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anil 3£lebelatton. 















kruknt's pakk collegb» lunuun. 





Prof. S. D. F. SALMOND, D.D., 






regent's park COLLEGE, LONDON. 


Prof. WILLIAM MILLIGAN, \y,\^,, 

























MAP OF ASIA MINOR— /Ty////jr//Vr^. 








Introduction, and the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. 

Introduction to the New Testament. By Prof. PHILIP SCHAFF, D.D., New York, and 

Prof. Matthew B. Riddle, D.D., Hartford. 
The Gospel of Matthew. By Prof. PHILIP Schaff, D.D., and Prof. Matthew B. Riddle, 

The Gospel of Mark, By Prof. Matthew B. Riddle, D.D., and Prof. Philip Schaff, 

The Gospel of Luke, By Prof. Matthew B. Riddle, D.D., and Prof. Philip Schaff, 



The Gospel of John, and the Acts of the Apostles. 

The Gospel of John. By Prof. William Milligan, D.D., University of Aberdeen, and 

Prof. William F. Moulton, D.D., Cambridge. 
The Acts of the Apostles. By J. S. HowsoN, D.D., Dean of Chester, and Canon Donald 

Spence, Rector of St. Pancras, London. 


The Epistles of Paul. 

Romans. By Prof. Philip Schaff, D.D., and Prof Matthew B. Riddle, D.D. 
/. and II. Corinthians. By Principal David Brown, D.D., Free Church College, Aber- 
Galatians. By Prof. Philip Schaff, D.D. 
Ephesians. By Prof. MATTHEW B. RIDDLE, D.D. 

Philippians. By Rev. J. Rawson Lumbv, D.D., Norrisian Professor pf Divinity, Cambridge. 
Colossians. By Prof. Matthew B. Riddle, D.D. 
/. and II. Thessalonians. By Rev. Marcus Dods, D.D., Glasgow. 
/. andIL Timothy. By the Very Rev. E. H. Plumptre, D.D., Dean of Wells. 
Titus. By Rev. J. Oswald Dykes, D.D., London. 
Philemon. By Rev. J. Rawson Lumby, D.D. 



The Epistle to the Hebrews, The Catholic Epistles, and Revelation. 

Hebrews, By Prof. Joseph Angus, D.D., Regent's Park College, London. 

James, By Rev. Paton J. Gloag, D.D., Galashiels. 

/. and IL Peter, By Prof. S. D. F. Salmond, D.D., Free Church College, Aberdeen. 

/. //. and III, John, By Prof. William B. Pope, D.D., Didsbury College, Manchester. 

Jude, By Prof. JOSEPH Angus, D.D., Regent's Park College, London. 

Revelation, By Prof. William Milligan, D.D., Aberdeen. 

Maps and Plans. 

By Prof. Arnold Guvot, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor of Geology and Physical Geography in 
Princeton, N.J. 


By Rev. William M. Thomson, D.D., late of Beirftt, Syria, and William H. Thomson, 
M.D., New York. 




THE authorship and the argument of this Epistle are questions of peculiar interest. 
The argument creates no special difficulty ; the authorship has given rise to 
much discussion. The whole question indeed is specially deserving of attention, and 
we may be excused for giving space to it. 

(i) Was the Epistle written by ApoUos? In commenting on Gen. xlviiL 20, 
Luther says incidentally: *The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, whoever 
he was, whether Paul, or, as I think, Apollos.' This opinion he repeats in his 
sermon on i Cor. iii. 4, suggesting that from the eloquence of Apollos, his know- 
ledge of the Scriptures, and the general esteem in which he was held in the early 
Church, he was competent to write it The opinion therefore first appeared in the 
sixteenth century,^ and now numbers amongst its adherents Tholuck, Alford, and 
others, all of whom are dissatisfied with the evidence of the common theory that 
it was written by Paul, and all concur in accepting a theory which is without any 
external evidence whatever. To maintain that Apollos might have written it is just 
enough ; but to maintain that he did write it, or that he probably did, on the grounds 
assigned, is to overlook some of the first principles of historical investigation.* 

But not only is there no proof; there are several serious objections to the theory 
itself. Apollos was a Christian Jew of Alexandria (Acts xviii. 24). He had many 
devoted adherents among the early Christians (i Cor. i. 12), and shared their attach- 
ment even with Paul himself. It is also clear from the Epistle that the author was 

^ Though this was Luther's opinion, it was not shared by his colleagues. Calvin, indeed, sup- 
posed that Luke might have written it, or Clement ; but Beza and the other reformers maintained 
its Pauline origin; and in 1658 the younger Spanheim wrote an elaborate treatise on the whole 
subject, examining the external and internal evidence, and showing that Paul was probably the 
writer, and that he had the very qualities of which the Alexandrian scholars were proud. 

' The two internal arguments upon which Dean Alford insists to prove that the Epistle was 
written by Apollos, are — (i) That it is said of Apollos he began to speak * boldly* («'«^^ii#<«^ir/«i), 
Acts xviii. 26 ; and therefore it was very likely he should tell the Hebrews not to cast away their 
wmffii0't*9, X. 35. And yet this is the very thing which Bamal>as tells us Paul did (Acts ix. 27) in 
Damascus ; the very thing he did in Jerusalem (Acts ix. 29) ; the very thing he did in company with 
Barnabas at Antioch in hb last address to the Jews before turning to the Gentiles (xiii. 46) ; the very 
thing he did for three whole months at Ephcsus (xix. 8); the very thing he did before Agrippa 
(xxvi. 26), and at Rome, where he preached for two whole years * with all boldness.* Once the 
description is used of Apollos, seven times in the Acts it is used of Paul. Four times this boldness is 
commended in the Hebrews, and ten times by Paul in other Epistles which are confessedly his. The 
idea is intensely Pauline. (2) The second proof is, that when Apollos first met Aquila and Priscilla, 
he knew only the Baptism of John, and therefore he was well qualified, says Alford, to speak of 
baptism as the foundation of the Christian life ; but so was any baptized Jew, and Paul as much 
as any. 



known to his friends (cf. xiii. i8, 19, 23); and yet we are required to believe that 
the secret was so kept that it was never guessed till the sixteenth century, and that 
the church at Alexandria, the most learned church in Christendom, with a school 
(founded, it is said, by Mark, who was certainly pastor there) which sent forth a 
succession of men eminent for their erudition and research, allowed a distinguished 
Alexandrine teacher to be despoiled of his honour, and uniformly ascribed the 
authorship (as we shall see) to another. Apollos may have been the author, that is, 
he was learned and eloquent enough to write it ; but the fact, if fact it be, is 
absolutely without evidence, and is on other grounds highly improbable. 

(2) Was it written by Barnabas ? The chief argument in favour of this theory is 
the statement of TertuUian (about 220), and the theory itself has been supported by 
Ullmann and Wieseler. 'There is extant' (says TertuUian) *an Epistle to the 
Hebrews under the name of Barnabas, a man,' he adds, * sufficiently authorized by 
God, inasmuch as Paul associated him with himself in maintaining the doctrine of 
self-denial' (namely, that he declined wages for preaching); *and verily,' he adds, 
* this Epistle of Barnabas is more generally received among the churches than the 
apocryphal Pastor ' (the Shepherd of Hermas, whom he supposes to be too lax in his 
views and discipline). He then quotes Heb. vi. 4-8, and adds : * The men who 
received this doctrine from the Apostles, and taught it with them, had never learned 
that a second repentance was promised by the Apostles to adulterers and fornicators.' 
This seems strong testimony, and is the stronger from the fact that if TertuUian had 
supposed that the Epistle could have been attributed to Paul, he would have attri- 
buted it to him so as to gain for his views on the non-restoration of the fallen the 
greater authority. 

But on the other hand, when TertuUian lived it is now known that there was no 
Christian Latin literature (see Wordsworth on Hippolytus and the Church at Ronu\ 
so that his opinion on a literary question is not entitled to great weight. It never 
gained acceptance in Christendom. It was not received in Cyprus, the country of 
Barnabas. Epiphanius (a.d. 367), Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, knows nothing of it, 
and ascribes the Epistle to Paul. In Africa, the country of TertuUian, it was not 
received. The greatest African writers, Augustine and Athanasius, ascribe it to 
Paul, as do the African Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (419). 

Besides, if Barnabas had written the Epistle, he would naturally have prefixed 
his name to it Barnabas took part with Peter at Antioch in the debate concerning 
the ceremonial law (Gal. iL 13), and his name would have commended any Epistle 
to all Hebrew Christians, as did the names of Peter and James. And further, it is 
a constant tradition that Barnabas wrote one Epistle, and that Epistle is expressly 
stated by Eusebius and Jerome not to form part of the Canonical Scriptures. 
Whether it be the same Epistle as is now known by his name, is doubtful. If it be 
his, no one can doubt that the acknowledged Epistle of Barnabas is in all respects 
a very different composition from the Epistle to the Hebrews ; and it is certain that 
the one Epistle which the ancient Church attributed to Barnabas is not the Epistle to 
the Hebrews which both Eusebius and Jerome place in the Canon. 

How TertuUian's opinion originated it is impossible to say, but the phraseology 
he employs is very peculiar, and may suggest an explanation. Instead of speaking 
of the Epistle of Barnabas, he speaks of the ' titulus Bamabae,' a book with the 
name of Barnabas upon it as an inscription. It is very possible he may have had a 
volume inscribed * Bamabae ' containing the Epistle of Barnabas and the nameless 
Epistle to the Hebrews. It was not uncommon in ancient times to bind together 
compositions of different authors. The Epistle of Clement is now appende'd in this 


way to the Alexandrine ms., as is the Epistle of Barnabas to the Sinaitic, and so, 
curiously enough, is the Epistle of Barnabas to one of the oldest mss. of Tertullian. 
Some of the most remarkable discoveries of modem times — by Cureton, for example 
— have been made by the examination of diflferent works bound up under one name. 

(3) Was it written by Clement, Paul's fellow-labourer (Phil. iv. 3), afterwards 
Bishop at Rome? The ancient testimonies on this question, Origen (220), Eusebius 
{33^)i ^^^ Jerome (380), say only that some persons were of opinion that the 
language of the Epistle was from him, and that the substance was Paul's : either he 
clothed the thoughts of the apostle in the dress they wear, or he translated it out of 
the Hebrew. That he was the author of the Epistle is an opinion maintained by no 
ancient authority. 

In fact, Clement has frequently quoted from the Epistle in his own Epistle to 
the Corinthians, written it is generally admitted twenty or thirty years later, and 
quoted it with passages taken from Holy Scripture.^ Of course he would hardly have 
made those quotations if he had been himself the author. His own Epistle, more- 
over, addressed to the Church at Corinth, and intended to allay the spirit of division 
that prevailed then, is a good specimen of early Christian writing, but it is very 
different, as any one may see, from the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

(4) Was it written by Luke ? Here again the question has to do only with the 
form ; no ancient writer ascribing anything to him but the words ; the form, and not 
the substance. The reason for this supposition is that the style is thought to be 
unlike Paul's and to be like Luke's. This question we shall look at by and by. 
Meanwhile, note that Luke was not of Hebrew origin, nor was he probably even a 
Hellenistic Jew. Eusebius and Jerome speak of him as a Gentile Christian, and as a 
native of Antioch, the capital of Syria, and the country of Gentile Christianity. 
It is hardly likely that a Gentile or even a Hellenistic Jew would have written an 
Epistle to Hebrews. If Luke had written it, the fact would have been known to the 
Christians of Syria and Asia, and to the Church at Antioch ; and yet the Bishops 
assembled at that city in 269 to examine the teaching of Paul of Samosata who was 
bishop there, quote the Epistle (Heb. iv. 15, xi. 26. See Routh's J^ei, iii. 298, 299), 
and expressly ascribe it, not to Luke, but to Paul. 

(5) Was it written by Paul? In considering this question, the canonical 

authority may also be settled, and the subordinate question, Is the language Paul's, 

or only the thoughts, or both ? And it may be convenient to divide the question 

into two — the external testimony, and the internal evidence. 

^ Alford objects that Clement does not say when quoting the Hebrews that it is Scripture he is 
quoting, and certainly he does not say that it is from Paul he quotes, and hence Alford concludes 
Clement's quotations do not prove the Pauline origin of the book, nor even its Divine authority ; but 
this statement is only half the truth, and it really misleads. The fact is, that he quotes the Hebrews 
as he generally quotes Paul's Epistles. He quotes Romans, Ephesians, I Tim. and Titus, and never 
speaks of Paul's name in connection with any of them, nor does he introduce the quotations with any 
reference to their inspired authority. Once he does refer to the Corinthians as the Epistle of the 
blessed Paul, but this is a single case. No Apostolic Father has quoted so largely from the New Testa- 
ment as Polycarp. In nine pages of his Epistle to the Philippians he has quoted forty-Hve passages, 
but only once does he mention a name (Paul's) in connection with his quotations (chap, xi.) ; nowhere 
is there any mark of quotation or formal acknowledgment of the Divine authority of the passage he is 
quoting ; nor is there any example of a quotation from the New Testament with the formula common 
in citing from the Old Testament, ' It is written,* earlier than the Epistle of Barnabas, which was 
written subsequent to A.D. 130 (see Ante-Nicetu Apostolic Fathers^ p. 107). The fact is, that if 
Clement had known Paul to be the author, and had meant to quote the book as authoritative, he 
would not have quoted it in any other way. The true conclusion is that he did regard it as authori- 
tative, for he quotes it to settle religious questions. Whether he regarded Paul as the author no one 
can say on either side. 


The Epistle to the Hebrews was no doubt written during Paul's lifetime. It 
speaks throughout of the Temple as still standing, and of the Temple worship as still 
going on. This is the natural meaning of the perfect tense throughout, as most of 
the Greek commentators note ; and though it warns the readers of the doom hanging 
over Jerusalem (x. 25), there is nothing to indicate that the war waged by Vespasian 
and Titus had yet commenced. 

This war began in the reign of Nero, and Paul was martyred in the last year 
of the Emperor's life (see Pearson, a.d. 60-67, and Clinton's Fasti Romania 44-48). 
Therefore Paul was alive when the Epistle was written. Since also the writer 
promises to visit the Hebrews with Timothy (Heb. xiii. 23), it would seem to have 
been written before Timothy settled at Ephesus, an event that is said to have taken 
place some time before Paul's own martyrdom. This is the old tradition, and agrees 
with the general tenor of the Epistle. This mention of * Timothy my brother ' has 
been thought by some to be sufficient to identify the author with Paul, for Paul 
often joins Timothy with himself in the addresses of his Epistles (Phil. i. ; i Thess. i. ; 
2 Thess. L), speaks of him as his workfellow (Rom. xvi. 21), and three times as his 
brother (2 Cor. i. ; Col i. ; Phil, i.); nor is Timothy ever so called by any other 
writer of Holy Scripture. 

Why Paul should write to Hebrews, and why he should omit his name, are 
questions that belong more naturally to the division of Internal Evidence; but 
I may note here that it was no part of the writer's purpose to remain concealed. 
Those to whom the Epistle is addressed knew the name of the writer (Heb. xiiL 22). 
Alford indeed maintains that, besides the omission of the name, the Epistle is 
wanting in that authorization which he says Paul affirms is found in every Epistle of 
vi! his — the message written in his own hand — * The salutation of me Paul with mine 
own hand, which is a token in every Epistle : so I write ' (2 Thess. iii. 17). But surely 
this is a mistake. The authorization is there. In all the thirteen acknowledged 
Epistles of Paul, the authorization is added : * The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ 
be with you all.' This is the authorization he everywhere sends. These words 
formed the token by which his Epistles were known. No such close is found in 
any other New Testament Epistle written in Paul's lifetime. Thirty years later 
Clement used it in his Epistle to the Corinthians, as thirty years later John also used 
it in the Revelation ; but in the Epistles it is used by Paul alone, and it is found at 
the close of the Hebrews. Whether this reasoning be admitted or not, it is clear 
from the Epistle that the writer was known to those whom he specially addressed. 

To whom then did Paul write? To believing Hebrews certainly. Whether to 
Hebrews in Galatia, in Thessalonica, in Corinth, in Asia Minor, or in Palestine, 
critics do not agree. Most have held, as nearly all the ancient churches held, that 
it was written to Hebrews in Palestine. Alford thinks that it was written to Hebrews 
in Rome. To believing Hebrews at all events it was written. 

The Second Epistle of Peter was written a short time before the death of that 
Apostle, as most hold, later than the Epistle to the Hebrews. It was addressed by 
him, like the first Epistle, to the Hebrew converts in the East. In that Epistle, 
which was written about a year and a half after the first, and about the same time 
after what we have supposed to be the date of the Epistle to the Hebrews, the 
Apostle speaks of an Epistle written by Paul, and written by Paul to Hebrews, 
* as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given unto him hath written 
to vou; as also in all his Epistles.' Hence, it has been said, Paul wrote to the 
Hebrews, and he wrote to the Hebrews in a distinct Epistle, and Peter claims for 
the whole inspired authority — * which the unstable and unteachable wrest, as they do 


the other Scriptures^ to their own destruction.* Several competent scholars [Pearson 
(Opera Posth. Diss, L p. 59) and Wordsworth] have regarded this language as a 
distinct inspired testimony to the authorship and claims of this Epistle. Even if 
2 Pet be of later date, it gives early testimony to the authorship of the Hebrews. 

Before proceeding to give other testimonies, it may be worth while just to notice 
the testimony of the Apostolic Fathers, as they have been called. This testimony has 
increased of late years through the discovery of fragments of their works, and though 
those fragments are not all certainly genuine, the preponderance of evidence in favour of 
their genuineness is considerable, and the fragments are, at all events, of great antiquity. 

Clement's quotations are not new. His Epistle was written, it is said, in a.d. 68, 
or, as most hold, in 97. He quotes Heb. i. 3-7, xi. 5, 37, etc, xii. i, and probably 
iii. 2, 5, vi. 18, X. 37, etc. The passages may be seen side by side in Jacobson's 
edition of the Fatres Apostolici; in Stuart's Epistle to the Hebrews^ i. 77, 94; in 
Forster's Apostolical Authority of the Hebrews^ sec. 13. The passages are quoted as 
passages from Scripture, and are generally quoted by Clement without any indication 
of quotation, and without any name. They are proofs of the existence of the Epistle, 
and of its authority. His silence as to the authorship has been differently inter- 
preted. If he knew the author, and knew his reason for not giving his name, it was 
natural he should not assign it to Paul. Besides these quotations, it may be added 
that the allusions to the Epistle are so numerous that Dr. Westcott says, it is not too 
much to affirm that the Epistle must have transfused itself into Clement's mind. 

Ignatius has not generally been reckoned among the writers who quote the Epistle, 
but in two of the Ignatian Epistles which are generally regarded as genuine, which 
exist in Syriac and have been published by Cureton, he quotes as Scripture x. 29, 
and especially xiii. 17. These letters were written between 107 and 120 (see -^«/^- 
Niccne Fathers^ pp. 190, 250). 

Barnabas (130-150) quotes iii. 5 ; and though this may be a quotation from the 
Old Testament, the argument of his Epistle touches upon many questions which are 
discussed in the Hebrews {Ante-Nicene Fathers^ p. 126).^ 

Polycarpy the teacher of Irenaeus, and the disciple of John, quotes it (see Routh, 
Opusc, EccL i. p. 24). He wrote probably about 150. 

Jrenceus (130-200) is described by Alford as not quoting the Epistle, but in fact 
he quotes two passages at least, i. 3 and xiii. 15, ascribing the last passage by 
name to Paul. This last quotation is found in one of the recent fragments of Irenaeus 
{Ante-Nicene Fathers^ i. 238 and 176). For an account of those fragments, see L 
p. 20 of the same series. Many of his writings, it may be added, have been lost. 

Justin Martyr (103-147) is one of the early Apologists. He was of Greek descent, 
and resided near Sichem. He reasoned with Jews at Ephesus, and taught the Gospel 
at Rome. He quotes from several Epistles, and from the Hebrews (i. 9, xiii. 8, 7). 
The passages may be seen in Westcott, p. 147.^ 

' The Epistle of Barnabas contains thirty-five pages and twenty-one chapters. No one ascribed it 
to the Barnabas of the New Testament till the days of Clement of Alexandria ; and Eusebius reckons 
it among the non-canonical books. But there is very good reason for regarding it as belonging to the 
middle of the second century. By the discovery of the Cod. Sin. the whole Epistle is now known in 
Greek. Previously we had only a Latin translation of part of it. It discusses the meaning of the 
Jewish sacrifices, the near approach of Antichrist, the New Covenant as founded on the sufferings of 
Christ, the spiritual significance of the Ancient Law, and the abrogation of the Ceremonial Law. 
Every chapter may be paralleled from one or other of the Gospels or of the Epistles, and yet the 
New Testament is never quoted except twice. 

' It is not creditable to our English scholarship that it should be said that Justin Martyr never 
quoted from the writings of St. Paul. German editions of his works give some fifty passages which 
are quoted really from Paul's writings. 



Considering that two at least of these Apostolic Fathers (Clement and Irenaeus) 
were Westerns, and resided in a district where the Epistle was least known, the amount 
of testimony is really considerable, and is much more than has been hitherto 

The other testimonies to the authorship of the Epistle are divided into those of 
general or local Councils, of members of the Eastern Churches, viz. in Palestine, Syria, 
Alexandria, Asia Minor, and Constantinople, and those of the Western Churches 
including Africa. 

The earliest Council is that held at Antioch a.d. 269, which quotes the Epistle as 
Paul's (see Routh, iil 298). The second is the Council of Nice (a.d. 325), where it 
was received as the production of Paul (Wordsworth's Introduction ^ p. 365). The 
third is the Council of Laodicea (a.d. 363), where it was decided that the uncanonical 
books are not to be read in the churches, but only the following : Genesis . . ., etc. . . . 
PauFs fourteen Epistles (Westcott, p. 483). The fourth is the Council of Carthage 
(a.d. 397), where it was ordered that none but the canonical Scriptures should be 
read in the churches, and among those are * the thirteen Epistles of Paul, and also 
the Epistle of the same to the Hebrews.' In the next council held at Carthage 
twenty years later (a.d. 419), they are called *the fourteen Epistles of Paul' simply; 
and so the phrase goes in later Councils. 

If the Epistle was addressed to believing Hebrews at Jerusalem, — the common 
view, — we may begin our testimonies with Cyril, who was bishop in that city. He 
wrote his Catechetical Lectures in 349, and gives the names of the books of the two 
Testaments. Among them he recites the fourteen Epistles of Paul, affirming that the 
books themselves were delivered by apostles and primitive bishops (Westcott, p. 491). 

In the same century Jerome was living at Bethlehem. He had come from Rome 
to fit himself for translating the Scriptures into his own tongue, and brought with him 
the prejudice of the Latin Church of his age against the Epistle and its translations, 
a prejudice that was occasioned in part by the fact that the doctrines of the Montanist 
Novatian teachers in the West concerning the renewing of the fallen to repentance 
were grounded on their interpretation of the early verses of the sixth chapter of the 
Hebrews. He states that it was received as Paul's by all the churches of the East, 
and by all previous Greek-Christian writers. Though many attributed it to Barnabas 
or to Clement, he adds, that he himself receives it as Paul's, but thinks the question 
of authorship a small one, since the book itself is read every day in public reading 
{Epist. ad Dardanum^ Words, p. 31). Elsewhere {de Vir, Illust p. 30) he says that 
the style created difficulty, and that some therefore thought that while the Sententiae 
were Paul's, Barnabas, or Clement, or Luke had arranged and written them in his 
own style (Words, p. 30; Delitzsch, p. 12). There are several smaller mistakes in 
this statement, which, however, we need not notice. 

Eusebius was Bishop of Caesarea (a.d. 340), the town where Paul was for two 
years confined. He says that the * fourteen Epistles of Paul are manifest and evident ' 
(E. H, iii. 3), and elsewhere states that he is disposed to think that the substance of 
the Epistle is Paul's, but the diction from another hand, Clement's {E, H, iii. 38; 
Words. Introduction^ p. 364 ; and Del p. 10). Elsewhere he reckons it among the 
Homologoumena (iii. 25), and quotes it as Paul's (Words. Introduction), His testimony 
is the more important, because he was inclined to favour the Arians. * If,' says Theodoret^ 
Bishop of Cyprus (393), ' the Arians are not willing to listen to us concerning the 
benefits which the Church has received from the Epistle to the Hebrews, let them 
listen to Eusebius of Palestine, to whom they appeal as an advocate of their own 
dogmas ; for Eusebius admits that this Epistle is the work of the Divine apostle, and 


that all the ancients entertained this opinion concerning the authorship of it ' (Prooera. to 
his Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews), 

Besides these Palestine authorities, Gregory Thaumaturgus (Bishop of Caesarea, 
A.D. 212-270) is now quoted by Cardinal Mai as assigning it to Paul, as does Basil 
the Great, Bishop of the same place (a.d. 371-380). Chrysostom (a.d. 347-407), 
Bishop of Antioch, and afterwards at Constantinople, speaks of the fourteen Epistles 
of Paul. Herein also Epiphanius (a.d. 367) of Cyprus, Theodoret of Cyrus, Gregory 
of Nyssa (a.d. 332-396) all agree. 

In Asia Minor, Gregory of Nazienzum (a.d. 391) reckons among the * God-inspired 
writings ' * the fourteen Epistles of Paul' Amphilochius (a.d. 380), Bishop of Iconium, 
puts his reasons into verse, and reckons among the words of truth and inspired Scrip- 
tures the twice seven Epistles of Paul. Some, adds he, say that the Epistle to the 
Hebrews is spurious, ovk c^ XeyoKrc?, yvticria yap 17 xapt^. So says also Theodore, 
Bishop of Mopsuestia in Cilicia (a.d. 394), and a hundred and twenty years earlier 
Archelaus, Bishop of Cashara in Mesopotamia (a.d. 278), in his controversy with 
Manes, quotes Heb. i. 3 and iii. 5, 6. The passages may be seen in Routh, v. 
127-149. The testimony of Ephrem of Syria (a.d. 439) and of Severian Bishop of 
Galata in Syria may be seen in Lardner, II. 482, 620. 

As yet I have said nothing of Alexandrian writers. The church in that city was 
of primitive origin. It is said to have been founded by Mark, who was with Paul in 
his first imprisonment at Rome (Col iv. 10; Philem. 24), and perhaps also at his 
martyrdom (2 Tim. iv. 11). The church was also distinguished by the ability of its 
pastors, and Jerome says that the Catechetical school there began a Marco Evangelista, 
One of the chief teachers of the school, a presbyter of the church, was Pantaenus 
(a.d. 155-216), the teacher of Clement of Alexandria (see Routh, i. 376). He 
ascribes the book to Paul, and gives reasons why the apostle omits his name (West 
p. 309; see Delitzsch, p. 8). Clement (a.d. 220) of Alexandria taught (according to 
the summary of his Hypotyposes or Outlines as given by Eusebius) that the Epistle 
to the Hebrews is Paul's written in Hebrew, and that Luke, having carefully {^^1X0- 
Tifim) translated it, published it for the use of the Greeks. Hence, he adds, the 
similarity of colouring (xpwra) between this Epistle and the Book of Acts. In his 
Adumbrationes (Comments on the Canonical Epistles) he expressly assigns the 
Hebrews to Paul, adding that Luke translated it. He regularly quotes it in the 
Stromata as Paul's (West. p. 311 ; Words, p. 365). 

Origen, a pupil of Clement's, holds substantially the same view. See Wordsworth's 
translation of the passage ' on the Can./ p. 237, and Stuart, L p. 127. The meaning 
of this passage has been questioned, and Alford quotes it as affirming that no one 
can know who wrote the Epistle ; but not only does the passage itself correct this 
rendering, the rendering is contradicted by two facts. First, after writing this passage, 
Origen always quotes the Epistle as Paul's, or as the apostle's (see Stuart, i. 133). 
Secondly, in a passage given by Westcott as containing Origen's mature judgment on 
the Epistle, he says (a.d. 240) that he has written elsewhere * to show that the Epistle 
is Paul's ' (West. p. 318). 

These facts are important They show that in the second and third centuries 
there was a uniform and constant tradition at Alexandria that the substance of the 
Epistle was Paul's, and that there was a difference of opinion as to the person who 
reduced the Epistle to writing. Pantaenus gives no hint that the diction had one 
author and the matter another. Clement suggests a Hebrew original and a Greek 
translation. Origen differs from his master, and suggests that Paul arranged the 
materials and another wrote, Clement or Luke. The discrepancy shows how all 


agreed as to the substance ; and in all the subsequent testimony at Alexandria, the 
distinction between substance and language ceases. Hence Dionysius of Alexandria 
(a.d. 247) ascribes the Epistle to Paul (Delit. p. 10; Words, p. 366); as does Peter, 
a celebrated Bishop of that city (a.d. 300) (see Routh, iv. p. 35), and his successor 
Alexander (a.d. 313) (see passage in West. 319; Lardn. ii. 302); and so, finally, do 
the two great leaders in that city, Athanasius (a.d. 373) and Cyril (a.d. 412). The 
passages may be seen in Lardner, ii. 400, 401, iii. 9 ; and a confirmation of the state- 
ment may be seen in a recently published Catena of Dr. Cramer (a.d. 1844), in 
which Cyril, Alhanasius, and others all speak of the Hebrew as Paul's. 

It may be added, to complete this Eastern testimony, that nearly all the most 
ancient Greek mss. place the Epistle to the Hebrews among Paul's Epistles,^ not 
after the Pastoral Epistles as is done by the Vulgate, and in the A. V., but before 
them. In the Alex., the Sinaitic, the Vat, the Cod. Eph., the Codex Coislianus, 
in several ancient Cursive mss. (see Tisch. N. Z, ed. 1858, p. 555), and in older 
MSS. still, the Epistle to the Hebrews is placed immediately after the Epistle to the 
Galatians, and before that to the Ephesians. This fact appears from the present 
numerals of the sections in the Vat. (see Cardinal Mai's note, p. 429). In the most 
ancient Sahidic version it is inserted before the Epistle to the Galatians. 

It may be added, as bearing upon the question of canonicity, that the Epistle is 
found in the earliest versions of the New Testament, the Syriac, and the old Italic ; 
and those versions were made as early as the end of the second century at latest, or 
about a hundred and thirty years after the Epistle was written. 

While the evidence of the Eastern Churches (Palestinian, Syrian, Arabic, Alexan- 
drian, the last half Latin and half Syrian or Greek) is thus decided, the evidence of 
the Western Church is in a very different position. The history of the Epistle in this 
respect is the very opposite of that of the Book of Revelation. That book was received 
unanimously by the Western Church, and questioned in the East. The Hebrews, on 
the contrary, was received unanimously in the East, and questioned in the West. The 
amount and value of this Western questioning we now proceed to discuss. 

Here again I may remark the question has been unfairly represented, either by 
inadvertence upon the part of readers, or by forgetfulness of facts upon the part of 

Dr. Westcott, for example, says of Cyprian that he makes no reference to the 
Epistle, and that he implicitly denies that the work is Paul's (p. 325). In the same 
way Victorinus is quoted as rejecting it. The grounds for these statements are — (i) 
that Cyprian does not quote the Epistle, and (2) that he speaks of Paul's Epistles to 
Seven Churches only. So also in the case of Victorinus. To the first reason I reply 
that Cyprian quotes comparatively little from the New Testament, that there are 
several other Epistles not quoted from, and that in fact he does quote from Heb. 
xil. 6 (see Works, p. 30). As to Victorinus, nothing remains of his but a brief 
fragment of half-a-dozen pages of a commentary on Genesis apparently, entitled, * On 
the making of the World' (Routh, iii. 455). In those fragments he refers to only six 
books of the New Testament, and his non-quotation from the Hebrews proves nothing. 
The second argument is, that both writers speak of Paul's letters to seven churches 
only, and of course, it is concluded, the Hebrews is not included among them. The 
statement of both is in substance: — Behold the seven horns of the Lamb, the 
seven eyes of God, the seven spirits before the Throne, the seven lamps, the seven 
candlesticks, the seven women in Isaiah, the seven deacons, the seven trumpets, the 

^ On the other hand, the Cod. Clar. reckons the Epistle as canonical, but speaks of it n§ the Epistle 
of Bamabns. This is an African MS. of the eighth century. 


seven angels who sounded, the seven seals which were broken, the seven pairs which 
Noah took into the ark, the sevenfold vengeance promised to Cain, the seven pillars 
of the house of Wisdom of which Solomon speaks, and of course the seven churches 
to whom John wrote, and the seven churches of Paul {apud Paulum). Each writer 
is commenting upon the number of seven, its significance, and its completeness, and 
on the impossibility of there being more than the four Gospels, and seven Epistles to 
as many churches. Now, in fact, Paul did write to seven churches only, as John did, 
but the very place of the Epistle to the Hebrews, standing as it does among the 
Catholic Epistles, and after the Epistles to particular churches, shows that it was 
regarded, not as an Epistle to a Church, but to Hebrew believers ; and the implicit 
denial, as it has been called, of the Pauline authorship based on these facts, is really 
without foundation. Perhaps the favourite theory may be saved, and no dishonour 
be done to any Epistle by the later discovery of more than one Father that there are 
Epistles to seven churches, and that Paul wrote twice seven Epistles in all, including 
the Hebrews ! Of course I am not quoting Cyprian or Victorinus as saying anything 
in favour of the Epistle, except that Cyprian once quotes it. I only affirm that their 
authority against it amounts really to nothing.^ 

Another similar statement is, that no Latin Father before Hilary (a.d. 368) quotes 
the Epistle as PauFs (West p. 331). This statement may sound startling, but it 
really amounts to very little. There is no Latin Father before Hilary to quote it 
Clement, as we have seen, quotes the Epistle, as he quotes most of the Epistles, 
without mentioning the author ; but he is not properly a Latin Father. Tertullian 
quotes and speaks of it as a book included under the title of Barnabas ; and he is 
rather to be reckoned a heretic Father of the North African Church, as he certainly 
was when he wrote the treatise Dc Pudicitia^ in which the Epistle is quoted. 
Apollonius and Victor are Latin Fathers^ but they have left no works behind them. 
Minucius Felix is the only author of any note before Tertullian. He wrote OctaviuSy 
a book on Evidences, but, like most of the books of the early Apologists, it contains 
no quotations from the Christian Scriptures ; while the Letters of Cornelius given in 
Cyprian quote only one passage out of the whole of the New Testament (Matt. v. 8). 
The Latin literature of the first three centuries is, in fact, exceedingly scanty, and 
what we have supplies little or no evidence in the way of quotation upon the question 
of the Canon at all. It may be worth noticing, after these sweeping statements about 
Hilary, that the Epistle to the Hebrews had been translated into Latin, and had 
received its place among the Latin Scriptures a hundred years at least before 
Hilary *s day. 

Among Western writers who were not Latin Fathers, however, are Irenaeus and 
Hippolytus. The former was Bishop at Lyons, and though he is mentioned as not 
having quoted the Epistle, he has really quoted it, and according to the Pfaffian 
fragments has ascribed it to Paul. As to Hippolytus, who was Bishop at Portus 
Romanus, we have fragments only of his works, though they are considerable. His 
Refutation of all Heresies fills a volume in the Ante-Niccne Fathers^ and it may be 
said that though perhaps he does not quote the Epistle, in three passages he quotes 
remarkable Old Testament passages which are quoted in the Hebrews : * Our God is 
a consuming fire,' for example ; and, * The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent.' At 
the same time much cannot be made of his silence. His quotations from the New 
Testament are, considering his subject, exceedingly few, — not more, I suppose, than 

* This is the more clear when it is remembered that ten years after the death of Victorinus the 
Council of Hippo (a.d. 393), and then the Council of Carthage, placed this very book among the 
canonical Scriptures under the title of * The Divine Writings * (see West. p. 483). 


80 in 500 pages ; and he gives no quotations from the First of John and Philemon 
(Westcott). His quotations, it may be added, are not always distinguishable from his 
own composition. 

But though no importance is to be attached to the silence of Latin writers, there 
are two or three testimonies in relation to the Epistle which deserve special attention. 
Eusebius states that Caius, an ecclesiastical man, as he calls him, and of great 
reasoning power (XoytKcoraTos), mentions only thirteen EpisUes of Paul, not 
enumerating the Hebrews with the other Epistles, and he intimates that he does this 
in a treatise against Montanism. This Caius was a presbyter of Rome, and flourished 
(about A.D. 196) towards the end of the second century (Eus. vi. 20; Words. 367). 

There is a similar omission in the Muratorian Canon, as it is called, a list of the 
canonical books of Scripture belonging probably to the latter part of the second 
century, and ascribed by some to this Caius. The manuscript which contains that 
canon was written in the eighth century, and is a Latin translation from the Greek, 
as is proved by the Graecisms of the style. It is most carelessly written, and there 
are several lacunae in the mss. If this is the authority to which Eusebius refers, it 
partly corroborates his statement, though in fact it merely says that Paul writes to no 
more than seven churches by name, and shows * by this sevenfold writing that there 
is only one Church spread abroad through the whole world' (see Ante-Nicene Fragmmts^ 
p. 161). If this Muratorian fragment was not by Caius, then it is an additional 
confirmation of the statement of Caius. It illustrates very well how the canon was 
now taking a definite form. It detracts from the value of the document that it does 
not contain the First Epistle of John, and that the Epistle of James and one Epistle 
of Peter are omitted. 

A hundred and fifty years later (a.d. 380), Philastrius, Bishop of Brescia, and a 
friend of Ambrose of Milan, speaks of some heretics who say that Paul's Epistle to 
the Hebrews was not written by him, but is either by Barnabas the Apostle, or by 
Clement, while others say that it is Luke's. There is also an Epistle written to the 
Laodicaeans, and because in it are certain things of which they do not think well, 
therefore it is not read in the church. ' Though it is read by some, it is not read in 
the church to the people, but only the thirteen Epistles of Paul and occasionally the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. They think it not Paul's because the author has written in 
a rhetorical style, and because it speaks of Christ as man (iii. 3) ; therefore it is not 
read as well as because of what it says on the impossibility of restoring the fallen 
(vL 4), a passage that might favoiu: the Novatians' (Words, p. 16). Here he ascribes 
the opinion to heretics, though he says also that the Epistle was not commonly read 
in the churches. 

These two authorities (Caius and Philastrius) are confirmed by the language of 
Jerome. He says that the Epistle was received as canonical by all the churches of 
the East, and by all early Greek Christian writers, though some ascribed it to 
Barnabas and others to Clement, while they read it in their churches nevertheless. 
He adds that the Laiinorum Consuetudo did not regard it as canonical, just as the 
Gracorum Consuetudo did not regard the Revelation as canonical; and yet, he 
continues, we receive both as canonical, following herein the authority of ancient 
writers (Westcott, p. 403). 

How the Epistle got this repute at Rome it is not difficult in some measure to 
explain. Let me repeat that there was a very scanty literature, and very little know- 
ledge of theology or Scripture, at Rome during those early centuries, that the Roman 
Church up to the time of Augustine always admitted fewer canonical books than the 
Eastern, that in the ancient Latip lists just named the Epistles to Jews are all 


omitted (Hebrews, James, and i Peter), and we have some explanation of the facts. 
It may be added that the great controversy in Italy in the first century was in relation 
to Montanism and Novatianism, both heresies maintaining that the fallen could not 
be restored to the Church. The list of Caius, giving to Paul thirteen Epistles, is 
expressly said by Jerome to be in his Treatise on Montanism (see Jerome's testimony 
in Words, p. 32, App.), and Philastrius states that the Epistle was read in the churches 
only ' sometimes,' because of the teaching of the Epistle, and the support it seemed 
to give to the Novatian heresy. At the same time this was not the only reason ; for 
Tertullian, who was a Montanist, does not quote the Epistle as Paul's, though stating 
that the doctrine of the Episde was received from the apostles. 

While there is this negative testimony up to this date, there are on the other side 
other facts connected with the Western Church : (i) Clement quotes it largely, as he 
does other New Testament books ; (2) the Epistle is included in the old Italic version 
of Scripture (a.d. 150 to 200, Stuart, L 144); (3) it is quoted by Irenaeus; (4) by 
Rufinus, one of the few Latin writers of this century, the Hebrews is ascribed to Paul, 
and is said to be among the books which the Fathers included in the Canon (Words, 
p. 20, App.). In the Decretals of Daraasus (a.d. 366-384) the Pope, who sent Jerome 
to Palestine to complete his revision of the old Latin versions, the Hebrews is 
reckoned as Paul's, and is said to be one of those Divine writings which the universal 
Catholic Church holds (Words, p. 38). Other Decretals by Innocent (402), and by 
Gelasius (492), to the same effect may be seen in Words, pp. 38, 39, App. Their 
genuineness, however, is questioned. 

From the time of Jerome the Epistle was generally received in the Latin Church, 
though with some misgivings upon the part of some authorities. Hilary of Poictiers 
(a.d. 368), and Pelagius (a.d. 425), both speak of it as Paul's (Westc. p. 401), as do 
Ambrose of Milan (a.d. 340, 397), Lucifer of Cagliari in Sardinia (a.d. 370), and 
Augustine, though not without some hesitation. The lists of Jerome, Augustine, and 
the old Latin version all agree with our modern Canon, except that the last omits the 
two shorter Epistles of John. Cassiodorus (a.d. 468-560) appeals to all, and affirms 
that the Canon had been long since settled. The Middle Age writers agree in these 
conclusions — Primasius, Isidore, Alcuin, and Aquinas; and in the year 1546 the 
Church of Rome pronounced an anathema on all who denied the canonical or the 
Pauline origin of the Epistle. The evidence is not strengthened by her denunciations, 
but the decision has value as showing how she sided with Jerome and Augustine, 
the writers with whom the Latin literature of the Western Church really begins. 

Internal evidence, though often regarded as very decisive, is really often delusive. 
A few years ago the literary world was startled by the discovery of an alleged poem 
of Milton's, and the highest literary authorities pronounced it impossible that it 
should be his. No one, on comparing the L* Allegro and the Paradise Lost of the 
same author, would guess them to be by the same author. Johnson, it is well known, 
had three styles, and between the first and the last there is a wide difference. The 
style of the Letters of Junius has been traced in half-a-dozen contemporaneous writers, 
and all have been charged in succession with the authorship of these volumes. And 
when we go back and examine literature which belongs to another country and 
another age, with scanty materials to guide us, conjecture becomes much more 
unsatisfactory. The Book of Job has been ascribed on internal evidence by the 
most eminent authorities to Moses, and to the time of the Captivity. The Pentateuch 
has been divided among a dozen writers, and each critic has sought to set aside the 
theories of his predecessors. I am speaking only of general impressions when I say 
that the Hebrews does not differ more from the rest of Paul's Epistles than the 


hoi)cful tone of First Thessalonians differs from the sadness of Second Timothy, 
than the style and general spirit of the Galalians differs from the style and spirit of 
the Ephesians^ or than the Book of the Revelation differs from the Gospel of John. 

The (juestion needs, however, to be examined in detail. 

Let me jiremise that the question of the authorship differs from the question of 
the canonical authority. Clement, for example, quotes the Epistle as he quotes 
other |)art8 of Scrij)ture, but without mentioning the author's name. Origen, who 
maintained that the thoughts were PauFs, held that the words were by another, and 
yet he has written Homilies upon the whole book, expounding it as Scripture. The 
ancient versions, the Italic and the Syriac, place it in the sacred volume without 
giving evidence of its authorship. In other words, whilst there is extensive external 
evidence of its Pauline origin, there is still more extensive evidence in favour of its 
canonicity. It is very conceivable that we may admit the second without admitting 
the first, being either in doubt, or disposed to think, though without external evidence, 
that the thoughts are Paul's, and the composition partly Luke's or ApoUos's, and 
partly in the closing chapter Paul's — a view that has found favour with some German 
•cholars. Even Alford, who questions strenuously its Pauline origin on internal 
evidence chiefly, does not scruple to admit its canonical authority. Calvin and Beza, 
who question its Pauline authority, also maintain strenuously its canonicity. 

Let me revert to the language of Peter in relation to Paul's Epistles (2 Pet. iiL 15) 
— words that were long since quoted as referring to the Hebrews, This second 
Epistle is said to be written to strangers of the Dispersion, i.e, to believing Jews who 
alone answer the description ; and . its purpose is to exhort them to patience amid 
the trials of their faith. This lesson is the very lesson of the Hebrews^ the readers of 
which are exhorted to be followers or imitators of those who through faith and 
patience (fiMcpoOvfjua) are inheriting the promises (vi. 12 ; see xii. 2, ii. 18, iv. 15, 16). 
This interpretation has been as vigorously questioned as maintained, but no one 
seems to have considered whether there is not evidence in the Second Epistle of 
Peter of his knowledge of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is admitted that he has 
taken expressions largely from Paul's writings generally, and it might be expected 
that if he had referred to the Hebrews he would have taken expressions from it too. 

There is a remarkable sameness of expression in the Epistle to the Hebrews and 
in the Epistles of Peter. Phrases are found in both, and in no other books of the 
New Testament to an extent and in forms which make it clear the sameness cannot 
be accidental. A comparison between them will often throw light upon the meaning 
of each, and it will be found to have interest in connection with the authorship of 
the Epistle. Peter's pointed reference to Paul's wTitings, and the fact that he 
addressed his Epistles to Hebrews scattered abroad, and exhorted them to practise 
the same patience in suffering upon which the Epistle to the Hebrews insists, all 
combine to make the Pauline origin of the thoughts at least probable. 

The following are the more important parallelisms : — 

Heb. i. I, and 2 Pet. iii. 2, where both describe God as having spoken to the 
Fathers by prophets, and as giving the Gospel through His Son. Both also use the 
phrase ' in the last days,' or * at the end of these days.' 

Heb. ii. 7, 9, and 2 Pet. i. 17, where each speaks of glory and honour as ascribed 
to Christ, quoting apparently from the 8th Psalm, and combining terms found only here. 

Both speak of Christ as * without spot ' {a/uafios), and as offering Himself without 
spot unto God (Heb. ix. 14, and i Pet. i. 18-20). 

Both speak of Him as dying once for all (airo^) for sin (Heb. ix. and x., and 
I Pet iii. 18) — a description found only here. 


Both speak of the sprinkling of His blood (pavrurfio^) — a familiar idea in the 
Law, but found only in these two Epistles, Heb. ix. 13, and i Pet L 2. 

Both speak of the sympathy which Christ has for us, and which we ought also to 
have for one another (Heb. iv. 15, x. 34, and i Pet in. £) — expressions found only 
in these Epistles. 

Both speak of Christ as the Chief Shepherd, or as the Great Shepherd— a 
comparison found only here. 

Both speak of the entrance (cto-oSos) into Christ's kingdom and glory (Heb. x. 19, 
and 2 Pet i. 11), and both speak of angels as subject to the Son (Heb. i. 6, iL 5, and 
I Pet. iii. 22) — expressions found nowhere else in the New Testament 

Similarly Christians are described in both Epistles, and nowhere else, as strangers 
(irap€iriBrjfioi) ; as having tasted that the Lord is gracious, or as having tasted the 
good word of life (Heb. vi. 5, and i Pet ii. 3); as *fed with milk, and not yet fit for 
solid food' (Heb. v. 12-14, and i Pet ii. 2). In both, Christians are exhorted 
* to exercise oversight lest,' *to look carefully lest' (cTrto-KoirovKrc?) (Heb. xii. 15; 
I Pet V. 2) ; the only places where the verb is found. In the passages where the 
awful results of apostasy are described the thought is alike in both, and the guilt is 
made to depend upon the fact that the men whom they warn had received a fuller 
knowledge {iirCyvoxny) of the truth (Heb. vi. 4-6, x. 26-29, and 2 Pet ii. 20, 21). 
The prayer of the two apostles is that God Himself would be pleased to perfect them 
(KaTapTLo-aL vftas), or in the revised text of Peter KaTapTL(r€t, simply, a phrase found 
in this sense in these Epistles alone (Heb. xiii. 21 ; i Pet v. 10). Here are fifteen 
descriptions ot Christ and of Christian men peculiar to these Epistles, and they 
seem to lead to the conclusion that the writer of the Epistles of Peter must have 
seen the Epistle to the Hebrews. 

Why should he write to Jews at all ? Is there not prima facie evidence against 
his writing ? True, Peter was the apostle of the Circumcision, as Paul was of the 
Gentiles; but this did not exclude the one or the other from the care of any part of 
the Church. Peter was the first to win the Gentiles to the Church. Paul always 
visited the synagogues and preached to the Jews in every city to which he went. 
Nay, he himself says that he was the servant of all that he might gain the more. 
To the Jews he became as a Jew, that he might by all means save some of them. Nay, 
he was even specially interested in their salvation. Are they Hebrews ? So am I. Are 
they the seed ot Abraham ? So am I. Therefore he says, Brethren, my heart's desire 
and prayer unto God for Israel is that they may be saved. And if this was his feeling 
for all the seed of Abraham, how much more for those among them who were endeared 
by their fellowship in the Gospel ! He had made collections in all parts of Europe 
for the relief of the bodily wants of the saints at Jerusalem : how natural that he 
should think of their temptations and strengthen their hearts to meet them ! 

Besides, as no one was more zealous than Paul to promote the salvation of his 
kinsmen, none was more capable. He was a Pharisee, and the son of a Pharisee, 
had been brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect 
manner of the law of his fathers. After the straitest sect of their religion he had 
lived a Pharisee. He was therefore eminently qualified to reason with his own 
nation on the true nature and end of the Mosaic Institutes, and to handle them with 
all the learning and wisdom which the Epistle to the Hebrews displays. 

But why should he write anonymously ? His thirteen Epistles all commence with 
his name, which occurs nowhere in this Epistle. Like the First Epistle of John, it is 
anonymous : is that a proof that it is not of apostolic origin ? 

The Epistles to which Paul has prefixed his name were all addressed to Gentiles ; 


and as he was the apostle of the Gentiles he magnified his office, and claimed to be 
heard by them in virtue of it. But in addressing Hebrews his position was different 
It is true that the person from whom the Epistle came should be known, for how else 
could its reception be ensured ? They whom the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
desired to assure of the fact knew well the hand from which that Epistle came. 
* Pray for us that I may be restored to you the sooner ; * * Know ye that our brother 
Timothy is set at liberty? with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.^ These 
expressions prove that they to whom the Epistle was sent in the first instance knew 
from whom it came ; and the bearer of the Epistle would naturally inform them by 
whom it was sent Hence, as we find from external evidence, all the Eastern and 
ancient churches ascribed it to Paul. So says Eusebius ; so says Pantaenus a hundred 
and fifty years earlier. 

Clearly, therefore, the name of the writer was not withheld from any (desire to 
maintain entire secrecy, much less for any unworthy purpose ; for the author was well 
known to his friends, and could be known by all who cared to inquire of them. 
Alford indeed remarks on the gaiuherie of the writer in concealing his name, and 
yet telling them substantially who he was, and concludes that Paul would never have 
done this ; but this gaucluriey if it be such, is chargeable upon the writer, whoever he 
was ; and as Alford has the highest opinion of his profound sagacity, why charge him 
with what may be no gaucherie at all, but may be the soundest wisdom ? 

The case is that the Epistle was written not only for steadfast friends, but for 
waverers, for Judaizing Christians, and even indirectly for unchristianized Jews. To 
two-thirds of this last class he was specially odious — to the Judaizing Christians 
because he had rebuked Peter openly to his face, and maintained the equality of all 
Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles, under the Gospel ; and to unchristianized Jews 
as the renegade whose life they sought, and whose name would have deterred them 
from reading anything he had written. In the last two cases his name would have 
frustrated the very design with which the Epistle was sent 

His Master, who ' witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate,' had set him 
the example. He withdrew from districts that refused to receive Him. He charged 
those who witnessed His mighty works not to make Him known, lest they should 
provoke prematurely the jealousy of His enemies. He carefully abstained from 
putting stumbling-blocks in their way, lest they should sin. Paul caught the same 
spirit. He sought to give no offence either to Jew or to Gentile, or to the Church of 
God. He never compromised truth, indeed never concealed the Cross, or corrupted 
the simplicity of the Gospel by human additions, or by worldly wisdom ; but if the 
withholding of his name was likely to gain his end, he was the first to withhold it 
If Paul had been the author of this Epistle, there are good reasons why he should 
have withheld it ; and as those reasons do not apply with anything like the same force 
to any one else, the very withholding of the name, instead of diminishing, does, in 
fact, increase the probability that the Epistle is his. 

Upon the question of the internal evidence we cannot enter at length. It may be 
enough to state briefly the objections and the answers given to them under the heads 
of single words ; or combinations of words ; the mode of quotation, and the general 
style of argument and thought 

I. De Wette quotes a list of words used only in the Hebrews, and not found in 
the recognised Epistles of Paul. He takes the list as Schultz gives it (see Stuart's 
Introduction to the Epistle^ pp. 308 and 289). The total number of such words is 118, 
or, omitting six that are found in quotations from the LXX., 112. The Epistle covers 
about twenty pages in the Oxford Revised Text, so that words peculiar to this Epistle 


amount to about five and a half in each page. In fact, words of this class amount, 
according to Forster, to 151, or about seven and a half in each page. Now, in First 
Corinthians there are 230 words peculiar to that Epistle. The Epistle covers twenty- 
seven pages, so that they amount to eight and a half per page (see the list in Stuart, 
pp. 298, 299). If we take Jurst Timothy^ the case is much stronger. That Epistle is 
one-third of the length of the Hebrews^ and it contains 74 words found nowhere else 
in PauFs writings — nearly half the number found in the Hebrews. The number of 
peculiar Pauline words found in the entire New Testament (excepting the Hebrews) 
is 791, of which 614 are found but once, or in only one Epistle of his. These 
Epistles cover 132 pages, and the peculiar words amount to six in each page. The 
peculiar words of the Hebrews amount, according to Forster, to seven and a half per 
page, and yet it is on this ground that De Wette questions the Pauline origin of the 
Epistle itself. 1 

But we may go further. There are 54 words taken from the LXX. which are found 
only in the Hebrews and in Paul's Epistles. There are 21 words peculiar to the 
Hebrews and PauFs Epistles or speeches, and found elsewhere neither in the New 
Testament nor in the LXX. (d^Xciv, eta — c^iXo^cvta), and there are 38 words which 
are occasionally found in the New Testament, but which in frequency of usage are 
peculiar to the Hebrews and to Paul's Epistles (aytoo-ftos, used eight times by Paul in 
Romans, Corinthians, Thessalonians, Timothy, and Hebrews, and only once elsewhere). 
These are all characteristic words, and are found in the Hebrews and in Paul's 
acknowledged Epistles. There are indeed 177 more which occur more than once in 
his acknowledged Epistles (c^iXort/u-cto-^at, TroXtrevco^ai, etc), none of which are found 
in the Hebrews, and great stress has been laid upon this fact Here again, however, 
we need only to complete the statement of the facts, and the objection is answered. 
There are 172 words which are acknowledged to be Pauline, and yet are not found in 
the Corinthians; and there are 159 which are not found in the Romans; while in the 
shorter Epistles the number of omitted words is proportionately much larger. These 
figures are subject to correction, as may be gathered from the note below ; but they 
will be found in any case to supply but a feeble reply to the external evidences. 

2. The quotations in the Epistle to the Hebrews are objected to by various 
writers, and on various grounds. De Wette objects to the number of them, and refers 
to the fact that in Ephesians, Colossians, Thessalonians, Timothy, and Titus, there 
are not more than four or ^y^ quotations in all ; but the answer is plain. In an 
Epistle to the Hebrews quotations from the Old Testament are the very things we 
should expect. In fact, while there are 34 quotations in the Hebrews^ there are 48 

' I have adopted these figures from Stuart and Forster. Dr. Abbott of Harvard has re-examined 
the Epistle to the Hebrews and the First Epistle to the Corinthians. See Smith's Dictionary 
(American edition) under Hebreivs. He states that the words peculiar to the First Corinthians are 
217, and the words peculiar to the Hebrews are about 300. I have roughly examined Bnider's Cofi' 
cordance for the entire New Testament, with the result that, in First Corinthians, the words used in 
that Epistle are about three and a half to the page ; in Hebrews, six to the page ; and in all the rest of 
Paul's Epistles, five. But two facts appeared very obvious in that examination : (i) In many of Paul's 
Epistles — I and 2 Tim. and Titus, for example ; Eph. and Col. ; i and 2 Cor. — the same subjects 
are discussed, and the number of words that occur twice in what are practically parallel passages is 
very considerable. But for those passages these words would be found only once, and the difference 
in the proportion of unusual words in the Hebrews and in the confessedly Pauline Epistles would be 
largely diminished. (2) The peculiarly Pauline phrases found in the Hebrews are both numerous and 
striking; — «9^» (I Tim. vi. 12; 2 Tim. iv. 7; Heb. xii. i), k^Mrfx^it^m (2 Cor. i. 12; Eph. ii. 3; 
Heb. X. 33, xiii. 18), kifmvu fiifim$st yaX* (in its metaphorical sense), tfiixtt, ^Ur^v, and Si«r/i(ir#M, 
MMTmfyut, futimt, *fit ffmhimf, i«V itaihimf (2 Tim. iii. i6 ; Heb. xii. 7, Revised text), rffX/**;, *fSin^t, 
rvvfi^nrif, rtymf^, inrsfiuniy yfrirrmirit (confidence), inr^rmr^Uf, etc. 


in the Romans^ an Epistle unquestionably Paul's, and addressed to a mixed church — 
Jewish only in part The quotations in the Hebrews are 3*5 per page : the quotations 
in the Romans are rather more. 

De Wette maintains also that the symbolical use and occasional accommodation 
of the Old Testament passages and ordinances to the argument in hand is foreign to 
Paul's manner, though like Philo's. But the facts are really the other way. Paul 
uses the Old Testament in his acknowledged writings in the very way in which the 
Jews were accustomed to use it. He sometimes appeals to direct prophetic utter- 
ances ; sometimes to similarity of sentiment ; sometimes he accommodates passages 
which in their original reference have a local or temporary meaning to describe things 
that happened at the time he wrote. Sometimes he appeals to the Old Testament 
for analogical cases to confirm or impress the doctrine which he inculcates, and 
sometimes he uses Old Testament language as the vehicle of thought in order to 
express his own ideas. In particular, and to meet De Wette's objection, he employs 
the Old Testament ex concessu in what seems an allegorizing sense. It is thus he 
allegorizes on the history of Sarah and Hagar (Gal. iv.); on the command of Moses 
not to muzzle the ox that treadeth out the com (i Cor. x.) ; on the veil over the face 
of Moses (2 Cor. iii.) ; on the declaration that a man should leave his father and 
mother and cleave to his wife (Eph. v.). All these examples are found in Paul's 
accepted writings, and all have their parallels in the Hebrews, 

Schultz, and after him De Welte and Alford, object to the manner of citing the 
Old Testament by Paul, and by the writer of the Hebrews, as different Paul, it is 
said, always appeals to the Old Testament as a written record, whereas the writer of 
the Hebrews quotes it as the immediate word of God, or of the Holy Ghost Paul's 
phrase is, * It is written ; ' the Bebreias' phrase is, *God says,' cr *the Spirit says;' 
and, it is added, Paul never uses the phrase, * God says,' which, it is said, is found in 
this Epistle. 

Now the facts are that in twenty-one cases the quotation in the Hebrews, * He 
says' (cTirc, Xcyci, if>riai), is used generally without any nominative; in thirteen of 
these God, or the Lord, is probably the nominative; four have * Christ' implied; in 
two other passages ' the Spirit * is expressed ; and once we have * the Scripture saith ; ' 
and once * that which was commanded.* In Romans, * It is written,' or a similar 
form, is used sixteen times ; * the Scripture saith ' is used eight times ; * Isaiah saith,' 
•Moses saith,' *the oracle saith,' is used fourteen times. So the Hebrew usage pre- 
ponderates even in the Romans. 

The statement that Paul never used * God saith * is contradicted by the fact that 
*God' is the nominative in two passages in the Romans^ in four passages in the 
Corinthians^ and in one in the Galatians, Thrice only, indeed, is * God,' or * I^rd,' 
expressed (2 Cor. vi. 16, 17, 18); but then in Hebrews, out of fourteen passages, it 
is expressed only once (vi. 14). 

The Epistles to the Corinthians may be taken as a specimen of the formula of 
quotation. In First Corifithians * It is written ' is always used, except in one passage 
(vi. 16), and four times there is no formula. In Second Corinthians * It is written' is 
thrice used ; * He saith ' thrice ; and there are two quotations without any formula. 
There is in fact no great difference between the Hebrews and other Epistles, except that 
•He saith' is there the preponderating form, as elsewhere *It is written ' is the pre- 
ponderating form. Even of these differences there is an obvious explanation. The 
common form of quotation from Scripture among the Jews was, and still is, * It is 
said,' or • According as it is said.' To a Greek this phrase would be very ambiguous : 
to a Jew it is perfectly natural and clear. Of course this reasoning does not prove 


that Paul wrote the Hebrews ; but it proves that, whoever wrote it, wrote as to Jews, 
and as one who knew their ways. It proves, moreover, that the difference of quota- 
tion between the Hebrews and other Epistles is trivial, and is explained by facts with 
which Paul was perfectly familiar. 

3. But what of the argument from these quotations? Who could imagine, it has 
been said, that the second Psalm, for example, had anything to do with the resurrec- 
tion, or that the eighth Psalm had anything to do with our Lord, or that the iioth 
Psalm, with its reference to Melchizedek, applies to the Divine priesthood of our 
Redeemer ? These quotations, it has been said, are not made in the proper sense of 
the passages quoted. And again the answer is at hand. The second Psalm is quoted 
in the New Testament, and is applied to our Lord by the apostles (Acts iv. 25) ; and 
the very verse quoted in the Hebrews to prove the resurrection of Christ is quoted 
for the same purpose by Paul (Acts xiii. 33), being quoted by no other New Testa- 
ment writer. 

The eighth Psalm is quoted by our Lord as fulfilled in Himself (* Out of the 
mouth of babes and sucklings,' etc) ; and is made the basis of a similar argument by 
Paul in I Cor. xv. 27 (*and hast put all things under His feet '). 

As for the i loth Psalm, which contains the allusion to Melchizedek, our Lord has 
quoted it as fulfilled in Himself, and it is recognised as Messianic by His Jewish 
hearers. * Jesus answered and said. How say the Scriptures that Christ is the Son of 
David? for David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit 
Thou on my right hand till I make Thy foes Thy footstool David himself therefore 
calleth Him Lord.' If this use of the Psalm is Philonistic, as some have stated, it is 
also scriptural. 

In brief, the common arguments based on internal evidence against the Pauline 
origin of the Epistle prove little, and certainly cannot be regarded as setting aside 
the external authority. 

That when the writer of the Hebrews expresses thoughts found elsewhere in Paul's 
writings, he often employs forms of expression that differ from those of his acknow- 
ledged Epistles, is admitted, and what the most satisfactory explanation of those differ- 
ences may be is a question open to discussion. A later expression of the same 
thoughts by the same writer, a Hebrew original, the employment of the pen, and, in 
some degree, of the style of another, all have been suggested as explanations. We 
are not bound to decide on any of these explanations. What may be safely affirmed 
is, that there is nothing in this difficulty that justifies us in setting aside the historical 
evidence, which is very decidedly to the effect that in its substance the Epistle is 


The Epistle consists of two parts : the first part chiefly doctrinal (chap. i.-x. 18), the 
second part chiefly practical (x. 19-xiii.) — the whole abounding in warnings against 
apostasy and unbelief. 

I. Doctrinal. — In the first part, the supreme authority of the gospel and the in- 
feriority of the law and of all other dispensations, are proved by comparing tlie heralds 
or teachers of these dispensations, their servants or priests, their covenants, their 
worship, and their sacrifices (i.-x. 18). 

2. Practical. — Upon this doctrinal argument are based exhortations to patient 

endurance and trust Faith is shown to be the essential and permanent grace ; its 
VOL. iv. 2 


power and blessedness are traced through a long line of heroes and confessors, ending 
in Christ Himself; and the Hebrew Christians are encouraged to endure trials as 
fatherly chastisement common to all true sonship, and fitted to promote their holiness. 
The blessedness of the new covenant is then used, as often in the earlier part of the 
Epistle, to set forth the awfulness of apostasy (x. 19-xii.); and the Epistle closes 
with exhortations to special duties and virtues, blended with personal allusions, and 
ending with the apostolic benediction (chap. xiii.). 

Doctrinal Outline (chap. i.-x. 18). 

Christ, the author and teacher of the gospel, is superior to prophets, to angelic 
messengers, and to Moses, the mediator of the law. 

1. Christ is superior to prophets, not in time, indeed (L i, 2), but in the unity 
and completeness of His teaching (vv. i, 2), and in His personal dignity as 'Light of 
light,' Son and Lord or heir, through whom the worlds were made and are still 
sustained (ver. 3), and as Redeemer and King (vv. 2, 3). 

2. Christ is superior to angels^ as proved by His Divine origin, which differs from 
that of angels (vv. 4, 5), by the worship they pay Him (ver. 6), by His office as eternal 
King (vv. 8, 9) and as Creator (ver. 10), by His unchangeableness, and by His 
mission to preside and reign, as it is theirs to serve (w. 13, 14). 

Hence the practical lesson. Give the more earnest heed to this gospel which 
Christ introduced, which apostles and others attested, and which God Himself con- 
firmed by every form of miracle, and by the varied gifts of the Holy Ghost (ii. 1-4). 

And yet this Son is * man * also, a fresh proof of His superiority to angels, and of 
His fitness for His office. For it is * man ' who is to have supremacy (ii. 5-8), and it 
is by His manhood our Lord becomes our brother and helper and sympathizing 
priest (ii. 9-18). 

3. Christ is superior to Afoses, one of the most faithful of God's servants. Moses 
was apostle, messenger, only ; Christ was apostle and priest (iii. i). Moses was part 
of a great economy ; Christ was the founder of the economy itself (ver. 3, * house '). 
Moses and his economy were creations ; Christ was the creator (ver. 4). Moses was 
a servant in the house ; Christ was son (w. 5, 6) — the first in another's house, the 
second in what was His own. 

Again the lesson is plain. Be faithful and obedient and true — a lesson enforced 
by solemn examples and appeals. The Israelites perished through unbelief (iii. 7-1 1), 
and a like spirit will bring a like punishment and create a new example (ver. 12). The 
writer reminds his readers that we share in salvation only if we persevere (ver. 14). 
He appeals again to the case of the Israelites (vv. 15-19). They had a promise and 
a gospel (iv. 1-3) as well as we, and yet they missed * the land * and the rest that were 
promised them. So David assures us that there is a truer rest, and a better Canaan, 
which later generations, and it may be we with them, may also miss through the 
same unbelief (w. 4-1 1). Great caution is needed, for the Divine word discriminates, 
and God Himself, who knows all, is judge (w. 12, 13). And yet there is hope even 
for the feeblest believer. Our High Priest is Son of God and Son of Man. He is 
therefore as prompt to pity as He is mighty to save. 

4. Christ s priesthood superior to Aarotis (chap, v.-vii. 28). — Every high priest (a) 
must be one with those he represents (ver. i); {p) must have the 'considerate mild- 
ness,' the * sweet reasonableness * of one who knows his own weakness and ours ; (c) 
must be prepared to offer sacrifices for others (w. 2, 3); and having to act in matters 
relating to God (</), must be appointed by God (ver. 4). The first of these qualifica- 


tions he has insisted upon already (chap. iL); the third he discusses later (chap, 
ix 15-X. 18) ; the fourth and the second (//and b) he now proceeds to prove. 

Christ, it is clear, did not take upon Himself this office, as is shown from the 
second Psalm, and from the hundred and tenth (w. 5, 6). His fitness to exercise 
compassion is proved by His own trials and prayers and tears, and by the efficacy of 
them (vv. 7-10). 

Digression on the priesthood Oi Melchizedek, with warnings and exhortations. 
The digression necessary, partly because of the rudimentary knowledge of the 
persons addressed, partly because of the mystery of the truths themselves (w. 1 1-14). 
Progress in knowledge essential (vL 1-3) : a truth confirmed by the danger of apostasy 
(w. 4-6), and the miserable recompense of unfruitful professors (vv. 7, 8), and by his 
own hope of better things for them, lounded on the Divine faithfulness and on their 
own love (vv. 9, 10). But he desires them still to persevere. Strengthened by the 
example ol those who are fellow-heirs with them (vv. ij, 12), by the example of 
Abraham, and by the promise given to them, which promise comes to us with a double 
confirmation, and introduces us to even greater blessedness (w. 19, 20). 

The argument is now resumed. Christ being a priest after the order of Melchize 
dek, is superior to Aaron. Melchizedek was king and priest (vii. i, 2). His priest- 
hood was not hereditary or temporary, and he received homage from Abraham, and 
virtually from Levi (w, 3-10). And in all this superiority Christ shares, and shares 
pre-eminently. In dignity and in authority He is superior, and also in the perfection 
ot His work. The Levitical priesthood perfected or justified none, and it was finally 
set aside on the ground of its unprofitableness. Christ's priesthood, on the other 
hand, offers a sacrifice once for all, and saves to the uttermost all that come unto God 
by Him (vv. 11-19). There are also other proofs. Christ was appointed with an 
oath, with a double oath, with higher sanctions (w. 20, 22), and holds a permanent 
office, while His character and sonship give power to His office both with God and 
with man (w. 23-25, 26-28). 

5. The Superiority of the New Covenant, — The efficacy, sacrifices, and worship 
contrasted with the imperfect and typical institutions of the law. 

Christ, as priest, is seated at God's right hand, the minister of a true tabernacle, 
not a typical one, and has offered a divine and heavenly sacrifice (viii. 1-6), whence 
it is clear that we have a better covenant, based upon better promises, and pro- 
nounced by God Himself to be superior to the old (w. 8, 9) ; for it is written on 
men's hearts (ver. 10), gives its blessings to all (ver. 11), and provides for the forgiveness 
of sin (ver. 13). Divine and beautiful as were the temple and its sei^vices (ix. 1-5), they 
belonged rather to an earthly state (ver. i) than to a heavenly one (ver. 11); and 
showed that the way into the holiest was not yet open, and that consciences were not 
at rest. The whole was at best a type or parable of a coming reality, which last alone 
could set completely right what was disordered (w. 6-10). All this Christ has 
realized by the offering up of Himself (w. 11-14), ratifying the new covenant by His 
death (w. 15-17) as the old typical covenant was ratified by the blood of its victims 
(w. 8-21). Hereby He has obtained forgiveness (w. 21, 22), and has effectually opened 
the way into heaven, where He now appears for us (ver. 24) ; whence He ¥dll come 
again as judge, and complete His work as the Saviour of all who believe. 

The superiority of His sacrifice is further proved by the inefficiency of the sacrifices 
of the law, which only revealed, and did not remove sin (x. 1-4, n), by God's repudia- 
tion of the victims and offerings of the law (vv. 6-8), and by the preparation and 
substitution of the offering of the body of Christ (vv. 5, 7, 9), and by the reality of the 
efficacy of His sacrifice. It requires and admits of no repetition — a repetition that is 


forbidden alike by Christ's position in glory (w. 12, 13), by the perfect sanctification 
of all who believe, and by the completeness of that forgiveness of which prophets have 
long since spoken (vv. 15-18). 

Practical Lessons and Exhortations (x. 19-39, ^' '-S^* ^' 39-^i- '»» 
xiL 12-29, xiii. 1-25). 

Grounds for stedfastness : An open door into heaven (x. 19), a new way of access 
(ver. 20), and Christ's appearance in heaven for us (ver. 21). 

Stedfastness is strengthened by a fuller faith in Christ, who has freed us from 
guilt and impurity (ver. 22), by hope in the Divine faithfulness (ver. 23), by love of 
the Church, and continued fellowship with it (vv. 24, 25). 

Motives that ought to confirm us in stedfastness and guard us from apostasy : 
The impossibility of finding another sacrifice (ver. 26), the danger and imminence of 
final condemnation, and the heavier punishment that awaits apostates under the 
gospel (w. 28-31). The same lesson is enforced by the memory of past struggles 
and losses, which are vain unless we persevere, by the certainty of our reward if we 
are faithful, and by the fact that a life of loving trust and expectancy is ever dear to 
God (vv. 35-39). 

The nature, object, and necessity ol faith (chap. xi. 1-6). Its utility in giving 
understanding or perception (ver. 2), righteousness (ver. 4), heaven (ver. 5). Its power 
and blessedness attested, before the law, by the life and blessedness of Abel, Enoch, 
Noah, Abraham, etc (w. 4-22); under the law, by Moses, by the Israelites at the 
Exode, by the early victories in Canaan, and by Rahab (vv. 24-30, 41); after the 
^w, by Judges and earlier Prophets (w. 32-35) ; by others under the Kings, and in 
the days between Malachi and John the Baptist (vv. 35-38). 

Reasons for patience (xL 39, 40-xiL 11) : The example of the Fathers, who finally 
received their reward, though it was long delayed (xL 39; xii. i), and of Christ Him- 
self, who suffered more than all — the originator and finisher of faith (vv. 2-4). 
Further reasons are found in the fact that discipline is a test of all sonship (ver. 5), an 
evidence of Divine love (ver. 6), and a means of increasing holiness. 

Exhortations to greater earnestness and to the cultivation of all virtue — {a) what we 
have to do (w, 12-14); (^) and avoid (vv. 15-17); (c) and consider the excellence of 
the Mosaic law (vv. 18-21), and the greater excellence of the gospel (vv. 22-24). The 
obligation of greater earnestness (w. 25-29), and of all virtue (chap. xiii.). Love of 
the brethren (ver. i), love of strangers (ver. 2), compassion on all that suffer (ver. 3) ; 
purity in married life, contentment, and trust (w. 4-6). The loving remembrance and 
imitation of departed leaders (vv. 8, 9), and a heart established by grace, and by our 
participation in the great sacrifice of the Cross — a sacrifice for sin offered without the 
camp, in which therefore none, as in the sin-offering under the law, can share (vv. 
10, 11) but those who go forth without the camp (w. 12, 13). This we do, offering 
continually the sacrifice of thanksgiving and of a consistent confession of Christ's 
name (ver. 15), with the added sacrifice of beneficence and subjection (w. 16, 17). 

The writer asks the prayers of Hebrew Christians (w. 18, 19) ; prays to God for 
them — to God as the author of peace through the redemption of Christ (ver. 20), to 
God as the giver and perfecter of all good, working in us through Christ (ver. 21); 
commends to them his Epistle, speaks of the speedy visit of Timothy, an^ clps^ with 
the usual Pauline salutation (vv. 21-25). 




Summary of Early Evidence on the Authorship and Genuineness of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, Reference to Authorities accessible mostly to English Readers. 



UpiAttnsr . . . . 
Pblycarp . . . . 

Justin Martyr . . . 

Bamaba«? . . . . 

Irexiaenit . . . . 

Pkntaenus . . . . 


Maratori Canon t . . 

Vet. VerUo lul. . . 

Versio Syriaca . . . 

HIppolyinitt . . . 

TwtvlUaBt . . . 

Oyprlaiit . . . . 



Dioayuttt .... 
Gregory ThaumaL . 
Council of Antioch . 
Archelaus . . . . 

Peter, Bp 

Alexander . . . . 
Council of Nice . . 
Methodius . . . . 
Gregory Nazianxen . 
Eu«ebius . . . . 

Chrysostom. . . . 
Council of Laodicea . 
Victorinust .... 
Council of Carthage . 



Damascus .... 
Rpiphanius .... 



Athanasius .... 


Amphilochius . . . 
PkilllStllVlt . . . 
Theodoret .... 
Theodore .... 
Augustine .... 



Sahtdic Version . . 
MS& Alex. Vat. . . 

Sinaitic Ephr. . . 

Coistin (F.) .^ . 
Cannnes Apostolici . 


Roms . . 

Antioch . . 
Smytnt . . 

Lvons . . 

Alexandria . 
Rome . 

Rome . . . 

luly . . . 

luly . . . 

Africa . . 

Africa . . 

Alexandria . 

aao,* d. 

Alexandria . 

»53f d. 

Alexandria . 


Caesarea . . 


Antioch . . 




Alexandria . 


Alexandria . 


Nice . . . 


Lycia . . . 
Nysita . . 



CaBsar«a. . 


• • 




Africa . . 

Africa . . 


Jerusalem . 
Palestine and 




Rome . . 


Consuntia . 


Poictiers . . 

350 368 

Cagliari . . 


Onarea . . 


Alexandria . 


MiUn . . 


Iconium . . 

Hrescia . . 


Cvrus. . . 


Cilida . . 


Hippo . . 




Rome . . . 


Egypt . . 

4th Cent. 

• • 

4th, 5th. 

• • 

6th Cen- 

• • 


• • 


Sicily . . . 






2d Cent. 






230, d. 

240, d. 



Quotes largely : no name . . . 

Quotes twice 

Quotes once more 

Quotes thrice 

S notes once? 
notes twice : once as Paul's . . 
Ascribes it to Paul ...... 

Does not include it in Paul's Epistles 
floes not seem to include it. 
Puts it among Canonical Books . 

Is saia met tc quote it, hut quotes 

Ascribes to Barnabas, and speaks 

of it as Apostolic in doctrmo 
Does not quote, and speaks of 

Epistles to Seven Churches 
Says Paul wrote it in Hebrew . . 
Says Paul gave the thoughts, and 

quotes it as his 

Ascribes it to Paul 

tt »» 

_ ♦♦ . . »» • 

Quotes It twice 

.\scribes- it to Paul 

»• »» 

_ »» . »i 

Quotes It 

Ascribes it to Paul . . . ^ . . . 
Discusses the whole question, and 

ascribes it to Paul 
Ascribes it to Paul 

Speaks of Eps. to Seven Churdies 
Altcribes it to Paul 

If y« • • • • • • 

Ascribes it ^to Paul : notes the 

Latin feeling 
Ascribes it to Paul 

,, ,,...... 

•» „ ..... . 

It ....... 

If »» 

»» »• 

•I ,,...... 

»■ »» 

f» »• 

,. ,,,..... 

With some doubt, ascribes it to 

Ascribes it to Paul 

Includes the Epistle. 
Hebrews is included among the 
Epistles of Paul 

Ascribes it to Paul 

,, „...•• . 


Jacobson's Patr. Apost. ; Stuart, 

«• 77. 94* 
Ante-Nic. Fathers, pp 190, 250. 
Routh'sOp. Eccl. 1, 13, 24. See 

Forster. p. 547. 
Ante-Nicene Fathers ; Westcott, 

p. 147. 
Ante-Nicene Fathers. 
Ante-Nic Fathers, Ir. 1, 238, 176. 
Routh, i. 376 ; Westcott, 309. 
Wordsworth, 367 ; Westcott. 

Stuart, i. 144. 

Ante-Nicene Fathers. 


Ante-Nicene Fathem, p. 30; 

Westcott, 31 1 ; Wordsworth, 365. 
Wordsworth, 337 ; Stuart, 1. 

Westcott, 31^ 

Cardinal Biai ; Wordsworth. 
Routh, iii. 398. 
Routh, y. X37, 149. 
Routh, iv. 35. 
Lardner, ii.' 303. 
Wordsworth, Intr. 365. 
Westcott, 3139. 
Wordswortn, p. [23]. 
Wordsworth, 364 ; Deliti. la 

Westcott, 485. 

Westcott^ p. 483. 

Routh, iii. 455. 

Cave, Hist. Lit. 368; Words- 
worth [33] ; Westcott, 483. 

Westcott, 491. 

Wordsworth, 30, 31 ; Delitzsch, 

Wordsworth [38]. 

Wordsworth, p. 16. 

Westcott; Wordsworth, Intro. 

Westcott, 404. 

Westcott, 397. 

Lardner, ii. 400, iii. 9 ; Cramer's 

Lardner, iii. 330, x ; Davidson. 

Wordsworth, p. [22]. 

Wordsworth, p. [20]. 

Wordsworth, Intro. 364. 

Westcott, 39J. 

Wordsworth,* p. (34]. 

Lardner, ii. 483. 
Westcott, 512. 

Tischendorf, N. T. 1858. p. 555. 


Words. Canon, 8$ p. (36]. 
Words, p. [19]; West. 510. 

* Indicates proximate dates. 

t Authorities supposed not to refer to the Epistle, but really referring to it. 

i Writers of the Latin or Western Church. 


Was the Epistle written by Apollos, p. i ; or by Barnabas, p. 2 ; or by Cement or by Luke, p. 3. 
Was it written by Paul ? 

External Testimony. 

It was written in his lifetime and has his usual authorization, p. 4. (See abo pp. 12 and 1 3.) 
Peter's Testimony, p. 5 ; Clement and other Apostolic Fathers, p. 5. 
Ecutern Testimony — 

Palestine — Cyril, Jerome, Eusebius, Gregory, Chrysostom, pp. 6, 7. 

Asia Minor — Gregory, Amphilochius, Theodore, etc., p. 7. 

Alexandrian Writers — Pantsenus, Clement, Ath.inasius, Origen, Dionysius, pp. 7, 8. 

Greek Mss. and Versions, p. 8. 
Western Testimony — 

Cyprian, Victorinus, Hilary, p. 8; Hippolytus, p. 9; Caius, Muratorian Canon, etc., p. 10; 
Clement, Irenseus Decretals, Jerome, p. 11, 

Internal Testimony (p. 12). 

Peter. Why Paul should write to Hebrews, p. 13. 

(i) Words found only in Hebrews— style, p. 14. 

(2) Quotations, and mode of introducing them, pp. 15, 16. 

(3) Arguments based on quotations, p. 17. 

English readers may be glad to have a few books named which they will find specially helpful : — 
Gouge's (W.) Commentary on the Epistle, being the substance of thirty years' Wednesday's lectures 
(two vols. fol. 1655), is still held in high esteem ; Owen's (Dr. J.) Exposition of the Hebrews (in four 
vols, folio, 1668-74) is full of elaborate, doctrinal, and experimental comments; Maclean's (A.) 
Paraphrase and Commentary on the Epistle is very judicious and excellent, and deserves to be better 
known ; Brown's (Dr. John) Exposition is rich in evangelical and practical comment, though less 
critically accurate than is usual in his expositions ; for the argument, and for pithy, striking suggestion, 
Bengel's Gnomon will never be consulted without advantage; Bleek and Delitzsch are very 
helpful for verbal criticism, and the last for doctrinal exposition ; Tholuck and Ebrard and Stuart 
are each helpful in all departments ; Alford is on this Epistle largely indebted to Delitzsch, and is 
generally good; for Rabbinical learning, the English reader may turn with profit to Owen and 
Lightfoot and Gill ; as the scholar may turn to Wetstein, and Schcetgenius and KuinoeL 


(This is the only heading of the Epistle sanctioned by the most ancient 


[The marginal parallel passages in clarendon type are the passages from the originals of which the 
words of the text are taken. In citing these, figures in brackets give the Hebrew or Greek 
reference ; when Gr, or Heb, is added, it indicates from which text the quotation is taken.] 

Chapter I. i-II. 4. 

T/ie excellettcy of the New Dispensation— proved by the superiority of Christ to 
Prophets and Angels^ as Son of God, Creator, Redeemer, and King, i. 1-14. 
— Comeqnent Responsibility, ii. 1-4. 

1 r^ OD, who at sundry times and * in divers manners spake * "^f"^ "^ 

2 VJT in time past unto the fathers by* the prophets, hath *|^^>f' 
* in these last days ' ^ spoken unto us by his Son,* ^ whom he ^ j JJ^ \^^, 
hath * appointed heir of all things, 'by whom also he* made ^p^^-jj-gH-^- 

3 the worlds; -^who being the brightness of his glory, and the xj^lii!^f^ 
express image' of his person,* and '^ upholding all things by w^Vuiiy. 
the word of his power, *when he had by himself purged our xCor.v5ii.6; 
sins, 'sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; colX^IIs?* 

4 being made" so much better than the angels, as *he hath by xiv.'i;'*' 

5 inheritance obtained " a more excellent name than they. For phii.a.6;' 

CoL L 15, 

unto which of the angels said he at any time, ^ &*"•** . 

' Thou art my Son, . ^^-.j^' "• 

This day have I begotten thee ? 1 rloL'&S 

And again, ^ ^i^^Z\ 

'" I will be to him a Father, ^ S?" *r *• 

And he shall be to me a Son ? *E^h:\*^,r 

6 And again, when he bringeth in" "the first-begotten into the i^y^^/^"^ 
world, hesaith, "And let all the angels of God worship him. ^*|%*^^3'' 

7 And of the angels he saith, '^i^^'fcbSk. 

^ Who maketh his angels spirits," S^'ii 6; Pt. 

And his ministers a flame of fire. i»Roiiir^.'JJ; 

8 But unto ^* the Son lu saith, rcv.YV 

* having in many portions and in many ways spoken * m pejoh^ 

» read, at the end of thescL days * in one who is Son • omit hath J^^J '^ 

* he also ' very impress * substance /Pi. oIt. * 

* omit by himself <md our, and tr, made purification of sins («***•) *• 
*** having become ** obtained " or, when he again bringeth in 

^* or, winds ^* or^ of, as in ver, 7 

[Chap. I. 1-II.4. 


^ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and* ever : 

A sceptre of righteousness '* is the sceptre of thy kingdom. 
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity ; 

Therefore God, even thy God, '' hath anointed thee 

With the oil of gladness above thy fellows. 
10 And, 

' Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid " the foundation 
of the earth ; 

And the heavens are the works of thine hands : 
' They shall perish ; but thou remainest ; 

And they all shall wax old as doth a garment ; 

And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, 

And they shall be changed : " 

But thou art the same, 

And thy years shall not fail. 

13 But to *• which of the angels said he*' at any time, 

" Sit " on my right hand, 
Until I make thine enemies thy footstool ? 

14 "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to "Minister ^'jj^*{- jj^j;. 
for *' them who shall be "^ heirs of salvation i " » '.^l- !*^^ 

17 ; Acts 

CllAP. II. I. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to }^^ll ,j. 
the things which we have heard," lest at any time we should •''fx";"i>^t.ivl 
2 let f/iem slip.** For if the word 'spoken by angels was** sted- li^^xJi'%. 




(xMt.) 6^ 7. 


Acts hr. «7, 

X. 38. 
« Pi. ciL (cL) 

/ Isa. xxxir. 4, 

IL 6: Mat. 

xjdT. 35 ; s 

Pcc iii. 7. xo; 

Rer. XXI. x. 
M Ver. 3 ; Pi. 

OK. (olx.) 1 ; 


Mk. xii. 36 ; 

La. XX. 42 ; 

di. X. 12. 
V Gen.^ xix. t(S, 

xxxii. x,a,24; 

Ps. xxxiT. 7, 

xci. zz, 

ciii. 30^. 3 1 ; 

Dan. ill. 28. 

vii. zo, X. 1 1 ;; 

Lu. i. X9y 

ii. 9. z3 ; 

Acts xii. 7, 

11^ Kom. viii. 17: 
It. iiu 7 ; 

Jas. iu 5 ; 

fast, and ^ every transgression and disobedience received a just 

M Ch. X. 28, 29, 
xii. 25. 

3 recompence of reward ; 'how shall we escape, if we neglect so ''hi^'i\i;' 
great salvation ; "" which at the first began to be spoken by 

25 ch. i. 2. 
6 Lu. i. 2. 

c M k. xvi. 20 ; 

the Lord, and was * confirmed unto us by them that heard ""ActixwlJ 

4 ///;// / ^ God also bearing t/iem witness,*" ^ both with signs and xv^'/isV 19T' 

wonders, and with divers miracles, and 'gifts'^ of the Holy r/AcuiL "2/43. 

Ghost, -^ according to his own will ? ^ « '■ «»• 

4. 7. !»• 

/Eph. I. 5,9. 

" rtad^ and the sceptre of {and ir.) uprightness ^^ didst lay 

*^ read and ir, roll them up ; as a garment also shall they be changed 

^* or, of, as in ver, 7 *® hath he said *® Sit thou 

*^ ue, to do service on behalf of ** who are to obtain salvation 

*5 that were heard ** drift away from them 

** through— by means of— aneels became, or proved to be 

'^ witness with them *' maniK)ld miracles (powers), and different distributions 

Vers. I, 2. The author contrasts the gradual 
and multiform revelations given of old in the 
person of the prophets, with the revelation given 
at the end of tne Jewish dispensation in the 
person of Him who is Son. — God who . . . spake ; 
rather, God having spoken ; the Greek express- 
ing the preliminary nature of former communica- 
tions. — Sundry timee describes rather the many 
imperfect revelations — which were still parts of 
one whole — given through Enoch, Abraham, 
Moses, etc., each knowing in part only ; as 
diven mannen points to the many ways in 
which the revelations were given-:-mysterious 
promise, pregnant type, dark prophecy, or it 

may be, though less probably, dream, vision, 
audible utterance ; while under the Gospel the 
revelation is the life and dying and explicit 
teaching of Christ, with the added enlighten- 
ment — still in Christ — of the Holy Spirit. , . . 
God spake in the prophets, as he spake in one 
who was Son. So the preposition means, indicat- 
ing not so much instrumentality * through them,* 
as God in them, abiding and inspiring. . . . ' One 
who was Son.* Such is the force of the original 
where there, is no article, in contrast to the 
prophets of the previous clause. The complete- 
ness, the unity, the supreme authority of the 
revelation that closes the preliminary and partial 

Chap. I. i-II. 4.] 



lessoas of the old economy is the theme Aat fills 
the writer's mind. . . . The Son of God — incarnate 
as wc afterwards learn (ii. 14) — is in His life and 
death and teaching the full revelation of the 
Father, and of all that is essential to salvation. — 
At the end of theee days. Such is the corrected 
text. The common text speaks of the Son as 
introducing the new economy ; the corrected text 
speaks of Him as closing the old. Christ's king- 
ship really began at Pentecost ; but the last days 
of the old economy continued overlapping the 
new till Jerusalem was overthrown, and the 
possibility of keeping the Levitical law had passed 
away (Heb. viii. 13). The Epistle thus pre- 
pares all readers for the overthrow which is seen 
to be at hand, and which was to prove a sore 
temptation even to Christian Jews. — Heir, pos- 
sessor, like the 'heritor* of Scotland and the 
lutres of the old Roman law (Justinian, Inst, 
xi. 19). Already Christ was Lord, and whatever 
was God's was His also (Acts ii. 36 ; John xvii. 
10). — By whom, through rather, i.e, by whose 
agency or instrumentality. — The worldB. The 
Greek word in this passage describes all things as 
existing in time, and in successive economies, 
natural and moral. Elsewhere the world often 
represents the world in its material order and 
beauty (Heb. iv. 3, ix. 26), or, as inhabited, the 
world of men (Heb. i. 6, ii. 5.) In the second of 
these senses, the word is sometimes used to mark 
a spirit or temper as opposed to the Gospel (Heb. 
xi. 7 ; Jas. iv. 4 ; i John v. 4.) 

Ver. 3. The brightneaB— the effuigaice—oi the 
divine glory, with allusion probably to the visible 
glory ofcthe Shekinah over the mercy-seat, though 
the meaning is deeper. ' Light of {i.e, emanating 
from Him who is the) light.' — The express image, 
the impress or stamp wherein and whereby tlie 
divine essence is made manifest : and all this He 
is in His own nature, so the Greek implies 
('being,* comp. John i. i), not that He became 
so by incarnation. ' Image of his penK)n ' is 
not felicitous. The earlier rendering, substance 
(T}'ndale, essence or nature), is more accurate. — 
And bearing, upholding and directing all things 
by the word, theyfa/ of His power, when (rather 
after) he had made purification of sins, i,e, had 
atoned for them, sat down, etc. 

What higher honour can be given to our I^rd ? 
He is the glory — the love and holiness of God 
made visible ; the very essence, the nature of the 
Father in loving embodiment. He therefore 
that has the Son has the Father also. 

Note that God not only acted in creating all 
things; He acts still in upholding them. A 
creation regulated by dead law alone is not 
Scripture teaching (see Acts xvii. 24, 25, He is 
giving to all life and all things, 27, 28). And it 
is in and through Christ this is done. 

Ver. 4. Ha^g become, after He had made 
at< nement for sin, as much superior to the 
angda, as he has obtained a name far more 
excellent than they. His greatness is partly 
essential and partly acquired (see Phil. ii. 6- 11). 
The first He had as Son before the world was ; 
the second He obtained through His incarnation, 
and after He had suffered. 

Vers. 5--14. Now follows the proof of this 
superiority — in name and, as name generally 
implies in Scripture, in nature. 

ver. 5. My Son. Again by position the em- 
J^basis is on this name, and on the relation it 

describes : My Son art thou, to-day haTe I be- 
gottMi thee. These words have been referred to 
the incarnation, when the ' holy thing ' bom of 
the Vir^n was called Son of God (Luke i. 35) ; 
or to His resurrection and exaltation, when He is 
marked out as Son of God in regal dignity, ' in 
power* as Messianic King (Rom. i. 4). This 
last view is favoured by Acts xiii. 32, 33, where 
this identical promise is said to be fulfilled unto 
us when God raised up Jesus. Others refer the 
words to the essential nature of our Lord, as Son 
of the Father by 'eternal generation,' as it is 
called. Crod sent the Son, it is said, and so He 
had dignity before His incarnation and before His 
resurrection. The fact is, the word Son describes 
His relation to the Father, both personal and 
official ; and ' I have begotten thee ' applies to 
every state to which the word * Son ' applies — 
His original nature, His incarnation, and His 
kingship. In the following verse He is called 
* the first-begotten * — a title not given to Him in 
connection with His incarnation, but describing 
His dignity and rights. He is called first-be- 
gotten, never first'Creatfd, for all things belong 
to Him, as all things were made by Him. This 
expression, the first-begotten, is peculiar in this 
figurative sense to Paul s writings (Rom. viii. 29 ; 
Col. i. 15, 18; Rev. i. 5 ; comp. Heb. xii. 23). 

Ver. 6. And in accordance with this relation, 
whenever (to quote another passage, ' again ') He 
bringeth or leadeth (literally ' shall have led ') in 
the first-begotten into the world, he saith, * Let 
all the angels of God worship him.' Here are 
several difficulties. The quotation from Ps. xcvii. 7 
is not exact, as most of the quotations in this 
Epistle are. In Deut. xxxii. 43 the very words 
are found in the Septuagint ; but there are no 
words corresponding to them in the Hebrew text. 
The Psalm belongs to the Messianic Psalms, and 
the exact words of Deuteronomy describe the 
welcome given to the Messianic King. Two 
passages are here blended in one. Some trans- 
late ' bringeth or leadeth again,' and refer the 
words to our Lord's second coming alone. But 
' bringeth in ' is hardly appropriate to the 
second coming ; and the use of an expression that 
describes an mdefinite future is justified by the 
fact that it is a Quotation of what was spoken 
long ago, from which time the futurity begins. 
It is therefore better to regard the language as 
fulfilled whenever Christ is introduced into the 
world of men. Then — at His birth, His resurrec- 
tion. His kingdom — is He the object of angelic 
worship. — The angels. The Hebrew of Ps. xcvii. 
7 is, ' all ye mighty or divine ones,' a word applied 
to Cjod, and applicable to magistrates, and to all 
who had a divine message and spoke in God's 
name (John x. 34). Comp. ' The divine in man,' 
'The divine disciples sat.' Divine though they 
be, the Son is exalted above them all — in His 
nature, and in the reverence paid Him. (See on 
ii. 6.) 

Ver. 7. As to angels, moreover, they were 
made by Him (not begotten). They are spirits, 
not sons ; and His servants or ministers, ia * flame 
of fire.* Some render 'spirits' by ' winds,' and 
read, ' He maketh His angels as winds, passive, 
swift, and untiring.' They do His will, as do the 
tempest and the lightning. In the Hebrew of 
the Psalm (civ. 4) either meanin|[ is possible, ' Ue 
maketh the winds or spirits His messengers,' or 
'His messengers spints' or winds. In tlic 



[Chap. I. i-II. 4. 

Septuagint, and so here, on the other hand, the 
only allowable meaning is, ' His angels or 
messengers winds ' or ' spirits.' The rendering of 
the Greek by winds is very rare in the New 
Testament, and is indeed found only here, and 
possibly in John iii. 8. In ver. 14, the angels are 
expressly called 'ministering spirits^ — a name 
that recalls both the names given in ver. 7, 
spirits and ministers. They are His w^orkmanship, 
not His sons ; and they are all either * spirits * or 
material elements, or as material elements ; ' a 
flame of hre,' an allusion perhaps to a Jewish 
interpretation of seraphim — ' the burning ones.' 
On tne whole, therefore, the A.V. seems prefer- 
able to the marginal rendering. 

Ver. 8. But whatever the difficulties in the 
minute interpretation of those verses, the general 
sense is clear. Angels are all subordinate ; while 
to Christ are given names of a very different im- 
port — God and Lord, and highest dignities — a 
sceptre and a throne, a kingdom. — A sceptre of 
lignteoiiBneei, or rather of uprightness, as the 
word is translated in the Old Testament If this 
change be made, it may then be said that right- 
eous, righteousness, just, justify, justification, are 
throughout the New Testament forms of the same 
Greek word. His character befits His kingdom. 
His is a sceptre of uprightness. He loves right- 
eousness and hates iniquity, showing herein the 
very nature of the Father. 

Ver. 9. The dignity of the God-man He owes 
to His Father. God anointed Him as King and 
Priest, and gave Him honours such as kings, 
prophets, priests — His * fellows, * associates that is, 
not necessarily equals — never knew. He there- 
fore is now the One Priest, the King of kings and 
Lord of lords (sec Eph. i. 21). This supremacy 
is a joy to all who trust and obey Him. Nay, the 
earth itself is called to rejoice because He 
reigneth. The anointing oil that consecrates 
Messiah Priest and King is oil of gladness 
indeed ! 

Of these quotations, ver. 8 is taken from Ps. 
xlv., which Jewish commentators maintain to be 
written of the Messiah ; ver. 9 is taken from a 
passage that speaks of Solomon, and of Christ as 
antitype ; and ver. 10 is taken from a Psalm 
(cii. 25-27) that seems to speak of Jehovah only ; 
and yet vers. 13-16 of that Psalm are connected 
with the. Messianic kingdom. Creating power 
and immortality are here ascribed to the Son, as 
in ver. 13 universal empire is given to Him. 
The quotation in ver. 13 is from Psalm ex., a 
strictly Messianic Psalm (see Matt. xxii. 43, 44). 

Ver. II. They all, ue, the heavens and the 
earth. The language and the imagery are taken 
largely from Isa. xxxiv. 4 and li. 6. 

Ver. 12. As a mantle shalt thou roll them 
up, as a gannent also shall they be changed 
— a quotation from Ps. cii., with the words ' as a 
garment ' added, on the authority of the best 
Mss. The heavens and the earth are to be 
rolled up as done with, and they are to be changed 
for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein 
dwelleth righteousness. 

Ver. 13. Sit thou, etc., from Ps. ex. i. The 
right hand is the place of authority and honour. 
luy footstool, lit. a footstool of thy feet — not a 
resting-place for the feet, but what is to be 
trodden under by them. The application of this 
Psalm to the Messiah is accepted by the Jews, as 
aj^[>ears from the Targums and other Jewish 

writings, is affirmed by Christ (Matt xxil 43-^) 
and by His apostles (Acts ii. 34, 35 ; i Cor. xv. 25; 
Eph. i. 20-23), and by different passages in tms 
Epistle. Whom eke could David acknowledge as 
his Lord ? and to whom else did God swear that 
he should be a priest for ever ? 

Ver. 14. Are they not all ministering spizitif 
— a blending in reverse order of the expressions 
found in ver. 7. The play upon the words 
' ministering spirits sent forth to minister * is not 
in the Greek. The original is simply ' ministering 
spirits continually sent forth on (or for) service. 
The word here rendered ' ministering * is used in 
N. T. to express the temple service ; and the 
word rendered 'ministry' or service is a 
form of the word that expresses deaconship 
or subordinate service generally. The worship 
and the work of angels is carried on in the 
great temple of nature and grace, and their 
service originates in the needs and claims of those 
who are soon to possess complete salvation. Of 
their ministry, for the benefit of all who believe, 
we have many examples under both Testaments. 
It is none the less real now that it is unseen. 

Chap. ii. 1-4. These verses are closely con- 
nected with the first chapter, and scarcely less 
closely with the subsequent verses of the second. 
It is characteristic of tnese warnings and exhorta- 
tions that they never interrupt the thought. They 
spring naturally from what precedes, and lead as 
naturally to what follows. 

Ver. I. We have heard, rather '[the things] 
heard,' an expression less definite, and intended to 
include all that was spoken by our Lord and by 
His servants, whatever was heard by them and 
reported to us, or directly by ourselves. The 
d^ity of the messenger adds greatly to the 
responsibility of those who hear the message (Mark 
xii. 6). — ^Lest haply, possibly, we drift away 
from them. The A. V. (* let them slip ') is, in a 
general sense, accurate ; but it fails to represent 
the figure, and conceals part of the lesson. It is 
not the truths of the Gospel that slip away, but we 
who slip or * fleten ' past them, as Wicliffe ex- 
pressed it. The word well describes the subtle 
power of temptation. We have simply to do 
nothing, and we shall be carried along to our 
ruin. To fall away requires no effort. To stand 
firm, to hold stedfast, is the difficulty. 

Ver. 2. The word spoken by (rather, through or 
in the midst oO angels. If the attendance of 
angels at the giving of the Law added force and 
dignity to the precepts of that economy, how much 
greater is the honour and the authority of the 
Gospel wbidi was given by Him whom angels 
worship and serve (chap. i. 6-14) ! The minis- 
tration of angels in givmg the Law is mentioned 
elsewhere in Scripture (see parallel passages in the 
maigin of the text), though not at great length. 
Josephus speaks of it more distinctly {Antiq. xv. 
5, § 3), and Wetstein quotes Jewish authorities 
which speak of ' the angels of service ' whom 
Moses saw. In Gal. iii. 19 this ministration is 
referred to as a mark of the inferiority of the law. 
In Acts vii. 53 the contrast seems to be between 
a law given by man and one having higher autho- 
rity. Such allusions, however, must be carefully 
distinguished from passages that speak of the 
'angel of His presence in whom was God's 
name — * the messenger of the covenant' — passages 
that refer, though dimly, to the Son of God Himself 
(see Pye Smith and Domer).— Wm itedfaat, 

Chap. II. s-iS:]- 



rather, became or proved to be stedfast, ue. the 
command was confirmed in authority and obligation 
bvthe punishment of transgressors. — Tranagrea- 
aion and disobedience. Every violation of the 
command is here inchided : all actual transgression 
of the law in the first, and all neglect or contempt 
of divine precepts in the second. Ethically the 
two mental states involve each the other. Com- 
missions and omissions are both transgressions 
and disobedience. The first are things done in 
violation of law ; the second are things left 
undone in violation of law also — the neglect, for 
example, spoken of in the following verse. — ^Ee- 
compence of reward is a happy tautology. What 
is given back to a man in return for what he has 
done, whether good or bad, is the meaning of the 
Greek, as it is the meaning of both expressions in 
old English, though lx>th are now used in a good 
sense only. (See Ps. xciv. 2.) 

Ver. 3. By the Lord, rather through, by the 
instrumentality of. When instrumentality is 
clearly expressed in the context, as when it is said, 
' By whom He made the worlds ' (chap. i. 2), no 
chuige is needed ; but when, as here, ' by ' is 
ambiguous, making it uncertain whether it de- 
scribes a mere agnU or the originating cause^ it is 
important to mark the distinction. The Lord is 
here regarded as the divine messenger, whose 
message God Himself attested (ver. 4). — The 
Lord. The title thus given to Christ has special 
dignity, and is not common in this Epistle, being 
found only in vii. 14, xiii. 20, and perhaps in xii. 
14. It is the word used in the Septuagint to 
translate Jehovah. — Was confirmed unto us has 
been quoted to prove that Paul did not write this 
Epistle, be having afhrmed elsewhere that he 
received his doctrine directly from Christ Himself 
(Gal. L 12; I Cor. ix. i, etc.) There is, how. 
ever, no inconsistency. The writer is here speak- 
ing of the Gospel as attested by many human 
witnesses whom he, and those he is addressing, 
had heard.— So great salvation. Nothing is 
said here of the greatness of the salvation beyond 
the qualities immediately named (comp. Greek 
iTrif ), viz. that the Gospel began with the teaching 
of the Lord, and was confirmed l)y the testimony 

and experience of those that heard it ; still further 
by the variety and the diffusion of miraculous and 
spiritual gifts — God's own witnesses. A gospel 
originated in this way, and sustained by such 
evidence, has the strongest claim on our atttotion. 
The primary evidence of Christianity is Christ and 
Christians — the character of Him who first taught 
it, and next the testimony of men who have 
believed it, and who can tell of its fitness to bring 
peace and to produce holiness; and all this 
evidence is permanent, as clear and as strong now 
as in the first age. — Neglect. The sin rebuked 
here is not the rejection of the Gospel or contempt 
of it. It is simply neglect or indifference. The 
hearers did not care to examine the truths and 
duties it revealed. Tell men what God is and 
what God has done to make them happy and 
good, and the character of men is as fully tested 
by their indifference as by their formal rejection of 
the truth. Not to care about a message of recon- 
ciliation and holiness decides the character and the 
destiny of many who have heard but will not 
regard. We have only to * neglect * salvation and 
we lose it, as in the previous verse we have only 
to take no heed ; and we are carried away to our 
ruin in both cases. 

Ver. 4. God lUso bearing them witness, i,e, 
God bearing witness with them to the Gospel 
they preached, confirming their word by the signs 
that followed (Mark xvi. 20).— With signs, 
wonders, and miracles. This is the threefold 
division of the miraculous acts which prove the 
superhuman mission of those who work them. As 
* miracles ' (Ji/»«^f<f), they display Divine power ; 
as * wonders,' they excite surprise ; as * signs ' (St. 
John's usual word), they supply evidence which 
remains after the sensuous excitement of miracu- 
lous power has passed away — evidence which is 
the usual proof and accompaniment of a divine 
revelation (2 Cor. xii. 12).— The gifts of the 
Holy Ghost are illustrated in their diversity 
(to one man one gift ; to another, another) in 
I Cor. xii. 4-1 1, God Himself distributing them 
(as in First Corinthians it is the Holy Ghost 
who is said to distribute them) according to 
His own will. 

Chapter II. 5-18. 

The excellency of the New Dispensation furtfier proved by Chris fs superiority 
to Angels as Son of Man, who is made supreme, and is eminently fitted 
for His office as suffering Saviour and sympathizing Friend, 


5 1170^ "^*^ ^^^ angels hath he not' put in subjection '^ the « ^^.5;^ 

6 X world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain 
place testified, saying, 

* What is man, that thou art mindful of him } 
Or the son of man, that thou visitest him } 

7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels ; 
Thou crownedst him with glory and honour, 

' For not unto angels did (or hath) he 


VII. 17 ; 



[ChaI*. II. 5-1 S. 

And didst set him over the works of thy hands : 

8 ^ Thou hast* put all things in subjection under his feet. ^Jg^^cS?."' 
For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing Ellh!V«a: 
t/tat is not put* under him. But now ''we see not yet all ^xci.x^.»$. 

9 things put* under him. But we see Jesus, 'who was made a 'g'*'**''*'' 
little lower than the angels for * the suffering of death -^ crowned /Acta n 3> 
with glory and honour ; that he by the grace of God should 

10 taste death ^for every man. * For it became him, ' for whom '^i-*":!^ 
are all things, and by * whom are all things, in bringing many J*^^*",?: 
sons unto glory, to make *the captain* of their salvation Jj^^J^f' 

1 1 ' perfect through sufferings. For "* both he that sanctifieth and jiLrkliv^e. 
they who are sanctified ''are all of one: for which cause *he is iAmULilf 

12 not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, 

^ I will declare thy name unto my brethren. 
In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.' «St$*iv2!l6! 

