Hebrews 13:9-17

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017




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 are given some miscellaneous practical exhortations 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 –



Hebrews 13:9 a – Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. . . .


Be not carried about with is a present imperative with a negative.


As such it forbids continuing an activity already in progress.


Be not carried about with therefore implies stop being carried about with or stop being carried here or there.


What they were being carried about with was divers and strange doctrines.


Divers is of various kinds, diversified, or manifold; whereas, strange suggests strange in kind, unheard of, foreign, or surprising.


Doctrines is teachings.


Apparently these believers were listening to, and perhaps being enamored with, various kinds of teachings which were foreign to the truth.

We also see that –



Hebrews 13:9 b – . . . For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.


In the Greek text For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats reads for that the heart be established with grace, not with meats (is) a good thing or (is) good.


By the heart the writer does not mean the blood pumping organ found in the chest cavity of a human being. He means the human being himself deep within the innermost recesses of his being.


Be established is be made firm or be strengthened.


With grace tells the means which will be used to establish or strengthen the heart.


Grace is unmerited favor or undeserved favor and is used in contrast to not with meats in the next phrase.


The heart is strengthened by means of grace rather than by means of foods, especially solid foods.


Which have not profited them that have been occupied therein refers to the meats or foods.


Have not profited is did not help, did not aid, did not benefit, or were not of use to.


Which suggests with which or by which.


The ones who have not been helped or benefitted are them that have been occupied therein, which literally means the ones who walk about or walk around. When used figuratively of the walk of life as it is in this verse, it means the ones who walked, lived, or conducted themselves. The foods they ate under the law regulated their lives.


This last phrase in the verse reads literally, Not with foods with which the ones who regulated their lives were not benefitted. It means that people who, under the law, regulated their lives by eating only ceremonially clean foods, were not benefitted by what they did. They were not strengthened spiritually by not eating certain foods. Those who renounce Christ and Christianity and return to living under the law will not be spiritually benefitted by regulating their lives in accordance with foods prescribed under the law.

Next, we see that –



Hebrews 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.


Verse 10 shows that Christianity is superior to Judaism in that the sacrifice Christ made of Himself on the cross at Calvary is superior to the highest sacrifices under the law, which were made on the day of atonement, the sacrifice of the bullock to atone for the sins of Aaron and his family and the sacrifice of the goat to atone for the sins of the people.


We have an altar is an instance where the place a sacrifice is offered represents or stands for the sacrifice itself.


Therefore, we have an altar means that believers have a sacrifice and refers to the sacrifice of Christ on the cross at Calvary.


Whereof is of which and refers to the altar or sacrifice which we have.


They have no right is they have no authority, they do not have freedom, or they do not have permission.


What they do not have right, authority, freedom, or permission to do is to eat of this altar or of this sacrifice.


Which serve the tabernacle is the ones who are serving the tent or the ones who are serving the booth.


The ones who serve the tabernacle is used to limit the meaning of they to the Levitical priests.


They have no right to eat from the altar which we have, which refers to Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross for sin.


The Levitical priests had a right to eat from the altar upon which they made daily sacrifices but not from the sacrifices of the bullock and goat when the blood was applied in the holy of holies on the day of atonement.


The blood presented to God in the holy of holies typifies the blood of Christ shed for the sins of all humanity on the cross at Calvary.


Hebrews 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.


As is indicated by for, verse 11 provides the reason the priests who served the tabernacle had no right to eat the sacrifice on the day of atonement.


The bodies of those beasts . . . are burned without the camp.


On the day of atonement the animals were slain, and the blood was applied on the altar in the holy of holies; however, the bodies or carcasses of those animals whose blood was sacrificed were burned.


Are burned is an intensive form which means burned down, burned up, consumed, or consumed by fire.


Without the camp is outside the camp meaning outside the camp of Israel.


Camp is a fortified camp.


Whose blood refers to the blood of these animals.


Is brought into is is carried into, and the sanctuary tells where this blood was brought or carried.


