1For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every violation and act of disobedience received a just punishment, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. [NASB]Hebrews 2:1-4
What title did you come up with?
- An Exhortation (Jerusalem Bible)
- A Warning Not to Drift From Truth (TPB)
- A Warning Against Drifting Away (NLT)
- Give Heed (NASB)
- Warning Against Neglecting Salvation (E-Sword)
- Warning to Pay Attention (NIV)
If you spotted that it was a warning or an exhortation, congratulations. My choice would be something along the lines of The Passion Bible (which I don’t recommend at all) or the New Living Translation for their choice of “Drift” in the title. But we will come to that in a later Gem. For now, let’s keep the main thing the main thing. This is the first of the Warnings in the letter to the Hebrews. What is noteworthy with this first warning is the connectedness. It binds chapters one and two together and states clearly why the writer has written what he has.
What is the reason? All that he has written before this! He has just spent the whole of the first chapter outlining why the Son is so much greater than the angels. For all of those reasons he has covered in the first chapter, DON’T DRIFT! Using SEVEN quotes from the TANAKH he has outlined his case which I summarised for you in Gem 2040. Here are the bullet points again.
- The name Son and the term angel set them apart. (1:4)
- God has never called any angel “Son”. (1:5)
- God has made it clear the angels role is to worship the Son. (1:6)
- Angels are merely spirits, wind, fire to act as servants in whatever form God, the Son chooses to send them. (1:7)
- God addresses the Son as God, LORD; He has never said that of the angels. (1:8-9)
- The Son is the creator of the heavens and the earth; the angels merely observers. (1:10)
- The Son will remain forever whereas the angels will not. (1:11)
- The Son sits at the right hand of God, co-equal with God; no angel ever has. (1:13)
- The Son is the all conquering King; the angels are merely spirit servants (1:14)
So we must listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak? And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. [NLT]Heb 2:1-4
It’s crucial that we keep a firm grip on what we’ve heard so that we don’t drift off. If the old message delivered by the angels was valid and nobody got away with anything, do you think we can risk neglecting this latest message, this magnificent salvation? First of all, it was delivered in person by the Master, then accurately passed on to us by those who heard it from him. All the while God was validating it with gifts through the Holy Spirit, all sorts of signs and miracles, as he saw fit. [MSG]Heb 2:1-4
I am sure the astute ones among you can see what I have done. I have given you the first warning in three different translations.
- Dynamic Equivalence
Yes the NASB is a literal translation. Now you have the text in an example of each kind of translation you should use to get behind the words on the page. This is a good method to practise if you don’t have the original languages at your disposal. Another good way to get behind the text is to use a + version in E-Sword. Here is the KJV+ as an example.
Therefore G1223 G5124 we G2248 ought G1163 to give the more earnest heed G4337 G4056 to the things which we have heard, G191 lest at any time G3379 we should let them slip. G3901 For G1063 if G1487 the G3588 word G3056 spoken G2980 by G1223 angels G32 was G1096 stedfast, G949 and G2532 every G3956 transgression G3847 and G2532 disobedience G3876 received G2983 a just G1738 recompence of reward; G3405 How G4459 shall we G2249 escape, G1628 if we neglect G272 so great G5082 salvation; G4991 which G3748 at the first began G2983 G746 to be spoken G2980 by G1223 the G3588 Lord, G2962 and G2532 was confirmed G950 unto G1519 us G2248 by G5259 them that heard G191 him; God G2316 also bearing them witness, G4901 both G5037 with signs G4592 and G2532 wonders, G5059 and G2532 with divers G4164 miracles, G1411 and G2532 gifts G3311 of the Holy G40 Ghost, G4151 according G2596 to his own G848 will? G2308Heb 2:1-4
It is of no use to you outside of E-Sword. But if used in E-Sword it is powerful. All you have to do is hover your cursor over the blue number and it will bring up for you the lexicon giving you the meanings of the words from the various dictionaries you have already loaded when you first set up E-Sword. Now that is powerful. Furthermore you can do what I have done and set up E-Sword to create your own Parallel Bible of the versions you want to compare. Here is a screen shot of mine. This is available to me whenever I click the <Parallel> button.
How’s that? Is that a useful tip or what? E-Sword has many more features to offer than that. The most important of which is that it is FREE. Yes you read that correctly. It’s free. The basic programme and most add ons are free. There are some translations and other helps which cost. Not because Rick Meyers wants your money but because others who hold the copyright for certain translations or features want your money: like Rupert Murdoch who bought the rights to the NIV translation. (Ian’s tip: Use the ISV instead, it’s almost the same.)
I have one more clue to lay out for you and then I will leave you to do you own work. I think you will find this Gem extremely helpful. It’s full of hot tips. In the meantime download E-Sword from www.e-sword.net and set it up with all the freebies. You will be amazed at what is available to you for free. If you want a list of my recommendations just ask. Now for my one more thing.
Notice carefully what the writer of the letter has told us:
So what makes us think we can escape
if we ignore this great salvation
that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself
and then delivered to us
who heard him speak?
Yes you are right. It is a layered statement full of important details. Take time now to unpack it for yourself.
(S)he who finds their own Gems comes alive to Bible study. Capture the thrill of digging deeper in God’s Word and you will never be the same.Ian
You need to go deeper before God can take you higher. It’s the principle needed for the foundations of all tall buildings.Ian
Passion and devotion grow when you begin to understand the big picture or understand how to understand.Ian
Taste and see that God is good and His word is understandable.Ian
You SEE things differently when you THINK things differently!Rick Godwin