13 And again, ^I will put my trust in him. And again, ''Behold, '^]tfi^^!i7i 

14 I and the children * which God hath given me. Forasmuch /»p2."iSL '^' 
then as the children arc partakers of flesh and blood,* he ' also ^S^liiu a; 
himself likewise' took part of the same; "that through death riSk^'ia 
he might destroy ^^ him that had " the power of death, that is, x^i'e*^ 

15 the devil ; and deliver them who "through fear of death were tu.i\^i 

16 all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not Phii.u.7. 
on ///;;/ f/ie nature 0/^* angels ; but he took on Aim *' the ^seed L 55*: 

17 of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him ^ to be aTim. i. xl. 
made like unto ///> -^^ brethren, that he might be 'a merciful Rom.*viii*is: 

2 Tim. i. 7. 

and faithful high priest in things pcriai^iing to God, to make «!»». ^ 8- 

18 reconciliation** for the sins of the people. ''For in that he ("*•)..«• 
hmiself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them ^P;*^- 's, 
that are tempted. 

dL ni. a. 
/ Lu. xiiL 3a ; 
ch. V. 9. 

V. I, 2. 
rt Ch. iv. 15, 16, 
V 2, vii. 2$. 

' didst ^ />., in subjection, the same word as before in vers. 5 and 8 

* rather^ But him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, we 
behold, even Jesus, because of * through, etc, ^ rather^ author 

' or^ congregation will I praise thee, as in Ps, xxii. 22 ■ or^ blood and flesh 
® />., in like manner, literatty^ nearly in the same manner or degree 
'® bring to nought "hath 

** assuredly he taketh not hold of, ue, to rescue *^ taketh hold of 

" in order to make propitiation or atonement 

Vcr. 5. For. This verse introduces a new 
proof of the superiority of the Gospel ; but it 
IS also connected with what precedes. The 
most natural explanation is to connect the 
* for ' with i. 14. Angels are not sons : they 
ore ministering spirits appointed only to serve. 
Not unto angels is the government of men 
under the Gospel committed. The new dis- 
pensation economy, the kingdom of God, the 
order of things under the Messiah, is committed to 
man, as was the world of old (Ps. viii.); to the 
model man, however, the ideal man, the second 
Adam, the Lx)rd from heaven. The name, * the 
world to come* (see noie on i. 2), was quite 
familiar to the Jews, who called their own 

economy 'this world,' and was used after the Jewish 
economy had practically ceased (corop. Matt. xii. 
32), as Christ Himself is called, even after He had 
come, 'the Coming One* (Rom. v. 14). This 
world of the future was already introduced ; but 
the description was still appropriate, and is usetl 
again in this Epistle (ix. 10, 11, x. i), partly 
because it was the name that described the hope 
of the Jews, and partly because the temple \yas 
still standing. Some regard the name as applying 
to the new heaven and the new earth, some to 
the heavenly state itself. It really includes them 
lx)lh, only it is wider, and applies to the whole 
order of things and to the government of men 
(see Or.) under the Messiah. (See chap. vi. 5.) 

Chvp. II. 5-18] 



Ver. 6. But one in a certain place. Some 
one somewhere testifies. This is not the language 
of uncertainty nor even of indefiniteness. It is a 
common formula found in Phiio and, as Schoet- 
genius shows, in Jewish writers, when they quote 
from what is supposed to be well known to their 
readers. Some one, you know who, in a certain 
place, you know where. 1 he expression is found 
only here and in chap. iv. 4. — ^WhatiBman . . . or 
the ion of man t Both expressions point in the 
original passage to man as fallen and feeble. It 
is human nature that is thus honoured — human 
nature, not probably iq its original state, but as 
subject to death because of sin, the chief quality 
in which angels excel men. This human nature 
God crowns and makes supreme over the work of 
His hands — a supremacy one day to be made com- 
plete in the person of our Lord. — A little lower 
may (in the Hebrew and Greek) mean a little in 
d^rce (as in Prov. xv. 16 ; Heb. xiii. 22), or for 
a kitle [time] (as in Ps. xxxvii. 10). If spoken of 
man as originally created, it means a littU ; if 
spoken of man as humbled, brought down through 
sin and the penalty due to it, and spoken of Chnst 
as incarnate, it may mean for a little, * A little 
lower,' however, is the more probable meaning 
both in the Psalm and in this passage. Both 
senses are true of man as fallen and redeemed, 
and of Christ as incarnate and suffering. — Than 
the angels. This is the Septuagint translation of 
the Hebrew of the Psalm. The original may 
mean * than God,' or than * the Divine,' as we say. 
The expression is applied in Scripture to magis- 
trates and rulers, who are * hedged round with a 
Divinity,' and the word is rendered 'than kings' 
in the Chaldee paraphrase. The translation * than 
angels ' is sanctioned by most of the Jewish com- 
mentators (see Gill), and is to be preferred, unless 
we take * than the Divine,' the Hebrew plural 
form admitting this abstract sense (see chap. i. 6). 
— Thou hast set him, etc. These words are 
omitted by some ancient authorities and by the 
earlier critical editors {vide Griesbach, etc.) ; but 
the preponderance of evidence is now in favour of 
retaining them. The supremacy they describe 
was given to Adam after his creation (Gen. i. 28), 
and again to Noah after the fall (ix. 2). 

' Lord, what is man T extremes how wide 

In his mysterious nature join : 

The flesh to worms and dust allied. 

The soul immortal and divine ! 

' Dut Jesus, in amazing grace, 

Askumed our nature as His own. 
Obeyed and suflered in our place, 
Then took it with Him to His throne. 

* Nearest the throne, and first in song, 

Man^hall His hallelujahs raise ; 
While wondering angels round Him throng, 
And swell the chorus of His praise.' 

Vers. 8, 9. The supremacy is certainly promised, 
and is intended to be complete; for nothing is 
excepted, though as yet (ver. 9) the promise is 
imperfectly fulfilled. The humiliation is clear 
enough, and the crowning with glory is begun. 
By and by there will be universal subjection, and 
He will be universal king. Meanwhile we may 
welt turn from the imperfect conquest which it is 
so easy to see, and contemplate (see Gr.) the 
great spectacle— Jesus made man, tasting death 
for men, crowned, and awaiting His full reward. 
From that spectacle suffering Christians will 
gather fresh patience and faith. This use of the 

expression, 'subject to Him,' and its applicatfon 
to Christ, is found only in Paul's Epistles : I Cor. 
xv. 27 ; Eph. i. 22 ; Phil. iii. 21. The words, 
*for the suffering of death,' are connected by 
the ablest scholars (Tyndale, De Wette, Winer, 
etc.) with the words that follow: * because of 
the suffering of death He was crowned,' as in 
Phil. iL 9 ; and this rendering is all but essential 
if we are to do justice to the Greek ()<« with the 
accusative expressing an actual existing reason, 
not an end to be gained). To connect them with 
the previous clause, 'a little lower,' etc., as if 
dyin^ were the purpo3e of His humiliation, is to 
do violence to the original, and to anticipate and so 
repeat the thought of the next clause, ' that He 
might taste death for every man.' 'To taste 
death ' is a common Hebraism for to die (Matt, 
xvi. 28 ; John viii. 52). Merely to taste is some- 
times the meaning of the Latin gustare, but 
that meaning must not be pressed here. In 
classic Greek, the phrase means to p[ive oneself 
up to ; but the Hebrew meaning ' to die ' is nearer 
the truth, with the added idea, perhaps, that He 
experienced and felt it, and so came to understand 
more fully what death is. . . . And yet all this 
suffering — the ground of our Saviour^s honour and 
exaltation— was by God's grace. Herein is love, 
love in its noblest form, that God sent His Son to 
be the propitiation for our sins. If God Himself 
be not deeply concerned in this work, if the 
Divine nature have no share in what Christ did and 
suffered, the whole teaching of Scripture is con- 
founded ; and for our salvation we owe more to a 
'man' than to the blessed God. God is outdone 
by a creature in the exercise of His noblest 
perfections, and that in the very dispensation 
which was intended to reveal them. — For every 
man ; rather, for every one. The extent, the 
design, and the effect of the death of Christ have 
been, as is well known, the subjects of great 
controversy. Some hold that He so died for all, 
that all are to be saved by Him ; others, that He 
died only for all whom the Father gave Him ; and 
others, that He died for all, inasmuch as His suffer- 
ings and death remove the obstacles to the pardon 
of sinners which are created by the character and 
government of God. The question is partly verbal, 
and may be raised in relation to all God's gifts— 
the Bible, the means of grace, blessings of every 
kind. The thing that may be safely affirmed here 
is that the explicit teaching of this Epistle makes 
it impossible to accept these words in the first 
sense. Those who are saved by His death are 
' the sanctified,' * the brethren,' * the many sons ; ' 
not those who reject the Ciospel and die in 
unbelief ; and yet so large a company made heirs 
of blessings, moreover, so numerous, so varied, 
and so lasting* that if the dignity of His person 
gives value to His sacrifice, the efficacy of His 
sacrifice reflects back a glorious light on the 
dignity of His person. 

Ver. 10, etc. It became him. This arrange- 
ment (whereby one made lower than the angels 
was to be supreme) was not only in harmony with 
God's intention, as foreshadowed in nature and 
revealed in Scripture; it was in itself befitting. It 
was worthy of God, and it completed the Saviour's 
qualifications for His office. In this way He, as 
sm-bearer, cleanses us from sin, and stands in the 
same relation to God as those who are to be 
cleansed. He becomes their brother, pays to the 
same Father the same tribute of grateful praise. 



[Chap. II. s-i8. 

exercises the same trust as they, and presents 
them with Himself completely redeemed (vers. 
11-13). Meanwhile His mercy, His faithfulness, 
His help are all perfected through the experience 
and the sufferings He has undergone (16-18). — It 
became him, i.€, God, who is Himself deeply 
concerned in His great work, for whom are all 
things, and this among them. — For whom are 
all thingi, etc. The same language (which is 
found elsewhere in N. T. only in Paul's writings) 
is applied with characteristic differences to God 
(Rom. xi. 36) and to Christ (Col. i. 6 ; i Cor. viii. 
6). — In bnnging is the right rendering, though 
'having brought' is a possible meaning of the 
tense form. The words refer not to the saints of 
the old economy chiefly, but to all who are being 
saved. The saints of old — David, Israel, etc. — typi- 
fied Christ in their sufferings : to Him, therefore, 
they were conformed. Hut we as well as they. 
And as it is to the coming glory the writer refers, 
the words are eminently true of us. — Oaptain, trans- 
lated elsewhere author (Heb. xii. 2), and prince 
(Acts V. 31), means properly originator or author, 
and so sometimes leader. — Perfect : that is, in His 
office as Saviour. The personal perfection in 
obedience which He learned througti suffering is 
touched later (chap. v. 2). . . . Sanctification in- 
cludes all that is needed to make men fit for the 
service of God — freedom from guilt, and personal 
holiness.— Of one, i.e, not of the same race, but 
of one Father ; not in the sense in which the race 
are said to be God's * offspring, ' but in the deeper 
sense of the Divine sonship which begins in our 
case with spiritual renewal, the sonship which 
begins with the second birth, not the first, when 
men are begotten again by the Father, by the 
Spirit, through the truth. 

Ver. 12. The church. The Old Testament 
name is the congregation. But in modern usage 
the congregation is one thing, and the church is 
another ; and it is the church that best represents 
the sense, the exact meaning of the original and 
the force of the argument. 

Ver. 13. I will put my tmst in him. Christ's 
oneness with us is not only proved by the fact 
that we have one Father and are brothers, all 
'partakers of a Divine nature,' but by the further 
iact that we have the same trials and struggles, 
and faith — the principle of our spiritual life. The 
brotherhood, moreover, that begins on His part 
with His incarnation and sufferings (ver. 12 ; see 
Ps. xxii.) continues till His work is complete, and 
all the children. Himself and we, are presented 
perfect before God (ver. 13 ; see Isa. viii. 18). 

Ver. 14. He himself likewise. The Greek 
word here is not easily rendered. It implies 
great likeness without absolute identity; very 
closely like, and absolutely like so far as flesh 
and blood are concerned. He partook in the 
main of our nature. His was an actual incarna- 
tion— Tesus Christ in the flesh (i John iv. 2), but 
with the difference which His personal sinlessness 
implied. The word rebukes the Doketism (the 
mere appearcMce of a human nature) of the early 
heresies, the mythical dreams of Strauss and other 
modern inquirers, but without admitting that He 
was in every respect as man is, still less that He 
was only man. 

Ver. 15. Thzongh death. The Fathers and the 
later commentators (Bengel notably) delight in 
marking how Christ destroyed death by dying, and 
cast out the prince of the wo^ld— the king of 

death — on the cross, the weakness proving as 
often to be the power of God. — He might deetnyy 
is too strong ; abolish, bring to nought, render of 
none effect, neutralize the power of, permanently 
paralyze, take away the occupation of, are all 
nearer the meaning. It is a favourite word of St. 
Paul, who uses it twenty-five times in his acknow- 
ledged Epistles. It occurs, besides, only here and 
in Luke xiii. 7.— Subject to bondage. Aristotle 
calls death ' the most fearful of all fearful things ; ' 
and ancient believers often looked upon it with 
dread. Even now Christians are freed from this 
dread only by a firm faith in Christ's victory over 
it, and by a clear insight into the significancy of 
His dying. Christ died not for His own sins, but 
for ours. If by faith we are one with Him, death 
is no longer the penalty of sin : it is only the 
completion of our holiness and the way into the 
blessed life above. 

Ver. 16. Verily is feeble, as is even assuredly. 
The >yord means, it is known, admitted, and 
admitted everywhere ; it is nowhere questioned. — 
He took not on him ; rather, ' on angels (or in 
later English, of angels) He laid not hold,' but on 
the seed of Abraham He laid hold, i.e, to help 
and save them (see the same word in Heb. viii. 9). 
It is not angels whom Christ delivers (ver. 15), 
nor is it angels He succours (ver. 18), but the sec<l 
of Abraham, the theocratic name of the people of 
God peculiar to Paul. This is now generally 
accepted as the meaning of the verse. In the 
early Church the phrase * took not on Him ' was 
applied pretty generally, as in the Authorized 
Version, to the assumption of a human nature, and 
so it was understood by Calvin, Luther, Owen, and 
others. The active voice of the same Greek verb 
(here it is in the middle) is used by Greek writers 
in the sense of assuming a nature. But the tense 
is present^ the voice is middle, and the word 
'nature' is not expressed, and can hardly be 
supplied, so that we seem shut up to the meaning 
which is admittedly found in Heb. viii. 9, and in 
other sixteen places where it is used in N. T., 
including I Tim. vi. 19, and seven passages in 
the Acts. 

Ver. 17. It behoved him. The word ex- 
presses moral fitness and consequent obligation, 
as in Heb. v. 3, 12, based on the nature of His 
mediatorial work. — In all things like, i.e, all 
things essential to His mediation. The exception, 
•without sin,* is expressed later (chap. iv. 15), 
and is less necessary here because of the limitation 
implied in ver. 14. 

A meroifol and fjuthftd high priest. The 
Greek may mean that ' he may be merciful and a 
faithful high priest,' but the quality of mercy in 
the priest is really part of the thought. How 
much we need a merciful high priest, as well as 
one who shall be faithful to his trust, is shown by 
the preceding description of our state. It is the 
one quality which is needed to win men to God. 
God knew, no doubt, what our guilt and sufferings 
were, and felt them ; but we needed proof that 
He knew and felt in order that we might trust in 
His mercy. This proof is supplied by Christ as 
incarnate, and perhaps Christ as incarnate and 
suffering became capable of higher sympathy 
than the blessed God Himself. — To make 
reconciliation for the sins of the people. It 
is unfortunate that this Old Testament ex- 
pression is used in the N. T. only here, while 
the expression commonly used in N. T. tq 

Chap. II. s-i8.] 



express the same Greek word, ^propitiation/ is 
not foand in the O. T. at all. It will help the 
reader if he note that ' atonement for/ ' reconcilia- 
tion for/ 'propitiation for/ are all forms of one 
and the same Greek word and of one and the 
same Hebrew word. When followed by the word 
' sin ' or its equivalent, the Hebrew and Greek 
mean to make atonement for ; when followed by 
a word describing a person, they mean to pacify or 
appease, to make propitiation, with special refer- 
ence to the moral sentiment of justice or right in 
the person appeased. This doable sense pervades 
all the teachmg of both Testaments. 

Ver. i8. In that he snfreTed, being tempted, 
is on the whole the best rendering of the Greek. 
It may admit of a limited sense, ' In that wherein 
He suffered, being tempted,* or, 'having been 
tempted in what He suffered.' The 6rst sense 
includes these senses and others too. And ihe 
wider the meaning we give the words, the greater 
the justice that is done by them to the complete- 
ness of the fitness of Christ to win our confidence 
and to help us by His sympathy and grace. 

It may aid the reader of this Epistle to gather 
lessoas for himself if we note briefly some of the 
hints which are suggested by these first two 
chapters — doctrinal, practical, and homiletic. 


In this Epistle, as in the Gospel of John, the 
doctrine is based on the Divine nature of Christ, 
and on His incarnation. As in the Gospel 
(i. 1-18) it is said that the Word was God and 
became flesh, and this double truth pervades the 
book, so in the Hebrews the Deity and the 
humanity of the Son form the foundation of the 
entire treatise, and give strength and consistency 
to its teaching. The double truth b not worked 
as a pattern on the surface, it forms part of the 

In this last dispensation God is said to speak 
to us in His Son. The Son is the medium of the 
revelation. As revealer He has as His associates 
the apostles. But this office of Christ is quite 
subordinate. Hb true character is that He b 
Himself the revtlation. To know God and Hb 
Son Jesus Christ b eternal life. God in Christ, 
Chrbt as God, — ^redeeming, renewing, sanctifying, 
— b the saving doctrine of the Gospel, 

There b a double Trinity in Scripture — the 
Trinity of the Old Testament : the Trinity of the 
eternity that precedes the incarnation, wherein 
Chrbt shares the glory He had with the Father, 
wherein He made the worlds; the Trinity of 
the New Testament, wherein He, as incarnate 
Son of God, becomes Messianic King, and r^ains 
with accumulated honours Hb original glory — 
the second founded on the first, revealing it in 
clearer colours, with greater tenderness, and ui 
closer relation to ouiselves; again, perhaps, to 
become subordinate to the first, when God Him- 
self in Hb essential nature shall be all in all 
(chaps. L and ii.). 


I. I. God b the chief teacher of the Church, 
and what He tau^t of old has still its authority 
and its lessons even under the Gospel (vers. 
5, 8, etc.). 

I. 2. The anthor of the Old Testament b also 
the author of tbe New. It b God who gives 

Christ the supremacy. To put Moses or some 
' son of David ' above Chrbt b to disobey God. 
By whom : Chrbt, then, b a dbtinct person from 
the Father, and yet He b Creator of all things. 

I. 3. As the sun b manifested only by its 
effulgence, so the Father b revealed to us by Him 
who b Light of Light, God of God. He who 
upholds all things is our Redeemer and sacrifice. 
The atonement of sin b effected not by our doings 
or sufferings, but by Chrbt, and was completed by 
Him before He ascended. . . . 

L 4. Names are qualities and character when 
God gives them. ... To give angeb the worship 
that b due to Chrbt b to frustrate the Divine 
purpose, and to give to the servant what belongs 
only to the Son or the Father. 

I. 5. In the first age of the Church, Scripture 
determined what was truth, and that b its province 

II. 2, 3. Not to believe the Gospel b a greater 
sin than to break the law. . . . When men are 
warned or exhorted, the first person b more im- 
pressive than the second, ' How shall we escape ? ' 

4. The rejection of tlie Gospel is rejection of 
the doctrine which Christ and Hb apostles 
preached. Post-apostoUc doctrine has no Divine 
authority. . . . The doctrine b Divine which 
miracles confirm ; the miracles are false when the 
doctrine they support is not Divine. 

II. 6, 7. The Gospel, which is sometimes said 
to libel human nature, — so darkly does it paint 
our character, — gives man highest dignities, and 
raises him to the greatest blessedness. 

II. 9. Faith b ifisi^ht, and sees much that to 
the unbelieving remains unseen. 

II. II. The poorest, feeblest Christian whob 
sanctified and believes b recognised by Chrbt as 
a * brother.* 

II. 13. Chrbt Himself b a believer, one with 
us in the covenant of grace. He lived a life of 
faith even as we. 

II. 15. There b a natural fear of death in man 
not always felt, but easily wakened. Christ's 
death delivers man from the danger of death, and 
from the fear of it. None but the true Christian 
b really free. 


I. I, 2. Revelation progressive and complete. 
(Trench, Titcomb). The possibility and necessity, 
the certainty, the characters, the methods, the 

etrfections of Divine revelation (B. W. Williams), 
ivine revelation variously communicated (Dr. 
Ryland). The personal ministry of Christ a revela- 
tion of God (Chandler). The Gospel preached 
under the Old Testament (Mather). 

I. 1-4. How the New Testament fulfils the 
Old (Maurice). 

I. I- 1 2. The Son, the Creator and Ruler of 
the worlds (Bbhop Hobart). 

I. 3. Providence (Dr. CoUinges). Chrbt's 
sufferings the purging of sin (Is. Ambrose). 
The Feast of the Ascension. 

5, 6. Messiah the Son of God. Messiah wor- 
shipped by angels (John Newton). The adoration 
of Chrbt vindicated from the charge of idolatry 
(Pye Smith). The similarity and contrasts of the 
first and second advents (Auxlot). 

8. Chrbt's sceptre on earth a sceptre of 
uprightness and a source of gladness (J. H. 

13, 14. The nature and minbtry of holy angeb 



[Chap. III. i-IV. i6. 

( I {. Wilkinson, W. H. Mill). Michaelmas (Bishop 
Bull, 'lillotson, Conybeare, Wesley, R. Hall). 

II. I. The great danger of carelessness in 
religion (Stillingfleet, Chalmers, Guthrie). 

3. The great salvation (Keach, Conant, J. 
Sui)erville, S. Walker, E. Cooper, Melville, etc.). 

4. Miraculous evidence as proof of the truth of 
the Gospel (Collyer, Maltby, Conybeare, etc. ). 

5-9. The * world to come * subject to Christ 
(M*Neile). The just prerogative of human nature 
(Dr. Snape). 

8. Missions (R. Wilberforce). Succour in 
Christ for the tempted (H. Alford). 

9, 10. The reasons and end of the sufferings of 
Christ. Sufferings necessary to perfection (Jones 
of Nayland). Good Friday (S. Walker, Jay). 
Christ (rather Go<l) preparing His people for 
glory (Blunt). Christ made perfect through 
suffering (Sheppard and Vaughan). 

II. The mystery of godliness (Newman). The 
condescension of Christ (Balmer). 

14. The incarnation and its design (Dr. Peddie, 

14, 15. The fear of death (Saurin, Three 
Sermons), and deliverance from it (Usher, Bishop 
Hall, Dr. Bates, P. Norris, Dr. M'Crie). 

16. Fallen man redeemed (South, Berriman). 
Discriminating mercy (Hyatt). 

16-18. The merciful High Priest (M*Cheyne). 

17. The incarnation of Christ and its pur- 
pose. The reconciliation of sinners by the death 
of Christ (Winchester). 

18. Christ's temptations (Girdlestone). Christ's 
power to succour the tempted (Simeon). 

Chaps, j. and 11. Christ's divinity and humanity, 
and the bearing of each on redemption and oa 
human feeling. 

Chapter III. i-lV. i6. 

The excellency of the Christian Dispensation proved by Chrises superiority to 
Moses, 1-6. — The duty of Faith and Stedfastness enforced by the example 
of Israel, 7-19. — Still further enforced, iv. 1-13. — The hopes supplied by 
cofitemplatiou of the Tenderness and Power of Christ, 14-16. 

1 \1 THEREFORE, holy brethren, partakers of "the* heavenly *fS.^i.V: 

VV calling, consider * the Apostle and High Priest of our pf ll: ,•••; I4 ; 

2 profession, Christ* Jesus; who 'was faithful to him that ap- aTil^i.'o*' 
pointed* him, as also ''Moses was faithful in all his house. ^Rom^'xv.*?; 

3 For this man * was * counted worthy of more g\ory than Moses, 
inasmuch'^ as ''he who hath builded' the house hath more 

4 honour than the house. For every house is builded by some 

5 man;^ but 'he that built all things is God. -^And Moses 
verily' was faithful in all his" house, as *'a servant, *fora 
testimony of those things which were to be spoken after ; *° 

6 but Christ as 'a son over his own" house: * whose house are D^ST'ai! 
we, ' if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the " gii. 3'. .'.. 

7 hope firm unto the end. Wherefore (as '" the Holy Ghost saith, . jj i.8.^»9. 

** To-day if ye will " hear his voice, 

8 Harden not your hearts, "* as in the provocation, 
In '* the day of temptation in the wilderness : 

9 When ** your fathers tempted me, proved me," 
And saw my works forty years. 

10 Wherefore I was grieved with that " generation, 

ch. ii. 17, iv. 
14, V. y vL 

20, VIU. Z, 
ix. IZ, X. 2X. 

c Ver. $ ; 

Num. xiL 7. 
</Zech. vi. za ; 

Mat. xvi. z8. 
r j^ph. ii. 10, 

iii. 9 : ch. L «. 
/ Ver a. 
jf Ex. xiv. 31 ! 


» a * omit Christ ^ how that he (///. being as he) 

* made * Gr. he [this personage] ® hath been [is] 
' insomuch * built (or established) by some one 

• indeed, or untr. simply calling attention to the contrast in ver. 6 

'® afterwards to be spoken ^* rather, his (/>. God's) 

** the glorying (or exultation) of our hope '' omit will ** like as in 

*• where, or wherein *• rcad^ tempted and proved me ; Gr, by proving me 
" read this 

kiQor. iii. i6, 

vi. 19 : a Cor. 

yt. 16 ; Eph. 

ii. at, aa : 

z Tim. iii. 15; 

I Pet. ii. 5. 
/Ver. 14; 

Lu. viiL 15 ; 

Rom. V. a ; 

I Cor. xi. a ; 

Col. i. aj ; 

iThes. V. ai; 

ch. vi IX, 

*• 35. 
;//a Sam. xxiii. 

3; Acts i. 16. 
n Ver. x c ; 

Pi. xbV. 

o Deut. xxxiiL 

8 ; Ex. xvii. 

1-7 ; Num. 

XX. x-\y. 

Chap. III. i-lV. 16.] TO THE HEBREWS. 33 

And said, They do alway err in tlieir heart ; 

And they have not kpown my ways : , 

11 So " I sware in my wrath, 

They shall not enter into my rest.) 

1 2 take heed, brethren, lest there be in any '® of you an evil heart 

1 3 of unbelief, in departing*'* from the living God. But exhort one 
another daily, while it is called To-day ; " lest any *^ of you be 

14 hardened through** the deceitfulness of sin. For we arc 
made *• partakers of Christ, ^if we hold the beginning of our/Vcr. 6. 

1 5 confidence stedfast unto the end ; while it is said, 

^ To-day if ye will ** hear his voice, ^ Ver. ^. 

Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. 

16 Tor some, when they had heard, did provoke; howbeit not all rNuiiLxir.», 

17 that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he l>Buii.'34, ' 
grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, 

18 'whose carcases fell in the wilderness.^ And 'to whom sware *Niun-xiv. 

29, etc, 

he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that S!^'- *5 ; 

^ ' Ps. cvi. 20 ; 

19 believed not?" *So we see that they could not enter in j^'*'^' 
because of unbelief. ' gj™; '^^'^-^ 

Chap. iv. i. Let *'us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left ns^^ *Si. iv.6. 
of entering into his rest, any" of you should seem to come" t'Ch. xiuxj. 

2 short of it. For unto us was the gospel *• preached, as well as 
unto them : but the word preached " did not profit them, not 

3 being mixed with faith in *° them that heard //. "^ For we wCh. ui. x*. 
which have believed do enter into rest, as he said,** 

''As I have sworn in my wrath, jrP^xcT. 1:; 

' ' ch. iiu ix. 

If they shall " enter into my rest : 
although the works were finished ^from the foundation of the ^ooxlu.7. 

4 world : for he spake" in a certain place of the seventh day on 

this wise, 'And God did rest tlie seventh day from all his'S*'^*^^; 

' ^ Ex. XX. 11, 

5 works. And in this //n^^ again, xxxi. 17. 

* If they shall '* enter into my rest «pi. xc^. 

(XOlT.) IL 

6 Seeing therefore it remaineth ** that some must ** enter therein, 

*and they to whom it was first preached" entered not in*ch-ii»-»9 

7 because of unbelief:''^ Again, he limiteth'* a certain day, 
saying in David, 

To-day, after so long a time ; as it is said," 

"As ^* any one. ^® Gr, apostatizing 

•* tfr, while To-day is called {in your hearing ** by -• become 

** omit will ** disbelieved, or were disobedient 

*• remaining, or being left over {see ver. 6) 

*^ to have come ** glad tidings, or a gospel *• heard ; Gr, of hearing 
•• rather^ because they were not united (mingled) by faith with 
'^ that rest, even as he hath said '* they shall not, as in ch. iii. 1 1 

•* hath spoken •* still remaineth ** for some to 

•• who formerly heard the glad tidings, or the gospel (see ver. 2) 
*' disobedience, or disbelief •• or defincth 

•• ^ a long time after, * To-day ' {read^ as hath been before said) 
vou IV, 3 

34 TO THE HEBREWS. [Chap. III. i-IV. 16. 

' To-day if ye will *• hear his voice, ^ p?- ??^- 7; 

•^ ' ch. lu. 7. 

Harden not your hearts. , 

8 For if Jesus *' had given them rest, then would he not after- 

9 ward have spoken ** of another day. There remaineth *' there- 

10 fore a rest to ** the people of God. For he that is entered into 

his rest, he also hath ^ceased** from his own works, as** God rfa«a.a2. 

1 1 did from his. Let us labour *' therefore to enter into that rest, 

1 2 lest any man fall ' after *• the same example of unbelief.*' For ' ^,^ "*» 
the word of God is /quick,*' and powerful,** and ^sharper than ^j^^.^. 
any * two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder 'pSitJ's.^* 
of soul and spirit, and of the** joints and marrow, and is ' aiE^'^'fy; 

13 discerner *' of the thoughts and intents of the heart * Neither j^^i.'* *^ 
is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all *\^l^''' 
things are naked 'and opened unto** the eyes of him with ^f^JlTs!''* 

14 whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have ** ** a great / jS*Sh!'"' 
high priest, " that is passed into** the heavens, Jesus the Son of iw!*jAr'.'ii. 

15 God, "^ let us hold fast our profession. For ^we have not an«ch.Si.a6, 
high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our*' <»ch."'23. 
infirmities; but ^was** in all points tempted like as ive are^ c^ii."i8.^' 

16 ^ yet without sin. 'Let us therefore come boldly unto the raCor. v*!ai; 
throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to xPct/u. »«; 
help in time of need.*' * Ep»»- »>• »«, 

* in. la ; ch. ju 

*® omit will ** Joshua ** kept on speaking *' still remaineth 

** a rest — a Sabbath-rest for ** rested *^ even as 

*' give diligence (2 Pet 1. 10) *' or^ so as to be in fand form part of) 

*• disobedience, or disbelief \cf. iii. 12) ^° />., livine 

** or^ energetic, effectual ^^ of both " ready judge 

** laid bare to ** Having then *• through *' Gr. sympathize with 

** one that hath been *^ Gr, for timely help 

Chap. hi. Having set forth the dignity of the thought expanded later (iv. 14, x. 22). This 

person of Christ and the greatness of His con- Apostle and Priest the Hebrews had acknow- 

descension in taking our nature, the author exhorts ledged as their own (of our profession, or con- 

the Hebrews to an earnest consideration (Gr.) of fession rather), and it became them to be faithful 

Jesus, the Apostle and Priest of the new economy, as confessors to Him they had in this double 

whom they, moreover, had accepted as their office accepted. It is probable that the expression. 

Apostle and Priest. The grounds of this exhorta- * Apostle and Priest of our confession,' means even 

tion are that Christ was faithful to Him who more than 'sent by God and accepted by us.* 

appointed Him, as was Moses, and that He is as When the high priest went into the holy place 

superior to Moses as the son is to a servant, as on the day of Atonement, he was called the 

the foxmder of an economy is to the economy apostle, the messenger of the nation whom he 

itself, to which economy we really belong only if represented, and for whom as priest ha pleaded, 

we are stedfast and true (ver. 6). So Christ has entered into the holy place as our 

Ver. I. Holy brethren. No mere compli- accepted Messenger and Priest. To reject Him 

mentary title, but descriptive of the blessed now is a double insult. 

brotiberhood to which Christ and all who believe Ver. 2. Who was faithful ; rather, consider 
belong.— Partaken of, partners in a 'calling' that Him, he being faithful— in that He is faithful, 
comes from heaven and leads to it, besides giving His faithfulness is the quality we are to contem- 
the tastes and spirit appropriate to our destiny plate, a fresh reason why we should trust lliru 
(John iii. 31; Matt. iii. 2; Phil. iii. 20), servants, and be faithful too. . . . The sphere of the service 
therefore, and workers under a new and divine of Moses was a restricted economy — the house of 
economy. — Christ Jesna. The true reading is Israel. Christ's is a wider economy, and includes 
^sus simply, with special reference to His all things. The maker must be greater than the 
human nature and His connection with ourselves work, and He that made all things must be 
(see vi. 20, vii. 22, xi. 4 ; Ex. iii. 10-15). He Divine. Moses was part of the economy, the 
was sent from God, as was Moses, and He was house in which he served. The economy, more- 
Priest also, with Aaron's office and dignity — a over, was a rough outline only — a shadowy 

Chap. III. i-lV. i6.] 



intimation of the higher economy of grace. 
Christ was faithful over His house as Son — that 
house His own (see on ver. 6), and the completed 
universal kingdom to which the old type gave 
witness. And all this is ours — the house, the 
kingdom — if we remain faithful and stedfast 


Ver. 3. Bnilded. The word implies gathering 
cnr making the materials, putting them together, 
and furnishing the whole, even appointing the 
servants — doing all that is necessary for com- 
pleting 'the house' as a home. Even Moses, 
therefore, is regarded as part of the house which 
God prepared. 

Ver. 5. In all his house, t\e. God's house.— 
Fdr a testimony, i.e. his work was preparatory, 
testifying as He did to things that were after- 
wards to be revealed (chap. i. 2). — As a servant. 
The word for servant in this verse, which is often 
applied in O. T. to Moses, includes all the work 
that naturally falls to an attendant on another, 
even what is roost confidential. 

Ver. 6. His own house ; rather, perhaps. His, 
t.f. God's house, the contrast being between a 
servant * in the house * and a son * over it.* The 
Greek, however, may mean that while the house 
is God's, it is alsio emphatically 'the Son's,' 
whereas ever His {i.e. God's) house means that 
it is Christ's only by implication, i.e. because He 
is over the house and is Son. — ^Whose house {i.e. 
God's, or by emphasis or by implication Christ's) 
are we, i.e. (as the absence of the article shows) 
of who«e house — part, not all of it — are we pro- 
vided, if so be that (a strong particle) we hold 
fast the confidence as shown in speech and acts 
(not ' boldness,* which is too much a description 
of outward manner or profession only) ; and the 
ground, the matter of exultation (blended joy and 
boasting) which hope supplies. As the blessings 
are even still largely future, hope even more than 
&ith is the requisite grace. 

Ver. 7. Wherefore. Since it is only the giving 
up of your hope that can rob vou of this blessed- 
ness, . . . beware of unbelief (a connection that 
unites the ' wherefore ' with verse 12) ; or lest you 
harden vour hearts (a connection that unites the 
• idieretore * with verse 8). The former explana- 
tioii gives a good sense, and the length of the 
parenthesis is no objection (see Heb. vii. 20-22, 
ail. 18-24, where we have similar examples) ; but 
perhaps the second explanation is simpler, and 
commends itself to Delitzsch and others. It is 
also adopted in the Authorised Version. — ^As the 
Holy Onost saith. The quotation is from the 
ninety-fifth Psalm, which in the Hebrew has no 
author's name, but in the Greek Version is ascribed 
to David, as it is in Heb. iv. 7. — If ye will hear 
quite misleads ; if ye hear (literally, if you shall 
have heard). — To-day equals, with the whole 
phrase, whenever He speaks, whenever you hear 
His voice. 

Ver. 8. As in the day of provocation ; like 
as in the day of temptation in the wilderness. 
These clauses probably refer to two distinct 
occasions. The two words which are here trans- 
lated ' provocation ' and ' temptation ' are in the 
Hebrew proper names, 'Meribah' (strife) and 
'Massah* (temptation). On the first occasion 
(Ex. xvii. 1-7) the place is said to have been 
called Massah and Meribah, which the LXX. 
'temptation' and 'provocation.' The 
similar temptation occurred towards the 

close of the forty years, and is recorded in Num. 
XX. 1-13. Their wanderings began and ended in 
tempting and proving God ; forty years long did 
their unbelief last. Not for single acts were they 
finally condemned, but for settled habits and a 
fixed character. 

Ver. 9. When ; rather * where,' a common 
meaning of the Greek word. — ^Tempted me, 
proved me. The true reading is, * tempted me 
in' (or by) 'proving' [me]. Strong passion is 
some excuse for sin. When men tempt God to 
try how far they may go, and how much He will 
bear, there is a shamelessness in their state of 
heart that is without excuse. — And saw my 
works. Either the punishment God inflicted, 
which failed to lead them to repentance (as the 
word is used in Ps. Ixiv. 10 ; Isa. v. 12), or my 
mighty works, punishment in part, but chiefly 
mercy, and disregarding both they became the 
more guilty. 

Ver. 10. I was grieved is somewhat feeble ; 
displeased, offended, deeply pained, is nearer the 
thought. The word means properly what is a 
burden, physical or mental, 'grieved' being 
etymologically good (comp. 'it lay heavy on 
Him '). In some forms of tne word it means what 
presses into the flesh and inflicts wounds. •^That 
generation is the common Greek text, and it is the 
reading of the LXX.—This generation is the 
reading of the revised text. The Hebrew is 
simply ' with the generation.' The author has no 
doubt purposely inserted ' this ' to show that he 
r^^ards the passage as applying to the Jewish 
people generally, the living race of his time, as 
the word ' always ' is added to the Hebrew in the 
following clause, being found, however, also in 
the LXX., and implied in the present tense of the 
verb in this place. — Have not anown, or did not 
know. The Greek may describe a historical fact 
that preceded the erring in their hearts, or it may 
sum up their character, as in the Authorised 
Version : they have not known or understood the 
true nature and blessedness of the ways in which 
I would have had them to go (see Ex. xviii. 20). 

Ver. II. So; rather ' as,' though without much 
difference in meaning : the acts corresponded to 
the punishment is the meaning of 'as;' the 
punishment corresponded to the acts is the mean- 
mg of so. The former is the common meaning of 
the Greek. 

Ver. 12. Lest there be. The peculiar expres* 
sion of the original implies that the writer's fear, 
lest there should be, is blended with the feeling 
that there will somehow be, an evil heart (^ 
unbelief. His interest in them, and what he 
knows of their tendencies, make his fear pre- 
ponderate, and it is only kindness to them to tell 
them what he fears. — ^An evil heart of unbelief 
is not a heart made evil by unbelief, but a heart 
of which the essence is that it does not believe. 
The two qualities, evil and unbelief, are closely 
connected, and each produces the other. — In 
departing ; literally, 'in apostatizing.' — From the 
living God ; not the idols of the heathen, but the 
God of Israel, who is known emphatically by this 
name (Isa. xxxvii. 4), and who is now the God of 
the Christian Churdi, its Defender and Judge 
(see Heb. ix. 14, x. 31, xii. 22). 

Ver. 13. Exhort one another. The verb is 
very frequent in the Acts and in Paul's Epistles, 
and occurs four times in this Epistle. Both here 
and in Heb. xiii. 16 (where it is said in the Author 


[Chap. III. i-IV. i6l 

rbed Veruon that Christians are to exhort one 
aiKither in psalms an<] hymns) mutual exhortation 
IS implied; bat the Greek U literally 'exhort 
Yourselves,' and part of the idea is that the ex- 
horter should have himself also as a hearer, e^en 
when he has no other. The word 'exhort,' 
moreover, includes all the kinds of help, consola- 
tion, encouragement, rebuke, which the Christian 
life needs.— While— as long as 'the to-d^y* is 
called — vrtinded — in your hearing, so long as the 
warning lasts, and the need fur it, let there be 
circumspection and wariness. — Look to it (ver. 
12) that no one from among j'lm (as well as your 
fathers, vcr. 9) fall into unb)elief. 

Another interpretation of * while to-day is called * 
is, • while the Psalm continues to be read ;* so some 
eminent commentators (dc Wcttc, IJengel, etc); 
but this does not agree with the use which is made 
of the words in ir. 7, nor does it give an appro- 
priate sense to * is called.' The words may mean 
while the day of grace lasts, the time during which 
we hear the Gosinrl and are warne<l of the danger 
of apostasy. 'In is meaning does not practically 
differ from the one already given, * while to-day is 
sounded in your ears,' and is supported by a simi- 
lar comment on the * day of salvation * made by 
Paul (2 Cor. vi. 2).— The deceitfolneti of Bin. 
All sin has this quality (comp. Kom. vii. 9, 11), 
and especially the sin of unlK'licf, which is the sin 
of this context. Unlike the violation of purely 
moral prcccptfi, it excites small disturbance in the 
conscience, and yet most effectively hardens the 
heart by making the most impressive truths power- 
less over the feelings. 

Ver. 14. We are made partaken ; rather, * we 
are liccomc,' i.r. we arc now what we were not 
originally. The words descril)e a presefit cha- 
racter nnd an acauired character. — If, that ia, 
we hold faet the oeginning of oar confidence — 
the confidence we have begun to exercise — firm 
unto the end; not our former confidence (i Tim. 
V. 12), not the princii)le of our confidence, the 
essence of it, but the oeginning of it ... to the 
end. On this condition we arc partakers of 
Christ, united with llim (John xv. 4, xvii. 23), 
*cvcn as He is united with us' (chap. ii. 14). 
This use of the word translated ' confidence ' is 
found only in 2 Cor. ix. 4, xi. 17, and in this 
place. I'hc Fathers generally regard it as mean- 
ing the beginning of what is our subsistence, our 
life, or even the beginning of what is the subsist- 
ence of Christ in us. The word is found, how- 
ever, in Hellenistic writers and is now well 
known — in the sense of confidence. 

Ver. 15. While it ii eaid. The connection of 
this verse with the preceding is difficult. Out of 
many interpretations the most consistent is that 
adopted by Ebranl, Alford, and others. We 
mutt hold fast if we would be partakers of Christ, 
at is imflitii in the naming (in that it is said) : 
To-day if ye hear hii voice, etc. 

Vers. 16-19. The argument of these verses has 
been variously interpreted, and the varieties are 
seen in the difference of the translation. The 
Authorised Version translates * some . . . howbeit 
not all ; * the Revised translates ' who . . . t nay, 
did not all.' Most of the ancient commentators, 
and manv of the modern, adopt the translation 
*iome* m verse 16, even when they translate • 
* with whom ' as a question in verse 1 7 ; forms 
though they be of the same won), but with differ- 
ence of accent. Bengel» Alford^ and many more 

translate 'who' and 'with wIiob' as qnestioiis 
in both cases. They hold that it cootribotes to 
the force of the argument to aflum that all perished. 
Bat on the whole the Anthortsed seems the prefer- 
able rendering ; for (l) the facts rather require the 
statement that not all perished. Besides Caleb 
and Joshua, all the (Jiildren who were under 
twenty years of age when they left Egypt, and the 
woooen and the Levites, were exceptions^ (2) The 
«V. Tist, comment fovonrs it also, for in i Cor. 
X. 5 it is expressly said that it was ' with the 
greater part of them ' (or, ' with Tery many of 
them ') * God was not well pleased, for ihey were 
overthrown in the wilderness ; ' sind again and 
again it b said in the same context that aoaie of 
them were idolaters, and lome of them tempted, 
and some of them murmured (vers. 7-10) ; while 
the appeal to these facts (the limited extent of the 
ruin, not the universalis of it) is used in that 
passage for the same purpose of warning as here ; 
and (3) the argument is better enforced by the 
translation of the Authorised than by the pro- 
posed change. — 'Beware, for all perish,* may 
seem impressive ; but it is more impressive still to 
say, as is said in i Cor. x., 'Most perished,' and 
perished through unbelief; those who were spared 
were only the minority, and they were spared 
l)ccausc they were not guilty of the disobedience 
of the greater part of the nation. Blended fear 
and hope is the warning most likely to impress 
and encourage ; nor was there danger of Uie 
Hebrews reading the lesson so as to foster delu- 
sion when it is so carefully intimated that men 
must perish wherever there is unbelief. — Whose 
carcases — literally limbs, suggesting, perhaps, the 
gradual decay of the nation's strength — one falling 
here, another there, till they were strewn all over 
the wilderness. 

Vcr. 18. Believed not, or disbelieved, is the 
sense rather than disobeyed. The word ' unbelief,' 
in verse 19, may be used alike of those who have 
or have not heard the truth ; the word, in verse 
18, of those only who have heard the CJospel and 
will not be persuaded to accept. The word in 
verse 18 means also to disobey as well as to dis- 
believe, and here the two ideas are combined ; 
they did not obey the command that bade them 
to believe. Unbelief is as much disobedience as 
the breaking of any other Divine law. See John 
iii. 46, where both words are Used and are trans- 
lated * believe ; * I Pet. ii. 7, 8, where both are 
used, and arc translated 'believe* and 'be dis- 
obedient* respectively ; and Acts xiv. 2, xix. 9, 
where the word is the same as in verse 17, ren- 
dered 'disobedient,* and is yet translated in both 
places, in the Authorised Vei-sion, 'unbelief.' It 
is no doubt true, however, that the Israelites were 
disol)edient and rebellious (see Deut. i. 26, etc.) ; 
but even when they are thus described, their acts 
of disobedience were generally owing to disbelief 
of Divine announcements. So it is in this Epistle. 
The Hebrews were not tempted to disobey what 
they regarded as a Divine command, but to doubt 
and disbelieve the divineness of the commands 
they had been obeying. Their danger was not so 
much inconsistency in not obeying what they 
l)elieved, as the rejection of the Gospel itself. — 
They shall not enter into my rest ; sec on iv. i. 

Ver. 19. 80; literally 'And' [wc sec], i.e, from 
these facts. 

Chap. iv. i-ii. To understand the force of 
the reasoning of these verses, and the n4tur;dnc9S 

Chap. III. i-IV. i6.] 



of the different interpretations of the Psalm which 
the Apostle is explaining, note that ' My rest ' is 
primarily the rest which God enjoys (Gen. ii. 2 ; 
Heb. iv. 4) or which God provides (Deut. xii. 
9, 10). The first is the Sabbath rest which God 
enjoyed aAer His work of creation was completed, 
and which He provided for man when He insti- 
tuted the day of rest, as He did long before the 
giving of the law ; the second is the rest of Canaan, 
the rest which God gave Israelj a rest which 
proved very imperfect, partly because multitudes 
never entered it, partly because the rest itself 
was never fully realized even for those who did 
enter it. Both meanings of the word, there- 
fore, point to such rest as the Gospel gives, of 
which the rest of the Sabbath and the rest of 
Canaan were types, and imperfect types. Two 
other facts need to be kept in mind : the word 
Sabbath and Sabbath-rest (see ver. 9) are Hebrew 
words for what is translated * rest ' and (as a verb 
in Genesis) * rested ; * and the word * entered in,' 
moreover, is a common word in the Old Testa- 
ment — almost a cant word, like 'going home to 
Canaan,* 'over the Jordan,' *one more river to 
cross' — for 'inheriting the earth,' taking posses- 
sion of the land of promise. Hence the natural- 
ness of the interpretation which the Apostle refutes. 
The rest of which the Psalm speaks, and which 
the unbelieving miss, is not, as the word may 
mean, the Sabbath-rest which God instituted at 
the first, nor is it the rest of Canaan into which 
the Jews entered under the guidance of Joshua. 
The rest from which the disobedient Israelites 
were debarred was neither the one nor the other, 
for at that time the Israelites had both. It was a 
rest that stood over in David's time for future 
realization — 2l rest into which those enter, and 
those only, who believe (see ver. 3) — the rest of 
the Gospel, completed in the rest above. How 
natural this argument is may be gathered from the 
religious poetry of all Christian sects, and from 
the language employed even now to describe the 
Divine life. Every incident of the journey of the 
Israelites from £g)'pt into Canaan is spiritualized 
in our common religious teaching, and so may 
easily have been regarded as the reality, not as 
the type. How necessary the argument is also 
clear. The announcement that the Jews are not 
OS Jews part of the true theocratic kingdom, that 
Canaan was not heaven, was to them one of the 
liardest sayings of the Gospel. 

Ver. I. Let us therefore fear. A stronger 
expression than the caution of iii. 12 (' take heed'), 
and the fitting preparation for the 'earnest labour' 
of chap. iv. 12. We are not to doubt the truth 
of the Divine promise, and the more firmly we 
lielieve it the more active shall we be in the fulfil- 
ment of every duty ; but we are to fear the 
treachery of our own hearts. Continued unbelief 
will exclude us from God's rest, from the peace 
and blessedness which the Gospel gives both here 
and hereafter ; and even if we finally repent and 
reach heaven, unbelief will, in proportion as we 
indulge it, lessen the enjoyment into which we 
enter by believing, and which we can enter in no 
other way. This godly fear, instead of debasing 
the mind, inspires courage and freedom ; it pre- 
serves us from vain security, checks self-confidence, 
and makes us vigilant against everything that may 
endanger oar safety.— ^Lest, somehow, haply. 
This last phrase, which it is not easy to express, 
calls attention to the greatness of the danger and 

emphasizes the caution. — A pFomiae being left 
ns. A promise remaining over unfulfilled. — Any 
one of yon should seem ... It should turn out 
that any one of you has come short of it ; literally, 
lest any one of you should seem (to himself or to 
others), when the decisive day comes, to have 
failed, and to have no part in the promise — a 
warning of a fearful result, given with a delicacy 
quite usual with the writer ; or it may be a state- 
ment like that in Matt xxv. 40-46, where we are 
told that many will not know their true character 
till they hear it described at the bar of God. 
Their ruin will be as startling to themselves as to 

Ver. 2. For nnto ns has the Gospel been 
preached as well as nnto them, i.e. we both 
have our Gospel or glad tidings of a future rest, 
equally a Divine message, though given with 
different degrees of fulness. — Bat the word 
preached ; rather, the word heard (literally, of 
hearing), was of no use to them, brought no 
profit, because the^ were not united (literally 
mingled ') by (and m) faith with them that heard 
it, i.e, who listened and obeyed — Caleb, Joshua, 
and the rest. The word * not united,' * unmingled,' 
is found only here and in I Cor. xiL 24, and 
describes a state that follows from affinity and 

Ver. 3. For we who have believed are enter- 
ing into rest. We only are entering who believe; 
it is not, therefore, the rest of the Sabbath which 
the Jews long since possessed (vers. 4-6), nor is 
it, as the author goes on to say, the rest of Canaan. 
To strengthen the statement that it is only be- 
lievers who enter into God's rest, he quotes again 
the ninety-fifth Psalm : As he {i.e. God) said, As I 
have sworn in my wrath, they (who did not 
believe) shall not enter into my rest. — <If they 
shall not enter ' is the same phrase as b translated 
*they shall not enter,' in chap. iii. 11 ; the 
phrase is part of the Hebrew oath ('God do so to 
me and more also, i/,* i.e. I swear I will or I will 
not), and is here a strong nec^tion ; so in verse 5 : 
*they shall not enter into my reef It was 
unbelief that excluded them, and so it is faith 
that brings us in, the appropriate means of pro- 
ducing peace and blessedness, and itself obedience 
to God's command. 

Ver. 5. In this place again, i.e. either to quote 
again what was said before, or the Sabbath rest 
which God provides, is, on the other hand^ shown 
not to be the rest spoken of in the Psalm, inas- 
much as the men described have not entered it. 

Ver. 6 is clearly an unfinished sentence, finding 
its completion in verses 9 or ii. — Let ns therefore 
labour, etc., seeing it remaineth; rather, it still 
remaineth, for some to enter in to God's rest, and 
those who formerly heard the glad tidings of a 
rest entered not in because of unbelief. In all 
these verses where * it remains ' is used, the phrase 
has the same meaning — not that a rest now 
remains and is still future, but that the promise 
was not fulfilled in the Sabbath-rest or in the 
Canaan-rest ; and therefore when this Epistle was 
written, it was still a warning and an invitation. 
It awaited the faith and the entrance which were 
to exhaust its meaning. 

Ver. 7. Again. I'o continue the argument and 
to correct another misconstruction. He ha-t 
already shown that the rest of God of which he 
here speaks is not the rest of God after creation ; 
he now proceeds to show, by a further examina- 



[Chap. IlL i-lV. 16. 

tion of the Psalm, that neither is it the rest of 
Canaan. — He limiteth (still further defines the 
day and consequently the rest of which he speaks) 
a certain day, taying in David (as we say ' in 
Daniel'), not *'by' David, nor, as Bengel holds, 
' fVf/ i.e, by the Spirit dwelling in and inspiring 
him. — ^A long time (some 500 years) after they 
had entered Canaan, as it is said in the farf quoted 
passage (iii. 7, 15). — To-day if ye hear niB voice, 
harden not yonr hearts. Some think the words 
* To-day * look forward to the time of the Gospel 
(translating 'to-day,' i,e. as it said a longtime 
before the day comes ; so Dr. J. Brown and 
others ; but if this be the meaning, it would 
surely be needless for the writer to prove by argu- 
ment that the entering into rest had not yet come). 
—A long time points back to the entrance into 
Canaan, and ' as it has been said before ' (the true 
reading) points simply to the previous quotations. 

Ver. 8. Clearly, therefore, the Psalm speaks of 
a Divine rest into which men are bidden to enter, 
different from the rest of Canaan, and long subse- 
quent to it. — ^For if Joehua (here and in Acts vii. 
45, Jesus, the Greek form of Joshua, quite mis- 
leads) had given them rest— had led them into 
the rest of which we are speaking — He (i.r. God, 
who further defines 'the day' in David, and 
describes the rest as still unentered) would not 
have gone on speaking after that of another day 
(or of another day after that, i,e, still future). 

Ver. 9. Therefore there remains (still un- 
realized in any rest that Israel then enjoyed) a 
■aored rest, a Sabbath-rest (the word is now 
changed), for the people of €k>d. The name 
here given, 'the peoide of God,' is the usual 
designation of the covenant people. It occurs 
again in Heb. xi. 25, and is used in its deepest 
sense of all who are 'children of God through 
fiiith' (Gal. vi. 16). The use of the word Sab- 
bath in this sense for the rest which God provides 
under the Gospel was quite familiar to the Jews. 
The coming kingdom of the Messiah was even 
called 'the perpetual Sabbath.' Into that rest 
all enter who believe. Some regard this verse as 
oompleting the sentence that b^n in verse 6. 
The better completion is found in verse 11. 

Ver. 10. For he that is entered into his rest, 
he also hath ceased from his works, just as God 
vested firom his; Z.^., say some (Owen, Wardlaw, 
Ebrard), as Christ is entered into His rest, so also 
are we to be conformed to Him and to share His 
rest But Christ is not named in the previous 
context, and is nowhere designated as ' lie who 
entered or is entered into His rest,' nor would the 
argument have force with those who were ques- 
tioning His mission. The other view, adopted 
by Bleek and Delitzsch, is that the words describe 
the people of God, those who by believing enter 
that state of peace and blessedness which is begun 
on earth and perfected in heaven. They luive 
fellowship with God ; they rest even as God rests, 
and have a happiness that is of the same nature, 
and springs from the same source, as His. The 
phrase, ' ceases from his own works as God did 
from His/ might then refer to the rest which men 
sought to no purpose under the Law or in Canaan. 
The true peace, the sacred rest of the Gospel, 
frees us from the necessity of seeking a righteous- 
ness of our own, and speaks peace to the conscience 
as the Law never did, making the whole life peace- 
ful and joyous. This ' is the rest, and this is the 
refreshing,' and it is shared by all who believe. 

This explanation of the argument of this part of 
the Epistle throws light on the meaning of the 
rest, the Sabbath-rest, of which the writer speaks. 
Some (Owen, Wardlaw, etc) hold that the three 
rests here spoken of are the Sabbath-rest of Para- 
dise, the Jewish rest of Canaan, and the Christian 
Sabbath rest that commemorates the completion 
of the new creation and the deliverance of the 
people of God from a worse bondage than that of 
^gypt. Important as these rests are, it surely 
falls far below the dignity of the theme to suppose 
that the writer refers to any positive institution 
merely, however useful or blessed. Others think 
that the ' rest which remains ' must be heaven : 
we who believe enter it, all who enter it rest from 
their toils and work as God rested ; and the con- 
clusion seems sustained by the fact that the rest is 
ever spoken of as 'still remaining.' But this in- 
terpretation mistakes the meaning of ' remaining,' 
which is simply that it was not realized either in 
the Sabbath rest or in Canaan ; while it is realized, 
is being realized, under the Gospel, as men believe. 
It includes, no doubt, the rest of heaven, which is 
the completion of our blessedness on earth ; but 
the primary idea still is the rest which Christ gives 
to all who take His yoke upon them, and to 
whom, on their believing, old things are passed 
away, — sins, character, burdens, unrest, — and all 
things have become new. The words of C. Wesley 
are not even an adaptation of the sentiment — they 
are an exposition of it : 

' Lord, I believe a resl remains 
To all Thy people known — 
A rest where pure enjoyment reigns, 
And Thou art loved alone. 

' Oh ! that I now the rest might know. 
Believe and enter in ; 
Now, Saviour, now the power bestow. 
And let me cease from sin. 

' Remove the hardness from my heart, 
This unbelief remove ; 
To me the rest of faith impart. 
The Sabbath of Thy love.* 

Ver. II. Let qb therefore begins the practi- 
cal exhortation based on verse 6, of whicn it is 
the completion. — Labour, give diligence (as in 
2 Pet. i. 10), seek earnestly, strive to enter into 
that rest, lest any man fall and form part of the 
same example of disobedience or unbelief ; lest 
through unbelief like theirs we like them come 
short of the promise. The earnest striving, the 
eager seeking of which the writer speaks, is well 
described by St. Paul in Phil. iii. 7-14, and in 
2 Pet. i. 5-12. In one sense faith is ceasing to 
work and beginning to trust ; in another sense it i^ 
the most difficult of all works, requiring the energy 
of the whole nature, and the help of the blessed 
God besides. It is at once a gift and a duty, the 
easiest and the hardest 'way of life.' — ^Leet they fall 
into and so become another example of unbelief — 
a pregnant construction. Whether; fall has its 
lighter meaning, as Luther and Delitzsch hold, or 
is used absolutely, — fall away and perish (as 
Calvin, Bengel, and Bleek hold), — we need not 
discuss here. The word is probably suggested by 
the doom of the Israelites who fell in m^ wilder- 
ness and perished (iii. 17); and it is used in the 
same deep sense in Rom. xi. Ii. The fact that 
the Hebrews are cautioned lest they should fall 
through a disbelief that proved ruinous to those 
who yielded to it before, shows that the word hap 

Chap. III. i-IV. 16.] 



probably its deeper meaning ; it is the opposite 
state of entering into rest. Of course it is true 
also that in proportion as they fall, whether in 
degree or duration, they miss peace and swell the 
number of those who are warnings to all who 
witness them. But here the warning seems 
permanent, and the fall, therefore, complete. 

Vers. 12 and 13 give a fresh reason for this 
warning. — For the word of God is quick {i.e. 
living) and powerftd. But what is ' the word of 
God * ? . The common Patristic interpretation 
refers it to the Word incarnate, the personal 
* Word * of the writings of St. John : so also Owen 
and many others. But that use of the term is 
peculiar in the New Testament to St. John, 
unless this be an instance. And the interpreta- 
tion seems hardly appropriate to the description 
that is here given of it; nor is Christ ever so 
named in the Epistle itself, M'here 'the Son of 
God ' is His common title. Had the author been 
familiar with ' the Word * in that personal sense, 
he would certainly have used it (as he did not) in 
Heb. xi. 3. The ordinary meaning, therefore, 
is to be preferred — the word of which he has been 
speaking — the word especially which excludes the 
unbeliever from the promised rest, and denounces 
against him the Divine indignation. The descrip- 
tion is true of all Scripture, but emphatically true 
of the passages which condemn disobedience. 
ITiis won! is a living word — not, as we sometimes 
say of a law, 'a dead letter,' having its place in 
our statute book, but never executed — having 
living power, and so something of the attributes 
of Him who is * the living G<xl ;* and powerful^ 
energic, operative, not inefficient, as if God 
never meant to execute it, or as if He had no 
means of carrying it into execution. The sentence 
that the unbeliever shall not enter into God's rest 
is the utterance of a living force ^ not a dead law, 
which is mighty enough to execute the Divine 
pur]x>se in relation to transgression, and is sure to 
execute it. Nor only so : and sharper far 
(a double comparative) than any two-edged sword 
(literally two-mouthed), ue. a sword sharpened on 
both edge and back, cutting both ways, and 
peculiarly trenchant (Isa. xlix. 2 ; Rev. L 16, etc.; 
see also Eph. vi. 17).— Piercing through, even to 
the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints 
and marrow. This quality of the Word has been 
r^arded by some as a mere description of the power 
of the Word of God to produce conviction, to show 
the sinner the falsehood and the wickedness of even 
his inmost thoughts ; but this explanation antici- 
pates what follows, and is hardly consistent with 
the context. It is better to regard the words as a 
completion of the previous thought. The soul 
was regarded by the Greeks as the principle of 
animal life and action ; the spirit, as the principle 
of rational life and action. 1 o separate them 
is to destroy the life of the man, the description 
being taken from the inner nature. Similarly the 
joints or limbs, of which the bones are the frame- 
work, and marrow are also closely connected ; to 
separate them is to produce great pain and death 
itself, the description being taken from the 
physical life. The threatening of God against 
disbelief is a threatening that will certainly be 
executed, and when executed intensest suffering, 
destruction, and misery will ensue. Suffering 
with the possibility of destruction — not necessarily 
destruction — may be the idea, as in similar 
passages (Luke ii. 35 ; Jer, iv. 10, LXX.) ; but 

this interpretation does no justice to the strong 
word— the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. 
On either interpretation the lesson is solemn and 
instructive. What . occurred in the case of the 
Israelites who fell by hundreds of thousands in the 
wilderness will occur under the Gospel with 
aggravated suffering if men will not believe. . . . 
Nor does this word take cognizance of outward 
acts only, — open apostasy, — it is a discemer and 
judge of the thoughts and intents (or rather of 
the inclinations and thoughts) of the heart. 
Feelings and thoughts, desires and ideas (opinions 
as we call them), are equally under its jurisdiction ; 
backslidings of heart, as well as of Ufe, it marks 
and condemns. The religion of Christ is 
eminently spiritual. Not the outer life only; 
the inmost nature, mental and emotional, must 
be subject to the Divine authority, and conformed 
to the Divine will. 

Ver. 13. The power of this word comes really 
from Him whose it is. }A.oxt accurately, the Word 
of God is God Himself speaking. The writer, 
therefore, naturally turns from the instrument to 
the author. — Keimer is there any creature — 
any created thing visible or invisible (Col. i. 16 ; 
even, perhaps, thought, the creature of the mind : 
Michaelis) — that & not manifest in his, i.e, 
God*s, sight (a Hebi-aism common in St. Luke, in 
St. Paul, and in Alexandrian writers). — But all 
things are naked and laid bare to we eyes of 
him with whom we have to do. These phrases, 
though their general meaning is clear, have been 
variously explained. 'Laid bare' may refer to 
the victims which were hung up by the neck, 
opened, and the backbone deft from the neck 
downwards, so that the priest might see any 
blemish which made the victim unfit for sacrifice 
(so the ancient Greek Fathers explained it) ; but 
there are no known instances of this meaning of 
the word : others say the reference is to the 
athlete caught by the neck and thrown prostrate 
on his back for all to sec his defeat. The first of 
these interpretations is on the whole the more 
probable, the words being addressed to Jews who 
were more familiar with sacrifices than with the 
games. Anyhow, the general meaning is clear, 
that before God we are all manifest, stripped of 
every covering and concealment, our very thoughts, 
our 'secret faults,' revealed to the eyes of nim 
with whom we have to do, i.e. with whom our 
business is (a sense that may be seen in Judg. 
viii. 7, 28). The Greek Fathers give the words 
a narrower meaning — to whom our account is 
to be given ; but the English Version is at once 
idiomatic and accurate. All this description 
applies, of course, to our relation to Christ, and 
many commentators r^ard the words as applied 
to Him in this passage ; but unless we accept the 
explanation that the Word of God is the personal 
Logos — Christ Himself (not a natural mterpre- 
tation) — it is more grammatical and more accurate 
to regard the verse as applicable primarily to God 
who IS Judge of all, though at the hist He gives 
all judgment to the Son. 

Ver. 14. The following verses (14-16) might 
b^in a new paragraph, and are closely connected 
with the fifm chapter ; but on the other hand, 
verse 14 looks back to the brief statement in 
chap. i. 3, ii. 17, and iii. i, and its hortatory 
form naturally makes it rather a completion of 
what precedes. It is, moreover, the author's 
manner to blend with admonitions, based on 



[Chap. III. i-IV. id. 

previous teaching, assertions of what he is about 
to prove. 

It is a peculiarity of the Gospel that it seems 
now without a sacrifice and without a priest. The 
unbelieving Jews would naturally say, ' Your new 
religion is without the first requisite of a Divine 
system ; you have no sacrifice and no high 
priest — how can sin be for^ven? who can 
mtercede for you ? * The objection is answered in 
this passage : We have a High Priest, a great 
High Priest, transcending in personal and official 
dignity all that ever bore the name, for He is 
Jesus, the Son of God, each title implying His 
superiority. No doubt His sacrifice has ceased, 
and He Himself has passed through the heavens 
beyond clouds and stars, even into the heaven of 
heavens, to the very throne of God itself ; just as 
the Jewish high priest on the day of Atonement 
offered sacrifices of expiation, entered into the 
holy place, and then through the second veil 
into the holiest of all, to sprinkle the blood of 
atonement and to burn incense, an odour of a 
sweet smell, a symbol of acceptance to Him who 
dwells between the cherubim. The objection 
that we have no sacrifice or priest is met by the 
fact that our High Priest has completed His work 
on earth, and has gone, not into an earthly 
tabernacle, the image of the true, but into 
heaven to the throne of God itself — an evidence 
of the efficacy of His mediation and the means of 
perpetuating it. His entrance and His inter- 
cession there are really *a perpetual oblation* 
with the intimation of His 'will' that the 
blessings He has gained be bestowed on them for 
whom He pleads. The exhortation is, therefore, 
that we hold fast our confeasion— what we have 
acknowledged as true and Christian faith, the 
word being used in a wider sense than in iii. I. 

Ver. 15. For. Whatever the difficulties of our 
Christian life, whatever the dangers that tempt us 
to turn aside, whatever the dignity of our Priest, 
whatever the awful power of the Word of God, 
we have not a High Priest unable to sympathize 
with us in our infirmities, but on the contrary one 
tempted in all things like as we are (or rather in 
accordance with the likeness there is between us), 
sin apart. The infirmities of which the writer 
speaks are not strictly sufferinp^ or afflictions, but 
the weaknesses — physical, spintual, moral — where- 
by sin is likely to find entrance, and misery is 
produced — hunger, poverty, reproach, the dread of 
sufferings, the love of rest, of friends, the difficulty 
of living by faith, the tendency to judge things by 
present results, to snatch victory in the easiest 
way ; whatever, in short, is natural to man, and 
yet not itself sinful. The temptations of Christ 
in the wilderness, which are described as repre* 
sen ting most of the forms in which temptation 
assails us ; all He endured when the ' season * 
came in which the tempter renewed his work, and 
especially in the hour and power of darkness, 
illustrate the meaning. All He bore and all He 
remembers, and so in a sense bears still (note the 
present perfect tense), fits Him to sympathize 
with like weaknesses in us. In all these tempta- 
tions of His there was no sin in the origin of them 
in the stru^le, in the results ; but that fact only 
increases His fitness for His office and our 

confidence. He bore all, and yet was undefiled ; 
and so His pity, while most tender, is in no danger 
of becoming weakness, which would itself create 
distrust even if it did not end in sin. 'Sin 
apart,' therefore, is added, as much in our interest 
as to the honour of our Lord. The perfect 
sympathy of a sinful man would have given very 
imperfect consolation. 

Ver. 16. Let lu therefore come nigh— a com- 
mon word in this Epistle for drawing nigh to God 
by sacrifice, or under the Gospel through Christ 
(vii. 25, X. I, xi. 6). St. Paul's word for a similar 
idea is generally different (see Rom. v. 2 ; Eph. ii. 
18, iii. 12, we have boldness and access by faith) 
with the added idea when addressing Gentiles 
that the^ are brought nigh. — With boldneiB, 
rather with confidence (see chap. iii. 6), not as the 
Israelites trembled when they approached, not to 
the mercy-seat, but at most towards it — the priest 
alone entering the holiest of all, but with the trust 
that tells all its wants — ^to the throne of grace (not 
Christ as if He were the mercy-seat, as some have 
held, nor the throne of Christ, but), the throne of 
God Himself ; not of His justice, however, nor of 
His providence, but of His grace made such in 
fact by the propitiation which Christ has offered, 
and in part by our assurance that the priest him- 
self feels for us.— That we may obtain mercy — 
pity — partly, as His sympathy implies, but chiefly 
the means of forgiveness for the sins which still 
cleave to us as children (see 2 Tim. i. 18, Jude 
21, where the idea is that the mercy we receive 
from day to day is confirmed and perfected in the 
day of God) : we need continual forgiveness for 
continual sin (i John i. 10, ii. i). — ^And grace. 
Whatever we need to perfect our holiness and 
happiness — those gifts of free favour which prove 
God to be our friend, and will help us to persevere 
in the faith and obedience of the truth till we are 
partakers of the perfected grace which is glory — 
the grace that is to l)e brought unto us at the 
revelation of Tesus Christ (i Pet. i. 13).— For 
aeaaonable help is the literal rendering of the last 
clause, i.e. help convenient, suitable to the 
occasion ; * in time of need ' is very good if that 
mean, as it may, *as we need it,' and so is 
appropriate to each emergency as it arises. 

These exhortations were eminently suited to the 
condition of the Hebrew Christians. With such 
a High Priest, who has expiated our sins, has 
passed into the presence of God, thus proving the 
acceptance and the continuance of His work, 
whose Divine Sonship gives virtue to His sacrifice, 
whose perfect sympathy with us in all our weak- 
nesses is made complete through His endurance 
of the same trials, let us persevere in the 
confession we have made — seek from God with 
the boldness of children the mercy and the grace 
we need for emergencies and opportunities alike 
till our victory b complete. Nor less suited is 
the exhortation to ourselves. In every age the 
same temptations assail us, though they assume 
different forms ; and in every age the maintenance 
of the truth as it is in Jesus, and habitual (mark 
the present tense, * continue coming ') intercourse 
with God as the God of Peace and blessing under 
the influence of this truth, tliesc are the true 
sources of our stedfastness 

Chap. V. i-VII. 2S.J TO THE HEBREWS. 41 

Chapter V. i-VII. 28. 

The excellency of the Christian Dispensation proved by Chris fs superiority to 
Aaron, v.-vii. 28. — His Appointment and Compassion, v. 7-10. — Digression 
on the Priesthood of Melchisedec, and the reasons for it, v. 1 1 -1 4. — Pro- 
gress in Knowledge essential, vi. 1-3. — Danger of Apostasy, attd arguments 
against it, 4-20. — Argument resumed — Christ s Priesthood proved superior 
by various arguments, vii. 1-28. 

1 T70R every high priest taken * from among men " is ordained * «ch. viu. 3. 
A for men * in things pertaining to God, ^ that he may offer *^- ^^^7- 

2 both gifts and sacrifices for sins: ^who can have compassion 2; J*"' 
on ' the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way ; * for '^^^ **» 

3 that ' he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And -^by ^2;^j;/3^- 
reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to j^; 16*^7 f' 

4 offer for sins. ^ And no man taketh this honour unto himself, it^^'^^' 

5 but he that is* called of God, as ^ was Aaron. ' So also Christ ^^x^hs*: 
glorified not himself to be made* an high priest ; but he that AEx.xivm.i; 
said unto him, Ji""l'chron. 

* Thou art my Son, ,• jJ!"*iH?*54. 

To-day have I begotten thee. ch.* i. 5. * 

6 As he saith also in another //<f7tY, (oix.)4: 

' Thou art a priest for ever wiMat. xxvi. * 

After the order of Melchisedec. Mt xiv. ' 

7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had ** offered up prayers Jo. xvli. x. 

and supplications * with strong crying and tears unto him * that Mit. xxViu 

was able to save him from death, and was heard ^ in that he «y-34. 37- 

fl Mai.xxv1.53: 

8 feared:' ^ thoujjh he were • a Son, yet learned he '^ obedience Mk.xiv.36. 

' o y J / Mat.xxv1.37: 

9 by the things which he suffered ; and ' being made perfect, he **•'• »'.r- 33: 

A^Ua xxii« 43 ' 

became the author' of 'eternal salvation unto all them that ]?c^S\V' 

g Ch. ui. 6. 

10 obey him ; called of God an*® high priest "after the order of j'^^":."-J- 

11 Melchisedec. Of whom"*' we have many things to say, and ^ ji*a.**iiy. n. 

12 hard to be uttered,'* seeing ye are*' "'dull of hearing. For *Jf^^J^; 
when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that *'^°p*^'iH.",k 
one teach you again which be ''the first principles" of the ^J?h.'\rri!'^ 
oracles of God ; and are become such as have need of -^milk, ^\^^J' '"' '* 

13 and not of strong meat." For every one that useth" milk is 
unskilful" in the word of righteousness: for he is 'a babe. * J,^°-;, *jij'. 

14 But strong meat" belongeth to them that are of full age," even ^^^^\^i/ 

• being taken (/>. being taken as he is) * appointed 

' deal gently with {or, feel gently towards) * and the erring (wandering) 

• read, when ® to become ^ for his godly fear 

• was • Gr, the cause '® addressed by God as [seev, 6) 
'* or. Of which (subject) ^' explained " insert become 

'* the rudiments of the first principles {Gr. of the beginning), see vi. i 
" solid food '® Gr, partaketh (* takes') *' inexperienced 

" mature — full grown (fir, finished, or perfect); see vi. imperfection 

m. 13, 

42 TO THE HEBREWS. [Chap. V. i-VII. 2& 

those who by reason of use have their senses exercised "to «iaa-vii 15; 

, , * Cor. u. i4« 

discern both good and evil. ^JK .. 

Chap. VI. i. Therefore * leaving the principles of the doctrine of «3»m; 

Christ, let us go on unto perfection;*' not laying again the ^Mk.^i.15; 

foundation of ^repentance ^from dead works, and of ' faith ^^.»- 38. 
2 toward God, -^of the doctrine of baptisms, ^and of laying on '^^i^.*^. 

of hands, * and of resurrection of the dead, ' and of eternal J^^; ^• 
3> 4 judgment. And this will we do, * if God permit. For ' // is •^^•^'^^s. 

impossible for those '"who were once*^ enlightened, and have" '^^^,e. 

tasted of "the heavenly gift, and ''were made" partakers of *j^^-,^'/9,= 

5 the Holy Ghost, and have** tasted the good word of God, and ,|?."7i-V7'; 

6 the powers of ^ the world " to come, if they shall fall away," to ^.*'?': ^'' 
renew them again unto repentance; ^seeing they crucify ** to acS."'/io.* 
themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open xConTt^ii? 

7 shame. For the earth which drinketh " in the rain that cometh j,l^e^^iXi\ 
oft upon it, and bringeth forth ''herbs" meet for them by 'jS'v.^e!'' 

8 whom it is dressed," ' receiveth blessing from God : ' but that "'2PeUi.M,af! 
which" beareth thorns and briers is^ rejected, and is nigh *vi!*3T;/°' 

9 unto cursing;" "whose end is to be "burned. But, beloved, «»G&.iii*.f,'5; 
we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accom- >ch.H.5. 

10 pany salvation, though we thus speak : ^^ for "' God is not rOonftTi. 
unrighteous to forget ''your work and labour of love," which /oeiLiii. w, 
ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have" •''ministered «Deut. xxix. 

22 2^ * 2 Cor 

11 to the saints, and do minister. And" we desire that 'every xi.'i5;'Heb.' 
one of you do show the same diligence ''to the full assurance; 

•^ ** Mat, X. 42, 

12 of hope unto the end : that ye be not slothful, but * followers" 'i'^^- <?s 

* ' ' Jo xm. 20. 

of them who through faith and patience ^inherit the promises, "'flhtt'-^'^ • 

13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could •'^'Thes. I's: 

cp. X. 32-34. 
XV. 25; 
. viii. 4, 
ix. X, 12 : 
2 Tim. i. 18. 

14 swear by no greater, ^he sware by himself, saying, Surely -^fcbr/ 

blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 

15 And so, after he had patiently endured,** he obtained the J^l*J[- J; '^* 

16 promise. For men verily " swear by the greater : and ' an oath ^^^;^^\\y' 

17 for confirmation is to them an end of all strife." Wherein" ii.,4"*' ^' 
God, willing more abundantly to show unto -^ the heirs of pro- ^oen.xxu.16; 
mise*' ^the immutability of his counsel," confirmed // by" an Lu-TVa.* 

18 oath : that by two immutable things, in which // was impossible /chJixi!*^." 

g Rom. XI. 2$ 

*® Wherefore and for the rest^ or, leaving the word (the instruction) of the first 

principles {see note 14) of Christ, let us press on unto maturity 
*® once for all ^* omii have ** became •• or^ age 

•* Gr. and fell away ^* Gr. crucifying as they do . . . and putting 

** land which hath drunk ^' herbage 

2* for whom (on whose account) it is tilled •* when it 

*® it is '^ a curse *' read^ the love ^' omit have 

'* But ** Gr* imitators *^ rather, waited ^' omit verily 

^^ rather^ and in every contradiction {or, dispute) of theirs, the oath is final 

for confirmation or settlement of the matter {see note on v. 16) 
*® Wherefore ^^ the promise 

** Counsel is a form of the same word as wit/in^ — * willing to show ... of his 

will '— <?r, * minded to show ... of his mind' ^* rather, interposed with 

Chap. V. i-VII. 28.] TO THE HEBREWS. 43 

for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation/' who have 

fled for refine to lay hold upon the *hope 'set before us: ^^k'iV* 

19 which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and 'Ch.xiLi. 
stedfast, * and which entereth ** into that within the veil ; ^1^15?^ ^ 

20 'whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, '"made** I'^'iy^i^, 
an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. wFloL"* *** 

Chap. VII. i. For this " Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of "" the S^i*'. ^, 
most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter «ga?iv. Vi, 

2 of the kings, and ^blessed him ; to whom also Abraham gave *• <>vS. Vi***^ 
a tenth part of all ; (first being by interpretation King of ^ ^*^ ***' ** 
righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, 

3 King of peace ; without father, without mother, without 
descent,*^ having neither beginning of days, nor end of life ; 

but made like unto the Son of God ;) ^abideth a priest con- ^ctoB.xiv.18. 

4 tinually. Now consider how great this man was^ ''unto whom ra6n.xiv.i7, 
even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.** 

5 And verily ' they that are of the sons of Levi, who *• receive ' ^^"^j *^"*- 
the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes 

of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, 

6 though they *® come out of the loins of Abraham : but he 
whose descent ^ is not counted from them received ** tithes of 

7 Abraham, 'and blessed" ''him that had" the promises. And j^^^^" 
without all contradiction" the less is blessed of the better. Cai. in. x6. 

8 And here men that die receive tithes ; but there he receiveth 

9 tlum^ ^ of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so ''S^al* ^' 
say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham." 

10 For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec 

11 met him. "'If therefore perfection were** by the Levitical^'cSLii'^ai'?' 
priesthood, (for under*' it the people received** the law,) what ^^"-7. 
further need ivas there that another** priest should rise "^ after ^^■.«.(flix.) 
the order of Melchisedec, and not be called ** after the order of 

12 Aaron ? For the priesthood being changed, there is made ** of 

13 necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these 

things are spoken** pertaineth to ** another *• tribe, of which ^JjJ^*|:^":s» 

14 no man gave** attendance at the altar. For it is evident that Li!!*lu\i3; 

^our Lord sprang ** out of Juda ; of** which tribe Moses spake R°JJ*v^t* 

*' or^ encouragement ** entering 

*• V^ere as forerunner for us Jesus is entered, having become 
*• literally^ gave as his portion (^r, divided) *' genealogy 

** out of the chief spoils *• rather^ when they Ton their receiving) 

** rather^ these (/>. their brethren) " hath taken 

»« hath blessed «* hath 

•* nrMrr, without any contradiction or gainsaying {or, beyond all contradiction) 
^' so to say, through Abraham, even Levi, who receiveth tithes, hath been 
tithed lumself *• If then there was perfection 

•' Gr, on the ground of ** read^ hath received *• a different 

^ that he should be said to be not ** comes to be 

•• said {as in v. 11) ** Gr. hath partaken of 

•* hath ever given •* bath sprung •• as to 

Eph. u. 1 8. 
iu. la : ch. W. 
16, z. 19. 
r P& ex. 4. 

44 to THE HEBREWS. [Chap. V. I-VII. 2S 

15 nothing concerning priesthood,*' And it is yet far more 
evident : for that •* after the similitude of Melchisedec there 

16 ariseth another* priest, who is'* made, not after the law of a 
carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless '* life. 

17 For he testifieth,'* ' Thou art a priest for ever after the order 'Jj;^*; 

18 of Melchisedec For there is verily" a disannulling of the '^**- 
commandment going before for'* *thc weakness and unprofit- '^T-^^^' 

19 ablcness thereof. For *the law made nothing perfect, but *J^^J;J2^* 
the bringing in of ""a better hope did ;''*^ by" the which ''we cSiLu.'^:^' 

20 draw nigh unto God. And inasmuch as not without an oath ^^ ^.^s, 

21 he was made priest : (for those priests were made" without an ^5^^.,. 
oath ; but this '' with an oath by him that said unto him, 

' The Lord sware and will not repent, 
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec :) 

22 By so much ^was Jesus made" a surety of a better testa- ^£^,*"iif;^ 

23 nicnt.** And they truly were many priests,*' because they 

24 were not suffered to continue" by reason of death: but this 
man^^ because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priest- 

25 hood." Wherefore he is able also to save them to the utter- 
most** that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth ^to ^fi^^'/;^* 

26 make intercession for them. For such an high priest became J*jo*iL*t.* 
us, * who is ' holy, harmless, undefiled, separate *^ from sinners, *pi'^;(xk) 

27 *and made higher than the heavens ; who needeth not daily, ^L^h.i 
as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, ' first for his own 
sins, '"and then for the people's : for ''this he did once," when 

28 he offered up himself. For the law maketh" "^ men high priests voJts'.i^uxi. 
which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was ''ch!Tx.V2.28■ 
since•• the law, inaketh*^ the Son, ^ who is consecrated ®' for ^chl'v. 1. 2. 

/Pj. li.7;ch. 

evermore. ii. xo, v 9. 

IV. 10; ch. 
iv. 14, viii. z. 
/ Lev. ix. 7, 
xvi. 6, 1 1 ; 

•' rfiui^ priests ^' if ^^ a different 

^0 halh been (6V. hath come to be) ^* Gr. indissoluble 

'* read^ It is witnessed of him ^' omit verily ^* because of 

^* because of the weakness and unprofitableness thereof; (for the law made 
nothing perfect ;) and there is a bringmg in thereupon of a better hope 
^* through " For these have been made [or^ become) priests ^' he 

^' hath Jesus become ®^ covenant 

"* have become priests in great number ®' hindered from continuing 

•■ hath his priesthood unchangeable, or^ a priesthood that doth not pass away 
*' completely ** separated '^ once for all 

" appointeth ** after ^^ perfected 

Chap. v. The lugh-pricslhood of Christ is 
now formally introduced for fuller discussion. It 
i)a« iiccn mentioned in every chapter of the 
Kpisllc (i. 1, ii. 17, iii. l, iv. 5), and clearly 
occupies a chief place in the writer's mind, as it 
docH in other Ixwks of Scripture. The notion 
that this oflficc of our Lord has only economic or 
temporary interest ; that it l)elongs rather to the 
ancient law and to Jewish conceptions than to the 
iia^^lH^I, miite misleads. It is, indeed, a doctrine 
demandru by the express teaching of the New 
Te»iamcnt and l>y human nature as illustrated in 

the religious sacrifices of all nations, and in the 
fell necils of the human conscience. 

Two qualifications are said to be necessar}* in 
priests, and Christ is proved to have them both : 
the first is, that they should he able to feel for those 
whom ihey represent, and then that they should 
have the authority of a Divine appointment (vers. 
I -4). Christ is thus shown to have both a Divine ap- 
pointment and the requisite sympathy (vers. 5-10). 

Vcr. I. For resumes the subject of di • 
cussion (see iv. 15), and gives a reason why 
Christ should possess the qualities here .de- 

Chap. V. i-VII. 28.] 



scribed (ver. 5). — Every priest The rensoning 
is suQ^ested by the case of the Aaronic priesthood, 
and refers in detail to that ; but the words are 
applicable to all priesthoods (t.^. to all who act 
for others in things pertaining to God). — Taken 
M he it from among men affirms part of the 
quality of a priest, and is so regarded by most 
commentators ; others render the expression, as 
apparently does the English Version, * when 
taken * (/>. every merely human* priest) ; and 
suppose that there is a contrast between human 
pnests and the Son of God. But the former is 
the juster view, for the writer goes on to claim 
for Christ also the same human Qualities in a 
higher d^;ree (ver. 7, etc). — ^Is ordained; pro- 
perly, *is appointed;* 'ordained even as Aaron 
was [ordained],' misleads. Ordination in any 
technical sense is not here, but Divine appointment 
simply. — For men, i.e, on behalf of, not in the 
stead of. This last is indeed a possible meaning 
of the preposition in certain combinations (He 
was made a curse for us, etc.), but is not in the 
word itself, nor is it appropriate here. — In things 
pertaining to Gk>d; literally, < things Godward/ 
our interests and business in relation to Him. — 
Both gifts and sacrifices for sins are naturally 
the offerings or gifts of the law other than sin- 
offerings and the sacrifices ; * for sins * belonging 
to the last only (see the same combination in 
viiL 3 and ix. 9), and not, as Alford supposes, to 
both. It is true, however, that the * sacrifices * 
were also gifts, the victim being the property of 
the offerer, and sometimes only gifts, and not 
properly sacrifices (for sin) ; while the gift was 
sometimes of the nature of a sacrifice. Both the 
ideas are blended in the work of our Lord, * who 
gave Himself for us.* On the other hand, we are 
said, without any reference to sin-offerittgt to pre- 
sent our bodies living sacrifices (Rom. xii. x). The 
fact is that the old Homeric meaning of the word 
to sacrifice (Ovw) was to burn wine, etc., in the 
fire to the gods ; its secondary meaning, to slay in 
sacrifice. From that one root came a double set 
of derivatives — incense, to bum incense, altar of 
incense (Thyine wood, Thus^ etc.) ; and to 
sacrifice, to offer sacrifice, altar of sacrifice, etc. ; 
and hence sacrifice is often and naturally used in 
the New Testament in the figurative sense, 
especially in St. Paul(£ph. v. 2; Phil. iv. 18). — 
To offer is the technical word common in this 
Kpistle, but Alford says it is never found in St. 
Paul. The noun, however, is found (Rom. 
XV. 16; Eph. v. 2), though appropriately with 
another verb * present,* * give,* either because the 
sense is figurative (see above), and the ordinary 
verb would be too sacrificial, or because in the 
last passage he wants to call attention to the fact 
that Christ is offerer as well as victim. 

Ver 2. Who ; rather, being one able to have 
compassion; literally, to be reasonably com- 
passionate towards — a word found in the New 
Testament only here. The Stoic prided himself 
on being apathetic in relation to sm and misery, 
as he held the gods were. A sympathetic or 
emotional nature rejoices with those that rejoice, 
and weeps with those that weep, llie true 
position of a priest in relation to those who are 
not only suffering, but are also guilty, is between 
the two. His is a blended feeling of sorrow and 
blame. Were there no sorrow, there would be no 
fitness for the office manward ; were there no 
blame, there would be no holiness, and so no 

fitness for the office Godward. As standing 
between man and God, he feels (we may say it 
with reverence) for both ; and herein consists His 
noblest quality. — With the ignorant and the 
erring. The persons for whom the priest acts are 
not innocent, or the function would cease ; they are 
sinners, and are described as ignorant and out of 
the way (erring or, it may be, 1^ out of the way). 
The first word is milder than the second, and 
describes an ignorance that may be without sin, 
though it is oftener an ignorance that is more or 
less sinful (see Lev. iv. 13, v. 18). There is 
generally sin in it, though not the sin of a wilful 
perverseness (*I did it ignorantly in unbelief,' 
I Tim. i. 13). The second word, though stron^r 
than the first, is milder than is consistent with 
wilful conscious sin ; it is going astray, or (in the 
passive voice) being led astray (see I Cor. vi. 9 ; 
Gal. vi. 7 ; 2 Tim. iii. 13). Possibly these words 
describe the feeling of the priest, who is supposed 
to be a man and himself a sinner (see next clause) 
towards those who are sinners, and who he may 
say are after all 'ignorant and deluded.* More 
probably, however, the words describe the real 
character of those for whom he is to act. All 
men are blameably ignorant, and are out of the 
way ; every sin is want of knowledge, as well ss 
want of wisdom ; we all have gone astray, and for 
all the priest acts ; those being excepted who are 
presumptuous and defiant sinners tor whom no 
sacrifice could be accepted. The very office of 
the priest implies some desire to be forgiven, or 
at all events the cessation of perverse persistence 
in sin. Sympathy for all such is the duty and the 
qualification of the true priest ; made the more 
easy that he is himself beset with infirmity, and the 
more obligatory that he himself needs the same 
treatment. The infirmity here spoken of is 
clearly moral weakness, which makes men capable 
of sin, and leads to it. 

Ver. 3. And by reason hereof (the tnie 
reading, though requiring no change in the 
English Version), i,e, the infirmity with which he 
is himself compassed. — He onght (under a double 
obligation, ethical and legal, with special refer- 
ence in this instance to the first). — As for the 
people even, so also for himself. The reasoning 
applies to the Aaronic Priesthood, ^nd also to all 
human priests. The provisions of the Jewbh law 
in this respect are very clear (Lev. iv. 3-12), and 
especially for the service of the great day of 
Atonement, when the priest confessed for himself 
and his house, then for the priesthood in general, 
and then for all Israel (Lev. xvi.). Whether 
all this applies to Christ has been much dis- 
cussed. Some have regarded it as spoken of 
human priests as distinguished from Christ ; but 
it is more natural to regard it as true of all high 
priests in general, and then to allow the writer 
himself to show how far the Priesthood of Christ 
is like others, and how far it is unique ; this he 
docs as his argument proceeds (vers. 7, 8, and 
chap. vii. 28). 

Ver. 4. A priest, moreover, who is God's agent 
as well as man's, has his appointment not from 
himself nor from man, but from God. — And none 
taketh this honour {the office^ as the word 
frequently means) tohimiBelf (upon himself, as we 
now say), i.e. legally, acceptably to the chief party 
in this arrangement ; but when called of God, 
even as Aaron was. The Divine ordinance which 
made Aaron and his sons high pnests continued 



[Chap. V. i-VII. 28. 

long in the theocntcy, and was vindicated against 
the nsurpation of other Levites and of kings 
(Num. xvi. 17 ; 2 Chron. xxvi. 16-21). But long 
before the date of this Epistle the ordinance had 
been broken, and the Roman power con- 
temptuously set it aside. Some have thought 
that the writer rebukes these irregularities in thb 
verse, but probably he is speaking of what was in 
fact the law and the proprieties of the case 
without any side-reference to later abuses. Wlio 
are to present offerings to God, and whom God 
will accept, are questions that belong clearly to 
God Himself. We must carefully distinguish, 
however, between the prophetical office and the 
priestly. All Christians that have the Gospel 
may prophesy ; every man who has found the 
cross is competent and is authorised, nay, is 
even required to tell others the road. Warnings 
a^inst preaching the Gospel, derived from^ the 
history of Korah and Abiram, are specially 
inappropriate under a dispensation when all are 
commanded to tell what God has done for them, 
when not only the Spirit and the Bride, but every 
one that heareth is to say. Come. The real 
lesson lies in another direction. We have under 
the Gospel one Priest only in the deeper sense of 
that word, a Mediator and a sacrifice, who has 
made complete atonement for sin. The usurpa- 
tion of His office is on the part of those who 
assume to themselves the name of priests, and 
pretend to offer sacrifice for the sins of the living 
and the dead. Here is the sin of Korah ; the 
more guilty as Christ is greater than Aaron, 
and as His perfect sacrifice is superior to the 
shadowy sacrifices of the ancient Law. 

Vcr. 5. These requisites of the high priests are all 
found in Christ, and found in Him in such a degree 
as proves Him to be superior to all others. — ThnB 
Ohrist also (ns well as others) glorifiednot himBelf, 
took not the honour upon Himself (see John viii. 
54) to be made High jPrieat, bat he (the Father) 
who apake to him: Then art my Son ; I have 
this day begotten thee. He it was that made 
Him Priest, and made Him Priest in the very 
passage that speaks of Him as * Son ; * the ' Only- 
begotten.' This deeper meaning which regards 
the Sonship that Chnst had before His incarna- 
tion as itself having reference to redemption, and 
to Christ's place therein, is favoured by the 
Fathers. Others who regard the quotation as 
giving honour to the Son without making that 
honour an assertion of His Priesthood, interpret 
simply Christ did not Himself assume the office 
of Pnest ; God who acknowledges Him as His 
Son in a sense that raises Him above all creatures, 
God gives Him the office. 

Ver. 6. Then follows a correction (according to 
the second of the above interpretations), or an asser- 
tion in plainer terms (according to the first) of this 
appointment. — Even as also he saith in another 
(literally, *a diflferent') place ; a psalm written with 
a different purpose ; a quotation from the i loth 
Psalm, which is generally accepted by the Jews 
themselves as Messianic, showing that if Jesus is 
the Christ it is by a Divine appointment He holds 
the character and performs the functions of a 
Priest— a perpetual Priest — the only Priest — with 
honours and qualifications higher and greater than 
those of Aaron. 

Vers. 7-10, Having shown how Christ has one 
qualification for the Priesthood, the authority of 
a Divine appointment, based in part upon His 

relation to the Father, the writer now reverts to 
the other qualifications. His fitness to bear with 
our infirmities, and to sympathize with us in 
suffering. The four verses really make one 
sentence. Stripped of its modifying clauses, it is 
briefly : ' Who, though He was, in His own nature^ 
Son, yet learned obedience by the things which He 
suffered, and being perfect (having completed the 
sacrifice He had to offer, and finished the trainii^ 
that was to fit Him for His office). He became 
the author (the cause) of eternal salvation to all who 
obey Him, being publicly, solemnly addrened 
as High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.' 

Ver. 7. In the daya of bia fleah (* of His 
humani^,' Arabic), ue, during His earthly life, 
especially in the closing part of it, as contrasted 
with the glorified state on which He entered 
when His high-priesthood began. — ^When he 
had offered np, etc. ; rather, * in that He ofiered 
up ... . was heard, and though He was a 
Son . . . learned ; ' or, * having offered up and 
being heard ... He learned obedience, etc. 
All the tenses refer to one and the same process 
of discipline ; they describe His life not in distinct 
and successive portions, but as a whole, though 
no doubt the description is specially true of His 
final agony. — ^Having offered np is the r^ular 
sacrificial word used throughout this Epistle, and 
it probably implies that while all the sufferings 
these words describe were fitting our Lord for His 
priestly office, they were also part of what He had 
to suffer as the liarer of our sin. — Frayen and 
BupplicationB. The word for * prayers ' expresses 
a deep /ieiin^ of need ; the word 'supplications' 
is a term taken from the olive branch wrapped 
with wool which was held out of old as an 
earnest entreaty for protection and help, and is a 
stronger word than the former. 'Prayers and 
entreaties ' may represent, therefore, the general 
sense. Each may involve the other, but they 
differ in this way : St. Luke (who of the Evan- 
gelists dwells most on this human side of Christ's 
life) tells us often that Christ prayed, and then 
again that 'being in an acony he prayed more 
earnestly^ (xxii. 44).— Witii strong crying and 
tears ; with a most vehement outcry, an outcry of 
intensest feeling. Such was His first great cry on 
the cross : * My God, why hast Thou fon»ucen 
me?' (Matt xxvii. 46) ; and such was the cry that 
accompanied His last utterance (Luke xxiii. 46). 
His tears are also once named at least (xix. 41), 
and seem implied in such passages as Matt. 
xxvi. 38, xxvii. 46. The very agony of the final 
struggle has its prelude at an earlier stage (John 
xii. 27), and was not without its parallel even in 
the wilderness. These prayers and entreaties were 
addressed unto him that was able to save from 
death, and he was heard in that he feared. 
This clause has been variously interpreted. One 
guide to its meaning is, that whatever it was He 
prayed for, the Father heard and gave (literally, 
or by a better equivalent) what he asked. A 
second guide to its meaning is that the last clause, 
*in that He feared,' is rightly translated in the 
English Version. * Was heard, and so delivered 
from that which He feared— either from His own 
fear, or from the thing He feared,* though largely 
supported, is inadmissible.— The word 'fear* is 
used only of the fear of caution, of reverence, of 
devoted submission, never of the fear of terror. 
The interpretation of the Authorised Version, 
adopted by all the Greek expositors, is accepted, 

Chap. V. i-VII. 28.] 



mfter a foil examination of passages in ancient 
writers by Bleek and Alford, and is required in 
Heb. zii. 28, the only other place where it is 
found in the New Testament. The adjective, 
moreover, which is found only in Luke, means 
always ' devout ' (Luke ii. 25, and Acts). Does 
it mean, then, that Christ prayed to Him who was 
able to save from death that He Himself might 
not die ? Impossible — He came to ' give Himself 
a ransom for many.' He knew that He was to 
be betrayed into the hands of the Gentiles, and 
was to be scourged and crucified. — With ever- 
increasing clearness He had announced the fact 
to His disciples ; and if now He prayed for such 
deliverance. His prayer was not heanl. Does it 
mean that He prayed God to deliver Him from 
death after having died — a prayer that was fulfilled 
when the ' God of Peace,' God reconciled to the 
world through the death of His Son, 'brought 
apain from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ ' ? So 
Ebrard, Brown, and others interpret it. But 
neither is this exactly the meaning. What He 
prayed to be delivered from was not the mere 
d3ring, nor was it the grave into which, when 
dead. He was to enter. His prayer had rather 
reference to the agony of the final struggle. As 
Mediator He saw in death all it involved ; the 
curse of the broken law, the penalty due to sin, 
the wrath of God, not primarily against Himself 
as the Holy One, but against the guilty, in whose 
room He stood, and a^nst Him as He had taken 
their place. The weight of the Father's wrath, 
and the need in that dread hour of continued 
love to man, and of continued trust in God ; the 
fear lest by one moment of passionate impatience, 
in forgetfulness of the force of His tem{)tation, 
throu^ a natural recoil against the injustice and 
cruelty of His murderers, through possible distrust 
of Him who now seemed to have left Him to His 
own unassisted power — these were among the 
elements of His agony. And He could bear and 
resist them only through the cautious handling 
of the solemnities of His position, and by the 
reverent submission of His entire nature unto 
God. And God heard Him, not by delivering 
Him from the necessity of dying, not even by 
raising Him from die dead, but by strengthening 
Him to bear all (Luke xxii. 43), and by making 
the pangs of death the birth-throes of an endless 
life for him, and for all who were to believe. 
Had there been any impatience or distrust His 
prayer must luive remained unanswered, and His 
whole work have been frustrated. On the cross 
was there the deepest prostration of human weak- 
ness, and the utmost willingness to bear the 
burden whereby we are disburdened; as there 
was also the perfecting of the work and of the 
discipline which fitted Him to be a Priest, both in 
relation to God and in relation to ourselves. 

Ver. 8. Tlioiigh he were a Son ; more accu- 
rately, 'fhongh he wm Son* (there is no 
conditional thought expressed, but a strong 
assertion) ; fiterally, though being [in His own 
nature] Son, yet teamed he hie obedience (not 
obedience ^ply, but the obedience He practised, 
or the obedience which was to fit Him for His 
office) by (really the source of His knowledge) 
the tldngi. which he eolfered.— 43on. The 
absence of the article again calls attention to His 
relation to the Father (see i. 2).— Learned by 
■offering. There is in the Greek a play upon 
the wofds (oomp. irm$4ifutT» /ut^nftmrm^ troi$bla 

our best teachers — discipline essential to disciple- 

Ver. 9. Being made perfect, not only brought 
to the end, the completion of His learning and 
suffering, but having acquired all the necessary 
merit, power, and sympathy needed in His office 
after His obedience unto death. — He became the 
author (literally, the cause, the personal principle) 
of eternal salvation. A salvation not partial or 
temporal, like the atonements of the law, but a 
complete and ever-enduring deliverance from evil 
in all its forms and in every degree. It is the 
salvation of the soul which is immortal. It is the 
opposite of eternal condemnation. It takes in 
grace and glory ; and Christ is its author or cause 
through the lasting virtue of His blood and 
righteousness, His obedience and suffering, His 
intercession and gifts. — To all who obey him, 
who believe the truth He reveals, who live under 
the influence of it, and who acknowledge Him as 
their Master and Lord. His o1)edience unto 
death is the ground of our hope, and His obedience 
unto death is the model to which our life is to be 

Ver. 10. Being called of Gk>d; rather, being 
addressed (not the ;same word as in verse 4) by 
God as High Priest : the title of honour where- 
with the Son made perfect through suffering was 
saluted by the Father openly and solemnly when 
He made Him sit at His own right hand. Christ 
was Priest on earth (see ver. 6) when He made 
oblation of Himself unto God ; but having now 
entered the heavenly sanctuary. He was publicly 
received by God as High Priest, the priestly and 
high-priestly office*; being united in Him. — After 
the order of Melchisedec, there being a resem- 
blance in many particulars between the two, and 
especially in the antiquity, the dignity, the per- 
petuity of their resi)ective offices, with the usual 
fuller depth of meaning in the antitype, the reality, 
than in the shadowy S3rmbol. 

The exact nature of the obedience which 
Christ learned through suffering has been much 
discussed. Many commentators hold the view 
that it was His obedience as Priest whereby He 
became qualified for His office and the consequent 
sympathy of which He became capable. He 
learned to feel what obedience involved, and so 
became a merciful High Priest in things pertaining 
to God. The idea that His obedience to the 
Divine law generally was increased by sufiering 
seems to maxiy inconsistent with His Divine 
nature and His personal holiness. But the 
language of the 8tn verse seems to mean more 
than this explanation allows. He learned His 
obedience^ not sympathy merely, nor merely 
priestly fitness for iiis work. Though Son, witn 
all the love and trust of a Divine Son, He yet 
acquired and manifested a measure of obedience 
which else had been unattainable. Our Lord 
was man, proper man as well as God, and we 
must not so confound the two natures as to 
modify the attributes of either. As man He had 
an intellect like our own. He grew in wisdom, 
nay, even in favour with God and man. He had 
the faculty whereby He perceived the relation in 
which as man He stood to others, and felt the 
duties that relation involved. He had a will to 
decide His choice, and affections to impel Him 
to act. He was subject like ourselves to the 
great law of habit, whereby active principles 
become stronger through exercise, and are freed 



[Chap. V. i-VII. 28 

from exhaustion or made mighty through medita- 
tion and prayer. As man, the second Adam was 
as capable of growth in holiness as the first. He 
was made, moreover, under the law subject to its 
requirements. Created under it. He was to be 
judged by it ; and though this subjection was His 
own act, it was as complete as if He had claimed 
His descent entirely from the first transgressor. 
In this condition He was personally liable for all 
His .icts. To Him the warning came as to us : 
* Indignation and wrath upon every soul of man 
that doeth evil.* Under tnis law, and subiect to 
this condition, Christ appeared. If He fulfil the 
law with absolute perfection He is accepted, and 
for us there is hope. If He fail, if through His 
own weakness, the force of temptation, the 
subtilty of the tempter. He be seduce^l in thought 
or in feeling, even for one moment, from the 
narrow path of perfect holiness, our ruin becomes 
irremediable and complete ; and the blessed God 
is left to deplore the ruin which His own frus- 
trated benevolence has made only the more 
touching and profound. One impatient desire, 
one selfish thought, one sinful feeling, would have 
done it all. His suflfering was obedience. His 
obedience was intensest suffering from the begin- 
ning of His public ministry even to its close ; and 
if lie was subject to the laws of human growth, 
faculties stren^hened by reason of use, emotion 
made more mighty and more tender, ol^edience 
more easy by repetition, we may say that as 
Christ was truly man His obedience was learned 
and perfected by suffering. This view of the 
human life of our Lord, and the awful responsi- 
bility which attached to every act and feeling of 
His life, amid forces of evil unparalleled in human 
history, gives us a higher conception of His 
sufferings than anything besides. Such suffering 
strengthened, developed, perfected His own 
nature, even as ours is to be perfected, while it 
fits Him in the highest d^ree to understand our 
struggles and to sympathize with them. 

