Hebrews 12:1-3

Hebrews 12:1-3
Wednesday of Holy Week ABC


1 Therefore, since weA are surroundedB by so great a cloudC of witnesses,D

Notes on verse 1a

A {untranslated} = echo. This is to have, hold, possess.
B “surrounded” = perikeimai. 5x in NT. From peri (about, concerning, all around, encompassing) + keimai (to lie, recline, be placed, lie outstretched, be appointed). This is to lie around, surround, be clothed in, be bound, hang, be subject to.
C “cloud” = nephos. 1x in NT. This is thick clouds or, figuratively, a multitude, a crowd.
D “witnesses” = martus. This is a witness whether having heard or seen something. It refers to a witness literally, judicially, or figuratively. By analogy, this is a martyr. This is also where the word “martyr” comes from.

let us also lay asideE everyF weightG and the sinH that clings so closely,I 

Notes on verse 1b

E “lay aside” = apotithemi. 9x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + tithemi (to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense; properly, this is placing something in a passive or horizontal position). This is to put aside, put away, renounce.
F “every” = pas. This is all or every.
G “weight” = ogkos. 1x in NT. Perhaps from the same as agkale (the arm, particularly one that is bent to carry a load); from agkos (a bend). This is a mass, weight, hindrance.
H “sin” = hamartia. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (a part or share)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.
I “clings so closely” = euperistatos. 1x in NT. From eu (good, well done, rightly); {from eus (good)} + periistemi (to stand around, surround, be a bystander, avoid); {from peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand firm)}. This is encircling well, entangling. Figuratively, it is something that presents a significant hindrance on one looking to move forward. It is used of sin figuratively.

and let us runJ with perseveranceK the raceL that is set beforeM us, 

Notes on verse 1c

J “run” = trecho. To run, make progress, rush. This is running like an athlete in a race. Figuratively, to work quickly towards a goal in a focused way.
K “perseverance” = hupomone. From hupo (by, under, about) + meno (to stay, remain, wait, await, continue, abide). This is properly to remain behind or remain under. It implies endurance, patience, steadfastness, and waiting in hope.
L “race” = agon. 6x in NT. From ago (lead, bring, carry, drive, go). This can refer to a gathering or contest – as an athletic competition such as a race. It can also refer to conflict, struggle, opposition or a fight. It is used figuratively in a positive sense – as fighting the good fight of faith. It is also used in a negative figurative sense for effort or anxiety. Properly, this word refers to a place where people gather, which implies the game or contest.
M “set before” = prokeimai. Related to “surrounded” in v1. From pro (before, ahead, earlier than, above) + keimai (see note B above). This is to be present, set forth, exhibit, to set in view, to show as an example, be first.

2 lookingN to JesusO the pioneerP and perfecterQ of our faith,R

Notes on verse 2a

N “looking” = aphorao. 2x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + horao (to see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience; to stare at, which implies clear discernment; by extension, attending to what was seen and learned; to see, often with a metaphorical sense, which can include inward spiritual seeing). This is to see clearly or to turn one’s attention away from something else to gaze at the thing in question.
O “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
P “pioneer” = archegos. Related to “race” in v1. 4x in NT. From archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power) + hegeomai (to think, suppose, have an opinion; to lead the way, what comes in front or first, initial thought, high esteem or authority; one who commands in an official capacity); {from ago (see note L above)}. This is leader, founder, captain – someone who begins or pioneers a movement with followers.
Q “perfecter” = teleiotes. 1x in NT. From teleioo (to finish, accomplish, bring to an end, complete, reach a goal, finish a race, to consummate; completing stages or phases to get to an ultimate conclusion; to consecrate or fulfill); from teleios (going through the steps to complete a stage or phase and then moving on to the next one; reaching an end and so being complete or “perfect”; also full grown or mature); from telos (an end, aim, purpose, completion, end goal, consummation, tax).  This is finisher, consummator, completer.
R “faith” = pistis. From peitho (to have confidence, urge, be persuaded, agree, assure, believe, have confidence, trust). This is less about knowing, believing, and repeating a list of doctrines then it is about trusting God. Faith means listening to God and seeking to live a holy life even (and especially) when we don’t understand how everything works or fits together. Faith is about being faithful (trusting and doing) rather than being all knowing.