The sanctuary is the holy place, the place dedicated to God, or the place that is sacred.


It refers to the holy of holies where the blood was offered on the day of atonement.


By the high priest is through the high priest.


For sin is concerning sin.


In the sacrifice on the day of atonement, which typified the sacrifice of Christ which believers have, there was nothing for the Levitical priests to eat because the bodies of the animals used in the sacrifice were totally consumed by fire outside the camp.


Hebrews 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.


Wherefore means therefore or for this reason, i.e. because the bodies of the animals, which typified the death of Christ, were burned outside the camp.


Jesus also implies that He did something else in addition.


It may, however, be emphatic and understood as indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.


That he might sanctify the people shows why Jesus suffered outside the camp.


That is, therefore, understood in the sense of in order that, for the purpose that, or so that.


He is Jesus.


Might sanctify is might dedicate or might consecrate.


The people tells who it is that Jesus intended to sanctify or to set apart for God.


With his own blood is through His own blood or by means of His own blood.


It was His own blood that Jesus used in setting the people apart for God when He sanctified them.


Suffered without the gate indicates where Jesus suffered.


Suffered refers to the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Without the gate means outside the gate, particularly outside the gate of the city of Jerusalem and corresponds to outside the camp in verse 11.


Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.


Verse 13 begins with the exhortation, Let us go forth which means let us come out, let us go away, or let us retire.


Therefore is inferential and means hence, indeed, or so.


Unto him is to Him meaning unto Jesus or to Jesus.


Without the camp is outside the camp and means outside the nation of Israel.


The Israelites as a whole had rejected the Lord Jesus Christ.


If someone were to stay within the religious worship of the nation of Israel, it would imply that he had not found Jesus Christ acceptable.


To go to Jesus they would have to leave Judaism.


Thus, outside the camp means outside Judaism.


Bearing his reproach tells how they are to go out.


Bearing may be understood in the sense of while bearing, while we bear, or and let us bear.


What is to be borne is his reproach which is His reviling, His disgrace, or His insult.


This verse refers to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross by Roman soldiers outside the camp of Israel.


Jews professing salvation are to make a break from Judaism and leave it just as Jesus had to suffer outside the camp.


By doing so they are identifying themselves with Jesus and repudiating Judaism.

In addition, we see that –



Hebrews 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.


For introduces the reason for the exhortation in verse 13 and is understood in the sense of because.


Here means here within Judaism.


Have we no means we do not have.


What we do not have is a continuing city.


Continuing means remaining, lasting, or persisting and suggests permanent.


City refers to the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, which believers are seeking.


But introduces a strong contrast.


We seek one to come is we are seeking (i.e. searching after or seeking for) the coming one, specifically the heavenly city.


Similarly, Abraham looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10 ); but he did not find it in this life.

We furthermore see that –



Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.


By him is through Him means through Christ.


Therefore is understood in the sense of consequently, then, or so.


Let us offer means let us bring or let us take up, and it is used specifically as a sacrificial term meaning let us offer up.


What we (believers) are to offer is the sacrifice of praise to God.


Of praise indicates what type of sacrifice believers are to be bringing.


It is no longer an animal sacrifice.


To God indicates that it is God the Father Who is to be praised.


It means that believers are to be praising God.


Continually is literally through all and implies through every(thing), through every (circumstance), or through all (time).


That is introduces an explanation of the sacrifice of praise. It is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.


The fruit of our lips means that it is things that we say, things that come out of our mouths, things that obviously, therefore, come out of our hearts.


Giving thanks to his name is praising His name.


What we are to be doing is praising God’s name which represents Who He is and everything He has done.


Hebrews 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.


At the same time believers are to be giving thanks to His name or praising His name, they are also to be watching their conduct because it is important.


One’s worship of God or his praise of God must be consistent with his practice in life.


It is not right to say one thing or claim to be one thing and practice another.


Some people live like the devil but go through the motions of serving God.


Practice must be consistent with worship.


But is the word ordinarily translated and, and it may be understood as and in this context.