Chap. v. ii-vi. 20. The writer, knowing how 
ttnpre|>ared his readers were to admit that the 
Aaronic priesthood was inferior to that of Mel- 
chisedec and to that of Christ (who was the anti- 
type of both), interrupts his argument by remon- 
strating with them on their spiritual ignorance 
(11-14), and urges them to attain higher know- 
ledge (vi. 1-3), by the danger of apostasy (4-8), 
by his own hope of them founded on their former 
zeal (9-12), and by the encouragement which 
God's promise and oath give to persevering faith 

Ver. II. Of whom; that is, of Melchiscdec, in 
his superiority to Aaron, and as the type of Christ. 
The other interpretations, *of Chnst,' and 'of 
which thing,' are hardly defensible grammati- 
cally ; the explanation just given is grammatically 
preferable, and is the same in sense. — We, not the 
writer and Timothy, but (as elsewhere in the 
Epistle, ii. 5» vL 9, 11, and as is common in 
Paul's Epistles) the writer himself.— Have many 
things (literally, have much) to say, and hard 
to be nttered; rather, hard to explain to you.— 
Seeing (since) ye are become (having lost the 
quick sense of your new life, and relapsed, in part 
at least, into your old state) doll in your hearing 
(not easily made to understand). — ^For while ye 
ought, on account of the time, to be teachers, 
etc Thirty years had passed since Pentecost, 
and some of you may have heard Christ the Lord ; 

His apostles you have certainly heard. Churches 
were first formed among you, and most of you 
became believers years ago. Nor only a long 
time, but a trying time also ; ' distress of nations, 
* men's hearts failing them for fear,* the * shaking ' 
foretold by the prophet. The nature of the time 
(not the length only) ought to have produced 
serious thought, earnest inquiry, and better under- 
standing of what was coming upon the earth. 
They had not only made no progress, — they had 
retrograded.— Ye have need tnat one teach you 
what is the nature of (or, that some one teach 
you) the very Irst principles of the oracles of 
God. The first rendering is adopted by most 
commentators, ancient and modem, though the 
second is adopted by Bleek, Alford, and others. 
In neither case does it mean * what are the first 
principles,* but rather, what quality and meaning 
they have. The oracles of God in the plural 
means generally what God revealed, — the Div*ine 
utterance (Acts vii. 38 ; Rom. iii. 2), — while in 
the singular it meant that part where the revela- 
tion was given. The meaning here is not quite 
the same as in vi. I : *the doctrine of Christ,' 
thoujjh this meaning is implied. The Jews had 
sacrifices and ritual, a material temple, prophecies 
clearly foretelling the life and death of our Lord, 
and rudimentary Christianity; but though they 
had embraced the Gospel, they were failing to sec 
what their own economy really meant, and they 
were in danger of going back from the Spirit to 
the flesh, from the reality to the type, overlooking 
the significance of the simplest parts of their 
system,—* the elements,' as the Apostle Paul calls 
them also (Gal. iv. 3, 9). The description here 
given may mean the plain doctrines of the Gospel, 
such as are specified in the first verse of the next 
chapter ; but the peculiar language of this verse 
('elements,* * oracles') points rather to the signifi- 
cance of the elementary rites and truths of Judaism 
itself, the very things he goes on in later chapters 
to explain. Christianity is the Law unveiled, and 
you would understand the general principles of the 
new economy if you rightly understood the old ; 
a like rebuke may be seen in Luke xxiv. 2J-27. 
— And are become (as in ver. 11) such as nava 
need of milk, and not of strong meat (solid food). 
You have gone back into a second childhood, and 
need to understand the pictures and shadows of 
the ancient Law, — things intended for the infant 
state of the Church, — or, possibly, need to study 
again those easier parts of the Gospel which men 
accept at the beginning of the Divme life. The 
Fathers generally understood by *milk* and by 
' first principles ' the Incarnation ; but that is 
itself a profound mystery, and the writer has 
already affirmed and discussed it. The compari- 
son of doctrines to milk and food is common in 
Philo, and is found in both Testaments. St. 
Paul uses both in I Cor. iii. i, 2. 

Vers. 13 and 14 give the reason why the further 
teaching is hard to explain. — ^For every one who 
nseth milk (takes it as his ordinary food, and can 
digest nothing else) is unskilled (literally, inex- 
perienced) in the word of righteousness; not in 
the Gospel as the true and righteous word (Gro- 
tius. Brown, and others) ; not in rightly ordered 
speech (Delitzsch) ; not quite the word of righteous- 
ness, as Melchisedec is king of righteousness, as if 
there were a play upon the words (Bleek) ; but 
rather, that message, that Gospel of which right- 
eousness, imputed and imparted, in its double 

ChaP.V. I-VII.2S.] 



Ibnn of Justification and holiness, is the central 
tnith. The man who fails to see the spiritual 
significance of the law, or, having once seen it, 
goes hack to his old condition of imperfect vision, 
neither knows the burden of human guilt and the 
consequent need of Divine atonement, nor the 
necessity of true holiness.— For he is a babe (an 
Infuit), and takes the same place among S{)iritual 
seers as an infant takes in the perception of 
worldly interests. 

Ver. 14. But lolid food belongs to the fnll 
glioinii, to the spiritually mature (so the word 
often means in Greek writers). It is the same 
word in vi. I (Met us go on unto perfection^ 
Then follows the description of them. — Even 
thoee who by reason of (by virtue of, not by 
means of) me (their long use, their habit) have 
their sensee (properly their organs of sense, ue, 
the inner organs of the soul) ezerdsed (by spiritual 
gymnastics ; only it is healthy work also, and not 
play; comp. i Tim. iv. 7, and Heb. xii. ii) to 
diaoem (literally, * with the view to discriminate 
between') goodl and evil. To discern what is 
good and noble and what is bad and mischievous. 
The child is easily imposed upon: he may be 
induced to take even poison if it is sweetened to 
his taste ; but a man has learnt by the discrimina- 
tion which practice gives to make a distinction 
between things which differ, to ^refuse the evil 
and choose the good,* the very discrimination in 
which children fail (Deut. i. 39 ; Isa. vii. 16). 

To have time for learning, time which is rich 
in lessons, and make no progress, is itself retro- 
gression. Growth is the condition of all healthy 
life, physical, mental, spiritual. Not to grow in 
grace is to become dull and feeble ; it is to retain 
m the system what ought to be replaced by new 
or added knowledge or feeling. It makes men 
specially susceptible to disease, and is the sure 
precursor of decay. The apostolic guard against 
apostasy is here and ebtewhere to grow in grace 
and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 
xviL 18). 

Chap. vi. i. It must be carefully marked that 
this chapter does not begin a new subject ; still 
less is it implied that the first principles of the 
Gospel have been considered in previous chapters, 
and now the writer proceeds to doctrines that are 
more profound. It is all part of the argument 
begun in ver. 11, and is a digression on the 
danger and weakness of the Hebrew Christians, 
and indeed of us all, the writer included, unless 
we aim at higher knowledge and clearer under- 

Ver. I. Therefore; rather, wherefore, %,e, for 
which (not for that) reason — viz., because the 
Christian cannot remain a child, but must either 
grow or decay, and because you yourselves seem 
decaying, losing even your perception of the 
meaning of your economy. — Let ns leave (behind, 
as something which should be done with) the 
principles of the doctrine of Christ (literally, 
the word or instruction of the beginning of Christ, 
the elementary truths with which men began when 
they first believe or preach the Gospel, the things 
mentioned in the next verse). * The first princi- 
ples of the oracles of God ' describe the primary 
and essential truths taught in Judaism. ' I'he prin- 
ciples of the doctrine of Christ ' represent the cor- 
responding troUis of the Gospel. ~ And press on 
nmo perfection (maturity, the state of full-grown 
men). A question is raised here on which the 
VOU IV. 4 

commentators widely divide. Have these words 
to do with the writer's' task, in which he unites 
his readers with himself in his work, or have they 
to do with the hearers' condition and their need 
of a spiritual manhood, in which case he unites 
himself with them in their deficiencies and duty ? 
Is he urging them to listen to his arguments, o( is 
he urging them to greater advances in holiness ? 
Most authorities favour the former view. Against 
this interpretation is the fatal objection that the 
writer has affirmed that they are not fit for such 
instruction. The meaning seems therefore to be, 
that he puts himself by their si^e, and urges him- 
self and them to seek such maturer knowledge as 
will increase their spiritual discernment and pro- 
mote their stedfastness. Not mere teaching 
which the writer alone has to give, but knowledge 
and life, which his readers are to share with him. 
—Wherefore, seeing that we (you and I) are chil- 
dren, not grown men, let us, etc He then pro- 
ceeds to name six particulars which are specimens 
of the 'first principles' of the Gospel. Two of 
these refer to the spiritual requirements of Chris- 
tianity, two to the introductory rites, and two to 
its final sanctions; or better, the six particulars 
are really two essential qualities of Christian life, 
followed by four subjects of doctrine — rites and 
sanctions. These former (to repent and believe) 
the Hebrew Christians ought not to have to do 
again, and the other four they ought not to 
have to learn again. — Hot laying again the 
foundation of repentance from dead works, 
and of faith in Ood. * Laying again ' describes 
naturally the preacher's work, but as naturally 
the work of the hearer, who builds his own cha- 
racter and busies himself with every part of the 
process. The foundation consists of repentance, 
the true inward change of heart, without which no 
man can see or enter the kingdom (John iii. 3, 5). 
— Bepentance from dead works ([)erhaps works 
devoid of all spiritual life, consciousness, and 
power, but more likely, from the use of the same 
phrase in chap. ix. 14, guilty works, works that 
deserve death ; see i Kings ii. 26), and faith in 
Ood as having fulfilled the promise in the gifl and 
death of His Son.— Of the doctrine of baptisms, 
and the laying on of hands. The form of the 
word for 'baptism' means ' baptidng,' as distin- 
guished from * baptism,' and is generally applied 
in the New Testament to the washings ot the 
ancient law. It probably includes also the bap- 
tism of John and of Christ. The nature of each, 
and the distinction between them, became impor- 
tant practical questions with the Jews in the first 
age. The laying on of hands had several uses in 
the early Church. With that rite the sick were 
healed ; pastors and elders were admitted to their 
offices ; the Holy Ghost was given, and converts 
were fully admitted into the fellowship of the 
Church, generally with the impartation of spiritual 
gifts also. It is to this last chiefly that the ex- 
pression refers. — And of resunection of the 
dead and etonal judgment All these par- 
ticulars are under the grammatical government of 
*the doctrine,' showing that it is not to the facts 
themselves, but to the doctrine and the belief of 
the facts, the writer is referring as the foundation 
of the Christian life. These were Jewish doctrines 
as well as Christian, only they were brought into 
clearer light by the Gospel. The resurrection is 
that of both good and evil (John v. 29); and the 
judgment (here the sentence, rather than the pro- 



[Chap. V. i-VII. 28. 

cess, though both forms of the word are ased for 
the judgment, see x. 27) is called eternal because 
its results are eternal, and so final (Matt. v. 46). 
That these first principles of the Gospel were pro- 
claimed by the first teachers as principles wnich 
a man must know and believe in order to be a 
Christian, will be seen by an examination of the 
passages given in the margin of the text. The 
Hebrew l^lievers are exhorted to leave them just 
as St Paul tells us he himself left them, * forget- 
ting the things that were behind ;* not because 
they are unimportant, for they are in truth essen- 
tial, but because to stop there is to risk our 
stedfastness. How important these elementary 
principles .are is clear from the fact that there is no 
true godliness without them ; how unsatisfactory 
if Christians have no profounder knowledge is 
clear from the fact that the divisions and the 
lesser errors that have paralyzed the powers and 
marred the beauty of the churches of Christ have 
nearly all originated with men who understand 
first principles, and had no clear perception of 
anything beyond. We must have godly people 
in our churches, or the^ are not churches of Christ 
at all ; but if they are ignorant godly people, with 
small insight into the spirit and nature of the 
Gospel and of the Church, these churches will be 
robbed of half their power and of haif their holiness. 

Ver. 3. And thiB will we do. Let us try to 
raise each other to the higher ground of matured 
intelligence. — If so be that Qod permit (favour 
and help). Whether any of us have so far for- 
feited His grace as to be incapable of further pro- 
Ess, God only knows ; the writer hopes the best 
T. 9) ; but there is a backsliding, an apostasy, 
m which it is impossible to return. Tne posi- 
tion is therefore veiy solemn, will anyhow need 
special help, and the work may be even im- 

Vers. 4-7. These verses have deep significance 
and are difficult of interpretation. In the early 
Church a sect arose who gathered from them that 
those who sinned after baptism either generally or 
especially by joining in idolatrous wor^ip nnder 
persecution, were to be finally and permanently 
excluded from the churches, and could not be 
forgiven; and hence baptism itself was often 
postponed till death drew near. The Church of 
Rome; on the other hand, refused for a consider- 
able time to give this Epistle a place in the 
Canon, because it seemed to teach a doctrine at 
variance with what is taught in the accepted 
apostolic writings. In later times, those who 
deny the perseverance of the saints find in these 
verses and in others a little later (x. 26) the chief 
support of their system, as the defenders of that 
doctrine may perhaps have sometimes been more 
anxious to confute tneir argument than to give a 
fair interpretation of these texts. Nor can it be 
questioned that the passages have created great 
anxiety in real Christians who, sinking into 
spiritual languor, or betrayed into gross sins, as 
was David or Peter, have been thrown into 
despondency, unable * to lay hold of the hope set 
before them in the Gospel. Of the two passages 
it mavbe observed generally that the word *i/* 
(*if they shall fall away,' ^we sin wilfully) is not 
found in the Greek of either of them. It has 
been urged against the translators of the Autho- 
rised Version that they inserted * if* for the pur- 
pose of lessening the difficulty of the passage ; 
but this should not be hastily assumed. In the 

Revised Version the * 1/' is retained in the second 
passage, though it is struck out in the first : and 
the * if ' is so natural a translation of the Greek 
that it is inserted in the 8ih verse : * ^ it bear ; * 
where the Greek is simply ' but bearing,' *on its 
bearing.' We need not blame the translators 
either earlier or later ; it is enough to note that a 
common solution of the difficulty of the two pas- 
sages, that they are only supposed cases, is not 
tenable. On the other hand, very few of the 
commentators note that the persons whom it is 
impossible to help are descnbed by words that 
indicate continuous character and not a single act. 
Those who fall away are spoken of as (ontinuinf; 
to crucify to themselves tne Son of God afresbi 
while those who sin wilfully are not guilty of a 
single sin, but of going on sinnirig. The case, 
therefore, is the case of those who ^ back to a 
life of sin, — who take their place with the cmd- 
fiers of our Lord. Not single sins, but settled 
character or habitual practice, is what is con* 
demned. Three principles more need to be 
remembered : everv Christian grace has its coun- 
terfeit, an<I all the common privileges of the 
Gospel are shared by multitudes who make no 
saving use of them. This is the first. Many of 
the rulers of the Jews believed^ and yet they 'loved 
the praise of men more than the praise of God.' 
There is a real faith that cannot save ; there is a 
repentance, a worldly sorrow, which cannot be 
distinguished for a time from the godly sorrow of 
the true convert, as there is a * joy' with which 
some receive the word and yet have no root in 
themselves. There is a hope which God will not 
honour ; there is a holiness that is Pharisaism or 
deception ; there is an enlightenment as univei^ 
as the knowledge of the Gospel (John i. 9} ; there 
are miraculous powers shared apparently bv Judas, 
and certainly by men whom Chnst never knew as 
their Lord (Matt. vii. 22). And, secondly, though 
there are difficulties on both sides, the genend 
teaching of the New Testament is, that if there be 
true union with the Lord Jesus Christ it is nevfcr 
to be broken off. If the light of Divine grace be 
once kindled in the soul, it is never to l^ extin- 
guished. Sins once forgiven are forgiven for ever. 
The law written on the heart by God Himself is 
distinguished from that written on stone, and is 
not to be effiiu»d ; the principle of the Divine life 
once implanted is kept and guarded even to the 
end (see Heb. x. 19 ; John x. 15, 17, 28, 29 ; 
I Pet. i. 4, 5). But, thirdly, the precepts and 
warnings of the New Testament are addressed to 
men who are still in a state of probation. Every 
command that deals with essential Christian grace, 
every promise made to character, as in the Ser- 
mon on the Mount, all the watchfulness whidi 
Christians are exhorted to practise, and which 
inspired men practised (* I keep my body under, 
lest having preached the Gospel to others I should 
be a castaway '), are based upon the supposition, 
not that really saved men will perish^ but that any 
professing Christian man may. We are startled 
to find the truth so sharply set forth in passages 
like the one before us ; but the truth really under- 
lies the teaching of every Epistle, and practicallv 
of every modem sermoiu Most startling of all» 
the warnings and the invitations of the blessed 
God in the Old Testament, and of our Lord in 
the New, both of whom may be supposed to know 
the actual character and the final destiny of those 
they addressed, speak ever as if the ivln of all 

Chap. V. i-VII. 28.] 



were possible, nor can there be probation under 
an^ other arrangement. To argue that therefore 
neither the ruin nor the salvation is known or 
certain, would be shallow philosophy. We can- 
not solve the mystery, but we ought to recognise 
it, and to note that a moral government under 
which God reveals to every one beforehand his 
final destiny, speaks or acts as if it were fixed, 
and thus removes the condition which moral 
government implies (the force, viz., of motives as 
if all were uncertain), is a contradiction in terms. 
There is, of course, an added difficulty in this 
chapter, that those which are enlightened are not 
supposed to fall away, but are stated to do so. 
The difficulty wiU be examined in due time. 

Ver. 4. rar. A reason for each of the previous 
clauses : ' This will we do,' for the case is urgent ; 
without further knowledge you may fall away. 
' If God permit,' for the case may be even now 
hopeless, and certainly is so without His help. — 
It is impoHlble (see below) for those who naye 
been onoe for all enliglttened; once for all a 
process that needs not, or admits not of repetition. 
'Enlightened,' a won! which, when applied to 
persons, means 'instructed,' 'taught. When 
applied to professing Christians, it means that 
they have been made acquainted with the prin- 
ciples of the Gospel, and have received 'the 
knowledge of the truth,' as it is expressed in 
Heb. x. 26: they have known the way of 
righteousness (2 Pet ii. 20, 21). In the later 
history of doctrine, the word ' enlightenment ' is 
used as a sjmonym, it is said, for baptism, and 
so many have interpreted here ; but in fact it is 
not used in the Fathers for baptism simply, but 
for the illumination of the new birth of which 
baptism was the S]rmbol (Alford). This interpreta- 
tion was set aside in favour of the common meaning 
of the word by Erasmus, and nearly all modem 
commentators have adopted his view. — And have 
liad taate of the heavenly gift, i,e, of the gift that 
is made known by this enlightenment. Some refer 
the gift to Christ or the Spirit, or forgiveness, or 
salvation in Christ (2 Cor. ix. 15) ; but the con- 
necting particle in the Greek (rt) shows that the 
pift r^rs rather to what is implied in the previous 
instruction, — a heavenly gift it is in its origin and 
xesults.~And beoaine partaken of the Holy 
Ohost. Partakers, the noun and the verb are 
common in St. Paul and in this Epistle. When 
men had been instructed and had tasted of the 
blessings which instruction revealed to them, the 
next stage of the Christian life was to become 
partakers of the gifts and influences of the Holy 
Spirit, not excluding the influences which bad 
men may resist, for He has much to do even with 
hearts in which He never takes up His abode. — 
And have tasted the good word of God. Tasted, 
so as to feed upon the rich inheritance of promise 
and hope, which men have seized in all ages, even 
when slow to justify their right to it by con- 
sistency and holiness. This use of the word 
'good,' as descriptive of what is comforting and 
sustaining, is common in Scripture (see Josh. 
xxiiL 15 ^ Zech. L 11).— As well as the porwera 
of the woild to oome : the gifts and experience 
of the new economy, its powers both miraculous 
and spirituaL To taste these is to enjoy the 
blessings and advanta^ which follow from the 
fulfilment of the Divme word. Whatever is 
strildi^ in evidence, glorious in teaching, solemn 
and impressive in sanctions — all are included in 

* the powers which these men had felt. — And have 
CsUen away (not, if they should fall) ; fallen not 
into sin simply, but so as to renounce the Gospel, 
so as to go back with a will into a life of sin 
(chap. X. 26), so as to depart from the living God 
(chap. iii. 12), returning to the false religions 
they had left, or to determined ^infidelity and 
ungodliness. Sudi are the characters the writer 
describes; they possessed the knowledge of 
Gospel truth, and had a certain amount of enjoy- 
ment from that knowledge (note the genitive case 
after ' taste ' ) ; they were partakers of the common 
influences and miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost ; 
they enjoyed the promises of the Gospel (note the 
accusative case, after ' taste ' ) more fhllv than 
some other truths in which they had been 
instructed, and had felt most of the influences 
of the new economy miraculous, moral, and 
spiritual; and yet after all they had abandoned 
the Gospel and continued to denounce both it and 
its founder. Every part of this description 
applies probably to Judas, whose case seems to 
have been in the writer's mind ; and yet he was 
never a real believer, but ' a son of Perdition ' 
even from the first. Such was the primitive 
apostate. His counterpart in modem times is 
easily described : men have made great attain- 
ments in the knowledge of Christianity, have had 
considerable enjoyment of it; they have been 
striven with by the Holy Spirit, have enjoyed 
largely the promises and hopes of the Gospel ; and 
yet through neglect of its ordinances, through 
fear of the persecution to which it subjects them, 
they have been led to deny its Divine origin, and 
proclaim its founder a deceiver or mad. They 
have tried the Gospel and the Lord of the Gospel, 
and after trial they have rejected both. These 
miserable men are described as having fallen away. 
That was the fatal step which they took once for all 
(so the tense implies). The state in which th^ 
now are is described in the other participles, ' cruci- 
fying to themselves, as they still do, the Son of 
God afresh, and putting Him, as they still do, to 
open shame.' It is not the act that ruins them, 
it is the habit; and it is partly through that 
settled habit that it is impossible to renew them 
again to repentance. Some indeed regard 'im- 
possible' as used in a popular sense. It is 
difficult to renew them, so the Latin of D. 
translates here, and so several commentators have 
held ; but that meaning of the word is unknown 
in the New Testament. Others rmrd the 
impossibility as referring to man rather than God, 
and hold the meaning to be : We cannot renew 
men whose hearts are so hard, and whose con^ 
dition is so desperate as theirs. God can, but we 
cannot. No new argument, no new motive can 
we use; the terror, the love, the warnings, the 
entreaties of the Gospel — ^all have been applied 
and understood and resisted. Nothing^ but a 
miracle can change and save them. Neither of 
these explanations, however, is satisfactory. The 
word 'impossible' is very strong, and it seems 
immoveable. Just as in chap. x. 26, the writer, 
after describing the sacrifice of Christ, ' tells us 
that if men reject and despise it and go back to a 
life of sin, no other sacrifice remains for them ; 
there awaits them nothing but the fearful recep- 
tion of judgmbnt : so here, if men deny Chnst 
and cruofy Him to themselves— their treatment 
of Him in their own hearts ; if they renounce Him 
as a blasphemer and impostor — their treatment 



[Chap. V. i-VlI. 28. 

of Him before the World ; and that after having 
seen the truth and felt the attractiveness of His 
teaching and life, it is impossible to renew them. 
The language, as thus explained, is not a mere 
truism, as Delitzsch holds ('it is impossible to 
renew to re[)entance those who fall away, except 
they repent ') ; it is rather a strong assertion of an 
important truth. The contemptuous rejection of 
Christ's sacrifice means no foreiveness, and the con- 
temptuous rejection of ChrisTs teaching and grcue 
means no renewal and no personal holiness. There 
may be a sense in which each b an identical pro- 
position, but each meets the very purpose of the 
writer and the needs of the readers. They were 
tempted to think there was still forgiveness and 
holiness for them, even if they renounced Christ 
and treated Him as their fathers had done. The 
writer warns them that to reject Christ — to reject 
Him after all they have known and felt, under 
circumstances, therefore, that made their rejection 
practically final — was to give up all hope, all 
possibility of salvation. What would become of 
them if somehow they had ceased to crucify Him, 
ceased to scorn and to denounce Him ; if they 
gave up the life of sin to which, in chap, x., he 
speaks of them as having willingly returned, we 
need not discuss, for the case is not supp>osed. 
What they were in danger of saying was : There 
b renewal and forgiveness in the old economy, in 
heathenism, nay, even in ungodliness. We 
believe it in spite of Divine teaching and our 
long experience to the contrary. We may give 
up this new religion, may trample upon the blood 
of the covenant, insult the Spint of God, and live 
aS'We please, and yet be saved. What else can 
meet such doctrine but the strongest rebuke, and 
the most absolute denial? For men — out of 
Christ — because they have knowingly and wilfully 
rejected Him, renewal and forgiveness are alike 
impossible. Neither man nor God can sate them. 

Vers. 7 and 8. Awful as this teaching is, men 
accept it in the sphere of nature and recognise the 
equity of the arrangement. — For land (not the 
earth) that hath drunk in (not that drinketh in : 
the showers precede the fruitfulness) the rain that 
cometh oft npon it (that keeps coming, not in 
drenching but frequent showers, and comes for the 
purpose of making it fruitful, probably the force of 
the genitive with tr)). So the land is described ; it 
is not impenetrable rock from which the rain runs 
off, but land that sucks in the rain. Rain itself 
is in Scripture the emblem both of Divine truth 
(Isa. Iv. 10) and of Divine influence (Isa. xliv. 3). 
The whole description, therefore, applies to those 
who have tasted the good word of God and the 
powers of the world to come. . . . And, the 
result is in one case that the mother earth made 
fruitful from above, bring! forth herbage (edible 
plants, grass, com, food) fit for those on whose 
account, moreover (not 'by whom,' as Vulgate, 
Luther, Calvin, and other*, a sen«*» the Greek 
will not admit), it is tilled (carefully cultivated, 
a strong word) ; such fertility making a due 
return for the rain of heaven and the toil of man, 
partakes of blessing from God, in that He rewards 
It according to His own law (Matt. xiii. 12) and 
promise (John xv. 2) with more abundant returns. 

Ver. 8. But when it (or the first clause may 
be repeated : ' but when the same kind of land 
under like conditions') bears (produces, not so 
noble a word as * brings forth, which expresses 
something like natural birth) thorns and tnistlei 

* (so generally. Matt. vii. 16, etc. ) — these products 
of the curse— it is rejected (being tried, it is 
proved worthless and reprobate, a word occurring 
seven times in N. T., and only in Paul's Epistles), 
and is nigh unto a curse ; whose end (not the 
end of the curse, De Wette, Bleek, etc, but the 
end of the land ; see Ps. cix. 13, Heb., his 
end shall be) is for (or unto) burning. With 
great tenderness the writer softens the language 
of the original curse (Gen. iii. 17 and x8), and 
pronounces land of this kind to be nigh unto 
cursing, in great danger of it, and the end to be 
in the direction of burning — an end it may reach 
and will reach unless there be a great change. 
What this burning is has been much discussed. 
Are they the weeds, that the soil may be made 
fruitful, as were the weeds of old ( Virg, Geor, i, 
S4'~93 ) ^ No ; the weeds and soil also. What is 
burnt is the soil, and that means destruction ; so 
it is in Deut xxix. 22, 23, and elsewhere ; comp. 
John XV. 16. . . . E^ch clause of this analogy 
answers to the description already given in the 
previous verses. The tillers of the soil are 
Christian workers; they for whom the ground 
is tilled are the Father (i Cor. iii. 9), and the 
Son as heir (chap. iii. 6; Matt. xxi. 38). The 
rain represents the oft-repeated manifestations of 
truth and grace, and the drinking in of the rain 
symbolizes the apprehension and the reception of 
them ; if there be fruitfulness there will be ever- 
increasing blessing ; and if there be no fruitfulness, 
the case may not be hopeless ; but it is nearing 
that state, and is preparing for judgment, and the 
judgment is destruction. How applicable all 
this description is to our own age, as to every age, 
need not be shown. 

Vers. 9, 10. After these solemn warnings comes 
the outburst of hope and love.— But, oeloved 
(only here in this Epistle), we are persuaded (not 
the middle voice as often, *we have the inward 
confidence,' but the passive, — we are led to the 
conviction, — we are persuaded by evidence which 
justifies the conclusion, the evidence being given 
m the next verse. The whole expression, as 
Alford and Delitzsch note, resembles Rom. xv. 14). 
— Better things (either * in your moral state ' or 
* in your final destiny ;* both are really combined), 
and things that accompany salvation (rather, 
things that lay hold of,— that are in immediate 
connection with,— so that he who has the one has 
the other) ; though (notwithstanding that) we 
thus speak (talk, not now only, but again and 
a^ain). The better things, and things connected 
with salvation, are the holy dispositions they 
possessed (not the external privileges and spiritual 
gifts only), together with the final issues of that 
holy disposition in continued stedfastness and 
eternal liie. ITiey had * received the knowledge 
of the truth in the love of it * (the exactest defini- 
tion that can be given of true and saving faith), 
and being rooted and grounded in love, he hoped 
they would persevere and be preserved (the two 
sides of perseverance) in believing even till the 
completion of their salvation. 

Ver. la Tor (and he has reason for this con- 
viction) God is not unrighteous so as to forget 
your work and the love ('labour of [love] is 
without adequate support ; it was probably taken 
from the parallel passage, i Thcss. i. 3) which ye 
have showed towards his name, in that ye 
ministered to the saints and do (or still) minister. 
Their 'work* was their whole Christian life cf 

Chap. V. i-VII. 28.] 



active obedience (so of ministets, i Cor. iil. 13 ; 
so of men generally, Rom. ii. 15; and of 
Christians, i Thess. i. 3). Their love shown to 
God*s name ht not the love with regard to or for 
the sake of His name, but the love towards it 
(sec Rom. v. 8, etc.). The object of their love 
was the name of God — ^God Himself as revealed 
to us, * the God and Father of our Lord,' and the 
God and Father of all who believe ; and this love 
they manifested by ministering, and continuing to 
minister, to those by whom tl^t name was known 
and confessed and loved. Their work and love 
are clearly described in chap. x. 32-34. The 
ministry was one of sympathy, and the help 
shown largely to those of their own nation. 
'Ministering to the saints* is generally used in 
Scripture of help given to the Jewish Christians 
in Palestine; not because this expression of 
Christian love was to be restricted to them, but 
because they had then most need. This active 
Christian life, this love towards God shown in 
generous help to His servants, gives the writer 
hope that they are really God^ children, and 
that, therefore, God wiU not forget them. • He 
ii just, and will not forget,* is the strong language 
he uses. Some commentators (Dr. J. Brown and 
others) regard 'righteous' as equivalent to 
'faithful,* shrinking apparently from implying 
that the remembering ot the grace we exercise is 
a ntatter of righteousness with Him, and Quoting 
2 Thess. I 6 (' God is not unfaithful *) as the true 
explanation. That is no reason, however, for 
changing the meaning of the word ; and the two 
words, faithful and righteous, are combined in a 
very similar passage (i John i. 9). The whole 
case is well explained by Delitzsch. Not only is 
it true, when we believe and are holv, that God 
b bound by righteousness to fulfil what He has 
promised; not only is it true, when we repent 
and plead the mediation of His Son, that God is 
bouiKi by what b due to Him, as well as by His 
mercy to forgive ; but it is true also ^hat God*s 
righteousness prompts Him to help and graciously 
reward them that are righteous, whenever our acts 
correspond to His holiness and love. His righteous- 
ness leads Him to honour and bless the holiness and 
love which he has Himself created. The state in us 
that answers exactly to the holy love of God is our 
holy love, the fruit of faith in the revelation of (}od's 
holy love in Christ Faith, as the acceptance 
by our hearts of the free unmerited grace of God, 
is itself the beginning of a holy loving state ; and 
though the holiness of the faith is neither the 
meritorious ground nor the measure of our for- 
giveness, for of itself it cancels no sin, and can 
give no leg^ title to eternal life, it is none the 
less the object of God*s approval, and it ever 
works by love, which is its noblest fruit. Faith 
and love and holiness all come into judgment 
and approval now, as they will come into final 
judgment at last. As states of heart they are 
right and holy, and it is r^At in God to commend 
and honour them. Love towards God, and 
towards all that bear His name, holy love, b the 
divinest grace and likest God, and the Holy God 
woukl cease to be holy if He did not approve and 
bless it Yes ! God b not unright€<ms to forget our 
work and love ! To forget them would be to vio- 
late Hb word and deny Himself (see 2 Tim. ii. 13). 
Ver. 1 1. Bnt (thou^ persuaded of better things 
and recognising your work and love) we desire 
fnot 'earnestly desire;* the preposition of the 

ori^nal indicates generally the object of the 
desire, not the intensity of it) that every one of 
yon do show the eame diligence (the diligence 
you have already shown in cultivating bromerly 
love) with leepect to the full aesnranoe of yonr 
hope nnto the end. The stress b on ' the full 
assurance of your hope,* and 'unto the end.' 
' Full assurance of hope * b no doubt the mean- 
ing, just as elsewhere we read of the full assurance 
of faith (Heb. x. 22), and the full assurance of 
understanding (Col. ii. 2). And we desire that 
you show this quality and pexseyeze in it even 
to the end. The warnings of the Gospel are 
solemn, and yet Christians should live in tne sun- 
shine of an assured hope as the true safeguard 
against apostasy, — a hope, however, which it b 
difficult to maintain. 

Ver. 12. In this hope ye need to persevere, 
that ye become not alotlifal, bat imitatois (a 
favourite Pauline word, see i Thess. i. 6, etc ) of 
those who through faith and patience (generally 
' long suffering *) inherit the prondses. ' Become 
not slothful,' a more delicate and hopeful way 
of expressing the exhortation than 'be.' The 
same word ('slothful*) is used in v. 11, and the 
writer affirms that they had become so. But 
there the reference b to hearing, and b the oppo- 
site of vigorous thought and knowledge ; here the 
reference b to Christian practice, and b the oppo- 
site of a diligent, earnest life. The sluggbhness 
had already invaded the outer sense— the mental 
faculty ; the writer's hope b that it may not reach 
the inner spiritual nature. — Bat rather imitators. 
The Greek word has a nobler meaning than thb 
English equivalent. Scholars, it was said of old, 
should not only learn from their master, they 
should imitate (or, as we say, should copy) them. 
'Copy' itself is also misleading. Both words 
indicate too much a servile superficial reproduc- 
tion of the original, and hence the ' followers * of 
the Authorised Version is not unlikely to retain 
its place with ' imitators * in the margin. Patience 
or long-suffering b the mental state that bears 
long with the truds of the Chrbtbn life, and with 
the delays of the fulfilment of the Divine promise, 
with cheerful courage and without despondency 
or dejection. We believe what b promised, we 
patiently wait and endure, and in the end we 
shall come into the full enjoyment of the blessings 
themselves. ^Of them that inherit the promises. 
What b it, then, they inherit, and who are they ? 
A needless difficulty has been created by the state- 
ment of chap. xi. 39, that the Patriarchs did not 
obtain the promises, i,e, the blessings promised, 
and hence it b concluded either that what they 
inherited was simply a promise, not the blessing 
promised (Bleek), or that the words here used 
cannot refer to Abraham or to the spiritual bless- 
ings of the Gospel (Alford). But the argument b 
dear enough. Our fathers and others of later 
times walked by faith ; they were stedfast amid 
the trials to which they were exposed ; but they 
inherit the promised blessings, some in the fulness 
of GcKi*s grace on earth, and others in heaven. 
The specific instance quoted, that of Abraham, 
had a double fulfilment— the promise of a large 
seed, though long delayed, began to be fulfilled 
in hb lifetime, and under the old economy (Deut. 
i. 10) ; its complete fulfilment belongs, of course, 
to the Gospel, and Abraham sees and enjoys it 
now, as he saw and enjoyed it even when the 
l^pbtle was written. 



[Chap. V. i-VlI. 28. 

Vers. 13-20. The writer has sought to encou- 
rage the Hebrews by appealing to the Divine 
' righteousness/ He who graciously made them 
fruitful would righteously treat them according 
to their fruitfulness, and would complete what He 
had begun (ver. 10). He now proceeds still further 
to encoura£;e them by the fact that they had on 
their side the promise and the oath of God even 
as Abraham had. 

Ver. 13. For when Gk>d made (or, had made) 
promise to Afaraham, beoause (since) lie oonld 
■wear by none greater, he sware by himself. 
' Made promise * may be translated (as is done by 
De Wettc and others) *had made promise/ with 
reference to previous promises, wnich were in 
substance repeated for the first time with an oath 
at the offering of Isaac. The only occasion on 
which God did swear was at Mount Moriah (Gen. 
xxii. 16-18). The quotation which is made in 
the next verse follows neither the Hebrew nor the 
Septuagint exactly, but it represents the sense. 
Similar promises without an oath were previously 
given (Gen. xiii. 16, xv. 5). * Having made pro- 
mise, He afterwards sware,* may 3ierefore be 
the meaning, as is rather implied in ver. 18 ; but 
whether the promise and the oath refer to one 
occasion only or to two, the sense is unchanged. 
God made promise, and then, because there was 
none greater to whom He could appeal, He 
pledged His own life or being to the truth of the 
promise. Both promise and oath were immut- 
able ; the oath did not add to the intrinsic cer- 
tainty of the promise, His word being ever as 
good as His lx)nd ; but it gave a deeper impres- 
sion of its certainty, and was fitted to remove 
every doubt. 

Ver. 14. Saying, Snrely. The Hebrew of 
'surely * is equivalent to ' I swear.* The unfami- 
liarity to the Greek translators of the Hebrew 
idiom for swearing has created various renderings 
of the Hebrew particles, and the meaning of the 
Greek particle has been misunderstood by the 
English translators in this Epistle (see chap. iv.). 
But there is now no question as to the sense. 
—Blessing I will bless, etc The repetition 
indicates, according to the order of the original 
words, either the certainty of the thing promised 
('Thou shalt surely die'), or the continuousness 
and consequent completeness of it. In neither 
case is it unmeaning.— I will multiply tiiee. 
The full expression in Genesis b : ' I will multiply 
thy seed,^ Some think the change is significant, 
as if it was intended to connect the promise more 
closely with Abraham and his faith rather than 
with his seed (so De Wette and Bleek), and there 
may be force in this somewhat refined reasoning ; 
but the multiplying is the essential thing, and, as 
Abraham could be maltiplied only through his 
descendants, the promise in this shorter form 
leaves the meaning unchanged. 

Ver. 15. And so, in this way, haying patiently 
waited, believing and expecting the blessing 
amid all the trials and delays he was subjected to, 
he obtained what had been promised, — ^not so 
much -the birth of Isaac (Alford), who was bom 
before the oath, nor yet the restoration of Isaac 
from the dead (De Wette), a result that needed no 
waiting. The promise was really fulfilled in 
Abraham's becoming through Isaac the father of 
the people of promise, and then of ' many nations ' 
under the Gos[)el through Him who was 'the 
seed ' (Gal. iii. 16), and so of all who are diroogh 

faith children of Abraham, lliis is the pro- 
mise which, in the widest sense, Abraham has 
obtained. During his earthly life the fulfilment 
was very partial. At the exodus the seed arc 
expressly said to have been as ' the stars for mul- 
titude ' (Deut. i. 10) ; but the blessing of the 
nations was still to come. Nineteen hundred 
years later appeared the great Deliverer, whose 
day Abraham also saw, and now His kingdom is 
supreme, and Abraham has long since ' obtained ' 
it all. This wide meaning of the promise is not 
properly a spiritualizing of the Old Testament ; it 
is the true meaning on which St. Paul again and 
again insists (Gal. iii. 7 ; Rom. iv. 11). No trial 
of faith under any dispensation has been severer 
than Abraham's, and no reward more blessed or 
more complete. The lesson to * Israel,* whether 
literal or spiritual, is decisive and clear. 

Ver. 16. For men swear (* verily,* or 'indeed,' 
goes out on external authority) by the greater : 
by one who is above themselves, and can punish 
the wrong-doer ; and for confirmation, when any 
statement of theirs is contradicted the oath is 
final ; the question, as a legal question, is settled. 
The oath here spoken of includes two distinct cases: 
the truth of a statement was made legally valid by 
the oath of assurance which appealed to God ; 
an agreement or covenant was made legally bind- 
ing by the oath of promise, accompanied on solemn 
occasions by the death of the covenanting victim, 
which death was really an imprecation of death 
on him who broke the agreement. Further sanc- 
tions, in either case, were impossible. The oath 
went beyond everything. It was as far as men 
could go. It still forms the highest and final 
sanction of the law ; and when men*s statements 
are contradicted or their promises questioned, the 
oath is the ultimate confirmation of both. Some 
translate contradiction * dispute,' or * strife ; * * of 
every dispute or strife of theirs the oath is an end.' 
The interpretation given above is the more pro- 
bable, however, partly because * contradiction ' is 
the accurate rendering of the word elsewhere 
(chap. vii. 7), and partly because there is no dis- 
pute or strife supposed in this case, but only, on 
man's side, disbelief and questioning of the Divine 
announcement. The entire thought of this reason- 
ing is given in very similar words in Philo (see 

Ver. 17. Wherein; better, 'wherefore,' under 
which circumstances, in which case, on which 
principle, i,e, man having this estimate of the 
value of an oath.— Gk>d, willing to show more 
abundantly to the heirs of the promise (those to 
whom under both economies the promises belong, 
see ver. 12) the immutability of his will. The 
word used for ' will ' is used by Luke and by Paul 
to express God's gracious will or coimsel (Acts ii. 
23, etc. ; Eph. i. ii). — Interyened, 'mediated,' 
with an oath, i,e, between Himself as the pro- 
miser and man as the recipient of the promise. 
He Himself came as pledge and surety, not for us 
(Ps. cxix. 122) but for Himself. The same loving 
purpose that provided the blessings He promised 
prompted Him to do everything that could be 
done to win our trust and establi^ our faith. 

Ver. 18. That by means of two immutable 
things, two distinct acts, things really done. 
Most understand by these two things the promise 
and the oath to Abraham ; but the immutability 
He IB said to shew by the oath (ver. 17) ; though 
no doubt He was also immutable in His promise. 

Chap. V. i-VII. 28.] 



That qnality, however, was not so clearly shown to 
our apprehension. It is therefore better to r^;ard 
the oath to Abraham as one, and the oath con- 
cerning Melchisedec (the typical priest) as another 
(F^ ex. 4, quoted in chap. v. 6 and vii. 21). — ^In 
nfiit]i0r of which is it poeaible that Ood ever 
Um (the force of the tense denying the possibility 
in a single case). The emphasis is on lying and 
the impossibili^, while the absence of theGredc 
article oefore ' &od ' calls attention to His nature. 
In the case of Him who is God, lying can really 
have no place (Tit. i. 2). only He needs to meet 
human mfirmity. — That we may have strong 
enoanzagement who have fled for refuge to lay 
hold of the hope set before na (as the goal of our 
race or the reward of our conflict). On the whole, 
this is the more probable meaning. Those who 
connect ' strong encouragement ' widi ' to lay hold 
of the hope^' etc., leave 'have fled for refuge' 
without an objecC and represent Christians as 
fleeing somewhere for refuge, and then laying 
hold of their hope. What they ne«d is ' strong 
encouragement,' naving ahready fled for refuge to 
their hopcu We have laid hold of Uie promise set 
before us in the double oath of God, Christ, the 
Desire of all nations, and the great High Priest, 
and it is a mighty encouragement to Jkefp hold of 
that on which we have lau^ hold (the word means 
both), to know that God Himself has solemnly 
assured and reassured us of His loving purpose on 
our behalfl ' Encouragement,' trans&ted ' conso- 
lation.' has a wide meaning ; it includes the help 
and blessing which men odl in for emergencies. 
The meanings vary between ' strength ' and ' con- 
solation,' the old English word ' comfort ' repre- 
senting both — the first etymologically (through 
fifrtis), and the second from usage. 

Ver. 19. Which (i,e, which hope, not which 
encouragement) we have. The hope spoken of 
in the previous verse is largely objective, i,f, it 
includes the object of our hope^ — the glorious 
things which the promise warrants us in expect- 
ing. In this verse it is largely subjective — the 
aroction or grace (compare 'Christ, our hope, 
sustains us,' where hope is objective ; and ' hope 
in Christ sustains us, where hope is subjective; 
both are combined in the beautiful description, 
' Christ in us the hope of glory '). Each implies 
the other ; the heavody reward as set before us 
by God is ' our hope ' in its objective sense ; our 
hope of the heavenly reward is the grace of hope 
in the subjective sense. — As an anchor of tne 
■onl (a common classical emblem, though not 
found, as 'anchor' itself is never found, in the 
Old Testament) both aure (with firm holding 
ground) Mid stedfiMt (in itself strong), and enter- 
hg into that whidi is within the vea A 
mixed figure, but of great beauty. The anchor of 
the sailor is cast downwards into the depth of the 
ocean ; but the anchor of the Christian, which is 
hope, finds its ground and hold above. Into the 
holiest above Jesus has entered for us, and there 
also the anchor of our hope has enteral ; so have 
we rest now, and shall outride all the storms of 
oar earthly life. Some regard these last clauses, 
'sure and stedfett,' as qualifying 'hope,' not the 
anchor ; the image, in short, thev thmk, is once 
named, and then no longer used ; while others 
rciprd the hope as identical with Christ, who is 
said to enter heaven as our anchor, and then as 
priest for us. The general sense is not changed 
in any of these interpretations. The force and 

beauty of the figure is best preserved, howevei« 
by the inter pret ation first ^ven. 

Ver. 20. Whither as fotrerupaer Jesoi baa 
entered for ns, having become after tiie order 
of Melchifiedec a High Priest for ever. 'As 
forerunner' (not ' the,' and not 'a' forerunner, ay 
if He were one of several This absence of the 
article simply calls attention to the nature and 
purpose of His entrance). ' Forerunner ' occupies 
the prominent place also in the sentence. The 
Levidcal high priest entered the Holy of Holies 
on behalf of the people, as Christ also entered 
into the Holiest of all. Here He appears in a 
new character. He is now gone to prepare a 
place for us ; we are to follow and to share His 
glory and His throne. The * priest for ever * of 
the Psalm is now changed into 'high priest,' a 
title made appropriate l^ the fact that it is not 
into the holy place simply, but into the immediate 

Sresence of God, He is gone. — After the order of 
[elchisedeo occupies me emphadc place in the 
verse, for it is the subject to which he is about to 
return. Here, therefore, the digression ends. 

Chap. vii. 1-28. Resuming ms argument, the 
writer proceeds to show that Jesus, belonging as 
He did to the order of Melchisedec, is superior to 
Aaron. In proving his point he first (i) treats of 
the priest king Melchisedec with reference to the 
history of Genesis (xiv.), dwells upon his greatness 
(1-3), and on his superiority to Abraham, the 
ancestor and representative of Levi (4-10) ; he 
then (2) treats of the prediction (Ps. ex.), wherein 
it is foretold that a perpetual priest is to arise who 
is to supersede the Aaronic priests because of 
their inefficiency; shows (3) that the greater 
solemnity of the institution of the priesthood of 
Christ proves its superiority to the priesthood of 
Levi (20-22) ; (4) its permanence (23-25) ; and 
(5) its adaptedness to our needs (26-^). 

Here begin the things hard to be explained; 
not that the difficulty lies in the phrases used con- 
cerning Melchisedec, for these, however startling 
to us, were familiar modes of expression among 
the Jews, but that the Jews were slow to receive 
and apply the general teaching of the passage. 
The Jewish priesthood had the nighest sanctions | 
it was the divinest part of the law. The govern* 
ment was originally a theocracy; the pnestwas 
the representative of the invisible Kmg, Hit 
minister, and the mediator between the nation 
and Himself. The kincship came later. It 
originated partly in popular feeling, and was at 
first even displeasing to God. That the Messiah 
should be King, the Son of David, and the occu- 
pant of his throne, was generally allowed; but 
that He was to be priest also, that He was to set 
aside the ancient kw, was something more diffi* 
cult to believe. The cessation of the priesthood 
is indeed as great a mystery to the Jews as the 
destruction of the Temple, and is in their view 
even more irremediable. And yet One is to arise 
after the order of Melchisedec, and not after that 
of Aaron, and is to hold uninterrupted office in 
His Church. 

Ver. I. For this Kelchisedec . . . aUdeth a 
priest continnally. And who is he? Xing of 
Salem, i,e. Jerusalem, as is taught in the old trap 
dition given in the Targums (see Gill),' and in 
Josephus {Afttif, i. 10, 2), the Salem of the 76th 
Psalm (ver. 3). The later tradition, though earlier 
t)ian Jerome'^s day, that it was a Salem in Samaria 
(John iii. 23), is not probable. Nor only was he 



[Chap.V. 1-VII.28. 

king of Salem, he was also Priest of the Most 
lUgn God, the possessor of heaven and earth, a 
title intended to^assert not only that He is God 
alone, but that Melchisedec was priest of the God 
not of a particular people, but of all nations ; his 
priesthood belonged therefore to the primitive 
dispensation of religion, the early Catholicism of 
the first ages, and not to the temporary and tjrpical 
economy of Judaism. — ^Who met Aoraham re- 
luming from the alAQghter of the kingi, and 
gave him, when at the summit of his earthly 
greatness, after he had overthrown four kings and 
delivered five, his priestlv benediction (see Deut. 
xxi. 5)— a benediction which Abraham welcomed 
by paying the tithe which was of old offered to 
priests, that they might present it as a symbol of 
the consecration of all the gains of the offerer 
unto God. Abraham therefore acknowledged 
what the blessing implied, the reality and the 
greatness of his priesthood. 

Nor less instructive is his name and the name of 
his citv, and the very silence of the Scripture record 
on other questions. Melchisedec, his personal 
name, when interpreted, is significant of his 
character. He is king of Righteousness, he rules 
in righteousness, he maintains and diffuses right- 
eousness. — And after that (in the next place) he 
fa king of Peace, and ' righteousness and peace * 
are, as we know, the glory of the reign of the 
Messiah (Ps. Ixxii.). This reasoning rests upon a 
double principle. Names are in the Old Testa- 
ment largely descriptive of character, and as God 
arranges all the developments of history, and sets 
up this king as a type of the Messiah, we may 
safely reason from him to the antitype, and gather 
lessons and proofs of God*s purpose and grace. 

Ver. 3. He is without father or mother, 
appearing out of the darkness without ancestors 
or successors ; without pedigree either immediate 
or remote ; owing his priesthood, therefore, and 
dignities to no connection with priests on his 
Cumer's side or even on his mother's : his is a 
priesthood purely personal, and not to be traced 
to natural descent or hereditary claim. In con- 
trast with this tenure of office was the tenure of 
the Levites ; they held their priesthood only on 
condition that they could prove their descent from 
Levi ; and so, after the captivity, those who could 
not prove this descent were not allowed to act as 
priests till God Himself gave counsel by Urim 
and Thummim (Ezra ii. 62, 63 ; Neh. vii. 63-65). 
—Without beginning of days or end of life, 
unlike the Jewish priests therefore, who began 
their ministry at thirty and closed it at fifty, the 
high priest holding his office until he died.— But 
made like (in the respect named) unto the Son 
of Ood, abideth a prieat continually. These 
words still refer to the history and not properly to 
the Psalm (ex. 4), where it is said that Melchi- 
sedec was made like to Christ, and so, instead of 
•a prieat for ever,* the phrase of the Psalm, we 
have 'a priest continually,' one whose office 
remains unbroken either at the beginning or at 
the close. Though this is the simplest and the 
natural interpretation of the words, some find a 
deeper meanmg in them. The terms used are 
wide and sweeping, and while the Targums and 
Philo, and modem commentators, find no diffi- 
culty in the explanations given above of the 
phrases 'without father or mother or genealogy,' 
a deeper meaning is not without its attractions, 
especially when the words are applied to the great 

antitype Christ. 'Without father,' it has been 
thought, may refer to the fact that Christ had no 
earthly father and no Divine mother (answering to 
His higher nature), while the later expressions, 
'without beginning of days or end of life,' are 
descriptive, they think, of Him whose goines 
forth are from everlasting, and who, though He 
died, conquered death, and has taken the nature 
He assumed into union with His essential eternity. 
What in the type means no record, meant in the 
antitype no existence. It may fairly be admitted 
that the phrases are finely chosen so as to be true 
of the type in some degree, and more profoundly 
true of our Lord ; but l)eyond this it is unsafe to 
go. Origen regarded Melchisedec as the incarna- 
tion of an angel ; Bleek thinks that the writer 
shared a supposed Jewish opinion that he was 
called into existence miraculously and miraculously 
withdrawn, then abiding a priest for ever. Others, 
ancient and modem, think he was the Son of God 
Himself — an opinion untenable, inconsistent alike 
with the Psalm and with the entire teaching of 
this Epistle. The Jewish writers supposed nira 
to have been Shem (see Gill), or Enoch, or Job. 
It is enough to say that he probably represents a 
royal worshipper of the true God, the head of his 
race, before as yet the primitive worship had 
become corrupt, and before there had arisen any 
need for selecting a particular family as the de- 
positary and the guard of the Divine will. ... It 
IS solemn and instructive to note how most of the 
false religions on earth and most of the corruptions 
of the time owe their power to men's desire to 
have a human priest who may forgive them and 
plead for them, and even offer sacrifice for them. 
The doctrine is even more popular than the oppo- 
site extreme, forgiveness without sacrifice and 
without priest. AH sacrifices are su[)erseded by 
the sacrince of the cross, and all priesthoods by 
the priesthood of our Lord. The recognition of 
one priest is as essential to true religion as the 
recognition of one king. 

Ver. 4. Kow consider (consider further, a 
slightly transitional particle) how great (applied 
to age, size, or, as here, to moral grandeur) this 
man was, to whom even Abraham the patriarch 
(the father of the tribe, of the whole race of Israel) 
gave the tenth out of Uie best of the spoils. 
The word rendered ' spoils ' means properly that 
which lies at the top of a heap, ' the finest of the 
wheat,' and so of anv spoils taken in war. It is 
questioned whether the tenth of the best of the 
spoil means the tenth of the best of the spoils, 
leaving what was of less value untithed, or a tenth 
of all the spoil, which tenth as given to God was 
to be the best part of the whole. The last is the 
true meaning (comp. Num. xv. 21), for it is 
already said that Abraham gave a tenth part of 
all (ver. 2). As was fitting, he gave to God the 
tenth, and that tenth the best. 

Ver. 5. And they yerily (or, 'indeed,' as in 
ver. 8; or better, the emphatic 'and they,* the 
Greek particle calling attention to the contrast 
between those mentioned in this verse and in the 
following) that are of the sons of Levi, when 
they (not ' who ') receive . . . have a command- 
ment, etc. The meaning here is best leamed 
from the facts. The Levites, the teachers of the 
Jewbh people, received their portion of the land 
of promise m the formof a tithe of all the produce 
of the ground (Num. xviii. 21-24) ; of this tithe, 
the priests properly so called received a tithe 

Chap. V. i-VII. 28.] 



(Num. xnii. 26-28) : the priests* share, therefore, 
was taken from their brethren's share, and all 
from the people. This was the arrangement 
' according to the law.' 

Ver. 6. Bnt he (Melchisedec) whoee descent 
(pedigree) it not reckoned from them has never- 
theless taken tithes of Abraham (when he 
contained in his own person both Levi and Israel). 
And not only did he receive tithes from the tithe- 
taking Levites, he bath also blessed him who 
him (who b the possessor oO the promises. 

Ver. 7. And beyond all contradiction (or 
without any contradiction), what gives a blessing 
is greater, (is raised above) what receives it. The 
neuter of the original seems used to express the 
universality of the statement, and to make the 
truth of it depend not on the person but on the 
act or relation itself; and the conclusion is that 
Melchisedec is greater than Abraham, the pos- 
sessor of the promises, for he adds even to the 
bleuings of him who for all men and by all men 
is so richly blessed. The exalted founder and 
head of the covenant people is inferior, even in 
the hour of his triumph, to the still more exalted 
and mysterious personage who is at once priest 
and kii^. 

Ver. 8. And here indeed (as in ver. 5, * indeed ' 
is useful only to make more clear the contrast of the 
following clause ; an emphatic ' and here ' would 
be better) refers not to the time of Melchisedec, 
though that is last spoken of, but to the time of 
the Levitical priesthood, which extends down to 
the writer's own age. — Men that die (literally, 
' dying men ' they are who) receive tithes ; but 
tliere {i.e, in the case of Melchisedec of which he 
is immiediately speaking, but which as belonging 
to the past b more remote) he receiveth them, of 
whom it is witnessed that he liveth, i,e, we read 
of him not as djring but as livine. No ' end of 
life ' b afhrmed of him at alL Thb is spoken not 
of Melchisedec as man, but of the Melchisedec of 
the sacred narrative, who b made in thb way 
like unto the eternal priest As man he no doubt 
died, but as priest he did not belong to that order. 
Under the law the priesthood was temporary. 
Before the law the pnest was priest as long as he 
lived, and so was perpetual (as at Rome the 
dictator for life was known as 'Dictator per- 

Etuus*) ; and as Christ lives for ever, so for ever 
e b able to make intercession for us. 

Ver. Q. And so to say (a phrase which, like ' as 
it were, b used to moderate a strong expression 
or to qualify a statement that b not literally true ; 
the otiier sense of the original, 'in a word,* 'to 
speak briefly,' b not appropriate here). 

An obvious objection to the previous reasoning b 
that Abraham was not a priest It was therefore 
not unnatural that he should pay tithes and 
receive the blessing. But the objection is 
answered by the ract that as Abraham had 
obtained the promise, he was the representative 
of all hb descendants. Levi was in him, not 
phjrsiodly and seminallv merely, but repre- 
sentatively ; and so Abraham on hb own behsdf 
and on theirs recognised a priesthood beyond the 
limits of the dispensation which belonged to hb 
own line. 

Ver. II. If therefoie perfection was ; better, 
'If again,' or 'Now if,' a transitional particle 
indicating an argument bearing on the same 
subject (see ix. i). 'Was,' not 'were;' the 
reuoning b not, 'If there were perfection, there 

would be no need ; * but, * If there was perfection, 
there was no need.* The Psalm tells us that in 
the person of the Messiah there was to arise a 
priest who did not belong to the order of Aaron, 
but to a different order ; and thb declaration 
implies that the priesthood of Aaron was not 
capable of securing the great end of a priesthood. 
What that end is has been largely disctissed. 
Expiation, consecration, transformation of personal 
character, true permanent blessedness, each has 
had its advocates, and we may safely combine 
them all. If sinners are to be forgiven, forgive- 
ness must be consbtent with the Divine character 
and law ; the conscience must be pacified and 
man made holv. That the Levitical priesthood 
did not effect these ends is proved at length later 
on ; here the writer restricts himself to the one 
point, that after the first priesthood was instituted 
It was announced that its work was to pass into 
the hands of another order, an intimation of its 
insufficiency. The case b made clear by the 
parenthetic statement — for on the ground of the 
Levitical priesthood (not ' under it *) the people 
have received the law {i,e, not that the priest* 
hood was first and the law afterwards, for the 
contrary is the fact, nor that the people were 
subject to a law that had reference to the priest* 
hood), l^he law rested on the assumed exbtence 
of a * priesthood, all its precepts and requirements 
presupposing some such body ;* so that now, if 
the pnesth(xxl is removed, the economy itself b 
removed also. Under the Gospel, God appoints, 
as He foretold, a priest who does not answer to 
the description given of priests under the law — 
a clear proof that He who first made the law has 
annulled it.— What need was then that there 
should arise (the usual word to describe one 
raised to dignities in his office, Acts iii. 22, vii 37) 
a different priest after the order of Melchisedec, 
and that he should be said to be not (or not be 
called) after the order of Aaron t 

Ver. 12. For the priesthood being changed. 
This is true of an institution that forms the 
foundation of the law in the sense just described 
(ver. II). If Christ is made priest, the law b 
changed in its ceremonial and political arrange- 
ments, and even in the ethical relation of the 
people to God. They have another priest, and 
through the completeness of his work they have a 
freeness of access and a fulness of forgiveness 
which alters the very nature of their economy. 

Ver. 13. The writer now proves the complete* 
ness of the change of the pnesthood. — For ne of 
whom (not * to whom,' Dr. J. Brown and others, 
the preposition being used to denote that to which 
a word or thing refers) these things (the words in 
Psalm ex.) aro nid (see the end of ver. 11) 
hath partaken of (better than 'pertaineth'), hath 
become a member of, a different tribe (the words 
describe an already exbting fact, and intimate 
that he had joined the tribe), of which tribe no 
man hath ever (the full force of the corrected 
text) given attendance (the word means to 
bestow labour or attention upon anything, see 
I Tim. iv. 13) at the altar. 

Ver. 14. for (the proof of the statement of 
ver. 13) it is evident (plain to all, an adjective 
found only in Paul, i Tim. v. 24; for proof 
that it is evident, see the passages in the margin 
above) that onr Lord hatn sprung— as a drancA 
out of the root of Jesse, a common rendering of 
the Hebrew word, Jer. xxiii. 5, Zech. iv. 2 ; or 



[Chap.V. i-VII. 2& 

as the son or the star rises (Num. xxiL 17 ; com* 
pare Isa. Ix. I and Matt iv. 2). Both meanings of 
the word * hath sprung; ' are scriptural. Christ is 
said to 'spring up* in both senses. Here the 
former is the more probable, as the language of 
Isaiah, chap, xi., seems to have been in the 
mind of the writer. — Oat of Jndah, with respeot 
to which Mbees spake nothing concerning 
pziesta, nothing to imply that priests should arise 
out of that tribe. — Oar Loxd. This is the only 
place in Scripture where this name 'Our Lord,* 
now so familiar, is applied to Christ without the 
addition of His proper name Jesus, or His official 
name Christ. ' The Lord ' is frequent. 

Vers. 15-17. The writer now touches another 
point of tne argument. — And it ia yet far more 
evident. What is more evident ? That the law 
is changed? as De Wette and Bleek hold. 
Hardly; for this is not the main thought, but 
the imperfection of the priesthood (ver. ii). 
That imperfection has been proved by the change 
of priests, and that imperfection is made still more 
evident by the fact that a new priesthood is to 
arise after the limilitude of Helchiaedec (ver. 
16), who hath been made (who hath become) 
priest not after what is a law of a carnal com- 
mandment — i,e, a rule of external ordinances (see 
Lev. xxi. 17-24 ; Ex. xl. 12-17), temporary and 
perishing— out after what is the power (the 
priestlv and kingly power, Rom. i.) of an endless, 
an indissolnble life. We are bidden to conceive 
o( His priesthood in this light, and not in the 
light of the qualities and temporary office of the 
priests under the Levitical law (ver. 17). — For 
it is testified of him, Then art a priest for ever, 
the emphatic phrase. 

Vers. 18, 19. These verses summarize the aimi. 
ment of the previous verses. — ^For what takes 
place is on the one hi^d an annulling of the 
former commandment (concerning the priesthood) 
on account of what in it was wei3c and nnprofit- 
able (for the law made nothing perfect), and on 
the other hand [there is] a bringing in over the 
law of a better hope — such a bringing in as supplies 
the deficiencies of the law and practically supersedes 
it. — By means of which hope we draw nigh to 
God. *What in it was weak' is the expression 
the writer employs, not the wider expression, the 
weakness thereof. He simply adls attention to 
what in it has that quality. The law made 
nothing perfect ; it finished nothing ; it created 
hope, out failed to satisfy it ; it awakened a 
consciousness of the need of an atonement, but 
provided no sacrifice ; it set up the ideal of a 
holy life, but failed to give the strength needed to 
realize the ideal ; it created longings for closer 
fellowship with God, but opened no way whereby 
we could draw nigh. ' fre draw nigh,' and not 
priests only. The access to God is free to all who 
believe. Ilie Holy of Holies has still to the eye of 
flesh its veil ; but Christ has entered for us, and 
so to the eye of faith it has no veil at all. The 
title and the fitness to enter there is the perfection 
which the law could never give. This note has 
been struck already (iv. 16, vi. 19) ; by and by it 
swells into a whole strain of impassioned argument 
(ix. 24, X. 19-25). 

Vers, ao-22. A third aimiment is now intro- 
duced. The oath which God sware in making 
His Son Priest gives to His office higher sanctions. 
—And inasmntm as (it is) not witnont an oath ; 
rather a simpler filling up of the omission than 

the Authorised Version, thoogh ' He was made 
(or came to be) priest ' better represents what is 
really a new argument 

Ver. 21. (For they, as we know, withoat an 
oath (literally, without the swearing of an oath 
as a solemn act) are made (have become and now 
are) priests; bat he with an oath I9 him that 
saith, etc). — 22. Of so mach better a covanant 
(or as in A. V., provided 'a better covenant,' 
which comes at the end of the verse, is made 
emphatic) hath Jesos become suxetj, m. He 
has pledged Himself for the nudntenance of it, 
and for the fulfilment of its promises. The 
covenant is the result of His death, and His 
presence above as Priest (vL 20) and the glory 
and honour with which He is crowned (ii. 9) are 
a perpetual security for its continuance and cpm<- 

Vers. 23-2^. A fourth aigument for the superi- 
ority of Christ's priesthood is that the pnests 
under the law were continually removed by deaths 
while Christ is undving. This argument has 
been touched upon oefore (vers^ 8 and x6) in 
different connections. Here it is the personal 
contrast of the manv who changed with the 
one who abides. — ^Ana they indeed have becoma 
and still are priests in great number, beoanae 
they are being hindered by death firom oon- 
tinning {i.e. * in their priesthood,' not ' in their 
life,' which makes a poor tautolo^cal sense;. 

Ver. 24. But he Decause of nis abiding for 
ever {i.t. in His life, John xii. 34) hath his 
priesthood nnchangeable ('inviolable'). The 
active sense of the word rendered ' unchangeable ' 
('what does not pass over to another') is very 
unusual, and therefore less likely ; but either 
meaning makes a good, and nearly the same^ 
sense. By some commentators the 'abiding' 
which is here affirmed of Christ is applied not to 
His life, but to His priesthood. If this meanine 
seem preferable, it needs then to be kept in mind 
that the ' for ever ' of the Psalm relates to the 
priesthood of Christ, and answers to the * for ever ' 
of the arrangement with Melchisedec— each of 
them having reference to the covenant to which 
they belong, and so not eternal in the case of 
Melchisedec, nor even in the case of Christ ; 
for though the life of Christ is eternal, as are 
the effects of His priesthood, yet His exercise 
of that office will cease when all the glorious ends 
of it are completely answered in the eternal 
salvation of the redeemed, even as He will then 
deliver up the kingdom to the Father (i Cor. xv. 
24). But the more natural reference of ' for ever ' 
is to His life. 

Ver. 25. Whence, 1.^. from the fact that He 
lives it follows — the particle being generally used 
to introduce something of deeper significance. — 
He is able also to save (in its cgmpletest sense, 
not from this evil or the other, but from all evil) 
to the nttermost (not to save for ever, but, as the 
word properly means (see Bleek), to completeness 
in every respect, and not chiefly with respect to 
duration) all that approach through him to God, 
ever living as he does, — a fuller exp!a:ntion of 
the * whence ' at the b^inning of the vcijC, — ^to 
undertake for them. The word rendered 
' undertake ' means primarily ' to see ' or ' meet 
in with a person on behalf of another,' and so 
includes all that Christ does for us, either by His 
perpetual oblation in heaven, or by His mediation 
generally and kingship as Head over all. Thi$ 

Chap. VIII. i-X. i8.] 



mediation is of the very essence of the work of 
Christ so fiur as His priestly office is concerned, 
and is the ground of the tnumphant outburst of 
St PauI when he concludes that none can con- 
demn, seeing that Christ who died is now risen, 
and is making continual intercession on our behalf. 
Its foundation of right is His atoning sacrifice ; 
its central motive is the love He bears us ; its 
method of procedure, the advocacy of our interests, 
and the intimation of His will that the blessings we 
need be bestowed ; and its fruit the maintenance 
of our relation to God, and our perseverance in 

Vers. 26-2S. The final argument for this superi- 
ority is the moral fitness of the whole arrangement 
fsee^io).^For such a high priest was for as 
MfllUug — a high priest who was holy (giving to 
God the reverence and holy love that were due to 
Him), harmlea (innocent, guileless, unsuspected 
in relation to all human du^' between man and 
man), undefiled (free, therefore,, from personal 
pollution, and from legal defilement, such as often 
interrupted the priestly office), separated from 
sinnars — ^pitying them, helping them, able to 
sympathize with them, dyii^^ tor them, but not 
belonging to their class, — apart from them as He 
was apart from sin itself (Heb. iv. 15, where a 
form of the same word is used), and made higher 
than the heavens — a phrase found only here, 
though the sense is expressed elsewhere (chap. iv. 
14 : *• having passed through the heavens ; ' Eph. 
iv. 10: *far above the heavens'). It descrioes 
His higher authority, while implying that part of 
Hb work has been done on earth, and that for the 
rest it is essential that He should be at the right 
hand of God. And such a high priest and no 
other became us, who needs not oaily to offer 
sacrifice for his own sins, as the high priest did 
on the Day of Atonement, and then for the sins 
of the peq^e ; bnt this (the offering for the sins 
of the people) he did once for all when he 
offered nimseif. This b the first mention in 
thb EpbUe of Christ * offering Himself;' the 

truth b introduced again and asain :• once struck, 
the note sounds ever louder and louder.^ As the 
writer compares Chrbt with the Levitical high 
priests, and as these did not offer sacrifices daily, 
there has been much discussion on the ' daily ' of 
thb verse. The various solutions (that the high 
priest did offer incense daily : that the hieh 
priest might have taken part occasionally in the 
daily burnt-offerings ; that ' daily * means on the 
day appointed — the Day of Atonement which b 
elsewhere said to be every year 'from days to 
days,' Ex. xiii. 10^ Heb. and LXX. ; and that 
the high priest b regarded as doing what the 
ordinary priest did) are all unsatisfactory. Chrbt 
b now, and every day, in the Holy Place. If, 
therefore, He were a sinner, as the high priests of 
old were. He would need to offer for Himself each 
day, as the high priests offer, on the one day oi 
every year when they appearexl before God. But 
Chrbt, being conopletely free from all personal sin, 
had no need to offer except for others ; and as He 
offiu^ Himsflf once for all, Hb atonement has 
perpetual efficacy. 

Ver. 28. For the law appointed men (emphatic) 
high priests having infirmity ; but the word of 
the oath (see ver. 21) which was after the law — 
five hundred years later as given in {)rophecy, and 
one thousand five hundred later still when ful- 
filled in Christ— [appointeth] one who is Son (see 
note on i. i), nubde perfect for evermore. ' For 
evermore * b in the emphatic i>lace, and belongs 
to 'made perfect' 'Having infirmity' belongs 
to ' high priests ; ' they were mortal, sinful men, 
and therefore were an inefficient priesthood ; their 
expiations, their intercessions, their benedictions, 
all had the character of weakness, and as such they 
were not fit to meet our needs. ' Perfected ' or 
'made perfect' (not ' consecrated *) 'for evermore ;' 
it b the same word as b used in chap. ii. i(^ 
'made perfect through suffering;' and in v. 9, 
' havinp: been made perfect ; ' and thb condition 
b continuous and uncnan^^ipg, forming a contrast 
to the condition of the pnests of the llaw. 

Chapter VIII. i-X. i8. 

The Excellency of the Christian Dispensation proved by the Superiority of tite 
New Covenant — in the Efficacy of its Priest and Sacrifice, viii. 1-13, and 
in its Worship and Ordinattces, ix. i-x. 18. 

1 "\TOW of* the things which we have spoken* this is the 

i^ sum:* we have such an high '^ priest, *who is set on •jK«-(«i3t.) 
the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; *c?uiiT;* 

2 a minister of ^ the sanctuary, and of '' the true tabernacle, which ^*;.'' ** "• 

3 the Lord pitched, ' and * not man. For ^ every high priest is ^^^,^' 
ordained * to offer gifts and sacrifices : wherefore ^ it is of f HniTndv. 

4 necessity that this man have somewhat also* to offer. For' if/ai.v. i. 
he were on earth, he should not be a priest,* seeing that there * dtb^\V 

* Gr, upon * are saying {lit, are being said) ' the chief 

^ omit and * appointed ^rather^ high priest . . . also 

^ nadj Now also * would not even be a priest 


60 TO THE HEBREWS. [Chap. VIII. i-X. 18. 

5 are priests • that offer gifts " according to the law : who serve 

unto the example and ^shadow of" heavenly things, as Moses *^-."«7'* 
was " admonished of God when he was about to make " the *• *• 
tabernacle: *for, See, saith he, that thou make all things * 2*-. »^*^ 

6 according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount But "^*- *.•. 

^ ^ Num. viu. 4; 

now *hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how ^^g^^*^-.*^- 
much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was f.9; ch. vu. 

7 established ** upon better promises. ' For if that first covenant '^J* ^ "• 
had been faultless, then should '^ no place have been sought for 

8 the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, 

*" Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, '*''g^ 

When I will make" a new covenant with*' the house of '*•'*• 
Israel and with " the house of Judah : 

9 Not according to the covenant that I made * with " their */^)"**^' 

In the day when 1 took them by the hand to lead them 

out of the land of Egypt ; 
Because they continued not in my covenant. 
And I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with " the house 

of Israel 
After those days, saith the Lord ; 
I will put my laws into their mind, 
And write them in ^^ their hearts : 

And "" I will be to them a God, *^«*- ^»«- 

And they shall be to me a people : 

11 And ^they shall not teach every man his neighbour," '*j"'Ji''* '?• 
And every man his brother, saying. Know the Lord : ' Jo- »»• *i 
For all shall know me. 
From the least " to the greatest. 

12 For I will be merciful " to their unrighteousness," 
^ And their sins and their iniquities^will I remember no more. ^Jj*^ *!y»7: 

13 ''In that he saith, A new covenant y he hath made the first old. rsCor. v. 17. 
Now that which decayeth and waxeth old *• is ready to vanish 

Chap. IX. i. Then verily the first covenaut^^ had also ordinances 
2 of divine service, and ' a worldly sanctuary." ^ For there was ' g*- **^- s- 

' ^ ^ / Lx. XXVI I. 

a tabernacle made:" the first, "wherein was^^ *'the candle- «ex. xxvi.35, 

' ' xl. 4. 

V Ex. XXV. 31. 

• omit priests '® the gifts ^* what is a copy and shadow of the 

i« is *• Gr, finish " hath been enacted (as a law, see viii. 11) 

** would *• Gr. complete *' towards (with the idea of bringing home upon) 
18 for " covenant with, or^ establish for ^^ also upon 

*' ready townsman ** insert^ of them even *' Gr, propitious 

'^ unrighteousnesses '^ probably omit and their iniquities 

s« is becoming old and failing for age '^ Gr, is nigh to vanishing away 

'* rather^ Now the first covenant indeed 
*• its sanctuary (^r, holy place) of this world 
•® rather^ prepared " rather^ is {see ver, 4) 

Chap. VIII. i-X. i8.] TO THE HEBREWS. 6i 

stick, and ^ the table, and the shewbread ; '* which is called the "'^*- f^- •3* 

3 sanctuary." ' And after the second veil, the tabernacle which ;r eT«vL 31 

4 is called the Holiest of all ;** which had the '* golden censer, and g'.^ ?'^"' 
'the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, -^f^J^'^if 
wherein was ' the golden pot that had manna,'* and "* Aaron's , l^/ivj 33^ 

5 rod that budded, and *the tables of the covenant; and ^over a??iiii.xvu. 
it the cherubim of glory shadowing the mercy-seat ; " of which ^ £;. ^xr. 16, 

6 we cannot now speak particularly. Now when these things J!.'"**^"* 
were thus ordained," *' the priests went '•always into the first fwlii'wii' 

7 tabernacle, accomplishing the service 0/ God; but Into the ?aiiii.v.ia 
second went^^ the high priest alone 'once every year, not with- ^aa^iuJ'xvL 
out blood, ^ which he offered ** for himself, and for the errors ** liiie, ^* 

8 of the people : ^ the Holy Ghost this signifying, that * the way 3 ;"£J!.*1SL 
into the holiest of all^ was not yet^ made manifest, while as 

9 the first tabernacle was" yet standing : which zvas*^ a figure for i-ev. xvi a,' 
the time then** present, in which were*' offered both gifts and /ctv.'LVu.* 


, ^ , ^ 


11 imposed on them until the time of reformation. But Christ ^SiiiV-^- 
being come*® "an high priest ''of good things to come, ^by a*' „,e5,. y , 
greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that ^/-^S* ^* 

12 is to say, not of this building;*' neither ^by*' the blood of J^J;!;!-/; 
goats and calves, but ^ by *' his own blood he entered in ' once ** ^§1.* xi.** 
into the holy place, ' having obtained eternal redemption /<?r us. ^E?h.1.%f * 

13 For if "the blood of bulls and of goats, and ''the ashes of an fpi/jiVn. 
heifer sprinkling the unclean,** sanctifieth to the purifying** o{ g\Vx'^^J^\ 

14 the flesh: how much more '"shall the blood of Christ, 'who dTiifL'' 
through the eternal Spirit ^offered himself without spot to God, «u^xVm. 
'purge*' your** conscience from "dead works *to serve the rNim. xix. a, 

15 living God? ^ And for this cause ''he is the mediator of the wI'pcJL 19; 
new testament,** ' that by means of death,*® for the redemption rcJ; l J.* 
of the transgressions that were under the first testament,** -^ they 1 Pet. ul is. 
which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance, tu. u m ! 

^ — ch» vita a? 

16 For where a testament** is, there must also of necessity be the »ch. i/3, ' 

X* 23* 

aCh. vi. I 

*' ///. the presenting of the loaves, or, the loaves as presented ^ ^"- »• 7f ? 

" the Holy place {see ver. 3) " Or. the Holy of holies «• having a f,*^"",- p«!' 

*• a golden pot having the manna '^ Gr, the propiiiatory iv.'a. 

*• prepared {ver, 2) '• go in *° otnit went, or, goes in ^jj*"^ii*;|' 

** offereth ** Gr, ignorances *' rather, the holy place {see vers, 12, 25) viii.6,xiL94. 
** hath not been ** is ^^ or, now *' read, according to which [fig[ure] arc ' ^<»"; "> "s. 
** that cannot, as to the conscience, perfect him that does the service S. /g.' " 

^' read, being only (in the meats and drinks and divers washings, Gr, /Ch. UL i. 

baptisms) carnal ordinances ^ having come ^^ or, through the 

" creation *« through ** once for all 

** ///. them that have become unclean, or, have been defiled *** purity 

*' purify •« Some MSS, read, our *• a new covenant 

** Gr, a death having taken place — with the idea of the result that foUows*- 

{flnd so, the origin or means) *^ or^ covenant 

62 TO THE HEBREWS. [Chap. VIII. i-X. i8. 

17 death of the testator." For ^ a testament •* is of force after men ^g«l ui 15. 
are dead : ^ otherwise it is of no strength at all while the 

18 testator •• liveth. * Whereupon neither the first testament^^ was ^f^*"*^*^ 

19 dedicated •* without blood. For when Moses had spoken every 
precept** to all the people according to the law, ' he took the 'f'gf^s. 
blood of calves and of goats, * with water, and scarlet wool, and »^ »4. 15. 

2a hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, ^J;^'^''-^*; 
' This is the blood of the testament** which God hath enjoined /g. nrtv.s; 

21 unto'* you. Moreover '"he sprinkled with" blood both** the ^Mat-xxvias: 

22 tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all f^]^l;£^ 
things are by the law purged*' with blood; and "without ^fj^^^^; J?; 

23 shedding of blood is no remission. // was therefore necessary 

that ^ the patterns of things'* in the heavens should be purified ^ch. viiL s. 
with these ; but the heavenly things themselves with better 

24 sacrifices than these. For ^Christ is not entered" into the/ch-viao. 
holy places" made with hands, which are the figures of* ^the ^ch-wL 2. 
true ; but into heaven itself, now ''to appear in the presence of ''^**^^"?^* 

25 God for us : nor yet that he should offer himself often, as ' the , vi%?* ** 
. high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood 

26 of othet^ ; for then must he often have suffered since the foun- 
dation of the world : but now 'once "in the end of the world ^Xf- ?«i 

ch. viL 27, 

hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. ^ '** J ' ^«'- 

X. XI 

27 And as it is appointed unto'* men once to die, '''but after this ^\^}{^\ 

28 the judgment: so "'Christ was once ^offered to bear the sins ^gJJ^* ji^'J'^. 
' of many ; and unto them that ** look for him shall he appear wf^*v*!*i^ 
the second time without " sin unto salvation. ^!^' "• '*• 

Chap. X. i. For the law having *a shadow ^of* good things to 'x^pSlm/xa! 
come, and not the very image of the things, ''can" never with 'I jo.iiL|.^* 
those '* sacrifices which they offered year by year continually 'Matxxviis*; 

2 make the comers thereunto 'perfect. For then" would they aT\^\L\l\ 
not have ceased to be offered.^ because that the worshippers *Coifii/^7 1** 
once purged should ** have had no more conscience of sins. ix. 2^* ^' 

3 ^ But in those sacrifices tJiere is a remembrance again made of ^ch! u i.** 

4 sins every year. For ^ it is not possible that the blood of bulls /ulj iti 21; 

5 and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he^ver. 11:' 
Cometh into the world, he saith, ch. ix. ij.' ' 

A Ph. xl 

* Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, fxxxix.)ft-8 

l7-9y. I. 8 

But a body hast** thou prepared me :*' «t<^ ••.^«'.»- 

*^ him (^r, he in v, 17) that made it {see note on verse), or, the covenanting 
victim ^^ over the dead 

^^ Whence not even the first covenant hath been inaugurated 
** commandment ^^ commanded ^"^ insert the ** omit both 

*• purified '® figures of the things '^ entered not 

'* a holy place, or^ holy places ^* copies like in pattern to 

'^ Gr. laid up for ^* Gr, apart from ^* insert the '' read, they 

^® the sanfe '^ else *® having been once purified would 

'* didst •* complete, or^ fit— for me 

20.; Amos V. 

21. 22. 

Chap. VIII- i-X. 18.] 



6 In" burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had** 

no pleasure. 

7 Then said I, Lo, I come 

(In the volume of the book it is written of me,) 
To do thy will, O God. 

8 Above when }ie said, Sacrifice and offering and *' burnt-offerings 
and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure 

9 therein ; which •* are offered by the law ; then said he, Lo, I 
come to do thy will, O God : he taketh away the first, that he 

10 may establish the second. ' By the which will we are** sancti- •J?-*yA>- »9; 

« ' en* xiu. 12. 

fied * through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for *ch.ix. w. 

11 ail. And every priest standeth 'daily ministering and offering /Num. xxviu. 
oftentimes the same sacrifices, "* which can never take away »» ver. 4. 

12 sins : * But this man,*' after he had offered one sacrifice for sins "f^ «•(?*»•) 

4 ; Col. ui. I ; 

1 3 for ever, sat doiVn on the right hand of God ; from henceforth <*• »• 3. 

14 expecting * till his enemies be made his footstool** For by one '^cts^' '' • 
offering ^he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.*' ci^Y**^'^' 

15 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us : for after that ^^^' '• 
he had said before,** 

16 ^ This is the covenant that I will make with them 

After those days, saith the Lord, 

I will put my laws into *' their hearts, 

And in ** their minds will I write them ; 

17 And •• their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. 

18 Now where remission of these is^ there is no more offering for 

7 Jer. 

di. viii. to- 

•* the which 

•• Gr, the footstool of his feet 

•• insert whole •* hadst 

•• have been •' he 

•• or^ being sanctified ^ omit before 

•• rather as implied in after ofver, 15, then saith he {so some copies read) 



Chap. viii.-x, 18. Not only is Christ greater 
than Aaron, but His functions, and the place 
where He fulfils them, and His very posture 
there, are all superior to those of the priests under 
the Law. Jesus ministers permanently as Priest in 
the real ('the true') and heavenly temple (viii. 1-5), 
as Mediator of the new covenant, which is better 
because it is a spiritual covenant and is based 
upon better promises (vi. 13). Divine and orderly 
as were the tabernacle and its services (ix. 1-5), it 
belonged to an earthly state (see ver. 11), and had 
no power to give peace to the conscience, nor did 
it secure access to God (vi. 10) ; while Christ, by 
the offering of Himself, has done both (11, 12), 
ratifying the new covenant by His death (15-17) 
as the old was ratified by the blood of its victims 
(iS-22}, and effectually opening the way into 
heaven : His sacrifice ueing offered once for all 
C23-28), a sacrifice that cannot be repeated being 
therein in contrast to the offerings of the Law 
(x. i'4) ; a complete fulfilment of the Divine will 
(5-10), followed oy an exaltation never to be abro- 
gated (11-14), and by the removal of all sin 

Chap. viii. i. Now— a transitional particle— 
in regard to (or in) the things here spoken of 
(literally being spoken oQ, the chiefpointisthia: 
* The sutn is this ' is a possible meaning of the 
word ; but it does not agree with the force of the 
preposition, with the incomplete tense of the verb, 
or with what follows where it is implied that the 
previous enumeration is unfinishea : We have 
8Uoh a high priest who (having finished His 
work) took his seat on the right hand of the 
Migesty in the heavens. The main point is that 
Christ, being exalted to the throne of God, and 
seated there, has an equally exalted sphere for 
His priestly office, with greater power than the 
priests of the Law. 

Ver. 2. A minister (the regular word for public 
work, and specially for priestly functions, Jer. 
xxxiii. 21) of the sanctnary (the inner part — 
' the holy of holies,' as it is called in ix. 3 ; 
though elsewhere, as here, the holy place or the 
sanctuary simply, ix. 25, xiiL ii) and of the tme 
tabemade (the outer part of the same erection, 
called in ix. 2 the first tabernacle) which the 
Lord pitched, not mAft. Christ's place and 



[Chap. VIII. i-X. 18. 

work are described in terms taken from the 
divisions of the earthly copy of the spiritual or 
heavenly reality. The copy Moses pitched (Ex. 
xxxiii. 7) ; the reality is the work of God Himself. 
The holy place is the immediate presence of God, 
distinguished from the tabernacle, where God is 
pleased to meet with men. Jesus Christ mediates 
lor us in both— in the holy of holies of the Divine 
nature, while He welcomes and overshadows with 
His glorified humanity the whole company of the 
worshippers. Both are in the heavens, and in this 
double sphere Christ is acting as Priest and High 
Priest. And yet the spheres are really one. The 
veil having been removed by His incarnation and 
death, we all have free access to God. The 
Father Himself loveth us and gives us the right 
of entrance (Rom. v. 2), because we have believed 
in the Son. ... 'A minister of holy things' 
(not of the holy places or place) is Luther*s 
rendering; but it is not sanctioned by the 
usage of this Epistle, where the expression is 
applied onlv to the holy place, ix. 25, x. 19, 
xiii. II. The same form (the neuter pi.), * the 
holies,* is clearly used of * the holy of holies' in 
ix. 8, 12. In ix. 3 the holy of holies (probably a 
superlative, the most holy place) is also used for 
the inner sanctuary. 

Vers. 3-6. For— a new proof is now given that 
Christ is in the heavenly sanctuary. There is no 
priest without sacrificial functions (ver. 3) ; and if 
Christ were here on earth He would not be a priest 
at all (ver. 4), there being already those who offer 
the gifts and do temple service for what ia a copy 
and shadow of the heavenly things. Christ's 
ofHce, therefore, must be discharged elsewhere, as 
it really is. And the dignity of His office is 
measured by the superiority of the covenant to 
which He belongs. The following verbal ex- 
planations are important. 

Ver. 3. * Ordained * is simply appointed. ' This 
man * is rather this high priest. Ver. 4. * For ' is 
by reading *now,' and marks the continuance of 
the statement, not a reason. Ver. 5. * Who * 
means * those namely who,' and calls attention to 
the description. Ver. 5. * Serve * describes always 
in N. T. the service of God. It occurs in Luke 
eight times, in St. Paul's acknowledged Epistles 
four times, and this Epistle six times. * What is 
a copy ; * the word means either a model, the 
archetype which is to be followed (iv. ii), or it is 
(as here and in ix. 23) an after-copy made from an 
original : And * shadow * of the heavenly things : 
the shadow cast by a solid body or a mere outline 
that gives an idea of the form only without reveal- 
ing the true substance. This language is clearly 
depreciatory, not because the writer questions the 
Divine origin of the things he speaks of, but 
because the tnie priest having come, the glorv of 
the legal priesthood and of the tabernacle sinks 
to its proper level as the mere shadow or outline 
of the great reality. 

That this is its true character is now proved 
from Exodus, Even as Moses is admonished of 
God (not 7uas, the present tense shows that the 
admonition still stands in Scripture and may be 
used to explain the nature of the tabernacle), 
when about to make (literally, to finish, i.e. to 
take in hand and complete) the tabernacle, for 
(not part of the quotation, but a proof of the asser- 
tion just made), see, saith he . . . the pattern 
showed to thee in the mount These words may 
mean either the reality, the veritable heavenly things 

which are the original of the earthly resemblances, 
or a plan of the tabernacle itself which had the 
spiritual meaning here given to them. As Moses, 
however, could hardly have seen Christ's priest- 
hood and offering as actual facts, it must have 
been the symbolical, the parabolical (ix. 9) repre- 
sentation of them in the form of the earthly taber- 
nacle. Anyhow, the priesthood and offering of 
Christ belong to the heavenlv state. 

Ver. 6. fiut now — as the case is ; not the 
temporal now, but the logical now so common in 
this Epistle, ix. 26, xi. 16, xi. 8, xii. 26, and in 
Paul's writings^hath he obtained a more ex- 
cellent ministry (see ver. 2) ; by how much he is 
the mediator of a better covenant also. Jesus 
is surety (vii. 22) and mediator, both ; and herdn 
He has qualities which Aaron never had. He is 
Moses and Aaron (Mediator and Priest), and the 
ratifying, the sealing blood of the victim all in one. 
— whiSh {i.e. better in this that it) was a law- 
based constitution, like the first, but resting upon 
better promises, as the following quotations 
prove. * A law-based and a law-enacted consti- 
tution ' (as the Greek implies) is the very character 
Paul gives to the Gospel. It is ' the law of faith,' 
'the law of spiritual life in Jesus Christ,* *the law 
of righteousness,* Rom. iii. 27, viii. 2, ix. 31. 

Ver. 7. For . . . the better promises im- 
plied in what follows are themselves a proof of 
the inferiority of the old covenant — no place 
would have been sought, i.e. in the development 
of the Divine purpose, in the plan of redemption. 

Ver. 8. Vet it is sought—For (and this is the 
prooO finding fault with them. This phrase 
completes the description of the previous verse. 
Tk4Te, the covenant is said to be not blameless ; 
and here, it is the people who are blamed. The 
covenant, as a revelation of God's holiness, was 
faultless ; but as the people fell away under it, it 
failed as a covenant of works to establish abiding 
fellowship between them and God, and so proved 
weak and profitless (viu 22, see on viu 19). — Ho 
saith : Benold, the days come — ^Jeremiah's com- 
mon introduction to his prophecies (Jer. ix. 25, 
xvi. 24, etc.). The prediction that follows is 
taken from the last great series of his prophecies 
(chaps. XXX. xxxi. ), which are distinctly Messianic. 
It points to the new covenant which God will one 
day make with Hb people, based upon the 
absolute remission of sins and on a no less absolute 
change of heart. — When I will make ; rather, will 
complete. The word here used is not the same as 
in ver. 9, which is rightly 'made,* nor yet as in 
ver. 10, where the word means establish a 
* covenant.' It may be added, however, that the 
three different Greek verbs used here are taken 
from the LXX., and that all represent one and the 
same Hebrew verb. Nor is tne * with * of vers. 
9, 10 the same expression in the Greek. In lK>th 
verses the * house of Israel * and * their fathers * 
are rather recipients than co-ordinate agents. The 
covenant is * for * them rather than with them, 
though in a sense it was both and is so described. 

Ver. 9. The old covenant differs from the new 
in this — that it was broken on the one side, and 
ended in indifference and displeasure on the other. 
Peifect as the Law was, the Jews never kept it. 
Idolatry prevailed in nearly all the earlier ages of 
the theocracy, as later hypocrisy and formalism 

}>revailed ; and so God withdrew the providential 
iavour He had promised to show them, though 
only that in the end he might introduce an 

Chap. VI 1 1. i-X. i8.] 



economy of richer grace ; whether with a corre- 
spondeDt change upon the part of the ancient 
people of God remains, the Epistle tells us, yet to 
DC seen. 

Ver. la The new differs also from the old in 
this, that^a) God will write His law upon their 
hearts ; {6) they shall be permanently His people, 
and He will be their God (ver. ii) ; (c) the true 
knowledge of God, moreover, will bmme the 
common heritage of all the members of the polity 
He is about to establish (ver. 12); and fourthly, 
{d) a more excellent promise, itselif the beginning 
and the very reason (for) of the rest ; God idU 
foigiTe (will be propitious to them, and to) their 
nnrightaonrawi and their dm and their law- 
leHBenwill he remember no more. Sins of 
every kind He will forgive — at once and for ever. 
How completely this teaching agrees with Paul's 
need not be shown. In Christ all is forgiven 
when once men believe, and yet the doctnne b 
not the minister of sin, for the faitE that justifies 
is ever the beginning of renewal, the germ of a 
holy life. 

Ver. 12. In saying a new covenant, he hath 
made the fint old. Long ago, in Jeremiah's 
day, God showed by His promise of a new 
covenant that the former one had done its work ; 
was antiquated and virtually obsolete. And (we 
know, for it is a general truth) that which is be- 
ooming antiquated, which is already obsolescent, 
and ifl daily growing feebler with age, is nigh to 
vanishing away. It is nearing the point where 
its power and its right to exist will both cease ! 

Chap. ix. The argument interrupted by the 
preceding quotation b now resumed. The divine- 
ness and the beauty of the arrangements of the 
old covenant are admitted, and their significance, 
vers. 1-5 ; but they belonged to thb world (ver. l) 
and gave no peace to the conscience, and no free 
access to Goa ; a provbional and ineffective insti- 
tute awaiting the time when all should be reformed 
and completed, vers. 6-10. That time b now 
come. The entrance into the holiest b now 
opened ; provision b made for the full forgiveness 
of all transgressions, even those under the ancient 
law (see ver. 15) ; and the conscience b purified 
by the efficatnr of the blood of Christ, who is again 
to manifest Himself to those who wait for Him, 
and will bring in complete salvation, vers. 

Ver. I. Thb verse concedes the excellency of 
the old economy. It had ordinanoes of divine 
wotihip. The writer Speaks in the past tense, 
because he looks back to the orb;inal institution 
and the first tabernacle, partly also because from the 
vantage ground of the new covenant the old 
seems ob^lete — and its holy place of this world. 
As the writer b commending the first covenant, 
' of thb world' can hardly be onl^ depreciatory. 
The word used, when not used ethically, describes 
the world in its order and beautv ; and thb is part 
of the thought : of thb world indeed, and yet 
costly and beautiful. Compare a similar word in 
I Tim. iii. 2, 'orderly' . . . The words at the 
b^inning of the verse — ' The first covenant then 
indeed ' — are concessive and resumptive, taking up 
the thought in chap. viiL 7 and 13. 

Ver. 2. The writer first notes the beauty of the 
holy place, and then (ver. 6) the holy ordinances 
of tne service. For a tabernacle was prepMed 
with two apartments, the first wherein were the 
pandlestiok (the golden candelabrum, with its 
^OL. IV. 5 

upright shaft and six branches, three on each side, 
crowned with seven lamps : Solomon's temple had 
ten of those lamps ; Herod's, again, but one), and 
the table (of acacia and overlaid with gold) and 
the shewbread (the loaves as set forth and pre- 
sented before God), whidi part of the tabernacle 
is called the holy place. 

Ver. 3. And titer (generally of time, here of 
place, behind) the second veil, the same taber- 
nacle, which is called the holy of holies (the 
holiest of all) ; having (belonging to it, not 
necessarily * in it ') a gcSden censer or an altar 
of incense. The word means either ; and inter- 
pretations differ. Incense was taken by the high 
Eriest into the holy of holies from the very first, 
ev. xvi. 12, 13, but a golden censer is not nanud 
in the Law, and only in the ritual of the second 
temple. On the other hand, if we take the other 
meaning, * the altar of incense,' thai stood not in 
the holy of holies, but without the veil ; though 
it was regarded as belonging to the inner sanctuary 
(I Kings vi. 22), and was sprinkled with the blood 
on the Day of Atonement— And the ark of the 
covenant (so called because it contained the two 
tables of the Law) overlaid on all sides (without 
and within, Ex. xxv. 11, and with a colden rim 
or border, Ex. xxxvii. 2) with gol{ wherein 
was a golden pot having the manna and 
Aaron*8 rod that budded. All these were in the 
holy of holies in the time of Moses. The first 
temple also possessed the ark (though not the 
manna or Aaron's rod, I Kings viii. 9). In the 
second temple the ark was wanting. — And the 
tables of the covenant, the stones on which the 
ten commandments were written by the finger of 
God : mentioned last, because the writer is enu- 
merating the things that were most costly and 

Ver. 5. And np over it (the ark) ohembim of 
glory overshadowing the mercy-seat These 
'cherubim' were connected with the Shekinah, 
the vbible glory of God. They were two in 
number, one at each end of the mercy-seat, and 
were b^ten out of the same mass with it A wing 
of each stretched over the mercy-seat till both met 
in the middle ; their faces were opposite each 
other, and they looked downwards on the mercy- 
seat between them (Ex. xxv. 18-20). The mercy- 
seat was the lid or cover of the ark. On this the 
Divine glory rested as on a throne. It was by 
sprinkling the blood on and before thb covering 
that the atonement for the nation was completed 
(Lev. xvi. 14, 15) : and it was there that God 
manifested His presence and revealed Mb will 
(Ex. xxv. 22), and showed his favour (Ps. Ixxx. i). 
The glory above, the tables of the covenant, called 
also of testimony below, and the place of propitia- 
tion between, with all the vesseb of the service, 
had each its lessons, but tlie writer cannot now 
discuss them.— Xlf which one cannot now speak 
severally — in detail. Everything was made under 
Divine direction (Ex. xxv. 8, 9), everything had 
significance. Some are explained elsewhere. But 
the writer hastens on to the ordinances of worship, 
and above all to the superiority of the great atoning 
work of the new economy. 

Ver. 6. Meanwhile he notes the weakness of the 
old covenant and its fitness for this world only 
(vers. 9, 10). And now all these things— the 
apartments and their contents — having been thus 
prepared or arranged, into the first tabernacle 
the juriests go in continoally, aocomplishing 



[Chap. VIII. i-X. la 

(perfonning) the services. The ordinary priests are 
enterin^contintially, t>. withoutlimits prescribed by 
law, twice at least every day (Ex. xxx. 7), to do the 
appointed service, sprinkling; the blood of the sin- 
ofiering before the veil, dressing the lamps, burning 
incense on the golden altar, and once a-week 
changing the shewbread. 

Ver. 7. But into the Becand tabernacle, the 
holy of holies, the high priest alone once in the 
year. Into this second part none of the priests 
were allowed to enter or even to look ; but the 
high priest alone, and he only on one day — the 
tenth day of the seventh month (Lev. xvL 29). On 
that day he entered within the veil at least three 
times — first with the censer of burning coals and 
the incense, that the cloud might cover the mercy- 
seat and intercept the Divine glory (Lev. xvi. 
12, 13) ; then with the blood of the bullock, which 
he sprinkled seven times before the mercy-seat 
(ver. 14) ; and then with the blood of the goat, 
which also he sprinkled on and before the mercy- 
seat (ver. 15), so that not without blood which 
he offereth for himself and for. the errors of the 
people. It was his business to make atonement 
for sin, and this could not be done without blood. 
Nor was it enough that the blood should be shed 
at the door of the tabernacle ; the high priest had 
to carry with him a portion of it within the veil, 
and there offer it by sprinkling it on and before 
the mercy-seat. And this atonement was made 
for himself and his house, i.e, the priests generally, 
and then for the sins of the people (Lev. xvi. 6, 14). 
Within the holy place the blood was sprinkled 
once upwards ; seven times backwards before and 
on the mercy-seat The horns of the altar were 
anointed with the blood of the two sacrifices, and 
the same mingled blood was sprinkled seven times 
before it, and then the remainder of the blood was 
poured out at the foot of the altar of burnt-offering. 
Thb offering of the blood is said to have cleans^ 
the people once a year from all their sins (chap, 
vi. 16-34). Here the statement of the Law is re- 
stricted to sins ofignorance — 'errors,' a term describ- 
ing offences committed in no defiance of the Law, 
or with only a partial knowledge of their turpitude. 
They are thus marked off from those capital 
offences and presumptuous sins for which no pro- 
visions of mercy was made ; in which, dierefore, 
the sinner died without mercy (Num. xv. 27-31 ; 
see also Heb. x. 28). 

Ver. 8. The Holy Ghost this signifying, U, 
by the arrangement which excluded all from the 
sanctuary except the high priest, who entered only 
on one day in the year — ^that the way into the 
holiest — heaven itself, the true antitype, not the 
holy of holies — ^hath not yet been made mani- 
fest, whQe as (an archaism, like whnt as [and the 
modem form whereas\ stating time during 
which, with a slight intimation that the thing 
stated is the reason of the result) the first tahnur- 
naole, i,e. the holy place separated from the 
holy of holies, is still standing— these present 
tenses all call attention to the continuance of the 
Jewish worship and to the need of its ceasing. 
That is, whUe there is a distinction of tabernacle 
and tabernacle with a veil between them, and a 
hidden glory, there is no freedom of access. 
Let the veil be removed, and then the two taber- 
nacles will become one ; and so the first will be 
done away ... To refer the 'first tabernacle' to 
the old covenant neither suits the usage of the 
context nor the description given elsewhere of the 

'heavenly things* which are prior to the first 

Ver. 9. The which tabernacle is a flgme 
f literally a parable, an arrangement with a lesson) 
for, i.e, in reference to (or lasting till) the time 
[now] present, or [then] present, for neither is 
expressed. Either makes good sense. The former, 
' now present,' better suits the writer's purpose ; 
the latter, ' then present,' has found most favour 
with the commentators. The arrangement might 
have taus;ht those who first witnessed it (then 
present) that the g^ts and sacrifices which are still 
being offered (present tense) could not meet the 
needs of the human conscience or give free access 
to God. The arrangement teaches us ('now' 
present) the same lessons imposed, as it is till the 
luhiess of the time when all is to be rightly 
arranged and with better results. And aocoiding 
to wmch parable (or tabernacle, i,e. a holy place 
with the holy of holies veiled and inaccessiole — 
either meaning gives the same lessons, and the 
Greek admits either) were offered gifts and 
sacrifices which could not give peace to the con- 
science or satisfy God's justice. 

Ver. 10. And the reason is plain, being only 
with meats, and drinks, and divers washings 
(or baptisms, a reference to the legal and tradi- 
tional ^conditions of eating and drinking, comp. 
I Cor. viiL, and CoL ii. 16-23, and to the various 
baptisms commanded by the law both for people 
and priests).— Gamal ordinances. They may 
have been performed in a right spirit They may 
have been accompanied by some spiritual blessing. 
But they were mainly material, not spirituaL 
They purified die flesh and not the spirit They 
failed to meet the demands of the awakened con- 
science and to brin^ back that blessed fellowship 
with God which sm destroys. Burdensome in 
themselves (so the word ' imposed ' means, conm. 
Acts XV. 10-28), they were also inadequate for 
spiritual purposes. They were imposed on men 
to prepare them for better things, and for a better 
time, when all is to be put right in the conscience, 
in the life, and with God. 

Such is the earthl}^ sanctuary and its ordinances. 
The contrast, the time of reformation—not 'a 
time,' as if there were several, not quite ' thi time ; ' 
the Greek simply marks the quality of the time 
itself — ' until what is to prove God's set time, 
when all is to be made straight ' — is described in 
the following verses. 

Ver. II. Here begins the true antithesis to the 
preceding verses, though ver. 6 marks a contrast 
of another kind. That old economy was earthly, 
glorious indeed, but (ver. 6) ineffectuaL The 
new economy has to do with another tabernacle 
not of this creation, with other blood, with a fax 
completer redemption, and with the purification 
of the conscience and of the life (vers. 11-14). So 
it introduces a new covenant and a heavenly 
sanctuary (vers. 1^-20), with complete forgiveness 
(ver. 26); and the only thing that remains is 
Christ's reappearance to complete salvation (vers. 
27, 28). — Bat Christ having oome (having 
appeared, a word used to describe the appearance 
of any one in history or on some important stage 
of life. Matt. iii. I ; Luke xii. 51^, a high priest 
of the good things to come (not things that 
belong to the future state chiefly, but in conformity 
with Uie Jewish mode of speaking of them while 
they were^et future, the things uat belong to the 
new covenant, extending indeed into the heavens 

Chap. VIII. i-X. 18.] 



and the distant future, but begimune here and 
now), by a greater and a more peneot taber- 
nacle not niade with hands, that is, not of this 
ereatlan (s£e under ver. 12). 

Ver. 12. Hot yet by the blood of goats (put 
first b ec a u se most characteristic of the Dav of 
Atonement, Lev. xvi. 5, etc. — the two goats which 
made one sacrifice) and calves (called in ver. 13 
trails ; both were males, one of the first year and 
the other of the second), bat by his own blood 
(the same expression as in Acts xx. 28, so chap. 
xiiL 12) be entered in onoe for all, etc., %,e, by 
services of a greater and more perfect tabernacle — 
neither of human workmanship nor of created 
materials. Some regard 'by ' or 'through' in ver. 
1 1 as Uctd; but the use of Uie same preposition in 
ver. 12 in the instrumental sense is against this 
view. Those who regard it as local interpret 
difierently: 'Through Christ's body' (the true 
temple) is the common Patristic interpretation. 
Through the Church; or the world, the outer 
temple of the Creator ; through the lower regions 
of the heavens ; through the worshipping place 
of blessed spirits (Delitzsch), have all their advo- 
cates. Some who understand through as 'by 
means of^' render by means of Christ's human 
nature — ^the outer dwelling-place of God. But 
the inteipretation.given above is simpler and more 
natural. We know that Christ is not entered into 
the holy places made with hands (ver. 24), but into 
heaven ; and so it b not by the services of an 
earthly tabernacle, but by the services of a 
taberxiacle far grander and more perfect He pre- 
sents His ofTering and seeks forgiveness. — And 
having obtained (an emphatic form of expression 
impljring energetic effort) eternal redemption 
ferns. ^1 here is in contrast, and the results 
not least. The Jewish high priest gained a 
pardon for the sins of the jrear, such a pardon as 
cancelled all ceremonial sin, fleshly defilements, 
and retained or regained for his worshippers their 
y^iMOt in the theocracy ; but Christ, by the one 
sacrifice of Himself, has obtained for us an ever- 
lasting deliverance from the guilt of sin, ending in 
a complete deliverance from the power of it, and 
that at the price of Himself or of His blood. He 
cave Himself for us, and He gave His blood, 
dying in our stead that we might live. Both 
expressions are scriptural (lit ii. 14 ; Eph. i. 7). 
The word here translated redemption (deliverance 
by payment of the price, by giving 'satisfieu:tion,' 
Num. XXXV. 31, 32) is the shorter form (Xvrf«rif); 
the longer form XjkMtXi^fmnt) is used in ver. 15, 
and again in a lower sense in chap. xi. 15. Both 
forms are found in Sl Paul's Epistles, Redemp- 
tion is obtained for us when Christ enters into the 
holy place, as redemption is made ours when His 
blood is applied to our consciences ; both truths 
are consistent with the other teaching that atone- 
ment — expiation — was made when He died for 
our ans. 

