Hebrews Thirteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.

Hebrews 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

entertained angels unawares. Angels have the ability to assume the appearance of men. Notice the angels who ate with Abraham and later with Lot (Genesis 18:2; 19:1-3). On entertaining strangers, see Leviticus 19:34; Matthew 25:35-45. It may even be that the “angels” of the seven churches (Revelation 1:20) appear to be human members or visitors of the churches. In any case, the admonition of this verse should be taken seriously.

Hebrews 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Marriage is honourable. The Lord's purpose for His human creation was that of permanent, monogamous marriage between one man and one woman (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:21-24; Matthew 19:3-6), with children raised in the corresponding family unit. Any other type of sexual relationship is wrong—whether pre-marital, extra-marital, homosexual, incestuous, or anything else. “God will judge” these illegal affairs.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

conversation. That is, “manner of life.”

he hath said. This is quoted from Deuteronomy 31:6. In the Greek, the promise is very emphatic—“I will never, never, never leave thee .... ”

Hebrews 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

The Lord is my helper. This reference is from Psalm 118:6. Because of such assurances, fear and covetousness are utterly out of character for a believer.

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

rule over you. Note the three admonitions in this chapter concerning “them that have the rule over you:” (1) “remember” them, in gratitude and prayer; (2) “obey them” (Hebrews 13:17), for they have been divinely called for teaching and leadership, as more mature in the faith; (3) “salute all them” (Hebrews 13:24) in the sense of showing respect and appreciation. Those who exercise such “rule,” if they are faithful to their calling, do not rule arbitrarily, “as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3). Note that they “have spoken unto you the word of God,” are men whose “faith” deserves following, and are men who “watch for your souls” (Hebrews 13:17). Such faithful rulers also deserve adequate financial support by those for whom they “must give account” (Hebrews 13:17; see 1 Timothy 5:17-18).

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Jesus Christ the same. Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:11). He created all things yesterday (Colossians 1:16), is “upholding all things” today (Hebrews 1:3), and shall “make all things new” tomorrow (Revelation 21:5). He is the eternal Creator, the living Lord, and our coming King.

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

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

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.

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

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

without the camp. Lepers, whose disease was regarded as a symbol of sin, were made to remain “without the camp” (Leviticus 13:46); those who were convicted of blasphemy against God were stoned “without the camp” (Leviticus 24:14). Those who ignored God's Sabbath rest were also stoned “without the camp” (Numbers 15:35). The bodies of animals slain in sacrifice for the sins of the people likewise had to be “burned without the camp” (Hebrews 13:11). Therefore Jesus, upon whom was laid the whole “sin of the world” (John 1:29), had to suffer and die “without the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). In Jesus' time on earth, there was no camp as such, for the people were then living in the city of Jerusalem, so they executed Jesus outside the city walls. We therefore, as His followers, should be willing to suffer with Him, outside the wall of the world system, bearing the opprobrium of organized society.

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

no continuing city. As were the ancient patriarchs, we should be looking for that “city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

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.

sacrifice of praise. We no longer sacrifice the blood of animals to cover our sins, for Christ has “offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (Hebrews 10:12). Instead, we offer praises, the “[fruit] of our lips” (Psalm 50:23; Hosea 14:2). These are not to be offered only once each week, in a so-called worship service, or praise service, but continually! “In every thing give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

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

do good. In addition to continual praise, other acceptable sacrifices (Romans 12:1) are “to do good” and to “communicate.” People often speak with disdain of so-called “do-gooders,” but Jesus “went about doing good,” and God “did good” for us every day (Acts 10:38; 14:17). Therefore we are exhorted to “do good unto all men” (Galatians 6:10), for “he that doeth good is of God” (zTerm 11; see also 2 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:15; 4:19).

communicate. To “communicate,” as used here, does not mean to share one's thoughts, but to share one's material blessings with others, especially those in Christian ministries. See especially Galatians 6:6 in this connection; also Philippians 4:14. The admonitions to “do good” and “to communicate” are again brought together in 1 Timothy 6:18.

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.

Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

live honestly. It should go without saying that a Christian should “live honestly in all things.” Apparently it does need saying, however, for the Scriptures have many such references (Romans 12:17; 2 Corinthians 8:21; Philippians 4:8).

Hebrews 13:19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

God of peace. Note the many wonderful appellations of God. Here He is called “the God of peace” (also in Romans 15:33; 16:20; Philippians 4:9; and 1 Thessalonians 5:23). He is, in addition, “the God of glory” (Acts 7:2), “the God of patience and consolation,” as well as “the God of hope” (Romans 15:5, 13); “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3); “the God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11); and “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10).

brought again. The same Greek word is used in Acts 16:39. As the magistrates brought out Paul and Silas from the prison, so did God bring forth the Lord Jesus from death and the grave. This is the only direct reference to Christ's resurrection in the book of Hebrews, although inferences and applications of that great event abound throughout the book.

that great shepherd. Christ is also called “the good shepherd” (John 10:11), and “the chief Shepherd” (1 Peter 5:4).

blood of the everlasting covenant. Note that “the blood of the covenant” is counted “an unholy thing” by apostates (Hebrews 10:29), but it sealed the new covenant as “everlasting.”

Hebrews 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

every good work. Note Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 2:13.

wellpleasing. Compare Hebrews 13:16.

Hebrews 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

Hebrews 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

Hebrews 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

Italy. Note here that, contrary to the usual relationships in the epistles, Gentiles are greeting Jews!

Hebrews 13:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.