who for the sake of the joyS that was set before him enduredT the cross,U disregardingV its shame,W

Notes on verse 2b

S “joy” = chara. From chairo (to rejoice, be glad or cheerful; a greeting); from char– (to extend favor, lean towards, be inclined to be favorable towards). This is joy, delight, gladness. Can be understood as the feeling you get when you are aware of grace.
T “endured” = hupomeno. Related to “perseverance” in v1. 17x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, subordinate to) + meno (see note K above). This is properly to remain behind or remain under. It implies endurance, patience, steadfastness, enduring trials, and waiting in hope.
U “cross” = stauros. Related to “clings so closely” in v1. From the same as histemi (see note I above). This is an upright stake, cross. Literally refers to the horizontal beam of a Roman cross, generally carried by the one convicted to die.
V “disregarding” = kataphroneo. 9x in NT. From kata (down, against, among, according to) + phroneo (to think, judge, use one’s mind, have an opinion, shape one’s opinion through action); from phren (diaphragm, heart, intellect, understanding; figurative for personal opinion or inner mindset; thought regulating action; sympathy, feelings, cognition); perhaps from phrao (to rein in or curb). This is to disregard despise look down, think little of. It can be active scorn or a generally hostile view. It can be disregarding or ignoring something because it is considered of little importance. This can also be thinking someone unworthy and hating them. Additionally, it can be to think against something.
W “shame” = aischune. 6x in NT. From the same as aischuno (to dishonor, put to shame, shrink, disfigure); from aischos (shame, disgrace, disfigurement). This is shame, disgrace, dishonesty, a shameful thing. This can be used in an abstract or concrete sense.

and has taken his seatX at the right handY of the throneZ of God.AA

Notes on verse 2c

X “taken…seat” = kathizo. From kathezomai (to sit down, be seated); {from kata (down, against, according to, among) + hezomai (to sit); {from aphedron (a seat, a base)}}. This is to sit, set, appoint, stay, rest.
Y “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is right, right side, or the right hand.
Z “throne” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes from.
AA “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.

ConsiderBB him who endured such hostilityCC against himself from sinners,DD 

Notes on verse 3a

BB “consider” = analogizomai. 1x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, between, anew) + logizomai (to compute or reckon up, to count; figuratively, it is coming to a conclusion or decision using logic; taking an inventory in a literal or figurative sense); {from logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; here, word as an account or accounting; can also be a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); from lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. This is to think carefully about something, thinking analytically to a conclusion.
CC “hostility” = antilogia. Related to “consider” in v3. 4x in NT. From antilego (literally to speak against – so, to contradict, oppose, resist; being argumentative, especially with a hostile bent through opposition; can indicate attempts to thwart); {from anti (opposite, instead of, against) + lego (see note BB above)}. This is contradiction, hostility, strife, controversy.
DD “sinners” = hamartolos. Related to “sin” in v1. From hamartano (see note H above). This is sinning, sinful, sinner. It referred to missing the mark or falling short. The term was also used in archery for missing the target.

so that you may not grow wearyEE or loseFF heart.GG 

Notes on verse 3b

EE “grow weary” = kamno. 2x in NT. This is weariness, being spent. It is exhaustion from working too much. Figuratively, it can be sick or wearied.
FF “lose” = ekluo. 5x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + luo (to loose, release, untie; figuratively, to break, destroy, or annul; releasing what had been withheld). This is to loose, release, lose. It can mean to succumb or be faint, i.e. become weak.
GG “heart” = psuche. From psucho (to breathe, blow). This is breath, the breath of life, the self, individual, soul. This is the word for that which makes a person unique – their identity, will, personality, affections. This isn’t the soul as the immortal part of us, but as our individuality. It is also not life as a general concept, but specific to people. This is where the words psyche and psychology come from.

Image credit: “Crucifixion” by Elisabeth Frink. Photo by Leo Reynolds, 2007.

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