Ver. 13. For If . . . and the ashes of a 
heiliBr, BprinkUng them that have been defiled, 
saactiflelh nnto (ut, so as to secure ; the full 
e xpr e ssi on implies result, not purpose) the pnrity 
of the flesh. This case of the 'ashes of the 
heifer ' is one of the most suggestive symbols of 
the Law, and is well worth examination (see Num. 
xix.). The heifer without spot, slain by the 
priest without the camp, its blood sprinkled in the 
direction of the tabernacle, the animal itself burnt 
with solcBm rites, its ashes laid up in a dean place 

to be used with water in cleansing those who had 
been defiled by contact with a dead body, itself a 
symbol and a result of sin — all are instructive, 
and all was done to secure an outward ptuity 

Ver. 14. How mnoh more shall the blood of 
Christ . . . oleanse your oonsdenoe from that 
impurity which shows the inward man to be as a 
dead corpse, producing only such works as have nO 
pulse, no power or feeling of true and higher life. 
The context gives to ' dead works ' in this passage 
a slightly different meaning from that in chap. vi. i. 
And the purpose of this process is to secure not 
the common service of the Jewish worshipper — 
the service of an outward life ; but the mward 
spiritual service of the living God— of God not as 
veiled and in symbols, but of God in His reality 
and holiness. Such is the work of Him who, 
through the eternal Spirit, oflbred himself 
without spot (I Pet. i. 19) unto€k)d. 'Throu^ 
the eternal Spirit ' has* been variously explsiined. 
Through the Holy Spirit — say some — ^which was 
given to Him ' without measure,' or by which He 
was quickened and raised from the dead, and so 
entered into the holy place. Others, however, 
regard the expression as describing all in Christ 
that was not human — His higher nature. His 
Divine personality. This view is favoured by the 
double fact that it is the writer's purpose to 
describe the intrinsic excellence of His offering, 
and that elsewhere ' the Spirit ' is used in this 
sense when applied to our Lord. As to His flesh 
— His human nature — He was son of David ; as 
to the Spirit, what in Him vras not human nature. 
He was the Son of God (Rom. i. 3, 4 ; i Pet. 
iii. 18 ; I Tim. ill. 16). The victims of the Law 
gave up an animal life all unconsciously. Christ 
gave Himself, His own will and heart consenting — 
not the man only, but all that was Divine in Him : 
His higher nature which, before time, acquiesced 
in the purpose of the Father, and that same nature 
now a conscious agent in effecting it 

Ver. 15. And lor this cause (for the reason 
that His blood is thus efficacious, ver. 14, or 
because He has performed this great work, vers. 
11-14) he is mediator of a new (emphatic) 
covenant, in order that^ death having taken 
place (viz. His own) for redemption from (or ex 
piration of) the transgressions under the first 
covenant, they that have been called ('par- 
takers of a heavenly calling,' chap. iii. i) may 
receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 
The first covenant left its transgressions unfor- 
given. It waited for the offering that had 
efficacy. The death of Christ, therefore, has a 
double work. It is offered once for all, and 
extends its efficacy forward to the end of time and 
backward to the entrance of the Law. It is the 
procuring cause of forgiveness for all dispensations 
(see Rom. iii. 24-26). The emphasis of the last 
words is on ' may receive the promise,' i.e, be 
put in possession of what was promised — the 
eternal inheritance, the blessing of the Gospel, 
'the good things to come,' including the eternal 
life, which is the completion of them all. ... As 
the writer is speaking of the Old Covenant, those 
' who are called ' refers properly to the Jews, but 
the principle applies to the Gentiles also, and to 
all economies. 

Ver. 16. And it is a covenant — with all the 
requisite validity. For where a covenant is^ 
there must also be (brought in— or, there is 



[Chap. VIII. i-X. 18. 

necessarily implied) the death of the covenanting 

Ver. 17. For a covenant U of force over the 
dead (or on the condition that some persons (or 
things) have died), flinoe it has no avaU at all 
while the covenanting victim liveth. 

Ver. 18. Whence neither hath the first cove- 
nant heen inaugurated (or ratified) without 
blood. Those verses are specially difficult. The 
logic of the passage seems to require the rendering 
now given. It does not follow that because a 
testator must die before his will can take effect, 
therefore the first covenant was inaugurated with 
blooid. ^«#if»ff, moreover, is everywhere else 
in Scripture ' covenant,' as it is in the immediate 
context, and it seems better to keep to that 
meaning throughout : all the more as the notion of 
a will, though familiar to Western civilisation, was 
not familiar in countries where each child's portion 
was settled by law. There are difficulties, how- 
ever, on the other side. * Covenanting [victim] ' 
is not a known meaning of the word here used. 
It means generally a covenanting person or a 
testator. * Over the dead ' is commonly used also 
only of deeui men. Both difficulties are lessened, 
however, by the peculiar facts of the case. All 
solemn covenants under the Law were made 
valid by the death of a victim which represented 
the covenanting persons, and pledged them on 
peril of their lives to faithfulness ; and so ' the 
covenanting victim * is spoken of under the same 
name as the covenanting person — the one repre- 
senting the other. If the rendering 'testament' 
is preferred, and ' testator,' it is best to r^;ard vers. 
16 and 17 as an illustrative argument, a parallel 
case, suggested partly by the mention of an in- 
heritance and partly by the double meaninc^ of 
the Greek word {covenant or testament), which is 
applied to any arrangement or distribution by will, 
or in any other way. 

Ver. 19. Por (a proof of the assertion in ver. 
18) when every commandment had been spoken 
by Moses according to the law (as the law 
directed, without any variation from it) unto all 
the people, he took the blood of the calves and 
the goats (these last are not expressed in Ex. xxiv. 
6-8, but are implied in v. 5) with water and 
scarlet wool and hyssop (those details are not 
named in Ex. xxiv. 6-8, but each is given else- 
where. Either Crod commanded Moses to do 
these things, as they were done later, or the 
\KTiter is giving in brief a summary of the whole 
law as at first instituted), and sprinkled both 
the book itself (which probably lay on the altar) 
and all the people. 

Ver. 20. The design of this sprinkling is now 
explained — Saying, This is the blood of the 
oovenant which God (the Hebrew is Jehovah, and 
the Greek * the Lord ; ' probably God is used to 
preserve the O. T, character of the quotation; 
the N. T. covenant, the Supper especially, is con- 
nected with ' the Lord ') commanded to you-ward. 

Ver. 21. Moreover, the tabernacle and all the 
vessels of the ministry (the service) he sprinkled 
in like manner with blood (probably later : it 
was certainly done every year, Lev. xvi. 16-20. 
Josephus, however, gives the same fact as occur- 
ring at the inauguration of the covenant, and in 
very similar wonk, Antiq. iii. 8, 6). 

Ver. 22. And according to the law almost all 
things (some were purified with water, Ex. xix. 
10, etc. ; others with water and the ashes of the 

heifer. Num. xxxi. 22-24; but the things 
which were specially appropriated to the worship 
of God) are cleansed with (in) blood ; and apart 
Acom shedding of blood— the word here brings 
up the language of the Lord's Supper, *Sh»l 
for you* (Luke xxii. 20)— there is no remission 
(forgiveness). The 'almost' of the first clause 
applies also to the second (see Lev. v. 11-13). 
The need of blood and the significance of it may 
be seen in Lev. xvii. ii. 

Ver. 23. The patterns ; rather, the representa* 
tions, the heavenly things themselves beii^ the 
original ' patterns shown to Moses in the mount ' 
(viii. O, whence the earthly copies were taken : 
but the heavenly things themselves (heaven 
and the things therein, see ver. 24) by better 
sacrifices than these. How the heavenly things 
need purifying has been much discussed. The 
simplest explanation is that the heavenly things 
received purification through the blood of Christ, 
in the same sense as the tabernacle received 
purification through the blood that was offered in 
It. The tabernacle had no impurity of its own. 
It needed purifying because of the uncleanness of 
the people, and b^use of the uncleanness which 
the entrance of the people without atonement 
would have introduced. Forgiveness without 
atonement would have sullied the holiness of God. 
By the blood of Christ God b just while justifying 
the ungodly. The place that was unapproach- 
able by reason of our sin, is made free to the 
guiltiest : but for this purpose there were needed 
sacrifices better Car than those that Aaron 

Ver. 24. * The heavenly things : * for not into 
a holy place made with hands did Christ enter, 
like in pattern (answering to the original, ' the 
typical form') to the true, now to show (to 
manifest) himself before (the face of) Gk)d for 
us ; His passover our offering, and by virtue of 
*the Eternal Spirit — His own Divine nature,' 
with all the power of an endless life. 

Ver. 25. And as Christ has not entered into 
the holy place made with hands, neither has ho 
enterea into heaven that he should offer him- 
self often (the reference is not to His dying, but 
to His presenting Himself and His blood. The 
dying is named later, ver. 26), just as the high 
priest entereth into the holy place year by year 
with blood of others {i.e. * not his own,' as the 
Syr. renders it); else must he often have 
suffered since the foundation of the world. 
As His blood was His own, and as His death was 
essential to the offering of Himself, and necessary 
in order that He might have something to offer 
(viii. 3), He must in that case have often suffered. 
The contrary, however, is the fact. — But now, 
the case is that once for all at the end (the com- 
pletion) of the ages which have elapsed since sin 
entered, antediluvian, patriarchal. Mosaic, hath 
he been manifested, i.e. in our flesh (i Tim. iii. 
16 ; I Pet. i. 20), for the putting away of sin 
in its guilt and power by the sacrifice of himself. 

Vers. 27, 2S. And there can be no second 
dying, and so no second offering of Himself unto 
God. Such an arrangement would be against all 
analogy and all experience. Since man as such 
can die but once, so must it be with the Ohrist 
also : for in all things He b made like unto His 
brethren. And as it is the judgment which awaits 
all men beyond the grave, so there is no second 
self-offering of Christ between (h^ First Advent 

Chap. VIII. i-X. 18.] 

and the Second. As human life with all its works 
comes to an end in death, and only judgment re- 
mains ; so the atonement of Christ is complete, 
and nothing remains but for Him to return — 
and judge. But no ; the writer does not care to 
end sa He shall appear to them that wait for 
Him, unto complete salvation. 
All here is still in contrast When the high 

Snest returned from the Holy of Holies after 
aving made atonement there, he made a second 
atonement in his priestly robes for himself and his 
people (Lev. xvL 24), *for the sins of his most 
noly things.' When Christ appears coming forth 
from His holy place, He will appear without 
sin, and therefore without a sin-offering, and 
completing the blessedness of those He has re- 

Chap. x. i-iS. We now reach the conclusion of 
the argument, which is also in part a repetition. 
Christ s offering of Himself, as contrasted with the 
yearly offerings of the Law, is the completion of 
the will and purpose of God (vers. i-io). Christ's 
priestly service, as contrasted with the daily ser- 
vices of the priests, oft-repeated and all imperfect, 
is for ever perfected by His one priestly act, and 
in His kingly authority (11-14); and His finished 
work is the inauguration of a New Covenant, in 
which the law being written on the heart, and 
sin pat away and forgotten, no further offering is 
needed or allowed (15-18). 

Ver. I. For — a particle that connects the argu- 
ment with the last verses of chap. ix. I'hc 
sacrifice of Christ will not be repeated, we are told 
in ix. 28. Nor need it, is the statement here — 
the law having, as we know it has, a shadow 
only — a mere outline of the good things which 
belong to the world to come (chap. vi. 5), of 
which Christ is High Priest (ix. 11), not the very 
image—the very fonn — of the things, t.e, the 
heavenly realities themselves (comp. Rom. viii. 29), 
they can never — at any time or anyhow — with 
the same sacrifloei year by year which they offer 
con tiim ally — words that describe the ever-recur- 
ring cycle of the same sacrifices for sin — make 
pemet thoee who are ever drawing nigh to God. 

Ver. 2. Else woold they — these same sacrifices 
— not have c e as ed to be ofEsred, because the wor- 
siiimfien — ^both priests and people — would have 
had no longer any oonsdenoe — any conscious- 
ness of the guilt — of sin being once for aU 
completely porifled f The whole clause is best 
treated as a question, as is clear from the next 



Ver. 3. Bat, on the contrary, there is in those 
sa cr i fi ces a remembrance made— a recalling to 
mind, on the part of the worshippers and on God's 
part-»-€f sins year by year. 

Ver. 4. Nor could it be otherwise, for the 
sacrifices themselves are inherently defective. 
This teaching mayseem to contradict the statement 
that * the blood upon the altar ' makes an atone- 
ment for the soul (Lev. xvii. Ii), and is appointed 
(' given *) for that purpose. The fact is, that the 
blood of the bullock or of the goat (the sin-offer- 
mg on the Dav of Atonement) could not weigh 
against the guilt of a nation, or even of a single 
worshipper. It could only sanctify to the puri- 
fying of the flesh (ix. 13), restoring the sinner to 
living membership with the literal Israel. It 
cancelled ceremonial guilt, not spiritual sin, and 
gave legal outward purity, not spiritual regenera- 
tion. The annual sacnfice was only a shadow 

and prophecy of another sacrifice, in which the 
Divine will was to be perfectly accomplished. 

Ver. 5. Wherefore, let me describe, says the 
writer, in O. T. language, the voluntary offering 
of Christ and His setting aside of the offerings of 
the law — ^when coming into the world — the 
incarnate Messiah, to do the will of His Father-^ 
he saith. Sacrifice (victim) and offexing (gift) 
then desiredst not. This langusq^ and the 
language of ver. 6 has created dimcultv. All 
these offerings were commanded, and were 
offered accordmg to the Law (ver. 8). Why then 
did not God desire them ? or find pleasure in 
them ? When offered indeed in hypocrisy, to the 
neglect of moral obedience, or when trusted in for 
righteousness and acceptance, they were, as we 
know, rejected. But these reasons are not 
assigned here. The explanation, therefore, is to be 
sought elsewhere. It is of atonement for sin the 
writer is speaking. In sacrifice or mere suffering 
God cannot delight, and if it is spiritually power- 
less, insufficient to atone for sin, it is useless, 
and may even be worse than useless. In whole 
burnt-offerings (see Lev. L 16, 27), in sacrifices 
for sin of whatever kind (sin-offerings, Lev. iv. 3, 
20, etc ; trespass-offerings. Lev. v. 15 ; peace- 
offerings. Lev. iii., vii. 11-23), Cod had no 
pleasure, because none, no one, nor all combined, 
were an adequate propitiation. But when Christ 
came in the body which the Father had prepared, 
and to offer the sacrifice of Himself, the Father 
declared that in Him at every stage He was well 
pleased (Matt. iii. 17, xvii. 5) ; and so because of 
His * obedience unto death,* He became Lord 
over all. The clause, 'a body hast Thou pre- 
pared for me,' has created difficulty. The present 
Hebrew text is, ' My ears hast Thou opened or 
pierced.' The rendering 'pierced' is supposed to 
refer to the man who became a life-long servant 
under the circumstances described in Ex. xxi. 6, 
etc. ; but this view is not favoured by the plural 
form * my ttirr,' nor is the Hebrew word here used, 
the usual word for ' piercing. ' ' My ears hast Thou 
opened ' is therefore the better rendering, describing 
as it does hearty and devoted obedience, as in Isa. 
L 5. It is not easy to explain the change in 
the Septuagint. Perhaps the Greek text better 
represents to a Greek reader the general sense. 
Perhaps there has been confusion in copying 
Greek Mss., or possibly some later alteration of 
the Hebrew. Each theory has its advocates. 

Ver. 7. Then said I, Lo, I am come (in the 
volume or roll of the book it is written of me) 
— the book of the ancient Law from Moses down- 
wards (see Acts iii. i8 ; I Pet. i. 11) — ^to do thy 
will, God. To do the will of God is to obey 
His commands, and especially in this context the 
command to lay down His hfe (John x. 17, xiv. 
31). It is on this one thing the writer is insisting. 
That He might render this obedience a body was 
prepared for Him, and a nature capable of those 
sufierings both in heart and in life which were 
necessary to expiate sin, and fulfil the one right- 
eousness whereby many were to be made 
righteous. This was, indeed, the chief design of 
His coming (Matt. xx. 28 ; I Tim. i. 15). 

Ver. 8. The writer now comments on the 
quotation : Saying above as he {i.e. Christ, see 
ver. 5) does say, etc. IVhich is more than the 
relative — it describes quality, and makes this 
remark apply to all offered under the Law — then 
and now (present tense). 



[Chap. X. 19-39. 

Ver. 9. Then saitli he (literally, hath He said), 
He (that is, Christ) taketh away the fint, that 
he may estahUeh (set up) the aeoond. Legal 
sacrifices are abolished that there may be substi- 
tuted for them, the will — the good pleasure of God, 
which Christ came to do by the one sacrifice of 

Ver. 10. In which will, and in the accomplish- 
ment of it, we have been and are sanctified — freed 
from the guilt of sin (and so we are said to be 
sanctified in Christ Jesus, i Cor. i. 2) and made 
morally fit for God's service — ^by the offering of 
the body of Ohrist, ' which Thou hast prepared 
for me,' onoe for all. 

Vers. 1 1- 14. With this appropriate result — that 
He is exalted as Priest and King to the right hand 
of his Father. ^And every priett (* high priest ' 
has less MS. authority and is less appropriate) 
■tandeth (not permitted to sit in God s presence 
as if he were at home and his work were done), 
ministering and offering oftentimes, morning 
and evening, day after day, the same saciifioee, 
with no result All that were offered had the 
same deficiency — that they conld nohow and 
never strip on all ronnd, take clean away the 
guilt of sins. Some sense of relief, some hope 
Uiey might give ; but the sin itself still clung to the 

Ver. 12. Bat he (this Priest) having offered one 
■acrifice for sins for ever, took his seat on the 
right hand of Ck>d, an evidence of the complete- 
ness of His work, which left no room for another 
sacrifice or for the repetition of His own. His 
priesthood indeed contmues, and the presentation 
of His sacrifice — ' the perpetual oblation ; ' but 
His atoning work is over. * For ever,* in per- 
petuity, uninterruptedly, may be connected with 
'took His seat,* but the usage of this Epistle is to 
connect it with the words that precede, vii. 3, x. i. 

Ver. 13. Not a second time can He suffer : Only 
waiting as he now is till, in fulfilment of the Divine 
promise (Ps. ex. i), his enemies be made the 
footstool of his feet The Jewish priest stood 
fearful and uneasnr in the holy place — hastening 
to depart when the service was done as horn a 
place to which he had only temporary access. 
Christ sits as at home, having completed His work 
and now awaiting His full reward. 

Ver. 14. For 1^ one offering he hath perfected 
for ever, in unbroken continuance, them that are 
being sanctified. Here the word used is the 

present participle — not as in ver. 10^ the perfect — 
and calls attention to the progressive purification 
that belongs to the redeemed. The word ' sancti- 
fied * implies both the imputed and the imparted 
righteousness of Christ. When the perfect is 
used, and we are said to be sanctified m Christ* 
imputed purification from the guilt of sin is the 
predominant thought ; when the present is used, 
It points rather to the subjective process whereby 
Christ's work is realized in the peace and holiness 
of believers. 

Vers. 15-17. And with this teaching agrees the old 
prophetic word which makes inward holiness and 
absolute forgiveness the most characteristic marks 
of the new covenant whereof the Holy Ohost alio 
bears us witness — then follow passages that have 
been (quoted before (viii. 12). The verbal differ- 
ences m the two quotations are suggestive, though 
they do not change the general sense. For ' with 
the house of Israel ' (viii. 10) we have now ' with 
them,* so that the promise is denationalized and 
wider. In the earlier passage the mind is first 
influenced, and then the heart ; in the later, the 
heart is first changed and then the mind. Both 
are changed — is the truth common to the two 
passages. The order alone differs. Even this is 
suggestive. Renewal and forgiveness are really 
contemporaneous, 'llie faith that renews is also 
the faith that justifies. The dead letter is written 
on the heart, and becomes a living spirit ; and con- 
temporaneous with this great change, and the 
effect of the same faith, sin is not only forgiven, it 
is forgotten and remembered no more. Other 
sacrifices are remembrances of sins ; this sacrifice 
is the complete obliteration of them alL 

Ver. 18. And plainly where tiiere is fosgiveneH 
of these, there is no need of further atonement ; 
and the sacrifices of the Law which were instituted 
to meet and deepen man's sense of a need they 
could not satisfy, and which secured at best out- 
ward forgiveness only, are for ever done away. 

Here ends the threefold central argument ot 
the Epistle, that Christ is a Priest after the order 
of Melchisedec, not of Aaron, viL 1-25 ; that He 
is the Mediator of a better covenant, viL 26-ix. 
12 ; and that His sacrifice is of everlasting 
efficacy and is fittingly followed by His kingdom, 
ix. 13-X. 18 : the first eighteen verses of ^apter 
X. being devoted to a repetition ol the main 
positions and to the confirmation of Uiem from 
the Old Testament 

Chapter X. 19-39. 

Practical Lessons, x. 19-39. — Grmndsfor Stcdfastness, and Means of 
promoting it, and Motives, vers. 19-21, 22-25, 26-39. 

19 T T AVING therefore, brethren, ''boldness to enter * into the •IS'il'iV 

20 JTl holiest* by the blood of Jesus, by ^a new and Hying ^^'igjia. 
way, which he hath consecrated' for us, ''through the veil, that ^^^'i.^i.'iT' 

21 is to say, his flesh ; and having * an high ' priest over ^ the *'^ch!*b^ 

22 house of God; ^let us draw near with a true heart *in full 'JS^Silv! 
assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled * from an evil *^ 

/i Tim. iii. 15. ^Ch. iv. 16. h Eph. UL xa ; Jas. i. 6 ; i Jo. iii. at. /Ch. ix. 14. 

^ or^ the holy place 

' inaugurated, opened 


Ghap. X. 19-39.] TO THE HEBREWS. 71 

23 consdence, and *our bodies* washed with pure water. 'Let ^f^^i^,''^;, 

a Cor. vU. i. 

US hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering ; (for /chTTv. 


24 •'he IJ faithful that promised ;) and let us consider one another '^l^: ^ ^* 

25 to provoke unto love and to good works: *not forsaking the i Them's I 
assembling of ourselves together, as the manner* of some is; «A^ul'i."i; 
but exliorting one another: and ''so much the more, as ye see o]^om!xm,xu 

26 * the day approaching.* For ^ if we sin ' wilfully ^ after that we ^a pcl*ui.*i 
have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no ^ S'uilxv. 30; 

27 more* sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for* of raP^iio^ 
judgment and 'fiery indignation," which shall devour" the ad- «iixr?Lii, 

28 versaries. ' He that despised Moses' law died " without mercy xxxw/s; 

29 "under" two or three witnesses: "of how much sorer punish- iii8; ' 

aThes. L 8; 

ment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden ^ ni-^ag. 
under foot the Son of God, and "'hath counted " the blood of •^peut.xVii. 

8b 6L XIX. 15 * 

the covenant, wherewitli he was sanctified, an unholy " thing, M«t.xyiu.i6': 

' ' . ' ** Jo. viu. \y ; 

30 and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace .^ For we ^jc<w.xuui. 
know him that hath" said, ^Vengeance belongeth unto me," I J^^^^^, 
will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, 'The Lord shall J^,*^;^! 

31 judge his people. *// is a fearful thmg to fall into the hands ^^jf^iTi. 

32 of the living God. But * call to remembrance the former days, |^*» ^p^- »^- 
in which, ^ after ye were illuminated,'* ye endured ''a great ''^l^^^^ 

33 fight" of afflictions; partly, whilst** ye were made 'a gazing- .^ul^ixxii. 
stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst** Sicvf'14.^' 

34 -^ye became companions of them that were so used. For ye ^gS-ul f; 
had compassion of me ^in my bonds, and** *took joyfully the c\^^\ 
spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that *' ye have in coi. a.?.'*** 

35 heaven ** a better and an enduring substance." Cast not away yjm!'\"^\ ^ 
therefore your confidence, * which** hath great recompence of iThku-M. 

36 reward. 'For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have ^aTinJ^uie. 
done the will of God, ** ye might ** receive the promise. Acts.r.^i ;* 

37 For * yet a little ** while, « iSl vl' ao, 
And ' he that shall come will *' come, and will *• not tarry, l^. ^'^3 : 

' X Tim. VI. 19. 

38 Now ^ the just *• shall live by faith : * m*«- v. la. 
But if any man^^ draw back, my soul shall have** no ^^"^^^'^ 

pleasure in him. i^&ul'ii ; 

39 But we are not of them ^ who draw back '* unto perdition ; but ^^j^y 
of them that '' believe ** to the saving '* of the soul. "Ki.^?/ 

2 Pet. iiL 9. 

* body • custom • drawing nigh ' rather, go on sinning ^ ^^ W^\ 

• insert a * ^r, reception " ///. indignation, or, fierceness of fire g^. iiL n. 
" rather, hath set at nought " dieth " rather, on the evidence of ^ *^^ "• ^ 
** deemed " iiV. common, £?r, unclean **^»i//hath rAcuxvLao, 
" or, is mine {fls in Rom. xii. 19) " enlightened {as inyi. 4) 31 ; . 
" rather, conflict *<> rather, in that, or, bemg made, and, becoming axS-'il'iV 
'^ read, on them that were in bonds, and ye 

** read^ that ye have yourselves •* />. possession ** the which 

"may "very little «' comcth shall "shall 

•• read, my just {or, righteous) one *^ he *^ hath 

"Ay. of drawing back w/iAof&ith '^^r^ gaining 



[Chap. X. 19-39. 

Chap. H. 19-39. For nearly foor chapters the 
argument has remained unbroken by those ex- 
hortations which abound in the earlier parts of the 
Epistle. From chapter viL I to x. 18 the reason* 
ing is dose and continuous ; but the one great 
purpose of the Epbtle is never absent from the 
writer's mind. Here he resumes the appeals with 
which the fourth chapter closes, and repeats with 
characteristic differences, as su^ested by the train 
of the thought, the solemn warnings of chapter 
vi. 1-8. 

Vers. 19-21. Having therefore (on the grounds 
already named), brethren (again he puts himself 
in communion with those he addresses as in 
chapter iii.), oonfidence by the blood of Jeene 
(see on chap. iiL 6) in respect to fgoing] the way 
into the holieet, a new and liying way whieh 
he first opened (or inaugurated) for ns through 
the veil, that is to say nis flesh, and having a 
great priest (who is at once Priest and King) 
over the house of God, let us use the way that is 
opened in joyous assurance (22), let us hold fast 
our profession (23) and complete the graces of our 
character, faith and hope (22, 23), by the love 
which is the crown of all (24). Through the per- 
fection of the sacrifice of Christ and His position 
in heaven, where He has entered for us, we have 
holy filial confidence in approaching God, — a 
feeling that contrasts with the fear and bondage of 
Old Testament worshippers. Christ has preceded 
us (as forerunner, vi. 20), we follow along the 
way He has formed and opened, knowing our- 
selves to be sanctified by the one oblation of blood 
which was shed on earth and presented in heaven ; 
and so we have access to the holy place, which is 
heaven itself (ix. 24) : there is the throne of grace 
(iv. 16), and there Jesus, the Minister of the holy 
places (viii. 2), appears for us. This way is 
further described as a new and living way, — * new ;* 
literally, * newly slain ;* but in common Hellenistic 
usage the meaning is * newly made ; * and yet there 
is probably a reference to the fact that it is made 
with blood and yet living,— the opposite of what 
is lifeless and powerless, — the way opened by 
Christ which leads and carries on all that enter it 
into the home above. He who is • the Way and 
the Life * is not dimly described in these half- 
contradictory words. — Through the veil — that is, 
his flesh, has been differently interpreted. The 
thing to note is that * through * does not mark 
the instrument, but the intervening hindrance that 
needed to be removed or rent that man might 
enter — the way was through it unto God, so that 
the true parallel is Matt, xxvii. 51. Christ came 
in 'the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,' and it 
is exactly the sin and the sinful flesh His incar- 
nation and dying represent, that come between 
us and God ; and when He died for sin, the veil 
was rent ; and when He ascended and entered 
heaven for us, it was completely taken away. 
Thus it is that we are reconciled in the body of his 
flesh through death (Col. i. 22). 

Ver. 21. A great priest— not high priest chiefly, 
for which the word high priest is always used in this 
Epistle, but a priest who is enthroned at God's 
right hand — over the house of God — not a servant 
like Moses in the house (iii. 5, 6), but over it, t\e, 
over the universal Church, including both the 
heaven of glory (John xiv. 2) and the Church on 
earth. We are under Christ in our earthly pilgrim- 
age, as we shall be in the home above ; and indeed 
we have both privileges, for we reach the inmost 

recesses of the very sanctuary of God even now by 
faith and prayer (ver. 22). 

Ver. 22. Let ns draw near-— every hindrance 
created by God*s holiness and oar own sin is re- 
moved — the way is opened — let us come to God 
in loving trust and holy service; and so wor- 
shippers are called ' comers ' (unto God), viL 25, 
X. 1, xi. 6 — ^with a tme heaart — ^free from hjrpocrisy 
and double-mindedness and in harmony with the 
realities of the Gospel (John L 9), being what we 
seem and seeming what we ought to be, 'the 
perfect heart' of Isa. xxxviii 3 — in ftill aanir- 
anoe of fidth, t,e, without any diffidence as to our 
right of approach or our acceptance through the 
entrance and presence of our priest Hope and 
love come afterwards (vers. 23, 24), ' these three,' 
the usual Pauline triad (i Cor. xiiL 13 ; I Thess. 
!• 3> 5> ^ > Col. i. 4). The three assurances of 
Scripture, of understanding (Col. ii. 2), of faith« 
and of hope, are great blessings which all 
Christians snould try and perfect. All the errors 
and doubts, the discomforts and fears, of Christian 
men are traceable to the defectiveness of these 
graces. Israel's right of access is not comparable 
to ours. They were sprinkled with blood at Sinai 
(chap. ix. 19) ; the pnests washed hands and feet 
before every sacrificial service (Ex. xxx. 29), and 
the high priest washed his body twice on the Day 
of Atonement (Lev. xvi.) ; but these were external 
sprinklings of blood and external washings, while 
ours are operations of grace. We are sprinkled 
as to our hearts, so as to be cleansed from an 
evil conscienoe — an inward justifying through 
sprinkling of the bluod of Christ (i Pet. i. 2) 
which was shed for this very purpose, and is there- 
fore called the blood of sprinkling (chap. ix. 14) : 
and our bodies washed with pure water, with 
reference still to the divers washings of the I^w 
(see chap. ix. 10), whereby both people and priests 
were purified for approaching to God, but with 
deeper significance. The blood under the Law 
typified the cleansing of priest and people from the 
guilt of sin, and the washing typified the cleansing 
of them from the pollution and defilement of it ; so 
our justification through the blood of Christ is 
inseparable from that inward renewal which we 
call a new and regenerate nature. The faith that 
justifies is always the beginning of a holy character: 
both are essential to acceptable service and to 
acceptable fellowship with God (for the need of 
this double work, see Tit. ii. 14, iii. j). Some 
commentators understand by the washing of the 
body the rite of baptism (Delitzsch, Alfoi^, etc.), 
and it is not improbable that this may have been 
in the writer's mind ; but it is not consistent with 
sound interpretation to make one rite the antitype 
of another. Antitypes are spiritual realities, and 
if baptism is implied at all it must be baptism in 
closest connection with the grace it symbolizes ; 
in short, it must be the spiritual significance of the 
ordinance rather than the mere ordinance itself. 

Ver. 23. 'I'hus forgiven and renewed and 
sprinkled with blood, washed as with water, 
heaven is ours, though only in hope (Rom. viii. 
24), and what remains is thiat we hold fast the 
profession of our hope (the undoubted reading) 
without wavering. Those who refer the previous 
clause to baptism find here an argument for that 
view : ' hold fast ' the hope which you expressed 
when you confessed Christ in baptism, became 
conformed to Him in His death, and vowed to 
walk henceforth in newness of life (Rom. vi. 3-15 ; 

Chap. X. 19-39.] 



CoL iL 12 ; Gal. iii. 27) — a good sense ; and yet 
confession is generally used in this Epistle without 
specific reference to baptism (chap. iv. 14, iii. i), 
aiid the change of reading from * faith ' to ' hope ' 
points rather to the view that it is not chiefly the 
tMiptismal answer they are to remember, but the 
general hope in Christ which their daily life and' 
speech have avowed to the world. Their hope is 
not to ' waver,* but is to be stedfast (chap. iii. 14), 
neither allured by worldly pleasures nor frightened 
by persecutions, doubting neither the greatness 
nor the certainty of the reward. — For fidthfol ia 
ha that promiied — a common Pauline formula 
(i Thess. V. 24 ; I Cor. L 9, x. 13, etc). A lying 
god, a perjured god (chap. vi. 18), is not the God 
of the covenant or of the Bible. 

Ver. 24. And let ns (who have the same right 
of approach, the same interest in one another's 
holiness, the same common relation to one Lord — 
all still depending on ver. 19) well consider 
(the weakness, the capabilities, the dangers, the 
predousness of the graces of one another) to pro- 
▼oke onto lore, etc (in the old sense of calling 
forth — literally, * to the sharpening or quickening 
of love,* etc), and kind beneficent works which 
are its appropriate fruiL Such provocation is the 
only provocation the Gospel recognises, and it 
most be carried on from proper principles and 
with Gospel motives so as to confirm our faith and 
hope. A loving Christian community striving for 
the faith of the Gospel is sure to be stedfast (Phil. 
i. 27, 28) — a loving temper is a wonderful aid to 
faith. The connection between states of heart 
and belief is far closer than most suppose (ver. 
25), as also is the connection between faith and 
the maintenance of fellowship with Christians. 

Ver. 25. KotfoTBaking (the original is stronger — 
not deserting, not leaving in the lurch) the as* 
■emhling of yoiuselTes together^a phrase found 
only here and in 2 Thess. ii. I, * Our gathering 
together unto Christ.* The reference is not 
chiefly to the meetings of the Church as a Church, 
but to all the meetings of Christian brethren 
whereby brotherly love and kindly service are 
promoted— as the manner of some is — an expres« 
sion which shows that it is not of apostasy as yet 
the writer is speaking, but only of the indifference 
which comes perilously near it and is often its 
forerunner— but exhorting one another— com- 
forting, strengthening, entreating, is the meaning 
of the term, both by word and by example. This 
is part of the pastor*s work (Rom. xiL 8 ; 2 Tim. 
iv. 2 ; Tit. i 9), but not exclusively. All who 
have knowledge are to admonish one another 
(Rom. XV. 14). lliesame precept has been given 
before (chap. iiL 12, 13), and now it is enforced 
by the fact that 'the day* was seen to be ap- 
proaching, the briefest description of Christ's 
coming to judgment, found onlv here and in 
I Cor. iii. 13 : the day of days, the last of time, 
the first of eternity. And yet, as this day was 
seen to be approaching, the immediate reference is 
probably to the destruction of Jerusalem, of which 
there were signs already in the earth and the sky 
— the day so long foretold (Luke xxi. 22, and 
with its signs, viii. 12) ; the day which was to 
end the Jewish Church and State, and to punish 
that people for their rejection of the Messiah and 
their persecution of His followers ; though perse- 
verance unto the end (Matt. xxiv. 13) was the only 
way of escaping the calamities that were comine 
upon their nation, and the still more dreadful 

calamities which await those who, having been 
once enlightened, apostatize from the Christian 
£uth. ' The day of the Lord ' is at once the day 
of complete salvation and the day of final judg- 
ment ; and the expression may be used in a lower 
sense — it is the day of great delivering mercy, and 
it is the day of decisive judgment, and the day of 
our death. 

Ver. 26. For if we sin wilfWy ; rather, are 
wilfully continuing in sin. It is a word which 
needs to be noted. First of ail there is no ' if ' in 
the passage ; it is stated as an actual case, not a 
supposed one. Then the emphasis is on ' wilfullv * 
and on continuance in un. In a sense all sin implies 
the consent of the will for a time ; and yet there is 
a distinction. Paul was a blasphemer and a 
persecutor ; but he did it ignorantly in unbelief. 
Peter was a true disciple, and nevertheless he 
denied Christ with curses and oaths ; but not 
wilfully, rather apparently through passing fear 
(Matt. xxvi. 74, 75). The expression seems taken 
from Num. xv. 30, 31, where sinning wilfully is 
described as doing something presumptuously, 
with a high hand, and by one wno despises the 
Word of the Lord. The willing sinner is one 
who nnU sin. Nor is it a single act that is 
denounced, but a permanent state (not an aorist, 
but the present), continuance in a sinful course, 
and such continuance as implies apostasy. More- 
over, it is the state of one who has received the 
knowledge of the truth, and who knows it to be 
truth (not as in Paul's case, and not as in the case 
of the murderers who crucified Christ ignorantly, 
and some of whom became obedient to the faith). 
They were enlightened ; they received the woiti 
with joy; for a while they believed (Luke viii. 
13). And this 'knowledge of the truth,* it may 
be added, is found only here in this Epistle, 
though common in Paul's writings. Sucli was 
their character ; and yet they gave up the Gospel, 
trod under foot the Son of God, counted His 
blood an unholy, a common, even a profane 
thing, offered insult to the Spirit of grace. They 
rejected that one sacrifice which completed and 
ended the sacrifices of the ancient Law, against 
their better knowledge, and resolved to return to 
their former sinful life ; and for them there is no 
longer remaining any sacrifice for sin. 

Ver. 27. The only thing left is a fearful 
award, an awful reservation, of Judgment and 
fiery indignation (fervour of fire — flaming fire, 
2 Thess. i. 8 ; the heat of the consuming fire of 
God Himself, chap. zii. 29), which shall devour 
those that oppose. The word 'reservation,* 
' award,* is found only here in the New Testament, 
though the verb is not infrequent. It always means 
in common Greek reservation (in a literal or a 
figurative sense), and this is probably its meaning 
here. It describes not what is expected, but 
what will certainly be, and in truth what is already 
in reserve — *a reception of judgment.* 

Ver. 28. This awful destiny which awaits wil- 
ful apostates, judgment without mercy, is now 
illustrated and enforced from the law. — He that 
hath despised (literally, any one having despised) 
Moses* law dieth without meroy upon the 
testimony of (before) two or three witnesses — 
not in every case ; it is simply a general principle. 
Moses' Law attached to certain violations of it the 
doom of death. Some eleven kinds of sin were 
thus punished : — wilful murder, obstinate dis- 
obedience to parents, blasphemy, idolatry, etc. 



[Chap. X. 19-39. 

(Dent. xvii. 2-7). The phrases of this verse are 
taken from this last instance, and, as the sentence 
of death is said in that case to be carried out with 
unusual severity, ' without mercy ' no doubt refers 
to it Idolatry was treason against Jehovah, and 
the idolater was an apostate from God. Apos* 
tasy from Christ answers to the wilful, deliberate 
idolatry of the Law, and is the sin condemned here 
with a condemnation proportioned to the fuller 
light and the greater pnvileges of the Gospel. 

Ver. 29. Of how mnoli lorer pnnishment (a 
word used only here, and meaning punishment in 
vindication of the honour of a broken law ; com- 
pare Acts xxii. 5). The phrases that follow 
describe the acts of the apostate Christian. — He 
tramples under foot (an expression of ruthless 
contempt) the Son of CKkL — Him who has been 
proved to be above the mediator of the old 
covenant, and above angels and prophets. He 
treats the sacrifice of blood under the covenant as 
a common thins, nay, as a profane thing — as the 
blood of one who claimed to be what the apostate 
now denies Him to be, and who is, therefore, guilty 
of blasphemy — the blood, moreover, wherewith 
(or rather in which, i.e, sprinkled with which) he 
WAB Mtnotifled (Lev. xvi. 19). What is this but 
the profanation of what he himself admitted to 
be most sacred. Who ' was sanctified ' ? Christ, 
who did ' sanctify Himself? Hardly ; for He is 
never said to sanctify Himself with his own blood; 
and, moreover, the word ' sanctify * is always used 
elsewhere in this Epbtle in the sense of cleansing 
from the guilt of sin b^ the blood of sacrifice 
(chap. ii. II, ix. 13, xiii. 12). The person, 
therefore, said to be sanctified is the apostate 
himself. But in what sense ? Not in the sense 
of the Divine purpose or will (Stier — see chap. x. 
10), not in the sense that he tramples upon blood 
wherewith we believers are sanctified (Calvin) ; 
but in the sense that he himself, the apostate, had 
claimed and had professed to be sanctified by it. 
So all the members of the first churches are 
addressed as saints elect, sanctified (i Cor. i. 2 ; 
I Pet. i. 2), for this was their professed character. 
Similarly Peter speaks of the fruitless professor as 
having been cleansed from his old sins (2 Pet. i 
9), and of false teachers, who denied the Lord 
that bought them (2 Pet ii. i). What men 
seem to be, what men claim to be, what 
men are commonly recognised as being, is fairly 
quoted as an aggravation of their guilt. — They 
nave done despite to (have insulted) the 
Spirit of grace— the Holy Spirit, the Giver of 
grace. To contemn mercy and holiness, to 
return insult to Him who gives them grace, is the 
sin of sins, for which, as the man has gone back 
to his old state, and continues in it, there can be 
no forgiveness ; as in a previous passage we have 
learned that neither is there renewal (cp. vi. 6). 

Ver. 30. For. This punishment is certain, and 
is fulfilled and executed by God Himself. The 
first quotation in this verse follows neither the 
Hebrew nor the Greek text, but is the exact 
rendering adopted by Paul in Rom. xiL 19. The 
second is taken^ from Deut. xxxii. 36, and from 
the Psalms. The Hebrew of the word • judge * 
has two meanings — to exercise judgment in pun- 
ishing others, and to exercise judgment on behalf 
of others. The second sense may be seen in 
Ps. Ixxxii. 3, 4 (compare margin), Ps. xliii i, 
I Sam. zxiv. 12, 15, and is appropriate to the 
passage in Dent, xxxii. 35, 36, as weH as here. 

He will execute judgment on behalf of His people^ 
and against those who become traitofs and 
blasphemers. God is Judge, b the first truth ; 
and His judgment will be executed, is the second. 

Ver. 31. It Is a fearfU thing to faU into the 
hands of the living God. His hands represent 
His powor for work, whether in love or in wrath. 
To udl into His hands in fiiith is to have peace ; 
but to fall into His hands in punishment is dread- 

Vers. 32-39. The argument now takes a turn, 
as in chap. vi. 9. The writer hopes better things. 
He bids them to remember again and again their 
earlier struggles and their hope of a blessra reward 
(vers. 32-34). He exhorts them not to give up 
their confidence (ver. 35), which needs patient 
waiting for God (ver. 36); the time required 
for it, indeed, is short (ver. 37), though it re- 
quires faith and stedfastness (ver. 38). To 
those who owe their all to faith, and who mean, 
God helping them, still to believe, and so to 
secure their souls from the ruin that will other- 
wise overtake them, he affirms they belOi^ (ver. 


Ver. 32. Gall to remembrance (rather, call up 
and keep in remembrance) those former days in 
which, when first enlightened (as in chap. vi. 4), 
ye endured, without losing heart or hope (so the 
word implies), a great fight (a manifest strug^e) 
of snffexing, ue, consisting in sufiering, not with 
suffering as your foe (ver. 34, where it is said that 
they sunered with those that were bound). 

Ver. 33. Partly in that ye became a fpeetade 
of shame — *• a theatrical spectacle * — a term taken 
from those who were exposed in the theatre to 
shameful punishment (i Cor. iv. ii) — ^in the 
scornful tannts (you .suffered) and in active 
persecution, and partly in that ye became 
partaken (partners) with those who were living 
and suffering in this way. The word ' living ' 
is not passive, but is repeatedly found in thQ 
Epistles to describe the actual condition of a 
man's life (chap. xiii. 18; 2 Cor. L 12; I Tim. iii. 
15). Such ' reproach and affliction ' is recorded 
in Acts V. 18, 40, and viii. 3, and xi. 19, and xxiL 
19, andxxvi. 10, 11, and in the history of Paul 
himself (Acts xxi. 27). All those instances must 
have been familiar to Hebrew believers. 

Ver. 34. For ye had companion upon thoae 
who were in bonds, and ye also took JoyfUly 
the spoiling (the plundering) of your goods, 
knowing that ye have yourselves — or for your- 
selves— the alternate reading (*in yourselves') is 
certainly wron^, and 'in heaven' is probably 
wrong, though it makes a good sense, and is im- 
plied in the shorter reading— a better and an 
abiding substance (possession. Compare Acts iv. 
32 ; Luke xii. 15, where a form of the same word 
is used). 

Ver. 35. Cast not away, therefore, your con- 
fidence (the faith and hope and boldness with 
which you confessed Chnst, and) whid^ bath 
(hath this quality — is among the things that have) 
a great recompense of re^wd. 

Ver. 36. For ye have need of patience— an 
emphatic word ; when used in relation to suffering, 
it describes the patient endurance which beajs 
all with stedfastness and hope ; when used in 
relation to active work, it describes the ' patient 
continuance in well-dohig' (Rom. il 7) which 
endures (a form of the same word) to the end ; 
tiie former is the commoner meaning, and both 

Ghap. XI. 1-38.] 



seem to be combined in this passage — that ye 
mAj dQ the will of God and receive the promiae. 
The doing and the receiving are not separated in 
time ; the one crowns the other. ' The promise * 
paeans the promised reward, which in a sense 
is already yours ; bat the fuU possesion is still 
iiiture, and the present enjoyment broken and 
imperfect. Hence the need of patience and 
faith, as b shown by Old Testament teaching. 

Ver. 37. Plor yet a very litUe while— a phrase 
that b taken from the Greek of Isa. xxvi. 20, 
where it is translated, in E. V., <for a little 
moment* (literally, for a little time, how little). — 
He that cometh— *He that is to come*— 'the 
coming One' — the name of Christ tmder both 
economies — He was called 'the coming One,' 
and He is so stilL The prophecy is taken from 
Habakknk, where it refers to the vision of the 
fidl of the Chaldean monarchy, a type for the 
time of a great persecuting power, and of the 
setting up in immediate sequence (as is common 
in prophecy) of the Divine kingdooL —Will come 
— fhoni^ it tany, wait for it. The Greek of 
the Septuaeint naiakes the object of the vision a 
person, and the author of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews makes the person the Messiah. The 
day of Jdiovah in the one covenant becomes the 
day of the Lord in the other. 

Ver. 38. But (or now) my righteous one (he 
who belongs to God's people) by faith shall 
live. As it is by £uth he first gets life (as b 
told ns in Rom. i. 16, 17, and Gal. iiL 11), so it 
b by £uth that life b preserved in the midst of 
judgments and of delays that are incident to 
theoL— But if he (A. V. ' any man ')— Owen and 
Gill, Winer and De Wette, prefer 'he,' which b 

simpler and in harmony with the context ; the 
same person b described in the two clauses — 
draw oaek — ^the rendering of the Septuagint 
adopts apparently a different reading of the 
Hebrew text, as it does to a small extent in the 
following clause. The reference of those two 
clauses to the same person need create no 
difficulty. The apostasy of a professed Christian 
b alwa3rs possible, or warnings would be needless : 
not necessarily the apostasy of a true Christian. 
The perseverance of the elect b one thing ; the 
perseverance of a particular person b to us 

Ver. 39. Bat we are not of them that draw 
hack onto perdition (destruction, Rom. ix. 22 ; 
Phil. I 28, iii. 19, etc.), bat of them that 
believe. * We ' — the writer again includes him- 
self witli them as true believers, though subject 
to the same law as here b applied to his own 
case ('I keep my body under, lest, having 
preached the Gospel to others, I should \x 
myself rejected'). 'That draw back'— 'that 
believe '—each expression describes a quality or 
character which originates in apostasy or faith 
respectively. We are not of the character that 
drawing back produces; we are of the cha« 
racter 3iat faith produces.- Unto the saving of 
the soul. Thb last phrase b very striking— the 
gainine of possession of the soul. As the back- 
slider loses his soul, — gets, instead of eternal life, 
never-ending death, which yet b not annihilation, 
— so the man of faith wins back his soul from 
impending perdition, eains a possession that b 
truly his. The man who b not God's is not even 
hb own ; hb entire personality b the slave and 
the property of another. 

Chapter XI. 1-38. 

Reasotisfar Faith. — The Nature, Objects, and Necessity of Faith. — Its Utility, 

Poiver, and Blessedness illustrated, xi. 1-38. 

1 ^T OW faith is the substance * of things hoped for, the evi- 

2 1^ dence' 'of things not seen. For *by' it the elders 

3 obtained a good report.* Through ' faith we understand that 
* the worlds were • framed by the word of God, so that things 

4 which are seen were not ' made of things which do appear. By 
faith 'Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than 
Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God 
testif)nng • of his gifts : and by • it he being dead ' yet speaketh. 

5 By faith ^ Enoch was translated that he should not see death ; 
and was not found, because God had translated him : for before 
his translation he had this testimony/® that he pleased " God. 

^ or^ confidence {as in iii. 14), //'/. substance, or^ what gives substance to 

• proof • in * i.e, testimony, or^ witness (as in ver. 4) 

• By {as in vers. 4, 5) • have been 
^ read, what is seen, andtr. hath not been 

* bearing witness. Three oficient AfSS. read, he bare witness to God 

* through ^^ hath this witness ^^ hath pleased 

«Rom viu.a4, 
as ; 3 Cor. 
iv. 18, V. 7. 

6 Ver. ^. 

c Gen. 1. X ; 
Ps. xxxiii. 6 ; 

Jo. 1.3; 
ch. 1. a ; 
a Pet. iii. 5. 

2 Ja iii. 12. 

t Gen. iv. 10 ; 
Mat xxili. 
35 : ch. xii. 

/OMI.T. 22, 


6 But without faith it is impossible to please him : for he that 
cometh to God must believe that he is, and t/iat he is a rewarder 

7 of them that dih'gently seek" him. By faith ^Noah, being ^^'^'a, 
warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear," 

* prepared an ark to the saving of his house ; by* the which he ** ^**-*^ •* 
condemned the world, and became heir** of * the righteousness 'S**^ ."****• 

8 which is by** faith. By faith * Abraham, when he was called ^SSt^U 
to go " out into a place which he should after " receive for an ^ ^ *• 
inheritance," obeyed ; " and he went out, not knowing whither 

9 he went. By faith he sojourned " in the land of promise, as in 

a ' strange country,** ** dwelling in tabernacles** with Isaac and 'aS^S^*' 

10 Jacob, "the heirs" with him of the same promise: for he^Sa^/^g** 
looked for a city which hath foundations,** ^ whose builder and .STvi'it. 

11 maker is God. Through" faith also ^Sara herself received ''Si'.*)?^'*" 
strength to conceive seed, and ''was delivered of a child when ^Sjv"xxt'», 
she was past age, because she judged" him 'faithful who had ^Jin.xriii^ 

12 promised. Therefore" sprang there even** of one, and 'him mlV''** 
as good as dead, "so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, rRom.1v!'ai; 

13 and as the sand which is by the sea-shore innumerable. These /i*. tt^i?*a: 
all died in " faith, *' not having received the promises, but i»o«Sx2iLi7, 

having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of tltem^^ and Kom. iv. i«. 
embraced them^^ and "^confessed that they were strangers and wVer.'a/: 

Jo viii. 5^ 

14 pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things -^declare "^jSS,^??**-^ 

15 plainly" that they seek a country." And truly, if they had ^2^. 
been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they 5i^u" 

16 might have had opportunity to have returned." But now ,^*^'J*,'^' 
they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore j^'^j- 
God is not ashamed " * to be called their God : for ** he hath ' ^- "^^- 

13 p >s«x« Ui. 

17 prepared for them a city. By faith * Abraham, when he was MiVxxii • 
tried," offered" up Isaac: and he that had received the ^pha.^j|-^*. 

18 promises "^ offered" up his only begotten son^ of whom " it was ^omlxxu!'!, 

19 said, ''That in*" Isaac shall thy seed be called:** accounting ctilAv^t. 
that God ' was able to raise ///;;/ up, even from the dead ; from '^RjHi.^"' 

20 whence also he received him in a figure.** By faith -^ Isaac 'J^;.*'''''' 

yuen. xxvU. 

" rather, seek after " godly fear '♦ />. possessor 

" according to **^ obeyed and went (///. to go) 

*^ was to '* />. a possession ^^ omitf see note 16 

*® i,e. a temporary dweller in *^ land that belonged to another 

**" ///. having his home in tents ** possessors 

*♦ ///. the city which hath the foundations ** By ** deemed {as in x. 29) 
*' Wherefore also ** omit even 

*^ according to {as in note 15), i.e, as men die who had not received the pro- 
mises, but believed in them '• omit and were persuaded of them 
** read, having seen them from afar and greeted them ** make it plain 
*^ are seeking after a home (a fatherland) of their own ** to return 
»« insert of them ** while tried «' ///. hath offered up 
** or, was offering *• or, he to whom *• or^ In simpty 
^^ lit. In Isaac shall a seed be called to thee 
^* he did in a figure receive him 

Chap. XI. 1-38.] TO THE HEBREWS. 77 

21 blessed" Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith rCeB-xwui. 
Jacob, when he was a dying, ^blessed both** the sons of *jj«- »*▼**- 
Joseph; and * worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. 'E^%*jiiY** 

22 By faith * Joseph, when he died,** made mention of the depart- *$5[.^f/ao. 
ing**of the children of Israel; and gave commandment con- ^|j^jj^'jj»»* 

2.'^ ceming his bones. By faith * Moses, when he was born, was »J^^««v- 
hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a ''SaSS)* 
proper*' child; and they were not afraid of the king's 'com- fe**°^ 

24 mandment By faith '"Moses, when he was come to years,** S!^??,! 

25 refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; * choosing jEx'.i'»8''a9. 
rather to suffer affliction*' with the people of God, than to ^**i?;****' 

26 enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming *® " the \iSli^ ti, 
reproach of Christ*' greater riches than the treasures in** /Ex. xiv. »«, 
Egypt: for he had respect unto** ^the recompence of the Je/x/TiLii*' 

27 reward. By faitK 'he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of i»Jo.h.yi. ao. 
the king: for he endured, as ''seeing him who is invisible, vi. 33/ 

28 Through** faith 'he kept** the passover, and the sprinkling of wJo*^. ii..»'. 
blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. rJud<*iv.'6.i. 

* sjudg.xiii.x6. 

29 By faith ^they passed through the Red sea as by dry laftd:^ «judg.xi. x, 

30 which the Egyptians assaying to do *' were drowned. By faith * » sam. »vi. 
"the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed '"iif^***** 

31 about seven days. By faith *'the harlot Rahab perished not ''^^^JJ^^** 
with them that believed not,** when "'she had received** the '^"*?siS[.'^' 

32 spies with peace. And what shall I more say.^ for the time i)^'.%li3.* 
would** fail me to tell of 'Gedeon, and of^^ -^ Barak, and of"' ^fsJ*„!*ii,'^. 
'Samson, and of^^ * Jephthae ; of * David also, and ^ Samuel, jKhl*.^*",i* 

33 and of the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, *Jt^|Tobxiu! 
wrought righteousness, ''obtained promises, 'stopped the mouths ifJ^g^j^:S; 

34 of lionSy -^quenched the violence" of fire, ^escaped the edge of ify.ia?^, 
the sword, * out •* of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant r&lm.'vm!' 

35 in fight,** ' turned to flight the armies of the aliens. * Women k\*^ xvu. 
received their dead raised to life again : •* and others were iv's*. 

' tortured,** not accepting deliverance ; '^ that they might obtain wxIS^xifif' 

36 a better resurrection: and others had trial of cruel mockings xvn!o: 
and scourgings, yea, moreover **of bonds and imprisonment: xxxi\^,3. 

37 "they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted,** «iKin.icxLtj; 

3 Chron. 

*• insert both, or insert even before concerning ** each of JJ^j* J^* 

^^ drawing to bis end *•///. exodus *' goodly Actsvu.*5»,' 

*• grown up *• to be evil entreated *® deeming *»*• «9. 

•* or^ tbe Christ ** read^ of *• looked away to 

** By ** or^ bath made, i.e, instituted 

•• read land in Roman type as part of the original text 

*' />. trying to do {lit, of which making trial, see the same phrase in ver, 36) 

" <7r, were disobedient *• having received (receiving as she did) 

«• will •* omit and of " power *« Gr, from 

•* mighty in war •* ///. by a resurrection 

** ///. broken on the wheel, or^ beaten to death 

*' lit, redemption, />. deliverance at the price [of principle] 

•• Tischendorf suggests pierced, or^ burnt 



[Chap. XI. 1-38. 

were slain with the sword : * they wandered* about ^in sheep- ' mSIul *' 
38 skins and goatskins ; being destitute, afflicted, tormented ;'• (of / 

whom the world was not worthy :) they wandered in deserts, 
and in mountains, and ' in dens and caves " of the earth. 

f I Kia. xviiL 
4> XUC9' 

** went {not the same ward as in ver. 38) 
'^ and caves and in holes 

^^ evil entreated {as in xiiL 3) 

Chap. xi. i. Having affinned that our dis- 
tmguishing quality as Christians b not apostasy, 
but faith, and that the issue in our case is not 
perdition, but the gaining of that life of the sonl 
whidi apostasy threatens, he now proceeds to 
show that faith is the quality of the spiritual life. 
This fiuth means the belief of things still future ; 
such belief as makes them realities to us : and the 
evidence of things unseen, such evidence as 
answers objections and produces conviction 
(compare Aristotle's definition of txiyxt). It 
means, among other things, patient waiting, 
heroic suffering, and is illustrated by reference 
to the lives and history of men of all ages and of 
every economy. The words of this verse have 
sometimes been regarded as a definition of faith, 
or as a description of it ; but properly they are 
no definition, for the terms of each proposition 
are not interchangeable ; nor are they a descrip- 
tion ; they rather seize upon one quality of faith 
which is most appropriate for the writer's pur- 
pose, and help us to understand what faith is by 
calling attention to properties not peculiar to it, 
but still deeply significant. Faith, then, has to 
do with what is future and is an object of hope, 
viz. blessine and reward. More widely, it has to 
do with what is unseen, whether in the future, 
the present, or the past. Similarly the things 
whidi it .believes are either histoncal facts, as 
'things' means in chap. vi. 18, or spiritual 
realities, as 'things' means in chap. x. i. If 
they are fixture and are objects of desire, they are 
hoped for ; and if they are not objects of hope, 
but still believed, they are things unseen. All 
are unseen, whether honed for or not. So the 
last clause of the verse describes the wider class. 
Faith elves weight and force to what would be 
otherwise unsul^tantial ; and faith is itself, in an 
important sense, a proof of the truth of what it 
beneves. The feeling of the solid body which 
the hand sustains is itself a proof that the body is 
solid. The consciousness of the light is decisive 
evidence that the sun has risen — not to others, 
but to the man himself. 

Ver. 2. For in it. In just such and no other 
faith all the heroes of the older economy were 
testified of, and obtained a [good] report — 
became, through their stedfastness and amid 
inferior means of grace, examples to the younger 
generation, ourselves (see ver. 40). The forms 
of expression used to describe a life of faith are all 
instructive. Here it is ' in it,' as the region or 
state in which the good report and testimony was 
gained ; later it is ' by it ' (vers. 3, 4, 5, etc) ; 
' through it,' as the instrument — calling attention 
not to 'it, but to some living force which is 
behind it (ver. 33) ; * in accordance with it,' 1.^. 
in such a way as faith requires or prompts (vers. 
7, i^). All those phrasts are common in Paul's 
writmgs— ' out of fiulh ' — ue, having its ori^n in 

fiuth, another of Pftul's expressions, is also found 
(chap. X. 38). 

Ver. 3. Here b^in the examples of the power 
and nature and ^ects of £utn. By fUui we 
know tbftt the iroddt (the universe) hftTe bean 
firmmed by the wwd of CM. ' The worlds ' — 
all that exists in time and spaoe, indudii^ time 
and space themselves (see note on chap. L 2). 
' Have been firamed * — the reference is to the 
preparation and completing of the world aooordine 
to the design of the Founder. The word is 
translated 'established' in Ps. Ixxxix. 37 — 
'prepared' in Ps. Ixxiv. 16. 'By the word 
of God ;' i,e. His command. The explanation 
18 found in Gen. i., where nine times we read, 
' God said ' . . . ' and it vras so.' It is by foith 
we understand that God made the universe. The 
word 'understand' describes the rational or 
spiritual act of thought whereby things come to 
be known : that things had an origin, that they 
did not originate themselves, that they had an 
originator whose ability, intelligence, and good- 
ness correspond to the qualities which we see in 
them, are conclusions to which our rational and 
spiritual nature lead us (as we are told in Rons, 
i. 20). The conclusions are of the nature of faith ; 
for the process was unseen, and the oondusions 
are rather to be believed than demonstrated. 
When the announcement is made, however, and 
we believe it, the mystery is comparatively solved ; 
an ade(}uate cause is assigned, and we form a 
conception of the origin of things which com- 
mends itself to our ' noetic faculty, or perceptive 
understanding, as certainly as it commends itself 
to our religious instinct Faith, therefore, the 
belief in the unseen, is as certainly a principle of 
natural religion, in its rudimentary form at least, 
as it is of revealed religion, it suggests the 
solution of many problems. Without it the 
world itself, in its origin and destinv, is a deep 
mystery, a maze without a plan.— 80 that what is 
seen (the true reading, the visible universe as a 
whole, not many separate things) was not made 
(hath not come to be) ont of the things whldh 
appear. Creation abounds in change and in 
development — the plant comes from the seed, and 
each man from the race that precedes him ; but 
the understanding of faith leads us to the con- 
clusion that at the beginning it was not sa The 
series is not eternal or self-created ; God Himsdf 
is the Creator, and to Him and to His word the 
visible creation is to be ascribed. The clause 
'so that,' etc, may mean the tendencv of the 
arrangement ; the arrangement itself leaos to the 
conclusion ; or it may describe the purpose of the 
Creator, ' in order that ' what is seen m^ht. be 
understood to have come from what does not 
appear — ^viz., from the Divine mind and plan; 
hut the interpretation given above is the more 
simple and natural. 

Chap. XI. 1-38.3 



Ver. 4. A man ezoeUent saorifioe—partakiDg 
more of die quality of a true sacrifice with refer- 
ence to what constitutes its excellence. Cain 
ofieied of his fruits what came first to hand ; 
Abd offatd of the firstlings of his flock, the 
choicest and best. Cain expressed at most his 
thankfulness, and that not hearty or profound ; 
Abel's ^th showed itself in acknowledging his 
sin and in laying hold of the Divine mercy in 
the midst of what he felt to be deserved wrath ; 
and thus his offering was a true sacrifice. — ^By 
wUoh (£iith) it was witnened of him (the same 
word » m ver. 2) that he was righteous. Wit- 
iK»ed by our Lord (Matt, xxiii. 35), and later 
by John (l John iiL 12), but chiefly by God 
HiittKlf, as the following clause shows : — God 
bimMlf testifying of bis gifts (the very expres- 
sion in Gen. iv. 4)-^probabIy as God testified in 
other cases (Ex. xiv. 24 ; i Kings xviii. 24, 38), 
by consuming and accepting the sacrifice. — Ai^fi. 
hj it (still his hith) he being dead (having 
died), yet speaketh (the active voice is the true 
reading). But how? Partly perhaps to us by 
way of encouragement and example ; but as a 
similar phrase is used in chap. xii. 24 of the blood 
of Abel as speaking unto God, it seems at least 
to be part ot the meaning here that through the 
fiuth and the ofierings of Abel, Abel, the first 
martyr, lives on afier death : through his faith he 
still speaks to God ; even as Enoch still lives, 
who never died at all. 

Vers. 5, 6. By ftith Enoch was translated. 
The language of this verse is taken from (he 
Septuagint (Gen v. 22-24). 'He was not' is 
there rendered ' he was not found.' The phrase 
'God took him' b translated 'God translated 
him;' changed corruption into incomiption, 
the natural body into the spiritual. The Hebrew 
pfajrase, 'he walked with God,' which probably 
had no clear meaning to a Greek, the Septuagint 
renders 'he pleased God,' or strove to please 
Him; he lived a life well • pleasing to Him. 
Nothing is said in the Old Testament of his faith ; 
bat betore his tran^tion is recorded, it is re- 
corded that ' he pleased God ; ' and now the 
writer proceeds to show that faith was the 
foundation of his God-accepted life. 

Ver. 6^ But faith is essential to our well- 
pleasing, and therefore Enoch had faith. Without 
with there is a double difficulty; there is no 
complacency on the side of God, who r^ards the 
impenitent and unbelieving man as a sinner, and 
on the side of man there is no trust. The logical 
proof of the need of this fiuth is that who- 
ever draws nigh to God to serve Him, or hold 
communion with Him (see chap. vii. 19-25, 
ix. 14), must believe (i) that He ts a reality 
towards whom he stands in closest relation of 
love and duty, and (2) that to those who seek 
Him He becomes (not wH/ become) the bestower 
of a fnU reward. God's being is a thing not 
seen. His reward a thing ho^ for; fiuth an 
assured conviction of the first, and a solid expecta- 
tion of the second. 

Ver. 7. Three antediluvians are named — Abel, 
the penitent and martyr ; Enoch, the prophet 
(Jude 14, 15) and saint ; and now is introduced 
Noah, the righteous and perfect man — the first man 
to whom t£s title is applied (Gen. vi 9, com- 
pare Ezek. xiv. 14-20). Being waned of God 
(havii^ received a Divine admonition) . . • 
mowa with godly fear. The word thus 

rendered is a form of the expression found in 
chap. V. 7. Its meaning depends in part upon 
the context, and varies from (mere prudence) the 
fear that excites careful forethought (Acts xxiii. 
10) to the filiid reverence of our Lord Himselfl 
Here reverence for God, or what is practically the 
same thing, for the message that was given to 
him, best suits the passage. The rendering, 
taking forethought (Delitzsch, Alford), separates 
the quality from the faith, and describes worldly 
caution rather than Christian grace. When things 
unseen and fearful are revealed, faith believes 
them, and fears accordingly. Faith works bv 
fear in such cases, as it works by love. — By whicn 
faith he condemned the world — not by the ark 
(Chrysostom, Calvin, etc.) ; though this is true : 
only it is feeble, and it b of faith the whole 
chapter treats — by which fisith, as shown in this 
way, is, however, the full thought He con- 
demned the world, showing how the world ought 
to have regarded the warnings God gave, and 
how guilty they were in disregarding them. The 
penitence, faith, and holiness of godly men all 
condemn their opposites, and excite the hatred of 
bad men on that ground. — ^And became heir 
f possessor) of the rignteonsneas which is accord- 
ing to faith — the righteousness which owes its 
quality, as it owes its origin, to faith. All these 
expressions are intensely Pauline; and it is 
instructive also to note that the great doctrine of 
righteousness by faith, which is not the main 
subject of Uie Epistle, must have been familiar to 
all its readers. 

Vers. 8-22. From the elders of the antediluvian 
world the writer now appeals to the elders of 
Israel, the great men wno, under God, founded 
the Jewish state. Theirs also was a condition 
of patient trust, and ultimately of blessed reward. 

Ver. & By faith Abrahism, when being 
called — the reading, A€ who U caUcd^ has less 
authority than the common text, though it makes 
a good sense — ' he who is called the father of 
nations' — obeyed and went; his confidence 
showing itself in this way. — And he went out, not 
knowing whither (where) he was going. When 
Abraham left ChaJdea he had no promise ; that 
was given afterwards in Canaan (Gen. xii. 7). 
In Noah faith showed its power by the feelin? 
it produced ; in Abraham by obiedience. It 
works, if it be true, now through feeling, — fear, 
love ; and now in an obedient life. 

Ver. 9. By fiuth he received the promise, and 
still waited for the fulfilment of it. ^ By faith he 
sojourned (a temporary resident only) in the 
land of promise (which God had given him) as 
(if it were) another's (and not his own), having 
his home in tents — tents without foundation — 
pitched to-day, struck to-morrow. His whole 
life, therefore, was a life of promise unfulfilled, and 
so of patient waiting for God's time and at God's 

Ver. 10. For (the reason ofhis being a sojourner 
only) he looked, or waited, for a city whidi 
haul foundations, whose Builder (the word im- 
plies the skill employed in building — the skill of 
the architect who forms the plan, as Ae following 
word implies rather the labour of erecting it) ana 
Maker is God. The contrast here is first between 
tents, which are easily removed, and a permanent 
home, and then between an earthly tent and the 
city of the living God, of which we read in chap, 
xii. 22 and chap. xiiL 14. Abraham's fiu& 



[Chap. XI. 1-38. 

looked forward to a home for himself and his 
descendants in Canaan, in the earthly Jerusalem, 
with its foundations in the holy mountains 
(Ps. Ixxxvii.) ; and then, beyond Canaan and his 
mortal life, to the heavenly reality, of which 
Jerusalem was the type — a double Jerusalem, the 
one below and the other above ; of which Jews 
had some knowledge, and devout Jews had strong 
hope, long before the Gospel had thrown fuller 
light upon these themes. 

Ver. II. And what is true of Abraham, the 
father of the faithful, is true also of Sarah, who 
was eaually the ancestor of the chosen race. 
Sarah nenelf, not ' who had so long doubted ' 
(Bleek, etc.), for the writer is not dealing with the 
difficulty of faith, but with the necessity for it. 
The expression is nothing but an extension of the 
lesson of the previous verse to a new and con- 
nected instance : — Sarah likewise. The expres- 
sion is very common in Luke. — And when she 
was past age (literally, ' and that contrary to the 
time of life ') — an additional difficulty ; and yet, 
in spite of her barrenness, her age, her former 
incredulity (for she had laughed at the promise in 
the Brst instance), she believed, and therein found 
a large reward. — Deeming (as in chap. x. 29 and 
xi. 26, and to be distinguished from the ' account- 
ing ' of ver. 19) him faithful. 

Ver. 12. "^erefore also (a common Pauline 
expression, Rom. iv. 22 and xv. 22, etc.) from 
one (the emphatic part) sprang there, etc. — from 
a single, nay a lifeless, source sprang there a 
race like the dust of the earth (Gen. xiii. 16), the 
stars of the heaven, the sand on the lip (the 
margin) of the sea, innumerable ; and through 
faith Abraham became the father and Sarah the 
mother of them all. 

Vers. 13-16. The one attribute of the faith of 
all these men is that it continued till death. In 
faith (rather, consistently with it, still looking 
forward to a glorious future as yet unrealized). — 
These all (from Abraham downwards, as is clear 
from ver. 15) died as not having reoMved IJie 
promises (often repeated, and containing blessings 
of many kinds — hence the plural ; the promises 
which they did not receive are the * things pro- 
mised,' as in chap. ix. 15 and Acts i. 4), but as 
haying seen them from afar, and greeted (or 
saluted) them, and having confessed, as Abraham 
did, and Jacob (see references). They saw their 
home all through their lives ; and even when 
they were dying they saw their homes from afar, 
and greeted them ' though distant still.' 

Ver. 14. For (they proved that they lived and 
died in faith) they who say of themselves that 
they are sojonmeri (Gen. xxiii. 4)— of their life 
that it is a pilgrimage (Gen. xlvii. 9), a wander- 
ing in a foreign land, make it plain that it is a 
fatherland, a true home, they are seeking, and 
not the home they have left in the country of 
Terah, or elsewhere. 

Ver. i^. And if indeed they were thinking of 
(or mentioning, as in ver. 22) that home whence 
they came on^ they might have had opportunity 
to return. 

Ver. 16. But now (the case is that, see chap, 
viii. 6) they desire a better, that is, a heavenly 
(home) ; wherefore Ood is not ashamed of them, 
to be called their Ood. Of old He honoured 
them as His friends; Himself added to names 
which describe His essential nature. His being, 
and His almightiness, the surname ' the God of 

Abraham and Isaac and Jacob;' acknowledged 
it when given to Him by the patriarchs (Gen. 
xxxii. 9) ; and now He acknowledges the same 
name, and acknowledges the continuance of the 
same relation (the force of the present tense), 
showing their continued life and His own con- 
tinued TsLVovLi ; and the proof of all (partly iierhaps 
the reason but rather the proof) is that He pre- 
pared for them a permanent home above — not a 
tent but a city of His — and welcomed them there. 
Whether all this was foreseen by the patriarchs 
has been much questioned. There may be a 
fulness of meaning here which the patriarchs did 
not reach ; but in substance they believed that 
the promise given them was the promise of a 
future home, a promise connected in part with an 
earthly heritage; but their desire was for the 
presence and blessing of Him who was their trust, 
and with whom they hoped to be when their 
earthly pilgrimage was ended. Less than that 
fails to explain the language of the Old Testa- 
ment, as it fails to recognise the clear teaching of 
the New. 

Ver. 17. Thus they lived and died. The 
writer now returns to particular instances, in 
order to illustrate not tne final results, but the 
power and heroic deeds of the faith which was 
thus honoured. By fiftith Abraham being tried 
(his trials were long continued), hath offered np 
(the purpose of his heart was complete, and has 
abiding results) Isaac ; and (intensive — ^nor only 
Abraham, Isaac, but^yea) he that had gladly 
received (literally, accepted, welcomed as with 
open arms) the promises was offering np Us 
only • begotten son. The tense now recalls 
attention to the literal fact ; the work was b^gun 
— a marvellous act of faith ; it was against nature 
— nay, even against what seemed the Divine 
purpose ; for it was through this son the nations 
were to be blessed. 

Ver. 18. Even he to whom (' whom ' refers in 
the Greek to Abraham, not to Isaac, and there- 
fore it is Uo whom,' not with respect to (ol) 
whom) it was said, In Isaac (through and in 
descent from him) shall there be named to thee 
a seed— only his descendants shall be (and shall 
be known as) Abraham's seed. To be called, is 
generally used in Scripture with one of two 
senses, — * to have the name,' or really to be. 
Sometimes, as here, the two senses are com- 

Ver. 19. And the reason was that he reckoned 
the faithfulness of God to be safe in the keeping 
of His almightiness ; he believed that God would 
keep His word, even if it was necessary for Him 
to effect a resurrection from the dead. The 
statement is quite general; and, though applied 
to Isaac by implication, it is a universal truth. 
Whence — and from the dead he did receive him 
back (used of captives delivered— of hostages sent 
home), not in a literal resurrection indeed, but in 
what was an equivalent ; the father's heart was 
as resigned, and the bitterness of the separation 
was as complete. Whether this is all has been 
much disputed. Perhaps 'in a figure' has a 
further reference to ' the ram ' which was offered 
in his stead — the victim of God's providing, while 
the son was set free ; or possibly the whole trans- 
action may be a figure ot the death and resurrec- 
tion of our Lord. 

Ver. 20. Nor is faith restricted to trial ; it 
realizes blessing also. By faith Isaac Ueised 

Chap. XI. 1-38.] 



Jacob (the heir of the greater promise) and Enu 
too (the two articles of the original call attention 
to distinct acts) OTon concerning things to come 
— the act of faith and of prophetic faith. The 
Uessing and the prayer of foith, proceeding as 
they do from a mind instnicted by the Divine 
mind, and from a will in harmony with the 
Divine will, bind even God, and control the 
latixie destinies of him on whose behalf they are 

Ver. 21. By faith Jacob, when dying, bleaed 
each of the eoni of Joeeph. The dying acts of 
the two patriarchs are connected together as 
worshippers (Gol xlvii. 31). — ^He worshipped 
on the top of his staff, llie history explains 
tills allusion. Jacob had arranged with his son 
for hb own burial in the distant land of Canaan 
(itself an act of faith), recognising in Canaan the 
tiitare home of his posterity. When Joseph had 

Siven the promise, Jacob showed the energy of 
is faith by the ener^ of his thankfulness. 
Though dying, he rose m his bed, leaned on his 
staff (the sta$ perhaps, of which he spoke long 
before. Gen. xxxii. 10), and bowed in worship 
(this is the meaning of the Hebrew, Gen. 
xlviiL 2) to the God who had now fulfilled all 
his desires. The same word (written 'staff') 
means, with other vowel pointing, ' bed ; ' and, 
as the older Hebrew text had no vowel points, 
the Septnagint has one rendering and the English 
▼emon of the Old Testament another. The 
writer adopts the version of the Septuagint. If 
the English version be retained, it means that he 
wonhipped, leaning on (with his face towards) 
the bed. (See Isa. xxxviiu 2.) 

Ver. 22. This dying act of Tacob's recalls the 
Hke faith of Joseph. By faith Joseph, when 
diawing to nis end, made mention of the 
exodus of the sons of Israel, and made his 
brethren swear that his bones should rest in the 
land of promise ; an expression at once of his 
£uth and of his love for those who were the heirs 
of that promise. Centuries later Moses carried 
his bones oat of Egypt (Ex. xiii. 19), and the 
burial of them in Shechem is recorded in the 
dosing verses of the Book of Joshua. All this 
had deeper meaning. He would be buried where 
they were buried, because his God was their 

Ver. 23. Thus far the writer has been dealing 
with examples of faith in Genesis alone. The 
examples are few compared with all recorded in 
that txK>k, but they are very striking and noble. 
The history and character of Moses naturally 
occupy a chief place in the following verses. 
From the first he was a child of faith. His 
parents hid him three months, noting his comeli- 
ness (Acts viL 20), and hoping apparently that 
God mi^ht use him as He had used Joseph, to be 
the dehverer of their people. They therefore 
disregarded the king's ordinance, and did their 
duty, looking for Divine succour. 

Vets. 24-28. Mark the successive expressions 
of his faith. When he was grown up he refused 
the name and dignity of a member of the royal 
family, preferring to suffer with the people of 
God rather than enjoy, with godless, idolatrous 
Egyptians, soch fleeting pleasures as sin provides. 
Betmfng the rsproaoh of Ohrist greater riches 
ttaa the treasue of Egypt The reproach 
whidi typical Israd suffered is called the re()roach 
of Cbfist ; as F^ calls the sufferings of Christians 


the sufferings of Christ (Col. i. 24 ; 2 Cor. i. 5), 
ue. of Christ dwelling and suffering in His Church 
as in His body. In the true Church of every age 
the eternal Cnrist ever lives and reigns, though 
when Moses suffered He was still to come, appear- 
ing chiefly in the types and prophecies, while 
r^Iy dwelling among them. And the reason is 
that he looked away from the suffering to the 
Divine reward, his life and acts being moulded 
and guided by his hopes. — By fidUi he left 
Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king. The 
reference here has been supposed to be to his 
flight into Midian after the slaughter of an 
Egyptian ; but then it is said that ne did fear 
(Ex. ii. 14). The natural explanation is that 
the words describe his abandonment of all his 
Egyptian hopes (not that he fled from Egypt, but 
gave it up), not fearing the wrath which the 
desertion of his pK)st, and the bitter feeling of 
Pharaoh against the people whom he was joining 
would certainly excite. — For he endured (he was 
stedfast) as seeing him who is invisible, or, the 
king who is invisible (i Tim. i. 17). The wrath 
of an earthly sovereign was nothing to him, when 
assured of the j[race and protection of the King of 
kings. — * By fiith he luith kept the Passover,* 
1./. he celebrated it, as the verb always means, 
and instituted it, as the sense rather implies. Both 
thoughts seem to be here. ' By faith, because he 
believed that the destroyer would pass over and 
not hurt the chosen people, and that a complete 
exodus from the land of their captivity was at 
hand ; as by faith in a coming Deliverer it was 
intended that it should continue to be observed. — 
^d the effusion of blood, viz. on the lintd and 
door-posts. The effusion was made by means of 
a branch of hyssop, and so sprinkling has come 
to be a rendering of a word which properly 
means effusion. In this sprinkling or applica- 
tion of the blood lies the atoning power of the 
Passover, as in the case of the great Antitype ; 
it is not the blood shed, but the blood as applied 
through faith, that speaks peace and secures for- 

Ver. 29. That awful night is followed by 
a glorious deliverance. By faith they passed 
through (the verb is used of crossing in any way) 
the Bed Sea. God by a strong east wind made 
a passage through the water, and in faith the 
Israelites entered as by dry land, assured of their 
safety. The Egyptians tried (either the sea or the 
seemingly dry land) as an uncertain experiment, 
and were swallowed up. 

Ver. 3a The writer now leaves the Book of 
the Law for the Book of Joshua, the record of the 
conquest of the land and of the complete fulfil- 
ment of the ancient promise. By faith (of Joshua 
and the whole people, the correlative of that 
Dinne power which really did the deed) the 
walls, etc. As the great deliverance from Egypt 
was effected by faith and the boldness it produced, 
so the first victory in Canaan was acnieved by 
persevering faith, uie wall having been compassed 
about for seven whole days (see Josh. vi.). 

Ver. 31. Nor does previous personal character 
hinder its power, or previous separation from the 
covenant people. By faith, as shown in her con- 
fession, ' Jehovidi b God in heaven above and in 
the eaith beneath,* 'and He hath given you the 
land ' (Tosh. xi. 9).— Bahab the narlot, and a 
Canaanite, perished not with those who, having 
heaid of God's miraculous dealings on behalf of 



[Chap. XI. 1-38. 

Israel (Josh. iL 10), persisted in their defiance, and 
refused submission. Her faith showed its reality 
(see Jas. ii. 25) in her receiving and protecting 
the spies, and found its reward in her preservation, 
and finally in her becoming an ancestress of our 
Lord. ' When she had received/ in the Autho- 
rised Version represents the expression of her 
£uth (properly 'receiving as she did*), as if it 
were prior to the faith ; it was really its result, 
or more properly the working of the faith itself. 
A careful attention to the tenses, and to the 
absence of the article whereby this clause is closely 
connected with the preceding, would be sufficient 
of itself to reconcue the teaching of Paul and 

Ver. 32. What Bhall 1 8a7;.more f for time will 
U^ etc The groups named in this verse are 
really two ; and though there are various readings 
as to the connecting particles, they necessitate no 
change. The chronological order of the names 
would be, Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson; 
Samuel, David. Samuel is probably put last to 
connect his name with the prophets, to which 
class he belongs (see Acts iii. 23); and Gideon 
and Samson are probably put before Barak and 
Jephthah respectively, because they are of greater 
celebrity as men of faith. The characteristic 
exploits of each will be found in the passages 
named in the margin. 

Ver. 33. Who through faith. The 'who' 
refers both to those named and to others like 
them ; the introduction of the previous enumera- 
tion ('time will ^fail,' etc.) being practically a 
rhetorical equivalent for 'etc* in £nglish; and 
the ' through faith * applying to all that is said to 
the end of ver. 34. Tlirongh faith (not 'm' or 
' according to *), the expression for the last time 
in this oiapter, and specially appropriate as 
describing the instrument by which those great 
works were accomplished. How it sustained also 
in sufferingis recoraed in the later verses, 35-38. — 
Subdued EingdomB — true of all the judges named, 
as it is of Samuel and David. — ^Wrought righteouB- 
nees is specially true of David, the righteous 
king (2 Sam. viii. 15, etc.), and of Samuel, the 
righteous judge (I Sam. xii 4). — Obtained 
pronUseB, i,e, obtained the fulfilment of them, not 
indeed of the great promise of all (see ver. 40), 
but of the lesser promises which God fulfilled to 
the prophets themselves. Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, 
Daniel, all saw the partial fulfilment of things 
they foretold. — Stopped the mouths of lions — 
true in part of Samuel and David, and specially 
of Daniel, of whom it is said that an angel shut 
the mouths of the lions, because he believed in his 
God (Dan. vi. 22, 23). 

Ver. 34. Quenched the power of fire (not the 
fire, which still burnt, but the power of it) ; true 
of Shadrach and his companions. — EsoafKBd the 
edge of the sword, as m the case of Elijah 
(i Kings xix. i, etc.), Elisha (2 Kings vi. 14, etc.), 
Jeremiah rfer. xxxvi. 26, etc.). — Out of weakness 
were made strong, as in the case of Samson 
(Judg. xvi. 28, etc.), and David, whose most 
plaintive Psalms end often in thanksgiving. — 
Waxed (became^ mighty in war— true of many 
heroic men under the judges and during the 
monarchy. — Turned to mght the armies of the 
aliens— a word used in the Septuagint of the 
Gentiles — ^true of Gideon and the Midianites, and 
of Jonathan and the Philistiaes. It is prolnble, 
however, that these last clauses, without excluding 

those older deeds of faith, refer mainly to the 
later history of Israel after the close of the Old 
Testament canon. They find a striking fulfilment 
in the Maccabsean age. It is certain tnat some of 
the sufiferings spoken of in the next group of 
verses are found only in that age ; and the ex- 
pressions of ver. 34 seem taken from the First 
Book of the Maccabees (compare i Mace. iiL 3, 
i. 38, ii. 7, etc.). No doubt the faith of these 
later heroes was sometimes of a lower type, rather 
patriotic than theocratic, the result of a noble 
enthusiasm as much as of trust in the living God ; 
but in other cases it was true and Divine ; while 
the struggles between the holy and atheistic 
nations, which the book describes, seem referred 
to in the Book of Daniel as of Uie deepest in* 

Vers. 35-38. What faith has done we have 
seen ; what it helps men to sufier is now told us. 
Women receivea (back) their dead ndsed to 
life again (literally, by a resurrection, which is 
regarded as the cause or origin of their so receiv* 
ing them), true of the widow of Sarepta and of 
the Shunamite. — And others were tortured 
(broken upon the wheel). The word here used 
(a wheel or drum-head on which the victim was 
stretched and beaten to death) shows that the 
reference is to Eleazar (2 Mace vL 18-31), and 
the heroic mother and her seven sons mentioned 
in chap. vii. Fuller details of the same mar- 
tyrdom are given in the so-called Fourth Book 
of Maccabees, sometimes, though erroneonsly, 
ascribed to Josephus. — Not accepting (rejecting 
would be more exact) the deliyerance which was 
ofiered them at the price of their principles (so the 
original means), in order that tliey might obtain 
a better resurrection than the mexe letnm to 
the present life. ' The king of the worid sladl 
raise us up,* they said, 'unto everlasting life* 
(2 Mace. vii. 9, etc.). 

Ver. 36. Others had trial (^cperience) of emel 
mockings and soourgings. The allusion agam 
is to the Maccabees (2 Mace. viL 7-10). — ^xeai 
moreover (a harder thing, because of the continu- 
ance and depressing influence of it), of bonds 
of imprisonment — perhaps with neference to 
Jonathan (i Mace, xiii 12), or to Hanani, 
Micaiah, and especially to Jeremiah (see rder- 

Ver. 37. They were stoned, as was Zechariah, 
the son of Jehoiada, the last martyr mentioned in 
the Old Testament (2 Chron. xxiv. 20-22), as Abd 
was the first. Jeremiah is also said to have been 
stoned to death at Tahpanhes (Daphne) in Egypt. 
— They were sawn asunder, as was Isidan oy 
Manasseh. — ^They were tempted. This word reads 
feeble, standing as it does in the midst of three 
descriptions of violent death. A similar word 
means, * they were burnt ; * another, * they were 
mutilated ; * and thore is evidence, though not 
preponderating, for the omission of it altogether, 
if it is genuine, ' they were experimented upon ' 
is a possible rendering, and makes a fiurly con* 
sistent sense. As it is now rmdered, it means 
that in addition to a cruel death they were, all 
through, ofiered relief if the^ would onlv abandon 
their feith. — ^They were slain with uie sword 
(literally, they died by the murder of the sword)— 
true of Urijah in Judah (Jer. xxvi 23), and quite 
common in Israel (i Kings xix. 10, etc.). — ^Zhay 
went about. The writer now retoms firom the 
various kinds of death they suffered to their ltt»* 

Chap. XI. 39-XII. 29.] TO THE HEBREWS. $2 

loQg conflicts— thqr were waaderen, destitate, tain, ending in chambers) ; in holes, openings of 

0|i|ig iwe d , erfl entreated. any kind— true of Elijah at Horeb^ of Elisha at 

Ver. 38. ... In cavee (clefts of the moon- Carmel, and of the prophets hidden by Obadiah. 

Chapter XI. 39-XII. 29. 

Reasons for Patience, xi. 39-xii. 1 1. — Practical Exhortations enforced by the 

greater Excellence of the Gospel^ 12-29. 

39 A ND these all, 'having obtained a good report through «ven. a, 13. 

40 /a. faith,* received not the promise : God having provided * 

* some better thing for us, that they without ' us should not be *ch. im. ««, 
made perfect ^ ch. v. 9. 

Chap. xn. i. Wherefore, seeing we also are* compassed about with ^^- ^- "• 
so great a cloud of witnesses, 'let us* lay aside every weight, 'fp*e^i.^; 
and the sin which doth so easily beset «j, and ' let us run -^ with ''^^'•^^' 

2 patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, they jj^^j^y^^. 
author and finisher of our faith ; ^ who for the joy that was set ^&.*i^v;a6; 
before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and * is set f pijh^'^n * 

3 down • at the right hand of the throne of God. ' For consider *? X??^ 
him that endured* such contradiction of sinners against him- ppct!*iii!U. 

4 self,' * lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.' ' Ye have ' «?jo'!kJ*ix 

5 not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have i , cirT^^j; 
forgotten • the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto 34. ** ^*' ^^' 

*" My son, despise not thou " the chastening of the Lord, ""job^.*^."' 
Nor faint when thou art rebuked of" him : 

6 For •whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, "^^Vx"' 
And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. jS^iJm • 

7 * If ye endure chastening," God dealeth with you as with sons ; tfiteut^wii^; 

8 for what son is he whom the ** father chasteneth not ? But if if^pi^ 
ye be without chastisement, ^ whereof all are " partakers, then 5? m»rS 

9 are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we have had ^xPet.{^'9l^' 
fathers of our flesh which corrected us,^^ and we gave them 
reverence : shall we not much rather be in subjection unto ^ the ^SSl^*** 

ID Father of spirits," and live ? For they verily for a few days ^^jSij; 

chastened tis afler their own pleasure ; " but he for our profit, ?^i.*S'.* 
11'' that we might " be partakers of his holiness. Now no chasten- r l^jSV.' 

ing for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous : neverthe- t^jf [I 

witness {see xiL i), or^ testimony through their faith 
Gr. foreseen, or, having looked forward to * apart from 

let OS also, seeing we are * read, hath sat down ' hath endured 

reoiL themselves (u^'M, ^^ himself /'» margin). See Num. xvi. 38 {Gr, xvii. 3). 
Ui. minting in your souls * rather, quite forgotten 

*• or, reasons with you as with sons *^ treat not lightly 

*• reproved by *• It is for filial chastening ye endure 

** rather, his, or, a ** have become *• as correctors 

^' AT, of our spirit? ^* as seemed good to th^m " or, may 

84 TO THE HEBREWS. [Chap. XL 39-XII. 29. 

less afteru'ard it yieldeth 'the peaceable fruit of righteousness Jfif*j^^fj 

12 unto them which are * exercised thereby. Wherefore 'lift up fSbii^^A. 

13 the hands which hang down, and the feeble" knees; "and *^J*^ 
make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be iS^^Jitv. 

14 turned out of the way ; "" but let it rather be healed "^ Follow " gSf^^i" 
peace with all men, and holiness," "^without which no man shall rTTuSiL.*. 

15 see the Lord: -^looking diligently *lest any man fail of the '^ci.^il'i. 
grace of God ; '^ lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble ^f&Tvfi. 

16 j^ou, and thereby many** be defiled; *lest there ^^ any fomi- !^ Drat sbz. 
cator, or profane person as Esau, ^who for one morsel of aJ^'ia.' 

17 meat** sold his" birthright. For ye know how that afterward, co^iH!5; 

1 Tbes. IT. 3. 

''when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: d 
(' for he found no place of repentance,) though he sought it i/cen. 

18 carefully with tears. For ye are not come unto -^the mount*' r?t^6w 
that might ** be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto «;▼..««': 

19 blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a i8,i^!^8; 
trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard wLis; 

^ intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any i bx.'St. Ik 

20 more : " (for they could not endure that which was commanded, Pf^j- ^ 
* And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be *j^xir.ix 

21 stoned, or thrust through with a dart:" 'and so terrible was (5«i*:*«-i*' 

' *^ >rGal. IV. a6: 

the sight,'* tAat Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) Rev.iii.i«, 

22 but yc are come *unto mount Sion, ' and unto the city of the '?S."^ *^- 
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, ** and to an innumerable X'Tt^^ 

23 company" of angels, to the general assembly and church of "^ t'xl** 

the firstborn, ^ which are written '* in heaven, and to God ^ the , 


ziv. 4. 

La. z. so; 

24 Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men ^ made perfect, and ^.jri-jfi. 
to Jesus ^the mediator of the new covenant, and to 'the^^^**J** 
blood" of sprinkling, that speaketh better things" 'than that ^S!^^^^"' 

25 of Abel.'* See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For "if ^^^^ 
they escaped not who*' refused him that spake" on earth, 'Slj^;*' 

much more shall not we escape^ if we turn away from him that /ce^ 

X Fet. La. 

nr. 10: 

26 Speaketh " from heaven : " whose voice then shook the earth : ^S. al X 3. 

but now he hath promised, saying, ^ Yet once more I *® shake *' ^ «7. x.a^ 
2^ not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word^ Yet once ''meb^* 

more, signifieth '*' the removing of those things that are shaken, »b^ n. c 

jrPft. ciL ad; 

w have been " Gr. palsied " Follow after J%^«?: 

■• the holiness (pr^ sanctification) ** the many ** meal *• his own lUv. xn. 1. * 

■' ready a mount {and in italics as omitted in best MSS.) •• could 

** ratker^ no word more should be spoken to them 

^ omit or thrust through with a dart '^ //'/. that which was made to appear 

'* //'/. tens of thousands, or^ innumerable hosts 

" ///. ' written off,' or^ enrolled 

*^ rather, as mediator of a new covenant, and to blood 

«* read, better, and omit things 

»« lit, than Abel {cf, xi. 4)—* than the blood of is found in some MSS. 

•' when they (//'/. refusing as they did) 

•• ///. warned them (i>. in God's name), see xi. 7 •• is, or, wameth 

*• recut^ ^^nXi I *' not the same word 

CHAP. XL 39-XlI. 2^] TO THE HEBREWS. 85 

as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be ^' 

28 shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which ^g^*- *▼•«*: 
cannot be moved, let us have grace/* whereby we may serve S^l*"*'* 

29 God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:** for ^our God {Jiii^Xj. 
is a consuming fire. 

*• rather^ are not *• or^ thankfulness *♦ read^ fear simply 

» llies. I 8 : 
ch. X. 97. 

Ver. 39. The Bible is largely a history of faith, 
its deeds and sufferings and rewards; pre-emi« 
nently of the patience and perseverance which 
beloi^ to it, and which seem essential in a world 
where Tirtne is militant. Theoe aU having had 
witnflM home to them through their fiaith, ue, 
though they had all this noble attestation, had 
still to wait for the fulfilment of the promise — ^the 
promise of final and complete salvation (chap. 
UL 15).— God haTing provided, or rather, having 
looked forward to, some better th^g^that salva- 
tion which the Lord has accomplished and made 
known, which God reserved for our economy, and 
which Old Testament saints receive only when we 
receive it too. Our economy completes the 
former. To give up the Gospel and go Imck to 
the Law is to return from what is perfect to what 
Is preparatory ; and to sever ourselves from the 
blessedness for which the patriarchs died. 

Chap. xii. i-ii. Exhortation with encourage- 
ment and reproof, in view of all these witnesses, 
and of the later example of Jesus, to maintain the 
conflict, and to remember the love ftom whi(^ all 
discipline comes, and the fruit it is intended to 
produce. The chapter is introduced by a strong 
ranline particle, seeing then, therefore, found 
only here and in i Thess. iv. 8, and by a favourite 
Pauline image taken from the ancient games. 
The figure is doublv instructive ; it throws some 
light upon the autnorship, and it illustrates the 
general principle that Christianity is a universal 
religion, using for literary purposes Hellenic 
materials as well as Jewish. The chief thought 
continues the appeal of chap, x., basing it on 
s tr onger arguments suggested in part by the 
eleventh chapter. — ^Let ns (as well as those just 
named), having abont ns aaoh a doud of 
witnenea, lay aside every enonmhering weight, 
and the sin which doth so easily beset ns, and 
1st ns nin with patience {i,e, with endurance 
maintained through to the end) the race that is set 
beftairo ns. These are the first conditions of success. 
Those who were once witnesses for God, witnesses 
even onto blood, martyrs in the modem sense, 
DOW form the circle, the rin^, of spectators who 
witness our consistency. This double meaning is 
certainly here ; the first in the word ' witnesses,' 
and the second in the cloud that bends over the 
militant Church. The witnesses for God, whose 
<iecds are named in the previous chapter, are also 
witnesses of our faithfulness and patience. 

Ver. 2. Even more impK)rtant than the contem- 
plation of these martyr witnesses for maintaining 
the athlete spirit is the continuous looking unto 
JesQS, the originator and finisher of onr faith 
(or of fisith). ' Our faith ' favours the interpreta- 
tion that Jesus begins and completes the faith 
which forms the principle of the Christian life. 
But though this is true of Christ, as it is true of 
God (John xv. 16), it seems hardly the truth taught 

here. The faith spoken of is the faith of chap, xl , 
and the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is quoted 
as the noblest example; He realized a glorious 
future in the midst of a troubled present, even as 
we must do. He is the originator of faith be- 
cause He has trod the way of faith before us, and 
the finisher of it because having completed our 
salvation, which is 'the end of our faitn' (i Pet. 
i. 9), He leads all who trust Him to the same 
goal. This application of faith to Christ is not 
common in Scripture, but it is found in this 
Epistle (chap. ii. 13), and it is involved in His 
human nature and conflicts. — ^Who, for the Joy set 
beforo him, endured the cross, despising shame. 
This part of the sentence describes the life of 
faith, as the second describes its reward and com- 
pletion. — And hath sat down at the right hand 
of the throne of Ood. These two things we are 
to fix our gaze upon ; they are closely connected in 
the Greek, as they are m the argument. Faith, 
as the realization of the unseen, was as much the 
principle of our Lord's life as it is the principle of 
the life of His followers. 

Ver. 3. For (He suffered as well as you, there- 
fore you may well) consider (properly, compare 
His case with your own, and gather Uie lessons) 
him who hath endnred (it is His permanent 
character that is described) snoh contradiction 
(not in words only, but hostility of every kind, 
even treason (John xix. 12)) of sinners against 
themselves (i,e. of those who, in thus acting, 
sinned against their own souls), the other read- 
ing, 'against Himself,' has also good authority; 
'themselves' suggests a fresh reason why the 
Hebrew Christians should not join ' a gainsaying 
people ' by rejecting the Gospel. — Lest ye grow 
weary and faint in your sonls. Still the athlete's 
figure. As the limbs grow faint (loose) in the race, 
so the soul in the Christian conflict Principle is 
strengthened by thoughtfulness ; for want of con- 
sideration Israel periled, as well as from want of 

Ver. 4. Special care is still needed, for there 
may be severer trials in store. For not yet have 
ye resisted onto blood in your conflict with sin. 
Here the image is changed, as in I Cor. ix. 24-27, 
from running to boxing ; and the meaning is that 
whatever some of the Hebrew Christians had 
suffered (chap. xiiL 7), heavier trials might be in 
reserve for them. Thus the writer is addressing 
those who, though not without experience of 
severe persecution in their first love, would have 
securea themselves against further violence hy 
sinful conformity. How poor our modem self- 
denial is, compared with what the first Christians 
sufliered, much more when compared with the 
sufferings of our Lord I Happier times call for 
the greater voluntary consecration. 

Ver. 5. And ye have quite forgotten (not a 
question, as Calvin, and Delitzsch, and others 



have suggested ; the fact is rather assumed in 
vers. 7-1 1 ; and a question, after the strong 
assertion of ver. 4, is unnatural) ; the exhortation 
(blended exhortation and comfort or consolation, 
which is the more common rendering : see an in- 
stance in Acts XV. 31), which xeasoiui with yon, 
etc (both words, 'consolation ' and ' reasons,' are 
favourite ones in describing Paul's method of 
teaching, consisting as it did of argument and 
appeal. Acts xvii. 2-17, xviii. 4, etc.). The (juota- 
tion is from Prov. iii. II, 12; and as wisdom 
speaks there as a person, so here the exhortation she 
gives is spoken of as a person addressing tender, 
motherlv appeals to all who suffer. . . . Nor 
fSaint when corrected by him. The rendering of 
the Greek is here adopted ; the Hebrew means, 
to resent or to murmur against Despondency 
and resentment imply the same unbehef of the 
loving purpose of the discipline, and they express 
themselves in the same outward form of complaint 

Ver. 6. Whom he receiyeth, ue. whom He 
takes to His heart as His son. The quotation is 
from the Septuagint of Prov. iii. 12. The Hebrew 
may be rendered as in the English version ('even 
as a father'), or, by an alteration of the vowel 
points, as here, 'and scourges.' All suffering 
mflicted by God upon His children, or permitted, 
is a proof of love, and forms in itself or in its 
results part of the evidence of their sonship. 

Ver. 7. It is for chastening (for filial chasten- 
ing) 7® endure ; as with Bons God deiUs with 
yon (bears Himself towards you). The reading, 
' It is for chastening — for improvement as sons ve 
endure,' has decisive suppK)rt. It differs from the 
common text only by the addition of a single 
letter (ut for u) ; and the use of the expression 
' for ' is c^uite common in this Epistle (chap. i. 14, 
iv. 16, VI. 16). — For what son is he (not ' who is 
a son,' or 'what sort of a son is h^' though each 
is a possible meaning) whom a father (or his 
father — the statement is quite general, and does 
not 'refer primarily to God) chaitiseB notf Cor* 
rection and chastening while character is forming 
is the condition of all sonship and of all true 
fatherhood, and our sonship in relation to (?od is 
no exception to the common law. 

Ver. 8. If ye he without (be severed from, 
have no part in) chastisement (filial discipline), 
of which all (God's sons, or better, because of the 
tense, the sons mentioned in chap, xi.) have he- 
come pcuiakers (ox have had their share), then 
are ye bastards (of spurious parentage) and not 

Vers. 9, 10. The fatherhoods differ, and so the 
rule and purpose of their discipline differ also. 
Furthermore, we once had fathers of our flesh 
(our natural parents, and probably rather more — 
those who were mediately the originators of our 
flesh), as chasteners (correctors), and we gave 
tiiem reverence ; shall we not much rather he in 
subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live f 
The contrast here is between earthly fathers, men 
who being fl^^ themselves are in a sense the 
creators of our flesh, and God, Himself a Spirit, 
and the immediate Creator of spirits. Other 
interpretations have been discussed m both ancient 
and modem times — ' The Father of our spurits, ue, 
of human souls ; ' ' the Father or Originator of all 
spiritual life.' Others think the reference is not 
to the origination of our nature at all, but only to 
parental feeliiu^ — 'We have had those who, in 
relation to oar fleshly nature, have shown a father's 

[Chap. XI. 3^X11. 29. 

care ; shall we not much rather submit ooxsdves 
to Him who, in relation to our spiritual natureand 
life, has a father's rights, and shows a ^thtf;s 
kindness ? * The ethical meaning implied in thn 
last interpretation is implied more or less in all 
the others. This last suggestion will bear further 
illustration. The earthly discipline of nearly aU 
nations, their Paideutics, was physical, and found 
its best results in physical beauty, with Apollo 
as its ideal, or in manly strength, with Hercules 
as its ideal ; when it went further, and cultivated 
wisdom, as in Greece, or patriotism, as at Rome, or 
the commoner virtues, as in the model Republics 
of ancient or even of modem writers ; it was still 
fleshly and secular. The Paideutique that sancti- 
fies our higher nature is peculiar to Divine revda^ 
tion, and b perfected only under the personal 
superintendence of the Father of spirits. The 
recognition of His rights, and the acceptance of 
His discipline, and the laying hold of His strength, 
are essential to it. 

Ver. 10. And this deeper reverence is reason- 
able. For they (our earthly parents) for » few 
dajrs (for the time of youth, and with special 
reference to it, whether successful or not, it came 
to an end) chastened us according aa it aeemed 
good to them (their rule being their own view off 
what was right, or sometimes their own temper 
or caprice) ; but he for onr proflt (not a question 
of seeming but of actual fact), for the pnzpoie that 
and to be continued until (literally, unto) we 
shi^re in his holiness, and then the discipline and 
our need for it will cease. The contrast here is 
perfect between seeming and reality — between 
their pleasure and God's noble purpose — ^between 
the few davs of our youth, whetner it succeed or 
not, and tne continuance which is unbroken tUl 
the result is achieved. 'His holiness' is, no 
doubt, a holiness completely like Hb own. The 
original word represents it rather as a gift or a 
result of His discipline than of our own culture 
or effort {iytirtit not kymrvtn b found only here, 
compare 2 Cor. vii. i). The word rendered 
'share' or, in the English version, 'be partaken 
of,' is not the same word as in ver. 8. It means 
rather to share in what is not within our reach ; 
it implies willing acceptance rather than personal 
acquisition, though shared with others, even with 
the blessed God Himself. He sits as a Refiner of 
silver, and He applies the heat and removes the 
refuse till He sees in it Hb own image. 

Ver. II. Now no chastening (either God*s or 
any other) seemeth for the present to be Joyoni^ 
but grievous (literally, a matter of joy; but of 
grief) ; nevertheless afterward it yiudeth the 
peaceable tmit of righteonsneos (f.<. righteous- 
ness b the fruit ; and as the conflict b over, it b 
enjoyed in peace) nnto them that have been ex* 
ercised thereby. The figure of a struggle b still 
continued, as the original implies : 

* Tis conflict here below, 
Tis triumph there and peace.* 

Such b the general interpretation of the passage 
The objection to it b that the last part of tne yeac 
is not true of all chastisement, but onl^ of what 
God sends. To thb objection it b rephed that it 
b true of all chastisement^ of all filial discipline, 
properly so called. Delitzsch prefers to rtt^ard 
the chastisement of ver. 11 as spoken of (S>d's 
only, and then the conclusion b true as it stands. 
The connectiDg particles are affirmative in both 

Chap. XI. 39-XII. 29.] TO THE HEBREWS. S? 

cUuises ; mnd the only question b how to render relinqaishing) the grace of Ood. The character- 

the 6rst of them. ^ ^Now' refers to chastisement istic of the Gospel is ' grace/ apart from the works 

generally,^ as distinguished from God*s chastise- of the Law ; and a man falls from it who puts him* 

menty which b spoken of in the previous verse, self at a distance from the blessing, and so gives 

*AU chastisement from God, Atfiomvr,' represents it up. — Lest any root, or plant, of bitterness, 

Delitzsch's sense; whereas *now' better rq>resents trouble the sacred enclosure of the Church, and 

the sense adopted above. In either case one of thereby the many (the larger part of the ground 

the daoses needs narrowing ; either the first even) be defiled (corrupted). 

daiise means God's chastisement, or the second Ver. 16. Lest there be any fornicator (taken 

that all chastisement has this beneficial literally, as is the uniform meaning in the New 

result if we tpeak of it from its design and pur- Testament except in Revelation), or profane 

person (rather, worldly person ; one who has no 

The chapter is a striking lesson on * analogy ' sense of the value or glory of Divine things) aa 

-y^he wora which underiies the command (' con- Esau, who for a nngle meal sold his own birth- 

sider ') with which it begins. Christ Himself right (the double portion which was his share as 

(ver. 3), human institutions (the Grecian games), the eldest son (Deut. xxi. 17), together with the 

the common relationship of life (parents and precious inheritance of the great promise that in 

children), are all introduced to strengthen the his seed the nations of the earth were to be 

aigmnent, and most impressive lessons are drawn blessed). These three clauses are oflen regarded 

from them alL as describing one character ; but it seems better 

Vers. 1^17. Further exhortations. Ver. 12. to regard them as describing three. For want of 

Wharefcce (connecting the practical appeals, as faith men give up the Gospel ; for want of faith 

is usual in this epistle, with the reasoning and roots of bitterness spring up in the Church and 

imagery of the previous verses) lift ap (make defile it ; and faithless persons become so selfish 

straight) tha hands that hang down, and the and so low-minded, that the smallest worldly 

waas (the loose or the palsied) knees. The advantages tempt them successfully to abandon 

figure of a race is still preserved, and perhaps of their principles : and yet the course of even the 

a fight also ; the last requiring the strong hands, least favoured of them may end in despair — 
and the first firm knees ; or perhaps the drooping Ver. 17. For ye know (a fact familiar to every 

hands and the palsied knees denote simply the Hebrew) that when afterward he was dedrons 

complete coUap^ which threatened the Hebrew of receiving the bleasing (part of his birthright. 

