Hebrews 12

Consider the captain; run the race considering the witnesses  1
Resist to the point of blood; consider the Lord's discipline; He disciplines sons  4
Endure hardship; strength  9
Live at peace; grace is lost if neglected  14
You have not come to a forbidden mountain  18
The heavenly Mt. Zion  22
Accept Him who speaks from the mountain; avoid the shaking  25
We receive an unshakable kingdom  28
.1 ¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
.2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
 3  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
  1 - Witnesses Those of the previous verses who obtained a good report and who have not yet received the promised reward. he1139. Thus the witness here aren't watching. They have given witness by their faithfulness that God can be trusted. They are a cloud in the sense of being a large number whose witness inspires us to run with endurance.
  1 - Lay aside Easier to say than to do. Explanation in v4.
  2 - Author and finisher A promise we may claim! ph0106.
  2 - Set down he0103
.4 ¶ Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
.5  And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou [or "do not regard lightly" NASB] the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
 6  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
.7  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
 8  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

  4 - Striving Here is where many fail to win the race. They wait, hoping it will be easier to stop an evil habit or to find work that is not in violation of God's commandments or to break an adulterous relationship. We must love Christ more than our sins v1, re1211b.
  8 - Bastards That is, illigitimate sons or ones born to an unmarried couple.
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.9  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
.10  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
.11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
  9 - Father of spirits The passage is complex. Paul stressed the importance of not walking according to the flesh but according to the spirit to avoid condemnation ro0801. Here we see this contrast in discussing discipline from God. The flesh is our inherited human nature je1323. The spirit, as used here, is a portion of the divine nature 2pe0104 which we may receive from the Holy Spirit when we are born again jn0305.
  11 - Chastening [disciplining] Our spiritual Father refines us for the development of our character mal0303, zc1309. Notice the flow of thought in the table below.
The wording in the table follows the Interlinear Bible by J.P Green and is thus closer to the Greek text.
Verse 9 (our submission to discipline)
Verse 10 (process and reward)
Respect for Fathers of our flesh Correctors who help us For a few days [mortal life]
Subject to Father of [our] spirits (God) Partake of His holiness Life [for eternity]
.12  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
 13  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
.14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
 15  Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
.16  Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel [or "meal"] of meat sold his birthright.
.17  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
  12,13 - Lift up Instead of acting discouraged by discipline from God, and not wanting to walk courageously in it, the Hebrew Christians needed to walk a true path so that others could be encouraged by their witness as the OT heroes of faith had encouraged them. The lesson is for us, too. A similar statement is seen in ez1717.
  14 - Sounds easy, but this requires grace. We are tempted to fight back.
  16 - Profane That is, worldly, without desire for spiritual things.
  17 - No place for repentance The sin that cannot be pardoned because no pardon is desired. See on mt1231.
   17 - Tears ge2734.
.18 ¶ For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
 19  And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
 20  (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21  And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
  18 - Not come ... mount Sinai ex1909.
  21 - Terrible That is, such that would cause great fear. We read the account casually and may miss the awesomeness situation 2co0511.

Links often point to more than a single verse.

.22  But ye are come unto mount Sion [or "Zion"], and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
.23  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
 24  And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

  22 - The Hebrew believers stand in what seems to be a receptive environment by contrast to that of Sinai.
  23 - Firstborn Born-again Christians. Inheritors of what was promised he1139.
  23 - Written in heaven This does not mean being in heaven which would be a contradiction of 11:39 (linked above). See ph0403, re0305.
  23 - Spirits From pneumaasi. Some believe that spirits of righteous people are the people themselves (without bodies) living in heaven or hell. The idea didn't come from the Bible although it is read into certain passages. See on ec1207 and follow the links. For the word's use here see verses 9-11 above.
  23 - Just ... perfect The two qualifications we need from Christ. We are justified when we come to Christ for forgiveness and sanctified continually as His purification process in us 1jo0109.
  23 - Just men made perfect These were people who have won the race. They had lived in victory over sin v1. On being made perfect, see verses 9-11. Note that there are two ways we are made perfect (both from teleioo). We are given perfect bodies only at the coming of Christ and the resurrection 1co1551. We are given perfect characters as we run the race keeping our eyes on Christ. This verse therefore is about the perfection of character mt0548
  24 - [Ye are come] ... to the blood Christ's blood replaced the animal blood which had pointed forward to it he0923. Comparison is also made to the blood of Abel which spoke figuratively ge0410. It bears testimony in heaven. The blood itself is not there any more than departed loved ones are.
.25  See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
.26  Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
 27  And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
  25 - Speaketh The ten commandments were spoken from Sinai.
  26 - Also in heaven On earth people are shaken out of Christian fellowship. In heaven their names are removed from the book of life.
  27 - Those withstanding the trials that bring shaking are strengthened. 
.28  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
 29  For our God is a consuming fire.
  Receiving a kingdom Now by faith he1101.
  Cannot be moved Assurance for those who persevere.
  Let us have grace That is, be grateful. Compare lu1709, 1ti0112, 2ti0103.
  Consuming fire mal0401. Compare mal0302.
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