Here is Chapter 2 of Hebrews laid out for you, verse by verse without divisions or section titles. Each time we cross the chapter boundaries of the Bible we need to look carefully for the connections. If you have followed the Bible Gems for long enough, you will know the chapter and verse divisions were not put in the Bible by the original writers, they were added in 1550 by Robert Estienne. It is therefore necessary for us to take the time to connect the end of one ‘chapter’ with the beginning of the following ‘chapter’. Look for the connections and determine how it all fits together. Is there indeed a break between what came before these words necessitating a chapter boundary or does the sense flow on? How is it connected? How would you divide it and what section titles would you give it? I have been kind to you and left the verse numbers intact. But in all honesty it is better for you if I hadn’t done that.
1 For this reason we must pay closer attention to the things we have heard, or we may drift away,
2 because if the message spoken by angels was reliable, and every violation and act of disobedience received its just punishment,
3 how will we escape if we neglect a salvation as great as this? It was first proclaimed by the Lord himself, and then it was confirmed to us by those who heard him,
4 while God added his testimony through signs, wonders, various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
5 For he did not put the coming world we are talking about under the control of angels.
6 Instead, someone has declared somewhere, “What is man that you should remember him, or the son of man that you should care for him?
7 You made him a little lower than the angels, yet you crowned him with glory and honour
8 and put everything under his feet.” Now when God put everything under him, he left nothing outside his control. However, at the present time we do not yet see everything put under him.
9 But we do see someone who was made a little lower than the angels. He is Jesus, who is crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might experience death for everyone.
10 It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering as part of his plan to glorify many children,
11 because both the one who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified all have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers
12 when he says, “I will announce your name to my brothers. I will praise you within the congregation.”
13 And again, “I will trust him.” And again, “I am here with the children God has given me.”
14 Therefore, since the children have flesh and blood, he himself also shared the same things, so that by his death he might destroy the one who has the power of death (that is, the devil)
15 and might free those who were slaves all their lives because they were terrified by death.
16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels. No, he came to help Abraham’s descendants,
17 thereby becoming like his brothers in every way, so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and could atone for the people’s sins.
18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.Hebrews 2:1-18
The participants who have done Deeper Bible tell me the best thing about it and the thing they love the most is when I give them practical things to do with Scripture and leave them to do it. By taking up the challenge for yourself you hone your own skills to do it for yourself in future. This second chapter of Hebrews is a good one to practise on. It is modelled on the first, so you can treat it in the same way I did the first chapter. It is strongly connected to what has been said before and it has a similar pattern to it. The writer is continuing in much the same way through out his letter. Again as I told you in the opening few Gems on Hebrews, this writer has a pattern to the way he unfolded his argument for his readers. We just simply have to track the thread of his argument in order to put the pieces together. He continues his heavy use of the Old Testament to support his argument. It is a relatively short chapter so a good one for you to do.
In the following Gem I will switch the text to the New American Standard Version; you know why if you have been following the Gems. Many of you regard the versions of the Bible as your enemy. Many have told me over the years of leading people to do good Bible study that they just use their own favourite version of the Bible. They deliberately don’t look at the other versions because they find the differences confusing. How sad! If you only knew the versions of the Bible are your friends. The differences help you to see where there is depth that needs to be investigated. If you find a particular verse difficult then chances are a comparison of how other translations handle it will throw light on the difficult parts. You don’t even need to know Hebrew and Greek. Looking at the way the various versions handle the text will often clear up the confusion for you. Try it and see for yourself. Use at least one Literal Translation, one Dynamic Equivalence Translation and one Free Translation.
I think I have given those of you who like to do this for yourself to hone your skills enough leads to know what to do now. In the next Gem I will lay out the divisions of the second chapter much as I did for the first chapter. But for now I will leave you with the opportunity to do it for yourself. Many readers of the Gems and participants in Deeper Bible thank me for pointing the way but pausing to give them time to do it for themselves. If you don’t have time to try it for yourself before the next Gem arrives in your email inbox, don’t worry. Do what many readers do and do you own work before you read the next Gem. For those of you who don’t wish to do it for yourself but just want the “answer”, smile and wait. Many have told me over the years of me writing the Bible Gems, “I don’t know why you give us time to do it for ourselves. Just tell us the detail. We can’t plumb the depths of Scripture like you do. We don’t have the skills. I just like seeing what you do with the Bible text.” I have paraphrased a number of different responses with that ‘quote’. Little do some of you realise you can do it for yourself with practice and I give you the chance to practice. Take it or leave it; it’s up to you. If you don’t like the pause moments and wonder why I do that then now you know. I am just trying to please two different groups of readers.
Just try taking the practical hands-on route for once; you might profit from it and learn to do it for yourself.
Are you prepared to allow God (or an angel) to make decisions for you or would you question their competency?Ian
When you are in alignment with God (and His Word), everything happens with the speed of Angels Wings.Terrie Marie
Since God and the angels are always watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining.Ian
There was no redemptive plan for the fallen angels. There did not have to be one for us either. Tremble with thankfulness.John Piper