Christians in the race set before them.' — And make and involving the rest), he was rejected (rejected 

■traight (or level) paths for yonr feet (the same after trial, as the word means), by his father and 

verb as above), that that which la lama, tKat part by God (Gen. xxvii. 33) ; for he found no place 

of the Church which is stumblin£[ between" Chris- of repentance, though he sought it (<>. the 

tianity and Judaism, may walk m plain, beaten blessing) carefully and with tears. The previous 

tracks, and so he kept from taming aside. Some clause, *for he found no place of repentance,' b 

interpret ' that that which b lame mav not be put best regarded as a parenthesb (compare diap. 

out (» joint ' — a possible meaning of the verb. It xii. 20 and vii. 11). The tears expre^ed sorrow 

b xacdf however, in the New Testament only in for the loss he sustained, not for the low, sinful 

the pastoral Epistles, i Tim. i. 6, v. 15, vi. 20, preference of which he had been guilty. Whose 

2 TlnL ivl 4, and has always the sense given to it repentance did he not find ? Hb own (as all the 

above. Who can estimate the power of a few Greek fiithers hold, with Luther, Calvin, Bengel, 

courageous, consbtent men in any struggle, and and Delitzsch), or hb father's (as Beza, Tholuck, 

not least in Christian churches I — ^Nay, rather and others)? The word has always an ethical 

than let it suffer further infirmity, as it b needlessly meaning, and describes a change in the deeper 

doing, let it he he aled. recesses of our nature, which is followed by a 

Meanwhile here, as in the Church at Rome, the corresponding change in the outer life. Such a 

weak, the lame, are to be treated with great for- sense b hardly applicable to Jacob. It seems 

braiayor, and peace b to be carefully cultivated, better, therefore, to regard the words as applicable 

not divbion. to Esau. He b regarded as a type of the hopeless 

Ver. IX. Follow peace with all (believers, the apostate, who throws away hb birthright through 

troe parallel being Rom.*xi^. 19), and holhiesB sensual indulgence or love of the world, and 

(the approprbtion oy us of the Divine holiness of who, too late, finds the door of repentance closed 

Ter. 10 ; there it b the Divine attribute, here it is to him, because repentance itself, m its true and 

the process whereby the quality b made our own) ; deep sense, is impossible. Other commentators 

witnont which (apart from which) no man shall give the lighter interpretation to ' place of repent- 

see tha Lord — shall not enter Hb presence, and ance,' and understand by it iacus penit^nha, a 

share His blessedness. The reference is to God chance and opportunity by repentance of repairing 

the Father. Only the holy rise to the sight of the mischief— a result in thb case impossible ; 

Him. The word 'Lord' b applied to Christ in and then they understand by 'it' such repentance 

chap. ii. 3, and to God in chap. viii. 2. When, as might repair the loss he had suffered (Alford). 

however. Scripture speaks of seeing as a future Others give to ' repentance ' its deeper meaning, 

reward, it b seeing God that is meant (Matt, and refer the 'it * to that repentance. Thus re- 

▼. 8 ; I John iii. 2) ; and yet as the throne of garded, the whole passage t^hes that a time 

God b also the throne of the Lamb, to see one b may come, possibly in the hbtory of any of us, 

really to see both. when through sensual indulgence and worldly 

Ver. 15. Looking diligently. The word b tastes repentance becomes impossible, though men 

tised genorally of pastoral oversight, but b here seek ii carefully and with tears. There b a strik- 

Qsed to enforce mutual watchfulness and discipline; ing sermon of Melvill's on the text as thus inter- 

k truth set forth also in chap. x. 24, iii. 12, iv. i. — preted. In favour of referring ' it *^ to the blessing 

Lest any man fidi of (come ihoit of by wilfully rather than to repentance, b the hbtorical fact ; 



[Chap. XI. 39-Xn. 29. 

and in favour of the deeper sense of repentance 
(not merely a change of his father's mind, or a 
cancelling of the result) is the uniformly ethical 
meaning of the word. In any case the lesson 
remains ; sensual, worldly preferences may be so 
indulged as to become our masters ; and we may 
wish to die the death of the righteous, and 
reap their rewards, and yet be rejected. That 
path cannot be safe where such a possibility is 
incurred. Whether the repentance comes too late, 
or the repentance, though in some sense desired, 
is really unattainable, or whether both suppositions 
are true, it is in any case an awful destmy, and 
men should take warning in time. 

Vers. 18-29. All these warnings become the more 
impressive from the fact that our economy is one 
of much greater privilege than the previous, and 
that it is the last revelation' which God will give. — 
For ye have not drawn near to a monntain that 
it tooched (a material, tangible mountain) and 
that burned with fire and blackneM (of clouds) 
and darkneM (as in the night) and tempest. At 
the giving of the Law the top of the mountain 
burned with fire ; lower down were black, im- 
penetrable clouds, and out of the darkness which 
they caused came the mutterings of the storm. 
Amid this terror was heard the sound of a trumpet, 
and an articulate voice giving the commandments 
which were delivered to Israel ; which voice was 
so awful that those who heard implored to be 
excused, begged off from hearing (declined to hear) 
more. The same word is found in the parable, 
'They began to make excuse.* — For (a paren- 
thetical explanation of their awe) they conld 
not bear what was commanded, vis. And if 
•▼en a beast (much more a man) touch the 
monntain . . . 

Ver. 21. And so terrible was the sight (what 
was made to appear) that Moses shared their 
feeling of dread. Suchjwas the access to God 
which ancient Israel possessed — an access that 
belonged to a visible mountain full of terror ; an 
access cather of repulse and enforced approach, 
which they prayed might cease. 

Vers. 22-24. Seven things, Bengel notes, show 
the inferiority of the condition of Israel under the 
Law, and seven things show the superiority of the 
true Israel under the Gospel. Our gathering- 
place is Mount Zion (not Sinai), the abode of Him 
who is Father and King, — and the heavenly 
Jemsalem, the city of the living God. We are 
oome to an innnmeraUe company of angels 
(literally, ten thousands of angels ; not the com- 
paratively few who witnessed the giving of the 
Law, and aided the administration of the old 
econony), to the festal gathering of the Church 
of the nnt-bom — of the Christian Church of this 
age, consisting as it did of those who were heirs 
of the promises, and whose names are enrolled, 
not as were the names of the first-bom of Israel, 
in earthly registers (Num. iii. 42), but in heaven 
itself; a privilege snared, moreover, not by the 
first-born only, but by the entire company of the 
redeemed (see Luke x. 20) ;— and to Qod, the 
Judge of all The mention of the militant 
Church and of their adversaries brings up this 
thought : He is their Defender, and to Him they 
mav commit their cause.— And to the spirits of 
Just men made perfect, from righteous Abel 
downwards ; and to the Mediator of the recent 
and new ooyenant (not the same word as in 
chap. ix. 15)— Jesus (the name of our Liord which 

the writer of this Epistle uses when speaking of 
His redeeming work), and to the Uood of 
sprinkling — the blood that ratified the covenant 
is now offered to God and applied (not shed 
merely) to the human conscience, — ^which speak* 
eth better than Abel, or than the [blood] of 
AbeL 'Than Abel' may refer to his offering 
or to his martjnrdom. His offering had no in- 
trinsic efficacy, and his martyrdom cried for 
vengeance. Christ's blood cried only for mercy, 
and secures it. 

Ver. 25. See that ye refuse — decline — not 
(the same word as in ver. 19) him that speaketh 
(offering peace through the blood of Christ : see 
ver. 24): for if they escaped not, declining as they 
did to hear him that spoke on earth— a different 
word, meaning to speak as an oracle with Divine 
authority. God is the speaker in both cases ; bnt 
the contrast is between God speaking on earth 
and through Moses who received the living oracles 
to give to men, and God speaking from heaven 
and in the life and blood of His Son — not con- 
cerning an earthly covenant with earthly bless- 
ings, but concerning blessings that are spiritual 
and eternal. The medium (the Son), the place, 
the blessedness of the message, all combine to make 
the guilt of rejecting the Gospel the greater (see 
vers. 1-5, and x. 28, 29). 

Vers. 26, 27. In these verses we have fresh 
evidence of the accuracy of the views which the 
writer takes of the Gospel — a system that is to 
supersede Judaism as the prophet foretells, and a 
fresh ground of earnest remonstrance. This is 
the last economy, and men must beware of reject- 
ing it. — Whose voice then shook the earth (Ex. 
xix. 18) ; literally, only the shaking was emble- 
matical, as was the earthquake and the rending of 
the veil at Christ's death. It implied, therefore, 
a great change (comp. Isa. xiiL 13 and Joel ii. 10) 
in the state of things that preceded the old 
covenant.— But now hath he promised— and then 
follows the passage from Haggai, in which the 
coming of the Messiah is predicted, when all is to 
be changed, both by the removal of the things 
that are shaken and by the establishment of a new 
covenant, that of the Messiah. — 27. And this 
word yet once more — once for all, as it means, 
shows plainly that there is to be one change only 
from the time when the prophet spoke, and con- 
sequently that the things which are introduced by 
that change are to remain unshaken. The shaking 
of the 'heavenly things' has created some difficulty. 
But, in fact, the new covenant affected both earth 
and heaven. The Word made flesh, the complete 
forgiveness of sin, eternal life through the blood 
of Christ, the introduction of sinners of all nations 
into the Church of God, the changing of the 
Church itself from an earthly into a spiritual fel- 
lowship, Christ exalted as Priest and King : these 
are changes that affect both worlds, but cannot 
themselves be changed. The shaking, therefore, 
here spoken of is not new future, as some suppose. 
It becan at the incarnation (and so the 'I will 
shake of the prophecy is here changed into ' I am 
shaking '), and it is only the complete realization 
of it that is still to come. The last clause, as of 
things that have been made, etc, refers pro- 
bably not to creation but to the Jewish economv, 
to which the word ' made ' has been already 
applied ; and their removal is with the view to the 
permanence of the spiritual economy which is ' to 

Chap. XIII. 1-25.] 

Ver. aS. Wlmefoire, m no&Mng m we do a 
Unfdoai thftt cuuiot be ihAkeii, let QB be thuik. 
M (Off have gnoe), end therein lenre Ck>d accept- 
J^ («<dl-pleasiiigly) with godly rererenoe and 
nar. Thankfnlnns, not discontent, is the becom- 
ing feding, and when Mended with fear ( 'awe ') will 
make o«r service reverent and joyous. The Greek 
fhiasefiiToini this rendering (see 2 Tim. L 3, Gr.). 
I«t «s have grace' is, however, a possible 



Ver. 291 Tor— a finesh reason for the reverence 
and the service— onr CM it a eonenming fire. 

The description is taken from Dent tv. 22, and 
the meaning may be, Our God also (as well as the 
God of the Jews) is a consuming fire ; but the 
former rendering — an additional reason simply — 
without specific reference to a distinction between 
our God and theirs, is the juster view. A devout 
sense of what we owe to God is a strong motive to 
holy service : so also is our reverence for God's 
holiness and justice. Thankfulness and fear are 
both among the motive forces of the Gospel, and 
both are stimulated by the character and acts 
(mercies and judgments alike) of the blessed God. 

Chapter XIII. 1-25. 

Admonitions to the Cultivation oj Love, Hospitality, Compassion, and other 
Graces, 1-6. — The Loving Remembrance of Departed Leaders, etc, — Chris- 
tian Sacrifice, 7-17. — Asks their Prayers, offers his own, commends to 
t/iem his Epistle, speaks of the speedy Visit of Timotf^, and closes with the 
usual Pauline Salutation, 18-25. 

1,2 T ET 'brotherly love continue. * Be not forgetful to enter- 'flftifi;!;: 
-L^ tain strangers:' for thereby ''some have entertained {L^ui*?; 

3 angels unawares. ''Remember them that are in bonds, as 
bound with them ; and them which suffer adversity,' as being 

4 yourselves also in the body. Marriage is honourable in all, Rom.S*i^j 
and the bed* undefiled: 'but* whoremongers and adulterers 1pS!w"'^* 

rGen. xvui.3, 

xix. s. 
</ Mat XXV. 36: 

Rom. xii. 15; 

I Cor. xii. t6; 

CoL IT. 18 : 

1 Pet. iiL x8. 
1 1 Cor. vi. 9 ; 

Gal. ▼.19, ax; 

£ph. ▼. 5 : 

Col. iii. ^ 6 ; 

/ Mat. vi. as, 

34: PhiLiv. 

11, It: xTim. 

iv. 8 ; a Pfet. 
1.7; XJ0.IU. 
IX, etc, iv. 7, 
XX. ax. 

5 God will judge. Let your conversation* be without covetous- 
ness ; • and ^ be content with such things as ye have : for he 

6 hath said, ^ I will never leave thee, nor ^ forsake thee. So that 
we may • boldly say, 

* The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear 
What man shall* do unto me. 

7 ' Remember them which have the rule over you," who have 
spoken" unto you the word of God: * whose faith follow," J^^'i 

8 considering the end of their conversation.** Jesus Christ "^ gSi.'5S^*' 

9 'the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. "*Be not JJ^-j,^'?"- 
carried about " with divers and strange doctrines. For // is a ^pJ;SSm.'i 
good thing that the heart be established with grace ; " not with **J5J; J;***- 
meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied " icSvifja. 

ID therein. ' We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat '^£1",*;?** 
II which serve the tabernacle. For ^the bodies of those beasts, ^ISi^-;^,^^ 

whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest 

^ lit, of love to strangers ' are evil entreated 

* Let marriage be held in honour, and the bed be 

* life, ///. turn (mode of life, or, turn of mind) 
' insert will I ever • omit may 

* tfr. I will not fear. What shall man 


^^ in that they spake '* copy (///. imitate) 

^* life {fit. manner of life), i,e, the [noble] end their life had 

'♦ insert is ^ ^ " read, awsiy *• walked 

♦ readn for 

* ///. love of money 

*• better, your leaders 

v. 6; Col.ii.4, 

8 ; I Ja iv. x. 
m Rom xiv. X7; 

Col. iL 16 ; 

X Tim. iv. 3. 
X Cor. ix. X3, 

X. x8. 

Ex. xxix. 14 ; 

Lev. iv. IX, 

la, ax, yi. 30^ 

IX. XI ; Num. 

xix. 3. 



[Chap. XIII. 1-25. 

12 for sin, are bifmed without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, ^i^^^'A' 
that he might sanctify the people with " his own blood, ''J^ef'irL 

1 3 ^ suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto ' ^, Sj.*^*, 

14 him without the camp, bearing ''his reproach. 'For here ^^'*^*^ 

15 have we no continuing city, but we seek one'® to come. 'By 'f|^\*?/ 
him*' therefore let us offer "the*^ sacrifice of praise to God "^x.i 
continually, that is, ''the fruit of our lips, giving thanks" to xadxsi; 

16 his name. "'But to do good and to communicate" forget ai'^crii^ 

17 not: for "'with such sacrifices God is well pleased. •'Obey tSL^w 
them that have the rule over you,*" and submit yourselves : Jttw, L 
for 'they watch for your souls, as they that must" give jr9Co^.ix.*ia; 
account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief : " ch. ▼>• «^/ 

18 for that fj** unprofitable for you. * Pray for us : for we trust** H.a9:iT^ 
we have *a good conscience, in all things willing to live 5V... 

19 honestly.*' But I beseech }^ou ^the rather** to do this, that I S^''i* 

20 may be restored to you the sooner. Now ^ the God of peace, *?• 
'that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, ^that*' cSf'-J***.'* 
great shepherd of the sheep, ''through *® the blood of the ever- JtJ^Iul*!* 

21 lasting covenant, *make you perfect in every good work ** to *^^^'' 
do his will, ' working'" in you** that which is well-pleasing in cF^i^S! 
his sight, through Jesus Christ; *to whom 6e glory for ever ''^^J^'^^ 

22 and ever. Amen. And I beseech** you, brethren, suffer** JS^t.S 
the word of exhortation : for ' I have written a letter unto you * ASiU4!ia: 

23 in few words. Know ye that '^our brother Timothy "is set at ^;^,u<St?. 


24 liberty ; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you. Salute rot.Uil? 
all them ''that have the rule over you,** and all the saints. S.a.w: 

25 They of*' Italy salute you. ^ Grace 6e with you all. Amen. Jp^lVi!* 

y Is. Ixltl. 11, xL XX ; Ezelc xxxiv. 23, xxxvii. 34 ; Jo. x. it, 14 ; x Pet. iL as, v. 4. 
^Is. It. 8 : ZooIlIx. 11 ; ch. x. 39. AaThes. ii. 17; 1 Pet. v. icx 

M GaL £.5:3 Tim. iv. x8 ; Rev. i. 6. / x Pet. v. X3. mt Tbes. iiL a. 

Vers. 7, X7. /Tit iii. X5. 

r PhiL u. 13. 
n I Tim. vi. xa. 

" through " the «/y which is »» Through him 

** opm'/ the *^ which give thanks, or^ make confession 

^'^ fellowship TActs ii. 42) and distribution (2 Cor. ix. 13) are forms ofthesam§^ 
word •* shall ' ** lamentation, <v, groaning •* were 

•* read^ are persuaded ^' honourably {or^ well) 

** more exceedingly ^^ the *® Gr, in ^' or read^ thing 

•* or, doing {same word as in previous clause) *^ read probably y us 

** rather y exhort '^ i>. bear with ^« your leaders 

•' or^ from 

Chap. xiii. The exhortations with which the 
Epistle closes are various ; but all are connected 
with the argument and with the condition of 
those addressed. The writer has sought to 
confirm their faith and grace, and now a loving 
holy life, which ever grows feeble with waning 
faith, is his chief concern. To their fiuth he has 
exhorted them to add godliness (xii. 28, 29), and 
now they are to add to godliness brotherly kind- 
ness and universal love. It is characteristic of 
the Epistle, too, that the graces commended in the 
earlier verses of this chapter are those for which 

the readers are commended in previous chapters 
(x. 33» 34. vi. 10). 

Ver. I. The first admonition is to 'brotherly 
love* — a term used in the N. T. (not as in 
classic Greek to describe the love of brothers 
and sisters, but) to describe the love wliich 
Christians bear to one another in Christ, and as 
children of one Father (cp. ii. \\\ part of the 
wider love which 4ty««^ describes (2 Pet L 7). 
It was not extinct (x. 32), the precept therefore 
is— as in the case of their faith— diat it should 
continue^ or abide. It is appropriately pot firrt 

Chap. XIII. 1-25.] 



among c«rthlv duties, as it 2s the first -fruit of 
£uth aad the beeiiiniiig of all else. How the title 
here given to this grace struck the heathen is 
made ver^r dear by a passage in Lxidan : ' Their 
most distinguished lawgiver (? Paul) has taught 
that they aU become brethren one of another as 
soon as they are changed; that is, when they 
demr the Greek gods, and adore the crucified 
sofmist.' He also enlarges on dieir s]rmpathy 
with those in bonds, and on their hospitality. 
The sentiment struck the observer even while he 
icomed it as new and impracticable (see the 
passage in Dditzsch, ii. 371). 

Ver. 3. Nor was this love confined to the 
fiunily. The God they worshipped loves strangers 
(Dent. z. i8, 19). In His gracious philanthropy 
(Tit ill. 4) He had welcomed tkem when 
strangers ; and now He sometimes sends His 
mcw t ngen — His angels— in the disguise of way- 
fiueis, that He may know whether those who 
bear His name are like Him in their kindness, and 
that He may reward them as of old (Gen. xviii.). 

Ver. 3. Debtors to all the brotherhood, and to 
others besides, there were some who had strong 
claims on their sympathy. There were prisoners 
who wore their bonds tor Christ's sake and the 
Gospel's ; and in loving tenderness these they were 
to remember as bound with them (x. 34). There 
were others in afflictions natural to men; these 
also they were to bear ever in mind as being 
themselves in the body, and subject to like trials. 
Loving and praverful remembrance might bring 
ddiveranoe, and would certainly comfort their 
hearts and deepen their thankfulness. 

Vers. 4, 5. The writer now speaks of two 
rdatioos of fife which are often placed side by 
side in Paul's Epistles — marriage and the purity 
which bdongs to it, and covetousness, or 'the 
love of money ' (Eph. v. 5 ; Col. iii. 5). The 
abrupt form of the sentences and the curt energy 
of the admonitions are intensely Pauline. I^ 
flumriage be held in honour in all, and the bed 
be vndelDed. Whether these words are affirma- 
tive ('marriage is honourable'), as the A. V. 
and Delitsch hold, or hortative ('let it be held'), 
has been much discussed. But the question is 
nqcw settled. The words stand in the midst of 
ezbortatioos. The next verse is equallv without 
a verb, and is yet translated as an exnortation. 
And moreover, the reading in the next clause is 
^for' and not 'but,' enforcing not a statement, 
but a command. ' In all persons,' of whatever 
rank, degree, or profession ; or ' in all respects ' — 
a rebuke of the ' false science ' which was already 
spreading in the Church (l Tim. iv. 13). It may 
be better to be single, if God's adjustment of gifts 
and tastes makes single life no serious bu^en 
(I Cor. vii.), and if Christ is thereby better served. 
But all who marry in the Lord assume an 
bonoorahle place. Only, where Christians have 
entered into that state, the bed must be undefiled 
by adulterous intercourse, or by lascivious 
sennality. Tho>e who dishonour the relation 
in either wa^, God will judge. Let your life— 
a word which describes the turn of a man's 
thou^ts and actions — be free from coyetons- 
aev ('the love of money'), [and be] content 
vith (finding your sufficiency in) inch tidngs aa 
you hsTe. They needed Uie warning: For as 
men decline in grace, .they erow in selfishness. 
The miscUevoas influence of this deceitful vice 
Is strikingly described In i Tim. vi. 9, 10^ where 

' the love of money ' (the same word) is said to 
be a root of all kinds of evil, drowning men in 
perdition, or piercing them through with many 
sorrows. One guard against this evil is that we 
be content with what we have; but the security 
against it is the Divine promise. — ^For he hi^ 
Bud, I will never leave thee, nor fbnake thee. 
Five negations, 'I will never, no never, no 
never forsake,' give strength to the assurance. 
The words are taken from three passages (see 
marginal references) spoken to various Hebrew 
saints, and forming part of the general promise of 
the Gospel given to each believer. Our God is 
the God of Ovations (Ps. IxviiL 20), not one, but 
many, and delivers us from want as well as from 
sin. He spared not His Son, and fireely gives 
with Him all things. 

Ver. 6. 80 that we boldly say. The Lord ia 
my helper, I will not fear : what shall man do 
unto mef So the Hebrew reads, and so more 
naturally the Greek of this passage. 

Ver. 7. This verse is connected in part with 
the precedinjgr. Bemember them who axe yonr 
leaden — a title found 01^ in this chapter in the 
Epistles, but used in the Gospels and Acts for the 
leaders of the Church (Acts xv. 22 ; Luke xxiL 
26). Leadership is the prominent thought with 
so much of rulmg as b essential to 1^. As 
applied to ministers, it p;ives no authority to makt 
new laws in Christ's kingdom, or even to enforce 
Christ's commands by any authority except His 
own. — ^Ihe whioh (who have this quality that — 
a word which defines the ground and the limit of 
their authority) have spoken to you the word of 
God (the Gospel) ; whose faith (not their creed, 
but their blessed trust in trouble and fidelity to 
principle) copy (or imitate), thoroughly oon- 
ddering what a blessed end their life had. 
These words refer not necessarily to mart3rrdom, 
of which, as yet, there were but few examples. 
The meaning is rather, that a course of 
Christian conduct, which even to the end is the 
outcome of a holy noble faith, is well worthy of the 
contemplation and imitation of all who observe it. 

Ver. 8. This verse is closely connected wi^ 
the preceding, though not in the way the Author- 
ised Version (with a colon, or sometimes a comma, 
at the end of ver. 7) indicates, as it is also with what 
follows. It is a general truth. Jesus Christ is, 
the same yesterday (when our fathers lived and 
struggled), to-day (now that we live and struggle), 
and throughout the ages. He was the chief 
theme of the Gospel they preached — so ' the word 
of God ' generally means m the New Testament. 
His power and love and grace are all unchanging 
and exhaustless. 

Ver. 9. Very different from the varied and 
strange (foreign) Moctrines (teachings) with which 
this Gospel is sometimes confounded, and very 
different from the legal precepts as to meats which 
are profitless as means of quickened life, or of 
true salvation, by which we must not suffer our- 
selTes to be oanied away (the true readings not 
' carried about ') : For it is a good thing (a fine 
thing — a thing that has the beauty of virtue as 
well as the substance of it) that the heart be 
established (be made strong and firm) with graoe 
(here opposed as a Divine operation in the soul 
to the outward and lifeless precepts of Jewish 
teachers, Col. ii. 22, 23) — tne flesh profiting 
nothing (John vi. 63), wherein those that walked 
(a common Pauline expression, Eph. ii. 2-1 1 ; 



[Chap. XI II. 1-25. 

Col. ill 7) wtre not pnttad. The pmxpts oC 
a ritual law have no liring power, do saring 
efficacy. The mind that is occapied with them 
b generally blind to the great duties of piety and 
virtue, and is neither peaceful nor strong. The 
tiroplicity of Gospel lites is as certainly helpful to 
holiness as the purity of Gospel truth. 

Vers. 10-12. And yet we have our attar and 
our meat. We are worshippers, nay, even 
priestly worshippers. Our altar is the cross : our 
sin-offering the body of our Lord. ' His 6esh is 
meat indmd, and His blood b drink indeed.' 
But all is hidden from the view and forbidden to 
the touch of those who serve the earthly taber- 
nacle. Under the Law, some offerings were 
shared by the priest and people, and the arrange- 
ment implied that fellowship was restored and 
ceremonial expiation was completed. But the sin- 
offering of atonement was not eaten (Lev. vi. 30), 
and the bodies of national and priestly expiations 
were burnt without the camp. When atonement 
was a figure only, and not a reality, the wor- 
shipper had no communion with what professed 
to furnish it. Now we discern the body^ and are 
partakers of it, and claim the reconciliation 
which the partaking implies. The old altar must 
be renounced, and the old sacrifice abandoned. 
Men must go to the place where Christ was 
offered <cp. ix. 28), the place where Christ 
offered Himself (ix. 25), and those who seek 
acceptance through legal sacrifices have no part 
in Him, as they had no part in that sacrifice, 
which was the completest type of His work, yet 
was itself powerless to make full atonement, and 
therefore insufficient to secure the reconciliation 
and the strength of which the eating of the altar 
was the sign. 

Ver. 13, Of Christ the sin-offering we may 
partake, provided we go forth unto Him without 
the camp, bearing His reproach. The cross is 
the meeting-place of all who would be saved. 
To number ourselves with those who cast Him 
out, and so unconsciously made Him the antitype 
of the holiest of the ancient sacrifices, is to be 
undone. We must abandon the Law, we must 
find in Christ Himself the sin-offering in which 
we are to share, if we desire to partake of the 
foigiveness and holiness of the Gospel. 

Ver. 14. Israel still claimed to be the people 
of God, and Jerusalem was outwardly His 
dwelling-place. But God had already quitted it. 
Jerusalem, with its temple and rites — all were 
condemned. Here, therefore, we have no con- 
tinuing city, no material temple, no imperfect 
sacrifice; but the cross and Christ and heaven 
the antitype of them all. 

Ver. 15. Meanwhile our sacrifice or peace- 
offering is praise; 'the perpetual offering,' as 
even Jews described it, ' which is never to cease ' 
—the fruit, *the calves,' of lips that are ever 
giving thanks to His name. Praise, continuous 
praise, is the fitting recognition of an abiding 
Saviour and an unending salvation. 

Ver. 16. Nor is that all : there must be also the 
further sacrifice of a beneficent and generous life ; 
for with such sacrifices — ' well-doing ' and fellow- 
.ship in love, in service, and in gifts — God is well 

f>leased. A life of cheerful thankfulness, of cease- 
ess well-doing, of ready participation with others 
in the giAs God has entrusted to us — these are the 
offerings of the Gospel ; the one great sin-offering 
of our Xord possessing ceaseless power. 

Ver. 17, etc Having referi td to deceased leaden 
and to their sted£utness, the writer is natmaUy 
led to speak of the dajnger of apostatiring to 
Judaism ; he therefore exhorts them to oome com- 
pletely oot of it and bokily follow Christ He 
now returns to their leaders. Obey (^ve^ and 
keep giving, the obedience which springs fiom 
trust in them, and from the persuasion that their 
rule is right) your leaden, and mhoiit ycmiMlYit 
(to their reproof and adimonition, even to their 
authority) ; and this rule he enforces by a delicate 
reference to the leaders' responsibility ; for it is 
their duty and their right to watch over and in 
the interest of your souls, free alike from indo- 
lence and from false security, as ha^iiig to give 
account, that they may do tiiia wo^ (of watdi- 
ing) with joy, and not mourning (literally 'groan- 
ing ') over it or you ; for, if it is a grief to them, the 
loss will be yours ; that is nnprofitable for yoo. 

Ver. 18. The writer now speaks of himylf and 
of his colleagues, all watchers over them, and asks 
the prayers of his readers, as Paul does in all his 
Epistles. Pray f or na, for we are pemiaded (the 
perfect tense, ' we trust,' gives place to the present 
passive) that we have a good oonadenoe. He 
was conscious of no evil. He had exhorted them, 
rebuked them, and instructed them. He had also 
suffered. And he felt he was blameless in aU. 
1 he feeling, however, may be a delusion ; and yet 
it rests on the teaching of God's Word, and is 
confirmed by God's blessing and by our hi^^ier 
consciousness — that we are really dealing (striv* 
ing, having a will) to behave^ to live, honoorably 
in all thmge. llie Greek words for *a good 
conscience and 'honourably,' are forms of the same 
word, and express the beauty, the nobleness of 
goodness. To live a good and noble life in all 
things is an earnest purpose, and the conscience 
which affirms this is our purpose, is itself worthy of 
the life we desire to live ; not blind or perverted, 
but noble and true. His life and his teaching had 
probably both been subjects of distrust among the 
Hebrews. Paul's gospel, which this Epistle 
certainly represents, was still in disrepute. He 
therefore asks their prayers as helpful both to 
himself and to themselves. 

Ver. 19. And I beseech you the more exceed- 
ingly (earnestly) to do this, i,e, to pray for us 
(comp. Philem. 22), that I may be reetored to yon 
the sooner. This language agrees remarkably 
with the deep affection Paul cherished for the 
Hebrew Church at Jerusalem, a Church he visited 
many times. 

Vers. 20y 21. To this desire for their prayers is 
added his own benediction, as in Paul's Ej^istles 
generally (i Thess. v. 23, etc.). Now the God of 
peace — a common title of God in Paul's Epistles, 
used in different connections, and probably with 
different meanings. Here it b specially appro- 
priate ; partly because of the troubles that harassed 
and threatened them, and partly because it implies 
how completely God had been pacified and recon- 
ciled through the death of His Son, who *camc 
t)reaching peace.' God is further described, who 
^rooght again firom the dead (not too much for 
icMi and U), as one who had made full atonement 
for sin, and having paid the debt, could no longer 
be held in the bondiage of the grave. Only here 
in this Epistle is the resurrection named, probably 
as proving the completeness of Christ s worlu 
Everywhere else Christ passes from the altar to 
the Holy of Holies as priest and offering, to make 

Chap. XIII. 1-25.] 



intercession for tis. The phrase, ' from the dead/ 
coupled with what follows, ' that great Shepherd 
of tne sheep,' points to Isa. Ixiii. 1 1, where Moses, 
the shepherd of the sheep, is said to have been 
bioaght up out of the sea. Moses from the sea, 
Christ from the dead, each for his own work. — 
The givttl thcq^erd of the sheep, who had given 
His liie for them, who was great as Priest (x. 21 ), 
and great as Shepherd too. His self-sacrificing 
toMlemess, His ceaseless care, His power, His 
resources, His authority, all are included in this 
title — a fiaivourite representation of our Lord in 
aodent Art.— In the blood of the everlasting 
eofrenaat, i.e. God brought Him from the dead 
bj Tirtue of, in the power of, the blood, which 
ratified not the temporary covenant of Sinai, but 
the eternal covenant of grace. God's peace is not 
a truce for a time ; it is a permanent peace, an 
agreement for eternity. The interpretation that 
Cfnrist was made shepherd by virtue of the blood 
of the covenant is hardly scriptural. He was 
shepherd before He died. The acceptance of His 
atonement, the efficacy of His blood, was the 
condition of His resurrection. If He had not 
risen, it most have been because atonement was 
not made ; and if atonement was not made, we 
should still have been in our sins. — ^Even onr lord 
Jesos Ohrisl Here the name that is above every 
name (our ' Lord ') is given to Jesus. He who is 
the Shepherd, who dira for His sheep, who keeps 
them, feeds them, guides them, protects them, is 
abo their lord ; the Lord of their hearts as He is 
also of their creed. By His resurrection God 
aduiowledges the validity of the atonement ; by 
aooepting Christ as Lord, we make the blessings 
of it our ovm. — Perfect yoa (not the common 
word so translated. It means to complete all the 
parts, to put them in order, and fit them for use), 
make you ready, active, fit, in every good work 
to do (literally, to do out and out so as to accom- 
plish—the force of the tense) his will, doing in 
joa (the same repetition of words as in Phil. ii. i^) 
that wldeh is well-pleasing in Us sight, through 
Jesos Gluist. Whether God works through Jesus 
Christ, or whether what is well-pleasing to God is 
ifell-pleasingthrough Jesus Christ, has been much 
discussed. The former is preferable to the latter ; 
but there is no reason wny both should not be 
combined. God works in us through Him what 
is well-pleasing through Him. — To whom, ue, to 
God, the principal subject of the sentence ; to 
Htm who brought up from the dead the Lord 
Jesoa^ who can perfect us, and is working for this 
porpose. Glory and dominion are ascribed to the 
Son in Rev. L 5, 6, and perhaps in i Pet. iv. 11, 
ss they are to the Father, Phil. iv. 20, and to 
both, Kev. V. 13 ; and so it is not material to 
iHiom we refer the inscription here. But it is 
more natural to refer it to the Father, to whom 
the prajrer ispresented. 

Ver. 22. How I exhort yon, brethren, bear 
vith (in the sense of giving a patient, willing 
audience to ; see Acts xviii. 14 ; 2 Cor. xi. 4) the 
word of eshortation. The language is pN&rtly 
^wlogetic, on the ground that the writer stands 
in no close relation to his readers, and yet had not 
spared them in his warnings (cp. vi. and x. ). All 
ne had to say, however, is made as brief as pos- 
sible. — For (with deeper reasons for such forbear- 
ance, there is also the brevity of the letter itselQ 
I have written a letter (which is implied in the 
word used) in few words. This is the first time 

the writer speaks in the singular number, as it is 
the first intimation he gives that the treatise is an 
epistle. A similiar close is found in Rom. xvi. 
17, and in I Cor. xvi. 15. 

Ver. 23. Know ye (imperative rather than indi- 
cative, as a matter of joy, one of the prisoners 
whose bonds you shared in spirit is now n'ee) that 
onr brother Timothy is set at liberty (the most 
natural rendering. The word is used for entering 
on some official work. Acts xiii. 3, xv. 30 ; but a 
fuller description would have been necessary if 
that had been the meaning here) ; with whom, if 
he come shortly, I will see yon. This language 
does not prove that Paul wrote the Epistle, but it 
intimates that the readers knew the writer, and it 
is certain that no one stood in closer relation to 
Paul than Timothy, especially towards the close 
of the apostle's life (see Phil. ii. 19). 

Ver. 24. Salute all your leaders, the chief men 
among^ you, and all the saints, i.e, either of the 
Church or those Christians outside of the Church, 
whom they or their leaders might meet. They of 
Italy, i.e, those who belonged to Italy, whether 
then residing in Italy or not (comp. Acts xvii. 13). 
In these expressions there seems an intentional 
indefiniteness intended to conceal the place where 
the Epistle was written. — Grace be with you all 
(rather, Grace be with all of you ; an order of 
words that gives individuality to the message as 
well as universality). — Amen: Grace, the free 
result of Divine love ; grace which justifies and 
sanctifies and guides us ; grace which begins and 
completes our salvation ; an especially appro- 
priate ending of this Epistle, and the characteristic 
ending of each of Paul s Epistles, and of his only, 
in the New Testament. 

The only subscription that has any critical value 
is *To the Hebrews.' Variations are found in 
some MSS. ; * was written from Italy by Timothy,' 
one MS. adding * in Hebrew ; * * from Rome ' (A). 
But no argument can be based on these readings. 

lliree lessons are suggested hy the structure and 
argument of this Epistle, i. The teaching which 
distinguishes doctnne from precept, and makes 
precept the more important, is rebuked by the 
ver^ order of the Epistle itself, as in all Paul's 
Epistles. The doctrinal teaching suggests the 
form of the precepts, and supplies the strongest 
reasons for obedience. Spiritual truths on sin, 
Christ, redemption, eternal life, are largely the 
foundation and the motive-forces of practical duty. 

2. The need of a priesthood, and the fact that 
Christ is the great High Priest, superseding every 
other, all-sufficient and eternal, are essential parts 
of the Gospel. Without the recognition or the 
first, there is no adeq^uate sense of sm and of God. 
Without the recognition of the second, there is no 
pacifying of the conscience, and no free personal 
access to God as the loving Father of all who 

3. False conceptions of the Gospel and of God's 
way of peace, when based on institutions and 
teaching that are originallv Divine, are among the 
greatest hindrances to salvation, and amonc; the 
most fruitful sources of apostasy. Because Juda- 
ism was Divine, and the Jews believed it, they 
were in danger of rejecting Christ — in greater 
danger than if they had been heathens. Truth 
blended with error, God's word misunderstood and 
believed, may be as great hindrances to holiness 
and charity as heresy or unbelief. 



THIS Epistle is the first in that division of the books of the New Testament 
known by the name of the Catholic Epistles, To this division belong seven 
Epistles : the Epistle of James, the two Epistles of Peter, the three Epistles of John, 
and the Epistle of Jude. 

The term Catholic was applied by Origen in the third century to First Peter and 
First John ; but it was not until the fourth century that it was used to distinguish this 
group of Epistles. In this application we first meet with it in the Ecclesiastical 
History of Eusebius, who speaks of 'the seven Catholic Epistles' {H, £. iL 23). 
Various meanings have been attached to the term. Some regard it as synonymous 
with canonical, and as used to denote those Epistles which were universally recognised. 
Others understand the term as opposed to heretical, and as employed to denote those 
writings which agree with the doctrines of the universal church. And others think 
that, after the Gospels and the Acts were collected into one group, and the Pauline 
Epistles into another, the remaining Epistles were called catholic to denote the 
r^ffWMnrm qjc general collection of all the apostles. But all those meanings are 
defectire; tibej da not distinguish this group of Epistles ; they are as applicable to the 
other writings of the New Testament The most appropriate and approved meaning 
of the term is general^ in the sense of ciiciilar ; used to denote those Epistles which 
are addressed, not to any particular church or individual^ as the Pauline Epistles, but 
to a number of churches. It is true that the Second and Third Epistles of John 
form an exception, as they are addressed to individuals ; but they are attached to the 
larger Epistle of the same author, and may be considered as an appendix to it 
Although the tenn Catholic is given to these seven Epistles primarily to distinguish 
them from the Epistles of Paul, yet, taken in the above sense, it appropriately 
distinguishes them. Thus the Epistle of James is a catholic or circular Epistle : it is 
not addressed to any particular church or individual, but generally to the twelve 
tribes which are scattered abroad. Corresponding to this general address, the 
references in it are general, not personal ; there are no salutations appended to it, as 
is the case with many of the Epistles of Paul 

Sect. I. — ^The Author of the Epistle. 

The autfior designates himself 'James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus 
Christ' Now there are three distinguished disciples bearing the name James, i. 
James the son of Zebedee and brother of John, one of the three favoured apostles of 
our Lord a. James the son of Alphseus, called also James the Less (Mark xv. 40), 
another of the apostles. 3. James the Lord's brother, the so-called bishop of Jeru- 



salcm; unless, indeed, these two last are the same person. The question which 
meets us is : To which of these three does the authorship of this Epistle belong ? 

Some have attributed the Epistle to James the son of 2^bedee. This is stated in 
a manuscript of the old Italic version, the Codex Corbeiensis, and in the early printed 
editions of the old Syriac or Peshito, although it is doubtful whether it was originally 
in that version itself. But this opinion is now generally abandoned as opposed to 
all probability.^ James the son of Zebedee was beheaded by Herod Agrippa i., 
A.D. 44 (Acts xiL 2) ; but this is too early a date for the composition of this Epistle. 
The gospel was then scarcely propagated beyond the boundaries of Judea : there 
could hardly, at that early period, be any Jewish churches of the dispersion to which 
to write ; nor could the Christian Church be in that state of development which this 
Epistle presupposes. This, of course, proceeds on the supposition, which we shall 
afterwards prove to be correct, that this Epistle was written to Jewish Christians, and 
not to Jews generally. 

Christian tradition has pointed to James * the Lord's brother ' as the author of 
this Epistle (Eus. H, E. iL 23) ; and with this the state of the case fully accords. 
This James was permanently resident in the church of Jerusalem; he appears to 
have been its recognised head ; if not an apostle, he was at least a person of acknow- 
ledged importance among the apostles ; he presided at the Council of Jerusalem, and 
is mentioned by Paul as one of the pillars of the church (Gal ii. 9). Hence, as 
the head of the Jewish church at Jerusalem, he would have a great interest in the 
believing Jews outside of that city — * the twelve tribes who were scattered abroad,' 
could write to them with authority, and would be listened to by them with deference 
and respect 

The opinion of Roman Catholics and early Protestant commentators is that this 
James the Lord's brother is identical with the Apostle James the son of Alphaeus.* 
This opinion was not entertained by the early Church, and appears to have been first 
introduced by Jerome. According to this view, the word brother is used in an 
extended sense for cousin. The brothers of Christ are mentioned by name in the 
Gospels; they are James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas (Matt xiiL 55; Mark 
vL 3). Now two of these names, James and Joses, are elsewhere mentioned as the 
names of the sons of Mary, the wife of Clopas, who is assumed to be the same as the 
sister of the Virgin. * Now there stood at the cross of Jesus His mother, and His 
mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene ' (John xix. 25) ; and 
elsewhere we are informed that this Mary was the mother of James the Less and 
Joses (Matt xxviL 56 ; Mark xv. 40) ; and consequently these two were the cousins 
of our Lord. It is further maintained that Clopas is the same name as Alphaeus — 
these being different forms of expressing the Hebrew name in Greek characters ; and 
hence the Apostle James the son of Alphseus is the same as James the son of Clopas 
and Mary, the cousin of our Lord. We also know that this James had a brother 
named Judas; for among the apostles mention is made of 'Judas, the brother of 
James' (Acts L 13). And further, another apostle named Simon is mentioned in the 
apostolic lists, always in company with James and Judas, so that there is no improba- 
bility in supposing him to be another brother. Hence, then, the sons of Alphaeus, or 
Clopas, and Mary, the sister of the Virgin, namely James, and Joses, and Simon, and 
Judas, are regarded as identical with those bearing the same names, who are mentioned 

' This opinion has of late been ingeniously defended by the Rev. F. T. Basset in his Commentary 
on the Epistle of James. 

* See the discussion on the brothers of our Lord in a note appended to Matt. xiii. 58 m this 
Commentary. The remarks here were written independently of that note. 


as the brothers of our I^rd The names are the same, and to identify them we have 
only to suppose that the word brother is used in an extended sense so as to include 

It would occupy too much space to discuss this view. The reasoning is plausible, 
but will not bear examination ; and the objections against it are so numerous and 
great, that it may almost be considered as demonstrated that James the brother of 
our Lord, and James the son of Alphaeus, are not identical, i. In no passage of the 
New Testament is it indicated that the brothers of our Lord were only His cousins ; 
they are always called brothers, never relations ; and it is arbitrary to assume that the 
word brothers here denotes cousins, a sense which it never has in the New Testament. 
The same objection is equally strong with reference to those who are called the sisters 
of our Lord (Matt xiil 56). 2. When the brothers of our Lord are mentioned, they 
are always distinguished from the twelve apostles. Wc are expressly informed that, 
during the lifetime of Christ, His brothers did not believe on Him (John vii. 5).^ 
And after His ascension, when they became believers, and associated with the 
disciples, they are still distinguished from the twelve (Acts i. 14 ; i Cor. ix. 5). This 
could not have been the case, if two, if not three, of them had been apostles. 3. It 
is extremely doubtful if Mary the wife of Clopas was the sister of the Virgin. The 
words in John's Gospel are : * Now there stood at the cross of Jesus His mother and 
His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene * (John xix. 25). It 
is more probable that four women are here mentioned in pairs, instead of three ; and 
as we learn from the other Gospels that Salome, the mother of John, also stood at 
the cross (Matt xxvL 56 ; Mark xv. 40), the probability is that she, and not Mary 
the wife of Clopas, was the sister of our Lord's mother : John having abstained to 
mention her name, in accordance with his usual reserve in personal matters. This 
avoids the awkwardness of two sisters being called by the same name. On this', 
supposition, James the son of Alphasus was no relation to our Lord. 4. It is by no' 
means a certainty that Clopas and Alphasus are the same names. 5. It is equally 
uncertain that Judas the apostle was the brother of James, and not rather, as the 
words might have been translated more in accordance with the Greek idiom, the son 
of (an unknown) James. 6. The uncertainty is still greater with regard to the rela- 
tionship of Simon 2^1otes to James and Judas. For these reasons, then, we consider 
that the identity of James the son of Alphgeus, and James ' the Lord's brother,' must 
be relinquished.* 

But if James the Lord's brother is not identical with James the son of Alphjeus, 
who is he? On this point there are two opinions: the one, that he and the other 
brothers of our Lord were the sons of Mary and Joseph ; and the other, that they 
were the children of Joseph by a previous marriage. 

Many eminent divines suppose that James was a real brother of our Lord, being 
the son of Mary and Joseph. According to this opinion, the words brothers and 
sisters, when spoken of in connection with our Lord, are to be taken in their literal 
sense ; they being likewise the children of Mary. Such an opinion was first started 
toward the close of the fourth century by Helvidius.' It was opposed to the then 
universal tradition of the Christian Church concerning the perpetual virginity ot 

* The argument is independent of the meaning attached to the unbeluf of our Lord's brothers, 
whether it was absolute or partial. 

* This identity is asserted by Bbhop Wordsworth in his Greek Testament, and has more recently 
been defended by Dean Scott in his excellent Commentary on the Epistle of James, forming part of the 
Speaker's Commentary. 

* It is a matter of dispute whether Tcrtullian held that James was the son of Mary ami Joseph : 
his words are ambiguous. Lightfoot thinks it highly probable that he held the Hclvidian view, 

VOL. IV. 7 


Mary ; and on this account is still repugnant to the feelings of many Protestants, as 
well as of all Romanists. On the other hand, it is argued that the idea, that Mary 
should have had no other children of her own, is a mere sentiment arising from a false^ 
notion of the superior sanctity of celibacy, and that it has no foundation in the word 
of God (Luke iL 7 ; Matt. i. 25). There are, however, two positive objections against 
this opinion, i. It would appear that James is expressly called an aposde by Paul, 
when he writes : * Qther of the aposdes saw I none, save James the Lord's brother ' 
(Gal. i. 19). To this it has been replied, either that the word apostle is here used in 
an extended sense : as in the New Testament it is not confined to the twelve, but is 
applied to other distinguished disciples, as, for example, Paul and Barnabas (Acts 
xiv. 16) ; or that the restriction does not apply to the word apostles, but to the whole 
clause in the sense : Except Peter, I saw no other apostle, but I saw James the Lord's 
brother (comp. Luke iv. 25-27). 2. If Mary had children of her own, Jesus would 
not, when dying, have recommended her to the care of John (John xix. 26, 27) : an 
objection to which we have found no satisfactory solution.^ We are ignorant of the 
circumstances of the case ; but this objection cannot outweigh the greater and more 
numerous objections to the theory of identity. 

There is still a third opinion — namely, that James and the other brothers and 
sisters of our Lord were the children of Joseph by a previous marriage, and were, on 
account of this relationship, regarded as his brothers and sisters. By reason of our 
Lord's miraculous conception, they were actually no relations ; but they would be 
considered by the world as His brothers. This view was the general opinion of the 
early Greek Fathers, as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius, 
Gregory of Nyssa, and so is the one best attested by ecclesiastical tradition. It 
lessens, though it does not entirely remove, the objection arising from Jesus recomr 
mending His mother to the care of John, that is, to her nephew, instead of to her 
step-children ; and it does no violence to the general sentiment of the Church con- 
cerning the perpetual virginity of Mary. Still, however, though ably maintained by 
Bishop Lightfoot, and apparently adopted by Dean Plumptre, it has not been much 
favoured by modem divines. It has too much the appearance of a hypothesis 
invented to avoid a difficulty ; nor is there the slightest intimation in Scripture that 
Joseph had been married previous to his espousals with the Virgin. 

This James, the Lord's brother, is scarcely alluded to in the Gospels, but is 
frequently mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. He was a prominent person in 
the early church. During our Lord's lifetime it is probable that with his brothers 
he remained unbelieving (John vii. 5), but was converted by a special appearance of 
Christ to him after His resurrection (i Cor. xv. 7). From the first, owing probably 
to his high moral character and relationship to Christ, he occupied a distinguished 
position in the early church. To him Peter sent a message, on his release from 
imprisonment : * Go show these things unto James and the brethren ' (Acts xiL 7). 
He presided at the Council of Jerusalem, and pronounced the decree of the assembled 
church (Acts xv. 19). To him, as the head of the church of Jerusalem, Paul repaired 
on his last visit to that city (Acts xxi. 18). In the Epistle to the Galatians, Paul gives 
him the honourable designation of 'James the Lord's brother' (GaL i. 19); and 
along with Peter and John, he mentions him as one of the three pillars of the church 
(Gal. ii. 9). In the same Epistle we are also informed, that it was the presence of 
' certain who came from James ' which was the cause of Peter's withdrawing himself 

^ An ingemous solution is given by Dr. Bushnell in his sermon on Mary the mother of Jesus : 
' Why Jesus committed her thus to John and not to the four brothers it is not difficult to guess ; for 
John has a home as they certainly hav^ npt, and are not likely soon to have.' 


from converse with the Gentiles (Gal. ii. 21). And in the short Epistle of Jude, the 
author calls himself * Jude the brother of James' (Jude i). 

If not actually bishop of Jerusalem, it would appear from these scriptural notices 
that James at least exercised a very important influence in the mother church. He 
was the recognised head of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. When Christianity 
was chiefly confined to Jewish converts, his influence must have been almost para- 
mount And after its extension to the Gentiles, the Jewish Christians would esteem 
him to be peculiarly their apostle, as Paul was the apostle of the Gentiles ; his influ- 
ence would not be confined to Jerusalem, but would extend to all believers among 
the twelve tribes, wherever scattered. 

Nor is ecclesiastical history silent concerning this pillar of Christianity; he 
occupies a large space in the traditions of the church. Certainly the accounts that 
have reached us are mixed with fable, but still in them we can trace the character of 
the man. They all describe him as a man of the greatest moral strictness, to whom 
the epithet * the Just ' was universally applied, and aflSrm that he continued to the 
last an observer of the Mosaic law. He suffered martyrdom by the Jews, a few years 
before the commencement of the Jewish war. The accounts of his death vary. It is 
thus recorded by Josephus, in a very remarkable passage, the genuineness of which 
has without good reasons been disputed : * Ananias assembled the sanhedrim, and 
brought before them the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ, whose name was 
James, and some of his companions ; and when he had formed an accusation against 
them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned ' {Ant, xx. 9. i). Accord- 
ing to the account of Hegesippus, preserved in the history of Eusebius, James was 
cast down from the pinnacle of the temple, and stoned while he was yet alive, and 
at length put to death by a blow from a fuller's club (ZT. E. il 23). 

From all these scriptural and traditionary notices, it would appear that James was 
a man of the strictest integrity, and that he continued to the last an observer of the 
law of Moses — 'a just man according to the law.' By becoming a Christian he did 
not renounce Judaism ; he resided in Jerusalem, and continued to worship in the 
temple. He was even more than Peter the apostle of the circumcision (Gal. il 8) ; 
the sphere of his labours was restricted to the Jewish converts to Christianity. Hence, 
then, his practical relation to the Jewish law was different from that of Paul Paul 
felt himself to be dead to the law, freed from its requirements ; he probably observed 
it, but not strictly ; when it served to promote the diffusion of the gospel, he could 
become without the law to those who were without the law ; though, on other occa- 
sions, he became a Jew to the Jews that he might gain the Jews. James, on the 
other hand, did not dissever Christianity from Judaism ; he regarded Christianity as 
the perfection of Judaism ; he was far from wishing to impose the Jewish yoke on 
the Gentile Christians, but he saw no necessity to separate himself from the ancient 
people, or to renounce their religion. * Had not,' observes Dr. Schaff", * the influence 
of James been modified and completed by that of a Peter, and especially a Paul, 
Christianity, perhaps, would never have cast off" entirely the envelope of Judaism and 
risen to mdependence. Yet the influence of James was necessary. He, if any, could 
gain the ancient chosen nation as a body. God placed such a representative of the 
purest form of Old Testament piety in the midst of the Jews to make their transition 
U> the feith of the Messiah as easy as possible, even at the eleventh hour. But when 
they refused this last messenger of peace, the divine forbearance was exhausted, and 
die fearful, long-threatened judgment broke upon them. And with this the mission of 
James was fulfilled He was not to outlive the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.' ^ 

* History oftht Afostolic Churchy vol. il p. 38. 


Sect. II. — The Readers of the Epistle. 

As the personality of the author has been the subject of much dispute, so likewise 
have been the persons to whom this Epistle was primarily addressed. They are 
designated * the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad ; ' but very different meanings 
have been attached to these words. 

Some suppose that the Epistle was addressed to Christians in general. They 
take the expression * twelve tribes ' in a figurative sense to denote * the Israel of God * 
(Gal vi. 1 6), in contrast to * Israel after the flesh* (i Cor. x. i8). But such an 
interpretation is wholly inadmissible. There is not the slightest intimation in the 
Epistle that a figurative sense is to be given to these words ; and we must beware 
of assigning a metaphorical sense to the words of Scripture when no such sense is 
indicated by the context or required by the passage. Moreover, James speaks of 
Abraham as *our father' (Jas. ii. 21), thus indicating that as a Jew he wrote to 
the Jews. 

Others suppose that the Epistle was addressed to Jews generally — to non-Christian 
as well as to Christian Jews. This is an opinion which possesses considerable 
plausibility, and has found many able supporters.* The Epistle, it is affirmed, is 
addressed * to the twelve tribes,' without any recognition of the Christian faith of 
the readers ; they are described merely according to their nationality. Besides, it 
contains various statements which can hardly apply to Christians, and can only be 
true of unconverted Jews (iL 6, 7, v. 6). But the general contents of the Epistle are 
opposed to this opinion. The readers, whoever they were, were at least professing 
Christians ; their Christianity is taken for granted. James rests his authority upon 
being *a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ' (i. i). His readers, without 
distinction, are such as God hath begotten by the word of truth, that is, the gospel 
of Christ (i. 18). He speaks of their possessing the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Lord of glory (iL i). He mentions those who blasphemed that worthy name, 
namely, the name of Christ, by which they were called (ii. 7). And he exhorts them 
to patience because of the advent of Christ : * Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto 
the coming of the Lord ' (v. 7). 

Hence, then, we conclude that this Epistle was primarily addressed to Jewish 
Christians. To this, indeed, it has been objected that there are portions in it which 
are inapplicable to Christians : the severe invectives of the writer (iil 9, iv. i, 4), and 
especially his denunciation of judgment upon the rich (v. 1-6), can only refer to 
unbelievers. But we do not know the state of moral corruption which prevailed 
among the Jewish Christians ; and certainly, if we were to judge of them by the 
conduct of many professing Christians of the present day, we would not regard those 
invectives as too strong. And with regard to the attack upon the rich in the fifth 
chapter, it is so worded that it may be regarded as an apostrophe addressed to rich 
unbelievers — the proud oppressors of the Jewish Christians ; though it is not impos- 
sible that there existed in the Christian Church rich professors to whom these words 
of stem reproof were not inapplicable. 

The phrase * twelve tribes ' was a usual appellation of Jews in general. Thus Paul, 
in his speech before Agrippa, says : * Unto which promise our twelve tribes hope to 
attain * (Acts xxvi. 7). The twelve tribes were now mixed together, and formed the 

^ The opinion advocated by Basset, and necessary for his theory of the authorship of James the soi> 


nation of the Jews. Many of the Israelites were left in their own land by their 
Assyrian conquerors, and many of them returned at the restoration from Babylon. 
The locality of these twelve tribes is contained in the addition, * who are scattered 
abroad.^ They were the Jews of the dispersion — ^Jews resident beyond the boundaries 
of Palestine. In almost every country at that time Jews of the dispersion were found ; 
but there were especially two great dispersions — the Babylonian and the Greek. The 
Epistle being written in Greek, it would seem that the Greek dispersion (John viL 35) 
was primarily intended. Accordingly the persons to whom it was addressed would 
be such as had passed over to Christianity from among those who are called Hellenists 
or Grecians in the Acts of the Apostles, ue. Christian Jews who resided out of 
Palestine and who spoke the Greek language. The churches addressed were in all 
probability those in the countries in the closest proximity to Judea, namely, Phenicia, 
Syria, Cilicia, and Proconsular Asia. The members of these churches were, it is 
supposed, chiefly composed of Jewish Christians ; not like those churches founded by 
Paul, which were chiefly composed of Gentile Christians. 

The condition of those Christian Jews of the dispersion, as described in the 
Epistle, was such as to excite great anxiety and concern. They were exposed to 
manifold trials ; their members were in general poor \ and they were dragged by their 
rich oppressors before the judgment-seat (ii. 6). But it would appear that they did 
not bear their trials with Christian patience. Instead of trust in God, they gave way 
to doubt, and thus became double-minded, with their affections divided between God 
and the world. On account of their trials, they were strongly tempted to apostasy, to 
renounce their Christianity, and to relapse into their former Judaism. They carried 
the spirit of Jewish covetousness with them into the Christian Church, and were 
eagerly desirous of earthly riches ; looked upon poverty as a crime ; showed even in 
their religious assemblies an obsequious attention to the rich ; and by their actions 
declared that they preferred the friendship of the world to the friendship of God. 
This worldly spirit was the occasit)n of bitter strife among themselves ; and especially 
there was a wide breach among them between the rich and the poor. Their religion 
had degenerated into a mere formal observance of certain religious ceremonies ; they 
trusted to their privileges, both as Jews and Christians, without giving due attention 
to holiness of life ; and they rested on their Christian faith, although divorced from 
good works. Of course we are not to suppose that all were thus estranged from 
the Christian life; but even they who preserved their Christianity purest were 
living in the midst of temptation, and required to be admonished and encouraged 
to perseverance. 

Sect. III. — Place and Time of Writing. 

With regard to the place of composition, there is hardly any difference of opinion. 
Thb was undoubtedly Jerusalem, where James usually resided, and which was the 
proper centre for an epistle addressed to Jewish Christians to issue from. In this 
Epistle the mother church addresses her oflspring. *The local colouring of the 
Epistle,' as Dean Plumptre remarks, * indicates with sufficient clearness where the 
writer lived. He speaks, as the prophets of Israel had done, of the early and latter 
rain (v. 7); the hot blast of the kausdn or simoom of the desert (i. 11) ; the brackish 
springs of the hills of Judah and Benjamin (iii. 1 1) ; the figs, the olives, and the vines 
with which those hills were clothed (iii. 12) : all these form part of the surroundings 
of the writer. Storms and tempests, such as might have been seen on the Sea 
of Galilee, or in visits to Casarea or Joppa, and the power of man to guide the 


great ships safely through them, have at some time or other been familiar to him ' 
(ill. 4).i 

The fime of composition, on the other hand, is a matter of greater difficulty, and 
has given rise to a variety of opinions. Assuming the correctness of our view regard- 
ing the author of the Epistle, it was evidently written on or before the year 63, when 
James was martyred. But it may be disputed whether it was written before or after 
Paul's publication of the doctrine of justification without the works of the law. Those 
who suppose that the object of this Epistle was to correct the perversions of Paul's 
views must assign a later date, not long before the death of James ; whereas those 
who think that James makes no reference to Paul's views, but refers only to errors 
which he knew to be then prevalent among the Jewish Christians, may assign a much 
earlier date, though not necessitated to do so. 

Some suppose that the Epistle contains a designed refutation of certain perversions 
of Paul's doctrine of justification, that doctrine having been apprehended as implying 
that faith was all that was necessary for salvation, and that works or acts of holy 
obedience were unnecessary. They think that the very terms employed by James — 
justification, faith, and works — point to a Pauline origin, and are a proof that Paul's 
doctrine was already published and perverted among those Jewish Christians to whom 
James wrote. James, it is said, expresses himself with evident reference to the 
conclusion which Paul arrived at (Jas. ii. 24; Rom. iii. 28). The example of 
Abraham's justification is adduced by both Paul and James, as an illustration of 
their respective views (Jas. iL 21 ; Rom. iv. 1-3). And various expressions in this 
Epistle are considered to be allusions to similar expressions in Paul's Epistles. The 
relation of James* doctrine of justification to that of Paul's will be considered when 
we come to the exposition of the Epistle. Meanwhile we would only remark that it 
is not necessary to suppose that James was acquainted with Paul's doctrine, or that 
he had read his Epistles. The supposed allusions to the Pauline Epistles are vague 
and not numerous. There is no necessity to suppose that the ideas of justification, 
faith, and works, were only Pauline ideas ; they might have been prevalent in the 
Christian church, as expressions of its belief; and, indeed, they were not unknown 
among the Jews. The reference to Abraham's justification would be natural to any 
Jewish writer in discussing the relation of faith to justification, for it is one of the few 
instances in the Old Testament where faith is mentioned in such a relation. What 
James combats may have been, not any perversion of Pauline views, but the old 
opinion of the Pharisees introduced into the Christian church, that mere external 
privileges, an orthodox creed, and the performance of certain outward religious services, 
would ensure salvation, independently of a holy life. 

We are therefore inclined to agree with those who would assign the date of this 
Epistle to a period prior to the promulgation of the Pauline doctrine of justification : 
indeed to suppose it possible that it may have been written even before the Council 
of Jerusalem. There is in it no allusion to Gentile Christians, as if Christianity was 
then chiefly restricted to the Jews ; nor is there any mention of those divisions which 
arose, in consequence of the numerous conversions of the Gentiles, between Jewish 
and Gentile Christians concerning the validity of the Mosaic law. This can easily be 
accounted for on the supposition that such divisions had not then arisen, and that 
Jewish Christianity was then predominant. At an early period, when the gospel had 
only commenced to be preached to the Gentiles, when Paul and Barnabas had only 
set out on their first missionary journey, most of the Christian Churches must have 
been composed of Jewish Christians, who would be identical with those Jews of the 

* The local colouring of the Epistle is also adverted to by Hug in his Introduction, vol. ii. sec. cxlviO. 


dispersion beyond Judea, to whom James wrote. ^ We read that, in consequence 
of the persecution that arose about Stephen, those that were scattered abroad 
travelled as far as Phenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but 
to the Jews only (Acts xi. 19). Afterwards, in consequence of the conversion of 
the Gentiles, the Jewish element would be swallowed up, and beyond Palestine there 
is no mention of Jewish Christian churches, although it is not improbable that some 
of Aem may have existed in Syria and Babylonia. Although we can attain to no 
certiadnty on this point, yet an early date is more probable than a late one, and on 
this supposition we would assign the composition of this Epistle to somewhere 
between the years 45 and 50. In that case, this Epistle is one of the earliest, if not 
fte veiy earliest, of the books of the New Testament. 

Sect. IV. — Design of the Epistle. 

The design of the Epistle has already been indicated in considering the condition 
of the readers. It was to correct certain errors in practice into which the Jewish 
Christians had fallen, to warn them against apostasy, and to establish them in the 
feith amid the temptations to which they were exposed. It is observable that the 
faults which James censures are such as we know then prevailed among the Jews. 
The Jewish Christians, when they embraced Christianity, had not divested themselves 
of their Jewish character ; their old nature was not thus so easily laid aside. Thus 
James reproves them for their covetousness — their eager desire to buy and sell and 
ffst gain (iv. 13) ; for their formalism — ^relying on their belief in the unity of God, the 
great article of the Jewish religion, without a corresponding practice (iii. 19); for 
Aeir oppression — ^the rich refusing to pay the labourers their hire (v. 4) ; for their 
meanness, their sycophancy toward the rich (ii 3) ; for their falsehood, their disregard 
of oaths (v. 12) ; and for their fatalism, laying the blame of their faults upon God 

(i. 13). 

The design of this Epistle is ethical, not doctrinal. James does not, like Paul, 
insist upon or develop the peculiar doctrines of Christianity; he supposes them 
known, and he builds upon them practical Christianity. He dwells upon the govern- 
ment of the tongue, the sin of worldliness, the observance of the moral law ; in short, 
the utter worthlessness of faith without works : he inculcates the principle of that 
pure and imdefiled worship which consists in doing good to others, and in keeping 
ourselves pure in the world (L 27). Hence there is in the Epistle a comparative 
want of Christian doctrine. James does not insist on the atonement, the resurrection 
and ascension of Christ, and the work of the Spirit. Our Lord's sufferings are hardly 
alluded to : even the name of our Saviour occurs only twice (i. i, il i). On the 
other hand, there is nothing in the Epistle at variance with the exalted and divine 
nature of Christ, but rather the reverse. James calls himself * the servant of God and 
of the Lord Jesus Christ' (L i), thus maintaining a unity between God and Christ; 
he speaks of Him as the Lord of glory (ii. i), exalted above all human power and 
dignity ; he adverts to the coming of the Lord (v. 7, 8), and evidently designates 
Him as the Judge of the world (v. 8, 9). At the same time, even when James touches 

' Pr. Erdmann supposes that the Epistle was written even before the formation of the Gentile 
church at Antioch, when consequently almost all the Christians would be Jews and Jewish converts. 
These churches of the dispersion would necessarily be closely connected with the church of 
Jerosalem, over which James presided, so that he may be considered as having a pastoral oversight 
over them. 


on doctrine, it is not for the sake of the doctrine, but always with reference to 
practice. Thus he speaks of justification, in order to show the inseparable connection 
between faith and holiness. The Epistle, in its purely ethical tendency, bears a very 
close resemblance to the Sermon on the Mount : many of the precepts and illustra- 
tions are the same as those found in that greatest of discourses.^ Not that the writer 
of this Epistle saw the Gospel of Matthew ; but the words of Jesus, orally repeated 
before any Gospel was written, were impressed upon his memory, and influenced his 

The style of this Epistle is very marked and original ; it bears no resemblance to 
any other writing in the New Testament ; the nearest approach to it in sententious 
sentiments and detached maxims is the Book of Proverbs. There is a great freshness 
and vividness about it ; the writer is rich in illustrations, which are always appropriate 
and impressive. There is a directness in his address ; the persons whom he addresses 
are brought forward, and spoken to, as if they were present. In his animadversions 
he uses strong expressions; his stem sense of duty gives rise to a great severity 
in his rebukes ; he is full of zeal and moral indignation at all iniquity ; he does 
not spare the faults of those to whom he writes ; and his denunciations often 
resemble the indignant reproaches of the Old Testament prophets. To him no 
faith, no profession, no assertion is of any value unless accompanied with holiness 
of life. 

It is not easy to give a connected statement of the train of thought in this Epistle. 
There is no logical connection, as in the Epistles of Paul ; the sentences are often 
detached, and do not follow one another in a regular order. James commences his 
Epistle by alluding to the trials to which his readers were exposed ; these, if patiently 
endured, were to be to them a source of joy, and were an occasion of blessedness ; 
but they must beware of attributing their yielding to temptation to God, for He is the 
source of all good and not of evil ; more especially it was of His goodness that they 
were bom again by the gospel. It becomes them to be diligent hearers of the 
gospel, in order that they might reduce to practice its precepts. Religion does not 
consist in the performance of ceremonies, but in active benevolence and personal 
purity (Jas. i.). They must not envy the rich, nor despise the poor, but practise 
their religion without respect of persons. The royal law of love teaches them to 
love their neighbour as themselves. Faith without love, showing itself in acts of 
benevolence, is dead. Such a faith, if it hath not works, cannot justify. To no 
purpose do they believe in God, unless their faith is accompanied with holiness of 
life (Jas. ii.). Especially must they cultivate that branch of holiness which consists 
in the government of the tongue ; this will require their utmost care ; they must 
avoid all strife and bitter envy, and cultivate that heavenly wisdom which is pure and 
peaceable ; the result of holiness is not contention, but peace (Jas. iii.). On the 
other hand, all their fightings and strifes arise from those sinful lusts which 
within them ; these they must overcome ; they must resist the devil ; they must 
cleanse their hands and purify their hearts; they must humble themselves before 

* The following is a list of parallelisms as given by Huther ; — 

Jas. i. 2 compared with Matt. v. 10-12. i Jas. iii. 17, 18 compared with Matt. v. 9. 

„ iv. 10 „ „ V. 3, 4. 

i. 4 „ „ V. 48. 

i. 5.V. 15 „ „ vii. 7-12. 

i. 9 II »i V- 3. 

i. 20 .. „ V. 22. 

ti *• *" It i> 


ii. 13 II II ^'i- »4, IS. V- 7. 

ii. 14-16 „ „ vii. 21-23. 

fi IV. II „ ,, vii. I, 2. 

II V. 2 „ ,, vi. 19. 

II V. 10 „ „ V. 12. 

I. V. 12 „ „ V. 33-37. 


God, and not judge one another. Religion is also trust in God ; in everything it 
behoves them to exercise dependence on God, and to acknowledge Him even in 
their worldly undertakings (Jas. iv.). The rich are especially warned, in a stern 
apostrophe, of their oppressions and wantonness ; whilst those suffering from their 
oppressions are exhorted to patient waiting for the coming of the Lord ; they are to 
take the prophets for examples of patient endurance of sufferings. In all things, and 
in every condition, they must abound in prayer, and seek to reclaim their erring 
brethren, for in so doing they would hide a multitude of sins (Jas. v.). 

Sect. V. — The Authenticity of the Epistle. 

The Epistle of James did not receive the same speedy and general acceptance as 
the Epistles of Paul The testimonies in its favour among the ancient fathers are 
comparatively few. Eusebius classes it among the disputed epistles {H, E, iii. 25) ; 
and it did not receive universal acceptance until the close of the fourth century. It 
is well known that at the Reformation its authority was disputed, and that Luther, 
from subjective reasons, viewed it in an unfavourable light. 

The reasons of this dubiety with regard to the authenticity of this Epistle are 
easily accounted for. There was a certain doubtfulness as to its author. James 
the Lord's brother, to whom it was generally ascribed, although a person of great 
importance in the early church, was not an apostle, and hence he was regarded as 
inferior to most of the other writers of the New Testament The Epistle was primarily 
addressed to the Jewish Christians, and thus would for some time be confined to a 
narrow circle of readers ; and, besides, there was in the early ages a prejudice among 
the Gentile Christians against their Jewish brethren. Most of the peculiar doctrines 
of Christianity were omitted in the Epistle, and hence it was regarded as of inferior 
importance to those epistles which contained a development of Christian doctrine ; 
it was -considered to belong rather to the law than to the gospel. And especially 
the statements in it appeared to be opposed to the teaching of Paul. These circum- 
stances hindered the general recognition of this Epistle ; but, as has been remarked, 
' so much the more valuable are those recognitions of its genuineness and canonicity 
which we do meet with.' 

Still, however, this Epistle is not without external testimonies in its favour.^ 
There are probable allusions to it in the writings of the fathers Clemens Romanus, 
Hermas, Irenaeus, and Tertullian, in the second century. Origen, in the third 
century, is the first who ascribes it to James ; he speaks of it as the Epistle attributed 
to James. But the chief external testimony in its favour is that it is inserted in the 
Peshito or early Syriac translation, made in the middle of the second century, although 
that translation omits some other books of Scripture (2 Pet, 2 and 3 John, and 
Jude). The Syriac church was in the best position to judge of its authenticity. It 
was especially to the Jewish churches in Syria that this Epistle was addressed ; and, 
therefore, its being recognised by the Syriac church is a strong proof in its favour. 

The internal evidence is even stronger than the external If it were a forgery, the 
author would not be described merely as * James, the servant of God.' Other titles 
would be attached to his name, as * James the Lord's brother,' in order to pave 

^ It has been plausibly asserted that the earliest testimony in favour of the Epistle of James is the 
references to it in I Peter. Comp. I Pet i. 6, 7 with Jas. i. 2, 3 ; I Pet. i. 24 with Jas. L 10; 
I Pet ii. I, 2 with Jas. i. 21 ; I Pet iv, 8 with Jas. v. 20 ; I Pet. v. 5, 6 with Jas. iv. 6, 10 ; i Pet 
V. 8, 9 with Jas. iv. 7. 


the way for the reception of the writing by the authority of the name of its author. 
The difference between it and the non-apostolic writings is immense, and its undis- 
puted superiority is an argument in its favour. But, further, it is precisely such a 
letter as one would expect, considering the l^al strictness of James, and the 
national feelings and temptations of the Jewish Christians. It is at once severe 
and indignant at sin, and earnest in the inculcation of practical religion, as we 
would expect in any utterance of James, the Just; and it reproves covetousness, 
worldliness, and Pharisaical formality, the prevalent faults in a community of Jewish 
Christians; for these were, even in the apostolic age, the prominent sins of the 
Jewish race. 



Chapter I. 1-18. 

On Temptations. 

1 T AMES, 'a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to «g^j|-/.' 
J the twelve tribes which are * scattered abroad,* ^ greeting. ^^^'^J '351 

2 My brethren, ^ count it all joy when ye fall into divers ^ \^'J;; \^ 

3 temptations; knowing /Atr," that 'the trying* of your faith ^J?*^^'^;-^ 

4 worketh patience.* But let patience * have her * perfect work, 

5 -^that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.* If any /^at. v. 48. 
of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, ^that giveth to all *Matvii.7. 
men liberally,' and upbraideth not ; and it shall be given him. 

6 But let him *ask in faith, 'nothing wavering :• for he that *m*l xjoj^m. 
wavereth ' is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and 

7 tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any 

8 thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is ** unstable in all 

9 his ways. Let *the brother of low degree" rejoice in that he *J*^•J^3;^ 
ID is exalted ; " but the rich, in that he is made low : " ' because '^^^^'^l; 

1 1 as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is 

no sooner risen ** '"with a burning heat," but it withereth ^* the wMat. « w. 
grass, and the flower thereof falleth," and the grace of the 
fashion of it perisheth : '* so also shall the rich man fade away 

12 in his ways. * Blessed is the man that ** endureth temptation : «Mat. v. to; 

* Job T. 17. 

for when he is tried," he shall receive ^ the crown of life, which »J\''- "• 

13 the Lord "• hath promised to them that love him. Let no man « Tim. iV. 8 
say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God : for God 
cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. 

14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his ^own ^Rom. vii. 7. 

Mn the dispersion ^ omit this 'proof * endurance 

• a • lacking in nothing ' simply ® doubting • doubteth 

*• He is a double-minded man " who is lowly 

" glory in his exaltation " in his humiliation " For the sun arose 

" with its heat ^* and withered " fell 

'* perished 1* approved ^ He {the best authorities omit the Lord) 


I S lust," and enticed. Then, when lust hath conceived, it bringeth 

forth sin ; and sin, when it is finished, ''bringeth forth" death. rR0m.v1.a3. 

16,17 'Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and '«Cor. vi.^, 
every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down " from 
the Father of lights, ' with whom is no variableness, neither / 1 ja l $. 

18 shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us "with the «iPet.i.a> 
word of truth, that we should be a kind of "first-fruits of his trRo«.yiu. 

' »i-«3; Rev. 

creatures. **^- *• 

** by his own lust 

«* begettcth 

** coming down 

Contents. James, after saluting his readers, 
commences his Epistle by adverting to those trials 
to which they were exposed : these, if patiently 
endured, would confirm and strengthen them in 
the faith ; and, as they were placed in trying cir- 
cumstances, he admonishes them to ask, without 
doubting, wisdom from God. If, on the one 
hand, they successfully overcame those tempta- 
tions to which their trials exposed them, they 
would receive the crown of life which the Lord 
had promised to them that love Him ; but if, on 
the other hand, they were overcome, they must 
beware of attributing their sins, which arose from 
their own wicked desires, to God who is the 
Author, not of evil, but of good ; and especially 
it was of His pure coodness that they were born 
again by the word ottruth. 

Ver. I. Jamee: the same name as the Hebrew 
Jacob. The James who is the author of this Epistle 
18 the Lord's brother, known in ecclesiastical his- 
tory as the bishop of Jerusalem, and was either a son 
of Mary and Joseph, or a son of Joseph by a previous 
marriage (see Introduction, sec. i). — a servant, 
literally a bondman or a slave ; the word denotes 
absolute subjection, but we must not associate 
with it the degradation and involuntary compulsion 
attached to our conception of slavery. A certain 
undefined ministerial office is perhaps implied ; 
but the phrase, 'a ser\-ant of Christ/ has become 
a popular term, belonging not only to all the 
office-bearers of the Church, but to all Christians 
(I Pet. ii. 16). We are all the servants of Jesus 
Christ, bound to obey His commands, and to 
devote ourselves to His service. Some suppose 
that it is a proof that James was not an apostle, 
l)ecause he calls himself only * a servant of God 
and of the Lord Jesus Christ ; ' but this supposi- 
tion cannot be maintained, as Paul gives himself 
the same appellation in the Epistle to the Philip- 
pians (Phil. i. i). — of Ood and of the Lord Jesus 
Christ. Only in another place in this Epistle does 
James mention our Lord by name (chap. ii. i), 
though elsewhere he alludes to Him (chap. v. 7, 
14, 15). — to the twelve tribes, a common desig- 
nation of the Israelites (Acts xxvi. 7). The twelve 
tribes were now mingled together, and formed the 
nation of the Jews. The name Israel was, how- 
ever, still retained as being the covenant people of 
God ; to Israel, and not specifically to the Tews, 
were the promises made (Rom ix. 4). — whien are 
scattered abroad, or more exactly, 'that are in 
the dispersion.' The Dispersion, or the Diaspora, 
was the name given to those Jews or Israelites 
who resided in foreign lands beyond the boun- 
daries of Palestine. This Epistle was not written 

primarily to the Gentile Christians, or to the 
Jews generally, but to the Christian Tews of the 
dispersion — to those who are elsewhere odled 
Hellenists (see Introduction, sec. 2). The Jews 
were everywhere 'scattered abroad.' Josephus 
says that it was not easy to find an eminent place 
in the whole world where the Jews did not reside; 
and the same observation holds good in the present 
day. — greeting, or * wishes joy. The usual Greek 
form of salutation. It is found at the commence- 
ment of no other apostolic Epistle, but occurs in 
the Epistle drawn up by James, addressed to tlw 
Gentile churches, at the council of Jerusalem 
(Acts XV. 23), over which James seems to have 

Ver. 2. My brethren: the constant form of 
address in this EpisUe ; his readers were his 
brethren, both on account of their nationality and 
of their Christian faith ; both in the flesh and in 
the Lord.— count it all Joy, that is, complete or 
pure joy — a joy which excludes trouble and 
sorrow. Some suppose a reference here to the 
greeting of James, wherein he wishes his readers 
joy. — when ye fall into, when ye become unex- 
pectedly surrounded or encompassed by. The 
idea of surprise is here to be taken into account. 
Trials are not to be sought for or rushed into; 
believers fall into them. — divexa temptatioiia. 
The adjective 'divers' does not indicate the 
different sources from which the temptations pro- 
ceed, but rather the different forms which they 
assume. Temptations are generally regarded in 
two points of view — enticements to sin, and trials 
or tests of character ; here it is evident that they 
are chiefly regarded in the latter point of view, 
though the former is not excluded (see note to 
ver. 13). They are outward trials as contrasted 
with inward temptations to evil. St. Tames may 
primarily allude to those trials to which, in the 
form of persecution, the Jewish Christians were 
exposed from their unbelieving countrymen; but 
the epithet 'divers' would appear to include 
temptations or trials of all kinds. It is not the 
mere falling into trials that is the cause of joy ; 
but the beneficial effects which result from them, 
as is evident from the verse which follows. 

Ver. 3. Knowing this— being well assured of 
the fact, the reason or ground of the joy. — that 
the trying. These temptations are regarded as 
the tests or proofs of faith, and in this consists 
their value. By them faith is being tested as eold 
in the furnace, and is thus recognis^ and purified. 
— of your faith : of your firm confidence and 
trust in the Gospel. Faith here is not used ob- 
jectively for the doctrines of Christianity; but 

Chap. I. 1-18.] 



subjectively for our personal persuasion of the truth 
of the Gospel.— worketb, produceth, patience. 
By patience here b not meant so much freedom 
from murmuring and repining, as endurance — 
sted fastness or perseverance in the faith of the 
Gospel under these temptations. The Jewish 
Chnstians by their trials were tempted to aposta- 
tize^ from Christianity. A period of trial is a 
period of testing ; the true metal is purified, not 
consumed. Thc«e who are true believers stand 
the trial ; the trying of their faith produceth en- 
durance. Those who are not true believers fall 
away; 'in time of temptation,* says our Lord, 
•th^ fall away ' (Luke viii. 13). With respect to 
joy in temptation, because it produceth patience, 
compare the language of St. Paul : ' We glory in 
tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh 
patience (endurance), and patience experience 
(approval),' (Rom. v. 3, 4). 

Ver. 4. Bat let patience, or endurance, have 
her pttfeot — not only in the sense of enduring to 
the Old, bat of completeness — work. Patience is 
not merely a passive but an active virtue ; there 
is' a work of patience, yea a perfect work. And 
this work consists in the purification of the soul — 
in refining and ennobling our moral character. 
Patience under trials has pre-eminently a sancti- 
fying tendency. The most perfect Christians are 
not the most active, but the most enduring ; not 
so mach in the bustle of the world is the work of 
grace carried on, as in the quietness of the sick- 
chamber. God proves His people in the furnace 
of affliction. He purj;es the fruitful branches 
that they may bear more fruit (John xv. 2). — 
tliat ye may be perfect ' I'he work of God in 
a man,' as Dean Alford observes, ' is the man. 
If God's teaching by patience have had a perfect 
work in you, jwu are perfect.' Of course by this 
cannot be meant absolute perfection ; the word 
denotes maturity in grace, not absolute but 
rdative holiness. — and entire. Perfect and 
entire are almost synonymous terms ; perfect 
denotes that which has attained to its maturity, 
entire that which is complete in all its parts. 
Compare Acts iii. 16.— wanting nothing— or < in 
Botlung lacking,' a negative expression for the 
sake of strengthening these two positive attributes 
—perfect and entire. 

Ver. 5. If. The connection of this verse with 
the preceding b not very obvious. It may be as 
Iblkms : You may by your trials be thrown into a 
state of perplexity ; you may want wisdom ; if 
so, ask It of God.— any of yon lack wisdom, 
pcarhaps suggested by the previous expression 
* wanting or lacking nothing, the verb in both 
veises bong the same in the Greek. By wisdom 
here may be primarily meant wisdom or prudence 
in the present trying circumstances of the Jewish 
Chrirtians ; wisdom to bear their afflictions well. 
Bttt the word is not to be confined to this ; it denotes 
spiritual wisdom in general, not mere human wisdom 
or learning, but that ' wisdom which cometh from 
above,' and which is an essential foundation of 
Christian conduct James, in writing to Jewish 
oonTerts, might well sup[)ose them acquainted 
from thdr sacred books with the true nature of 
wisdom, which was regarded by them as almost 
synonymous with religion. Wisdom was especially 
necessary to Christians in their temptations, to con- 
vert them from being incitements to sin to be 
occasions of Christian perfection. — ^let him ask 
of God ibttt glTeth, or more literally, ' of God, 

the Giver.'— to all men liberally. The word 
rendered * liberally' denotes simply, with sim- 
plicity, and intimates either that God gives from 
the pure love of giving, or without exacting any 
conaitions. God docs not give as man does, 
grudginglyand restricting His gills, but simply, that 
is, freely and graciously. — and npbraideth not: 
without reproaches. Not as man who upbraids the 
petitioner on account of his unworthincss, or of 
his past misconduct, or of his abuse of fonner 
gifts. God in His giving upbraideih not ; He 
does not reproach us with our past faults. * After 
thou hast given,' says the wise son of Sirach, 'do 
not upbraid ' (Sirach xli. 22).— and it shall be 
given him, namely, wisdom, the object of his 
request (comp. i Kings iii. 9-12). 

Ver. 6. But, as an essential prerequisite to our 
obtaining an answer to our prayers. — let him ask 
in faith ; that is, not believing that God will give 
us the precise thing that we ask, for we may ask 
for what is pernicious to us, but believing that 
God hears prayer. The object of prayer is here 
presupposed, namely, wisdom ; and this we may 
ask without limitation, as it is a blessing which is 
always pro))er for God to give, and fit for us to 
receive. — nothing wavering, or more simply and 
correctly, ' doubting nothing.' It is the same ex- 
pression as occurs in Acts x. 20 in the address of 
the Spirit to Peter : * Arise, get thee down and go 
with them, doubting nothing, fori have sent them.' 
Here the expression means *not doubting that 
God hears prayer.' The nature of this doubting 
is well stated by Huther in his excellent com* 
mentary : *To doubt is not equivalent to "dis- 
believe," but includes in it the essential character of 
unbelief; whilst faith says **yes," and unbelief 
"no," to doubt is the conjuction of "yes" and 
**no," but so that "no" has the preponderance ; 
it is an internal wavering whicn leans not to 
faith, but to unbelief.'— For he that wavereth, 
or doubteth, is like a wave of the sea : there is in 
the original no play upon words, as in our 
English Version. — driven of the wind and 
toesed. These terms are synonymous, and do 
not, as some think, refer to outward and inward 
temptations (Erdmann). The figure which St. 
James employs is striking. The mind of the 
doubter is unsteady and wavering ; like a wave, 
sometimes advancing and sometimes receding; 
there is wanting rest and calmness. It is in still- 
ness that God communicates His grace ; unrest is 
adverse to His operations. 

Ver. 7. For let not that man, namely, the 
doubter, think. This warning supposes that 
the doubter fancies that he will receive an 
answer to his prayers ; but it is a vain delusion : 
his expectations will be disappointed. — that he 
shall receiye anything of the Lord. By the 
Lord is here meant not Christ, but God. James, 
as the Septuagint does, here uses the term as 
eouivalent to Jehovah. This is the usual meaning 
of^ the term in this Epistle ; it is applied to Christ 
only in v. 7, 14, 15. In the Epistles of the 
other apostles the term ' Lord ' generally denotes 

Ver. 8. In this verse it is to be observed that 
the word ' is ' is in italics, and therefore is not in 
the original. The verse ought to be translated : 
' He,' that is, the doubter, 'is a double-minded man, 
unstable in all his ways.' — a donUe-minded man 
— literally, a two-souled man. Double-minded- 
ness is here used not in the sense of duplicity, but 



of dubious n ess and indedsioa — a man whose 
affections are divided between God and the world, 
or between foith and unbelief, who has, as it were, 
two minds — the one directed to God, and the 
other to the world. The man is not a hjrpocrite ; 
he is a wavcrer in his religion. — is onstaUe in 
■11 his wayi. This necessarily arises from his 
double-mindedness. Where there is a want of 
unity in the internal life, it is also wanting in the 
external life (Huther). The man b actuated 
sometimes by one impulse, and sometimes by 
^nother; and thus will be perpetually running 
into inconsistencies of conduct He wants deci- 
sion of character. On such a man there is no 
dependence ; he has no fixedness of purpose, and 
is destitute of that holy earnestness that adds 
dignity to the character. 

Ver. 9. The meaning of this and of the 
foUowingverse has been much disputed.— Let The 
connection with the preceding is not obvious. It 
appears to be thb : We must avoid all doubting 
of God in prayer, all double-mindedness; we 
must exercise confidence in Him, and realize His 
CTadous dealings in all the dispensations of His 
Providence ; and, whether rich or poor, we must 
place implicit trust in Him. — the orother: here 
evidently the Christian brother, because Chris- 
tianity unites all those who embrace it into one 
holv brotherhood.~of low degree — literally, 
*who is lowly.* The word in itself does not 
necessarily involve the idea of poverty ; but here, 
where the contrast is with the rich, it must denote 
'poor* or 'afflicted*— the poor brother. The 
majority of the early Christians were from among 
the poor ; and it is probable that the unbelieving 
Tews by fines and extortions deprived their 
believing brethren of their goods. Poverty was a 
frequent form of persecution for conscience* sake. — 
rejoice in that he ii exalted— literally, * glory in 
his exaltation.* Different meanings have been 
assigned to this phrase. The usual interpreUtion 
is to refer it to spiritual exaltation : Let the poor 
brother rejoice in the dignity and gloiv whidi as 
a Christian he possesses, in those spintual riches 
which are conferred upon him, and in the crown 
of life which is in reserve for him. He is con- 
stituted a child of God and an heir of heaven. 
Doubtless manv who were slaves in the world 
were the Lord^s freedmen. Thb dignity was a 
proper subject for glorying in, as it was conferred 
on them not because of their own merits, but 
from the Divine graciousness. May not the words, 
however, admit of a more extended and literal 
signification ? The poor are permitted to rejoice 
when they become rich, because they are thus 
possessed of greater means of usefulness, and are 
the better enabled to promote the cause of Christ. 
Voluntanr poverty b no virtue ; money may be 
redeemed from the world and deposited in the 
treasury of the Lord. 

Ver. ID. But the rich. Some suppose that by 
the rich here is meant the unbeliever ; not the rich 
brother, but the rich man ; and accordingly they 
imderstand the words either as ironical, ' Let the 
rich man rejoice in — let him glory in — what is in 
reality his shame, hb humiliation ;* or as a state- 
ment of fact, ' The rich man rejoices in hb humilia- 
tion,* in hb riches, which shall perish. But such 
a meaning appears to be forced and unnatural. 
The most natural meaning b to take the word 
' brother * as a general term, which b specified by 
the lowly and the righ, The r^ch man, then, is here 

the Christian brother. Although moat of the 
early Chrbtians were poor, yet there were several 
among them who were rich ; and to them there w e te 
addr^sed special exhortations ; as when St Paal 
says : ' Cha^ them that are rich not to trust in un- 
certain riches* (i Tim. vL 17). The word 'rejoice' 
or ' glory * has to be supplied : Let the rich brother 
glory in that he is made low : literally, ' in hb 
hunuliation. * There b here also the same diversity 
of meaning as in the former verse. It U usually 
understood of humility of spirit : ' Let the wealthy 
brother rejoice in'that lowliness of spirit which the 
Gospel has conferred upon him :' that by being 
made conscious of the vanity of earthly rioies^ he 
has been induced to seek after the true riches ; to 
cultivate that spiritual abasement whidi b the 
prelude of true exaltation. Although rich in thb 
world, yet as a Christian he b poor in qmit, and 
clothed with humility. Others refer it to a ridi 
man being stripped of hb possessions bvpeneoi- 
tion for the sake of the Gospd : ' Let mm gloiy 
in being thus deprived of nb worldly wealth.' 
Perhaps the words may also be taken in their 
most literal meaning': 'Let the rich brodier 
rejoice when he becomes poor,' when he » 
reduced from affluence to poverty, because he it 
then freed from the snares and temptations oC 
riches. Thb b indeed a high attainment in piety, 
but it b one which has been made by many of tbc 
children of God. Riches are too fireqnently an 
obstade to salvation; and when taken away. 
believers may have abundant reason to thank Goa 
that that obstade has been removed. beeauB 
as the flower of the grsfli he shall pMs away. 
A common figure in the O. T., expressive of the 
instability of earthly blessing ' All flesh it 
grass, and all the goodliness thereof b as the 
flower of the field : the grass withereth, and the 
flower fadeth * (Isa. xl. 6, 7). 
. Ver. II. For the son is no sooner xisen. In 
the original the words are in the livdy stvle of a 
narrative : ' For the sun arose.' — ^with a bomfaig 
heat. The word here rendered ' bumiog heat ' it 
often used in the Septuagint to denote the hot. 
east wind : and hence many suppose that the 
simoom or the sirocco b meant, wnich, blowing 
from the hot sands of Arabia, bums up all vt&tMr 
tion. But it is better to refer it to the heat « the. 
sun, which in Palestine is very scorching : hence, 
'for the sun arose with its heat.'— hut it withentH* 
the grass, and the flower thereof fidleth, «nd 
the grace of the fashion of it perislieth: or. 
rather, ' and it withered the grass, and the flower. 
thereof fell, and the loveliness of its form perished: * 
it converted the rich and luxuriant field into an' 
arid waste.— so also shall the rich man : not the- 
rich brother, that is the Christian, but the rich 
man generally : St. James b here speaking of 
the transient nature of the earthly riches. He 
who trusts in earthly riches shall fade away like 
the flower of the field.— fade away in bis wnys: 
in his goings, when actively engaged in hb- 
worldly pursuits or pleasures. Death snatches us 
away from the objects of worldly ambition. 

Ver. 12. Blessed is the man that endurelh 
temptations: not merely falleth into divers 
temptations, but endureth them, cometh out of - 
them unscathed, does not succumb under them. 
A man who has been tempted, and has come. 
victorious out of the temptation, b a fiur nobler 
man than one who preserves a moral character, 
because he has never been tempted. Teaipta- 



UoBS impart a manliness, a strength, a vigour to 
Yirtve. Victory over temptation is a higher 
aUainment than untried innocence. Untried 
mnocenoe b the negative innocence of children : 
rj^tcoosness approved by trial u the positive 
holiness of apostles, martyrs, and coxuessors. 

* Behold,' says St James elsewhere, 'we count 
tbem happy that endure' (v. 11). — ^for, the reason 
assigned for this blessedness.— when he is tried, 
or rather, when he is approved by the trial, so that 
be is able to stand the test and to be purified by 
it— ha dudl xeceiYe the crown of life. If these 
wofds were found in one of St. Paul's Epistles, the 
reference would be to the Grecian games — to the 
crown of laurel which was bestowed on the victor 
in these games. But here there can be no such 
reference ; as these games were discountenanced 
bj the Jews, and regarded as polluting. The 
roerence is to the conqueror's crown, or to the 
rojal diadem ; it is a figure not uncommon in the 
O. T. (PL XXL 3). So al^ in the Book of 
Wisdom : ' The righteous live for evermore, their 
reward also is with the Lord, therefore shall they 
receive a beautifnl crown from the Lord's hand ' 
(Wisdom V. 16, 1 7). As has been beautifully said : 

* Earthly trials are the flowers of which the 
heavenljf garland is made' (Bishop Wordsworth). 
The genitive is that of apposition : life is itself the 
crown which the Lord, not Christ, but God. 
hnth psomiMd to them that love him. To 
atdore temptation is a proof of love to God. 
It is attachment to His cause which induces us to 

Ver. 13. Let no man aay when he is tempted. 
The connexion is : if, instead of enduring the 
temptation, we yield to it and are overcome by 
ity we must not lay the blame of our fall from 
virtue upon God. Hitherto the word 'tempta- 
tion * has been used chiefly in the sense of tests 
of character ; here it denotes solidtalions to sin ; 
and yet there is hardly any change of meaning, as 
some think. These two views of temptation 
involve each other ; what is a test of -character 
may also be a solicitation to sin. Temptations 
may be considered as either external or internal. 
The trials which occur in the course of life, the 
afflicdons which befall us, the persecutions to 
which religion ' may expose us, are external 
temptations and tests of character. But when 
these draw out our sinful desires and excite to 
sinful actions, they become internal, and are 
solicitations to evil. In themselves, temptations 
are not sins ; when resisted and overcome, they 
are Dfomoters of virtue ; it is in our voluntary 
yieldnig to the temptations, in the consent of the 
wiU, tluit sin arises.— I am tempted of God, or 
rather, 'from God,' denoting not the direct 
agency in the temptation, but the source from 
iniich that agency proceeds. It is unprobable 
that Uiere is any reference here to the.doctrine of 
the Pharisees concerning fate ; rather, the refer- 
ence is to that common perversity in human 
nature which attempts to throw the blame of our 
finlts upon God : tiiat the temptations to which 
we were exposed, and in consequence of which we 
fefl, were occasioned by God, bemg caused either 
by the circumstances in which His providence 
has placed us, or by that temperunent with which 
He has created us (cp. Gen. iii. 12).— for God 
etanot be tempted with eviL Some render 
these words : ' God b unversed in evil things' — 
inexperienced in them ; all evil is completely 

foreign to His nature. — neither tempteth he any 
man : that is, to evil, to do what Is wrong. God 
certainly tempts in the sense of tries. But the 
design of the Divine trying is not to excite to sin, 
not that sin should arise, but that it should be 
overcome; He tries our virtues, in order that 
they may be purified ; He designs by these trials 
our moral improvement. The external tests of 
character may be from God; but the internal 
solicitations to evil are from ourselves. 

Ver. 14. But every man who is tempted is 
tempted, namely to evil, when he is drawn away 
of his own Inst By lust here is meant evil desires 
in general. The doctrine of human depravity is 
assumed rather than asserted. St. James is not 
speaking here of the original source of sin in 
the human race, but of the cause of temptation to 
eviL These solicitations, he observes, arise from 
within ; they have their origin in our evil desires ; 
our passions are the occasion of our yielding to 
temptation.— and entioed ; literally, allured as a 
fish by a bait Some suppose that the apostle by 
these two terms, 'drawn away' and 'entioed,' 
denotes drawn away from good and enticed to 
evil ; but this is putting more into these wonls than 
they contain. St. James, then, here tells us 
where to lay the blame of our temptation or 
incitement to sin ; certainly not on God, for He 
tempteth no man to evil ; but on ourselves— on 
those sinful propensities which exist within us. It 
is we ourselves that yield. We sin simply because 
we choose to sin. Even Satan can only tempt ; 
he cannot constrain men to commit evil. 

Ver. 15. Then. Now follows the genesis of 
sin. — when Inst, evil desire, hath con^ved, it 
bringeth forth sin. Lust is here considered as a 
harlot who seduces the will, and sin is the con- 
sequence of this unhallowed alliance. Sin b the 
child of our corrupt passions ; it has its origin in 
our evil desires; it is the outcome of inward 
depravity. First, there is evil desire in the heart, 
and then by the will yielding to that evil desire 
there is sin in the life. — and idn when it is 
finished, fully developed or matured. There is no 
distinction here between the internal and the 
external act ; as if it were sin in the form of the 
external act which worketh death. St. James 
speaks of sin in general, whether in the heart or ia 
the life. Sin may be developed in the heart as 
well as in the conduct. — oringeth forth, or 
begelteth, as the two verbs are different in ^e 
original, death. Lust is the mother of sin and 
death its progeny. (Cp. Milton's sublime 
allegory in Paradise Losf, Book ii. 745-814.) 
Death here does not denote only physical or tem- 
poral death, but, as the contrast is to the crown 
of life which God has promised to them that love 
Him, it must include eternal death. Cp. the 
statement of St Paul: 'The wages of sin is 
death, but the gift of God is eternal life ' (Rom. 
xl 23). 

Ver. 16. Do not err — ^a common Pauline ex- 

Sression, elsewhere always translated, 'Be not 
eceived.' Here it refers rather to what precedes 
than to what follows. Be not deceived in this 
matter, in supposing that temptation to evil comes 
from God.— my beloyed brethren, strengthening 
the exhortation. 

Ver. 17. Every good gift. A positive proof of 
the assertion that (}od tempteth no man. Not 
only does evil not proceed from Him, but He is 
the source only of good. All good is from God. 



Our higher and spiritual good evidently arises from 
Him : all good works are the effects of Divine 
impulses. Our lower and earthly good also comes 
from Him : our health, our property, our domestic 
comforts, are the gifts of His bounty. Our very 
trials, our disappointments, our afflictions, our 
sicknesses — those tests of character are the proofs 
of His goodness, and are designed to produce 
within us the peaceable fruits of righteousness. 
The statement is true taken in its most universal 
application. — and oTery perfect gift is ftom 
abore, and cometh down (more literally, * Every 
perfect gift descendeth from above,* or * is from 
above, coming down') from the Father of 
lighte. By lights here are primarily meant 
the heavenly bodies and by the Father is denoted 
their Author or Creator; but it may well be 
applied to all spiritual existences — the souls of 
men and angelic spirits. As Bishop Wordsworth 
beautifully expresses it : ' God is the Father of all 
lights : the light of the natural world, the sun, the 
moon and stars, shining in the heavens ; the light 
of reason and conscience ; the light of His law ; 
the light of prophecy, shining in a dark place ; 
the light of the Gospel, shining throughout the 
world ; the light of apostles, martyrs, and con- 
fessors, preaching the Gospel to all nations ; the 
light of the Holy Ghost, shining in our hearts ; 
the light of the heavenly city : God Is the Father 
of them all. He is the everlasting Father of the 
everlasting Son, who is the Light of the world.* 
— ^with wnom is no yariableness, neither shadow 
of turning. St. Tames does not here employ, as 
tome suppose, technical astronomical terms, which 
would not be understood by his readers, but 
alludes to what is apparent to all— the waning 

and setting of the natural lights in the firmament. 
The statement is obviously equivalent to that of 
St. John : ' God is light, and in Him is no darkness 
at air (I John i. 5). 

Ver. 18. Of his own will—' After the counsel of 
His own will,' as St. Paul expresses it (Eph. L 11). 
R^eneration is here alluded to as the highest 
instance of the Divine goodness. It is not a 
necessary act of God, but proceeds from His own 
free will. — begat he ns. It is evident from what 
follows that spiritual and not natural birth is 
here referred to : believers are begotten of God 
(John i. 13). — with tiie word of tmtii : the instru- 
ment of our r^eneration, namely the Gospel, so 
called because truth is inherent in it .Some 
erroneously interpret the word here as signifying 
the Logos, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ ; but 
this is exclusively an expression of St. John.^that 
we should be a kind of flnt-fhiits : a Jewish 
form of expression taken from the custom of 

Presenting the first-fruits to God. Christians are 
ere called * first-fruits * because they are con- 
secrated to God, dedicated to the praise of His 
glory. Those Jewish Christians also, to whom Sl 
James wrote, might be regarded as the first-fruits 
of Christianity, being the first converts to Christ, 
and the earnest of the spiritual harvest — the vast 
increase of converts from the Gentile world. — of 
his creatnies : of the new creation, that great 
multitude of the redeemed whom no man can 
number : and perhaps not even to be limited to 
them, but to embrace all the creatures of God, 
pointing forward to that time when ' the creature 
Itself shall be delivered from the bondage of 
corruption into the glorious liberty of the chSdren 
of God' (Rom. viiL 21). 

Chapter I. 19-27. 

Hearing and Doing the Word. 

19 \7[7'HEREFORE, my beloved brethren, let every man be 

20 VV "swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the «sir. v. n. 
2! wrath of man worketh not * the righteousness of God. ^ Where- ^J^- «• 3^ 

- - ^ ex Pet. u. I, a. 

fore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness,' 

and receive with meekness* the engrafted' word, ''which is ''r^*j;^' 

22 able to save your souls : but be ye ' doers of the word, and not 'JiS'Jii.yi* 

23 hearers only, -^deceiving your own selves. For if any be a/R«^w«-»7. 
hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man 

24 beholding his natural face ^in a glass:* for he beholdeth '»Cor.xiii.ti. 
himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what 

25 manner of man he was. But whoso * looketh into the perfect *' Pet. l xa. 
' law of liberty, and continueth therein^ he * being not a forget- ' ^^.^qJJ' 
ful hearer, but a doer of the ^ work, this man shall be * blessed ^l^'J ,, 
in his deed.' 

' abundance of malice 
' Qmit therein 

* mildness 

• omit he 

^ implanted 
' omit the 

* mirror 
' doing 


26 If any man among you seem to be religious,' and bridleth 

not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's 'reli- 'Acu.xxvi.5; 

^ ' ' Col lu i8. 

27 gion** is vain. Pure religion*" and undefiled before •'God ••'^p**-^**- 
and the Father is this, To visit "the fatherless and widows wPi-Uviiis. 
in their affliction, and to keep himself ** unspotted ^from the ^J'jJiJ;^^. 
world. ^ J"- »*• 4. ' 

* thinketh himself to be a worshipper 

^® worship 

CONTiNTS. In this passage St. James exhorts 
his readeis to he not only hefuers but doers of Uie 
vocxL They are to be swift to hear, and to re* 
ceive the word implanted within them with freedom 
from malice and m mildness : but they are to hear 
it only with a view to practise its precepts ; lest, 
being mere hearers of tne word, they impose upon 
themselves. They must remember that true re- 
lk;loits service does not consist in the performance 
or certain ceremonies, but in active benevolence 
ibown especially towards the afflicted, and in purity 
of life. 

Ver. 19. Wherefore. There is a diversity in 
the reading of this verse. The most important 
manuscript instead of 'Wherefore,' read 'Ye 
know,' or 'Know ye,' according as the verb is 
understood as inductive or imperative, referring 
cither to what precedes, ' Ye know this,'^ namely, 
that God out of His free love has begotten you 
with the word of truth ; or to what follows, 
' Know this, my beloved brethren, let every one 
of yoa be swift to hear : ' equivalent to ' Hearken, 
my beloved brethren' (ii. 5). — my beloTed 
taethien: an afiectionate address, strengthening 
the exhortation. — ^let every man be swift to hear, 
namely, the word of truth, which, having been so 
faUely mentioned, there was no necessity to repeat. 
Hie words, however, admit of a general applica- 
tioo to the acquisition of all profitable knowledge. 
The same sentiment is found in the writings of the 
son of Sin^di : ' Be swift to hear ; and let thy life 
be sincere, and with patience give answer' (Sir. 
V. II). There b no reason, however, to suppose 
that St. James in these words refers to this 
passa^ne. — ilofr to speak : perhaps here primarily 
refemng to teaching : Be not rash in entering upon 
the office of a teacher (chap. iii. i); see that you 
are thorooghly prepared beforehand. But the 
words are a proverbial expression, admitting of 
general application. Men are often grieved for 
saying too much, seldom for saying too little. 
Still, however, the maxim is not to be universally 
adopted. Occasions may frequently occur when 
we shUl regret that we have omitted to speak, 
giving a seasonable word of advice, reproof, or 
comfort There is a time to speak as well as a 
time to keep silence (Eccles. iiL 7). — slow to wrath. 
Wrath here is not directed toward God — enmity 
against Him, on account of the trials which befall 
ns; but wrath directed toward men, and especially 
that wrath which frequently arises from religious 
oontroversv or debate. ' Tlie quick speaker is the 
qaick kimller.' But the words are true generally; 
00 an occasions we ought to be slow to wrath. 
Stilt, however, all wrath is not here forbidden. 
Moral indignation is a virtue, for the exercise of 
which there are frequent occasions ; and to regard 
sin without anger is a proof of indifference to 
* So the Revised Version. 



holiness. — Some suppose that in this sentence is 
contained the subject-matter of the Epistle. The 
former part was only introductorv ; now the 
subject of the Epistle is stated ; and the remainder 
is divided into three parts, corresponding to 
• swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath,' with 
an appendix at the close. The arrangement 
is ingenious, but is hardly borne out by the 

Ver. 2a For, the reason assigned for the above 
exhortation, and especially for the last portion of 
it—* slow to wrath. —the wrath of man, that is, 
carnal zeal, whose fruit is not peace, but con- 
tention. Those angry feelings which arise from 
religious controversy are here primarily alluded 
to. The word of God was then abused, as it is 
now, into an occasion of strife. — workeih not, 
produceth not. — the righteonsness of Ood. By 
the righteousness of God is not meant the right- 
eousness imputed by God, as if the meaning were 
that the wrath of man does not work out the faith 
which God counts to men for righteousness ; nor 
that righteousness which God possesses — the 
Divine attribute of righteousness ; but that right* 
eousness which is approved by God, and which 
He Himself forms within us b^ His Holy Spirit. 
The meaning of the verse is that contention, 
arising from dispute or controversy, is not con- 
ducive to holiness, either in ourselves or in others 
— does not tend to the furtherance of the righteous- 
ness of God in the soul. Furious zeal does not 
promote the interests of God's kingdom. 

