James Bible was translated.

 

Its meaning is manner, way of life, turn of mind, conduct, or character.

 

Although conversation in twenty-first century English speaks of one’s talk, conversation in the era in which the King James Bible was translated spoke of one’s walk.

 

As indicated by the italics, be has been supplied by the translators.

 

Without covetousness is not loving money or not greedy.

 

Without covetousness has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text. It is modifying conversation.

 

And has also been supplied by the translators to introduce a second statement.

 

Be content with suggests be satisfied with. It may instead be understood in the sense of while being content with.

 

What they are to be content with is such things as ye have, which means the things that are present, the things that are at your disposal, or the things that you have.

 

For introduces the reason the believers’ lifestyle should be without covetousness and why they should be content with such things as they have. It is understood in the sense of because.

 

He hath said refers to the Lord thy God Who is the speaker in Deuteronomy 31:6 .

 

He is intensive and means He Himself.

 

The tense of hath said or has said indicates that its action has been completed in the past but that its result has continued on.

 

God spoke it in Deuteronomy 31:6 ; and as a result, it has remained spoken since that time. It is still to be found in the Old Testament for anyone who is interested in reading it.

 

What He has said is, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

 

I is the Lord thy God.

 

Will never leave thee is a very strong negative. Its construction indicates that it is an emphatic denial. It is something that will never be done, something that the Lord will absolutely never do.

 

Leave is abandon or desert.

 

What God is saying is, I will absolutely never desert you (singular).

 

Thee is you (singular) and in the context refers to these individual Jewish believers who were professing salvation. It is applicable individually by extension to all believers everywhere.

 

In Deuteronomy 31:6 thee refers to the nation of Israel.

 

Nor is the translation of a negative conjunction meaning and not.

 

Forsake thee is another verb which indicates an emphatic denial.

 

Forsake means abandon or desert.

 

Its meaning is I will absolutely never desert you (singular) or I will absolutely never abandon you.

 

As in the previous phrase thee in the Old Testament text from which this is quoted refers to Old Testament Israel, but in this passage it refers individually to the recipients of this letter.

 

Thee is you (singular) and refers to the individual Jewish believers in the New Testament era. It is also true by extension of all believers everywhere.

 

Thus, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee says exactly the same thing in two different ways.

 

The phrase I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee is rather novel in English in that these eight words mean the very same thing whether stated forwards or backwards.

 

Thus, whether stated, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee or stated, Thee forsake nor thee leave never will I, the truth of the Lord’s presence comes across loudly and clearly.

We see that –

VIII.   OUR CONFIDENCE IS IN THE LORD – 13:6A

 

Hebrews 13:6 a – So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper. . . .

 

So that is understood in the sense of wherefore or for this reason.

 

We refers to the writer and may also include the recipients of this letter.

 

May . . . say is may . . . speak, may assert, or may proclaim.

 

Boldly suggests confidently or courageously and indicates how we may speak.

 

What we may say is, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

 

This is a quotation from Psalms 118:6 which states, The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The Lord in Psalms 118:6 is Yahweh or Jehovah as is indicated by all capitals for the word LORD.

 

My is emphatic.

 

My helper suggests that the LORD comes to my aid or renders assistance to me.

We also see that –

 IX.     WE DO NOT FEAR WHAT MAN CAN DO – 13:6B

 

Hebrews 13:6 b – So that we may boldly say, . . . I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

 

I will not fear is I will not be afraid of, I will not become afraid of, or I will not become frightened of.

 

It is a statement of confidence in the Lord and is predictive of something which will definitely be true in the future.

 

What I will not fear is what man shall do unto me.

 

Man is the generic term for human being and includes males as well as females.

 

Because of confidence that has been placed in the Lord, the speaker will not fear anything man is able to do.

 

It is a reminder of what Paul has written in Romans 8:31 , If God be for us, who can be against us?

In addition, we see that we must –

   X.     REMEMBER THOSE WHO HAVE TAUGHT US THE WORD OF GOD AND THE OUTCOME OF THEIR LIVES – 13:7

 

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

 

Remember means keep in mind or think of and is understood in the sense of be (or continue) remembering (i.e. keeping in mind or keep thinking of).

 

Them which have the rule over you is the group that the believers are being called upon to be remembering. It is the ones who lead you, the ones who guide you, or the ones who rule over you. It is a reference to their pastors, their spiritual leaders.

 

You is plural and refers to the believers who are the recipients of this epistle.

 

Who is such ones who and is referring to their quality as those who have spoken unto you the word of God.

 

Have spoken means spoke, asserted, proclaimed, or said; and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.

 

To you refers to these professing believers who were the recipients of the Book of Hebrews.

 

What they have spoken is the word of God or the message of God.

 

It is likely a reference to the gospel message which they had heard.

 

Thus, they are to remember or keep these people in mind.

 

Whose faith follow indicates what they are to do with regard to these persons who rule over them.

 

Whose refers to the ones ruling over these believers. It is a possessive used with faith. Together they mean the faith of whom.

 

Faith means trust or belief. Although it may mean their belief or their trust that they have placed in God, it may instead mean the object of their belief or trust and indicate that the Hebrew believers are to follow Christ or God.

 

Follow means imitate or emulate.

 

Inasmuch as it is a present tense, it denotes the continuation of an activity already going on.

 

Hence, it is understood in the sense of be (i.e. keep on or continue) imitating (i.e. emulating or following).

 

Considering may be understood in the sense of while considering or while you consider or in the sense of and consider. The word translated considering when used literally means examine or observe carefully. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it is understood in the sense of consider.

 

What they are to consider is the end of their conversation.

 

The end means the way out.

 

Of their conversation is of (their) way of life, of (their) conduct, or of (their) behavior.

 

It suggests the outcome (i.e. the end result or the issue) of their way of life (or conduct).

 

The readers are being urged to follow (i.e. to imitate or to emulate) the faith (i.e. the belief or the trust) of those who have spoken to them the word of God (i.e. their pastors) while considering the outcome (i.e. the issue or the end result) of the way of life (or of the conduct) of those same people.

 

Does the term remember suggest that these people whom the believers are to follow have died and gone to heaven? If this is the case, they may be mentioned in contrast to their leaders in verse 17 who are still alive.

Finally, we see that –

 XI.     JESUS IS THE MESSIAH AND WILL NEVER CHANGE – 13:8

 

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever is a statement which contains no verb.

 

This is not unusual in a Greek construction, and it seems that is should be supplied between Jesus and Christ so that it reads, Jesus (is) Messiah, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

 

Is may instead be supplied between Christ and the so that it reads, Jesus Christ (is) the same yesterday, today, and forever.

 

Both statements are true, and both fit the context of Scripture; however, it seems that the first one fits the context of Hebrews better than the second one.

 

Jesus is the Messiah. He has been and always will be, and He is immutable in that He never changes.

 

Yesterday, and to day, and forever implies at all times.

 

Although leaders come and go, Jesus Christ is here forever.

 

Although leaders can inspire confidence and trust throughout their lifetimes and even in their deaths, the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal.

 

He is the eternal Son of God, and He is immutable; He never changes.

 

Thus, the believers may place ultimate confidence in Him, in what He has done for them, and in what He will continue doing for them.

CONCLUSION:

 

So, if you are contemplating abandoning Christ and Christianity and returning to Judaism to live under the law, don’t do it. He is the promised Messiah.