To do good is literally the doing of good.


And indicates that something else in addition to doing good is about to be introduced.


To communicate means to share or sharing and implies sharing what you have with others.


Forget not implies that its action was already going on and needed to be stopped and implies stop forgetting.


For introduces the reason these believers should stop forgetting the doing of good and sharing and is understood in the sense of because.


With such sacrifices is with such sacrifices (or offerings) as these or with sacrifices (or offerings) of such a kind.


Such sacrifices refers to sacrifices of praise, the doing of good, and sharing.


God is well pleased means that God takes delight or God is satisfied. They are the sort of things God wants believers to be doing.

Finally, we see that –



Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.


Whereas verse 7 spoke of remembering certain ones who have the rule, whether they are alive or dead, verse 17 speaks of those who are presently ruling over them.


Obey means follow.


Its tense implies activity that is already going on and is to be continued.


Hence, obey is understood in the sense of be (i.e. keep on or continue) obeying (or following).


The ones they are to obey are them that have the rule over you, i.e. those who are leading you (i.e. guiding you or ruling you) or your leaders. This is the same term used in verse 7.


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


And introduces a second imperative.


Submit yourselves means yield yourselves.


When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means you yourselves give way to or you yourselves submit to.


Its present tense indicates continuing action and is understood in the sense of be (i.e. keep on or continue) submitting (or yielding) yourselves or be (i.e. keep on or continue) giving way to (or submitting to).


The ones to whom they are to submit themselves are the same ones who have the rule over them.


For introduces the reason they are to submit themselves and may be understood in the sense of because.


They refers to the ones that have the rule over these believers.


Watch literally means keep themselves awake or are awake.


When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means keep watch over, guard, or care for.


Its present tense indicates that they are keeping watch over, they are guarding, or they are caring for.


For your souls is on behalf of your souls and tells why they are keeping themselves spiritually alert, watching over, or caring for.


They are concerned on behalf of the souls of the believers over whom they are ruling.


As they that must give account implies that they are watching over the believers’ souls in such a way as people who are going to have to give an account.


To give an account means to give a reckoning.


As they that must give account is as giving account or as giving a reckoning.


In the phrase for they watch for your souls, the intensive they themselves appears in a position of emphasis in the Greek text; but it was not translated into the King James Bible. It is they themselves watch for your souls.


They watch for suggests they themselves are keeping watch for (i.e. are watching over, are alertly concerned about, are looking after, or are caring for); and its tense denotes ongoing action which never ceases.


For your souls is over your souls and tells where they are watching.


That they may do it with joy and not with grief shows the reason believers are to be obeying and submitting.


That is, therefore, understood in the sense of in order that, for the purpose that, or so that.


They may do it is they may do this and refers to watching for your souls.


As pastors, they are charged with the responsibility of watching over the souls of believers within their local churches.


With joy has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text and tells how they ought to be able to be watching over the souls of these believers.


And not with grief tells how they should not be having to watch over the souls of these believers.


With grief means with sighing or with groaning.


The pastors should not be required to watch over the souls of these saved believers with sighing or groaning.


What would make a pastor watch over the souls of some with sighing or groaning other than their refusing to do what the Bible says? By contrast, whenever someone will do what the Bible says and will progress in his Christian life, it will bring joy to the heart of his pastor.


This verse is referring to Christian workers, particularly to pastors who are responsible for individuals involved in their local churches.


For that is for this and refers to the idea of watching over their souls with grief.


For shows why they should bring joy to the person watching over their souls.


Is introduces a thought which is always true.


Unprofitable has been placed in a position of emphasis in the Greek text and means harmful.


For you refers to the readers of this epistle.


Although believers are to submit themselves to the authority of their pastor and follow their pastor’s leadership, what are they to do if the pastor seeks to lead them into something that is unscriptural? They are to obey the Scriptures rather than the pastor, but they had better be certain that they are right and that he is wrong. Ultimately, if he does not change the direction he is seeking to lead the church, the church will have no choice other than to dismiss him and call another pastor.