Ver. 21. Wherefore, seeing that the wrath of 
man does not promote the righteousness of God, 
lay apart, divest yourself of, all filthinesi, 
pollution. By some this word is taken by itself, 
but it is more in accordance with the context to 
connect it with ' naughtiness,' indicating a par- 
ticular kind of pollution. — and superfluity — 
abundance or excess. — of nanghtiness : a word 
which has now lost somewhat of its original 
meaning. The Greek word signifies wickedness, 
depravity, malignity, malice, — that disposition 
which manifests itself in the wrath of man men- 
tioned above ; accordingly, ' all pollution and 
abundance of malice'— all that malice which is so 
polluting and abundant in our hearts. Some 
suppose that the words are metaphorical, having 
reference to agriculture, in correspondence with 
the injTrafted word which directly follows : Put 
away all the defilement and rank growth of malice 
which like weeds encumber the ground, and pre- 
vent the growth of the ingrafted word.— and 
receive ^th meekness: here, as opposed to 
malice and wrath, not so much a teachable spirit, 
as mildness — ^a gentle and loving disposition 
toward our fellow-men. — the ingrafted word, or 
rather the implanted word — that word which by 
Divine grace is implanted in your hearts. By 



this is meant, neither reason nor the inner light of 
the Mystics, but the word of truth or the Gospel 
of Christ as received into the heart. Some suppose 
that by the ingrafted word the incarnate Lc^g;os, 
namely the Lord Jesus Christ, is meant ; but this 
is a umcifiil supposition, and imsuitable to the 
context — which is able to save your souls. 
Compare with this the words of St. Paul : ' I 
commend you to God and to the word of His 
grace, whioi is able to build you up, and to give 
you an inheritance among them who are sancti- 
fied' (Acts XX. 32). Como. also Rom. i. 16. 
James does not mean that those who are bom by 
the word do not already possess salvation, but 
that the salvation is not fully possessed in this 

Ver. 22. But be ye doers of the woxd, and not 
heazexB only. The implanted word, or the word 
of truth, must be so heard and received as to pro- 
duce a corresponding course of action. Practice, 
and not opinion, is the desired effect of the recep- 
tion of the word. The Jews have a proverb 
among themselves : ' He who hears the law, and 
does not practise it, is like a man who ploughs 
and sows, but never reaps.' It is, however, to be 
observed that St James does not in the slightest 
degree depreciate the hearing of the word ; he 
only asserts the superior importance of the doing 
of the word. * Be not only hearers of the word, 
but be also doers.' And indeed the hearing is in 
order to the doing ; if this be wanting, the hearing 
is of no value. Compare with this the words of 
St Paul : ' Not the nearers of the law are just 
before God, but the doers of it shall be justified ' 
(Rom. iL 13).— deceiving yonr own selves. The 
term denotes deceiving by false and sophistical 
reasoning. He who is a hearer of the word and 
not a doer, and who thinketh that this is sufficient, 
imposeth upon his own sell And of all deceptions, 
self-deception is the worst. If a man were de- 
ceived by others, it would be comparatively easy 
to undeceive him, by placing things in their true 
light But if a man be deceived by himself, it is 
next to impossible to undeceive him, because pre- 
judices have blinded, his eyes ; the bandage must 
first be removed before he can see the light. 

Ver. 23. For. The above exhortation is en- 
forced by a comparison. A hearer of the word, 
who is not a doer, resembles a man seeing his 
face in a mirror, without its making any perma- 
nent impression upon him. — if any man be a 
hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like 
unto a man beholding his natural face : liter- 
ally, ' the countenance of his birth,' — that face with 
which he was bom ; and therefore here well 
translated 'his natural face.* The word for 'be- 
holding ' literally denotes ' contemplating: ' it does 
not involve the idea of a passing glance, which is 
suggested by what follows. — in a glass, or mirror. 
The ancients had no looking-glasses properly so 
called ; their mirrors were usually made of polished 
metals. In them objects could be but dimly dis- 
cerned : ' Now we see through a glass darkly ' 
(i Cor. xiii. 12). 

Ver. 24. For he beholdeth himself, and goeth 
his way, and straightway forgetteth. Tlie 
words are in the lively style of narrative : literally 
translated they are : ' For he contemplated him- 
self, and has gone his way, and immediately 
forgot what manner of man he was.' A general 
statement, not necessarily to be understood univer- 
sally. A man has seldom any trae or accurate 

notion of his own features : from beholding himself 
in a glass or mirror, he retains no distinct recollec- 
tion of what he has seen. — ^what mannw of man 
he was. No distinct impression is made on him ; 
he cannot recall his own features. This must 
especially have been the case, when we lake into 
consideration the imperfect nature of the mirron 
of the ancients. 

^ Ver. 25. Now follows the application of the 
metaphor. — But. The doer of the word is now 
described. — whoso looketh into : literally, 
' stoopeth down to look into,' representing the 
earnest inspection : ' whoso fixedly contempUteth ' 
(comp. I Fet i. 12 ; John xx. 5).— tbe peifaot 
law of liberty: corresponding to the glass in the 
metaphor, the same as the word of troth or ths 
implanted word, namely, the Gospel of Christ By 
this, then, is not meant the natural law, nor the 
moral law as such, but the Gospel in so fiur as it 
becomes a law of life and morals. There is hardly 
any implied contrast between the law of Moses 
and the Gospel. The moral law itself was a 
perfect law : it was the transcript of the Divine 
character; and, of all the writers of the New 
Testament, St James would be the last to 
depreciate it. But the perfection which belongs 
to the Gospel is that it is ' the law of liberty.' 
This could not be said of the Mosaic law: in 
many respects, it was a law of bondage (GaL 
V. i). The moral law was a rule of conduct — a 
law of commands and prohibitions — a law which 
by reason of its violation brought all men under 
sentence of condemnation. But the Gospel ia a 
law of liberty : it not only delivers man firoin 
condemnation, but, by implanting within him a 
new disposition, it causes him of his own free 
will and choice to obey the moral law; it not 
only imparts to him the power of obedience^ hot the 
will to obey : the law of God is written on his 
heart : obedience to it is not so much a yoke as a 
pleasure : ' he delights in the law of Uie Loid 
after the inward man' (Rom. vil 22). The 
perfect law of liberty, then, is not lawlessness ; on 
the contrary, it is holiness — a disposition to obedi- 
ence — * the moral law transfigured by love.' * As 
long,* observes Calvin, 'as the law is preached 
by the external voice of man, and not mscribed 
by the finger and Spirit of (jod on the heart, it ti 
but a dead letter, and as it were a lifeltts thii^. 
It is then no wonder that the law is deemed 
imperfect, and that it is a law of bondage : for, as 
St. Paul teaches, separated from Christ, it gener- 
ates to bondage, and can do nothing but fillns widi 
diffidence and fear.' — and continneth tiieiefai. 
The word 'therein' is in italics, and not in the 
original. The meaning therefore is not 'and 
continueth in the law,* but 'and continneth to 
look.' — he being not a forgetful heuer: literally, 
a hearer of forgetfulness, to whom forget^ness 
as a property belongs. — but a doer of toe weak x 
litersuly, 'a doer of work,' with the omission of 
the article; 'work' is added to 'doer,' in order 
to give greater prominence to the doing : or taken 
as a Hebraism, 'an active doer.' — ^tnia man Is 
blessed in his deed, or rather, 'in his doing.' 
The righteous shall be rewarded for their doii^ i 
to those on the right hand, the King will say, 
'Well done.' The point of comparison then is 
evident The word of God, especially in its 
moral requirements, is the glass, in which a man 
may behold his moral countenance, wherein the 
imperfections of his character may be clearly 


di:iceniec1. Both to the mere hearer of the word 
and to the doer of the word, the Gospel is com- 
pared to a glass, wherein a man may behold his 
natural face : but whereas the one sees his imper- 
fections, and immediately forgets them ; the other 
Bot only sees, but endeavours to remove them. 
'Blessed,' says our Saviour, 'are they that hear 
the word of God and keep it' (Luke xi. 28). 

Ver. 26. If any man among you seem, that is, 
not seems toothers, but thinketh himself, appears 
to himself to be religious. The words denote the 
false opinion which a man has of himself; the 
lUse estimate which he has formed of his religion. 
— ^to be xeligioiu. 'Religious' and 'religion' 
are hardly the correct renderings. Both are, 
however, adopted in the Revised Version without 
note. We have no terms in our language to express 
the ordinal; worshipper and worship is perhaps 
thenearest approach. See Col. ii. 1 8. See Trench's 
New Tatanunt Synonyms^ pp. 192 if. It b not 
internal religion to which St. James alludes, but 
the manifestation of religion, the service of God or 
religions worship. He speaks of the external form 
rather than of the internal essence, of the body 
lather than of the soul of religion. To be religious, 
in the sense of our verse, is to be a diligent observer 
of the external forms of worship : ' If any man 
among von think that he is observant of religious 
service, that he is a true worshipper of God. — and 
taridleih not hia own tongae, does not abstain 
from wrath and contention : does not exercise a 
command over his words. — bnt deoeiyeth hia own 
heftrt^ unposeth upon himself, by relying upon 
the mere lorm of religion. — thia man's rdigion, 
rdigioos service or worship, is vain — of no value 
in the si^t of God. 

Ver. 27. Pnie religion and nndefiled. Pure 
and nndefiled may almost be regarded as ^ony- 
moas terms, the one expressing the idea positively, 
and the other negatively. Not, as some arbitrarily 
think, 'pore' referring to the inner, and 'un- 
defiled' to the external life. There may be a 
rdeienoe here to the frecjuent washings and purifi- 
QStions which characterized the Jewish worship. — 
Mbve Ctod and the Fisher; in His view, who 


looketh not so much at the outward appearance as 
at the heart. The Father is added to express the 
relation of God to us, as one of paternal love. — ^is 
this — consists in this. James does not here ^ve 
an enumeration of all the parts of religious service, 
but mentions only two chief points — active bene- 
volence toward the afflicted, and careM avoidance 
of the impurities of the world ; these, he observes, 
and not certain ceremonial observances, are the 
outward forms in which real worship manifests 
itself.— to yisit the fatherless and tne widows. 
There is a probable reference here to * before God 
and the Father ; ' before Him who is the Father 
of the fatherless and the God of the widows. — ^in 
their aflUction. No kind of religious service or 
worship ])aid to God can be of any value, if it 
violate the royal law of charity. The fatherless 
and the widows are mentioned as examples of the 
afflicted. But along with this active benevolence 
toward the afflicted there must be combined 
personal purity.— and to keep himself unspotted. 
Personal purity which, like the delicate pupil of 
the eye, shrinks from the very approach of every- 
thing which defileth, which garrisons the heart 
with holy affections to keep out those whidi are 
polluting, which maintains a conduct above 
suspicion, and which abstains from the very ap- 
pearance of evil, is acceptable in the sight of 
our God and Father, and shall be rewarded with 
the manifestation of His glory : for, ' Blessed are 
the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' — ttom, 
the world. By the 'world' is here meant not 
merely earthly things so far as they tempt to sin, 
or worldly lusts, but the world as the enemy 
of God, the rivsd of God in the human heart ; 
all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, 
the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (l John 
ii. 14). Christians, by being bom again by the 
word of truth, are separated from the world — 
they are a peculiar people. But still, so long 
as they live in the world, thev are exposed to 
its temptations and liable to be defiled b^ its 
pollutions. They must carefully avoid that fnend- 
ship of the world which is enmity with God 
Qas. iv. 4). 

Chapter II. 1-13. 

Respect of Persons, 

1 A^ Y brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

2 iVX ^tlu Lord of glory, *\vith respect of persons. For 'f Jr^'J*/;. 
there come unto your ^assembly a man with a gold ring,' in ^JJ^*,**^'f 
goodly apparel,* and there come in also a poor man in vile "C0r.xiv.a3. 

3 raiment ; * and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay 
clothing, and say unto him,* Sit thou here ''in a good place; -^ Mat. xxiii.6, 
and say to the poor. Stand thou there, or sit here under my 

4 footstool : are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are * 

* with gold rings * ^y clothing * clothing 

* Was not this to doubt wittiin yourselves, and to 

* omit unto him 


5 become ^judges of evil thoughts?' Hearken, my beloved '^^^^ 
brethren. Hath not ^ God chosen the poor of this world rich /« Cor. 1 27. 
'^in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to ^iTim.i.t. 

6 them that love him ? But ye have despised the poor. Do not 

rich men oppress you, and *draw you before the judgment- *Ae««iruia, 

7 seats? Do not they 'blaspheme that worthy' name by the «ActsxxvLii. 

8 which *ye are called ? • If • ye fulfil the royal law ' according *^°5i^^ 
to the scripture, ** Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye «»•* . 

9 do well : but if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and "'^^^iiS^a 

10 are convinced of ^" the law "as transgressors. For whosoever «» jo. m. 4. 
shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is 

1 1 guilty of all. For he that said, *" Do not commit adultery, said oEx.xx.ty, 
also. Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if 

1 2 thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak 

ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by ^the law of^J^^-'^^s- 

13 liberty. For he shall have judgment ^without mercy " that ^ Mat, vL 15. 
hath showed no mercy ; and '' mercy rejoiceth against " judg- '•Mat v. 7. 

• evil-minded judges ' goodly 

• Yet if *® convicted by 
^^ For the judgment will be without mercy to him 

^ which was named on you 
" glorieth over 

Contents. In this passage, St. James pro- 
ceeds to caution his readers against showing 
respect of persons, especially in their religious 
assemblies ; for by doing so they would violate 
their Christian principles, and become evil-minded 
judges. God has chosen His people from among 
the poor ; whereas the persecutors of believers 
and the blasphemers of Christ are from among 
the rich. The law of God requires them to love 
their neighbour as themselves ; but by exhibiting 
this respect of persons they violate this law. 
They must so speak and act as they who are to 
be judged by the law of the Gospel, remembering 
that if they show no mercy to the poor, no mercy 
will be shown to them by God. 

Ver. I. My brethren. The connection appears 
to be : As the true service of God consists in 
active benevolence, exercised especially toward 
the poor and afflicted, St. James takes occasion 
to reprove his readers for a practice which was 
in direct contradiction to this, namely, showing 

Eartiality to the rich, and despising the poor. — 
ave not, or hold not, the faith— Sie profession 
of Christianity, or the belief in Jesus as the true 
Messiah. Do not hold it in such a manner, as 
that respect of persons should constitute a part of 
it.— of onr Lord Jeeus Ohrist : of Him who, 
although rich, yet for our sakes became poor, in 
whom there is neither rich nor poor, and with 
whom there is no respect of persons. — ti^e Lord 
of glory. The words * the Lord * are in italics, 
and not in the original ; all that is in the Greek 
are the words *of glory.' Accordingl)r, different 
meanings have been attached to this phrase. 
Some construe it with * respect of persons,' and 
translate it 'according to your estimate or opinion ;' 
thus Calvin : ' Have not the faith of our Loid 

Jesus Christ with respect of persons, on accomit of 
esteem ; ' that is, placing a false and unchristian 
value on riches. Others attach it to Christ : 'the 
faith of our Lord Jesus, the Christ, or the 
Messiah, of glory. ' Others consider it as governed 
by faith, but give different meanings : ' the 
glorious faith of our Lord Jesus Christ ; * or 
'faith in the glory or exaltation of Christ ; ' or 
' the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ in the glory,' 
namely, in that glory which is reserved for the 
saints. Others suppose that glory is a personal 
appellation of Christ : ' our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Glory,* equivalent to the Shechinah of the 
Jewish Church. This is certainly the simplest 
reading ; but there is no proof from the New 
Testament that such an epithet was applied to our 
Lord. Our version, by supplying the words ' the 
Lord ' from the former clause, is the least objec* 
tionable : 'the Lord of glory.' The claose is 
inserted to show the vanity of earthly riches, as 
contrasted with the glory of Christ— with veapeot 
of persona : a caution against showing undue 
preference to any on account of external circum* 
stances. The word in the Greek is in the plural, 
as St. James had several instances of such respect 
of persons in view. We must, however, beware 
of perverting this maxim. We must show due 
respect where respect is due : as St. Paul says, 
' Render to all their due, honour to whom honour 
is due * (Rom. xiii. 7). There is a respect due to 
a man in office on account of his official character. 
Servants must honour their masters, and subjects 
their rulers ; but we arc not called to honour a 
man merely on account of his wealth. And in 
spiritual matters all are equal. In the house of 
God, the rich and the poor meet on the same 
footing of equality. The same exhortations are 



addressed to both ; and the vices of the rich must 
be rebuked with the same sharpness as the vices 
of the poor. 

Ver. 2. Fdr if there oome. St James does 
not here mention a mere hypothetical case, but 
what must frequently have occurred. — unto your 
MMmhly. The word employed in the Gre«k is 
'synagogue.' Some understand it of the Jewish 
synagogue, from which believers had not yet 
separated themselves ; but against this opinion is 
the pronoun *your,* nor would Christians in a 
synagogue not tneir own be permitted to give any 
preference of place to those who entered. Others 
think that the reference is to the judicial 
assemblies which the Christians, in imitation of 
the Jews, held in their places of meeting, and 
that the caution is against showing partiality in 
the administration of justice ; but this is an 
arbitrary opinion for which there is no reason. 
The reference is undoubtedly to the Christian 
places of assembly, for worship. To denote these 
places of assembly, the word ' synagogue ' was 
employed, because it was more ^miliar to St. 
James and the Jewish Christians than the corre- 
sponding Greek term. We read in the Acts that 
there were numerous synagogues in Jerusalem 
(Acts vi. 9), and among them there would be the 
synagogue of the Christians ; and the same would 
be the case in all the large cities where the Jews 
of the dispersion congregated. — a man with a 
fold ring : literally, gold-ringed, wearing many 
rings. Formerly persons of distinction wore only 
one signet ring ; but at the time when this Epistle 
was written, as we learn from Roman writers, it 
was the custom for the wealthv to wear many 
rings. Such rings could only be worn by free 
dtixens, and were consequently a symbol of rank 
or riches. — in goodly apptxeL The gorgeous 
dresses of the Orientsils may be here alluded ta 
In that age of luxury the rich prided themselves 
00 the extravagance of their dress. — and there 
oome in aleo a poor man in Tile or shabby 
xaiment The description is in St. Tames' 
graphic style. Into tneir place for religious 
assembly two men entered, the one gorgeously 
amjtd with jewelled fingers and a great display 
of riches ; the other a poor man in shabby 
arcarel, soiled with his daily manual occupations. 

Ver. 3. And ye have respect: literally, ye look 
vpoo, ye have regard to Mm that weaieth the 
gay otothing. Ine two who came in are verv 
differently treated ; the rich man is conducted with 
all honour to a comfortable seat, whilst the poor 
man is left to shift for himself. In these verses 
there is in our English version a needless variation 
in the renderings of the same Greek word ; the 
words apparel, raiment, and clothing are dl in the 
original expressed by the same term. — and say unto 
1dm, Sit tJum here in a good ^aoe ; a place of 
consequence and comfort : literally, * Be well 
seated.' As in the Jewish synagogues, so in the 
Christian, there would be a diversity of seats. 
Thus we read of the scribes and Pharisees who 
' loved the chief seats in the synagogues ' (Matt. 
xxiii 6). — and say to the poor, Stana thon there, 
or wU here nnder my footrtooL The other man 
in vile raiment is told to stand where he is, or is 
allowed to sit where he can, provided he does not 
select a good seat Observe the contrast between 
' here ' imd ' there ; ' ' here,* the goodly seat— the 
place of honour ; ' there,' the scat under the foot- 
stool — the place of dishonour. We are not in- 

formed whether those who came in were believers 
or unbelievers. Some suppose that both parties 
were Christian strangers, others that they were 
Gentiles or unbelieving Jews, and others that the 
poor were believers and the rich^unbelievers. But 
It is best to leave it, as in the Epistle, undeter- 
mined ; they are taken merely as samples of 
each class — the rich and the poor. It is well 
known that those who were not Christians might 
and did come into the Christian assemblies 
(i Cor. xiv. 23). 

Ver. 4. This verse has given rise to a great 
variety of interpretation, owing to the uncertainty 
of its correct translation. Are ye not partial in 
yoorselreet This version is hardly correct. Some 
render the words : ' Did you not judge among 
yourselves,* by thus determining that the rich are 
to be preferred to the poor ? Others : ' Did you 
not discriminate or make a distinction* among 
those who as Christians are equal ? Others : 
' Were ye not contentious among yourselves ? * did 
ye not thus become litigants among yourselves ? 
And others : ' Did ye not doubt among yourselves * 
— become wavering and unsettled in your faith ? 
The verb in the original is the same which in the 
former chapter is translated to doubt or to 
waver (Jas. 1. 6) ; and therefore, although it may 
also admit of the above significations, it is best to 
give a preference to that sense in which St. James 
has already used it. Hence, literally translated, 
' Did you not doubt in yourselves ? ' Did vou not, 
in showing this respect of persons, waver between 
God with whom there is no respect of persons and 
the world, and thus become double-minded ? Did 
you not contradict your faith, according to which 
the external distinction between rich and poor is 
nothing? For to hold the faith of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, the Lord of gloiy, with respect to persons is 
a contradiction in terms. The Revised Version has, 
• Are ye not divided in your own mind ? * — and 
are become Jndgee of evil thoughts f Here also 
there is an equal variety of opinion. Some con- 
sider ' the evil thoughts ' as the objects of their 
judgments, and render the clause : ' Are you not 
judges of evil disputations * — of such disputations 
as a strife about precedence would give rise to. 
But it is best to take ' the evil thoughts ' in a sub- 
jective sense, as residing in the judges themselves 
— evil-minded judges ; showing themselves to be 
so by giving an undue preference to the rich. Just 
as a partial iudge may be called a judge of 
partiahty, or, in the same manner, as the unjust 
judge in the parable is in the Greek called the 
'judge of injustice' (Luke xviii. 6; see also 
Luke xvi. 8). Compare L 25, *a forgetful hearer,* 
literally 'a hearer of forgetfulness. The word 
here rendered ' thoughts ' also denotes reasonings, 
disputations ; and hence some render the clause 
'judges who reason iU; * who, instead of calmly 
acting on principles of equity, are led astray by 
partiality to the nch. 

Ver. 5. Hearken, my beloved brethren. With 
this verse St. Tames commences to show the 
sinfulness of such conduct ; and, first, it is in con- 
tradiction to the conduct of God.— Bath not God 
chosen the poor of this world ; that is, either 
those whom the world esteems poor — the poor in 
the opinion of the world ; or those who are poor 
in relation to this world — the poor in worldly 
wealth. — ^rich in faith. Rich in faith is not in 
apposition to thepoor of this world, but the object 
or intention of God*s choosing them— that they 



might be rich in faith. Faith is not the quality, 
but the sphere or element, in which they were rich. 
These riches consisted in the spiritual blessin|;s 
which faith procured, and especially in the sonship 
of believers — in the heirship of the heavenly 
kingdom. ' The rich in faitn,' observes Calvin, 
* are not those who abound in the greatness of 
fiuth, but such as God has enrich^ with the 
various gifb of the Spirit which we receive by 
faith.* — and heirs of the kingdom, namely, not 
the spiritual kingdom of Christ on earth, but the 
heavenly kingdom.— wMoh he hath promised to 
them that love him ; the love of God being the 
essence of true piety. St. James did not require 
to prove the truth of this statement ; the condi- 
tion of the Jewish Christians of the <Uspersion, to 
whom he wrote, was proof sufficient that although 
there were a few rich among them, yet they were 
mostly chosen from among the poor. Compare 
with this the words of St. Paul : * God hath chosen 
the weak things of the world to confound the 
things that are mighty' (i Cor. i. 27). And the 
same statement holds good in the present day. 
The rich are under far greater temptations than 
the poor ; they are led to trust in uncertain riches, 
and to seek Uieir good things in this world, to 
fix their happiness here, and to forget 'the kingdom 
which God hath promised to them that love Him.* 
'How hardly,' says our Saviour, 'shall thev that 
have riches enter mto the kingdom of God ' (Mark 

Ver. 6. Bnt ye, in contrast to God*s estimate 
of the poor. God has chosen the poor of this 
world to be rich in faith, whereas ye, on the 
contrary, have desplBed the poor: not so much 
the poor generally, as the poor among Christians. 
Now follows a second consideration; that by 
showing respect to the rich, thev give a preference 
to those who were the enemies both of themselves 
and of Christ— Do not rich men: it is unnatural 
to suppose that Christian rich men are meant, but 
rich men as such, who in their worldliness and 
pride manifest a hatred to Christianity. — opprees 
yon, and draw yon before the Judgment-seat f 
The rich unbelieving Jews were the bitterest 
enemies to their believing countrymen : they fined 
and imprisoned them, as apostates from Judaism. 
Thus we read that Saul made havoc of the Church, 
entering into every house, and haling men and 
women committed them to prison (Acts viii. 3). 
Those who suppose that by the rich here mentioned 
Christians are mtended, think that the reference 
b not to persecution, but to litigation, similar to 
the abuses which occurred in the Ck>rinthian Church 
(l Cor. vi. 6). 

Ver. 7. Do not they blaspheme. The pro- 
noun is emphatic : ' Is it not they who blaspheme.' 
Tlie allusion may be to the attempts of the un- 
believing Jews to compel believers to blaspheme 
the name of Christ. Thus it is said of Saul, that 
he punished them oft in every synagogue, and 
compelled them to blaspheme (Acts xxvi. 11). 
But it is better to refer it to the blasphemous 
utteruices of the Jews themselves. Thus Justin 
Martyr tells us, that the Jews were accustomed to 
blaspheme Christ in their synagogues. Those 
who suppose that the rich men here mentioned 
are Christians, think that it refers to the disgrace 
brought upon Christianity by their ungodly prac- 
tices : that they blasphemed Christ in their lives. 
But such a meaning is less natural and appropriate. 
—that worthy, gSodly, or noble name— not the 

name of ' God,' or that of ' brethren,' but the name 
of ' Christ. * It does not, however, follow firom this 
that believers were at this early period called 
Christians. It is a goodly name, for Christ is the 
Lord of glory, the Founder of Christianity, the 
Messiah promised to their fathers. — ^l^ the which 
yon are called f or rather, ' which was invoked 
upon you,' namely at your baptism, when baptized 
into the name ot Christ. Tne allusion is to the 
name of God being put upon the children of Israel 
to distinguish them as His property. ' They shall 
put my name upon the children of Israel ' (Num. 
vi. 27). So the name of Christ was put upon 
believers to signify that they belonged to Him. 

Ver. 8. If. The connection has been variously 
understood. Some suppose that St James is 
anticipating an objection of his readers, that by 
showing respect of persons to the rich, they were 
obeying the royal law, in lovine; their neighbour 
as themselves ; others think that he is guanUng his 
own argument from misinterpretation. — ^ye fttlfil 
the royal law; the law which is the king of all 
laws, which includes in itself all other command- 
ments. Others understand the expression, ' the 
law which like the royal road is plain, straight 
and level ; ' others, ' the law which proceeds fiiom 
the great King,' whether God or Christ ; and 
others, ' the law which applies to kings as well as 
to other men.* But all these meanings are 
objectionable, because thc^ do not discriminate 
this special precept. It is to be observed that 
love to our neighbour is not so much a smg^e 
command as the principle of aU true obedience ; 
it is the chief of all laws ; all other laws are its 
ministering servants. 'All the law,' says St 
Paul, ' is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thoa 
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself' (Gal. ▼. I4]l 
—according to the scriptnxe ; here not according 
to the Gospel — the words of JesUs ; but according 
to the law of Moses (Lev. xix. 18). — ^Ihoa nhaS 
loye thy neighbour as thyself, ye do weU. For 
then it would follow that if you did so, yoa would 
not have this respect of persons. 

Ver. 9. Bnt iiye have respect of peiMina, ye 
commit sin, ye violate this royal law, and avo 
convinced of; convicted by, tne law. By the 
law here is not meant a single commandment^ as 
the law against partiality or respect of persoos^ 
but the moral law, and which, as regards our 
duties to others, is summed up in this command 
to love our neighbour as ourselves. — ae tcanigxei- 
Bors, because such a respect of persons is contraiy 
and opposed to a disinterested and universal love 
to others. 

Ver. 10. For whosoever shall keep the wlude 
law, and yet offend in one point— one particular, 
one commandment — he ia gnilty of all : that is, 
although respect of persons may appear to be the 
violation only of a single precept, yet it is a trans- 
gression of the whole law. Tlie truth of this 
statement of St. James is founded on the unity 
both of the Lawgiver and of the law. The same 
God who gave one commandment, gave aU t the 
law is but the expression of His will : and, 
therefore, whosoever breaks one commandment 
opposes himself to the will of God. So also love 
is the essence of the law; and whosoever sins 
transgresses this royal law of love. ' God,' says 
Calvin, 'will not be honoured with exceptions, 
nor will He allow us to cut off firom His law what 
is less pleasing to us. St James denies that oar 
neighbours are loved by as, when only a poitkm 



of tiiem i% timmgh ambition, chosen and the rest 
neglected.' The Jews haye a similar sentiment : 
* It a man obeys all the precepts of Moses, but 
leaves out one, he is guilty of all and of each.' 
llus declaration of St James was especially 
appropriate to the Jewish Christians, who were in 
danger of being led away by the errors of the 
Pharisees. The Jewish doctors affirmed that if 
men kept any one precept of the law, it was suffi* 
dent ; and aooordincly some selected the law of the 
Sabbat h , others the law of sacrifice, and others the 
law of tithes ; whilst the law of love was n^Iectcd. 

Ver. II. For: the reason of the above assertion, 
arising firom the' unity of the Divine Author of the 
law. — ^Ha, namely God, that said. Do not oommit 
adolieiiy. Mid also. Do not kill (Ex. xx. 13, 14). 
Various reasons have been assigned for the selec- 
tioo of these two precepts ; but the most obvious is 
that these are the two first commandments of the 
second^ (able of the law, containing our duties to 
our neijghbour; the fifth being generally classed 
fay Jewish writers as belonging to the first table. ^ 
—now if thou oommit no a£iltery, yet if thon 
kill, thon art beoome a transgxeasor of the 
law. There is a Divine unity in the law, as well 
as in the Lawgiver. We must ^bey all the laws 
of God, without exception or limitation ; if we 
offend in one particular, the law is broken and 
we b ecom e transgressors. A man who is a liar, 
although he may observe all the other precepts of 
the moial law, is evidently living in open violation 
of the law of God. 

Ver. 12. 80 qpeak ye and so do, as they that 
■hell be Judged by the law of liberty. The law 
of liberty is not here the moral law, nor the love 
of our neighbonr as a single commandment, but 
the ssme as that mentioned in the former chapter: 
' Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty ' 
(Tas. L 35). See explanation of that passage. 
Bdierers are under tne law of liberty, because 
they are (reed from the condemning sentence of 
the moml law, and are delivered nx>m the en- 
slaving power of sin, a disposition having been 

^ The Mvtadi oomouuidiiient, * Do not commit adultery/ 
isaboL ashera^ pot before the sixth, « Do not kill,' in Mark 
X. 19, I^ka xvm. ao, Rom. xiiL 9 \ whereas in Matt. ziz. x8 
llw Older ia dM DecalogiM is reuined. 

implanted within them which renders them willing 
to obey the Divine commands. The spirit of 
bondage is superseded by the spirit of adoption. 
And by this law of liberty believers shall be 
judged ; their good works will be rewarded, and 
their voluntary obedience to the moral law which 
springs from faith in Christ will be graciously 
accepted. They are no longer under the moral 
law, as a rule of rewards and punishments, but 
under grace— this law of liberty. 

Ver. 13. For, the reason assigned for so speaki- 
ing and acting, he shall haye jndc^ment wiuiont 
mercy, literidly, the jud^ent will be without 
mercy to him, who hath Aowed no mercy. We 
must show mercy to our fellow-men, if we expect 
mercy from God. Compare the words of our 
Lord : ' If ye forgive not men their trespasses, 
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses' 
(Matt. vi. 15). On the other hand : 'Blessed are 
the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy' (Matt 
V. 7). The chief aim of the Gospel is to make 
men like God ; to form the Divine image in the 
human soul; that they should be merciful, even 
as their Father in heaven is merciful. — and mercy 
xejoioeth against, boasteth over. Judgment 
Mercy and judgment are here personified ; judg- 
ment threatens to condemn the sinner, but mercy 
interposes and overcomes judgment The sajring 
is general, and not to be limited either to God 
or to man; mercy prevails against judgment 
'Mercy,' sajrs St. Chrysostom, 'is dear to God, 
and intercedes for the sinner, and breaks his 
chains, and dissipates the darkness, and quenches 
the fire of hell, and destroys the worm, ana rescues 
from the gnashing of teeth. To her the gates of 
heaven are opened. She is the queen of virtues, 
and makes men like to God ; for it is written. Be 
ve mercifiil, as your Father also is merciftil. She 
has silver wings like the dove, and feathers of 

fold, and soars aloft, and is clothed with the 
)ivine glory, and stands by the throne of God ; 
when we are in danger of being condemned, she 
rises up and pleads for us, and covers us with her 
defence, and enfolds us with her wings. God 
loves mercy more than sacrifice.' Compare with 
this Shakespeare's celebrated lines on the quality 
of mercy. 

Chapter II. 14-26. 

Relation of Faith and Works. 

14 \X /HAT doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he 

V V hath faith, and have not works ? can ' faith save him ? 

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 

16 and one of you say unto them, "* Depart in peace, be^^ warmed *lJ'^^. 
and filled ; notwithstanding ye give them not those things |^®' "*• »7* 

17 which are needful to the body, what doth it profit ? Even so 

18 faith, if it hath not works, is * dead, being alone.* Yea, ^ a man * J'}?« "• 

' * / o 'ex \JOK» XV. 

may say,* Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy 
faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my 

^ itutrt this ' in itself * one will say 




19 works. Thou believest that '^ there is one God ; thou doest ''^' *"• ** 

20 well : the devils also believe, and tremble.* But wilt thou 

21 know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead.^ 'Was 'Rom.iv 1-3. 
not Abraham our father justified by works, -^when he l^^id /^j**^^ 

22 offered Isaac his son upon the altar .^ Seest thou how* faith «7. »8, 
wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect f 

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, ^Abraham believed rGen.Y-5'f; 
God, and it was imputed ® unto him for righteousness : and he Gai. Ui. 6. 

24 was called *the Friend of God. Ye see then how' that by A^chroa.xx. 

25 works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also, 

was not ' Rahab the harlot justified by works, * when she had' ^fcSj;J'*,?J*. 
received the messengers, and had ' sent t/iem out another way } 

26 For as 'the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without /Cen.vix7. 
works is dead also. 

* shudder 

' omi^ then how 

* Thou seest that 

• omtt had 

• reckoned 

Contents. In this passage James continues 
to enforce practical religion. He tells his readers 
that faith destitute of works is of no avail to the 
saving of the soul, and is as useless as a charity 
which expends itself in kind words, but is destitute 
of beneficent actions. As the charity is dead, so 
also is the faith. Faith can only be manifested 
by works. A mere theoretical belief in God is of 
no advantage, and differs little from the belief of 
evil spirits. Such a faith, unproductive of works, 
cannot justify. Abraham was justified by an 
active faith when he offered up Isaac ; by works 
did his faith receive its full realization ; thus 
proving that a man is justified by an active and 
not by an unproductive faith. So also Rahab 
was similarly lustified when she harboured the 
spies. Faith aestitute of works resembles a body 
from which the living spirit has departed. 

Ver. 14. The connection appears to be as 
follows : — James has been showing that true 
religious worship does not consist in the perform- 
ance of certain ceremonies, but in active bene- 
ficence extended toward the poor and afflicted, 
and that opposed to this is a respect of persons 
showing partiality to the rich. He now proceeds 
further to maintain the more general proposition 
that a profession of religion, apart from religious 
practice, is of no value. James carefully separates 
appearance and reality from each other — the 
shadow from the substance. As formerly he 
showed that the hearing of the word without the 
doing was worthless, and that religious worship 
was of no avail without active beneficence ; so 
now he asserts that a mere theoretical assent 
to the truths of the Gospel was also unprofitable 
and vain.— What shaU it profit!— literally, 'What 
is the use ?' Faith without works will not profit 
at the judgment ; it will not be conducive to the 
saving of the soul. — my brethren, though a man 
say. Some critics lay stress on the word *say,* 
as if the assertion of a faith without works was a 
mere affirmation or profession, and not a reality. 
But James admits the existence of a speculative 
faith ; the man is supposed to have faith of a 
certain kind, though not saving faith. ~ he hath 

faith. It is of importance for the understanding 
of this passage to ascertain what is here meant by 
faith. James evidently takes the word in its 
general acceptation ; with him it denotes any 
assent to religious truth, whether it be operative 
or inoperative. And what he asserts is that if 
the faith be inoperative, if it be a lifeless 
principle, unproductive of good works, a mere 
mtellectual assent to Divine truth without its 
exerting any influence over our heart and conduct^ 
it cannot save us. James undoubtedly considers 
faith to be a necessary prerequisite to salvation^ 
but only that faith which is productive and 
accompanied with works. — and have not worki. 
By works, as is evident from the context, James 
means those works which are the fruits and effects 
of faith — evangelical works which arise from 
faith ; hence, then, not mere ceremonial works, 
nor even moral or legal works done previous to 
and apart from faith.— can faith save him f The 
article in the Greek must here receive its full 
force— literally, *Can the faith save him?* that 
is, the particular faith which such a man possesses 
— * this faith.' Faith certainly does save; nothing 
can be more evidently the doctrine of Scripture 
than that our salvation is attached to faith ; but 
not the faith to which James here alludes : 
Can this faith save him ? — this dead, barren faith ; 
this mere speculative belief in the doctrines of the 

Ver. 15. To prove the uselessness of a barren 
faith, the apostle illustrates the subject by showing 
the uselessness of a barren charity, which every 
one will at once admit ; and this illustration is 
the more appropriate, as love is the indispensable 
attendant on a living faith — the instrument by 
which it works (Gal. v. 6).— If a bioth«r or 
sister— a Christian brother or sister — a fellow- 
believer — bringing forward more strongly our duty 
to assist them, and our culpability if we refuse 
such assistance. — be naked and deatitnte of 
daily food — be reduced to a slate of extreme 
destitution. By daily food is meant the food 
necessary for each day. 

Ver. 16. And one of yon say to t)iem, Depart 



in P0M6, be ye wanned nnd filled: warmed in re- 
ference to their being naked, and filled in reference 
to their being destitute of daily food. Expressions 
of kind wishes toward the destitute ; mere words, 
but no actions. The words are such as, if 
sincere, would have been followed by correspond- 
ing actions. 'Depart in peace,' are the words 
which our Saviour employ^ when He dismissed 
those whom He had cured (Luke vii. 50). — ^not- 
withstanding ye gnTe them not those things 
wliich ere needfU to the body, namely, food and 
raiment. —what doth it profit f What good do 
your kind words do either to them or to your- 
selves ? Undoubtedly charity, if it have not works, 
is dead. 

Ver. 17. Now follows the application of this 
illustration. As this love, which merely expends 
itself in kind words and wishes, is of no value ; 
so neither is the faith of him who professes to 
believe the Gospel, yet walks not up to his pro- 
fession. Even so; as charity without works is 
dead, so Daith, if it hath not works, if it be merely 
a theoretical assent to the truths of revelation. 
Is dead. From this it is evident that by works 
b not meant merely something which is added to 
fiiith, but something which proceeds from it ; as 
life is seen by its actions, so is faith by its works. 
The works then are those of a living faith, those 
to which faith gives birth. ' If,' observes Neander, 
* James calls the faith which is without works a 
mad fiuth, it could not surely be his view that 
works, which are but the outward manifestation, 
made faith to be living ; but he must have pre- 
supposed that true faith has the principle of life 
within itself, from which works must proceed, and 
which manifests itself in works.* — being alone. 
The words in the Greek are not tautological, as 
they appear in our version, but emphatic. More 
correctly rendered they are *by itself* — denoting 
that a simple assent is useless, or rather ' in itself, 
i.g, is wholly and completely dead — has no living 
root which might spring up — ' twice dead, plucked 
np by the roots,' as Jude expresses it (Jude 12). 
As has been observed, ' A tree in winter may not 
have signs of life, but is not dead in itself ; it will 

Et forUi shoots and leaves in spring. But faith 
I no winter ; if it has not works, it has no life 
in it, and ought not to be called faith, for dead 
fidth is no faith ' (Wordsworth). It is, however, 
to be remembeted that James does not deny the 
existence of a theoretical faith ; he distinguishes 
between faith and faith, between theoretical and 
practical faith ; and to the former, the theoretical 
fidth, he denies that justification can be ascribed. 
Ver. 18. Yea, a man may say. Thou hast faith 
and I have works. There is a considerable 
diverrity of opinion in the interpretation of these 
words. They appear to be the language of an 
objector, being the usual form by which an 
ol>jcction is introduced (Rom. ix. 19; i Cor. 
^v* 35) » ^^ when examined, they express the 
sentiments of Tames, and not those of an opponent f 
if an objection, we would have expected the 
opposite: *Thou hast works and I have faith.' 
Some, considering the words as those of an 
objector, give the following interpretation : * One, 
defending thee, may say : Thou, who hast not 
works, hast faith, and I, who declare that faith 
without works m dead, have works ; there is no 
reason to lay more stress upon the one than upon 
the other.' But such a meaning is complicated 
and awkward ; it reverses the language of the 

apostle. Others suppose that the objector is a 
Pharisaical Jew who, opposing James, maintains 

i'ustification to be entirely by- works without faith ; 
>ut such a meaning is not borne out by the 
context. It is best to suppose that the words are 
not those of an objector, but of a person who 
agrees with the apostle, and who is here intro- 
duced to impart liveliness to the discussion. Nay, 
one may interpose. Thou hast faith and I have 
works. Others connect the words with ver. 14, 
and consider the intervening words as parenthetic, 
but we do not see how this removes the difiiculty. 
— shew me thy faith without thy works, prove 
to me the reality of your faith. A faith without 
works is incapable of being proved. To show 
faith without works is simply an impossibility. If 
it exist at all in such a state, it exists in a passive 
or latent form in a man^s mind, and cannot be 
shown to others. Faith is not entirely denied to 
the man, but living faith is ; if faith does not prove 
itself by works it is dead, and of no value as 
regards salvation. — and I will show thee my faith 
by my works. This is the key to the meaning of 
James. Justification is denied to a dead faith, 
and affirmed only of a living faith — a faith which 
manifests itself in works. This is the test by 
which we are to try the reality of our faith ; and 
this is the test by which we shall be judged at the 
final judgment. We shall not then be examined 
as to the pureness of our creed or the extent of 
our knowledge, but whether we have fed the 
hungry, clothed the naked, visited the sick, and 
ministered to the afflicted ; whether we have 
practised that religious worship which consists in 
visiting the fatherless and the widows in their 
affliction, and in preserving ourselves unspotted 
from the world. 

Ver. 19. Thou belieTest that there is one 
God. Here the existence of a theoretical faith is 
admitted: Thou assentest to the statement that 
there is one God, or, as it is otherwise read, * that 
God is one.' This particular article of faith is 
chosen from a Jewish point of view, because the 
Jews put a high value on it, as that which dis- 
tinguished them from the rest of the world. And 
it is still the boast of the Jews that their national 
vocation is to be witnesses to the unity of the God- 
head. Hence then : Thou hast more knowledge 
and a more correct faith than the Gentiles, who 
have gods many and lords many. — thou doest 
well : so far gO(^. There is a certain touch of 
irony in the language ; but the irony does not lie 
in the words, ' Thou doest well,' but in the whole 
statement — that a theoretical faith in the unity of 
God, though in itself good, yet does not essentially 
differ from the belief of devils. — the devils. By 
the devils here are not meant the devils in the 
possessed who trembled before Christ (Matt. viii. 
29) ; nor the heathen divinities considered as 
demons (i Cor. x. 20), but evil spirits generally, 
—also believe — assent to this doctrine — and 
tremble : the word in the Greek is stronger, ' and 
shudder.' The force of this addition may be : 
* The faith of the nominal Christian is no better 
than the faith which devils possess ; nay, it is not 
even so good, for the devils not only believe, but 
they also tremble ; ' or it may be : * The devils* 
belief in God, because unproductive of works and 
obedience, not only cannot save them, but is the 
cause of their trembling before the Divine tribunal ' 

Ver. 2a Bat wilt thou know, or rather, ' Art 



thou witling to know/ to recognise this truth? 
implying tbit such knowledge was not palatable 
to biin.---0 vain num; that is, O empty man, puffed 
up with pride, trusting to thy outward privilec'es, 
but without seriousness and spiritual life. — uutt 
faith without works ia dead. Some manuscripts 
read 'is idle,* that is, inoperative or useless; a 
reading which makes no alteration in the sense. 
Faith without works is properly not faith at all, 
but reprobate faithlessness. 

Ver. 21. James now adduces two examples — 
those of Abraham and Rahab — to prove the truth 
of his assertion that faith can only save if it is 
productive of good works. And, first, the ex- 
ample of Abraham.— Was not Abraham. The 
same example is adduced by Paul (Rom. iv. 1-5); 
but there is no reason to suppose that the one 
writer borrowed from the other. The example of 
Abraham would readily occur to every Jew, on 
account of the importance of that patriarch in 
their national history. — onr father : the same 
appellation is given by Paul ; but here it is given 
because both James and his readers, the Jewish 
Christians, were descended from Abraham. — ^waa 
Jnstifled. Some suppose that bv 'justified' is 
meant proved to be justified, and that the allusion 
is to the manifestation of our justification before 
men, which can only be by works. Thus Calvin 
remarks : ' Paul means by the word " justified " 
the gratuitous imputation of righteousness before 
the tribunal of GckI ; and James, the manifestation 
of righteousness by the conduct, and that before 
men. In this sense we fully allow that a man is 
justified bv works, as when one says that a man is 
enriched by the purchase of a large and valuable 
estate, because his riches, before hid, shut up in a 
chest, were thus made known.* But this has too 
much the appearance of a subterfiige to avoid a 
difficulty ; it puts a forced interpretation upon the 
text. We taxe the word in its ordinary meaning, 
' declared righteous in the sight of God, * equiva* 
lent to ^ saved* in a previous verse : 'Can faith 
save him ? ' — by works. Paul also appeals to Uie 
case of Abraham, but with a desire to prove that 
he was justified by faith without works. These 
writers view the matter in different lights. Paul 
asserts that Abraham was justified by the unseen 
principle of faith ; he simply believed God, and it 
was imputed to him for righteousness. James 
affirms that the faith by which Abraham was justi- 
fied was a faith which manifested itself by works, 
and was seen in a remarkable manner by the great 
act of his obedience — the sacrifice of Isaac; his 
faith obtained its perfection by works. See excur" 
sus ai the end of this exposition. The plural 
worksy whereas only one work is mentioned, is 
explained from the fact that the class is named to 
which the offering up of Isaac belongs. — ^when he 
had offered Isaao nis son on the altar. This 
great act of obedience (Gen. xxii. 2) was certainly 
a work of faith, arising from Abraham's practical 
belief in God. 'By faith,* writes the author of 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, ' Abraham, when he 
was tried, offered up Isaac, and he that had 
received the promises, offered up his only -begotten 
son, of whom it is said. That in Isaac sh2l thy 
seed be called : accounting that God was able to 
raise him up, even from the dead ; from whence 
also he received him in a figure' (Heb. xi. 17-19). 
It was therefore a most notable proof that Abra* 
ham had a living faith, and vras therefore in a 
justified slate. 

Ver. 22. SeesI tlioa how, or, moie cocieotlya 
*thou seest that,' lisitb wiooglit, ooHipeialed, 
with his works. This cannot mean that woriu 
co-operated with his faith in the matter of his 
justification before God, as if God did not know 
that he had livii^ faith until it showed itself by 
works. But the evident meaning is that Uie offer* 
ing of Isaac proved that the faith of Abraham was 
not a dead, but a living and active faith, and thn 
was a verification of Abraham's justificatioo. It 
was faith that enabled him to pmorm this woilb 
—and by works was faith made pevfeet^ frdly 
realized, completed ; not proved or verified, but 
perfected. Faith is only perfected when it vi 
embodied or realized in gocKl works. As love is 
perfected by the practice of works of benetvolcnce, 
so faith is perfected by the practice of those works 
which are appropriate to it By works friitb 
attains its legitimate development or completion. 
' Faith creates works; works perfect faitb ' (Sderk 

Ver. 23. And the soriptnra was fuffiM* 
The same expression which is employed with 
reference to prophetical declarations ; hence ' the 
Scripture received its accomplishment' This 
great act of obedience on the part of Abraham 
was a proof of the fulfilment of the scriptural 
declaration made concerning him. — ^whioh saith, 
Abraham believed God, and it was impated ta 
him for righteonsness ; the scriptural statements 
This remarkable declaration is also twice quoted 
by Paul (Rom. iv. 3; GaL iii 6). The woidl 
are by both apostles quoted from the Septnsgiot 
In the Hebrew the verb imputed is in the active^ 
and not in the passive voice : 'And he believed 
in the Lord, and He counted it to him for 
righteousness' (Gen. xv. 6). This occurred 
long before Abraham offered up Isaac, indeed 
before the birth of Isaac. Abraham was at that 
early period in a justified state before God ; the 
declaration was made concerning him; and by 
his offering of Isaac the scriptural declaration 
received its fulfilment and realizaticm. It is there* 
fore evident that this act of obedience was not the 
cause of Abraham's justification ; but, because it 
proved that Abraham was possessed of a living 
faith, it fulfilled the words of Scripture.— and hie 
was called the Friend of God ; not adduced as 
a statement of Scripture which received its fulfil- 
ment, but an additional assertion of the Ikfoor 
in which Abraham stood with God. It is not 
directly stated that Abraham, in consequence of 
his offering up Isaac, received this honouiable 
appellation, but the blessing which that name 
denotes is evidentlv presupposed : Abraham was 
the Beloved of Goo. The name is twice ascrU>ed 
to Abraham in the Old Testament, according to 
our English version. Jehoshaphat, in his prayer, 
says : ' Thou gavest this land to the seed ot Abra- 
ham thy friend' (2 Chron. xx. 7). And in the 
prophecies of Isaiah we read : 'Thou Israel art 
my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of 
Abraham my firiend ' (Isa. zli. 8). The term, how* 
ever, is found neither in the Hebrew nor in the 
Septuagint, but is employed by Philo. And this 
is still the favourite descnption of Abraham, both 
by the Jews and by the Mtdiometans. By the 
Mahometans his proper name b often supplanted 
by the appellation El-KhalU-AUah, 'the Friend 
of God.' 

Ver. 24. Ye see then, from this example of 
Abraham, how that by works a man is jns&Hed* 
The emphasis is upon worl^ : stress is put unoq 


the fiict tfial fiuth must be piodiictive of works. — ever. 
mad not by UiXh. only. These words do not 
admit of the trunlation, ' and not aaly by faith: * 
as if theie were two kinds of justification, the one 
by fiuth and the other by works ; or as if faith did 
put, nnd works were required to do the rest. 
The meaning is, 'not by faith simply,' — ^b^a faith 
without wonci, which cannot jn^ify either in 
wiude or in part It must be carefully observed 
that Tames aoes not deny that a man is justified 
by nith; on the contrary, he presupposes this 
truth, as without fiuth thm can be no works, in 
the sense in which he employs the term works ; 
he onhr asserts that justifying faith must not be 
akme^ cmt must be productive of works. 

Ver. 35. The second example which James 
adduces is that of Rahab. idtowiae also mm 
not Bahab. The same example, and the same 
incident in Rahab's history, is also adduced by 
the anthcv of the Epistle to the Hebrews, as an 
inustrioos instance of faith. The example is not 
so obvious as that of Abraham; and we can 
assign no sufficient reason why it was selected by 
berth writers.— the harlot: to be taken in its 
Hteial sense, and not to be considered as eqni* 
valent to innkeeper.— Jnatifled, namely before 
God.-— by works when she recelTod the mas- 
and sent them out another way. This 


was certainlv a work springing from her faith ; it 
arose from her firm belief in the God of Israel. 
Indeed, Rahab herself gives this as the reason of 
her conduct : ' I know that the Lord hath given 
yon the land, and that your terror is fallen upon 
us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint 
because of you. The Lord your God, He is God 
in heaven above and in the earth beneath ' (Josh. 
fi. 9, II). Her receiving the messengers, and 
sending them out another way, was therefore a 
pRx^ that her fiuth was real and living. 'By 
kith,' ssys the author of the Epistle to the 
Hebfews, 'the harlot Rahab perisned not with 
them diat beBeved not, when she had received 
die spies with peace ' (Heb. xL 31). Her deliver- 
ance from deadi is to be ascribed to her faith, but 
it was to her fiuth as active. Thus did she 
manlfiest Hit reality of her faith. Her faith co- 
operated with her works, and by works was her 
fiuth made perfect — received its full realization ; 
~^^ in this sense she is said to be justified by 

Ver. 96u Vor M the body without the spirit 
Is dead. The 'spirit' here may either be the 
spirit — ^the soul of man ; or the breath 

of lifie---the living principle ; as in the expression, 
'all flesh idierein is the bieath of life' (Gen. vi. 
17).— 00 fMb. without woda !■ dead also. 
Here fidth without works answers to the body 
without the spirit At first sight it would seem 
that tiie comparison, in order to be correc^ would 
leqniie to be inverted; inasmuch as faith is a 
spiritual principle, whereas works are its external 
nimifffft^«»« ; so that we would require to read : 
*io works without faith are dead also.' But 
what James insists on here is not the deadness of 
woiks without fiuth, but the converse, the dead- 
ness of firith without works. According to him, 
a fiuth without works is like a body from which 
the living principle has departed ; works are the 
evidences of life, and if these be absent, the fiuth 
is dead. A mere system of doctrine, however 
correct, is a mere dead body, unless it be animated 
by a living working spirit We must not, how- 

press the metephor too far. Strictly 
speaking, the works do not correspond to the 
spirit, but are only the outward manifestations ci 
an internal living principle — the proof that there 
is life. An unproductive faith is a body without 
the spirit ; a productive faith is the living body. 

Excursus : James and Paul. 

The relation of Paul and James to each other 
in regard to justification is a matter of such 
importance that it requires for its discussion a 
separate consideration. It is impossible in our 
limited space to give a full statement of the 
subject; all that we aim at is to point out the 
probable solution of the difficulties connected with 
It It is undeniable that there is at least an 
apparent opposition between these sacred writers 
in their view of justification. We have merely to 
state their views in their own language to perceive 
the difference. Paul, as the conclusion of his 
argument, affirms : ' Therefore by the deeds of the 
law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight ' 
(Rom. iiL 20) ; and, in the Epistle to the (Sda- 
tians, he makes the same assertion: 'By the 
works of the law shall no flesh be justified '^(GaL 
ii 16). Whereas James appears to assert the 
very opposite : 'Ye see that by works a man is 
justified, and not by fiuth only' (Jas. ii. 26). 
And this apparent opposition is very obvious in 
their different statements concerning Abraham's 
justification, which both employ to illustrate or 
confirm their respective views. Paul says: 'If 
Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof 
to gloiy, but not before God ' (Rom. iv. 2). James 
asl^ : ' Was not Abraham our father justified by 
works?' (Jas. ii. ai). Thus, then, it would 
appear from the simple reading of these statements, 
that Paul ascribes our justification to faith without 
the works of the law ; whereas James ascribes it, 
if not to works, at least to works combined with 

Accordingly, various modes of reconciliation 
have been adopted. These may be arranged into 
three classes, according to the meanings attached 
to the three principal terms — works, justification, 
and faith. One class of writers suppose that the 
sacred authors employ the term ztwris in different 
senses. Some think that Paul speaks of works 
done in obedience to the ceremonial law, and 
James of works done in obedience to the moral 
law. Others think that Paul speaks of the works 
of the unregenerate, James of the works of the 
true believer. And undoubtedly there is a certain 
difference in their use of this term. The works 
of which Paul speaks, are legal works done 
without faith ; the works of which James speaks, 
are evangelical works which arise from faith. 
But this is not the true solution of the difficulty, 
as even evangelical works are excluded from 
Paul's idea of justification. A second class of 
writers suppose that the term justification is 
differently employed by them. Some suppose 
that Paul considers justification from God's point 
of view, which is by faith ; and that James spesdcs 
of justification from man's point of view, which is 
by works. But such a distinction in the meaning 
of the term 'justification' is not apparent: it 
would rather seem that both Paul and James 
employ the term in the same sense, as a dedara- 
tion of righteousness on the part of God.^ A 

1 Httther supposes that Paul has in view the justificatioo 
that puts behevers in a gradous relation to God in this 



third class of writers suppose that there is a 
diflerence in the use of the term faith. Paul, it 
has been maintained, speaks of faith as an active 
practical principle — he recognises no other kind 
of faith ; whereas James employs the term in a 
much more general sense, and includes in it 
theoretical as well as practical faith. It is in 
this direction that we consider the true solution 
of the question lies. 

In any solution we must not forget the peculiar 
characteristics of Paul and James, the one as the 
apostle of the uncircumcision, and the other as the 
apostle of the circumcision. They stood in 
different relations to the Mosaic law. Paul 
regarded it as abolished, and he himself freed 
from its requirements, whereas James adhered to it 
to the last ; and therefore we may expect expres- 
sions and statements used by the one m reference 
to justification which would not be employed by 
the other, even where no real discrepancy ei^ts. 
Paul is eminently doctrinal, and therefore faith 
occupies a prominent place in his theology. 
James is eminently practical, and therefore works 
occupy a prominent place in his teaching. Both 
agree in ascribing our justification to niith, and 
both assert that the faith must be living ; but they 
contemplate the matter under different points of 
view. James would hardly assert with Paul that 
a man is justified by faith without the works of the 
law, because he re^jarded faith as only efficacious 
when it is productive of works ; and Paul would 
hardly assert with James that by works a man is 
justified and not by faith onlv, because he 
admitted of no other kind of faith than one that 
was living and aaive. Although, then, we 
believe that there is no real discrepancy in the 
opinions of these apostles, yet there is a remark- 
able difference in their terminology, arising from 
their individual peculiarities. 

Paul and James view justification from diflferent 
standpoints, according to the different nature of 
the errors which they opposed. Paul is arguing 
against those who supposed that they would be 
justified by their good works. His opponents are 
the self-righteous Pharisees, who trusted to their 
own righteousness, and boasted of their obedience 
to the law. He tells them that their own obedience 
was imperfect, that the law of God, far from 
justifying, condemns them, and that the only 
method of salvation was to exercise faith in 
Christ. But the faith, to which Paul attaches 
salvation, is presupposed to be a true and living 
faith, not the mere assent of the understanding to 
the proposition that Jesus Christ came into the 
world to save sinners, but an application of this to 
our souU* necessities. James, on the other hand, 
is arguing Against those who supposed that an 
orthodox faith could save, though unaccompanied 
with a holy life. Such an error was very common 
among the Jews, They placed their confidence 
in their external privileges, in their belief in the 
unity of the Godhead m contrast to the p>olvtheism 
of the Gentiles ; and this spirit was carriea by the 
converted Jews into the Christian Church. James 
tells them that such a faith, which was merely 
theoretical and unproductive of good works, was 
useless; as useless as a barren charity which 

world, and James the justification that places believers at 
the last judgment in the full enjoyment of God ; an opinion 
which appears to be adopted by Dean Scott in his com- 
'n^r^'y* ^'^^ '1** example of Abraham's justification, 
which was certainly in this life, b a refutation of this view 

expended itself in kind wishes. Saving faith 
must be active ; it must be productive of good 
works ; if these be absent, the faith is dead, and 
will never save the soul. Thus, then, Paul 
opposes Pharisaical legalism — those who trusted 
to their own works for salvation. James opposes 
Pharisaical antinomianism — those who trusted to 
their religious knowledge and speculative faith. 
Paul teaches us how a guilty sinner may be 
justified before God ; James reminds ns that no 
man living in sin can be justified, whatever his 
profession may be. Paul answers the question of 
the awakened sinner, *What must I do to be 
saved?' James exhorts professed believers to 
walk worthy of their calling. Paul discloses to 
the Pharisaical legalist the worthlessness of his 
works ; James discloses to the Pharisaical anti- 
nomian the worthlessness of his faith. 

But not only do the apostles contemplate the 
doctrine of justification under different points of 
view ; they also employ the term faith in different 
senses. The faith to which Paul assigns justifica- 
tion is a real, active, and living belief in Jesus 
Christ; it is the assent of the will to the 
doctrines of revelation ; it is a faith which 
worketh by love; he knows no other kind of 
faith. The faith of the Gospel requires action- 
something to be done ; and it is the action which 
proves the reality and constitutes the value of the 
faith. Faith, if real, must work ; if there are no 
works, it is a proof that the faith is unreal and a 
mere pretence. James, again, places his chief 
stress on the activity of living faith. He uses the 
term faith in a much more general sense than 
Paul, as including theoretical as well as practical 
belief. Faith, he asserts, can only justify when it is 
operative ; if inoperative, if it is a mere speculative 
belief, it cannot justify ; it is a dead faith, a mere 
body without the living spirit. Not by a mere 
general faith is a man justified, but by a faith 
productive of good works. 

Paul and Tames then speak of different faiths, 
so that, although the one asserts that we are 
justified by faith without the works of the law, 
and the other that by works a man is justified and 
not by faith only, there is no contradiction 
between them, as they employ the term faith in 
different senses. Paul asserts that a living faith 
in Christ is the only cause of justification ; James 
affirms that the faith which justifies must be 
living, and productive of good works. Paul 
descends from saving faith to good works as its 
necessary effects ; James ascends from |[ood works 
to saving faith as their cause and origin. Paul 
dwells on ^th as the efficient cause; James 
insists on works as the indispensable effects. Paul 
assigns our justification to a faith which worketh 
by love ; James denies that it can be assigned to a 
faith which is destitute of works. Paul speaks of 
a living faith by which the justified man lives ; 
James of a dead faith, even as the body without 
the spirit is dead. The faith whereof Paul treats 
is that of the true believer ; the faith which James 
reprobates is that of the nominal professor. If, 
then, these apostles use the term faith in different 
senses, there is no contradiction in their state- 
ments, even although there is a contradiction 
in the words by which these statements are 

The fiill doctrine of Scripture on justification is 
that a man is justified not on account of his own 
righteousness, but on account of the merits of 



Christ received hy faith ; bat that this faith must 
be active, a faith which works by love^ and leads 
a man to act according as he believes. The first 
part of this doctrine, that a man is justified by 
nuth and not by his own righteousness, is chiefly 
dwelt npon by Paul ; the second part, that the 
faith which justifies must be active, b chiefly dwelt 
npoQ by James. Pftul addresses himself chiefly to 

those who are unbelievers, and who are trusting 
for salvation to their own works, and he urges 
them to faith in Christ James addresses himself 
chiefly to professing Christians who neglect to 
walk up to their profession, and he urges them to 
prove their faith by their works, because a mere 
speculative faith in Christ will profit them 

Chapter III. 1-18. 

Gavernvient of the Tongue, 

X TVyfY brethren, ''be not many masters,* knowing that we «Mji.«^ii.^7: 

2 IVX shall receive the * greater condemnation. * For in ^ |2d"^. \o 
many things we offend all. If any man ''offend not in word, ^gj^ji^j'^*' 
the same is a perfect man, and ''able also to bridle the whole ''Mat. xiL34. 

3 body. Behold,' we put bits in the horses' mouths that they 

4 may obey us, and we* turn about their whole body. Behold 
also the ships, which, though tlicy be so great, and are driven of 
fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm 

5 whithersoever the governor listeth.* Even so the tongue is a 

little member, and boasteth great things. ' Behold how great ' fj^-,?.*'''"- 

6 a matter* a little fire kindleth! And the tongue ts a fire, /a V« 
world of iniquity : so ' is the tongue* among our members, that 

it '• defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of 

7 nature;" and ^it is set on fire of hell. For every kind" of^^^"!;'**' 
beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is 

8 tamed," and hath been tamed " of mankind.** But the tongue 

can no man tame;" // is an unruly** evil, *full of deadly* ^4^3 ^ 

9 poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father;*' and 
therewith curse we men, which are made after ' the similitude * iite.c^'uL 

10 of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and ***• 

1 1 cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth 
a fountain send forth at the same place " sweet water and 

12 bitter.^ *Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? *M^*-^^»^ 
either a vine, figs ? so can no fountain both yield salt water 

and fresh." 

13 Who w 'a wise man and endued with knowledge among 'd«o«.»-»3. 
you? **let him show out of a good conversation •• his works «p«««^' 

14 with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and 

* teachers • omit the 
^ omit and, and read we also 

* forest ' that 

* the tongue is 

** nature ^' subdued 

*• Best AfSS. reoiiy restless 

*• fissure 
■• conduct 

» Best MSS, read. But if 

' the inclination of the steersman willeth 

« Best AfSS, omit so 

*® that which " the circle of life 

** human nature ** subdue 

" Best MSS, read, the Lord and Father 

*• Best MSS, read, neither can salt water bring forth sweet 


strife '^ in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 

15 This wisdom descendeth not'* from above, but is earthly, 

16 "sensual,** devilish. For where envying and strife" iV, there "^^'g; 

17 tf confusion, and every evil work. But 'the wisdom that is ^p^^^ 
from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and** easy to be 
entreated," full of mercy and good fruits, ^without partiality,** /!««•"• 4. 

18 and without hypocrisy. And 'the fruit of righteousness is f h«i». xS. w. 
sown in peace of*' them ''that make peace. rMat.v.9. 

** party strife 
" persuaded 

'^ is not one descending 

-^ doubting 

** natural 

^* ouiit and 

Contents. In this chapter, St. James cautions 
his readers not to be too forward in assuming the 
office of teachers, but to exercise a wise restraint 
upon their zeal, knowing that such an office would 
confer on them a heavy responsibility. This caution 
leads him to advert to the importance of the 
government of the tongue. He who can command 
his tonmie, commands himself. This observation 
he explains by two obvious illustrations, that of 
the bit which curbs the horse, and that of the helm 
which guides the ship. The tongue, he observes, 
though a little member, is a powerful instrument 
for good or eviL Its abuse gives rise to the 
greatest mischiefs, and influences for evil the 
whole circle of human life. It is more untameable 
than the wildest animals. By it we are guilty of 
the greatest inconsistency — blessing God, and 
cursing His image in man; an mconsistency 
which never occurs in nature, as no fountain sends 
forth both salt and fresh water, and no tree pro- 
duces different kinds of fruit. St. James therefore 
urges his readers to a candid and benevolent spirit, 
and to exhibit wisdom and meekness in their con- 
duct He then distinguishes between earthly and 
heavenly wisdom ; the former is the cause of envy 
and contention, of confusion and aU kinds of 
wickedness ; the latter leads to righteousness and 

Ver. I. My brethren, be not many masters. 
Either ' be not many of you masters ; * or rather, 
' be not a multitude of masters ' — each one striving 
to be a master. * Masters ' here used not in the 
sense of rulers, but of ttachers. Hence the sense is: 
Do not rashly enter upon the office of a teacher. The 
meaning is not to be limited, as is done by Calvin, 
to the office of a reprover — 'masters of morals ; ' 
but is to be understood generally. Such an assump- 
tion of the office and authority of teachers was 
very prevalent among the Jews. The Pharisees 
loved to be called of all men * Rabbi, Rabbi ' 
(Matt, xxiii. 7). St. Paul, adverting to the Jews, 
sAjs that they were confident of their ability to be 
guides to the blind, and teachers of the foolish 
(Rom. ii. 19, 20) ; and he finds fault with them 
for desiring to be teachers of the law, whilst at 
the same time they understood neither what they 
said, nor whereof they affirmed ( i Tim. i. 7). And 
this craving to be teacners would be naturally carried 
bv the converted Jews into the Christian church. 
The opportunity of exercising the office of teachers 
was greater in these davs of early Christianity 
than in ours, as it would seem that teaching was 
not then restricted to a particular class, but was 
exercised by believers gezierally. The eidiorta.tion 
is not without its use m the present day. Many, 

especially in a season of reli|;ious excitement, 
assume the office of teacher, without any qnafifi* 
cation of knowledge or experience, sind thus 
expose themselves to the reproof of St. James. — 
knowing, as ye well do, being well awaic — ithtX 
we — we who are the teachers. St. James indndes 
himself out of humility, and in order the better to 
propitiate his readers, shall reoeiTa tlia graatsr 
condemnation. The meaning being that as the 
responsibility of teachers is great, unej shall be 
the more strictly dealt with by God. Knowing 
that we shall undergo a stricter judgment than 
others in a private station. 

Ver. 2. For : the reason assigned for the second 
clause of the last verse. — ^in many ttafn^i: to be 
taken generally — ' in many particulars: ' not to be 
restricted to the offences of the tongue ; the re- 
striction follows in the latter part of the Terse. — 
we offend : literally, ' we trip or 'stumble.' 
Human life is represented as a way, and psrtica* 
lar actions as steps in that way ; and henoe acting 
amiss is represented as stumbling. Beliefcn^ 
thoOgh they may not actually fall, often stumble. 
— all: a strong expression in the Gredc ; 'we, all 
without exception.'— -If any offend not ixk woni— 
stumble not m his speech, the same ii * p«£Ml 
man. By ' a perfect man,' here and elsewhere in 
Scripture, is not meant a man who is absolutely 
free from sin, but one who is comparatively per- 
fect Thus Noah, Abraham, and Job were culed 
perfect in their generations ; and of Zadiarias and 
Elizabeth it is said that ' they were both rigfate— 
l)efore God, walking in all the commandments 
and ordinances of the Lord blameless ' (Lulce I. 
6). Hence, then, a perfect man is a man who has 
attained to a high degree of holiness. And cer* 
tainly a man, whose words are inofeisiVe, mt^ 
have his imperfections, but, compared with those 
who have little command over their tonguei^ who 
give an unbridled licence to their speech, he is a 
perfect man. ' He that can rule his tongue shall 
live without strife ' (Sir. xix. 6).— and aUe •!» 
to bridle his whole body: qualified to keep the 
body under subjection ; that is, has obtained the 
mastery over himself, inasmuch as it is more 
difficult to bridle the tongue than to control the 
actions of the life. A man's character is known 
by his words: 'Out of the abundance of the 
heart the mouth speaketh ' (Matt. xii. 34) : even 
as the nature of a fountain is known by the quality 
of the stream which issues from it Henoe the 
wise saying of Socrates, ' Speak, that I may know 
thee.' Offences of the tongue are the most 
common of all offences. 'There is one that 
slippeth in his speech, but not fimn his heart; 


sad who is he that hath not offended with his Gospel, pleads the cause of the umocent and 
loogoe?' (Sir. six. 16). Even the meekness of oppressed, stirs up to the performance of noble 
Moses was violated by a rash word : ' he spake deeds, diffuses the light of truth, procures liberty 
naadvisedly with his lips ' (P& cvi. 33). to the captive, comforts the sad and sorrowful, and 
Ver. 3. St James introduces two illustrations supports the dying in their last moments. Sweet 
to prove the truth of his remark, that if a man is waters flow from this fountain of humanity. But 
able to command his toi^e, he is able also to bitter waters also flow. On the side of evil the 
oomroaod his whole conduct. The first illustra- tongue sows the seeds of moral pestilence and 
tioo, that of the bit in the horses' mouths, was death, corrupts men's morals, spreads the leaven 
MUuralty suggested by what he had just said about of wickedness, persuades to vice and all manner 
bcidling the whole body. Behold. The best of sin, diffuses tne poison of infidelity and ungod- 
Manuscripts read, ' But if : ' as if St. James had liness, gives rise to bitter contentions, dissolves 
taidy ' Bat if you doubt the truth of my assertion, friendships, disturbs the peace of a whole neigh- 
consider how the horse is bridled.' — we put bite bourhooo, and is not less powerful for evil thau 
1m the honei* numths, that they may obey na; for good. 'Many have fallen by the edge of the 
mad we tum about their whole body. As the sword ; but not so many as have fallen by the 

are governed bv bits in their mouths, so tongue ' (Sir. xxviii 18). 
am we governed by the tongue in our mouths. Ver. 6. And the tongue is a fire—possesses 
The cmef point of comparison here is that of the destructive power of fire. — aworldofmiqnity. 
: — These words have been differently translated. 

Ver. 4. Behold also the shipe, which, thongfa Some render them as follows : ' The tongue is 

th^ be ao gxeai The ships of the ancients were a fire, the world of iniquity the forest ; ' but this 

often very large, as may be seen in the case of the is an unwarrantable insertion of the words ' the 

ship which conveyed Paul to Malta, which con- forest.' Others connect the words with what 

tanad twohundred and seventy-six persons (Acts follows : ' The tongue is a fire. As a world of 

xxvii. 37); but the comparison is even more forcible unrighteousness the tongue is among our mem- 

inov days, as our ships are still larger.— and are bers : ' but it is best to consider ' the world of 

driven on fleroe windk These fierce winds m9y iniquity ' in apposition wiih the tongue, as is done 

denote human passions, which the government in our version. Hence the meaning is : the tongue 

of the tongue controls. — yet they are tnmed is a combination of all that is eviL The expression 

^owt b y a ym amali helm whithenoever the is of similar import to that of St. Paul, when he 

pofemov lieteth : literally, ' whithersoever the calls the love of money ' the root of all evil ' ( i Tim. 

inclination or impulse of the steersman willeth.' vi. 10). — So ia, or rather ' so makes itself,' or 'so 

The little helm controlleth the fury of the winds steps forward : ' so is constituted the tongue among 

and waves. Here there is an additional point of onr memben, that it defileth the whole body, is 

eooipariaoo, namdy, the smallness of the instru- the cause of universal pollution, and eetteth on 

■lent employed in governing. fire, inflameth, the cowae of nature. 'i*his phrase 

I Ver. 5. Even lo. Now follows the application has been very differently translated, and indeed is in 

Of Che two illnstrations. If we rule our tonnes, our version hardly intelligible. The word rendered 

ne pyvem the whole man ; for the tongue is to ' course ' denotes something that revolves, and is 

the man what the bit is to the horse, or the helm generally used of a wheel ; and the words ' of 

to the ihip. - th e tongue is a little member : the nature ' are in the Greek ' of birth,' or metaphori* 

icfaenoe oenig to the smallness of the helm. The cally ' of creation.' Hence the literal translation 

toagneismaU in proportion to the whole body, is *the wheel of life' or 'of creation.' Some 

Mad to many of its members. — and boaeteth great accordingly understand it of the whole creation — 

bciasteth, instead of worketh or doeth, 'the orb of creation ; '^ the meaning being that 

boasting is specially applicable to the the tongue sets the universe in fiames ; but it is 
tongne. The mutd is not here, however, em- extremely improbable that St. James would use 
pkjtd to denote a vain ostentation ; for, as is such a strong hyperbole. Others consider it as a 
cfident firom the context, the tongue not only figurative expression for the body ;' but such an 
boasteth great things, but makes go^ its boasts, explanation is forced, and it is improbable that St 
Hence the meaning is, 'exerts immense influence.* James would express that figuratively which he 
* -Behe ld how great a matter ; or ' forest,' as it is had immediately before expr^sed in plain terms. 
hi the Gredc, suited to the lively and figurative Others suppose that by it the successive genera- 
style of Sl James. — a little fixe kindleth. A tions of men are meant — 'the circle of numan 
ragle spark may set a whole forest on fire, as is existence : ' ' the meaning being that, as the tongue 
often the case with the forests of America. The set our forefathers on fire, so it has the same per- 
reading of manuscripts is here different. Some nicious effect on us and on all succeeding genera 

ready ' How great a fire kindleth a great tions ; but this is a meaning which is too vague and 

;' th« allusion being tq the greatness of the indirect. It is best to understand by the phrase 

conflagration, whilst the smallness of the spark is the circle of the individual's own life, and which 

left out of consideration. Some critics translate commences its revolutions at his birth ; hence it 

the words without any reference to size : ' What a is to be translated ' the circle or wheel of life.'* 

fire kindles what a forest' Hie reading in our ' The present life of man,' savs Benson, ' is here 

verrion is to be preferred, as being best adapted compared to a wheel which is put in motion at 

to the apostle's train of thought, bringing pro* our birth, and runs swiftly until death st(Mp8 it. 

minent]]r forward the smallness of the fire (comp. The tongue often sets this wheel on a flame, 

PS. faunoii. 14; Isa. ix. 18). We are here taught, which sometimes sets on Are the whole machine.' 

ihoet emphatically, the power of the tongue. — And it is set on fire^ inflamed or inspired, of, or 

Speech is that whidh distinguishes man from the by, hell : Gehenna, the place of future torment, 

mferior aafaials^ 5 is a poweriul instrument for , ^ ^^^^ Ba«eL « Wiedngcr. » SttadUo. 

gondoTevO. On fhe side of good it preaches the •SoEiSSimaSdciicr, Ptam^ /«■««. 



different from Sheol or Hades, the place of discm- 
l)odied spirits. Except in the synoptical Gosnels, 
the word Gehenna is only found here in the New 
Testament. It denotes * the valley of Hinnoni/ 
and was used by the Jews to si(|^if^ the place of 
future punishment, because it was m that valley 
that the rites of human sacrifice were practised, and 
a perpetual burning was kept up for its cleansing. 
The reference here is not to the future punishment 
of the tongue, but to the source from which it 
derived its destructive properties, namely, from 
hell — that is, from the devil. * A bad tongue,* as 
^tius says, * is the organ of the devil. * At Pente- 
cost the outpouring of the Spirit was manifested 
by tongues of fire wnich lighted upon the disciples, 
and enabled them to speak with new tongues ; 
the tongue was then set on fire of heaven ; but 
that tongue which we have by nature, unpurified 
by grace, is often kindled from hell. 

Ver. 7. For every kind : literally, every nature 
or disposition.— of beasts, and of birds, and of 
serpents, and of things in the sea : the inferior 
creation arranged under its usual fourfold classi- 
fication — beasts of the earth, fowls of heaven, 
creeping things, and fish of the sea. — is tamed 
— better, ' is subdued,' as we can hardly say that 
all the inferior animals are tamed, many of them 
being incapable of being so ; but they may all 
be subdued.— and hath been tamed, subdued. — 
of mankind: literally, *by the nature of men,' 
answering to the nature of the inferior animals 
mention^ above ; hence *by human nature.' 

Ver. 8. Bat» expressive of contrast, the tongne, 
genenilly considered — whether our own tongue or 
the tongue of others — can no man tune or subdue. 
The tongue is more unconquerable than the wildest 
animal. No man can master his own tongue, or 
subdue that of the slanderer or the liar ; we 
require the grace of God for this.— it is an unroly 
e^ — incapable of being curbed, full of disturb- 
ance. The best manuscripts read, ' it is a restless 
evil * — incapable of being quieted. — full of deadly 
po^n : the reference being to the poison of 
serpents which was supposed to be connected with 
their tongues. Compare the words of the Psalmist, 
referred to by St Paul (Rom. iiL 13) : * They have 
sharpened their tongues like a serpent ; adders' 
poison is under their lips * (Ps. cxl. 3). Hence the 
miportance and difficulty of the government of the 
tongue. We must pray for the grace of God * to 
keep our mouths as with a bridle.' We must 
steer this little helm aright, lest we should make 
shipwreck of our immortal hopes. We must be 
cautious of every little spark, lest the infernal 
flames should burst forth, and spread devastation 
over the whole circle of our lives. 

Ver. 9. Therewith : literally, 'in it,' 'acting in 
the sphere of the tongue } * hence, instrumentally, 
'by it.' — bless we God, even the Father. The 
best manuscripts read, ' bless we the Lord and 
Father,' an unusual combination ; both terms 
apply to God the Father. To praise God b the 
proper use of the tongue. — and therewith, by it, 
cnrse we men — the improper and opposite use of 
the tongue. —which are made after the similitude, 
or likeness, of God. Man was originally created 
after the Divine image (Gen. i. 26) ; and this 
image, although marr^ and obscured, is not, as 
some rashly affirm, obliterated by sin. Thus murder 
wasdeclared tobe punishable bydeath, becauseman 
was made in the image of God (Gen. ix. 6). Man 
in his understanding and affections, and especially 

in his conscience, still bears the traces of the 
moral image of his Creator ; indeed, it is b^ reason 
of this resemblaiice that we can attam to a 
knowledge of the perfections of God, and are 
rendered capable of religion. And this Divine 
image obscured by sin is restored by Christ (CoL 
iil 10). This Divine similitude, then, we ou^t 
to respect both in ourselves and in others. He 
who curses man curses the ima^ of God, and 
consequently God Himsdf in His image. It is 
evident that the reference is not to the original 
condition of man prior to the fall, bat to his 
present state ; for thus only can there be any Ibice 
m the apostle's remark. 

Ver. 10. Out of the same month proe e edetii 
blessing and enzaing. My hrethnn, theaa 
things ought not so to be. There is here a 
moral incongruity. ' The annals of Christendom,* 
observes Dean Plumptre, ' show that the necess^ 
for the warning has not passed away. Coundtt 
formulating the faith, and uttering their cuises 
on heretics ; Te Deums chanted at an Amt^ da 
/?, or after a massacre of St Bartholomew ; the 
railings of religious parties who are restrained 
from other mckles of warfare, present the same 
melancholy inconsistency.' 

Ver. II. Now follow, after the apostle*s 
method, two illustrations of this incongruity, taken 
from the natural world. Doth * toontam tend 
forth at the same place : literally, ' at the same 
hole or fissure' — from the same spring. — iwMl 
water and bitter : literally, ' the sweet and the 

Ver. 12. Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear 
oliye berries f either a Tine, figs t that is, no tree 
can bring forth fruits inconsistent with its nature. 
The illustration here is not, that we must not 
expect bad fruits from a good tree, or convi»sely» 
good fruits from a bad tree, according . to oor 
Lord's illustration : ' Do men gather grapes of 
thorns, or figs of thistles?' (Matt. vii. 16); but 
only that we must not expect different fruits from 
the same tree— figs and olives from the fig tree, 
or figs and grapes from the vine. — io can no 
fountain yield salt water and flredi ; or, as other 
manuscripts have it, 'so neither can ailt water 
bring forth sweet ; ' the salt water referring to the 
cursing, and the sweet or fresh water to the bless^ 
ing. That cursing and blessing should proceed 
from the same mouth is as great an incongruity as 
that salt and fresh water should flow from the same 
spring. In the natural world no such incongruitY 
exists, as does in the moral world. Man is a sel& 
contradiction, acting continually inconsistently 
with his nature. 

Ver. 13. With this verse a new section of the 
Epistle apparently begins, and yet in strict con- 
nection with what precedes. The connection 
appears to be as follows : The want of command 
over our tongues argues a defect in wisdom and 
knowledge; so that if you do not govern your 
tongues, your boast of these qualities is a mere 
pretence. — Who is a wise mant that is. Who 
among you professes to be such? The Jews were 
great pretenders to wisdom, and they as well as 
the Greek sophists gloried in the title of wise 
men ; and indeed an assertion of wisdom is a 
general feature of the human race ; humility is the 
rarest of virtues.— and endued with knowledge 
among you? There is not much difference 
between these two epithets, ' wise ' and ' endued 
with knowledge. ' Some understand wisdom as in- 



tdligience generally, and knowledge as a practical 
insight which jnd^ correctly in particular cases. 
Bat, if we were to distingiush them, we would 
father say that wisdom denotes the adaptation of 
means to ends, and knowledge the acquisition of 
particular facts ; the knowledge of £scts constitutes 
the materials with which wisdom works. — let him 
■how-: let him make good hb profession, let him 
prove his possession of wisdom and knowledge. — 
out otf or rather ' by,* a good ocmTertfttion, * by 
a holy conduct' The word 'conversation' has 
altered its meaning since our translation was 
made ; then it signified conduct, but now it is 
almost entirely restricted to speech. — his works 
with muBlnni of wisdom : not to be rendered 
' in a meek wisdom,' or ' in a wise meekness ; ' but 
the genitive of possession, *in wisdom's meekness,' 
that is, in that meekness which is the proper 
attribute of true wisdom; the meekness which 
belongs to wisdom and proceeds from it. Com- 
pare the somewhat similar sentiment of the 
Psalmist : ' What man is he that desireth life, and 
loveth many days, that he may see good ? Keep 
thy tongne froi^ evil, and thy lips from speaking 
gmle' (Ps. j^iv. 12, 13); for the meekness of 
wisdom is |^en in the government of the tongue. 

Ver. 14. Bnt if ye naTe bitter envying— zeal 
or cmolation in a bad sense, as is evident from the 
epithet * bitter,' — Bad strife, or rather factiousness, 
coBtention, party - strife ; the reference being 
specially to religious controversies. — in your 
hearts, glory not, boast not, and lie not, by a 
false pretence to wisdom and knowledge, against 
the troth : not subjective, ' against veracitv,' 
being destitute of the truth, which would render 
the passage tautological ; but objective, ' against 
the tmth of God,' namely the Gospel 

Ver. 15. This wisdom, that which gives rise to 
this fidse seal and party-strife, desonideth not 
tnm abore, bnt is earthly, in contrast to 
'desoendeth from above' — belongs to the earth. 
Thcie are no heavenly aspirations about it; it 
ovorlooks or foigets the unseen world ; it is limited 
to the affiurs of the present life. — sensnal. Hardly 
a correct rendering; litendlv, 'belongs to the 
sold,' not to the spirit. The contrast is well 
brought out in Jude 19 : ' sensual, not having the 
spuiL* Elsewhere the word is translated ' natural.* 
'There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual 
body' (I Cor. xv. 44). 'The natural man re- 
edrtdCtk not the thmgs of the Sinrit of God' 
(i Cor. ii. 14). There is a distinction drawn in 
Sciiptnre between the soul and the spirit; the 
sool is the intellectual nature of man, that which 
qvalifies him for this world; the spirit is his 
religioiis nature, that which renders him capable 
of religioOy and assimilates him to God. Hence, 
then, the wwd is to be translated 'natural,' as 
apoB the whde the best eouivalent This wisdom 
appertains to our natural mental powers, but 
takes no cpgniiance of oar spiritual powers; it 
regards man as an intellectual being capable of 
knowledge^ rather than as a spiritual being capable 
of holiness. These two epithets, earthly and 
natoral, are perhap negative qualities ; the third 
quality is positively sinlttl.— derilish, devil-like, 
|i«T»«Vifig of the nature of devils, similar to that 
wisdom which is possessed by evil spirits, like the 
tongne impiied by heU. This wisdom is often 
the canse of pride and ambition, of selfishness and 
maligni^, and of all those vices which actuate the 
•piriu Of eviL Some suppose that the three great 
VOL. IV. 9 

temptations of the world— avarice, a love of plea- 
sure, and ambition — are here referred to ; the first 
of which is earthly, the second sensual, and the 
third devilish, being the sin by which the devil 
fell ; but this is refining too much. These three 
qualities — earthly, sensual, devilish — have their 
contrast in the qualities heavenly, spiritual, and 

Ver. 16. For, the reason assigned for the above 
description of earthly wisdom, where envying 
and strife is ; where zeal (in a bad sense) and 
party-strife are, there is confosion and every 
evil work — all kinds of wickedness. Certainly 
the reference is primarily to religious controversy ; 
but the supposition that the controversy between 
the Jewish and Gentile Christians is here referred 
to is without foundation. 

Ver. 17. Bnt. Now follows a description of 
the heavenlv wisdom in contrast to the earthly. 
The heavenly wisdom is descrit>ed by seven quali- 
ties which, as has been well said, are ' nothing 
but the seven colours of the one ray of light of 
heavenlv truth which has appeared and been 
revealed in Christ Himself— the Wisdom of God.' 
— the wisdom which is firam above is first, in 
the first plsice. Purity is its primary quality ; all 
other qualities of heavenly wisdom are subservient 
to this. We must, however, beware of perverting 
this remark in the interests of intolerance and 
party-strife ; these are the bitter fruits, not of 
heavenly, but of earthly wisdom. — pure, free from 
all impure and corrupt mixtures ; separated from 
everything that offends ; no stain of sin . must 
pollute it; everything that is morally evil is 
abhorrent to its nature. The word is to be taken 
in its widest sense, as all sin is impurity, .then 
peaceable, opposed to envy and party-strife ; 
desirous to make and maintain peace. The spirit 
of love will cause us, as much as possible, to live 
peaceably with all men; instead of strife there 
will be a readiness to be reconciled. — genUe, 
kind, forbearing, considerate, making every allow- 
ance for the Ignorance and frailties of otJiers, 
imitating the character of Him who is meek and 
lowly — * the gentle Jesus.'— easy to be intreated, 
or rather, easy to be persuaded, willing to be 
reconciled when differences arise, and always 
ready to meet its opponents half way.— ftdl of 
mercy and good Cmits, benevolent, compassionate 
to the afflicted, charitable to the poor, ready to 
extend relief and assistance to the destitute. — 
without partiality. Tliis has been variously 
rendered. Some, ' without, contending,' not 
entering into controversy ; others, ' without judg- 
ing,' not finding fault with others ; others, ' not 
making a difference,' that is, impartial. Perhaps 
the most correct meaning, and most in accordance 
with the doctrine of St. James, is, 'without 
wavering or doubting ; ' not feeble or changeable, 
'without vacillation (see Note on Jas. ii. 4). — 
and without hypocrii^, without pretence, show- 
ing a naturalness in behaviour, meaning all the 
kindness it expresses, without affectation, its 
actions beine in accordance with its words. 

Ver. 18. iund the ftruit of rigfaiteousness. This 
does not mean ' the reward of righteousness,' nor 
'the fruit which springs from righteousness,' but 
' Uie firuit which consists in righteousness.' So in 
the Epistle to the Hebrews we read, that chastise- 
ment yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness 
(Heb. xii. ii). As bitter emulation and party- 
strife are the fruits of earthly wisdom, so righteous- 



ness is the fruit of heavenly wisdom. And by 
righteousness here is not meant the imputed 
righteousness of Christ, but moral goodness — 
righteousness in ourselves and in others, in habit 
and in practice. — ^is sown; the fruit being sup- 
posed to be contained in the seed. The sower is 
not God ; but, as is evident from the context, the 
peacemakers. — in peace. Some render the words 
'into peace,' meaning that they who are of a 
peaceful disposition will reap a harvest of peace 
Doth in this world and in the next ; but this is 
giving a wrong meaning to the preposition. ' In 

peace ' denotes the spirit with which the seed or 
fruit is sown.— of them that make peace. Some 
render thb ' on behalf of them,* or, 'for the good 
of them that make peace.' But it gives a better 
meaning to regard the peacemakers as the sowers 
of righteousness, hence ' by them that make 
peace.* The meaning of the whole verse is : The 
seed of righteousness is sown by the peacemakers 
in a spirit of peace. Only those who are actuated 
by the spirit of peace are the true sowers of 
righteousness ; whereas ' the wrath of man woiketh 
not the righteousness of God.* 

4 . 

Chapter IV. 1-12. 

Government of the Passions, 

1 TT^ROM whence come wars and fightings among you? come ^ 
A tfiey not hence, even of your lusts ''that war *in your J^J^jH*,^ 

2 members.^ Ye lust, and have not: ""ye kill, and desire ^^ cl^t^nLiy. 
have,* and cannot obtain : ye fight and war, yet * ye have not, *"^ ^- ««• • 

3 because ''ye ask not. Ye ask, and 'receive not. because, ye -' 7. \ 

"^ e Jas. I. & 7. 

it upon* your lustl "/Ye /«•*•«•»:! 

Mk« viiLaS;. 

4 ask amiss, that ye may consume tt upon" your, 
adulterers and * adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship »?^>m;. 
of the world is ^enmity with God } whosoever therefore will be ^Jgf^^^ 

5 a friend of the world is * the enemy of God. Do ye think » 
that the scripture saith in vain,* The spirit that dwelletth' in us . 

6 lusteth to envy?* But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he ' 
saith, *God resisteth the^proud, but giveth grace unto the *P>w.«a»34r 

7 humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. 'Resist the '^^"»" 

8 devil, and he will flee from you. * Draw nigh to God, and he ^|^ ,^ » 
will draw nigh to you. ' Cleanse. j't?///- hands, ye sinners; and '**^«w.4. 

9 purify your hearts, ye "* double-minded. * Be afflicted, and 7{ti.*v^4. 
mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, 

10 and your joy to heaviness.' ^ Humble yourselves in the sight • ^at jomi. 

of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." fi- 

ll -^ Speak not evil one of" another, brethren. He that /BCaLviLt: ' 

Rmb. ti. I * 

speaketh evil of" his brother, and judgeth his brother, iCor.iv.s*. ■ 
^speaketh evil of" the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou ^Ro«i.xHr,4. 
judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 
12 There is one lawgiver," ''who is able to save and destroy: who »^M«i.«.aa. 
art thou that ' judgest another ? " ' '^*»- «*^-i« 

' and envy ' All MSS, omit yet. Put a full stop after war, and omit yet 

* spend it in * Best MSS, omit adulterers and 

* is constituted ^ Insert note 0/ interrogation after vain 
' Some MSS, read. He made to dwell 

* Does the spirit that dwells in us long towards envy ? 

^ dejection »« exalt you »* Speak not one against 

'» speaketh against " Best MSS. read. One is the lawgiver and judge 

" Best. MSS, read, thy neighbour 



CbMTBirre. St Jamei warns bis readers 
afainst those evil passions which gave rise to 
wars aad- fightings among them. They must 
asoderate their desires, and guard against self- 
giatificatioa. If they placed their chief affections 
on the things of the world, they were alienated 
tnm God, fer no one could be a friend of the 
worid withoat being the enemy of God. The 
dedaiations of Scripture against worldliness were 
aot made for no purpose ; and the promptings of 
tlie indwelling Spirit did not lead to strife and 
€nvy. They must cultivate submission to God, 
icsbtance to the devil, outward and inward 
puritT, repentance, and humility. They must 
anoia all evil-spealung and censoriousness. They 
■mst not set themselves np as judges of one 
another; but ever remember that there is one 
tMM^ptwtt and Judges who has the power to carry 
His judgments into effect, and to whom all must 
give an account 

Ver. I. Ttam whence come wan and fight- 
iB0i UBOBg yoat Other manuscripts read, 
¥^heiioe wars and whence fightings among you ? 
The connection Is as follows : — St James had 
been reproving his reader? for envy and party- 
strife, which was the occasion of contentions 
among tbem (iii. 16) ; and he now proceeds 
to trace those mischiefs to their origin in their 
stnfid lusts. The sudden transition from the 
frnit of righteoosness sown by the peacemakers 
to the nvevalence of wars and fightings, is start- 
ling. Indeed, the expressions us^ in this 
pasMCe^ whorein the reaaers are accused of wars 
and fightings, are said to kill, and are called 
adulterers, are so strong, that at first sight one 
mk|ht snppose the Epistle to be addressed to the 
mbelievmg Jews, to whose state and character 
these expressions literally applied, and not to 
Jewish Chrutians, to whom they could be only 
figuratively applicable ; but the whole spirit and 
stmctnre of the Epistle prove that it was written 
to believers. We must make allowance for the 
vehement style of the writer. Besides, we are 
not to suppose an ideal excellence as existing in 
the primitive Church ; we learn, especialljr from 
the two Epistles to the Corinthians, that it had 
its fiudts and blemidies; the converts carried 
with them into Christianity many of the vices of 
their nnconvorted state. This is the case with 
oar modem missions; the vices which are pre- 
valent among their unconverted countrymen are 
those to wliiai the converts are most exposed and 
most inclined. Now a contentious spurit was a 
Jewbh vice. Wars and fightings were at this 
time the cmidition of the Jewish nation ; indeed, 
it was this contentious spirit that was the cause of 
their ruin. The Jewish Christians had not eman- 
dpated themselves from this national character. 
Tnetoms ' wars' and ' fightings ' express the bitter 
oootentions which prevailed among them ; ' wars ' 
denoting a state of contention generally, and 
' fightings ' particular outbreaks of it Th^ con- 
tentions are not to be limited to disputes among 
teachers or to rd^ious controversies, but are to 
be undei^ood generally— all those quarrels which 
arise firom our sinful passions and selfish desires. 
Mofe than eighteen centuries ago the Prince of 
Peace visited this earth, and the Gospel announc- 
ing ' peace on earth ' was proclaimed ; and yet 
there are still wars and fightings in the Church 
and in the world. — come tbey not hence. James 
bj a ttoood question antwers his first, appealii^ 

to the consciences of his readers. — even of yonr 
InatB or pleasures. Their evil desires were the 
occasion of their contentions ; desires after worldly 
objects — the greed of gain or influence. And 
such has been the cause of all the wars which have 
devastated this earth ; these spring from the evil 
passions of men. 'Nothing,* observes Plato^ 
' but the body and its lusts and appetites kindle 
sedition, quarrels, and wars in this world.' — thai 
war. There is no necessity to supply 'against 
the mind,* or 'aeainst the soul.' There are 
different forms of this war of our lusts. There is 
the war between the sensual inclination and the 
conscience ; between indwelling sin and the 
principle of grace in the renewed man; and 
between one sinful lust and another, as for 
example between avarice and ambition. There is 
the law of the members warring against the law 
of the mind (Rom. vii. 23). But it is not to these 
forms of war that St. James alludes ; the lusts are 
rather considered as a combined force warring 
against our fellow-men ; he does not speak of the 
state of internal war in the soul, but of active 
contention against others. — in yonr memben. 
The lusts have their seat in our bodily members ; 
and these members are the instruments which they 
use in accomplishing their purposes. Thus St. 
Paul says : ' Let not sin reign in your mortal 
bodv, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof; 
neither yield ye your members as instruments of 
unrighteousness unto sin * (Rom. vi. 12, 13). 

Ver. 2. Ye Inat and have not. This verse 
further describes the origin or genesis of these 
external strifes. First, then, is the evil desire ; 
then this desire, being ungratified, leads to hatred 
and envy ; and hatred and envy lead to wars and 
fightings (comp. Jas. i. 15). The objects of 
desire are worldly blessings — the gratification of 
our sinful interests. This spirit ot restless desire 
was also at this time the national character of the 
Jews ; they were restless under the government of 
the Romans, and eagerly desired national liberty 
and the lordship over other nations. These 
desires were especially fostered by their belief in 
an earthly Messiah, who should bestow worldly 
blessings on His followers. This Jewish vice was 
prevalent among the Jewish Christians, and per- 
haps the false notion of an earthly Messiah was not 
eradicated from among them. — ye kill ; expressive 
of the bitterness of the hatred that prevailed. If 
this Epistle were addressed to the Jews generally, 
these words would receive a literal meaning ; but 
we can hardly suppose that the contentions among 
the Jewish Christians led to actual bloodshed, 
although such has of^en been their result in the 
history of the Church. The words, then, are to 
be understood in a modified sense, denoting that 

murderer' (i John iii. 15). Compare with this 
the words of our Lord : ' Ye have heard that it 
has been said by them of old time, Thou shalt 
not kill ; and whosoever shall kill shall be in 
danger of the judgment ; but I say unto vou. 
That whosoever is angry with his brother without 
a cause shall be in da^er of the judgment ' (Matt 
V. 21, 22). Not the external act, but the internal 
disposition, the bitter hatred, is described. 
Strong and vehement expressions are character^ 
istic of the stvle of St James.—end desire to 
have; or ratWi 'and envy* — indulge in a 



resentful and envious spirit toward others. — and 
OMmot obtain, namely, that on account of which 
you indulge in hatred and envy. — ^ye flght and 
war ; the third stage in the eenesis of contention. 
— yet ; this word is not in the Greek. It is best 
to put a full stop after * war,' and begin a new 
clause, showing the reason why their desires were 
not cratified, either because they asked not, or 
asked wrongfully.— ye have not, becanse ye 
aiked not. There seems here a reference to our 
Lord's declaration : ' Ask, and it shall be given 
3rou.' And it is also here implied that we are 
permitted to ask for temporal blessings, only we 
must not ask wrongly. 

Ver. 3. Ye aak, and receive not: as if to 
anticipate the reply of his readers that they did 
ask, but still did not receive the object of their 
desires. — becanae ye ask amisa: or wrongly, 
wickedly ; either in an improper spirit, without 
iaith in God as the Hearer of praver ; or rather 
for improper objects, for worldly things which are 
pernicious in themselves or prejudicial to the 
petitioner — for the sole purpose of self-gratifica- 
tion, without any thought of the ^lory of God. 
Such asking is equivalent to not askmg. — that ye 
may oonanme it (that which ye ask) on, or spend 
it in, your InatB: in order to gratify your own 
sinful desires. The meaning is : if you pray in a 
proper spirit, these selfish desires, which are the 
occasion of those bitter contentions among you, 
would cease to exist. 

Ver. 4. Ye adnlteren and adnlterenes. The 
best manuscripts read only 'ye adulteresses,' a 
reading more suitable to the metaphor employed. 
This appellation might be taken literally, if we 
referred it to the unbelieving Jews ; but, as refer- 
ring to the Jewish Christians, it can only be 
understood in a metaphorical sense. It is spiritual 
adultery to which St. James here alludes. He 
here adopts the language of an Old Testament 
prophet. By the prophets God is represented as 
the 'Husband of His people,' and sin, especially 
the sin of idolatry, as unfaithfulness to Him. Nor 
is this metaphor confined to the Old Testament. 
Our Lord, on two occasions at least, calls the 
Jews ' an adulterous generation ' (Matt. xii. 39 ; 
Mark viii. 38) ; and St. Peter speaks of wicked 
Christians as * having eyes full of adultery ' (2 Pet. 
ii. 14). The believer is considered as married to 
the Lord (Rom. vii. 4); and the world is God's 
rival, that which seduces our affections from Him. 
SL James, in using this strong and startling 
epithet, gives vent to his moral indignation. He 
is filled with holy anger on account of the con- 
tentions that prevail^ among them. — Imow ye 
not that the friendship of tiie world. This is 
not to be restricted to the indulgence of sinful 
lusts, or to an eager pursuit after the carnal 
pleasures of the world ; but by this is meant an 
over-attachment to worldly objects, an eager 
craving after the riches or influence of the world ; 
in short, worldliness, worldly desires without any 
thought of God, a preference of the world to 
Him.— is enmity with Ood. God and the worid 
here stand opposed to each other as rivals: so 
that we cannot love the one without rejecting the 
other — *Ye cannot serve God and mammon' 
(Matt vi. 24). The more the world occupies our 
hearts the less room there b in them for God, 
and the more forgetful are we of the world to 
come. — whosoeTer therefore will be : literallv, 
' whosoever wishes to be '—has chosen the world 

as his portion.— the friend of the worid— resolves 
to cultivate its friendship and favour as his chief 
good— is, or rather, 'constitutes himself,' *scU 
himself up as,' the enemy of God. 

Ver. 5. 'llie meaning of this verse is voy 
difficult : it is one of the dark sayings of Scripture. 
This difficulty arises from two causes : from the 
fact that no such passajge, as St James apparently 
quotes, is to be found in the Old Testament ; and 
from the supposed quotation itself being obscnrCf 
and susceptible of different and even opposite 
meanings. Do yon think that the fleriptiire 
saith in vain: that its declaration is made for 
no purpose. These words appear to introduce 
a scriptural quotation ; but no passage can be 
found which expresses the subjomed sentiment. 
Various passages, both in the Old Testament amd 
in the New, have been adduced, but not one which 
is identical with the supposed (|uotation. Some, 
indeed, think that the quotation cited is that 
contained in the Book of Proverbs, mentioned in 
the next verse, 'God resisteth the proud, but 
^iveth grace to the humble,' and that all that 
intervenes is to be considered as a parenthesis ;^ 
but this is a forced method of removine the 
difficulty. It is best to suppose that St James 
alludes, not to any particular quotation, but to 
the general scope of^ Scripture : Do yon think 
that the scriptural declarations are made in vaio ? 
This may refer to the sentiment that follows : or, 
as we think is better, to what precedes, to the 
scriptural denunciations against worldliness, and 
the indulgence of hatred and envy. — ^the Wfitit 
that dw^eUi in ns Insteth to envy, lliese 
words have given rise to a vast variety of interpre- 
tations. According to our version, the meanii^ 
is that the Scriptures declare that our depraved 
nature is given to envy. But to this it has been 
forcibly objected that 'the spirit that dwelleth 
in us is a spirit different from ourselves, and 
therefore cannot denote our depraved nature. 
Accordingly, some think that the 'spirit of evil,' 
or Satan, is here meant. But, although such an 
expression as ' Satan dwelling within us ' may be 
admissible, yet this meaning is contradicted bv 
the next verse : ' He giveth more grace,* which 
would require ' God ' to be inserted as its subject. 
Others suppose that by ' the Spirit that dwelleth 
in us ' is meant the Holy Spirit, and they give to 
the words ' to em^y ' an adverbial import : they 
think that the metaphor introduced by the words 
* adulteresses ' is still carried on ; and accordingly 
they give the following rendering to the woras: 
'The Spirit which dwelleth in us jealously desireth 
us for His own.'^ But to this it is objected that 
the word rendered 'envy' is always used in 
Scripture in a bad sense, and that the words ' us 
for his own' are inserted in the text. Some 
render the clause : ' The Spirit that dwelleth in ns 
lusteth against envy ; ' but this gives a false 
meaning to the preposition. Another translation 
is to understand by * the spirit ' the human spirit, 
and to consider it not as the subject but as the 
object of the verb. Accordingly the following 
interpretation is given : ' God eagerlv desires the 
spirit that dwelleth in us.'' But here also an 
erroneous meaning is given to the words rendered 
in our version 'to envy;' and 'the spirit that 

1 This is Huther's solution of the difficulty. 
' So Alford, Brilckner, Basset, aod Plunptre. 
s So Erdmann and I>ean Soott, who. however, andct* 
stand by the spirit the Holy Spirit, which i« tautological. 


dwelleth in us ' is a strange circumlocution for the resbtance to all that Is evil, and to the devil the 

human spirit It gives the best tnmslation, and spirit of evil, especially as the devil is the author 

the one mest from difficulties, to refer 'the Spirit of pride and contention. We must realize our 

that dwelleth in us' to the Holy Spirit, and to spiritual enemy, and resist him with spiritual 

suppose that there are here two distinct questions :^ weapons ( Eph. vL 1 1, i6), especially by the exercise 

Do yon think that the Scripture speaks in vain ? of constant watchfulness and prayer on our paft* 

Are its declarations against worldliness, and Compare the words of St. Peter : ' Be sober, be 

strife, and envy, a mere empty sound ? Does the vigilant, because your adversary the devil, ts 

Spirit that dwells in us lust to envy ? Does He a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom 

cncooiage such worldly affections? Are the fruits he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the 

of the Spirit envy, and strife, and worldliness, and faith ' (i Pet. v. 8, 9).— and he will ilee ftom 

not imther love, joy, peace? 'Some,' observes yoo. 'We may,' says Benson, 'chase away 

Calrin, ' think that the soul of man is meant, and the devil not by holy water, nor by the sign of 

read the sentence affirmatively, that the spirit of the cross, but by steady virtue and resolute 

nan as it b depraved is infected with envy, goodness.' 

They, however, think better who r^ard the Ver. 8. Draw nigh to God : not to be limited 

Spirit of God as intended : for it is He that is to prayer, but to be understood of our intercourse 

they envied they were not ruled by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts ' (Zech. i. 3).- 
God.' Another important, and perhaps better your hands, ye (dnners. The priests before they 
atteaBted,readingof the Greek is 'caused to dwell,' ministered at the altar, and the people befiore 
instead of 'dwdleth;' but this is also in conformity they prayed, always washed their hands, thus 
wiUi the interpretation given above: 'Does the intimating the purity with which we ought to 
Spirit which He caused to dwell in us lust to approach God. The hands are specially men- 
envy?' If that be the correct reading, the inter- tioned as being the instruments of wickedness.— 
pcetation given in our version is erroneous ; for and pxaitj your hearts. The cleansing of the 
oar depraved nature can never be described as hands refers to external, and the purification of 
*the spirit which God caused to dwell in us.' the hearts to internal purity; the one to the 

Ver. 6. Bat he, that is, God, or rather the absence from contention, and the other to 

indwelling Spirit, the immediate antecedent. — freedom from those lusts which were the cause 

I^Teth more, or greater, grace. Here also there of contention ; the external and the internal must 

b a difficulty in determining what ' more ' refers correspond : we must have ' clean hands and a 

to : this depends on the meaning given to the pure heart ' (Ps. xxiv. 4). There is not much 

former clause. Some render it ' greater than the difference in the two words here rendered 

world gives:' others, 'greater th^ the strength 'cleansing' and 'purifying:' the former is 

ol depravity that exists within us.' Perhaps the freedom from stain or blemish, the latter is 

most correct meaning is : Just because the Spirit consecrated or set apart. — ye doable-minded: 

does not lust to envy ; and yet there is a lust to having, as it were, two souls— the one professing 

envy in man: therdfore, to overcome this lust, to be attached to God, and the other really 

He ^veth more grace. — ^Wherefore he saith: attached to the world. The epithets 'sinners 'and 

that IS, God or the Spirit saith. This is better ' double-minded ' refer not to different, but to the 

than the rendering 'the Scripture saith.' — Ood same class of persons. 

naiateth the proad, bat giyeth grace to the Ver. 9. Be a^cted, and moorn, and weep — 

InanUe. The quotation is from the Book of namely, over your envy and hatred, your strifes 

Proverbs, and is according to the Septuagint, and contentions, and the miseries occasioned by 

except that there we have the word ' I^rd * them. The epithets 'sinners' and 'double-minded' 

instead of 'God.' The same quotation, and imply the necessity of repentance; and true 

with the same variation, occurs in the First Epistle repentance must ever be accompanied with godly 

of Peter (I Pet V. 5). The words in our version sorrow. — let yoar laaghter be tamed to 

are, 'Sorely he scometh the scomers ; but he moaming, and yoar Joy to heayinees: feelings 

giveth grace to the lowly ' (Prov. iii. 34). By which are more appropriate for the occasion. 

the pfoud here are meant the contentious— those Ver. la Hamble yoazselyee. All the above 

who eagerly desire worldly objects ; and by the exhortations are enforcements of humility. — in 

hamble, those who have overcome their worldly the dght ot the Lord : that is, before the Lord, as 

desires and govern their passions. in His presence. The Lord is, as is usual in the 

Ver. 7. Now follow several exhortations to Epistle of St. James, not Christ, but God. — and 

enibfoe humility and the subjection of the he shall lift yoa ap, or rather exalt you, both in 

Mssions. Sabmit yoaxselyea therefore to God. this worid by His grace, and in the next world to 

Because God resisteth the proud, therefore submit His glory. The true way to exaltation is through 

jrourselves to Him. Submission is the first step humility. Compare the very similar words in St. 

cl the sinner's return to God ; and the same spirit Peter's Epistle : ' Humble yourselves therefore 

of submission accompanies the believer in every under the mighty hand of God, that He may 

sacoeeding stage. Submission b the parent of exalt you in due time ' (i Pet v. 6) ; and the 

patience, contentment, freedom from petulance, words of our Lord : ' Whosoever shall exalt 

trast, hope, and other blessed and peaceful graces ; himself shall be alnsed, and he that shall humble 

the want of submission gives rise to himself shall be exalted' (Matt, xxiii. 12). 

angovemed desires, envy, hatred, and all those Humility is one of the rarest and one of the most 

passions which are the cause of bitter contentions, lovely of all graces. It b the direct opposite of 

* -'-^ tbe derU. Submission to God implies that contentious, envious, and resentful spirit 

I So the Revised Venioo. which St James here so vehemently condemns ; 



peace and contentment are its inseparable asso- 
ciates. Humility is the true spirit of all obedience ; 
submission is the perfection of virtue ; and 
resignation to the Divme will is just another term 
for universal holiness. 

Ver. II. Here a new sentence begins, and yet 
in close connection with the preceding. St. 
James returns to the sins of the tongue, and 
cautions his readers against that sinful judging and 
insuring which was the effect of their bitter 
contentions. — Speak not evil one of another, 
brethren. Evil speaking has its origin in resent- 
ment and envy. Those whom we do not like, or 
who are our successful rivals, we are apt to de- 
preciate. On the other hand, humili^ in the 
sight of God will show itself in humility with 
reference to our fellow-men : we will think humbly 
of ourselves, and so will not be so apt to under- 
value others. Of coarse, all evil speaking is not 
here forbidden ; we are bound to direct attention 
to the wicked, as a warning to others ; but the 
evil speaking which St. James here condemns, is 
sinful censuring ; judging the motives and charac- 
ter of men ; pretending to see into their hearts, 
and discerning the motives of their actions ; con- 
demning them without good reason from prejudice 
and envy, and thus usurping the judicial authority 
of God.— He that apeakeUi evil of his brother 
and Jndgeth his brother. Tadging here is used, 
as it is often in Scripture, in the sense of condemn- 
mg. Compare witA this the prohibition of our 
Lord : ' Judge not, that ye be not judged. For 
witfi what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged * 
(Matt vii. I).— speaketh evil of the law. By 
the law here is meant the moral law, that law the 
summary of which is, * Thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bour as thyself ; * and which St. James designates 
* the royal law ' (Jas. ii. 8). He who in a cen- 
sorious spirit judges his brother, sets at nought 

this law of love, and thus speaks evil of it, or 
undervalues it. — and jndgetn the law. Some 
suppose that by this is meant that he who jadges 
his brother, judges the Uw by setting himself 
above it, pronouncing on its observance or non* 
observance by another (Alford). Bat it rather 
appears to mean : He that: speaketh evil of his 
brother condemneth his brother ; and in doing ao^ 
without necessary occasion, usurpeth the authority 
of the judge ; a meaning, however, which is not 
essentially different— bat if thoa judge the lav, 
thon art not a doer of the law, bat a Judge : by 
condenming thy fellow-men, thoa steppest cot oif 
thy province, which is not to jud^ the law, but to 
obey it. Judgment is the provmce of God, the 
one Lawiver, not of the subject to the law, and 
far less ofthe traneressor of the law. 

Ver. 12. There is one LawgiTsr. Most manu- 
scripts read, ' There is one Lawgiver and Judge :' 
and this is more suitable to the oontezt, as it is 
the province of a judge that is adverted tou These 
are not many, but one : one pre-eminently and 
exclusively. All human law g ivers and judges 
derive their authority from God, and are only to 
be obeyed when their Commands are not opposed 
to His. God is the source of all aothonty, the 
fountain of justice. — ^who is able t - who has both 
the authority to command and the power to exe- 
cute. —to save and to destroy. Who art thout 
expressing the insignificance o£ man : thoa, whb 
art so ignorant and so erring, so sinful and so 
liable to fall ; thou, who hast no power and lie 
authority; thou, who art th3^1f guilty and ss a 
sinner obnoxious to the judgment of God ; hov 
darest thou invade the office of this sopreme sad 
universal Lawgiver and Judge, snd expose tfavsdf 
to His condemnation?— that Judgeil anotnart 
Compare the words of Paul : ' Who art thou thit 
judgest another man's servant?' (Rom. sdv; 4^ 

Chapter IV. 1 3-V. 6. 

Warnings to t/te Rich. 

13 /^^O to now, ye that say, To-day or to-morrow we will go 
vJT into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and 

14 sell,* and get gain ; whereas * ye know not what sAa/l be on the 
* morrow : for what is your life } * It is even ' a vapour, that 

15 appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that 
ye ought to say,* ^ If the Lord will, we shall * live, and do this 

16 or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such 

17 rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knowcth to do good, 
and doeth it not, to him it is sin. 

Chap. v. i. Go to now, *^ye rich men, weep and howl for* your i/ja«.fi-d,7.. 

2 miseries that shall come upon ' you. Your riches are corrupted, 

3 and your garments ' are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is 


Hoc vu 4, ' 

xiu. 3. 

r ActszT8i.««; 
t Cor. iv. 19^ 
XVI. 7. 

^ will spend there a year, and will traffic. 

' This 14M verse to be printed as a parenthesis, 

* Best MSS, read^ For ye are * instead of saying 

* iVu/r/ both 

# Jobxui.«8;• 
Isa. li. 8 ; 
BUt. vlt 19, 
so; Acttjw. 

33. . 

* howling over 

are coming on 


cankered ; * and the rust of them shall be -^ a witness against ' 
you, and shall eat your flesh as it were*** ^fire. Ye have 

4 ^heaped treasure together for" the last days. Behold, 'the 
hire of the labourers which have reaped down ^ your fields, 
which is of you kept back by fraud, ^crieth : and the cries of 
them which have reaped are entered into the ears of ' the Lord 

5 of Sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure *' on the earth, and been 
wanton ; ye have nourished your hearts, as ** in a ** day of 

6 slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed ^the just;" and^^ 
he doth not resist you. 

• corroded • to *® omi/ it were ** in 

" mowed " delicately " TAe best MSS. omit as 

'^ ye condemned, ye killed the just one 
** omit and, and inset t semicolon after yx%\, one 


/Hab. u. II. 
^Ps. xzL 9. 

h Rom. U. 5 : 
Ps. xxxix. 6. 

( Lev. xix. 13 ; 
MaL iii. 5. 

^GcQ. iv. xa 

/ Rom. ix. 29. 

iM Jer. xii. 3. 

n Acts iii. 14, 
i5..vii. 5a; 


CONTENTS. St James, having warned his 
readers against worldfiness, and exhorted them to 
humility before God, proceeds to censure the rich 
for their forgetTulness of their dependence upon 
God, their proud confidence in their worldly plans, 
and their arrogant boasting as if they were their 
own masters ; he reminds them of the brevity and 
nnoertainty oif life, and exhorts them to acknow- 
Icd^ God in their worldly transactions, and to 
rei£ze His absolute power over them. He then 
apostn^^^uzes the ungodly rich, and, like an Old 
Testament prophet, pronounces their doom. Their 
riches, thdr garments, their gold and silver would 
all perish ; they had accumulated treasure for the 
day of wrath. £q>ecially he mentions three crying 
sins which drew upon them the Divine vengeance : 
their injustice toward their labourers, their luxury 
and self-indulgence, and their oppression of the 

Ver. 13. It is a matter of dispute and consider- 
able difficulty to whom this passage is addressed ; 
whether James is here addressing unworthy mem- 
bers of the Christian Church, who had not yet 
laid aside the Jewish vices of their unconverted 
state; or whether he admonishes the oppressors 
of the Jewish Christians, the unbelieving Jews, the 
vngodfy and rich in this world. • Three reasons 
have been assigned in support of the opinion that 
unbelievers are here addressed. I. The address 
'Go to^* again repeated (chap. v. i), seems to 
indicate that the words in the two apostrophes 
are addressed to those without the Church. 2. 
Those addressed are not designated as ' brethren,* 
as is the usual custom of St James, nor are any 
marks ^ven to indicate that thev are Christians. 
3. Their ungodly conduct is so described that it 
can only be applicable to those without the church, 
and their doom is pronounced without any call to 
repentance. Others affirm that we are ignorant 
of the extent of moral corruption in the early 
Churdi, and that it was not the practice of the 
»cred writers to address those who were outside 
of the Christian community. Perhaps the most 
correct opinion is to assume that the first part of 
the passage, to the end of the fourth chapter, is an 
admonition to the worldly members of the Church ; 
and that the second part, commencing at the 
beginning of the fifUi chapter, is an apostrophe to 
the rich and the ungodly in the world. The 

passage is divided into two distinct portions, each 
beginning with the address ' Go to ; ' and there is 
no reason to conclude that the persons thus 
similarly addressed in both paragraphs were the 
same. We consider, then, that those here ad- 
dressed in the first paragraph were members of the 
Christian Church. Go to, a call to attention, 
found only here and in the beginning of the next 
chapter. — now : this being the case ; an inference 
from the preceding warning against worldliness 
and presumptuous confidence. — ye that say. To- 
day or to-morrow ; other manuscripts read 
* to-day and to-morrow ; ' but the difference in 
meaning is slight.— we will go into sadi a city : 
literally, into this city or the city in the intention 
of the speaker.— and continue there a year: 
literally, ' spend a year. ' Other manuscripts read, 
' Let us go into such a city, and let us spend there 
a year.'— and buy and sell : literally, 'traffic' — 
and get gain. There could be nothing wrong in 
the mere merchandise ; the sin consisted m a 
presumptuous confidence in themselves, and in a 
want of realization of their dependence on God. 
The practice referred to is still very common in 
the East. Merchants journey to some distant dty 
with their stock of goods, and continue there until 
the whole is disposed of. 

Ver. 14.' Whereas ye know not what ahall be 
on the morrow. You are ignorant of what shall 
happen to you ; your health and lives are not at 
your own disposal. Compare the similar thought 
in Proverbs : ' Boast not thyself of to-morrow ; for 
thou knowest not what a day may bring forth ' 
(Prov. xxvii. i). — For what is your life? It is 
even a yaponr. The best manuscripts read, ' Ye 
are even a vapour ; ' and this is a more lively and 
graphic form of expression. Ye are a mere vapour ; 
a smoke, or an exnalation from the ground. — that 
appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth 
away. A metaphor peculiar to Sl James in the 
Scriptures ; and, as has been well remarked, there 
is hardly a finer image in any author of the un- 
certainty, the brevity, and the vanity of human 
life. We are but as a smoke which is only seen 
to vanish ; a vapour which rises from the ground 
at dawn, and disappears long before noon-day. 
A somewhat similar image is employed in the 
Book of Wisdom ; ' Our names shall be forgotten 
in time, and no man shall have our works in 



remembrftnee, and our life shall pass away as the 
trace of a cloud, and shall be dispersed as a mbt 
that is driven away with the beams of the sun, and 
overcome with the heat thereof* (Wisdom ii. 4). 
Elsewhere in Scripture the brevity of human life 
is compared to a shadow that declmeth, or to the 
fading of the flowers. Such is the vanity of life ; 
we appear as a flash, and then are swallowed up 
in darkness. 

Ver. 15. For that ye onght to ny: literally, 
'instead of your saying.' This verse is directly 
connected with the 13th, and the 14th verse 
is to be considered as a parenthesis. Ye say, 
* To-day or to-morrow we shall go into such a city ; * 
instead of saying, *If the Lord will.' Ye assert 

vour self-dependence, instead of humbly acknow- 
ledging your dependence on God. — If the Lozd 
will Compare with this ex[)ression of dependence 
the words of St. Paul : * I will return again to you, 
if God wiir (Acts xviii. 21) ; *I will come to 
you shortly, if the Lord will* (i Cor. iv. 19); 

• I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord 
permit ' (i Cor. xvL 7).— we ahall live and do this 
or that The words may be rendered, * If the 
I-ord will and we live, we shall do this or that.' 
Kut our version is better, as both the living and 
the doing are made dependent on God. The 
meaning being precisely the same as our common 
phrase : * God willing {Deo voleHte\ I shall do so 
and so.* ^ye must, however, beware of allowing 
this expression of dependence to degenerate into a 
mere form, as is too frequently the case ; it must 
be the real feeling of our heart We must not 
only acknowledge in words, but deeply realize our 
dependence on God. 

Ver. 16. Bat, in contrast to this spirit of 
dependence on God ; instead of acknowledging 
God in all your ways. — now, as matters now 
stand ; as is actually the case. — ye rejoice, literally 

* ye glory,' in your boastingB, in your vauntings, 
in your vainglory. Ye take a pleasure in this 
arrogant and presumptuous spirit, as if you were 
your absolute masters. By their boastings is to l)e 
understood not so much their vain talking, as their 
confident and groundless reliance on Uicir own 
health and life ; in short, a presumptuous reliance 
on themselves. Ye rejoice not in the Lord, as ye 
ought to do as Christians ; but in your own vaunt- 
ings.— all each rejoicing, or glorying, is evil, is 
sinful and wrong. It is rebellion against God — 
casting olTyour dependence upon Him. Nothing 
is so hateful to God as a proud and arrogant 

Ver. 17. Therefore : not a mere general 
inference drawn from what St. James has said in 
the previous part of his Epistle, but a particular 
inference drawn from this spirit of vain boasting. 
— to him that knoweth to do good : not to be 
limited to mere benevolent actions, * knoweth to 
do good works,* but to embrace our whole moral 
conduct—* knoweth to do what is right : ' 'good * 
here is opposed to what is sinful and wrong. — and 
doeth it not, to him it is sin. The omission of 
good is undoubtedly a sin, as well as the com- 
mission of evil. We have here the statement of 
an important principle, which is susceptible ot 
endless applications. The application in the 
present case appears to be as follows : You have 
the unquestionable knowledge of the uncertainty 
of life ; you know that it is your duty to realize your 
dependence on God ; if then you do not do so, it 
you act as if you were your own masters, to you 

it is sin. Yon know the right and do the wrong, 
and therefore are convicted of sin. (Compare 
John ix. 41.) 

Chap. v. i. Go to now. Whoever may 
be the persons referred to in the preceding 
paragraph, we consider that the rich who are 
nere addressed were unbelieving and wicked 
men not belonging to the Christian community. 
Some indeed consider that they are rich 
Christians ; ^ but the crime charged upon them 
of condemning and killing the just cannot be 
applicable to believers. Hence, Stier correctly 
remarks : ' The rich men, whom St. James must 
here mean, are those already mentioned in chap, 
ii. 6, 7 : those who practised violence on the 
disciples of Christ, the confessors of the Lord of 
glory, and blasphemed that good name by whidi 
they were called. To them St. James predicts, 
as a prophet and in the style of the old prophets, 
the impending judgment to which Jeru^em was 
doomed, the desolation of the land, and all the 
misery which he, like the Lord Himself, speaks 
of as His coming to judgment and salvation.' It 
has also been disputed whether we have here a 
pure and unmixed denunciation of evil, or a call 
to repentance. Certainly there is in the words 
no invitation to repentance, but a mere declaration 
of vengeance. ' They are mistaken,' observes 
Calvin, * who consider that St. James here 
exhorts the rich to repentance. It seems to be 
a simple denunciation of God's judgment, by 
which he meant to terrify them, without givii^ 
them any hope of pardon, for all that he says 
tends only to despair.' But this must not be 
too absolutely assumed, for we learn in the case 
of Nineveh that all God's denunciations are 
likewise exhortations to repentance. — ye rloh 
men : to be taken literally, rich in worldly 
wealth : the same who were formerly mentioned 
as the oppressors of believers (Jas. it 6, 7). 
The allusion is not to rich men as a class, but to 
the unbelieving rich. The words are applicable 
to all the rich who are living without God in the 
world ; and certainly the rich are under a peculiar 
temptation of setting their aflections upon the 
things of this world. Riches are too frequently 
an obstacle to salvation, a weight which prevents 
the soul soaring upwards to heaven. — weep and 
howl for your miseriee : literally, ' weep, howling 
over your miseries.' — that shall come upon 
yen : literally, ' that are coming upon you.' llie 
miseries here referred to are those which shall 
precede or occur at the advent of the Lord ; and 
also, as in our Lord's prophecy, those which 
occurred during the Jewish war, then close at 
hand, miseries which were typical of those which 
would occur at the advent. These miseries in 
the Jewish war fell heavily upon the rich. They 
as a class belonged to the moderate party, who, 
having much to lose, wished to avoid a war with 
the Romans, and therefore were especially 
persecuted by the Jewish zealots, who became 
the ruling party. Nor were these miseries 
confined to the Jews in Judea, but embraced the 
Jews of the dispersion — 'the twelve tribes, 
scattered abroad. ' There was at that time a general 
attack upon the Jews throughout the world. ' St 
James,' observes Bishop Wordsworth, Mike a 
Christian Jeremiah, is uttering a Divine prophecy 
of the woes that are coming on Jerusalem and the 
Jews throughout the world.* 

* So Erdmano. 


Ver. 2. Yonr xichM are oonrnptad. We have 
Here a description of the doom that was to befall 
the rich. \our riches, in which yon prided 
jToofselves, and in which you trusted, will be 
taken from you* Some suppose, on account of 
the tenn ' corrupted,' that riches in grain are to 
be understood, which are liable to corruption ; but 
thb is refining too much : the word ' corrupted ' 
is evidently a figurative term used to denote the 
perishable nature of the riches. The fact is 
slated, in a prophetical manner, in the past tense, 
fts having already occurred— ' your riches are 
GOfmpted,' denoting the certain and impending 
mtnre of the calamity. — and your gaiments are 
■mth ea ten. The general idea of 'riches* is 
here specialized as consisting in garments and in 
treasoie — silver and gold. Among the Orientals 
garments still often constitute a considerable 
portion of their riches (compare Matt. vL 19.; 
Acts XX. 33). 

Ver. 3. Xcmr gold and your lilTer : the other 
treasures in which their riches consisted.— ie 
cankered : corroded, eaten through with rust. 
Literally, gold and silver do not contract rust, 
and hence various explanations have been given, 
as, for example, vessels plated with gold ; but 
sach explanations are childish : the expression 
may well be employed to denote the perishable 
nature of money. — and the met of them ahidl 
be a witne« against yon : literally, 'shall be a 
testimony to you.* Some render this : the rust 
which you have allowed to accumulate on them 
from want of use shall testify against you in the 
judgment as an evidence of your parsimony 
and sinful hoarding. Thus Neander : ' As their 
onosed treasures of gold and silver are devoureil 
by rust, so this will be a witness against them, 
their guilt being apparent from this, that what 
they should have used for the advantage of others, 
they have suffered by want of use to be corrupted.' 
But such a meaning is contrary to the context : it 
is of the destruction of the rich that St. James 
here speaks, not of the evidence of their crime. 
Hence, then, the meaning is : the rust of them 
ahall be a testimony to your destruction ; the like 
destruction shall baall you which befalls vour gold 
and silver. — and diall eat your ileeh: the 
reference being not to the destruction of the body 
by care, to the corroding nature of riches, but to 
the inflictkm of the Divine judgment. — as it were 
flie : fire being the emblem of judgment : like 
fire shall the rust eat your flesh. So also we 
speak of the devouring fire. ' The Lord shall 
swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall 
dcruar them* (Ps. xxi. 9). — ^Te have heaped 
ti e amr e together. Some render this: *Ve 
have accumulated treasures of wrath for the day 
ofittdgment,' similar to the words of St. Paul : 
*Tiiott treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the 
day of wrath * (Rom. iL 5). But for this meaning 
the words * of wrath * have to be supplied. It is 
best to render it : Ye have heaped together treasure 
ibr destraction ; treasure which shall perish. — 
te, or in, the last days : not in the last days of 
your life ; but either in the days that shall precede 
the coming of Christ, or in the last days of the 
Jewish nation, when those awful judgments 
threatened by the prophets and predicted by 
Jesus Christ will be poured out upon the un- 
believing and ungodly Jews. We must not forget 
that it is to Jews that St. James writes ; and ' the 
last days ' is a Jewish expression for the age of 


the Messiah, and hence is fitly employed by the 
sacred writers to denote the end of the Jewish 
economy. The zealots during the Jewish war 
regarded it as a crime to be rich, and their 
insatiable avarice induced them to search into the 
houses of the rich, and to murder their inmates. * 

Ver. 4. Now follows a statement of the sins of 
the rich on account of which they are punished. 
Three sins are mentioned — injustice, luxury, and 
oppression. The first sin mentioned is injustice. 
Benold, the hire of the labonrers who haye 
reaped down your fields, which is of yon kept 
htuOL by fraud. Some connect the words 'of 
you * with * crieth * — ' crieth from you ; * but our 
version is admissible, and the more simple. In 
the law of Moses, it was expressly forbidden to 
keep back the wages of hired labourers : ' Thou 
shaft not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him ; 
the wages of him that b hired shall not abide with 
thee all night until the morning * (Lev. xix. 13). 
And again : * Thou shalt not oppress an hired 
servant that is poor and needy. At his day thou 
shalt give him his hire, neither shall the sun go 
down upon it ; for he is poor, and setteth ^ his 
heart upon it : lest he cry against thee unto the 
Lord, and it be sin imto thee* (Deut xxiv. 14, 15). 
— orieth : that is, for assistance to the defrauded, 
or rather for vengeance on the defrauders ; like 
as Abel's blood crieth unto God (Gen. iv. 10). 
Compare with this the words of Malachi, which 
some suppose St James had here in view : ' I will 
be a swift witness against those that oppress the 
hireling in his wages, the widow and tne father- 
less, saith the Lord of hosts* (Mai. iii. 5). — and 
the cries of them that have reaped are entered 
into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. An Old 
Testament title of God, generally translated in our 
version, 'The Lord of hosts.' ^ It is only used 
here in the New Testament, and is highly appro- 
priate, as it was an expression famuiar to the 
Jewish Christians. In Rom. ix. 29, it occurs as 
a quotation from the Prophecies of Isaiah. It is 
expressive of the power of God ; as, being the 
Lord of hosts. He has all agencies at His com- 
mand, and therefore is able to respond to the 
cries of the oppressed. 

Ver. 5. The second sin is luxury or self-indul- 
gence. Ye have Uved in pleasure on the earth, 
and been wanton->revelled. The Jews at this 
time were especially addicted to luxury and de* 
bauchery. — ye have nourished your hearts, that 
b, yourselves, as in a day of daughter. The 
conjunction ' as is omitted in the best manuscripts. 
Various meanings have been given to this expres* 
sion. Some suppose that it denotes a day of 
feasting, indicative of the luxurious living of the 
rich ; but the omission of the particle of compari* 
son * as * is opposed to this meaning, and besides 
it would be a mere repetition of the previous 
clause. Others think that it denotes the careless- 
ness and infatuation of these revellers ; that they 
were like cattle which graze and feed, on the ver^ 
day of their slaughter, utterlv unaware of their 
danger ; the day of slaughter being here regarded 
as the day of God's vengeance. Perhaps the 
correct meaning is : You have nourished your- 
selves like fed beasts prepared for the slaughter. 
Thus Neander : ' As the ox is fattened which is 
led to the slaughter, so have ye by your devotion 
to the service of your lusts, and by enjoying your- 

1 The ScptuagtDt generally render the phrase by 'Al- 
mighty : ' compare Rev. iv. S. 



[Chap. V. 7-20. 

selves in all security, made yourselves ripe for the 
impending judgment ' 

Ver. 6. The third sin is the oppression or per- 
secution of the righteous. Ye likve condemned 
and killed the jiuit, or the just one— the just 
man, a.^ the word 'just * is in the singular. These 
words have been usually referred to the condem- 
nation and execution of our Lord by the Jews.' 
He is pre-eminently the Just One ; and this appears 
from the Acts of the Apostles to be a common 
appellation of our Lord in the primitive Church, 
and perhaps also of the Messiah among the Jews. 
His murder is ever represented as the crowning 
sin of the Jewish nation. Thus St. Peter accuses 
the Jews of having denied the Holy One and the 
Just, and of killing the Prince of life (Acts iii. 14) ; 
and with the same crime does the martyr Stephen 
charge his accusers : ' Your fathers have slain 
them which showed before of the coming of the 
Just One, of whom ye have now been the betrayers 
and murderers' (Acts vii. 52). And so also 
Justin Martyr says ; ' Ye have kUled the Just One, 
and before Him the prophets.' But there is 
nothing in the context to indicate this, and the 
words which follow, ' He doth not resist you,* are 
adverse to this meaning : they cannot refer to the 
1 So Lange, Basset, Dean Scott 

non-resistance of Christ, as the verb is not in the 
past, but in the present tense. Some, indeed, 
suppose that the words denote 'God doth not 
resist 3rou : ' that, as a punishment for their crime 
in killing Christ, God withdrew from them His 
Spirit; His Spirit no longer strove with them. 
But such a meaning is far-fetched. Others read it 
as a question : ' And doth He^ that is, God, not 
resist you?' We prefer the other int^retatioo, 
that Inr the just one is meant just men in general, 
an individual being taken to represent tlw class. 
Christ was the most flagrant, but not the only 
example of their killing the just Stephen fdl a 
prey to the fury of the Jews, and many more whose 
names are unrecorded; and the writer of this 
Epistle, who also was called the Just, was after- 
wards an instance of the fiict here stated, 'Ye have 
condemned and killed the just one.' — and he, 
that is, Christ, if the expression, the Jnst One, b 
restricted to Him, thou^ the present tense of xht 
verb is somewhat opposed to this meaning ; or th^ 
just man, used generally. — doth not veiiat jaa^ 
referring either to the patience with which Christ 
endured His sufferings, or to the patience of just 
men in general. There is here a tacit reference 
to the vengeance of God, who adopts the cause of 
the just 

Chapter V. 7-20. 

Various Admonitions. 

"OE patient therefore, brethren, unto '"the coming of the «• 

II. ff. 



Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious 
fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he * receive 
, * the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your *|^*-»-;4; 
9 hearts : for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.* Grudge ^i2»?**"«** 
not' one against another, brethren, ''lest ye be condemned : * fp^*^'" 
10 behold, the Judge standeth ' before the door. Take, my ^JJSij^'' 
brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the ^^«»«8i.«.^ 
Lord, for an example of -^suffering* affliction, and of patience. /Act* vS.sai>' 
Behold, we count them ^ happy * which endure. Ye have heard r Matv.i«,f3p 
of * the patience of Job, and have seen the 'end of the Lord; ^Sji^*' 
that ' the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. /jobxKL i«. 

But above all things, my brethren, * swear not, neither by *Matv.34-W; 
heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath : but 
let your yea be yea, and j^our nay, nay; 'lest ye fall into 'e*-**.^. 

13 condemnation.* Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. 

14 Is any ** merry ? • let him "sing psalms.*° Is any sick among «»Acuxnra. . 
you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them «Aet«xyt«|; 
pray over him, ''anointing him with oil in the name of thc*!*'^^*^' 


* being patient over it, until it 

* Judged * omi/ suffering 

* under judgment 

• IS near 

• blessed 

• cheerful 

* Murmur not 
' bow that 
'* let him praise 



iy tofd^ and > the pdyer of faith shall save the sick," and the >J^»^* 
Lord shall raise him up; and ^if he have committed sins, they ^^^}\i^ 
* 16 shall be forgiven him. Confess yotdr faults one to another, and 
pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual 
:I7 fervent prayer " of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was 

■ a man ''subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed ^ 
. earnestly that it 'might not rain; and it rained not on the *« Kings xvu. 

18 earth by the space of 'three years and six months. And he 'j^^;^*^,* 
prayed s^in, and *the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought wiKiossKvUi. 
forth her fruit *''*' 

19 Brethren, if any of you do err " from the truth, and one 
ao convert him ; let him know, that he which converteth the 

shmer from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, 

and shall ^ hide " a multitude of sins. ^p%^x!\ll 

1 Pet. iv. a* 
** the sick man " The earnest prayer 

i» be seduced ** cover 

CONTENTS. St Tames concludes his Epistle brethren both in the flesh and in the spirit — 

-^\ a variety of admonitions. He first exhorts nnto the coming of the Lozd : until this period 

nadeis to patience ; they are to exercise for- continue to exercise long - suflfering. What is 

bcaianoe toward their oppressors and trust tow«rd wrong will then be redressed ; what is evil will 

Gody being comforted l^ the thought of the near- then be removed. The night may be dark and 

Bess of the advent of the .Lord. • Sf eanwhile they londy ; but the longest night comes to a close. 

mie to posset their 'h6Rrt8 in patience; not to By the Lord here is meant Christ, according to 

indiilge in 'murmuring, discontent, and sinful the analogy of Scripture, and the general expecta- 

censoiing ; but to take the prophets for examples tion of the coming of Christ by believers (2 Thess. 

^ patient suffering ; especially in the^ca^ of Job ii. I, 2). Though St. James applies the title 

lliey had a remarkaUe example of extreme suffer- ' Lord ' chiefly to Cod, yet he had previously 

B, and of a happy issue out of them. Next he applied it to Christ (Jas. iL i). Two different 
autions them against swearing; in their inter- meanings have been attached to the phrase 

with one another, their simple word is to 'coming of the Lord.* Some understand by it 

lie sufficient. He then recommends to them the coming ofChrist in spirit to destroy Jerusalem, 

'prsyer; whether they were in sorrow or in joy, when the Romans were employed as the instru- 

they were to cultivate a devotional spirit ; if m ments of His vengeance upon the unbelieving 

iidKBess, they were to send for the elders of the Jews, and to which reference is made in the 

^MHch, and to use those remedies which the Lord previous verses. Others, with greater probability, 

had prescribed ; they were to exercise mutual understand by it His coming in person to judge 

confesnon and'prayer that they might be restored; the world, or what is usually termed the second 

«iid as an instance of the efficacy of earnest prayer, advent. How far the sacred writers distinguished 

lie adverts to Elijah, who by prayer opened and between the destruction of Jerusalem and the 

Uivt the floodgates of heaven. He then concludes, future judgm^t— the type and the antitype— we 

aad sums up nis Epistle vrith an exhortation to have no means of ascertaining. St. James, ac- 

ftiiBal the conversion of the erring, holding out to cording to his usual custom, illustrates the 

tibem the unspMeakable blessing which results from necessity of patience by an example taken from 

converting a sinner from the error of his ways. natural life, that of the husbandman waitins^ for 

Ver. 7. The connection with the preceding the harvest— Behold, the hnsbandman walteth 

pnr^raph is obvious and direct. St. James, for the precions fruit of the earth, and hath 

naving pronounced the doom of the rich oppres- long patience for it, nntil he receive the early 

son, now proceeds to comfort Uie oppressea. — Be and latter rain. The early and latter rain are 

ytttlsnt : literally, ' Be long-suffering;^ an exhorta- often mentioned in the Old Testament as essential 

tion both to forbearance toward their oppressors, for the production of the harvest : ' I will give 

iand to a trustful waiting on God for deliverance, you the rain in his due season, the first rain and the 

Their patience must not be short-lived, but en- latter rain, that thou ma]^est gather in thy corn, 

during. — therefore : an inference from what and thy wine, and thine oil ' (Deut xl 14). The 

precedes ; seeing that there is a day of vengeance early rain was the autumnal showers, which fell 

ndien the unbelieving and ungodly rich will be from the middle of October to the end of 

•puniAed for their injustice, luxury, and oppres- November, and prepared the ground for the seed. 

~ - and consequently a day of deliverance to The latter rain was the spring showers, which 

them.— bvetimn. St James having, in the spirit fell in March and April, and were necessary for 

W an Old Testament prophet, apostrophized the the ripening of the crops, 

otigodly rich who were outdde the Church, now Ver. 8. Be ye also patient : as well as the 

relam to his readers, the Jewish Christians, his husbandman ; in this imitate his example.-* 



■tehlith your heArti: possess your souls in 
patience; 'be ye stedfast and immoveable.' 

* Not the weak, but the strong hearts are qualified 
to cherish patience * (Huther). We need strength 
of mind to be patient ; endurance is an evidence 
of strength. — for the coining of the Lord 
draweth nigh : the Lord is near ; His coming to 
execute vengeance on your oppressors, and to 
reward your patience, is close at hand. 'Lest 
any,' observes Calvin, 'should object, and say 
that the time of deliverance was too long delayed, 
he obviates this objection, and says, The Lord 
was at hand, or, which is the same thing, The 
coming of the Lord draweth nigh.' Here, also, 
two different interpretations are given: some 
referring this phrase to Christ's coming in spirit 
to destroy Jerusalem, and which was close at 
hand ; and others referring it to His coming to 
judge the world — to the second advent, properly 
so called. We give the preference to this latter 
view, as the natural meanmg of the words. But, ^ 
it is asked, how can St. James say that Christ's 
second coming draweth nigh? ^ome solve the 
difficulty by saying that it was so in the sight of 
God, with whom ' one day is as a thousand years,' 
and that faith enabled believers to see things as 
God saw them. But St. James mentions this 
coming for the comfort of the oppressed, and 
therefore he must allude to a coming in their esti- 
mation near at hand. Others refer it to the then 
general expectation of the Lord's advent Be- 
lievers were then taught to live in constant 
expectation of the coming of the Lord. This 
event was indeed shroudra in uncertainty, and 
our Lord refused to give any revelation as to its 
time (Acts i. 7) ; but it was not by the primitive 
Church regarded, as it is by us, as far removed 
into the distant future, and as wholly improbable 
to happen in their days, but as an occurrence 
which might any time take place — even before 
that generation had passed away. ' The longing 
of the apostolic Church " hasted unto " the coming 
of the Lord. All Christian time appeared only 
as the point of transition* to the eternal, and thus 
as something passing quickly away' (Neander). 
Hence the exhortations of the sacred writers : 

* Let your moderation/ says St. Paul, ' be known 
unto all men ; the Lord is at hand' (Phil. iv. 5). 
'The end of all things,' says St. Peter, 'is at 
hand ; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto 
prayer' (i Pet. iv. 7). 

Ver. 9. Omdge not. The Greek verb means 
to sigh or groan ; it is here rendered 'grudge,* 
because that word in Old English signified to 
murmur or repine. Hence ' murmur not ;' be not 
impatient. I'his refers not so much to the feeling 
of envy — * be not envious to each other * — as to 
impatience and irritability of temper, which are 
often the effects of severe or protracted trials. It 
requires great grace to avoid all murmuring and 
petulance in suffering; especially it is a difficult 
attainment calmly to endure great pain ; but God 
gi veth more grace. — one against another, brethren 
— murmuring gives rise to mutual recrimination. — 
lest ye be condemned, or judged. Their mur- 
muring against their brethren led them to find 
fault with them, and thus to accuse them falsely ; 
and this exposed them to the righteous judgment 
of God, who is the Avenger of all those who are 
wrongly condemned. There is here one of those 
manifest references in this Epistle to the Sermon 
on the Mount (see Introduction). The sentiment 

is precisely similar to the maxim of our Lord : 
'Judge not, that ye be not judged ' (Matt, vil 1). 
— Benold, the Judge etandeth before the door. 
The near approach of the great unerring Judge 
should cause us to suspend our judgments. This 
phrase b evidently equivalent to * The coming of 
the Lord draweth nigh,' and therefore by the 
Judge we are to understand Christ Christ is at 
nana ; He is even at the door, ready to render to 
every man according to his works. ' Before the 
door,' denoting the nearness of the advent Com- 
pare Matt XXIV. 33 : ' Likewise, when ye shall 
see all these things, know that it is near, even at 
the door.' In a different sense^ in the Book of 
Revelation, but still denoting nearness, Christ is 
represented as before the door : ' Behold, I stand 
at the door and knock ' (Rev. iiL 20). St James 
had previously exhorted believers to patience ia 
the endurance of trials by the consideration of this 
nearness of the advent ; now he warns them by the 
same consideration against all munnuring and raih 
judgment of each other. 

Ver. 10. Take, my brethren, the piopbetB who 
haye spoken in the name of the Loid — namely, 
the Old Testament prophets, the inspired mes- 
sengers of God.— for an example. It is an 
argument for patience in affliction that our suffer- 
ings are not peculiar, but that others have likewise 
suffered, especiallv those eminent for holiness.— 
of snifering affliction, or rather, simply 'of 
affliction.* — and of patience ; not to be weakened, 
as if it were a Hebraism, ' for an example .nf 
patient affliction.' The prophets were examples 
lx>th of affliction and of patience ; their affliciioos 
were greater than ours, and therefore the patience 
with which they endured them was so mudi the 
more commendable and worthy of imitation. 
Examples of affliction are not hard to find ; we 
have only to open our eyes, and we shall see greater 
sufferers than ourselves ; but examples both of 
affliction and of patience are^arer, yet, thank God, 
they also may be found. We can now take for 
examples not only the prophets of the Old Testa* 
ment, but the saints of^ the New ; and there are a 
sufficient number of such to console us in our 
sufferings, and to encourage us to a patient con* 
fidence in God. 

Ver. II. Behold, we oonnt St James here 
speaks of this not as his own judgment, but as the 
judgment of all Christians, it may be of all right* 
thinking men. — them happy which andiue: 
literally, ' blessed that endure ; ' that is not merely 
who are in a state of suffering, but who exercise 
patience in their sufferings, who endure unto the 
end. Such are blessed : God will not leave their 
patience unrewarded. Here we have another 
reference to the Sermon on the Mount ; as the 
sufferings to which St. James primarily alludes 
arose from persecution : ' Blessed are they which 
are persecuted for righteousness' sake : for theirs 
is the kingdom of heaven. Rejoice and be tk" 
ceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven ; 
for so persecuted they the prophets which were 
before you ' (Matt v. 10, 12).— Xe haye heard of 
the patience of Job. Job is here adduced as a 
special example ; because he was the most re- 
markable instance both of affliction and of patience 
in the Old Testament. The patience of Job 
appears to have been a proverbial expression 
among the Jews ; it is alluded to in the apocrvphal 
lxx)k of Tobit (chap. ii. 12). No doubt JoS was 
frequently guilty of impatient utterances ; but this 



b only a proof that the purest virtue is not free 
from blemish, and on the whole patience had with 
bim its perfect work. This also teaches us that Job 
wms a real person, and not a mere myth or ficti- 
tkMis character ; for if so, an inspired writer could 
hardly have presented him to his readers as an 
cjcample of patience. He is also mentioned in the 
ProfAedes of Exekiel along with Noah and Daniel 
(Ezek. xiv. 14), who were undoubtedly real 
persons. — and naye wen. Some manuscripts read 
' Behold, alsa ' — the end of the Lord. Some think 
that by ihe Lord here is meant Christ ; and that 
by * the end of the Lord ' is meant His death, or 
the completion of His work. Christ, it is observed, 
the highest instance of oatience, is here held out 
for oat example. His death, founded on love and 
borne in patience, is the great fact which can 
encourage the suffering Christian to patience. But 
although this meaning is plausible, yet it is inad- 
missible, and not borne out by the context. The 
word here rendered *end' is never in the New 
Testament applied to the death of Chrbt; and 
besides what St. James says was seen, namely, that 
'•the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy,' 
that is, that He compassionates us in our sufferings, 
is not the prominent lesson which Christ's death 
t e a ches us. The obvious and' natural meaning of 
the passage, and that which is generally adopted, 
& to coiuader that b^ ' the end of the Lord ' is 
meant the purpose which God had in view in Job's 
ttfierings — the happy termination which He put 
tp his afflictions ; how the Lord restored him to 
more than his former prosperity (Job xlil 2). The 
meaning of the passage then is : Consider not 
merely Job's affliction tmd patience, but his happv 
itsae out of all his sufferings — the design which 
God had in view in these sufferings, and their 
Ksnlt in Job's restoration. — that the Lord is yery 
pAiiftd and of tender mercy : the lesson to be 
learned from this example of Job. Let thb proof 
of God's pity and mercy comlort and support you 
amid all your trials. 

Ver. 12. Next follows a caution against swear- 
ing. There does not seem to be any connection 
between this caution and what precedes. St. 
James was perhaps led to it by the circumstances 
oC his readers. Bat above all things, my 
hvafhxen — as a caution of the highest importance 
— awear not. We have in the prohibition, and in 
the words in which it b expressed, a third mani- 
fest reference to the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 
Y. 34-37). The Jews, as we learn from the 
Gospels, were very apt to indulge in swearing on 
triflm^ occasions ; and it was doubtless the con- 
tinuation of this evil habit among the converted 
Jews that was the occasion of this prohibition of 
St. James. — neither by heaven, neither by the 
aiurth, Bsither 1^ any other oath. The words 
are precisely similar to those used by our Lord, 
only in a more condensed form : ' I say unto you. 
Swear not at all ; neither by heaven, for it is 
God's throne ; nor by the earth, for it is His 
footstool' (Matt. V. 34, 35). It b a question, 
which has been often discussed, whether all oaths 
sre here forbidden. On the one hand, the words 
appear sufficiently universal ; but, on the other 
haix], there are scriptural declarations which seem 
to prove the lawfulness of oaths (Heb. vi. 16), and 
thore are instances of oaths having been taken by 
the sacred writers themselves (2 Cor. i. 23). It has 
also been observed that swearing by God is neither 
here Qor i)9 oiir Lo^*f words forbidden ; and that, 

on the contrary, this b in certain cases commanded 
in the Old Testament < Thou shalt fear the Lord 
thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His 
name' (Deut. vi. 13). It would appear that what 
St. James has here chiefly in view is the evil 
custom of swearing in common conversation ; but 
he so expresses himself that oaths amoi^ Christians 
should be unnecessary — a simple affirmation or 
negation should be sufficient. At the same time, in 
some cases, as in courts of judicature, an oath b 
not only lawful, but may be expedient and needful 
(Heb. vi. 16). — bnt let yonr yea be yea, and 
your nay, nay : be content with a simple asser- 
tion. Compare Matt. v. 37.— leet ye fall into 
condemnation : literally, lest ye fall under judg- 

Ver. 13. Is any afflicted? The word rendered 
'afflicted b a general term, denoting all kinds of 
affliction — sickness, pain, bereavement, disappoint- 
ment, persecution. Here perhaps it specially refers 
to inward affliction — lowspirits, in contrast to merry. 
— let him pray, prayer being the natural resort of 
the afflicted. — ^is any merry 1 that b, cheerful, in 
good spirits. It is the same word which St. Paul 
employs when he exhorts hb fellow-voya^rs to 

* be of good cheer * (Acts xxvii. 36). It literally 
signifies to be of good mind ; hence free from 
care. — let him sing psalms: literally. Met him 
praise.' The primary meaning of the word b to 
touch, then to touch the strings of the harp, to 
praise. We are not to express our cheerfulness in 
riotous mirth, but in praise and gratitude to God. 
Nor ought prayer and praise to be separated ; 
they should be combined ; our prayers should 
often express themselves in praise, and our prabe 
should be a prayer. Thus Paul and Silas in 
prison prayed and san|^ praises to God (Acts xvi. 
25) ; literally, ' praying, they sang hymns to 
God ; ' their singing of hymns was their prayer. 

Ver. 14. Is any sick among yon f a particular 
instance of the general term ' afflicted ; ' to be 
taken in its literal sense, denoting 'bodily sick- 
ness,' and not to be spiritualize as denoting 

* spiritual trouble.' — let mm call for the elders m 
the church : not for the aged men, but for the 
presbyters of the church ; that is, of the con- 
gregation to which the sick man belongs. This 
proves that even at the early period at which St. 
James wrote his Epbtle there was a constituted 
ecclesiastical government ; each congregation had 
its presbyters. —and let them pray oyer him. 
This may denote either literally ' over hb bed,* or 
' over him ' bv the imposition of hands ; or 
figuratively 'with reference to him,' that is, 'for 
him.' — anointing him with oiL Thb anointing 
with oil was and still b much employed in the 
East as a medicinal remedy in the case of sickness, 
the oil used being chiefly olive oil. Thus in our 
Lord's parable, the good Samaritan b represented 
as pouring into the wounds of the traveller oil and 
wine (Luke x. 34). Here, however, the anointing 
with oil appears to have been a religious ceremony, 
and to have had a syml)olical meaning ; it was 
performed by the elders of the Church in the 
name of the Lord. We read that the disciples, 
whom our Lord sent endowed with the miraculous 
powers of healing, ' anointed with oil many that 
were sick, and healed them ' (Mark vi. 13). — in 
the name of the lord ; that b, of Christ, and to be 
connected with ' anointing.' The natural meaning 
is, that the presbyters were to anoint the sick by 
the authority or command of Christ There is 



certainly no mendoik of such an injunction, but 
pur ignoranoe does not exclude the fsict ; and we 
hare seen that the disciples sent out by our Lord 
anointed with oil. The name of Christ was the 
recognised vehicle for the communication of 
mirs^ous cures. Compare Acts iii. 6 : ' In the 
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Rise up and 

. Ver. 15. And the prayer of fUth. Some under- 
stand by this, prayer uttered in faith — believing 
prayer— confidence in God as the Hearer of 
prayer. Others, supposing that the reference is to 
those niiraculous gifts of healing with which the 
primitive Church was endowed, understand by 
uith what has been called miraculous fEuth— a 
belief that one was called upon to perform a 
miracle— a secret impulse from God to that effect. 
This faith was one of those extraordinary gifts 
which were conferred on the primitive Christians, 
but which are now withdrawn from the Christian 
Church. * To one is given by the Spirit the word 
of wisdom ; to another faith l^ the same Spirit ; 
to another the working of miracles '(i Cor. xii. 
S-io). It would appear from Scripture that this 
faith must be possessed by both parties ; the 
person who performs the miracle must be endow^ 
with this miraculous faith ; and the person on 
whom the miracle is wrought must have faith to 
be healed (Acts xiv. 9).— shall aave the aick : 
here, as is evident from the context, shall recover 
Uic sick man, restore him to bodily health. There 
is here no reference to the salvation of the soul 
The Greek verb here rendered 'save' is often 
used in the New Testament of bodily healing. It 
is to be observed that the recovery of the sick is 
not attributed to the anointing with oil, but to the 
prayer of fiuth.— and the Lord, that is, Christ, in 
whose name he is anointed, shall raise him up, 
bring him out of his sickness, raise him from his 
bed.— and if : some render the words 'even if; * 
but our verson is admissible, and to be preferred 
as simpler. — ^he have committed sina— the sins 
being here r^ardcd as the cause of his sickness. 
Even in the present day sickness is often occa- 
sioned by sin ; but this appears to have been 
particularly the case in the apc«tolic a^e. Then it 
would appear that sickness was inflicted by God 
in the way of extraozdinarv punishment for sin. 
Thus it is said concerning those whet profaned the 
Lord's Supper among the Corinthians : ' For this 
cause many are weak and sickly among you, and 
many sleep ' (i Cor. xi. 30). Cfompare also John 
V. 14. — they shall be forgiven him : the removal 
of the sickness as the punishment of sin was a 
proof of its forgiveness. — Such is the exegesis 
of the passage ; but very different interpretations 
have been attached to it. Of these there are 
three which merit consideration. The first is the 
opinion of the Romanists. It is from this passage 
chiefly that they derive their sacrament of extreme 
unction. The anointing with oil has a sacramental 
efficacy, like the sprinkling of water in baptism, 
or the participation of bread and wine m the 
Lord's Supper. When a man is on the point of 
death he is to send for the priest, who, after 
hearing his confession, is to administer the com- 
munion to him, and to ai^oint certain portions 
of his body with the holy chrism in the name 
of the Lord, so that his sins may be forgiven 
him. But there is in this practice a manifest 
perversion of the words of the apostle. The 
anointing which St James rc<;omn;iends has 

referenoe tiot so moch to spiiitnal as to bodily 
healing. It was administered widi the view of 
recovery from sickness, not, as is the pcactke of 
the Romanists, administered when, hwnanly 
speaking, all hope of recovery is gone. — A seoood 
view is to consider the anointing with oil as a 
mere medicinal remedy. It was generally so used 
throughout the East It Vras -enjoined to hi 
administered in the name of the Lord, becanse 
the Divine blessmg was to be implored on aU 
occasions ; and there was good hope for rfcstonf 
tion to health resulting from the use of proper 
remedies, and given in answer to believing pnjer. 
But the great objection to this view is tint it is 
contrary to the spirit of the passa^ The whole 
description certainly leaves the unpresaon that 
this anointing was a religious service, and that the 
recovery of the sick was not the result of natmal 
means, but a supernatural effect resulting from 
the prayer of fidth. If the anointing were a mere 
medicinal remedy, it would have beien performed 
by the physician rather than by the ddcn of the 
church. — We therefore give the preference to the 
third view, which considers that we have hcnf 
a reference to the miraculous gift of healiqg 
practised in the primitive Church. We kam 
from the First Epistle to the Corinthians tiiat this 
gift of healing was conferred by the Spirit i^on 
many of the early Christians (i Cor. ziC 9) ; mad 
from the practice of the disciples of Chdatf that 
they combined the anointing of oil with the 
exercise of this gift (Mark vi. 13). Hence, then, 
we give the following meaning to the passi^ ^— 
That the elders of the church being sent for 
anointed the sick man with oil in t& name of 
Christ, and by the prayer of foith miracoloBdj 
restored him to health. Oil was employed as an 
external symbol, in a similar manner as oar Lord 
in His miracles sometimes made use of nrfrma! 
signs (Mark viL 33 ; John ix. 6). It had a. SKred 
import among the Jews, beine the embl e m of 
consecration, and perhaps was here employed ta 
denote that the person cured was consecrated to 
the Lord. Of course this miraculous gift of 
healing was not a permanent power to be exeicis ed 
on all occasions, otherwise there would have been, 
neither siclmess nor death in the primitive Chuchi 
but it was conditioned by the will of God. Faol 
undoubtedly possessed and exercised the gift of 
healing; but still he had to leave Trophimnsat 
Miletum sick, and he could not cure himself of 
the thorn in his flesh. In the pexformance of a 
miracle, then, there was a peculiar impulse of the 
Spirit. The great objection to the above view is 
that the sick man was enjoined to call not lor 
those possessed with the gift of heaUng^ but for 
the presbyters of the church. It is, however, 
highly probable that those would be selected as 
presbyters who were the most highly endowed 
with miraculous gifts. 

Ver. 16. Gonfess yonr ISanUa. Here we are 
led especially to think on wrongs inflicted upon 
others— offences ag^ainst the law of love ; but there 
is no reason to limit the term to any kixid of sins ; 
it comprehends sins against God as well as aeainst 
man. — one to anothor. On this verse chiefly do 
Uie Romanists found theur doctrine of auricular 
confession, that it is the duty of believers to oonfess 
Uieir sins to the priest But for this dogma there 
is not the slightest foundation in this passage ; the 
confession is to be made not to the priest, but to 
9^e anpth^ ; it is a mutual confession, so that tbm 



priest should confess to the penitent, as well as 
the penitent to the priest. — and pray one for 
•aoUMT, that je may be healed. Some restrict 
this to bodily healing, as in the case of the sick- 
lies mentioiied above. But there is no reason for 
this restriction ; as the confession and the prayer 
are nratual* spiritual healing may also be included. 
The tenn, tnerefore, is to be taken generally, 
including both spiritual and bodily healing. And 
oeitainly confession has a healing efficacy. There 
b no burden heavier to bear tlmn the burden of 
some gnfltj secret Now this burden is lessened, 
if not removed, by confession. Confession expels 
sin from the soul, and restores a man to his true 
self; whereas secrecy retains sin, and causes a 
man to live a false life.— The eSectoal fervent 
pnjer. The Greek word here rendered ' effectual 
fervent ' has been differently translated. Literally 
it means energetic or op^tive. Some, r^;arding 
it as passive, render it 'inwrought,' that is, by the 
Holy Spirit — 'inspired prayer.' Others render it 
' the pra^ of a righteous man availeth much' in 
its working;'' that is, worketh very effectually. 
Perhaps the wofd ' fervent ' by itself, or ' earnest,' 
gives the correct meaning; the word 'effectual' 
m our version is wholly superfluous ; the earnest 
ncayer of a righteons man availeth mnch. 
Fn^'^, |n order ^o' prevail, must proceed from an 
mtatA hearf, and oe made by a righteous man ; 
that ii^ by a epOMd^ sincere, true-hearted man. 

Ver. 17. fiUi^ waa a man snbject to like 
pawinii< A wi aib,' An instance in the life of 
Efijah ur (fix^ .as an example of the efficacy of 
the earnest prater 'of a righteous man. As, how- 
ever, the readm m^^ht object that the example of 
Elijah was wholly inapplicable to ordinary men, 
owu^ to his peculiar greatness, St. Tames adds, 
*nbject to like passions as we are. By this is 
not meant passionate, or liable to passion, but 
liable to the same human infirmities and sufferings, 
of the same nature as we. Compare Acts xiv. 15 : 
* We -also ate men of like passions with you.* 
'We profit leis,' observes Calvin, 'by the exam- 
ples of the saints, because we imagine them to be 
half gods or heroes, who had peculiar intercourse 
with Qod ; so that because they were heard, we 
have no confidence. In order to remove this 
hflithch and profane superstition, James reminds 
m that the saints ought to be considered as having 
the infirmity of the nesh, so that we may learn to 
aicribe what they obtained from the Lord, not to 
their merits, but to the efficacy of prayer.' — and 
ha prayed earneetly : literally, ' he prayed with 
mjtt;' a Hebraism for 'he prayed earnestly.' — 
that U millet not rain. There is no mention in 
the Old Testament of this being a prayer of Elijah ; 
it is there (^ven as a prophetic announcement 
f I Kings xvii i) ; but it is a natural inference 
dimwB finom the character of Elijah.— and it 
alaad not on the earth ; that is, on Palestine 
and the adjoining regions. — by the epace of 
ttOEM yeaia and aiz montha. The same period 
ilk s^fd by our Lord (Luke iv. 25). Whereas, in 
) So Revised Venion. 

the Book of Kings, it is said that ' the word of the 
Lord came to Elijah in the third year,' namely, 
concerning the rain (i Kings xviii. i). But there 
is here no contradiction, as the third year refers 
to the time when Elijah repaired to the widow of 
Zarephath, which he did not do until the brook 
Chereth had dried up, and consequently some 
time after the famine had commenced. The 
period three years and six months is remarkable 
as being the same space of time during which the 
two witnesses propnesied who had power to shut 
heaven that it rain not in the days of their pro- 
phecy (Rev. xi. 6). 

Ver. 18. And he prayed again. This, also, is 
not expressly mentioned in the Old Testament, 
but it is certainly implied. It is there said that 
'Elijah went up to the top of Carmel, and he 
cast himself down upon the earth, and put his 
face between his knees' (i Kings xviii. 42}^ 
that is, placed himself in the attitude of prayer, — 
and the neaven gave rain, and the earth bronght 
forth her ftnit 

Ver. 19. We have in these two last verses the 
conclusion of the Epistle ; and certainly the words 
form a summary of its nature, its contents, and its 
design. Its sole purpose was to correct the errors 
of the Jewish Christians, and to restore them to 
the truth of the Gospel. — Brethren, if any of you 
do err, literally, be seduced, from the trath, the 
truth of the Gospel, that word of truth by which 
they were begotten (Yas. i. 18). Here the reference 
is not to a single defection, but to an alienation 
of the heart from the truth. The error includes 
false doctrine as well as false practice, although it 
is chiefly with the latter that this Epistle is con-^ 
cemed. — and one convert him — is the instrument 
in the hand of God of his restoration. 

Ver. 20. Let him know, as an inducement to 
attempt the work of restoring the errinj;, tiiat he 
which oonverteth the sinner from the error of 
hia way— restores him to the truth— shall save a 
Bonl from death. Here, evidently, eternal death 
is meant, the punishment of the condemned, the 
death of the soul ; a death compared with which 
the death of the body is but a trifle ; thus intimat- 
ing in the strongest manner the infinite importance 
of the restoration of the erring. — and shall hide 
a multitude of sins ; that is, the sins not of the 
person who converts, but of the person who is 
converted ; the multitude of his sins are blotted 
out ; his actual sins, not the possiUe sins which 
the sinner might have committed, but of which 
his conversion has prevented the commission* 
The covering of sins is a common phrase for their 
remission. Thus David sap : ' Bliessed is he 
whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is 
covered' (Ps. xxxiL i). And certainly to aim at 
the conversion of our fellow-men is a fiur more 
generous motive presented to us, than if the 
apostle had appealra to the personal eood which 
such a work would confer upon ourselves ui pro- 
moting our own holiness, or even to the glonous 
reward in a future life promised to those who 
have turned many onto righteousness (Dan. xii. 3)i 


THE First Epistle of Peter, like that of John, explains its own intention. The 
latter is declared to be written in order that its readers' *joy may be full* 
( I John i. 4), that they may know that they *have eternal life,' and that they may 
'believe on the name of the Son of God ' (chap. v. 13). The former gives the key to 
its own design in these words : * By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, 
I have written briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God 
wherein ye stand' (chap. v. 12). Its object, therefore, is to assure its readers of the 
truth of that which they had received, and to encourage them to abide by it at all 
hazards. It was not to Peter himself that they owed their introduction to the kingdom 
of Christ. It is true that Jews from some of the regions addressed had been present 
at Pentecost, and may have heard Peter's discourse on that occasion (Acts ii.). But 
the churches mentioned in the inscription of this letter, were churches which stood 
indebted to Paul and his associates for their existence. The faith which they had 
received through this channel had now to be maintained in the face of trials arising 
from the threatenings or persecutions of the heathen world. It was essential that 
these scattered believers should see that the Christian vocation for which they might 
be called to suffer, was worth the suffering for, and that the grace which had been 
made known to them was the true grace of God. If there was no Paul to do this 
service for them, Peter was the man to take his place. Could not he set his seal 
upon his * beloved brother's ' teaching ? Could not he testify as none other of the 
Miving hope,' and of the sureness of the things in which they had been instructed? 
He had confessed Christ. Upon that confession, and what it proved him capable of 
becoming, the Church itself was to be built. He had denied Christ, and knew by 
experience what manner of adversary these Christians had to cope with. As a witness 
of Christ, he can urge them to witness a good confession in evil times. As once 
threatened, he can speak to those who are now threatened. So in this letter he 
carries out the commission given him by Christ in reference to Satan's sifting of 
himself, — 'when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren' (Luke xxii. 32). And 
the sum of his exhortations in it is an unfolding of the meaning of that simple, 
piercing question, at once reproof, expostulation, and counsel, and never to be for- 
gotten when once heard, which his suffering Lord had spoken into his drowsy ear in 
the garden of Gethsemane, — 'What, could ye not watch with me one hour?' (Matt 
xxvL 40). 

The voice of the Epistle, therefore, has been correctly recognised to be the voice 
of animation. It is not enough, however, to say of it that it is a letter of strength and 
confirmation. It is eminently one of reminiscence. It strengthens and confirms by 
putting in remembrance. It recalls the great facts of grace which had made these 



believers what they are. It makes the warm colours of the doctrine in which they had 
been trained by Paul and their first teachers, revive again. The spiritual truths which 
they had once received, were the only things which could illumine the dark night of 
trial which was closing in about them. On these, as on so many tracks of heavenly 
light shot across the gloom, Peter concentrates their fading attention. 

The Epistle was rightly described by Luther as one of the noblest in the New 
Testament It is strange that its individuality and independence should have been 
denied, and that some should still speak of it as a compilation of other men's thoughts, 
a cento of other men's modes of expression. It Is true that there are unmistakeable 
resemblances between it and others of the New Testament Epistles. There are some 
decided points of conjunction, for example, between it and the Epistle of James. 
These are so remarkable, indeed, that some regard Peter as reiterating James's 
teaching, and preparing the way for Paul's. Both James and Peter have a peculiar 
term for fria/; both speak of the manifold temptations ; both introduce the grass as 
a figure of human glory ; both cite or echo the same passage from Proverbs ; both 
adopt similar forms of exhortation (cf. Jas. 1. 21 ; i Pet. ii. i). There are things 
again which this Epistle has in common with the First Epistle of John. Both speak, 
for example, of Christ as * the righteous,' of believers being begotten or bom again^ 
petrifying themselves, etc Above all, there are striking similarities between Peter and 
PaiU, in the use made of the Old Testament, in the counsels on the subject of the 
relative duties, in the doctrine of civil and political obligation, and in other matters. 
These are of a kind to indicate that Peter must have written with familiar knowledge 
of much that Paul had written before him. They make it difficult not to suppose that 
he had the Epistles to the Romans and Ephesians in particular before him or in his 
mind. They have induced some, indeed, to suppose that his First Epistle was pur- 
posely constructed to some extent, as regards the introductory greeting and the 
exhortations to various orders of society, on the plan of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. 

But there is nothing wonderful in such resemblances. As the Book of Acts shows, 
Peter must have been well acquainted with the views and methods of statement 
characteristic of James. John and Peter, again, were usually together, as long as that 
was possible. They were to each other what Mary and Martha were to one another. 
And as to Paul, his system of teaching was certainly not unknown to Peter. Paul is 
careful to tell us himself how he laid it before the Apostles (Gal. ii. 2). Nor do these 
apparent repetitions take from the distinct character of the Epistle. They are affini- 
ties, not borrowings. Peter puts all in a form of his own. Even when he most 
reminds us of Paul, he has an independent method of expression. The Pauline 
formula ItT^e to God becomes in Peter live to righteousness. The Pauline idea of dying 
to sin receives in Peter a notably different phraseology. 

The individuality of the Epistle appears in many things. Not a few of its concep- 
tions and terms are p>eculiar to Peter. Among these may be named the ' kiss of 
charity' (chap. v. 14), the 'conscience toward God' (chap. ii. 19), the 'living hope,' and 
the whole description of the inheritance (chap. i. 3, 4), the declaration that baptism is 
•the answer of a good conscience toward God' (chap. iii. 21), the phrase 'gone into 
heaven' applied to Christ (chap. iii. 22), the sections on the preaching to the spirits 
in prison (chap. iii. 19, 20), and the gospel preached to them that are dead (chap. 
iv. 6), etc He has his own modes of expounding the doctrines of Christianity, and 
of illustrating the Christian life. Thus it has been noticed that good worksy which 
appear in John as the fruits of love, in James as the substance of the Christian life, 
and in Paul as the results of faith, are in Peter rather the ' tests of the soundness and 
stability of a faith which rests on the resurrection of Christ and looks to the future' 

VOL. V9. 10 


(Cook). He has his own way of looking at the Person and Work of Christ It has 
been rightly observed that the prominent thing with him is the mediatorial position of 
his Lord, and that this is made to turn uppn His resurrection. He presents this in 
great breadth. Christ is the medium of our regeneration (chap. L 3), of our belief in 
God (chap. i. 21), of acceptable sacrifice (chap, il 5), of baptism (chap. iiL 21), of the 
glorifying of God (chap. iv. 11); and it is through His resurrection that we 
are begotten again to a lively hope (chap. L 3), and that we come to have faith and 
hope in God (chap. i. 21). There is a remarkable fondness for dwelling on the 
character of Christ, and bringing out the power of His example. He is our Pattern 
in suffering, in respect at once of the unmerited nature of His sufferings and of His 
sinlessness and patience in enduring them. The Christ, too, with whom Peter 
connects the great deeds of grace is all the while not so much the Christ of history as 
the Christ of glory, in the might of His ascension, exaltation, sitting at God's right 
hand, headship over the Church and all angels, and Second Coming. 

The Epistle is distinguished, too, by its comparatively non-sjrstematic foroL It is 
less dialectical by far than any of the greater Pauline Epistles. It is not without its 
plan. But its unity is not a reasoned unity. The logical particles, which abound in 
Paul's writings, are rare in Peter. Here the method is simply to let the one sentence 
suggest the next There is the habit, too, of insisting on the same truths in rq)eated 
forms. Thus the trial of faith like gold tried with fire (chap. L 7) reappears in the 
'fiery trial' of chap. iv. 12; the *be sober' of chap. L 13 rings out again in the 'be 
ye therefore sober ' of chap. iv. 7, and the * be sober,' etc., of chap. v. 8 ; the injunc- 
tion not to fiashion themselves 'according to the former lusts in their ignorance' 
(chap. L 14) is repeated in chap. iL 11 as a charge to 'abstain from fleshly .lusts,' 
and in chap. iv. 2 as a warning not to ' live the rest of his time in the flesh to Uie lusts 
of men ; ' the idea of the well-doing of the Christian as the best argument for silencing 
the slanderous Gentile (chap. ii. 15), meets us again in the conversation of the wive$ 
which wins over the husbands (chap. iii. i), and in the good conversation in Christ 
which puts to shame the false, accusers (chap. iii. 16); the thankworthiness . of 
suffering wrongfully (chap. ii. 19) rises again in the happiness of suffering for right- 
eousness' sake (chap. iiL 14), and in the blessedness of being reproached for the name 
of Christ (chap. iv. 14). 

The Epistle is further marked by a perpetual movement among Old Testament 
ideas, imagery, and language. It represents the Church of Christ as the Church of 
Israel perfected and spiritualized. The language of Leviticus is introduced when the 
call of God is stated (chap. i. 15, 16). The Messianic terms of Isa. xxviii. and 
Ps. cxviii. are naturally adopted in describing Christ's position (chap. ii. 6, etc.). The 
great section on the Servant of Jehovah (Isa. Iii. 13-liiL 12) has many of its features 
reproduced here. And all this without the exclusiveness of the old Jewish spirit 
It is characteristic of the Epistle, also, to carry practice back to Christian fact and 
Christian doctrine, and to show that the roots of the former lie in the latter. So it is 
that it conjoins the 'exhorting' with the 'testifying' (chap. v. 12). And in relation 
to this, it deals for the most part with objective truth. It has its pointed warnings 
against the lusts of the flesh. But we And little in it like the Pauline representations 
of the struggle between two kingdoms in the soul, or the profound experiences of a 
competition between the evil that the man would not and yet does, and the good 
which he would and yet does not Still less do we see of anything like a conflict 
between intellect and faith. And almost as little of the deep intuition of John. 
What Peter dwells on is not the subjective but the objective, not the mysteries of the 
work of grace within us, but the gifts which grace brings to us, and the obh*ga.ti6ns \i 


lays us under. It is the acts of God that he sets forth, — His foreordaining of Christ, 
His caUing a people^ His raising Christ from the dead, etc And with all this the 
attitude of the Epistle is distinctively prospective. It lives in the future. What has 
arrested the attention of most expositors is the £act that its face is turned so steadily 
to the future. Everything is seen in the light of the end. The 'appearing' of Jesus 
Christ fills the view. The present life of the believer recedes into the background, 
or is read in terms of what it shall be when Christ returns. Glory and honour are 
the keynotes of the Epistle. It regards salvation itself as something * ready to be 
revealed in the last time' (chap. L 5), and as the end of faith (chap. i. 9). It is 
engaged with the contents of Christian hope, where Paul might occupy himself with 
the gladness of the present life of justification, or with the seriousness of the present 
struggle between grace and nature in the individual. ' In this Epistle,' says Words- 
worth, • Peter views all the sufferings of Calvary as glorified by triumph. He sees 
Christ's decease, he sees his own decease, he sees the decease of all Christ's faithful 
followers, as invested with a heavenly radiance by the light of the Transfiguration. 
He writes his Epistle in the joyful light of that prophetic Vision of Glory.* 

Authorship of the First Epistle. 

Thiere are not a few things in the Epistle which become all the more natural and 
intelligible if it was written by Peter the Apostle. There are various points of affinity 
between it and the discourses of Peter which are recorded in the Book of Acts. 
These are of a kind to suggest an argument in favour of the Petrine authorship from 
andedgned coincidences. There b a habit of immediate personal appeal There is 
an abundant use of direct terms of address, such as ^ to you,' ' for you,' etc., which 
sharpen general statements into distinct personal applications to the readers. This is 
seen in passages like chaps. L 4, 20, 25, il 7, iil 6, etc. There is also the habit of 
repeating Christ's own words, or of using expressions which show that these were in 
the writer's mind, as in chap. iiL 9, 14, etc And at several points, in a simple 
and unstudied style, the Epistle gives a singular reflection of Peter's personal history. 
It contains much that is quite in character, if Peter is the author. And external testi- 
mony is almost entirely in this direction. It is not quoted, indeed, in the Muratorian 
Canon, a document of high antiquity and great importance. But it is referred to by 
Second Peter. There are echoes of it, allusions to it, or citations from it in many of 
the oldest remains of Christian literature. It is given in the older Syriac Version, in 
which only three Catholic epistles appear. It is reckoned among the accepted books 
by Eusebius, in his classification of the New Testament writings. Its Petrine author- 
ship has been contested by some critics in modern times mainly on subjective 
grounds. It is contested by some stilL But it has been generally recognised as 
among the most richly and securely attested of all the books of the New Testament 
The Church has accepted it from the earliest times for what it professes to be, and 
has regarded it as of eminent interest and worth. 

The Parties addressed — Date and Place of Composition. 

There has been great division of opinion as to the parties to whom the Epistle 
was written. The question b one of great difficulty. If the terms with which the 
letter opens were alone in view, we should conclude probably in favour of the view 
that the persons addressed were Jewish Christians. For it would be most natural to 
take the phrase * strangers scattered abroad ' in the literal sense of sojourners of the 


Jewish dispermn (see note on chap. i. i), all the more that it is connected with plain 
territorial designations. And this view has secured the consent of a large number of 
eminent expositors. On the other hand, the localities mentioned are localities tra- 
versed, as we gather from Acts and the Pauline Epistles, for the most part by Paul 
The churches in these localities were churches planted mainly by Paul, and pre- 
dominantly Gentile in character. And throughout the Epistle statements appear (^^. 
in chaps, i. 14, 18, ii. 9, 10, iiL 6, iv. 3) which only a very strained exegesis seems 
capable of suiting to Jews. Hence it has been held by a still larger number of inter- 
preters and historians of the first rank that the churches addressed consisted mainly 
of Gentile Christians. This view has been adopted in the present Commentary as on 
the whole the more probable. An intermediate solution has been sought in the idea 
that the parties were chiefly those who had been proselytes to Judaism before they 
became Christians. But that has met with little favour. 

The date of the Epistle has been brought down by some as late as the period of 
Trajan's persecution. But if the Epistle is by Peter, the persecution in view, as 
now in action, or as casting its shadow over them, must be the Neronic Some 
suppose it to have been written at the beginning of Paul's third missionary journey ; 
others, at the end of that ; others, during the latter part of Paul's captivity ; others, 
immediately after Paul's release from his two years' imprisonment at Rome. The 
most probable opinion on the whole, however, is that it was written after Paul's mar- 
tyrdom, and towards the close of Peter's career, about the year 66 a.d. 

The only direct indication which the Epistle gives of the place of its composition 
is in chap. v. 13 ; see note on which. We have seen reason to take the statement 
there made in the literal sense, and therefore to regard the Epistle as written, not 
from Rome, the mystical Babylon, but from the historical Babylon on the Euphrates. 

N.B, — The English text is given according to the original form of the Authorised, 
as that is reproduced in the Parallel Edition of the Revised Version. 

Problems of the Second Epistle. 

The Second Epistle professes to be written by Peter. It refers to a former Epistle 
written by the same hand (chap. iii. i.). It indicates acquaintance with the Epistles 
of Paul (chap. iiL 15, 16). We should infer from it that it was addressed to the same 
circle of readers as First Peter. And if it is Peter's composition, it would belong 
naturally to the very end of his life. It can be shown, too, that there is a not incon- 
siderable number of terms and peculiar turns of thought which are common to the 
two Epistles. There are at the same time great differences between them. There 
are marked differences of style. There are also differences of a broader kind. The 
exhortations of the Second Epistle, for example, are of a much more general order 
than those of the First. The details into which the one goes on the subject of social, 
political, and domestic duty, do not appear in the other. The peril against which the 
First Epistle aims at strengthening its readers is that arising from the slanders and 
persecutions of the surrounding heathenism. The peril which the Second Epistle 
looks to is that arising from corruption within the Church, the seductions of false 
teachers, etc. In respect of external testimony, too, this Epistle occupies a very 
different position from the First 

The question, therefore, into which all others affecting this Second Epistle run, is 
that of its authenticity. Its claim to be the composition of Peter the Apostle has 
been doubted or denied by a very large number of authorities, and these of widely 
different schools. The grounds on which these doubts or denials h^ve proceeded 


have been as various as the schools. Some of them are confined for the most part 
to the representatives of extreme parties. Others admittedly have weight with all. 
With some the main thing is the existence in the Epistle of matters which are taken 
to belong to the developed Gnosticism of the third century. Others lay great stress 
upon what is believed to be the dependence of Second Peter upon Jude. The simi- 
larities between these two Epistles are of a very striking kind. They are admitted 
even by some who affirm the canonicity and Petrine authorship of the present Epistle, 
to point very clearly to the priority of Jude. They are held by not a few to amount 
to borrowings, which are inconsistent with the supposition that the Apostle Peter could 
have been the writer. Others, who dispute the authenticity of Jude, hold them to be 
conclusive proof that Second Peter cannot be earlier than the second century. The 
singular style of the Epistle is also largely insisted on. It is affirmed that, both in 
phraseology and in theological conception, the difference between the two Epistles 
which bear Peter's name is too decided to make it reasonable to suppose them to have 
proceeded from the same hand. It has also been argued that the writer betrays himself 
by over-anxiety to make himself out to be Peter, and that there was a disposition in 
the eariy Church by all means to magnify Peter's position and forge his name. Quite 
recently, too, an elaborate argument has been constructed to prove the Epistle to be 
largely dependent on the writings of Josephus. (See Dr. Abbot's articles in the 
Expodior^ second series, vol iii.) The difficulties and peculiarities attaching to the 
external evidence have been felt by all 

On the other hand, the adverse arguments drawn from the contents and charac- 
teristics of the Epistle have been met with considerable force. It is certainly too 
much to assert the presence of formal Gnosticism in the Epistle. The attempted 
demonstration of Peter's borrowings from Josephus has been deprived of much of its 
power by a close examination of the facts (see especially an article by Dr. B. B. War- 
field in the Southern Presbyterian Review for January 1882). If there are marked 
theological and linguistic differences between the two Petrine Epistles, they are 
balanced to a considerable extent by a series of equally striking similarities, both in 
doctrinal statement and in individuality of expression. We have instances of the 
former in the matter of prophecy (1 Pet L 10-12 ; 2 Pet. L 19-21), in that of the 
new birth (i Pet L 22, il 2; 2 Pet i. 4), in that of submission to civil authority 
(i Pet iL 13 ; 2 Pet ii. 10), etc. We have instances of the latter in the use of such 
special terms as virtue (i Pet il 9 ; 2 Pet i. 3), multiplied (i Pet i. 2 ; 2 Pet i. 2), 
eonvenaiion (i Pet L 15 ; 2 Pet iL 7), supply ox minister {\ Pet iv. 11 ; 2 Pet i. 5, 11), 
putting ojf(\ Pet iii 21 ; 2 Pet. i. 14), receiving (i Pet L 9 ; 2 Pet ii. 13), etc. It is 
at the best only a limited value that can be safely allowed to these differences in style. 
One of the keenest of critics, now the veteran of his school, makes this confession : — 
*On the theological and linguistic differences between the two Epistles, which the 
later criticbm has so emphasized, we lay no stress. The two Epistles are too short, 
have to do with wholly different circumstances ; and especially there are no direct 
contradictions to be found. One of the Epistles is on other grounds proved to be 
ungenuine. Can this also be brought into account?' (Reuss.) As to the external 
testimony, it is certain that Origen, at the beginning of the third century, had the 
Epistle. He notices that there were doubts current about it But his own use of it, 
and references to it, indicate that in his time it was generally received as a part of 
Scripture, and as Peter's composition. Clement of Alexandria, Origen's teacher, also 
appears to have possessed it, and even to have written a commentary on it And 
although this is disputed by many, it is possible that we can trace it back to the Testa- 
ment of the Twelve Patriarchs early in the second century, to Barnabas about 106 a. d., 


and even to Clement of Rome about 97 a.d. The amount of early evidence is un- 
doubtedly small. There are also the two serious facts, that it was doubted in the 
fourth century and earlier, and that it obtained no place in the canon of the Syrian 
Church. The doubts which took decided shape in the fourth century were gradually 
overcome, and the Epistle was recognised as canonical for many centuries. The 
question was revived at the Reformation period, and the weight of such names as 
Erasmus, Luther, and Calvin was lent to those who were uncertain of the Episde's 
claims. In recent times these doubts have been urged with the utmost force, and 
have prevailed with very many. With the exception of the Syrian branch, the Church 
as a whole, however, has continued to give the Epistle a place in the canon. From 
the time of Eusebius, who ranked it with the disputed books, that place has been felt 
to be less certain than is the case with almost any other part of the New Testament 
Yet the amount of external testimony might be shown to be even in this case hi 
superior to that which is available for the masterpieces of Classical antiquity. 



Chapter I. 

Contents. — I. Address and Salutation, vers, i, 2 ; II. Ascription of Praise 
to God for the New Hope into which Believers are born, vers. 3-5 ; III. The 
Certainty and Nearness of the Salvation to which that Hope points helping 
to Joy in Time of Trial, vers. 6-9 ; IV. The Peculiar Interest of God's People 
of these Last Times in this Glorious Salvation, vers. 10-12 ; V. Exhortations 
to a Life in harmony with that Hope, and in particular to Holiness, vers. 
13-16; VI. As also to Godly Fear, vers. 17-21 ; VII. And to Brotherly 
Love, vers. 22-25. 

Chapter I. i, 2. 

Address and Salutation, 

I T)ETER, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the * strangers aGen.xxiu.i; 
JL * scattered throughout Pontus,* Galatia, Cappadocia, iPetX/t^ 

XXII. 14. XXIV. 

3x ; Mk. xUL 
90, 33, 37; 

* Grace unto you, and * peace, be * multiplied. 

La. xrilL 7 ; Rom. viiL 33 ; CoL iii. Z3 : s Tim. u. xo ; Tit. i. z ; Rev. xvii. 14. dActs il 33 : cf. Rom. viii. 39. 

1 3 TIms. iL 13. y 3 Cor. x 5. f Heb. xii. 34 ; cf. Heb. x. 33. 

ARom. L 7 ; z Cor. L 3 ; 3 Cor. L 3 ; Gal. i. 3, etc. t 2 Pet. L 3 ; Jude 3. 

* rather^ to elect sojourners of the dispersion of Pontus, etc. 

* omit elect here^ which belongs to ver. i 

* literally y in 

The writer opens with a greetmg which is ecjually 
remarkable for its wealth of idea and for its ad- 
mirable re6ection of the combined gravity, tender- 
ness, and animation of the body of the Epistle. In 
form it reminds us more of the Pauline type of 
inscription than is Uie case with any of the Catholic 
Epistles, excepting 2d Peter and Jude. It seems 
cast in the mould of Pauline doctrine, and adopts 
some of the familiar Pauline phrases. It has, at 
the same time, an unmistakeable character of its 
own. like Paul, Peter refers at once to his 
apostleship. He dwells less on that, however, 
tun on the standing of his readers. And the 
terms in which he describes them and their election 
mt choiCD so as to suggest thoughts of the believer's 


dignity and security. Thus with its immediate 
outset the letter begins to fulfil its high design of 
comforting and strengthening those tried and 
threatened Christians. 

In ver. I we have designations of the author and 
the recipients of the Epistle. The former of these 
is given in utmost brevity ; the latter, as the thing 
of superior interest, is carried on into the next verse 
and unfolded in the detaib of grace. Each of 
these designations has its peculiar point and in- 
tention. The description of the writer, Peter, an 
apostle of Jems OhiiBt, is noticeable for its 
simplicity and reticence. For his personal identi- 
fication he uses nothing bevond the new name, the 
name of grace, Peter, which hb Lord had put 



upon him (Matt xvi. 8 ; John i. ai). He adopts 
the title apostle of Jesus Ohiist; and of all 
the Catholic Epistles, Peter^s alone thus commend 
the writer to the readers' attention by putting 
forward his apostleship in the proem. But he 
appends to this official title no further title, such as 
the ' servant ' which Paul adds. Neither does he 
introduce any explanation of the way in which he 
came to be an apostle of Jesus Christ, such as is 
conveyed by the Pauline formula, * by the will of 
God.' This latter would be superfluous in the 
case of one known to have been of the original 
twelve, one of the eye-witnesses chosen by Christ 
to be His ' messengers,' and commissioned by Him 
to go ' into all the world and preach the Gospel to 
every creature* (Mark xvi. 15). The style of 
introduction differs, therefore, at once from Paul's 
and from that of James, John, and Jude, the 
writers of the other Catholic Epistles. This is not 
without its reason. Addressing churches with 
which he had no intimate connection, which were 
probably unknown to him, and which (as the 
localities show) were dbtinctively Pauline, Peter 
naturally appeals to his apostolic position in ex- 
planation of his writing them, as his warrant for 
taking the place of their founder, Paul, and in order 
to bespeak their attention. By limiting himself, 
however, to the one title, 'apostle,* he also indi- 
cates that his claims upon their regard were not 
personal, but those general, official claims which 
were common to him with others. It is some- 
what different in the Second Epistle. There he 
can write as one who has come into closer terms of 
connection with his readers ; hence there he pre- 
faces the name of grace, Peter, by the old name of 
nature, Syineon or Simon, and adds to the official 
• apostle * the wider title * servant * (Schott). Here 
nothing personal to the individual Peter is allowed 
to come into view. — As this description of the writer 
implies the justification which exists on his own side 
for addressing these Christians, the designation 
next applied to his readers suggests circumstances 
on their side which make his call to communicate 
with them. They are elect sojoiimerB of the 
dispeision — on which difficult expression, see also 
the Introduction. The term W^/ corresponds to 
an O. T. title of Jehovah's people (Isa. Ixv. 9, 
15, 22 ; Ps. cv. 43), and occurs m the N. T. in 
a variety of connections (Matt. xx. 16, xxii. 14 ; 
Luke xviii. 7 ; Rom. viii. 33 ; Mark xiii. 27 ; 
Rev. xvii. 14; 2 Tim. ii. 10 ; I Pet. ii. 9). It is 
not to be restricted to Jews or Jewish Christians, 
neither does it apply to the Church only, and not 
to the individual. Nor, again, does it necessarily 
refer to what passes in the Divine mind. Taken 
by itself it may express the gracious standing of 
those addressed, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether 
Church or individual, and that standing as the 
result of an act of God which had grasped them 
as they were in the world and brought them into 
a new relation with Him. It may refer to ' the 
selecting them out of the world and giving them 
to the fellowship of the people of God ' (Leighton). 
It is therefore a note of comfort. If evil im- 
pended over the readers, they were at least chosen 
by God out of the world of heathen ignorance and 
hopelessness, and set by God's own act in a new 
position which made an abiding standing in grace. 
The second term, strasgen or sojoumexB, is one 
used of those who are denizens of a place and not 
citizens ; neither natives nor permanent inhabitants, 
but temporaiy residents in a land that is strange to 

them. It describes the readers as having their 
true city and centre elsewhere than where they 
were. It is a natural adjunct, therefore, to the 
term elect. If they were chosen by God*s act out 
of the world, they cannot have their final home 
here. The third phrase, of the dispenlon, is the 
familiar term descriptive of Jews outside the Holy 
Land, the whole body of Jews whose lot was cast 
among the heathen since the Assyrian and Bsbj* 
Ionian deportations, remote from their own politiol 
and religious centre. In its literal sense here it 
would describe Peter's readers as belonging to, or 
having their residence amone, the Israel that 
dwelt in the bosom of Asiatic heathenism. In its 
secondary application it may describe them as 
belonging to the community of the true disperaon 
under the N. T., the community of Christians 
who have to live scattered among the heathen. 
The parties in Peter*s view, however, are more 
particularly defined as those of the dispersion 
settled within certain geographical limits, viz. 
those of Pontos, Oalfttia, Oappadoeift, Ad% nod 
Bithynia. The localities are enumerated from 
north-east by west and south-east to west and north. 
This fits in well enough, therefore, with the 
position of one writing from the distant east, 
althoug[h it would not be safe to make mndi of 
that.--rontn8, the extensive territory stretching 
along the south coast of the Euxine, connected in 
classical lore with the story of the Amazons and 
the legend of the Argonauts in quest of the Golden 
Fleece, is memorable in ancient history for the 
brilliant reign of the great Mithridates, and in 
Christian history as the native country of Aquila 
(Acts xviii. 2). — Oalatia, the country seized by 
the Gaulish invaders between B.C. 279 and 230^ 
and reduced to a Roman province (apparently 
with the inclusion of Lycaonia, Isauria, the S.E. of 
Phrygia and part of Pisidia) by Augustus (B.C 
25), was occupied by a mixed population, mainly 
Gauls and Phrygians, but with considerable 
infusions of Greeks and Jews. It was visited 
twice by Paul (Acts xvi. 6 ; Gal. iv. 13); and also 
by Crescens (2 Tim. iv. 10).— Oappadoeia, a rich 
pastoral district of Asia Minor, watered by the 
Halys, and notable in Church hbtory for the 
three great Cappadocians, Gregory of Nyssa, Basil 
of Csesarea, and Gregory of Nazianzus, became a 
Roman province on the death of Archelaus, its 
last king, A.D. 17. — Asia, here, as generally in 
the N. T., not Asia Minor, but Proconsular Asia, 
the territory including Mysia, Lydia, Caria, and 
most of Phrygia, and having for its metropolis the 
great city of Ephesus, which was the scene of a 
three years* ministry of Paul (Acts xx. 31), as well 
as of the preaching of ApoUos (Acts xviii. 24). It 
embraced many churches known to us from Acts 
and the Pauline Epistles. — Bithynia, the fertile 
country stretching along the S.W. coast of the 
Euxine, bequeathed to the Romans B.C. 74, and 
constituted a proconsular province by Augustus, 
contained no churches known to us from Scripture. 
By the beginning of the second century, however^ 
the Christian population must have been con- 
siderable. Pliny's letter to the Emperor Trajan 
(about A.D. no) graphically describes the multi- 
tudes of converts, the deserted temples, and the 
unsaleable victims. — The list of territories shows 
that the churches addressed by Peter were for the 
most part, if not entirely, churches planted and 
cared for by Paul. It shows further that they 
were churches which did not occupy, ii| the d^% 



GomsUnoet of their formation, any peculiarly close 
fdatioft to the mother church of Jerusalem. It 
abo reveals the fact that there must have been a 
9«ater extent of evan^listic effort than we should 
Caiber from Acts. We know how the Gospel was 
GUffieil into Gahitia, namely, by Paul and Silas 
(Acts kvi. 6, xix. 10), and into Asia by Paul without 
Was (Acts xviiL 23, six. i). But we know not 
kov it was introd u ced into Pontus, Cappadocia, 
wmd Bithynia. Some suppose that Dike may 
biive evangeUied both Pontus and Bithynia from 
Troas (Acts xvi. 8)l All that we learn from Acts 
h that there were men from Cappadocia and 
Footiis among the devout Jews who were at 
Jflnaalem on the occasion of the Pentecostal 
descent (it 9), and that Paul had thought of 
^oin^ into Bithjmia in the course of his second 
misMODary journey, but 'the Spirit suffered them 
not' (xvi. 7). 

Ver. 2. The following words are connected not 
with the title apaale 0/ Jesus Christy but with the 
clcsi^iation diet sojourners. They are not a vin- 
dication of the writer's claim to be an apostle, 
fcoch as Paul offers (i Cor. L i ; 2 Cor. i. i, etc.), 
but a definition of the position of the readers. 
The definition is given with a detail which shows 
the security for their assured standing in grace to 
be nochii^ less than God Himself in the fulness of 
that Trinitarian relation wherein His love reveals 
itself. Aocording to the foreknowledge of God 
•^ Flather. Their election is in virtue of this, in 
QnrsuasKe of this (Alford), or has this for its norm. 
The VexfR fo r tkr u nv l edge (which is never used of the 
lost) is distinct at once from allied terms expressing 
the idea o{ predestinating ox fore-ordaining iyiom, 
viiL 29 ; I Cor. ii. 7 ; Eph. i. 5, ii ; Actsiv. 28), 
and from those expressing the purpose^ good 
fi^atmre, or counsel of God. It is coupled with, 
but distinguished from, the latter by Peter in Acts 
ii 23. It is more, however, than mere foresight. 
It is not the Divine prescience of the reception to 
be given to the decree of salvation, as distinguished 
from that decree itself. Neither does it imply tliat 
the Divine election or purpose of grace proceeds 
moKk the ground of the Divine anticipation of 
cnaracter. It is knowledge, as distinguishable from 
decree. But as, both in the Old Testament (Ps. 
L 6, xxxvi. 10^ etc) and in the New (John x. 
■iff >5 ; Gal. iv. 9 ; 2 Tim. ii. 19, etc.), the terms 
for knowledge occur with the intense sense of a 
cognisance which claims its objects as its own and 
d^ls with them as such, it is a recognition which, 
resting eternally on its objects, embraces them as 
its own and cares for them as such. It is a fore- 
knowledge, therefore, which comes near the ideas 
of predestination and creative or appropriating 
love, and which makes it certain that its objects 
shall be in the relation which God purposes for 
them. In God Himself, as the New Testament 
teac h es, is the cause of the election. The name 
Father here added to the word God implies 
further, that this relation of theirs to which God*s 
foreknowledge looks is the expression of a new 
relation whidi He bears to them. As elect, there- 
fore, they are the objects not only of a historical 
act of grace which took them out of the world of 
heathenism, but also of an eternal recognition of 
God, in virtue of which their election has its roots 
in the Divine Mind, and b assured not by any 
single act of God's love, but by a permanent 
relation of that love, namely, Hb Fatherhood. — 
In Mttoliflontioii of the Spmt. This points to 

the means by which, or rather to the sphere within 
which, the election is made good. The term here 
used for sanctification b a peculiariy Pauline term, 
being found eight times m Paul's Epistles, and 
elsewhere only in Heb. xiL 14, and thb one 
passage in Peter. It b also a dbtinctively scrip* 
tural and ecclesiastical term, there being no certain 
occurrence of it in heathen writers. It b gene* 
rally, if not invariably, found with the neuter 
sense, not with the active (Rom. vi. 19, 22; 
I Cor, i. 30 ; I Tim. ii. 15 ; i Thess. iv. 3, 4, 7 ; 
Heb. xii. 14, 22 ; less certainlv 2 Thess. it 13). 
Here, therefore, it expresses neither the act nor the 
process of sanctifying (Luther, Huther, and most), 
nor yet the ethical quality of holiness, but that 
state of separation or consecration into which 
Crod's Spirit brings God*s elect. If their election 
has its ground and norm in the foreknowledge of 
the Father, it realizes itself now within the sphere 
or condition of a patent separation from the world, 
which b effected bv the Spirit.— Unto obedience 
and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Ghrist 
These words mark the twofold end contemplated 
in their election. Some place the phrase 0/ Jesus 
Christ under the regimen of the obedience as well as 
of the sprinkling rfthe blood. If it were possible 
to take the latter as a single idea, that connection 
would be intelligible. It might then be = unto 
the obedience and the blood-sprinkling, which are 
both effected in us by Jesus Christ. But as this 
b uncertain, while it b also awkward to attach two 
different senses to the same case in one clause (some 
making it obedience to Chrbt and sprinkling of 
the blood ^Christ), it is best to take the obedience 
here independently. It will then have not the more 
limited sense of faith, but the larger sense in which 
the idea occurs again at ver. 14, in which Paul 
also uses it in Rom. vL 16, and which b expressed 
more specifically in such phrases as obedience to the 
faith (Rom. i. 5), the obedience of faith (Rom. 
xvi. 26), the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. x. 5), 
obeying the truth (R. V. obedience to the truth, 
I Pet. i. 22). The second term is not one of those 
terms which are common to Peter and Paul. It 
is peculiar in the New Testament to Peter and the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. The noun occurs onl^ 
here and in Heb. xii. 24, in which latter passage it 
b used in reference to the Sinaitic covenant The 
verb occurs only in Hebrews (ix. 13, 19, 21, x. 22). 
It is to be explained neither by the Levitical purifi- 
cation of the Israelite who had become defiled by 
touching a dead body (for the sprinkling there was 
with water, Num. xix. 13), nor by the ceremonial 
of the paschal lamb, nor yet by that of the great 
Day of Atonement (for in these cases objects were 
sprinkled, not persons), but b^ the ratification of the 
covenant recorded in Ex. xxiv. As ancient Israel 
was introduced into a peculiar relation to God at 
Sinai, which was ratified by the sprinkling of the 
blood of a sacrifice upon the people themselves, 
so the New Testament Israel occupy a new relation 
to God through application of the virtue of Christ's 
death. And the election, which b rooted in the 
eternal purpose of God, works hbtorically to thb 
twofold goal — the subjective result of an attitude 
of filial obedience, and the objective result of 
a permanent covenant relation assured to its 
objects. Thus the note of comfort, struck at once 
in recalling the fact that the readers were elect, is 
prolonged by thb statement of all that there b in 
the nature of that election to lift them above the 
disquietudes of time.— Ornoe to yon, and pence 



bemnltlj^ied. The greeting embraces the familiar 
Pauline terms, grace and peace, but differs from 
the Pauline form in the use of the peculiar term 
muliifiied^ which occurs a^n in 2 Pet. i. 2 and 
Jude 2, and in the salutations of no other New 
Testament Epistle. It is found, however, in the 
Greek version of Dan. iv. I (LXX., iii. 31) and 
vi. 25. If the Babylon, Uierefore, from which 
Peter writes can be taken to be the literal 
Babylon, it might be interesting to recall (as 
Wordsworth suggests) the EpisUes, introduced 
by salutations so similar to Peter's, which were 
written from the same capital by two kincs, Nebu- 
chadnezzar and Darius, of two great dynasties. 

and addressed to all tbebr prov i nce s . The mm 
is the richer Christian renaering of the IumI or 
greetingi with which Greek letter- writers addressed ' 
their correspondents. The /eace is the Christiaii 
adaptation of the solemn Hebrew salntstioiL 
Those great gifts of God's love which Peter knew 
his readers to possess already in part he wishes 
them to have in their affluence. It is alio Joba^ 
wish, following his Master's word (John zv. ii^ 
that the joy of those to v^om he wrote ' niqp 
be full' (I John L 4). As the Father, the Spirit, 
and Jesus Christ have been just named, Peter 
omits mention of the sources whence thoe pfii 

Chapter L 3-5. 

Ascription of Praise to God: specially for the Grace of Hope into which 

Believers are begotten. 


3 • O LESSED be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, •f&.V; 

13 which * according to his ^abundant* mercy hath 'be- J^^^j^ 
gotten ' us again unto a ' lively • hope, by * the ^ resurrection of S^i*^. ^ 

4 Jesus Christ from the dead, to an '^inheritance * incorruptible, "'^iais. 
and ' undefiled, and that * fadeth not away, ' reserved in ' ^^^ ** 

5 heaven for you, who are *'kept by the power of God' through-^ J ^§^.12 
faith unto salvation, ready to be " revealed in the ' last time. '^^ l^mV 

CoL iiL 24 : Heb. ix. 15. h Rom. i. 93 ; i Cor. tx. 25, xv. 53, 54. s Jas. i. 27 ; Heib. vii. a6w 

k I Pet. ▼.4. , / CoL L 5 ; a Tim. iv. 8. Cf. Jude z ; Jo. xvu. zz, le, Z5. otFIuL iv. 7. 

n Rom. viiL z8 ; z Cor. iii Z3 ; z Pet v. z. o Jo. vi. 39, xu 24, xiL 48 ; z Jo. iL z8, etc 

* litercdly^ much mercy 
^ through 

* begat • living 

' literally^ who in God's power are being guarded 

Peter lifts his readers' eyes at once to the future. 
He speaJcs first of their hope, their inheritance, 
their final salvation, before he alludes to the 
burdens and fears of the present. There was that 
in Peter himself which leapt up in natural response 
to the new hope which came by the Gospel, and 
we can see firom the Acts how he turned with 
constant expectancy to the future. If he seems, 
however, to give exceptional prominence to the 
element of hope, it is not as if he read the 
Gospel differently from Paul or John, or placed 
the grace of hope where they put that of faith, or 
that of love. The circumstances of his readers 
made it seasonable to present primarily to their 
view the worth and radiance of a grace which had 
at the same time so deep a hold upon himself. 

Ver. 3. Bleased be the God ana Father of our 
Lord JeaoB Christ. The gills of God's grace to 
the believer, and the believer's relation to God, 
depend upon the prior relation between God and 
Christ Hence it is as the God and Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, and neither as the God of 
Israel, nor yet merely as our God and Father, 
that the Giver of all grace is praised. The term 
used here for blessed^ ox praised^ which is so frecjuent 
also in the Old Testament, and in the New is ap- 
plied only to God, occurs repeatedly as an afiirma- 
tive— /.^. who U blessed (Rpm^ i 35, ix. 5 ; 2 Cor. 

xi. 31). Standii^ here not in- a relative clante^ 
but at the opening of a section, it is xather an 
ascription, Blessed he the God, etc It is another 
form of the same verb that is applied to Mary 
(Luke i. 28, 42). A totally different word is used 
in the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Modnt 
(Matt, v.), where the idea exmessed is that of 
happiness merely. It is posable that in this 
doxological outburst Peter is simply adapting td 
Christian use an old liturgical formnbi dF the 
Jewish Church, or repeating one already fiuniUar 
to the Christian Church (Weiss). The similarity 
of phrase, however, between Peter here and Paul 
in 2 Cor. i. 3, Eph. i. 3, is striking, and suggest^ 
to many that the former framed his ascription oq 
the model of that of the latter. In Ephesians^ as 
here, the doxology introduces an exhortatioii 
which reproduces its contents, although there the 
exhortation does not come to exp r e ssi on tfll chazw 
iv. I, while here it follows almost immediate^ 
(i. 13). — which acoording to. hia mudi merogr 
begat UB again unto a living hope. The particular 
grace for the bestowal of which God receives this 
ascription is hope. And that hope is described in 
respect at once of its origin and of its quality. It is 
due to God's regenerating grace. We have it only 
because He begat us again^ a phrase used in the New 
Testament only by Peter, and by him only ho^ 



and inircr. 33, embodying, however, the same truth 
as is c o n veye d in somewhat different terms by Paul 
Oil ifi. ^ ; GaL vi 15), James (i. 18), and John 
(ijoiin in. 9, T. i), and reflecting the Master^s own 
i — tnict i oM to Nicodemns (John ill 3, etc). It 
is to be taken, therefore, in the foil sense of the 
Dew bixtii or begetting, and not to be dilated 
imo ihe idea of rousing out of hopelessness. The 
gfatc t past {hgaif not hath begotten) is used, 
bycaa i e die aumge from death to life in the in- 
difidual it regaraed as a definite, historical act, 
OBoe for aU aocomi>lished, or perhaps because the 
icgCBuatioo of all b r^rded as virtually effected 
in the historical act of Christ's resurrection. In the 
latter case Peter would be again in affinity with 
Paul, whose habit is to speak of all as dying in 
Christ't death and rising in Christ's resurrection 
(RooL vil 4 ; 2 Cor. v. 14, etc.). This historical 
act of legenmtion had its motive or standard in 
God's wtercy^ His love being defined as mercy 
in reieieuce to the natural misery of its objects, 
and that mercy being further described, in refer- 
ence to what it had to meet and what it bestowed, 
as much or great. Compare the Pauline idea of 
God's riches (Eph. ii 4; PhU. iv. 19). The hope 
which originated thus in God's act is living. 
With the birth comes the Quality of life which 
distinguishes the believer's hope from all other 
hopes. These are at the best dim, uncertain 
longings dead or djring surmises — 

' Beads of morning 
Smns 00 dender blades of grass. 
Or a spider^s w«b adorning 
la a sirait and treacheroos pais.' 

' They die often before us and we live to bury them, 
and see our own folly and infelicity in trusting to 
tliem ; bat at the utmost they die with us when we 
di e, and can accompany us no farther. But this hope 
answers expectation to the full, and much beyond it, 
and deceives no way but in that happy way of &r 
eirrfding it' (Leighton). Peter's fondness for 
these two ideas, the hope and the living (see the 
adjective again applied to the Word of God, i. 23, 
to Christ, and to believers, iL 4), has been often 
noticed. It is for bringing us into a region of 
tUs kind that he here praises God. The '«»/<>' 
bcR does not express the end or aim of God's act 
fe begat OS in mer that we might have a living 
ijopc), but has rather the simple local sense. 
Wnen we come into the new life we come into a 
cottd i t i oq or atmosphere of hope, into a ' region 
bri(^t with hope^ a hope which, like the mormng, 
spceads itself over earth and heaven' (Lillie). 
— ThsoBi^ Ika TCBoneotionQf Jeens Ohiist Ihmi 
tka daad. This admits of being connected im- 
mediately either with the begat us amin — the idea 
then beiM^that the regeneration tsdces effect only 
thi oagh Christ's resurrection— or with the pre- 
ceding danse as a whole, in which case Christ's 
Rsarfcction becomes the event by means of which 
we are broog^ by God's begetting into this new 
Hie oT hc^ (so Calvin, Weiss, Huther, Alford, 
fICi, sabstantially). Or, as the position of the 
ai^ective periiaps indicates, it may be connected 
with Uie term AvM^(80 Lather, Bengel, de Wette, 
Hofinann, etc.)^ the sense then being that the hope 
gets its quality of life throogh Christ's resurrection 
— becaose He lives it cannot but survive and assert 
itsdf as a living and enlivening principle. 

Ver. 4. ITnto an inheritanoe. Some connect 
tbb doady with the hofe^ as a definition of that 
to wliidi It points — a kving hope looking to the 

inheritance. Most connect it with the b^^ the 
two clauses introduced by ' unto ' being regarded 
as dependent on the same verb, and the latter 
clause defining the former more nearly. When we 
are b^otten, that is to say, into the hope, we are 
begotten into the inheritance. To have the one is 
to have the other. So perfect b God's act, so 
secure against failure the hope which comes by 
that act. In relation to His begetting us, the future 
is as the present, the possession is as the expecta- 
tion. The term inheritance^ another characteristic- 
ally Pauline term, and used by Peter only here 
(although in I Pet. iii. 9, v. 3, we have cognate 
words), is the familiar O. T. phrase for Israel's 
possession in the Land of Promise. It is used 
sometimes of Canaan as a whole, sometimes of 
the particular lots of the several tribes, and, with 
few exceptions, in the sense of a portion assijgned. 
The idea of a portion coming by heirship to 
Israel has as little prominence as the idea of 
Israel as God's son. In the N. T. it occurs both 
in the sense of the portion assi^ed (Acts viL 5 ; 
Heb. xi. 8) and in that of the mheritance proper 
(Matt. xxi. 38; Mark xii. 7, etc). It is used, 
specially by Paul, to express the believer's 
possession in the future. But while Paul r^vds 
the believer as an heir because he is a son (Rom* 
viiL 17, etc.), he does not app«ir to connect the 
idea of possession by way of heirship with his use 
of the partictUar word inheritance^ probably (so 
Huther) on account of the O. T. sense being so 
deeply impressed upon the term. He uses it, 
indeed, wnere the notion of heirship is inap- 
plicable, e.g, of God's inheritance in the saints 
(Eph. i. 18). It is doubtful, therefore, whether 
Peter has in view an inheritance which comes in 
virtue of sonship, although the ruling idea of our 
being begotten favours Uiat He uses the word 
in the la^ sense, indusive of all that the kingdom 
of God mu in store for the believer in the con- 
summation. — ^tnoormptible, and undeflled, and 
that &deth not away. Thb inheritance he 
describes first neeativdy and, as suits his cha- 
racter and style, by a number of adjectives, as 
incorruptible^ subject to no dissolution or decay, 
undefiUd (a term applied also to our High Priest, 
Heb. vii. 26), neither tainted nor tarnished, and 
unfading or unwithering (a word used only here, 
and in a slightly different form in v. 4). There 
is perhaps a climax in these negatives, from what 
has in itself no seeds of deca^, to what is proof 
against external touch of pollution, and firom that 
to what is superior even to the law of changing 
seasons and oloom succeeded by blight ; or, as 
Leighton conceives it, the gradation may be from 
the perpetuity to the purity, and from tbat to the 
immutamlity of the inneritance. The sad realities 
ot Israd's heritage in the Land of Promise may be 
in the background. It is too much, however, to 
find in these epithets (as Weiss does) allusions to 
the pollutions whidi defiled the land, or to the 
simoom which scorched it. The inheritance 
is further described positivdy (m terms much used 
by many of the Fatners as an argument against 
the Millenarian doctrine) as reserved in heaven 
(or, in the heavens) for you. The partidple, 
which is in the perfect tense {has been fTserved)^ 
points to the inneritance as one which has been 
prepared firom the beginning, and the sphere 
within which it has been laid up in reserve is the 
heavens^ where God Himself dwdls. It is 
thereby made doubly safe, 'laid up and kept,' 



and that 'among God*s own treasures, nnder 
His own eye, and within the sheker of His 
omnipotence * (Lilley), although it is yet a thing 
of the future. Thus is it secured, too, in the 
ision of the qualities ascribed to it ; for into 

Lven nothing can intrude that corrupts, defiles, 
or makes to fade. Similar is our Lord's teaching 
00 the treasure and the reward in heaven (Matt. 
▼L 20, xix. 21, V. 12), and Paul's conception 
of the hope which has been laid up or deposited 
in heaven (CoL i. 5). With finest feeling, too, for 
his readers, Peter puts this as all in reserve pre- 
cisely for them. No longer using ' us,* as beiore, 
he DOW sap *for you * — ^for you, sojourners in a 
land that is not your own, an inheritance is in 
waiting, which is strange to peril from the ' worm 
at the root of all our enjojrments here * (Leighton), 
from the foul hand that mars them, from the 
doom that makes nothing here abide ' of one stay.* 

Ver. y Who in God*a power are being 
gnarded through faith. A still better reason 
why they should lift a thankfully confident eye to 
the heavenly inheritance. The possession might 
be reserved for them, and the reservation be to no 
purpose, if they themselves were left to the risks 
of earth and their own weakness. All the more 
insecure of it might they seem in their present 
circumstances of danger and temptation. But if 
the inheritance is kept for the people, the people 
are also kept for the inheritance. The word 
indicates a difierent kind of keeping from that 
expressed by the resirved. It is the military 
term used both literally (of the keeping of a city 
as with a garrison, 2 dor. xi. 32) and figuratively 
(of the keeping of the heart, Phil. tv. 7, and of 
the keeping of the Israelite in ward under the 
law. Gal. iiu 23). The perfect tense used of the 
reserving of the inheritance (where a past act 
abiding in its effect was in view) changes now 
into the present, as only a continuous process of 
protection can make the people safe against 
themselves. The efficient cause (so Huther, 
Gerhard, etc.) of this sustained protection, or, as 
the preposition mav be more strictly taken, the 
sphere within which it moves, the force behind 
whidi they are shielded as by a garrison, is 
nbthing weaker than Cod*s power ^ — a phrase to be 
understood here in the ordinary sense, and not as 
a title of the Holy Spirit (as Weiss, de Wette, 
etc., suppose on the false analogy of Luke i. 35). 
The instrumental cause of this protection, or the 
means through which the force works to guard 
us, hijaithf — not to be taken in any limited sense 
(such, e,g,, as faith in the future, or a general 
reliance upon God, with Hofmann, Weiss, etc.), 
but in the specific Christian sense, the faith which 
grasps God s power, and which, while itself God*s 
gift, is the subjective response to what is objectively 
ofTored. Thus, with the Lord Himself encom- 
passing them as the ' mountains are round about 
Jerusalem,* and with the hand of foith clinging 
to the shelter of His power, the people on earth 
are secure as is the inheritance in heaven. — nnto 
■alTatioD. This is dependent neither upon the 
immediately preceding leim/aith (as if the secret 
of their security was a faith which had this 
salvation as its specific object), nor with the 
remote At;gat us again (so Calvin, Stdger, etc ; 
as if the hcpe^ the inheritance, and the solvation 
were three co-ordinate states into which God's 
regenerating act brought us), but with the 

guarded^ our salvation being the object which ill 
this protection has in view. This great word 
salvation, so often upon Peter*s lips, and 
occurring thrice within half - a - dozen verses 
here, seems used by him preferentially in the 
eschatological sense. Occasionally in the N. T. 
it has the simple sense of deliverance from 
enemies (Luke L 71 ; Acts viL 25), or preservation 
of life (Acts xx\'ii. 34 ; Heb. xi. 7), but it oocnn 
for the most part as the technical term for spiritnal 
salvation, or the Messianic salvation (John iv. 
22 ; Acts iv. 12 ; Rom. xi. 1 1, etc), now in the 
limited sense of the opposite oi perdition (PhiL L 
28), and again in the general sense of eternal 
salvation ; now in the sense of a present salvatkn 
(Phil. i. 19 ; 2 Cor. L 6), again in that of a 
pro^essive salvation (i PeL iL 2), and yet 
agam in that of the completed salvation, whidi is 
to enter with Christ's return (Rom. xiii 11 ; 
I Thess. V. 8, 9; Heb. ix. 28, etc). Here its 
the future salvation, and that not as mere 
exemption from the fate of the lost, bat (as 
the underlying idea of the present distresses 
and fears of Uie readers indicates) in the widest 
sense, somewhat parallel to that of the inJken'taneet 
but with a more direct reference to the state of 
trial, of final relief from the world of evil, and 
completed possession of all Messianic blessii^.— 
ready to be revealed. The expression points to 
the certainty of the advent of this salvation (in the 
term ready, stronger than the usual ahomt to k, 
or destined to be, and indicating a state of waiting 
in preparedness), and perhaps also (in the tense 
of the verb) to the ' rapid completion of the act ' 
of its revelation in contrast with the long process 
of the guarding of its subjects (Alford^ The 
word revealed\9& here the familiar sense of 
bringing to light something already existent, hot 
unknown or unseen. —in uie last time : that ii^ 
the time closing the present order of things, and 
heralding Christ's return. The N. T. writen^ 
following an O. T. conception, rq;ard all faistoiy 
as having two great divisions, one covering the 
whole space pnor to Messiah's times, the other 
including all from these times. The lofmcr 
period began to fade to its extinctioo with 
Messiah's First Advent The second period wooU 
enter conclusively with Messiah's Second AdvenL 
The former was known as ' this age,' to whidi« 
although Christ had once appeared, the apostle's 
own time was spoken of as belonging. The 
latter was called 'the age to come^ the final 
reality of which (although in principle it bcg^ 
with Messiah's first appearing) was as near as 
was Messiah's glorious return. This Second 
Advent, therefore, was the crisis once for all 
separating the two, and the time which marked 
the end of the one period and ushered in the 
other was ' the last day * (John vi. 39, and xL 
24, xii. 48), 'the last time,^etc The lalvatioo 
needs but the lifting of the veil at God*s set time^ 
and that time is on the wing. Christ's retnin 
will announce the close of the ' last time ' of the 
old order, and in a moment uncover what God 
has prepared in secret Peter does not measare 
the interval, or give a chronology of Mesdah's 
comings. Yet if we compare this statement with 
others (iv. 5, 7) touching on Christ's return, we 
may say with Huther that 'his whole manner 
of expression indicated that in hope it floated 
before his vision as one near at hand. 



Chapter I. 6-9. 

T/i^ Anticipation of this Future a help to Joy in Time of Trial. 

V. la 

6 TTl THEREIN ye * greatly rejoice, though now * for a season ' * JSIj^ 

V V (if need be) ye are in '^ heaviness * through * ' manifold j-ij.^jg.'i^; 

7 -^temptations; that the *^ trial* of your faith, being much* "'^Ys?** 
more * precious than of* gold that ' perisheth, though it be L^t? 7! ^''' 
* tried ' with ' fire, might be ** found unto " praise and honour ' J*^;^ v/.V: 

8 and glory' at the 'appearing* of Jesus Christ : whom having ^A^*Jbc%'!?' 
not seen, ye love ; ^ in '® whom, though now ye see him not, yet *' JlSat* xkiU. 
^believing, ye ^rejoice" with joy '' unspeakable, and 'full of Ja^^d.^"' 

9 glory:" ' receiving the "^end of your faith, even the *' salvation'J: 
ofj|w/r'' souls." "^^ 

9 Mat. iy. 34 ; Ilk. L 34 ; Lu. iv. 40 ; a Tim. iii. 6 ; Tit. iii. 3 : Heb. iL 4, xiii. 9 ; fas. i. a ; i PeL iv. 10. 

y a Pet. u. 9 ; Jas. i. a, za ; Mat. vi. 13 ; Lu. xxii. 38 ; Acts xx. 19 ; z Cor. x. 13 ; Heb. iii. 8 ; 

cja>*i>3. . A Mat. xiiL 46, xxvi. 7 : Jo. xii. 3. - "- - - •* "^ • ' 

jrii. a ; a Cor. viiL 8, 33, xiiL 5 : Gal. vi. 4 ; Eph. v 
xxiai 10; Pk IxvL 10; Isa. xlviiL za i 

m Rom. iraL 10 ; z G>r. iv a ; s Cor. ▼. 3. w 

^ Jou i. za, u. iz, etc. ; Acts x. 43 ; Rom. x. z4, etc. 

Rev. ill 10^ etc. 

# Oi^ here ; but cf. a Cor. iiL zo : a llies. iiL z. 
n X Tub. L 5. Cf. also Rom. vL aa ; Eccles. xii. Z3. 

See on ver. 6. 
/ a Cor. V. zo 

ver. 6. r Only here ; but cf. a Cor. xii. 5. 

; £^h. vL 8 ; Col. iii. 25 ; z Pet. v. 4 ; a Pet li. Z3. 
vjas. 1. az, V. ao; Ps. IxxiL Z3. 

• tfr, for a little while ' literally, though now . . . pained {or, grieved) 

• in ^ or, proof * omit being much • omit of 
^ or, vet is proved ^ rather, praise and glory and honour 

• in the revelation *® literally, on 

** rather, greatly rejoice {as in ver. 6) " literMy, glorified 

*• rather, with a more striking abruptness, salvation ot* souls {omitting the 
wards * even the' and ' your * 

Only now does Peter introduce the sufferings of 
hb readen. Before naming these, he has made 
the bright realities of their privilege pass in rapid 
visioD bdbre their troubled eye. He has led them 
to look at the hope which is in them, and the 
lutoie which is bdore them. And when he comes 
DOW to speak of the ilk they had to face, he has 
more to say of their feelings than of their tempta- 
tions. With quick and tender touch he handles 
their afflictions, softening their sharpness by dis- 
ckMtng their object. Wisely and with delicate skill 
he so shapes ms statement as to bring the light 
of the future in upon the darkness of the present, 
and to make the Dtirdens of the time an argument 
lor joy. Leighton has caught correctiv, if not com- 
trfeteiy, the intention of the paragraph, expressing 
It also with his own devout simplicity. 'The 
tame motives,' he savs, 'cannot beget contrary 
pMsioQS in the soul, therefore the apostle reduces 
tbe mixture of sorrowing and rejoicing that is usual 
ia the heart of a Christian to the different causes 
ol both, and shows which of the two hath the 
stronger cause, and therefore is always predoml- 
nanL His scope is to stir up and strengthen 
spiritiial joy in his afflicted brethren ; and therefore, 
havine set the matter of it before them in the 
pteoediog verses, he now applies it, and expressly 
opposes It to thdr distresses.^ 

Ver. 6. Wbanin ye greatly rejoice. As the 
paimlkl in tv. 4 shows, the wherein may be taken to 

summarize the idau previously expressed, whether 
in the immediately preceding sentence, or in the 
preceding paragraph as a whole. Some (Gerhard 
and Leighton) cany its reference, therefore, as far 
back as ver. 3, so that the connection becomes this, 
— 'in all which blessings into which God bc^at 
you, ye rejoice.' Others (Calvin and Grotius, 
followed by de Wette, Schott, Fronmiiller, etc.) 
refer it more particularly to the idea of vers. 
4, 5, — 'in which inheritance, hoped for and so 
secured, ye have the obiect of your joy.' In the 
present series of verses, however (although it is 
too much to say that this is his habit), Peter 
connects one section with another by carrying 
over the closing word or idea (compare vers. 
|, 8, 10). It is more in harmony with this, there- 
lore, to regard the wherein as referring to the 
immediate antecedent, via. the Mast time.' In 
this case it may have the strictly temporal sense 
(so Wiesinger, Hofmann, Huther, Alford, etc.), 
the idea then being, ' in which last time, when it 
comes, you will have your time of rejoicing.' Or 
it may express the ground or object of joy, — *at 
which ye rejoice,' i.e. 'which last time is the 
object of your joy.' This last is to be preferred, 
as most consistent both with the tense of the 
verb and with the usage of the Hebrew term 
which the Greek verb here represents. This 
particular term for joy, aptly rendered 'greatly 
rejoice,' is one which occurs very rarely outside 



the Sephiagint, the N. T., and ecclesiastical litera- 
ture. It is probably a Greek reproduction (see 
Buttmann's Greek Grammar by Thayer, p. 5) of 
a familiar Hebrew verb often used in the poetical 
and prophetical books (Ps. ii. 11, ix. 15 ; Job iiL 
22 ; Isa. zlix. 13, Ixv. 18, etc.)* Like the Hebrew 
original (which means to * leap for joy,' or * rejoice 
to exultation*), it denotes a strong, a lively joy, 
intenser than is expressed by the ordinary term, 
with which also it is often coupled. Peter has in 
view, therefore, the kind of joy which is affirmed 
of Christ Himself (Luke x. 21), which He too 
expressly enjoins on persecuted disciples (Matt. v. 
12, where the stronger term is added to the weaker), 
and which breaks forth in the Magnificat (Luke i. 
47). — though for a little now, if need be, grieved 
in manifold temptations. The ' temptations * (a 
term wide enough to cover anything by which 
character is put to the prooQ will refer here, what- 
ever else may be included, to the threatenings 
and slanders which, as we gather from the Epistle 
itself (iL 12, 15, iii. 14-17, iv. 4, 12-19), these 
Christians had to endure from heathen neighbours. 
Their lot was cast in them. An adjective is at- 
tached to these temptations, which is used in the 
Classics, to describe the mafiy-coiourAi leopard or 
peacock, the colour-changing Proteus, the richly- 
wrought robe or carpet, the changeful months, the 
intricate oracles. What a picture does this epithet 
' manifold,' which is applied by Peter also to the 
grace of God (iv. i ), by James again to temptation 
(i. 2), and elsewhere to such things as the divers 
diseases healed by Christ (Matt iv. 24), present 
of the number,, the diversity, and the changefulness 
of these trials ! Yet the terror of the fact is at once 
relieved by a double qualification, first by the 
words (each of which ha? here a temporal force), 
which limit these temptations to the present, and 
exhibit them as endurnig only for a little space ; 
and then by the clause * if need be,* or *if it must 
be so.' This latter (which has the strict hypo- 
thetical sense, and not some kind of affirmative 
sense, with Bengel, etc. ; nor yet the subjective 
sense supposed by Schott, as if = * if indeed there 
was reason why you should /r^/ grieved in tempta- 
tion') means that temptations come only where 
there is a call for them, and suggests that they may 
not, therefore, burden even the present continually. 
-^Thc great difficulty in this verse is how to deal 
with the times indicated by the several terms, 
the ' rejoice * being in form a present tense, the 
•grieved' a distinct past, and the word *now,* 
with which the latter is connected, again pointing 
to present time. Some solve this difficulty (Augus- 
tine, Burton, etc. ) by taking the * rejoice * as an 
imperative. But Peter does not appear to begin 
exhortation till ver. 13, and the peculiar tense of 
the * grieved ' would thus be still unaccounted for. 
Qthers (Luther, Huther, Wiesinger, Alford, Hof- 
mann, etc) suppose that the present * rejoice* has 
here the future sense, expressmg the certainty of 
the joy which they are yet to have ; and the pecu- 
Bar tense of the other verb (*ye iwre grieved*) is 
then explained as due to the writer speaking for the 
moment from the standpoint of the Mast time,* 
and looking back upon the troubles of his own 
time as then in the P^t. This is supported b^ 
fhe Syriac and the Clementine Vulgate, and is 
adopted by Tyndale. But, while the present 
occurs often enough as a quasi-future, that is the 
case with particular verbs (snch as * cometh *) and 
in particular connections which naturally suggest 

the time, and which have no real parallel here. 
Others (Schott, e.g,) rightly retain the present 
sense in the 'rejoice,* but regard the 'grieved' is 
a sharp and definite past meant to exhibit the 
temptations of the believer's day as transitory, 
even momentary, in contrast with the deep po^ 
manence of his joy. This, however, is to asciflie 
a refinement of idea to the aoxist which it does not 
express unaided. Hie explanation seems to be 
that the 'grieved* has the proleptic foice heft, 
which both the perfect (i Cor. xiiL i ; Rom. 
iv. 14, xiv. 23 ; 2 Pet ii. 10) and the aoiist (Jokn 
XV. 6 ; I Cor. vil 28 ; Rev. x. 7) have in con- 
nection with conditional presents. In this case 
the natural sense of the semal terms is preserved, 
and the meaning becomes simply this : ' ye kaee 
a present joy, notwithstanding tnat, if such proves 
needful, you are made the snbjects of some shoit- 
lived trouble now.' The certainties of the fotue 
make the present a time of joy too deep to be more 
than dashed bv the pain ot manifold temptatioos. 
Ver. 7. that the proof of your fiikiUi, etc. The 
statement now introduced connects itself doody 
with the conditional notice of snfoii^. It points 
them at once to the ultimate object of their pos- 
sible subjection to many painfiu things now. If 
this subjection is only as God deems needfnl, it 
also looks to an end gracious en<»%h to cast the 
light of comfort back into the dark and gri e vo m 
present. In regard, however, both to the sense 
of particular words and to the mutual relations of 
the clauses, the verse is one of some difficulty. 
The term rendered ' trial * in the A. V. is found 
nowhere else in the N. T. except in Jas. L 3. 
A cognate form, however, occurs more frequently, 
sometimes with a present reference and sometimes 
with a past (see Cremer^ sub voce)^ so that it mems 
both actively the process of putting to the {noof 
(2 Cor. viii. 2), and passively the proof, the eri- 
dence itself (2 Cor. xiiL 3), or the attestation, the 
approvedness resulting from the process (Rool 
V. 3, 4 ; 2 Cor. ii. 9, ix. 13 ; PhiL iL 22). If te 
present term, therefore, were strictly parallel to 
that, it might mean either the act of testine^ as 
many take it to be in Jas. i. 3; the memum, 
of testing, as in the Classics (Plato, e^,^ using it 
of the touchstone), and at least once in the Sept 
(Prov. xxvii. 21); or the result of testing. Of 
these three senses the first would be analogous to 
what is expressed by another cognate term in 
Heb. iii. 9. It is inapposite here, however, 
because the act or process of testing cannot well 
be the thing that is to be to their praise at the 
last. The second, which is adopted by Stein- 
meyer, etc., would make the temptations them* 
selves, as the criteria of faith, the thing that shall 
be to their praise. The third, therefore^ is die 
natural sense here, the aptrcvedness (Huther) of 
your faith. The idea is thus much the same as 
your proved faith, your faith as attested by pro- 
bation. Mr. Hort, however, holds that the tenn 
can mean nothing else than the instruimeni of 
trial, and supposes that an early confusion may 
have crept into the text between this word and a 
very similar form, the neuter of an adjective, 
meaning ' that which is approved,' which is sup- 
ported by two of the better cursives. — i&on 
precious as surely it is than gdld whkh 
perisheth, and yet is tried by fire. With the 
best editors the simple ' more precious ' is to be 
read for the ' much more precious * olf the A. V. 
Some make the clause dependent on the snbse- 



qoent Terb (so Steiger, de Wette, Huther, etc.). 
!riiiis it would fonn a part of the predicate, and 
ihf sense would be s that the apprcvedness of your 
faith may be found more precious than that of 
Qold whKh perisheth and yet is tried by fire, unto 
your pcmise, etc. It is more consistent, however, 
with the posidon of the clause, the qualifying 
idea, e api c sae d by it, and the point of the com- 
paraon with go/a, to take it as in apposition to 
the tcnns, *t& approvedness of your faith.' The 
*oi' insetted by the A. V. before 'gold* must be 
omitted. What the original sets over against the 
frooi of fiuth, or the approved faith, is the gold 
itscl( and not its proof. The particle translated 
' though' by the A. V. means ' but/ or < yet,' and 
f MfH e iiei somethu^ which takes place in spUt of 
■nwffhing else. Ine participles rendered ' whidi 
pemheth and ' is tried ' are in the present tense, 
as dmoting £uts which hold good now and at any 
tioMV the sense being that it is of the nature of 
fold to perish, and it is the &ct nevertheless that 
tt ii tested \tj fire. The comparison between the 
probation of character and tne testing of metals, 
whidk occurs so often elsewhere (cf. Job xxiiL 10 ; 
Prar. zvii 3, zzvii. 21 ; Ps. Ixvl 10 ; Zech. 
^iL 9 ; MaL iiL 2, 3 ; i Cor. iii. 13, etc), has a 
Kmttrd application here. No direct comparison 
b ittstitatea between the proving; of faith and that 
pf flold, nor between the wortti of proved faith 
ana the worth of proved gold, lliere is an 
iadhect comparison between the perishable nature 
.of fold and the opposite nature of faith, and the 
idea is that, if the former is proved by fire, 
aKhoogfa itself and the benefits of^the process pass 
^wedily away according to their kind, the latter, 
which, as tested, is seen to be a possession superior 
to the risks of decay and loss, and more precious 
than the most valued treasure, may well be sub- 
jected to similar action. The sentence, therefore, 
la.i&tiodticed in order to remove the apparent 
atAngeucK, and to sugx^est the purifying intention, 
of the suffering which faith has to endure. — might 
be liinmd unto pxalie and honour and glory. 
With the best editors (Ladimann, Tischendorf, 
Tngellei, Westcott, and Hort) the order runs 
father pniie, and s^ory, and honour. This is 
the oidy instance in the N. T. in which the three 
teffBS oone together, although the conjunction of 
JU m t mr and ^^ffy is common enot^h (Rom. ii. 7, 
lb; I Tim. l 17, etc.). Distinctions are drawn 
the terms, and it is attempted to exhibit 

a dimaz in the order of the A. V., e,g,, from 


approval to the mcral esteem following 
on that, and then to the reivard or form of glory 
(Scbott, etc) ; or from the language of praise^ to 
the rank of nonour and the feeling of admiration 
(Blason) ; or from the commendation of the Judge 
to the personal dignity of the subject, and Uience 
to htt admission to the Lord's own glory. But 
tte descriptions are cumulative rather than ascen- 
nvc^ worn being added to word in order to convey 
Bome faint conception of the gracious reward 
whidh is to be fnmd (a strong term indicating 
the open discovery of something, the proving of 
an object to be something after scrutiny) at last 
to have been the end in view. — in the revelation 
of Jeana Ohriat ; that is, in the time of His un- 
veiling, the time of His return, when the hidden 
Christ, the righteous judgment of God (Rom. 
iL 5), and the sons of God (Rom. viii. 19), shall 
all appear finally as they are. 

Ver. 8. Whom having not Men, ye love. 

With some good Mss. Scrivener reads known 
here instead of seen. The latter, however, is the 
better supported reading. The verse has a his- 
torical interest, being ouoted (from the second 
clause onward) in the Epistle addressed to the 
Philippians (chap, i.) by Pol^carp, the martyr 
bishop of Smyrna and the disciple of John, of 
whom also Irenzeus {Adv. liar, iii. 3), his own 
disciple, tells us that ' he was instructed by the 
apostles, and brought into connection with many 
who had seen Christ.* From the brief vision of 
the future honour of believers, Peter turns again 
to their present position, and to that as one with 
the springs of gladness in it He takes up the 
joy already referred to (ver. 6), and, having indi- 
cated how the end of their trials should make 
the burdened present a life of joy, he next sug- 
gests how much there is to help them to the 
same in what they had in Christ now. In pre- 
senting the ascended Christ first as the object of 
loye, he uses the term expressive of the kind of 
love which rises on the l^sis of a recognition of 
the dignity of the Person loved — a term whidi he 
had hesitated to adopt from the Risen Christ's 
lips in the scene by the Sea of Galilee (John xxi. 
15-17). — on whom, though for the present not 
seeing him, yet indeed believing. The relative 
is connected not with the 'rejoice,* but with the 
'believing.' It is as they believe on Him that 
they rejoice. The faith already noticed as the 
means through which they are ' kept ' is reintro- 
duced as a belief in the unseen Saviour which 
carries unspeakable joy ^n it. Neither the writer 
himself, who once nad seen Christ in the flesh, 
nor the readers who had not had that privilege, 
could now see Him, of whom it is said that ' then 
were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord * 
(John XX. 20). Yet they had Ilim as the object 
of their love and faith, and in that they had 
enough to make their clouded life bright. Their 
present might seem CTievous in comparison with 
that future of which Peter had given them a 
glimpse. But if it denied them Christ in the 
possession of sight, it admitted the deeper pos- 
session of faith. And to have that is to have joy. 
For joy is the reflex of love and trust. So Joy stands 
next to love in Paul's description of the fruit of tl|c 
Spirit (Gal. V. 22). So Peter, perhaps with the 
Lord's words to Tliomas in his mmd (John xx. 29), 
lets them into the secret of the blessedness of those 
who have not seen and yet have believed. * It is 
commonly true, the eye is the ordinary door h^ 
which love enters into the soul, and it is true in this 
love 5 though it is denied to the eye of sense, yet you 
see it is ascribed to the eye of faith. . • . Faith, 
indeed, is distinguished from that vision that is in 
|;lory ; but it is the vision of the kingdom of grace, 
It is the eye of the new creature, that quick-sighted 
eye, that pierces all the visible heavens, and sees 
above them' (Lcighton). Faith and love are 
associated as workmg together for a gladness of 
heart which rises to exultation. Their gracious 
inherence in each other is indicated. ^ * There is 
an inseparable intermixture of love with belief,* 
says Leighton again, 'and a pious affection, re- 
ceiving Divine truth ; so that, in effect, as we 
distinguish them, they are mutually strengthened, 
the one by the other, and so, though it seem a 
circle, it is a Divine one, and falls not under the 
censure of the School's pedantry. If you ask. 
How shall I do to lovet I answer, Brieve, It 
you ask, How diall I believe? I answer, Z^vr.' — 


THE PIRST epistle GEl4EftAL OF PETER. [CHAP. 1. 10-12. 

y TCjoioe giMtly (or, emit). The verb is 
taken here again (so Hather, Wiesinger, Hof- 
mann, etc.) to be future in sense, though pre- 
sent in form. This chiefly on the ground that 
the adjectives descriptive of the joy are too strong 
for the experience of the present But its asso- 
ciation here with the strict presents ' ye love * and 
' believing,' stamps the verb as a present in sense 
as well as in form. The point, therefore, is not 
merely that over against the tossings of the present 
and the disadvantage of an absent Lord, there is 
a glorious future in which they shall yet certainly 
rejoice, but that in Christ believed on, though not 
seen, they have now a joy deeper than time's 
storms can reach. The quality of this joy is ex- 
pressed both by the repetition of the verb already 
used to express exultant joy (ver. 6), and by the 
addition ot two remarkable adjectives. The 
former of these, which is found in no other pas- 
sage of the N. T., and is of very rare occurrence 
elsewhere, conveys a different idea from the ' un- 
speakable ' in 2 Cor. xii. 4, and is more analogous 
to the ' which cannot be uttered ' of Rom. viii. 26. 
It means, ' too deep for expression,' and that in 
the sense of ' not capable of being told adequately 
out in words,' rather than in the sense of not 
capable of being fitted to language at all. The 
latter adjective means more than *fu11 of glory.' 
It designates the joy as one already irradiated 
with glory, superior to the poverty ana inglorious- 
ness of earthly joy, flushed with the colours of the 
heaven of the future. Compare the proleptic 
'glorified' of Rom. viii. 30, and better, the 
'spirit of glory' in i Pet. iv. 14.— receiving the 

end at your iUth, nhmtfon of aoolt. If tk 

' rejoice ' is taken as a qoasi-fntim, the parddple 
must now be rendered, ^recnvin^ as ye Am 
shall,* As a strict present, which it rather is, it 
may express the time of the 'rejoicing' as coiik* 
cident with the time of the * receiving,' or (» 
Huther, etc) it may introduce the latter as^a 
reason for the former : ye can dierish this joy 
now inasmuch as ye are now receiving the end of 
your faith. This term ' receiving ' occurs not vn* 
frequently of judicial reward, specially that of tHe 
last day (i Pet. v. 4 ; 2 Pet ii. 13 ; 3 Cor. t. 10; 
Eph. vL 8; Col. iii. 25). It may denote fhe 
getting of waces, the securing of a rewaid, dhe 
carrying off of a trophy, etc, and is used also k 
the more general sense of obtaining (Heb. z. jS^ 
xi. 39). The word ' end,* again, means gm!^ taal 
which faith has in view, or in which it is to isne; 
The idea, therefore, is more than that of wcnring 
reward. It is rather that thevare even nem'm 
the process of reaching the ^oal of their fidth, k 
the way to make finally then: own that to wUch 
their faith looks, and therefore they may well 
find deep and constant joy even in the brokoi 
present The mark which their faith is meant to 
reach is described as a salvation erf* soulSf not 
because salvation is a spiritual thing, nor becrase 
it is the soul that is the chief subject d* aalvatioD, 
and the body only a future participant (so Bengd)^ 
nor because there is anything like a trichotomy or 
triple division of human nature in view (Brown, 
etc ), but simply because in the flexible P>7cho- 
logy of the N. T. the term soul denotes the wnag 
sell (cf. iii. 20; Jas. L 21, v. 20). 

Chapter I. 10-12. 

The Peculiar Interest of Goifs People of these Last Times in this Glorious 


10 /^F* which salvation the prophets have * enquired and «PifcxKv.»i: 
V^/ * searched dih'gently,* who prophesied of the grace that Ssj-^i*'* 

1 1 should come ^ unto you : * '^ searching ' what, or what manner of j^ff-,' ^^ 
-^fime,* the *^ Spirit of Christ which* was in them did ^signify,* ^Jfyf-^J^ 
when it testified' beforehand the 'sufferings of* Christ, and'Jg;^^ 

12 the * glory • that should follow.** Unto whom it was ' revealed, fcSr.^aw? 
that not unto themselves, but unto us,^* they did "' minister " ^gS;5jj^^. 
the things which are " now " reported unto you by '* them that eS£ v.'^J! 
have** " preached the gospel unto you with the ^ Holy Ghost ^fej;^^. 
sent down *• from heaven ; which things the *' angels ^ desire to J^VSi 
'look into. *k^>ili 

ix. 8. XH. 27 ; Col. i. 8 : 3 Pet. i. 14 ; Ex. vi. 3. i Ch. iv. n, v. t. Cf. Heb. ii. 10 : Phil. iii. 10; also ret under Ci^ 

^ ♦ Lu. XXIV. a6 ; a Pet j^L 10 ; Tude 8. / Isa. liii. i ; Jo. xii. 38 ; i Cor. xiv. 50 ; Mat. x. a6, xi. 25, 27, xvi 17; La. 

ii. 35, X. ai, pa, xii. a, xvil 30 : Rom. L 17, 18, viii. j8 ; x Cor. ii. 10: Eph. iii. 5 ; Phil. iii. 15, etc. 

ma Cor. ml 3, viii. i^, a8 ; a Tim. i. x8 ; i Pet. iv. 10. m Isa. xl. ai ; Jo. iv. as ; Acts xx. ao ; t Ja L 5, de. 

o Lu iii. 18 ; Acts viii. za, xiv. 15, ai, xvi. 10 ; Gal. i. 9. / Acu ii. 4. ^ Prov. xxiv. 1 ; Mat. xiii. 17 ; La. sxfi. 15. 

r Lu. xxiv. za ; Jo. xx. 5, iz ; Jas. i. 35 ; Gen. xxvL 8. 

' with regard to ^ prophets earnestly enquired and searched 

* literally^ the grace unto you 

* />. in reference to what (time), or^ what kind of time • that 

* was decJaring ' attesting ^ unto • glories 
'" after these ^* rather^ unto you *• were ministering *• were 

** through *« omit have " omit down '' omit the 



The paragraph which now follows deals with 
the relation ot the prophets to the salvntion of 
mhich they prophesied. The salvation itself, how- 
ever, continues to be the foremost thing. The 
notice of the prophetic ministry is not introduced 
with the view of indicating the essential identity 
of the offer of grace in the N. T. with that in the 
O. T.» or the witness to the truth of the apostolic 
MDclamation of grace which may be drawn from its 
mtfinony with the prophetical (so Gerhard, etc). 
Neither is its object to recall the fact that, if they 
nfiercd, these Christians had only to face what 
the prophets had faced before them, while in 
leqpect of privilege they had the immense 
topetioiity otresting on a salvation accomplished, 
mere these others had to rest on its promise 
(Sdiott). In this last case, the section would, 
indeed, furnish another reason why they should 
live a hopeful life. But it says nothing itself 
of the prophets as sufferers. It comes in, there- 
fere^ vnth the simpler object of exhibiting the 
crandenr of this salvation in the light of its 
nterest to prophets and even to angels. (So 
Calvioy and after him the best interpreters.) 
What can be deduced from it on the subject ot 
pffophecy, therefore, is limited by this object. 

ver. la With regaid to which lalvation. 
The sahfo/iCH here in view is the salvation already 
intioduced first as ' ready to be revealed in the 
bat timcy' and then as a 'salvation of souls.' It 
is not to be limited either to the completed salva- 
tion of the future, or to the partial salvation of the 
piCKnt, but is God's salvation generally. I'his is 
indicated by the method of connection with ver. 
9. The relative attaches ver. 10 closely to the 
preceding 'salvation of souls,* while the intro- 
duction of the noun after the relative shows, 
pcrhajK, that it is not so doselv attached to the 
immediate antecedent as to maxe the subject of 
the one in all respects co-extensive with that of 
the other (Schott). The prophets referred to are 
dbvioosly the O. T. prophets, as almost all 
interpreters hold. The supposition is advanced, 
however, that they are mainly the prophets of the 
Apostolic Church, with some of whom the Book 
01 Acts mentions Peter himself to have been 
bfooght into personal contact, /.^. with Barnabas 
(Actsiv. 36), Agbus (xL aS, xxi. 10), Judas and 
Silas (xv. 36). This view is supported by appeal 
to the prominent position occupied by these N. T. 
|»o]^iets (Eph. ii. 20, iii. 5, iv. ii ; 2 Pet. iii. 2), 
to Peter's statement about the prophetic word 
(2 Pet. L 19), and to such phrases as ' the Spirit 
of Christ which was in them,' which are held 
to apply rather to Christian than to Israelite 
prophets (so Plumptre). But, difficult as the 
paragraph in any case is, some of its clauses 
become doubly so on this supposition. Neither 
does the term 'prophets' here stand connected 
with the term 'apostles,' or with anything else 
naturally defining it as = those of the N. T. 
Church. — eamettly longht and searched. 
Both verbs have an intense force. The first is 
nsed, £,g.^ of Esau's careful seeking of a place of 
repentance (Heb. xii. 17). The second, though 
it occurs nowhere else in the N. T., is used by 
the LXX., e.g., of Saul's resolve to get at David s 
lurking-places, and * search him out throughout 
ill the thousands of Judah' (I Sam. xxiii. 23). 
They depict, therefore, the strength and earnest- 
ness of tne interest with which the prophets gave 
their minds to the hidden things of this salvation. 

— wh3 prophesied of the grooo destined for yon. 

The term * grace ' here is not to be distinguished 
(with Huther) from the 'salvation,' as if the latter 
denoted only the future salvation, and the former 
covered both the present and the future. It is 
simply another expression for the salvation dealt 
with all along, oesignating it now under the 
particular aspect of a free gift from God. The 
phrase 'the grace unto you' (as it literally is) 
means the grace destined or reserved for you, not 
(as Wiesinger, Schott, etc) the grace which has 
cotfie to you, or which ye have actually got. For 
this ' grace ' is contemplated not from the view- 
point of the apostles, but from that of the 
prophets. The subjects of this grace are also 
emphasized here by the pointed ' unto^^^fi,' as the 
ver^ parties now addressed by Peter, and therefore 
(if It is a reasonable supposition that the Epistle is 
directed to Pauline, and consequently mainly 
Gentile, Churches) to heirs of God's grace who 
were in the mass Gentiles, llie entire clause is 
usually taken to characterize the O. T. prophets 
according to a function common to them as a 
whole (Schott, Huther, and most). It would 
thus have no more point than a general description 
of the prophets as men who, as a body, spoke of 
a grace which was meant for others than them- 
selves. But the fact that, while the noun 
' prophets ' is without the article, the participle 
rendered ' who prophesied ' has it, rather 
suggests that Peter has a certain class of prophets 
in view (Hofmann), as the associated terms 
suggest that he has a particular part of the 
prophetic communications in mind. Those 
particularly referred to, therefore, are prophets 
like Isaiah and others, who spoke of what was the 
great mystery to Israel — the interest which the 
Gentile world was to have in the salvation whidi 
was *of the Jews.' 

Ver. II. ScArching what, or what manner of 
time, or better, searching with reference to what 
{season),' or what hind of season. This participial 
clause, introduced by the simple form of the in- 
tenser compound verb 'earnestly searched,' takes 
up the prophetic study and specifies the particular 
point to which it was directed. It was the question 
of the era at which this grace was to come. Both 
pronouns refer to the word season. They are not 
to be dealt with separately, as if the ' what ' meant 
•which person f* and the 'what manner of 
pointed to the time (so Peile, Mason, etc.). In 
that case the man in whom their expected 
Messiah was to appear would, as well as the date 
of his coming, be what they wish to ascertain. 
But the object of the prophetic reflection is here 
defined simply as the time itself, or the hind of 
time — a phrase meaning not (as Steinmeyer) ' the 
time or rather the kind of time,' but, in a descend- 
ing climax, ' the time, or, failing that, the kind of 
time. ' By diligent reflection these prophets sought 
to discover the precise period (whether soon or 
late), or, if that were denied them, at least the 
signs of the times — the kind of era (whether, 
e^., one of peace or one of war) at which the 
revelation ^ven them of the destined admission 
of the Gentile world into Israel's grace was to be 
made good. — the spirit of Christ m them. This 
denotes the source of the communications which 
formed the subject of the study. So far, therefore, 
it also explains the impulse under which they both 
studied and declared them. They rose on the 
minds of the prophets in virtue of a power 



which, though in them, was not that of their own 
intelligence. The men were conicious that thoie 
future things of grace which they saw inwardly 
came to them not as the foreeastings of their own 
sagacity, but as the communications of a revealing 
Agent Hence they both * searched' them for 
themselves, and ' prophesied ' of them to others. 
The revealing Power in them is designated ' the 
Spirit of Christ,* not in the sense of the Spirit that 
speaks ^y Christ (Augustine, Bengel, etc. ), but in the 
sense cif the Spirit that bdongs to Christ, or possibly 
the Spirit that is idmtkal with Christ. The desig- 
nation is to be taken in the breadth which naturally 
belongs to it (cf. Rom. viii. 9, etc.). It is not to 
be reduced, contrary to the anadogy of the Epistles, 
to anything so subjective as ' the Messiah-Spirit,* 
or ' the Messianic Spirit ' (Mason), nor, on the 
other hand, is it used here with a view to the 
•procession ' of the Third Person of the Trinity 
(Cook). Its point is caught rather in the well- 
known sentence of the Epistle of Barnabas (chap. 
V.)— *the prophets having the gift from (C^hrist) 
Himself prophesied in reference to Him.' Peter 
does not draw any distinction here between the 
'Spirit of Christ va a purely official title, and 
the 'Spirit of Jesus,' or the 'Spirit of Jesus 
Christ ' as the personal title, so that the designa- 
tion should mean nothing more than that the 
Suirit of the Messiah (unidentified with the 
Christ of history) was in the prophets. He 
indicates rather that the Revealing Agent who 
gave the prophets their insight into a grace to 
come was Christ Himself— the very Christ now 
known to the Church as the subject of O. T, 
prophecy and the finisher of salvation. This 
u in accordance with analogous modes of 
statement in Peter (i Pet. iii. 20) and Paul 
(a Cor. z. 4, 9), as well as with the doctrine of 
the Reformed Church that the same Being hns 
been, in all ages, the Revealer of God and tlie 
M inister of light and grace to the Church — the lyord 
of God, the Logos, pre-incamate, incarnate, or 
risen. It is admitted, therefore, by cautious exegetcs 
like Iluther, that the great majority of interpreters 
are right in recognising here a witness to the pre- 
existence of Christ, and to His pre-incamate activitv 
in the Church. Other expositions which deal with 
the term ' Spirit of Christ,' as if it were identical 
simply with * Spirit of God,' come short of Peter's 
intention here. More is expressed than the general 
identity of the work of grace in the O. T. with 
that in the N. T., or the identity of the Spirit of 
God in the former with the Spirit of Christ in the 
latter (de Wette), or the idea that the Spirit, who 
worked in the prophets, was the same Spirit of 
Cjod that Jesus received at His baptism, and since 
then has possessed (Schmid, Weiss, etc.). — ^was de- 
claring. The action of the Spirit in the prophets is 
described first by a verb which, though usckI often 
in a less definite sense, has here probably the foree 
which it has in i Cor. iil 13 (of the day that shall 
declare every man's work), and in s Pet. i. 14 (of 
Christ shewing Peter that he must shortly put ciT 
this tabernacle). This operation of the Spirit is 
further explained by the phrase — ^when it testified 
beforehand, or rather atteating beforehand. The 
verb is one of extremest rarity, scarcely known 
indeed elsewhere, whether in the N. T., in Ec- 
clesiastical Greek, or in the Classics. It appears 
to have a definite and solemn force, explaining 
the inward declaration of the Spirit of Christ in 
the prophets to have taken a form which their 

consciousness could neither mistake nor withstand, 
the decided form of an eittestaiion of certain fiicts 
of the future. It saya nothing beyond this how- 
ever, and does not necessarily impl}r (as is soppcned 
by Schott, etc.) that, in Peler^ view, sf>eech and 
not inward vision was the medimn by which the 
Spirit*! communications were conv^^d to the 
prophets' minds. The future things thus attested 
are described as tbe raflMngi unto OOuM {Le^ 
destined, or in store, for Christ), and 11m i^oriai 
after theaa. But whose sufitnii^ and gkniet? 
Some take them to be those of believers, and 
translate the clause, the sufferings {home fy Chris- 
tians) in refereme to Christ, Calvin (as abo 
Luther so &r, Wiesii^r, and originally Hnther) 
hold them to be those of the Church as the inyirtjcal 
Christ, or rather those of Christ and the Chardi 
as mystically one. An analogy is then sought in 
Paul's statement about filling up 'that which if 
behind of the afflictions of Christ ' (CoL L 24). 
The use of the official mediatorial name^ Christ, 
both there and here (instead of the personal 
Jesus Christ), is also supposed to intimate that 
the Subject in view is not the Christ of histG«y, 
but the Mediator in His official capacity, so 
that the phrase suggests the mystical applica- 
tion to Christ's spiritual body. Others (^. 
Plumptre) point to the different form of expres- 
sion used by Peter when he speaks of Q^rirt^ 
individual sufferings (i Pet. iv. 15, v. l), and 
regard the present sentence as the eonverM of 
Paul's, 'as the sufferings of Christ abound la 
us,' etc (a Cor. L 5), what believers cndvi 
for Christ's sake being viewed here as sbaied 
by Christ Himself. So Plumptre would trant- 
late it, the sufferings passing &n to, ot Jhmmg 
aver to, Christ. All this, however, brings m ideas 
foreign to the context, which speaks of thoit 
tilings as already reported to the readen, obvi- 
ously as the burden of the preaching which made 
them Christians. It is not nec^sitated by the use 
of the distinctive name Christ. It does not suit 
the statement that the thing which the prophetf 
searched into was the time of these suflen^^ 
For the Church was always more or less a su£r- 
iiig Church, though the sufferings of Messiah were 
1)oth future to the prophets and a perplexity to 
Israel. It is also inconsu^tent with the anadogy of 
the coenate phrase in ver. 10, 'the grace unto 
you.' Ilence most interpreters are right in under- 
standing the sufferings to be those of Christ Him- 
self. The Tories, therefore, will also be those 
which were destined by God to come to Christ, ia 
the train and as the reward of those suflferinga. 
The reward of Christ is regularly expressed bythe 
singular, 'glory.' The unusual plural, 'glories^' It 
chosen here, either in reference to the aeveral atepa 
of His glorification, in His resurrection, asoensiuni 
session at God's right hand, and Second Advent (to 
Weiss, Schott, etc.)> or simply as a balance to Oie 
other half of the clause, the standing phrase for 
what Christ had to endure being the plural §armt 
'sufferings.' The communications, therefore^ un- 
mistakeably attested by the Spirit of Chiiit to the 
minds of the prophets, concerned a Meniah who 
was destined to obtain glory only through suffering^ 
A suffering Messiah Mras in anv case a conceptkMi 
alien to the Israelite mind. A Messiah who, bv 
His suffering, was to bring grace to the worm 
outside Israel was still more so, and what the 
prophets strove to apprehend bv diligent reflec- 
tion on the revelations made to them was not the 



SkI itself (which wu too clearly borne in by the 
Spirit upon their conscioiisness to admit of doubt), 
rat the period mt which it should come to pass. 
Hie oommimicatioDS particularly in view, there^ 
fve, are probably those made to presets like 
Isidah, w1k>, in his great Pastiooal (lit. i3<-UiL 12;, 
ipcsks of the qprinkUns of the natiams. 

Ver. IX Td wham it wm leyeftled, that not 
niD thimlTW, hnt (Father) onto yon they 
vMi winlitning thoM thmg^ The better 
■eeradited reading here is ' unto y§u^ (not unto 
m$\ Peter, therefore, still looks specially to the 
litciest which Gentile Christians, like those here 
flddvHMd. had in the ministry referred ta He 
ttys nothing, however, to imply either that the 
pnphets themselves had no personal interest in 
theur commnnicationsy or that these communica- 
tiooi did not bear upon their 0¥m times. He 
speaks simidy of certam things in these communi- 
eatioBS, whidi the prophets understood to be for 
other times, and of the ministry which they dis- 
charged in relation to those things as a ministry 
in which they recognised others than themselves 
to have the main interest The ministry in view 
b expr e s se d b^ a term applicable to any kind 
of service, official or non-omciaL It is the word 
nsol by Paul when he speaks of the Corinthians 
as ' manifestly declared to be the Epistle of Christ 
wnmstend b^ us ' (2 Cor. iii. 3). Here it refers 
evidently to the service of announcing to others 
what the Spirit had conveyed to their own minds. 
The entire sentence is connected closely with the 
preceding by the simple relative. The (question, 
' ^ is : What b the relation thus mtended 
the searching of vers. 10, 11, and the 
spoken otnow? Many interpreters 
regard the latter as the resuU or reward of the 
Jofmer, And thb b put in two different ways, 
cither that the prophets searched, and therefore 
lef^dations were given them, because they were 
minbtering for others ; or, that they searched, and 
tKeir snrcn was answered by its being revealed to 
them that they were ministering for others. But 
to make their receipt of revebtions (whether in 
tlie wide sense of revelations ^enerallv, or in the 
nanower sense of the revelation of thie one fact 
that in some things they were speaking to a later 
aee) dependent so fiur upon their own previous 
dO^enoe in incjuiry, is strangely out of harmony 
with the initiating and impelling activity ascribed 
here, and again in 2 Pet L 21, to tne Spirit. 
The connection, therefore, b to be taken either 
thus : ' they seardied, and to them, too, it was 
revealed ;' or (with Huther, etc.), * they searched 
inasmnch as it was revealed to them.' The 
revelation in view occasioned and incited their 
inquiry. It was discovered to them that in regard 
to certain things which the Spirit communicated 
they were dealing with things meant for others, and 
dib fiict (pointings as it did, to the mystery of a place 
for the Gentile world sooner or later in Israel's 
grace) stinwiatfd theb inquiry. How thb fact 
wo discovered, ot * revealed, to them, whether 
by a special intimation of the Spirit, or simply by 
the onmistakeable import of the communication 
itadf regarding the future grace, b left unex« 
pfaiiDed. — whion (thinfi) were now reported to 
joa by Bienna of those who made the glad 
tidings (the Gospel) known to yon. The relation 
of the ' which ' here to the previous ' those things ' 
b not exactly the close relation between relative 
and anteoeoent, bat rather that between two 

distinct statements, of which the latter is an 
extension of the former. The things referred to, 
therefore, are not merely the 'sufferings' and 
' glories' of Christ, but also the 'grace destined 
for you,' all those things, in 3iort, already 
said to have been promiesied and searchea 
by the prophets. The things which thus were 
the subject of prophetic interest and inquiry, 
are now referred to as having abo formed 
the burden of the preaching of those who 
carried the Gospel into those Gentile territories, 
Pontus, Galatb, etc Peter gives us no hint as 
to who these were. The form of the statement^ 
however, rather implies that he did not rank 
himself among them. But if the men themselves 
are left unnamed, the power that made them what 
they were as preachers b noted. These preachers 
evangelized them by the Holy Ghost sent ftom 
heaven. The better reading here b not 'iVi,' 
but '^' the Holy Ghost, the Spirit bring re- 
presented simply as the instrument in whose 
might they effected what they did. As the pro- 
phets had their revelations only by the action 
of the Spirit, the preachers of the Gospel had 
their power to preach only by the Holy Ghost. 
But while the Spirit who gifted the prophets b 
described as the Spirit of Chrbt in them, the 
Spirit who gifted the preachers b described as the 
Holy Ghost sent from heaven — a designation 
pointing to the Pentecostal descent of the Spirit, 
and, therefore, to the superior privilege ot the 
preachers. So the statement r^arding the pro- 
phets ends, as it began, with fiicts enforcing the 
magnitude of the salvation or grace of which the 
readers had been made heirs. The verbs are given 
in the simple hbtorical past, were reported {jn spite 
of the 'now'), ^eacned (not have preached)^ 
sent, as Peter cames hb readers back from their 
present standing in grace to the definite acts and 
events which prepared that standing for them once 
for all. — It is necessary to add that while the 
cenerally-acceptcd construction of thb verse has 
been followed, it leaves something to be desired. 
Another method of relating the several clauses, 
which has to a certain extent the sanction ol 
Luther's name, has been worked out by Hofmann, 
and accepted bv some others. According to this, 
the verse would run thus, with a parenthesb in 
the heart of it : ' To whom were revealed Uiose 
things ^for they minbtered not for themselves, but 
mther for others), which were now reported unto 
you,' etc. Thb establbhes an apt contrast 
between the inward revelation in the one case and 
the public reporting in the other. It gets rid of 
the awkwardness of making the mere &X that the 
prophets ministered certain things for others than 
themselves the subject of a r^ation^ and has 
other recommendations to balance the disad- 
vantage of introducing a parenthesis immedbtely 
after the leading verb. — ^The grandeur of thb 
salvation or grace b illustrated by one thing ebe 
which, as being itself so peculbr, gets a peculiar 

Slace and expression here — ^whioh things angels 
esire to look into. By the ' which things ' we 
are to understand neither ' the whole contents of 
the message of salvation ' (so Huther, Bruckner), 
nor the mystery of the spiritual change effected l^ 
the gospel (Schott), but simply the mings alrea<3^ 
dealt witii in the section. Those things, the 
grace ordained for the Gentiles, and the sufferings 
and glories of Chrbt in relation thereto^ whiai 
were prophesied of and searched by prophets, and 



reported in tliese last days by Christ's preachers, 
were also an object of interest to the angelic world. 
The intensity of this interest is exprosed by the 
strong term desire, or long—iht word used by 
Christ Himself in view of His hastening passion, 
' With desire I have desired to eat this passover 
with you before I suffer* (Luke xxiL 15). Its 
continuance b indicated by the present tense. Its 
nature is described bv the giapnic term which is 
poorly represented by the 'look into* of the 
A. v., and is difficult in any case adequately to 
render, lliough perhaps sometimes used of a 
passing glance at an object, it has usually the idea 
of intent study, and a study which involves a 
stooping, bending posture on the part of the 
student It is applied to the man who Mooketh 
into the perfect law of liberty ' (Jas. L 25) as if 
he were putting himself into the posture of one 
who gazes into a mirror. It is auo applied by 
Luke (xxiv. 12) to Peter himself ' stooping down ' 
when he peered into the tomb (which passage, 

however, is somewhat doubtfully accredited) ; and, 
again, by John (xx. 5, ii) both to Peter and to 
Mary as they ' stooped down ' and looked mto tlie 
sepulchre. It is more than doubtful whethci 
Peter had in view here either the two angdi 
whom Mary Magdalene saw in the Lord's tonb, 
as Canon Cook supposes, or the cherubim ofcr 
shadowing the ark, as Grotius, Beza, and otbcs 
imagine. But as the term expres i MS a change d 
position in order to view something, it may poiit 
at once to the straining interest with wluch the 
an^lic world as such (the noun is without die 
article, and denotes angels generally) contemplate 
the salvation of which even outcast Gentiles aie 
participants, and the foct that, as they staad 
outside that salvation, their interest in it is that 
of spectators who recognise the glory and ponder 
the mystery of the grace which effects a change (tf 
which they have themselves no personal Imow- 
ledge— the chance from sin to holiness (d. alio 
Heb. iL 16; Epb. iii. 10). 

Chapter L 13-16. 

Exhortations to Hopefulness atid Holiness, 

13 \1 7HEREF0RE 'gird up the * loins of your '^mind, be ;g2*^«? 

V V ^ sober, and hope to the ' end ' for the grace that is to te^^^fij 
be -^brought* unto you at' the 'revelation of Jesus Christ: 'J^j^jJ? 

14 as * obedient 'children/ not * fashioning yourselves according !^£,£3Li, 

15 to * the former 'lusts in your *• ignorance: but "as he which IIJ/h^Sa 
hath ''called you is holy,' so be ye holy' in all manner of i*itffi;i: 

16 ^conversation;' because it is written, ^Be ye holy;* for I ^331^* 
am holy. ''\'^}^, 

t Pet. IV. 7, V. 8. * or a Mncc. xii. 42 ; Judith xi. 6. fi Pet i. 17. 18, at. rCf. on ch. i 7. 

k Heb. V. 8 ; Rom. i. 5. i Cf. Eph. ii. 3, v. 6, 8 ; a Pet. iL 14 : i PeL i. aa ; a Kinies xxii. .^6 ; and see on i FiL L ak 
k Rom. xii. 3. / Ch. ii. 11, iv. a, 3 ; a Pet. iL 18 ; Rom. xiii. 14 ; Gal. ▼. 16 ; Eph. iL 3 ; i la iL i6b 

M Acts iii. 17, xvii. 30; Eph. iv. x8 ; and cf. Wisd. xiv. aa. n Cf. Eph. iv. 34. • Rooi. viiL jol ix. 11 ; 

Gal. v. 8 : Heo. iiL i.'ix. x;^'. 
iv. la ; Heb. xiiL 7 ; Jas. iu. 13. 

/ Ch. i. 18, iL xa, iiL i, a, x6 ; a Pet. iL 7, iiL xi : GaL L 13 ; Eph, iv. 
q Lev. xL 44, xix. a, xx. 7, a6. 

* literally^ Wherefore having girt up the loins of your mind, being sober 
hope perfectly « that is being brought • or, in 

* literally^ children of obedience * or, in conformity with 
« rather, after the (pattern of) the Holy One who called you 

\ or, prove ye yourselves also holy « living, conduct, or behaviour 

» Ye shaU be holy ^ 

The rapid outline of the magnificence of the 
'salvation prepares the way for what is to be 
urged in the form of duty. The Preface, which 
has so much of the Pauline style both in idea and 
in conciliatory intention, has closed by adding to 
the prophets and evangelists, who are named as 
ministers of that salvation, angels as rapt 
students of the same. From this i*etcr passes 
at once to the main burden of his Epistle, and 
begins by giving a series of counsels which 
extend into the second chapter. These counsels 
deal successively with hope, holiness, godly fear, 
brotherliness, and increase in grace. They are 

all coloured by the light of consolation. Tb^ 
are all practical unfoldines and peisonal appli* 
cations of what has been alreadv instanced in the 
Preface. They are enforced by considenitioiis 
drawn from the realities of the spiritual calling. 
A reason for each is found in the grace whidi is 
possessed. Here, as everywhere, the ethical 
precepts of the Gospel are rooted in the fiicti 
and truths of Revelation, and receive their moral 
momentum from the prior gift of grace. 

Ver. 13. Wherefore: the exhorution is thus 
made immediately dependent on the prevtoiis 
statement of grace. The duty is bom of the 



e. The 'wherefore,' however, points 
the idea which called forth the ftscnption 
e with which the intiodnction opened, and 
«l7 to the thought of the necessity of trial 
tte), the nandear of the grace (Calvin), 
nation m the salvation from of old for 
raj readers (CEc.), or anything else 
smes in onljr in the train of the leading 
rhe connection, therefore^ is not of the 
ninate form, ' Seeing this salvation was 
1 lor yon, and is so studied even by angels, 
e anrq^ful of it ' (so substantially Altord, 
t b fiir more pointed than that, and amounts 
— ' God, then, by so marvellous a provision 
DCicy, having begotten you unto a living 
9e that you make that hope your own, and 
Mf np to it. '—haying girt up the loina 
r aifld. The first exhortation is not to 
Inest ami endurance in hope ( Alford), but 
specifically. The three verbs do not enjoin 
iminct duty, but the first two ('gird up' 
i sober') express conditions which are ne- 
to the discharge of one great duty of hope 
I denoted by the third. The act of tuclc* 
he loose Eastern tunic in preparation for 
» <x running, for work or conflict, or for 
1 of exertion (cf. Israel's preparation for 
It from Egypt, Ex. xii. 11 ; Elijah's for 
before Amib to the entrance ot Jezreel, 
s xviii. 46; and David's for the battle, 
li- S^t 39)f is the natural figure of a 
mental preparedness. There is an evident 
a implvu^ the figure to men in the pUgjrim 
icnbed in i. i and ii. 11, and it is possible 
irist's own injunction (Luke xii. 35) may 
ifcn form to Peter's phrase. The tense 
s that the attitude of mind here in view 
It be taken up definitely and once for all 
he kind of hopefulness which is charged 
e aojoumers can be made good. The 
ed here for ' mind ' is admirably in point 
i term which denotes the understanding 
tactical issues, and in its intercourse with 
er world, the higher intellectual nature 
f in its dealings with things without, the 
li thovpht 'as a process of close and 
li fcmtmy of outer objects, and as a 
outward attitude of tne soul' (Beck, 
FijKhology, p. 71). The clause, there- 
presses the necessity of a certain mental 
ration, the putting a check upon the 
ition of thought ' on the interests or trials of 
lent. The man who will live up to the 
to which God beeat him must begin by 
in the tendency of his thoughts to wander 
leic^ and by turning his mind, in its 
. outward attitude, to the great vision of 
ire. — being aober, a second condition 
7 to the hopefulness which should 
sitt the Christian pilgrim. The sobrietv 

here, as often elsewhere, involves much 
lan moderation in regard to appetite. It 
the settled self-control, the elevated 
lity which should make the Christian 

to the distractions of the present, and 
m e(}ually from undue elation in the 
9 of time, and from excess of sorrow in 
M. This, as a disposition to be con- 
f maintained, is expressed in the present 
practising sobriety,' where the former 
D was in the past.— hope perfectly: 
mer things have defined the kind of 

hopefulness which is urged. This is usually taken 
to be still more distinctly described by the ad- 
dition of the term which is rendered ' to the end ' 
by the A. V. It is doubtful, however, to which 
of the two clauses this adverb (which is found no- 
where else in the New Testament, and which has 
the larger sense of ' completely,' ' so as to leave 
nothing lackin|^,' rather than the temporal force 
' to the end ') is to be attached. It may qualify 
the sobriety ('practising a /rr^/ sobriety ') — a 
connection entirely in point, and saving one of 
these related phrases from being left in an un- 
qualified indefMcndence unlike the other two. If 
it is attached to the ' hope ' (as most interpreters 
attach it), it defines it as one that will rise to 
the full idea of a regenerate hope, and leave 
nothing to desire. Once let a guard be established 
against the natural waywardness of thought, and 
let the self-collectedness be sustained which 
looks with a calm eye upon earth's joys and 
sorrows, and they will be able to lead a life of 
hopeful expectation worthy of that act of (jod's 
grace bv which they were begotten into hope. 
— for ihe grace. It is questioned whether 
we should translate ^for the ^race' or *oh 
the grace.' The construction is peculiar, and 
found exactly, indeed, nowhere else, in the New 
Testament, except in i Tim. v. 5 (in i Pet. 
iiu 5 also, according; to the received text, but 
not according to the best editors). It is not 
uncommon, however, in the Greek Version of the 
Old Testament. Some take the sense to be — 
maJce the grace the strength or foundation of 
your hope. So Huther considers grace to be 

J>resented here simply as that *from which the 
iilfilment of ho])e is expected,' and others {e,g. 
Mason) hold it introduced as that in the strength 
of which we are confidently to look for glory. 'Hie 
truth which is struck, however, is deeper. Grace 
is exhibited here as the object of our hope, and 
the shade of meaning suggested by the uncommon 
construction is simplv that our hope is to be 
turned fully and confidently toward it What is 
otherwise called glory or salvation is here called 
grace, the believer^s present being scminally the 
believer's future, and glory being the blossom of 
which grace is the bud.— which Is being broaght 
nnto yon: not 'which is to be brought,' as if the 
object of hope were remote, and wholly of the 
future ; but 'which is a-bringing^ already on the 
wine, and bearing ever nearer.— in the revelation 
of Jeena Ghriat, that is, at His final advent. 
Both the currency of the phrase itself and the 
close connection instituted by the opening 
'wherdbre' between the ideas of this section 
and those of Uie Preface forbid us to understand 
it of the present revelation of Christ in the Gospel. 
Ver. 14. As children of obedience : a second 
counsel is thus introduced, dealing with a holiness 
which is to be not less complete than the hope. 
The one rises naturally out of the other. Hope 
is a sanctifying principle, promoting holiness, 
while it is itself also brightened and strengthened 
by it It is in the character of 'children of 
obedience' that they are charged to aim at a 
perfect holiness. It is as becomes those with 
whom obedience (here again in the largest and 
most inclusive sense) has become a new nature. 
The familiar Hebrew figure for permanence of 
quality represents them as drawing the inspira- 
tion of their life from obedience, as related to it 
like children to a mother.— not liMhioning your- 



wttwm in oonfoimity with yotir fooDer lufai in 
jonr ignorance : in the chajracter of the obedient, 
and in order to holiness, they must renounce a 
certain fashum of life. The verb occurs only 
once elsewhere in the New Testament (Rom. 
xii. 2). In the heart of it is the term which is 
Applied to the world in its aspect of transience^ 
' ^fashion of this world passeth away ' (i Cor. 
TiL 31), and which is used of Christ in the 
great Christological statement in PhiL ii. 7 — 
'found VOL fashion as a man.' The term refers 
to the externals of an object, all that wherein an 
object appears^ rather than to what is intrinsic 
It cames with it, therefore^ the idea of the 
chang^le and illusory. This unstable, deceptive 
ftrm of life which they are not to assume is the 
old life of heathen lust, the life in which they 
ignorantly followed 'the capricious guidance oif 
the passions.' (See Lightfoot on Pktlipfians^ p. 
128.) Ignoranct (in the ethical sense of heathen 
ignorance of God and the things of Crod, as also 
in Eph. iv. 18 ; Acts zvii. 30) is represented as the 
stage of their career (* the time o/yovx ignorance') 
when passion was their life (so the Revis^ Version, 
Calvin, etc.), or rather as the element in which the 
passion was bred which gave the stamp to their 
life. Probably Peter has in view those grosser 
immoralities which are invariably associate with 
idolatry, and which Paul (Rom. 1. 18, etc) traces 
back to ignorance of God. The word used for 
' lusts,' however, covers not only sensual passions, 
but all those unregulated desires which are sum- 
marihr comprehended under ' the lust of the eye,' 
as well as ' the lust of the flesh' (i John ii. 16). 

Ver. 15. Bat according to the fidy One who 
called yon, prove ye yonrselvea alao hdy. 
Instead of letting their life revert to the type of 
those renounced impurities, thev must snow it 
conformed to no lower standard than that of God. 
The A. V. misses the point here. What it 
rendered 'as' means 'after the pattern,' or 'after 
the measure of ' (as in I Pet iv. 6 ; Rom. xv. 5 ; 
Eph. ii. 2, etc.), and what it gives as a mere 
adjective ' holy ' is a personal name. God obtains 
here a twofold designation appropriate to the 
precept, and furnishing motives for its observance. 
He is 'the Holy One,'— m the Old Testament 
the great theocratic title, expressing on the one 
hand the ethical separateness of God, His 

incomparable elevation above other gods, and 
above everything creaturely; and on the other 
hand. His approadi to the creatore in the sekctioB 
of a separated people. * Holiness would not be 
holiness, but exdnsiveness, if it did not pre- 
suppose God's entrance into mnltilarious relations, 
and thereby revelation and communication* 
(Schmieder, cf. Oehler's Theology of the Old 
TestamefU,L §44)* And He is the One 'who 
called ' them, — here (as in 2 Pet i. 3 ; Gat L 6 ; 
Rom. viii 30, etc, where we have the same 
tense) of the act of grace whidi took them 
effectually out of their <dd world, and brought 
them into their new relation. The act of the 
'call' (which is one of Peter's most familiar 
thoughts. occup3ring a lar^ space with him than 
even with Paul in proportion to the extent of his 
writings) corresponds, therefore, with theduuacter 
of (;od as the Holy One, as the latter title 
implies His assuming men into near relation with 
Himself.— in yonr every walk. A holiness after 
God's pattern, and befitting children of obedience^ 
must needs be a separateness from the world com* 
plete enough to show itself in all and every part of 
their behaviour. The word rendered ' oonverm- 
tion' in the A. V. (c£ Shakespeare's 'Ootevia is 
of holy, cold, and still conversation,' Ami, 
and CUo. 11 6, 13), but denoting the whole conne 
of life, is another of Peter's recurrent terms. 
It is rendered by the Revised Version 'maimer 
of life' in i Pet L 18, ii 16, and in all the 
Pauline occurrences (Gal. L 13 ; Eph. iv. «s ; 
I Tim. iv. 12), but variously dsewhere^ as 
' manner of living ' here, ' behaviour ' in i FeL 
it 12, uL I, 2 ; ' Ufe ' in 2 Pet ii. 7, Heb. xiiL 7. 
Jas. ill 13 ; and ' living,' in 2 Pet iit 11. 

Ver. 16. Becanse it is written. Ye shaQ be 
holy; for I am holy. The future, 'yeshallbe,' 
is belter supported than the imperative^ 'be yeii' 
The sense, however, remains substantially the tameii 
Peter appends a reason for his coumel, and this he 
expresses in words which he takes from God's 
chaige to Israel. The^ occur repeatedly in the 
Pentateuch (/.f. Lev. zl 44, xuc 3, z. 7» 16), hot 
they apply with even greater force to the snUect of 
God's wider choice in the New Testament IsraeL 
They are used by Peter because they mean that the 
relation which results from (Sod's call, beioff a 
covenant relation, conveys obligations on twowHSi 

Chapter L 17-21. 

Exhortation to a Life of Godly Fear. 

17 A ND if ye "^call on the Father^* who without * respect of 
Jr\. persons ^judgeth according to every* man's 'work, 

18 ' pass the time of your -^sojourning here^ in ''fear: forasmuch 

Cf. Jas. ii. o ;, Acts x. 34 : Rom. ii. 11 : Eph. vi. 9 ; Col. iii. 25. 

Specially en. iu 33; also ch. iv. 5 ; a Tim. iv. 1 : Acts xvii. 31 ; Rom. iit. v , <xct. ma. t«^ 

Cf. generally Acts lii. x6 ; Rom. vii. 5 ; i Cor. iii. 13 ; Heb. vi. xo ; Rev. xxii. la. 

'. i. 12 ; I Tim. iii. 15 ; Eph. ii. 3 : a Pet. iL 18. /Acts xiii. 17 : Gen. xlvii. 9 ; 

iTh. iL 18, iii. 2, 15 ; Acts ix. 31 ; Rom. iii. z8, xiii. 7 ; 2 Cor. ▼. zi, vii. i ; Eph. ▼. *i. 



2 Cor, 


ill 6 ; Rev. xix. it. t8, etc. 

I^ cxx. 5. 


Rooux. t% 
13: 1 Cor. Lt; 
a nm. iLaa. 
or. P&.ffl.s, 

t. 33, siu. 18 ; 

^ rathir^ And if ye call on Him as Father * itt, each * omit here 




•blood of Christ, as of * a ^lamb ^without blemish and without j^AcJii^^', 
30 ^ spot : who verily • was ^ foreordained *• ' before the foundation iy^J^:xti.S 

of the world, but was 'manifest" in these "last times" for / g;} jjj;; /j^ 
a I you," who by him** "do believe "'in God," that "^raised him ,„YJ;y^j. 

up" from the dead, and gave him -^ glory ; that your faith and nx^s'xti^i 

hope might be in God." xu! tSl^ 

f sa. KiL ^ ; Jo. i. 99. 36 ; Acts viii.* 3a. / Eph. i. ^, ▼. 97 ; Col. i. 92 ; Heb. ix. 14 ; Jude 94 ; Rev. xiv. k. 

^ t Tim. VL 14 ; • Pet. fii. 14 ; Jas. i. •?. r Rom. viii. 99, xi. a ; Acu xxiv. 5. x Jo. xviL 34 ; Eph. 1. 4. 

GT ako Ucbw Hr. 3, Ijl ed^ etc. ^ / Heb. ix. 26 ; i Ja L 3) lii. 5. h Heb. i. 9 ; a Pet. iii. 3 ; J[ude t8 ; and o. 

I ^1. L 5. V Acts iii. 16 ; and cf. also Acts xvi. 15. w Acts xx. 21, xxiv. 75, xxvi. 18. 

jr BlaL zviL 9 ; i Cor. xv. xa ; GaL i. x ; Heb. xL xo, etc y Mat. xxviil x8 ; Acts ii. 33, iii. 73 : Eph. i. 10 : 

Pha. fi. 9: Hebl U. 9: 1 tVt. iiL aa. 

* better simply^ knowing 

* mort strictly^ that ye were redeemed not with Corruptible things, silver or 
gold ^ manner of life, or^ walk 

' ancestral, or as in the Revised Version^ handed down from your fathers 
' emit of, or arrange as in Revised Version^ but with precious blood, as of a 
Inmb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ 

* indeed ^® literally^ foreknown '^ manifested 
^* literally^ at the end of the times ^* Le, on your account 

** ije. through him " rather^ are believers on God 

^* raised him, or^ aroused him from the dead 

^^ or^^Q that your faith should also be hope toward God 

The exhortation to a walk in holiness is followed 
immediately by an exhortation to a walk in godly 
fear. The way in which this section is connected 
with the iweceding shows that the latter charge is 
given in intimate kinship with the former, as the 
lonner rises naturally out of the exhortation to hope 
wliidi ft>mis the basb of the series of counsels. 
*Fear* is presented here very much as it is in Paul's 
^Derfecting holiness in the fear of God' (2 Cor. 
m t). It Is obviously the fear which is bom of 
moe, in contrast with the fear which 'hath 
tonnent * (i John iv. 18) as bom of nature, and 
the fear which goes with the spirit of bondage 
born of the law (Rom. viiL 15). It stands in the 
nearest relation, therefore^ to noliness, serving as 
its safeguard, acting as its incentive, encompassing 
il M the atmosphere in which it lives. It » 
enforced in the following uaragraph by two large 
ccmsiderations, the imp^ial righteousness of God 

Srcr. 17), and the price which it cost Him to re- 
eem their life from its vanity (vers. 18-21}. The 
'fear* which is thus recommended Is shown 
thereby all the more clearly to be not only 
consistent with the filial freedom of the believer, 
but essential to a walk worthy of his calling, 
devBting where fear usually degrades, and helping 
to nearness and likeness to God where fear 
tends naturally to distance. The connection 
of the several clauses, however, and the precise 
succession of ideas are by no means easy to 
determine. Most interpreters regard the i8th 
verse as simply supplementary to the 17th, and as 
pointing the injunction to a walk in godly fear 
more strongly. Some {jt.g, liofmann), on the 
other hand, take the thought of ver. 17 to be 
complete within itself. In that case the statement 
of the price of redemption would be introductory 
to the subsequent exhortation to brotherly love. 

Others {e,g, Schott) think that the i8th verse is 
intended to explain the connection between tlie 
two parts of the 17th, the price, which it has cost 
God to bring in a redempuon that has opened so 
glorious a future, making; the judgment which must 
precede that future all the more solemn, and 
serving, therefore, to exhibit all the more seriously 
the need of a walk in godly fear. 

Ver. 17. And if ye call on htm as Father, who 
without respect of peisons Jndgeth according to 
each man's work. The A. V. misses the point 
by failing to notice that there are two distinct 
predications, namely, that He whom all believers 
invoke in praver is Father indeed, but also and 
none the less fudge. If it is right to discover, as 
most do, a reference in this to the Lord's Prayer, 
Peter would seem to remind them that the God 
whom Christ had taught them to look to as 
Father is One in whom Uiere is no breach between 
parental love and judicial rectitude, and with 
whom there is none of that partiality on which 
it is natural to presume in the case of earthly 
fathers. The verb, meaning (as the A. V. cor- 
rectly translates it) to 'call on,' or invoke, and 
not merely to name, suits in any case the idea of 
prayer. The * judgelh ' is in the present tense, not 
as predicating a Divine judgment which goes on now 
in distinction from the judgment of the future, but 
simply as denoting the prerogative or function of 
judgment which belongs naturally tj this Father. 
The qualifying term, • without respect of persons,* 
occurs nowhere else in this particular form, 
although similar forms are used in reference to 
God by Peter himself in the discourse following 
the visit of Cornelius f Acts x. 34), as well as by 
Paul (Rom. ii. 11 ; Epn. vi. 9 ; Col. iii. 25), and, 
in reference to men, by James (ii. i, 9JL The 
Old Testament formula, 'to accept the countcn- 



aoce of any one/ 00 wbich tbqr kmnd^ h «ed 
indeed Uxb in the good sense of bchig vdl 
incIiDed to one, and in tlie bad sense of showing a 
lortial £aiT03r. But in the X. T. it has only 
the bod sense. The standard of this jndgment. 
which is oftener said to be oor works, is here 
described as each man*s work, the singular 
'work' pointing to the imtty which each man's 
life with all its particnlar acts presents to God, 
while the s^nificant 'each' indicates that this 
impartial judgment of God takes men not in the 
mass, but indiTidiiaUy, and erczy man for himadf, 
whether son or noL in fenr pMi tte tioM oC 
jovr ■ojonming (or, more simply, and with 
obvions reference to the 'walk' of ver. 15, wmlk 
duing the time oC jtmz eo j o nm iag>. The /tar 
(in the original set emphaticdly first in the daose) 
which is so characteristic a iM>te of Old Testament 

riety, occupies also no small place in the N. T. 
t appears there both in the large sense of 
reverence, (tr the feeling which makes it a pain 
to the child to dishonour or grieve the Father, 
in the general sense of the feeling which a man 
has « ho is on lits euard, knowing that he may err 
(which Schott thinks is the point hereX tanA. in the 
more specific sense of the feeling which the Judge 
inspires, and which, as Calvin observes, is here 
opposed to the sense of security. Thus motives 
to a walk of serious circumspection are drawn firom 
these various considerations — that to God belongs 
of necessity the attribute of judgment, whidi 
reflects itself on every man individually and with- 
out exception, that He sees men's scattered acts in 
the unity which is given them by their determining 
principle, and judges each man's life, therefore, as 
one work which must stand as a whole on one 
side or other, and that He judgeth impartial 
judgment which can extend no exemption and 
mdulge no favouritism towards the sons whose 
privilege it is to appeal confidently to Him as 
Father. The character of the time, too, should 
itself be a motive to the same — a time of so- 
journing, of separation from the true home, and 
therefore a time when there is about us, both in 
pleasure and in persecution, so much to tempt us 
to forget the Father's house and resign ourselves 
to the walk of the children of this world. 

Vcr. 18. Knowing that not with corrnptible 
things, lilver or gold, were je redeemed. The 
injunction to a walk in godly fear, which b sus- 
tained by motives of this strength and variety, 
was implicitly enforced (as Huther rightly notices) 
by the relation which the cognate terms of vers. 
15 and 17 indicate between the God who ca//s 
them and the elect who respond by ' calling on ' 
Him. It is now more explicitly enforced by a 
]>ositivc statement, the terms of which are difficult 
to construe, but the scope of which is that the 
thought of what it cost to help them to break 
with the old walk of heathenism should be argu- 
ment enough for cultivating now a walk of gravity 
and circumspection. A redemption is in view 
which is expressed by a verb that is found in the 
N. T. only in other two passages (Tit. ii. 14 ; 
Luke xxiv. 21), although several terms connected 
with it occur not unfrequcntly. It has radically the 
sense of redeeming by |)ayment of a ransom price. 
Of the three New Testament occurrences, one has 
the |K)litical or theocratic sense of delivering the 
kingdom of Israel, and the specific idea of price 
recedes into the background (Luke xxiv. 21). 
I'he other two keep the idea of the ransom price 

in the Ib ie g io un d. In the Old Testament, the 
tcnn and its cognates are used in a variety of 
cases, e.^, of recovering something which has been 
devoted fay sobstitnting an equivalent in its {dace 
(Lev. zxviL 27), of baying back something that 
has been sold (Lev. zxv. 25), of ransoming soob 
fay a money payment to the Loid when Israel was 
numbered (Ex. xxx. 12-16), of redeeming the 
first-bom by a price paid to Aaron (Num. iiL 
44-51). The terms appiv in the New Testament 
to ransoming from the bondage of evil (Tit il 
14V, as well as from the penalty of eriL Here 
the ransom price is stated first negatively as not 
' oorraptible (or 'perishable') things, not even the 
most valuable of these, sndi as silver or gold. 
The form of the words here used for silver and 
gold is that used generally, though not invariably, 
forthe coined metals, pieces of money ; hence some 
think that the writer has in mind here the sacred 
money paki for the redemption of the first-bom 
or as the expiation-money for those who were 
enrolled by beii^ numbered. But the contrast 
with the * predoos blood ' makes such a limltatioa 
inept. The A. V. here gives 'and' for 'or,' 
which is the case also in one or two other 
passages (Mark vL 11 ; i Cor. zL 27), and is doe 
(as is suggested by lillie) probably to following the 
Genevan and Bishops' Bibles. — from jour vaia 
walk handed down by your fathen. What 
they were ransomed from is a particnlar manner 
of Ufe which formed a bondage too strong to be 
broken by any ordinary ransom. This mannrr of 
life is described as 'vain,* the adjective here 
selected as the note of 'vanihr ' impljrii^ not so 
much the hollowness of the life as its futility and 
resultlessness — the (act that it missed its aim, and 
that nothing of real worth issued horn it. It b 
further described by a term meanin|r ' ancestral,* 
' hereditary,' or ' traditional,' which indicates how 
mighty a spell it must have wielded over them. 
It was a life ' fortified and almost consecrated to 
their hearts by the venerableness of age and 
ancestral authority' (Lillie), and thereby en* 
trenched the more strongly in its vanity. Both 
these terms suit Gentile mc. The ' vain ' expresses 
what a life is which has no relation to God. It 
rules the other phrase 'ancestral,* or 'handed 
down from your fathers,' and makes it descriptive 
of a Gentile life rather than a Jewish (see also the 
Introduction). What could set them free from 
the despotism of a life, poor as the life might be, 
which not only ran the course of natural inclina- 
tion, but laid upon them those stroiu; bonds of 
birth, respect for the past, relation^ip, babix^ 
example? Nothing but a new monu power, 
Peter reminds them, which it cost something incal- 
culably more precious than silver or gold to bring 
in, namely, the sinless life of the Messiah. 

Ver. 19. but with porecioiis blood, aa oC a 
lamb blameless and spotles, to wit Ohxist'i. 
The construction here is doubtful and diCBcnlt, 
owing to the term ' Christ's ' being thrown to the 
end. ll)e view which is adopted of the peculiar 
arrangement of the words in the original affects 
our understanding, not indeed of the main idea, 
but of the exact relation which the two terms 
' lamb ' and ' Christ ' are intended to occupy to 
each other, and the predse force of the ' as ' by 
which they are connected. The clause may bie 
construed (so Steiger, etc.) thus — 'with precious 
blood, as if with the blood of a lamb ... to 
wit, Christ ; ' or (so Lillie, etc), with fAt precious 



blood, as of a lamb ... of Christ;* or, 
•with precious blood, as of a lamb ... the 
Uood of Chfist ' (so Beza, Alford, etc., and sub- 
stantially Wiesinger, Huther, and the R. V.). 
The first of these explanations gives greater 
importance to the idea of the ' lamb * than to the 
mention of * Christ.' The second is uiged on the 
ground that blood is not of itself a true contrast to 
'corruptible things,' and that neither blood of 
itself nor the blood of a sacrificial animal, but 
only Christ's blood, has value in redemption. The 
third is both simpler and more in harmony with 
Peter's style, as this is not the only instance of 
terms introduced in antecedent opposition (cf. iL 
7). Hence we have the cost of redemption defined 
here first as 'precious d/ood,* and not any 

* corruptible thing' (the Old Testament view of 
the Ityt in the blood giving reality to the contrast), 
then as ChrisCs blood, and further as blood 
with the ethical value of blood shed by One in the 
character of spotlessness and blamelessness. The 

* as,' therefore, is not a mere note of comparison, 
hut an index to the quality of the subject, and to 
the worth of the life surrendered. The point of the 
statement is not to institute a direct comparison 
between Christ and a lamb, nor to represent the 
means by which the redemption was eflected as 
comparable in value to the blood of a stainless 
lamb (Schott, etc), nor to explain wh]^ the blood 
of Christ is precious beyond the preciousness of 
all corruptible things, namely, in so far as it is the 
blood of the Christ who is distinguished as the 
pedect Lamb (Steiger, etc.), but to exhibit the 
cost of the redemption from the heathen life of sin 
as nothing less than the surrender of a life of sin- 
less perfection. A death was endured by Christ 
which had in it the ethical qualities figured by 
lamb-like blamelessness and spotlessness, and only 
sach a ransom could bring in a new constraining 
power sufficient to break the thraldom of the vain 
hereditary manner of life to which these Gentiles 
bad been helpless slaves. The reference to a 
lamb in this connection has an obvious fitness on 
Peter's lips. It was in the character of the Lamb, 
as that name was prockiimed by the Baptist, that 
Simon, by his broUier Andrew's intervention, first 
recognised Jesus to be the Messiah (John L 35-42), 
and the impression of that first recognition of the 
Christ conld never be effaced. The terms ' blame- 
less ' and ' spotless,' too, are terms applicable to 
the lambs of the Old Testament system, with which 
every Israelite was so familiar. The former 
represents the usual Old Testament phrase for the 
freedom from all physical defects which was 
required in the sacrincial victims (Ex. xii. 5 ; Lev. 
xzu. ao^ and cf. Heb. ix. 14). The latter, though 
not found in the New Testament, except in a 
moral sense (2 Pet. iii. 14 ; i Tim. vi. 14 ; Jas. 
L 27), and applied properly only to persons (except 
perhaps i Tim. vl 14), expresses sunmiarily other 
ceremonial perfections which were necessary in 
the ofierings (Lev. xxii. 18-25). The lamb 
particularly in Peter's view here, is variously 
identified, as e,g, with the Paschal Lamb 
(Wiesinger, Hofmann, Alford, etc), with the lamb 
of Isa. liiL (Schott, Huther, etc.), or with the 
general idea signified by the various lambs of the 
Old Testament service and realized in Christ. 
The dispute is of small importance, as it is not 
probable that these different lambs would be 
sharply distinguished in the consciousness of the 
Israelite. The fact that Peter is dealing here 

with the question of a ransom from a certain 
bondage makes it reasonable to suppose him to 
have before his eye some lamb that occupied a 
well-understood place in God's service under the 
old economy, and points, therefore, to the Paschal 
Lamb, which was associated with the release from 
the bondage of Egypt, and was also the only animal 
that could be used for the service to which it was 
dedicated. On the other hand, it may be urged in 
favour of the lamb of Isa. liii. 7, that Peter else- 
where seems to have that section of prophecy in 
view, that the Old Testament itself (in the Greek 
Version) employs a different term for the Paschal 
Lamb in capital sections, and that the New employs 
statedly another word than the one used by Peter 
for the Paschal Lamb. In either case the lamb is 
introduced here not with immediate reference to its 
sacrificial character, but in respect of those ethical 
qualities which are expressed by the adjectives. 
The expiatory or sacrincial value of Christ's death 
is no doubt at the basis of the statement, and the 
idea of ransom from sin as a power is not discon- 
nected from the idea of a ransom from sin as a 
penalty. But the redemption which Peter deals 
with here, being a redemption from the spell and 
thraldom of a vain mode of living, is an ethical 
redemption, and Christ's death is presented im- 
mediately here as a spiritual power breaking a 
certain despotism. How Christ's death carries 
this weight with it is not explained, except in so far 
as the whole statement suggests qualities m it which 
made it a new and supreme constraining power. 

Ver. 20. Who was foreknown ind^a before 
the foundation of the world. The cost of this 
redemption is still in view, and is presented in a 
yet stronger light by a statement bearing at once 
on the dignity of the Efficient Agent, the date of 
the Divine purpose, and the character of the 
subjects for whom it was destined. Peter reverts 
to the idea of i. 2, and represents the Efficient 
Agent of the redemption as appearing indeed in 
time, but provided and kept in view before all 
time. The phrase, ' before the foundation of the 
world,* used by Paul (Eph. i. 4), and by Christ 
Himself in reference to His own pre-incamate 
life (John xvii. 24), and occurring also repeatedly 
in the form *^from the foundation of the world ' 
(MatL xiil 35, xxv. ^4 ; Luke xi. 50 ; Heb. iv. 
3, ix. 26 ; Rev, xiii. 8, xvii. 8), carries us above 
all time into an eternity out of which time and 
history issued, and in which God's purpose was 
formed. In this pre-mundane eternity Christ was 
contemplated and recognised as that which He 
was shown to be in time. The E. V. here 
departs from the literal translation, which it retains 
in the other six places in which the verb or its 
noun occurs, and substitutes * foreordained ' for 
'foreknown.' The foreknowledge no doubt here, 
as in i. 2, means not mere prescience, but 
recognition, and lies near the idea of providing 
or determining. But while knowledge and will 
may be identic^ or coincident in the Divine mind, 
they are distinct things in our minds. The revela- 
tion of God, adapting itself to the modes of our 
thoughts, distinguishes between these two things, 
prescience and foreordination, and Peter himself 
indeed mentions them as distinct (Acts ii. 23). 
It is right, therefore, to keep the literal scnsj 
* foreknown,' the idea beine simply this — that 
Christ was eternally in God's vicw and before 
God*s mind as the Agent of this redemption. It 
is not necessary, therefore, to suppose (with 



llofmann, Alford, etc.) that there b ft com- 
parison here between the Iamb that was iiingled 
out of the flock and marked out for the Passover 
sacrifice some days before the occasion (Ex. xii* 
3-6), and Christ predestined in eternity for a 
service in time.— but was mAnifested ; the tense 
changes here. The * foreknown ' is expressed by 
the perfect ; literallv, ' has been foreknown,* in 
reference to the place held and continuing to be held 
by Christ in the Divine mind. The ' manifested * 
is in the past, since what is in view is the historical 
manifestation once for all accomplished. The 
verb, which in ver. 4 is used of the future ad- 
vent of Christ, is to be understood here neither 
of the continuous manifestation of Christ by the 
preaching of the Gospel, nor of His coming forth 
rrom the secret counsel of God, but simply of His 
first advent. And as the verb describes the 
revelation of a ' previously hidden existence ' 
(Fronmiiller), the best exegetes agree in regarding 
the statement as inconsistent with the theory of a 
merely ideal existence of Christ before His appear* 
ance m hbtory, and as a clear witness to Peter's 
belief in His real pre-incamate existence. The 
A. v., unlike almost all other Versions, curiously 
renders the participle ' manifested ' here bv the 
adjective ' manifest. '—at the end of the times. 
So we should read, with the best authorities, 
instead of 'in these last times.* The present 
time, the interval between Christ's two comings, 
is the end of the times as being the period beyond 
which there is to be no new revelation of gtace. 
It is Christ's first advent that has made the 
present time the last.— on aoconnt of yon. The 
preciousness of the redemption has been carefully 
set forth by four different definitions of its cost 
which have risen in a climax from the simple 
notice of bloody to that of blood with all the value 
srlsing from the ethical quality of Him who shed 
it, to that of Christ's blood, and 6nallv to that of 
the blood of the Christ who was eternally in God's 
view as the Ransom. A fresh wonder is added to 
it now by these words, which bring it home 
personally to the readers, and show the interest of 
degraded Gentiles, such as they, to have been 
contemplated by it all. 

Ver. 21. Wno through him have faith 
toward God. The better accredited reading 
replaces the participle which the A. V. renders 
'who believe* by the adjective •believing,' or 
' faithful,' which is elsewhere used of having faith 
in the promises of God (Gal iii. 9), in Jesus as 
the Messiah and Author of salvation (Acts xvi. i ; 
2 Cor. vi. 15 ; I Tim. v. 16), and in the fact of 
Hb resurrection (John xx. 27). The object of 
the belief is elsewhere expressed by the simple 
dative (Acts xvi. 15, etc), or by the preposition 
•in* (Eph. i. I), but here by the preposition 
•toward. Thb more forcible phrase, therefore, 
exhibits the readers not merely as believing, but 
as raised to the condition of a settled and loyal 
faith, and as having God Himself, and nothmg 
lower, for tlie object of this new conviction. And 
it is 'through Him,* as Peter emphatically 
reminds them, that they have thb new faith. 
Christ, and only Chrbt, by all that He had 
taught and all that He had been on earth, was 
the means of leading them to this knowledge of 
God and trust in God. The description loses 
most of its point and pertinency if Gentiles ar^ 
not allowed to be in view here. It might be said 
of Jews, indeed, that they Were brought by Christ 

to a better faith in God, bnt only of Gentiles, that 
they owed it to Him that they had ever come to 
take God as the object of their trusL Thus, too, 
the connection between thb sentence and the 
preceding becomes natural and weighty, llie 
fact that these Gentiles, once ' without God and 
without hope in the world,' had been brought 
through Christ to know God, and rest their fiuth 
in Him, is a witness to the truth of Peter's 
statement that even they were in God's vinv 
when the Christ, who had l>een ctemaUjr More 
His mind as Raxisom^ was manifested ift time. — 
who raised him from the dead : Peter repeats 
here what he had urged withsoch emphasb so soon 
after Chrbt's departm (Acts iL 24, iiL 15, 26), 
and had proclaimed as the fulfilment of pfophecy 
(Acts iL 31 -36). Compare also Paul's repeated 
ascription of Christ's resurrection toGod*s act (Eph. 
i. 20 ; Gal. L l ; 2 Cor. iv. 14 ; Rom. iv. 84, viii. 
1 1 , etc ).--aiid gave him gloiy. The consistency 
of thb with Peter's own eariiest teaching (Acts 
ii. 36) is apparent* Its consbtenqr with Paul's 
view of the ' name which b above every name ' 
as a gift from God (Phil. iL 9)^ and with 
Clmst's own prayer for a glorification at IASa 
Father's hand, puts it out of the queptioo to 
suppose (as some argue) that Peter's view of the 
Person of his Lord was less exalted than Paul's, 
or that he thought of any other subordinatioii of 
Chrbt to God than the vduntary subordination, 
compatible with equality, wnkh the Son 
assumed, and for which He received reward firom 
the Father, as the apostles consbtentlv tcach« 
and as Christ Himseu taught them wnen Ha 
spoke of the Father as giving Him all judgment 
(John V. 22), giving Hb work and Hb words (John 
xvii. 4, 8), Hb gloty and even Hb life (John xviL 
22, V. 26). It b not withoat reason that the 
new Centre now found for the faith whkh had 
been wasted, ere they knew Christy on the things 
of a life of vanity, b designated here, not mcfel/ 
as ' God,' nor even as ' the true God,' but as the 
God who rabed and glorified Christ Himself. 
That reason, however, lies neither in the idea 
that it Was not the visibly Inoamate Christ (whom 
these Gentiles had not seen indeed), but oalt the 
exalted Chrbt that could wotk thb fidth in tJiem» 
nor in the idea that faith it not Chtfetian fidth 
unless it embraces this belief in God'b ha^ng 
raised and glorified the Crucified (so Huthcrt, but 
in what ii next to be said of a hope to whka thb 
new faith rise&— to that irpur faith ahottld ito 
be hope toward God. The point of the state- 
ment which is placed so fordblv at the end of the 
section is apt to be missed. To render it^ ' that 
your faith and Mope might hi in Cod* (so LMtheff 
Calvin, Beza^ etc., and among Versions the 
Syriac, Vulgate, A. V., and R. V.)» or *§o that 
your faith and hope are directed toward God* 
(so many interpreters), b to bring the • hope* la 
as little more than a rhetorieal appendix to the 
'faith,' and to make Peter dose so rich a 
paragraph with a bald repetition of what has 
been already stated in the clause, ' who thnwffh 
Him have faith toward God.' It overlo(As uso 
the peculiar arrangement of the Greek woidli and 
strips the definition of God as the God who Hted 
and glorified Christ of its pertinency* The 
sentence becomes a still balder repetition of what 
has been already stated, if (which boUl the 
A. V. and R v. avoid, but most InterprthMf 
adhere to) the rendcringi •so that . . t 4#v in 



God,' is followed. It U doabtftd, however, 
whether the Giedc phrtse so rendered erer loseft 
the idea of purfasij even where it may seem to 
deml with rwsmli. Taking the 'hope,* therefore, 
to be predicate to the * fialh,' we fthould translate 
'that your feith thoald also be (as indeed it U) 
hope toward God.' We have thus a new idea 
added to the previous train, and see how each of 
the prfor clauses makes its own distinct contri- 
batioo. Christ's death delivered them from the 
skvcry of their vain life. Christ's manifesution 
was the means of lifting them to a faith of which 
God Himself, whom otherwise they would not 
have known, became the Object. Christ's resur- 
fcctioo opened the gates of the future, and gave 

them a new hope, which also had God for its 
Object. And in raising Christ from the dead, 
and giving Him glory, God had it in view to 
make them what they now are, children of hope 
as well as faith, and to raise them not merely to 
faith, but to a faith rich in hope, to a faith 
which should now be hope in Himself. What 
this God whom they now believed in had done in 
Christ's case woke m them the certain hope of a 
future in which He would give them joy over the 
' heaviness ' and ' manifold temptations ' of the 
present. And this, too, was a reason why they 
should live their present life in holy fear, lest 
they might come short of what God intende>i 
for them 1 

Chapter L 22-25. 
Exhortation to Brotherly Love heartfelt, and without reserve. 

22 OEEING ye have* * purified your souls in * obeying* the '*icuMi.'J4, 
O 'truth through the Spirit • unto * unfeigned ' love of the J^^S^f '• 
brethren,* see that ye love one another with a /pure heart ^c/*^!!:^ 

23 *' fervently : • being * born again,' not of ' corruptible * seed, ^ Rom!1i. g ; 
but of ' incorruptible, by ' the word of God, which *" liveth and cl l 5V 

24 abideth for ever.' For ** all flesh is as ^ grass, and all the glory Hcb. l*. '^'; 
of man • as the " ^ilower of grass. The grass ^ withereth, and a nm^^L'sf,' 

25 the flower thereof" falleth away:" but the ''word of the Lord rfRim.xH.9: 
' endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the ' gospel \ t^aIi \ 
is" preached unto you. jas!Tii.^7V 

* Having * in the obedience of • omit through the Spirit 
^ literalfyi unto brotherly love unfeigned 

' from the heart h>ve one another intensely ^ having been begotten again 
^ through * God's living word and abiding 

• read of xi/or of man, or translatey and all its glory '^ omit the 

^1 ditatii therenf tS lUtrallv. withered W9q the onTatsft. 

^^ <mut thereof 


literally^ withered was Uie grass, and the flower fell away 

The exhortation to brotherly love, which is 
next introduced, is not without a living connection 
with the preceding. The circumspect walk which 
his been enjoined is a walk such as befits those 
who are travelling toward a home which it would 
be misery to miss, and are conscious of what it 
cost to redeem them. But a walk so recom- 
mended leads naturally to brotherly love. If 
they are sojourners together in an alien 
community, all the less should they think of 
filling out by the way. If they are redeemed 
together by the same great price, all the more 
ahonid they take a common interest in the 
household of faith; The terms in which this 
counsel is given contain nothing to warrant the 
summsidon that Peter had to de^ with dissensions 
wmch had bunt out between Jew and Qentile in 

these scattered churches. The trying jcircum- 
stances of the churches may have been sufficient 
occasion for the coimsel. Times of fear and 
threatening develop latent selfishness, and 
provoke hardness of feeling toward others. The 
injunction, however, is not merely to brotherly 
love, but, as if that might be taken for granted 
as existent, to a brotherly love of a particular 
kind and measure. As he has already urged 
those who were bom anew into hope to set their 
hope intensely on its proper object (ver. 13), so 
now he urges those whom gmce inspired with 
the new spirit of brotherly love to let it be 
earnest and unreserved. And this dutv, like the 
previous duties, is shown to rise naturally out of 
the prior gift of God, His gift of a new life 
through the great deed of regeneration. 



Vcr. 22. HaTing purified yonr aoaU. The 

verb translated * purified' is one which occurs 
only seven times m the New Testament. It is 
of frequent occurrence, however, in the Old, 
being the technical term used by the Greek 
Version for the ceremonial purification of the 
priests in preparation for Divine service, and 
applied also to the ceremonial ' sanctification * of 
the people (Josh, iiu 5, etc), to the ' separation ' 
from wme and strong drink which the Nazarite 
vow involved (Num. vi. 2-6), etc In four out 
of the seven New Testament occurrences (John 
xi. 5^ ; Acts xxi. 24, 26, xxiv. 18), it has the 
religious or ceremonial sense which it invariably 
has in the Old Testament. In the present 
passage, as well as in Jas. iv. 8, and I John 
lii 3, it has the ethical sense (expressed also 
by another verb, e.g, in Acts xv. 9), although 
the original idea of a religious consecration or 
separation also adheres to it. What it implies, 
therefore, is a moral purification from everything 
inconsistent with a religious destination. And 
the subject of this is 'your souls,' the word 
• soul * having here the sense of the * region of 
the feelings, affections, and impulses, of all that 
peculiarly individualizes and personifies ' (EHi- 
cott). The purification is to go, therefore, to the 
very 'centre of the personal life,' and to purge 
out there the selfishness that is inconsistent with 
their Divine destination. And this is represented 
ns the moral condition on which the fulfilling of 
the precept necessarily depends. This seems to be 
the point of the participle which, being in the 
perfect, exhibits the purification neither under the 
aspect of a process which must be continually 
sustained (so Calvin, the Vulgate, etc, deal with 
it as if it were a present), nor under that of a 
thing made good once for all at the crisis of 
conversion and now taken as the ground for the 
exhortation (so Bengel, AViesinger, the ' seeing 
that ' of the £. V., etc, as if the tense had been 
the simple narrative past). It is intimately 
connectea with the following imperative. Yet 
neither so as to become itself an imperative 
co-ordinate with that (Luther, etc), nor as 
denoting what must always be attended to 
whenever effect is to be given to the charge 
(Schott, Huther, etc.), but either as pointing to 
the fact that * faith even in its first actings had 
purified, and in its continuous exercise was still 
purifying their souls ' (Lillie), or as simply indi- 
cating a mental preparation which they are 
instructed to attend to as the sine qud non to 
their observance of the cha^e. This last brings 
out best the marked difference between the 
tense of the participle and the tense of the 
imperative, and gives the pertinent idea, that in 
order to exhibit the acts oflove of the kind here 
enjoined on all the particular occasions which 
may arise for them, they must first see to have 
the disposition of love — the disposition of souls 
cleansed of selfishness. — in the obedience of the 
tmth. The same term (a peculiarly New 
Testament term, unknown to classical Greek, and 
occurring only once in the Greek Version of the 
Old Testament) for ' obedience ' is used here as 
in vers. 2, 14, and is not to be identified with 
faith, but taken in the sense of obedience to God's 
will, and specially to that will as revealed in 
Christ. * Truth,' too, has here the objective 
sense of the contents of the Christian revelation, 
or the Christian salvation itself; 'so far as 

being an unique and eternal reality, it has be- 
come manifest, and is set forth as the object 
of knowledge or laith' (Cremer). Subjection, 
therefore, to the permanent realities of grace, or 
to the saving will of God as revealed in Christ, 
is here the sphere or element in which alone 
this purified disposition at the very centre of the 
personal life can be attained. The best authorities 
are at one in regarding the clause, ' through the 
Spirit,' which the E. V. inserts, as no part of the 
original text — ^anto IxroUieriy lore wnMgniMl. 
The 'onto' may express either the end or object 
which the purification aims at, or the lesolt it 
actually reaches. The latter is more appropriate 
here, the idea being that if they have been so 

Eurified, they cannot fail to have the dispositioo 
ere in view. The purification implies, the creation 
of a disposition which is alien to all love that is 
unreal or selfish. The term for ' brotherly love ' 
is of less frequent occurrence in the New 
Testament than might be expected, being 
confined to the writings of Peter (here and in 
2 Pet. i. 7) and Paul (Rom. xii. 10 ; I Thess. 
iv. 9), and the Epistle to the Helnews (xiii. i). 
Under various forms of expression, however, a 
lai|;e place is given by the New Testament 
wnters, on the basis of Christ's own teachmg 
(John xiiL 31), to the peculiar love which 
Christians are to cherish to each other. While 
Peter and Paul, however, ezl^bit it in its more 
general aspects, as an active grace tidcing shape 
m deeds off self-sacrifice, and as in some r espec ts 
secondary to the wider grace of charity, it is John 
who specially unfolds it in the giandeor and 
newness which the new motive drawn from 
Christ's love, and the new standard presented in 
Christ's example, give to brotherly love. It is 
here described as 'unfeigned,' not hypocritical 
or wearing a mask, as the term implies. For, as 
Leighton puts it, 'men are subject to much 
hvpocrisy this way, and deceive themselves; 
if they find themselves diligent in religious 
exercises, they scarce once ask their hearts how 
they stand affected this wav, namely, in love to 
their brethren.' — fhnn the heart love one 
another intenaely. That is, see that ye have 
the purified personality which comes by receiving 
what God nas revealed in Jesus Christ; and 
having the disposition of unfeigned brotherly 
love which that purification creates, let it display 
itself heartily, and without hesitation or hindrance, 
in acts of love to your fellow-believers. The 
phrase * from the heart ' (the adjective • pure,' 
inserted by the £. V., is better omittec^ the 
sentence being on the whole adverse to its 
genuineness) is to be attached not to the pievioas 
clause, but to the Move one another,' and 
expresses one quality of the affection, its 
spontaneousness (Rom. vi 17) and sincerity; 
'let the clearness of the stream that brightens 
and gladdens the scenes of your daily intercoune 
attest the purity of the fountain whence it flows ' 
(Lillie). The adverb ' fervently ' (an adverb of 
degree, not of time, meaning, therefore, more 
than merely ' continuously ') adds the note that 
it is to be with strained energies, as Huther, etc 

gut it ; or 'unfalteringly,' as Humphrey suggests, 
[ere, therefore, as el^where, Peter speaks of the 
deg^e of grace (cf. 2 Pet. iii. 18). But while he 
limits himself here to the measure which brotherly 
love .should itself attain, the Second Epistle (L 7) 
represents brotherly love as rather a step in a 



eradatioa of which charity is the height. So 
^aul (i Thess. iiL 12) urges an increase and 
mbounding in love, not merely in the form of 
brotherly love, but as if the one, so far from 
ancsting, promoted the other, in the larger form 
of a love embracing all men. 

Ver. 23. Being bom agaiii, or rather, haying 
bean bofpyllenaffdn. On this see also ver. 3. 
The tense denotes a subdsting state due to an act 
in the past, and, therefore, here a new life in 
which they stand in virtue of a decisive change 
cooivalent to a new birth. If the three verses 
wnich follow are regarded, as they are by almost 
an interpreters, as making one paragraph with 
the preceding verse, they must be understood to 
enforce the exhortation to a sincere and intense 
bfotherly love. There is some difficulty, however, 
in establishing a sufficient connection, specially 
in view of the fact that there is no reference to 
community of life as the consequence of regenera- 
tion, but only a reference to the nature of the 
lile which comes from an incorruptible source, 
through a Word which has the qualities of life 
and pennanence. This being the case, and the 
injunction to brotherly love, as given in ver. 22, 
bemg complete within itself, it is suggested to 
connect vers. 23-25 with ii. 1-3. We should 
then have an esdiortation (in ii 1-3) to a right 
nse of God*s Word^ based here on the considera- 
tion (thrown forward, as is the case with so many 
of Peter^B counsels, before the charge itself) that 
it is to that Word that we owe our new life. The 
ran of thov^t then would be clear and simple — ye 
are possessors now of a new life which, in contrast 
with the transitoriness of the natural life and its 
glory, is an incorruptible, permanent life ; but this 
joa owe to the power of God's living and 
abiding Word ; therefore use that Word well, 
feed on it, nourish your life by it. Following the 
Qsoal connection, we shall have to regard the 
previous exhortation to a brotherly love of a pure 
and whole-hearted order as now supported by 
the consideration that, in virtue of God's act of 
r eg e neration, ' there is the same blood running in 
their veins ' (Leighton, and virtually Schott), or 
that the regeneration, which alone makes this 
kind of love a possibility, also makes it an 
obligation (Huther, etc). Or better (vrith 
Weiss and, so far, Alfoixl), we shall have to 
sappose that Peter now finds a further reason for 
hoiding themselves pledged to a life of love of this 
tenor, m a fact of grace of earlier date than even 
the porification of soul already instanced, namely, 
the decisive deed of God's grace in bringing them 
first into the new life by the instrumentality of 
Hb Word. The special qualities of the instrument 
of their regeneration, namely those of Mivine' 
and * abiding,' are then named as arguments for 
rising to t£t high strain of persevering, unde- 
onring love which befits a life which itself is 
lined above the inconsistency, fitfulness, and 
perishablencss of the natural life. — not of (or, 
nom) ooxraptible aeed, hat inoormptible. 
The preposition denotes the source or origin of 
the fife, and declares it to be in that respect 
unlike the natural life. The latter originates in 
what is perishable, and is itself, therefore, 
transitory and changeful. The former originates 
in what is incorruptible, and therefore is itself 
unsusceptible of failure or decadence. The word 
here translated ' seed ' occurs nowhere else in the 
New Testament. It is taken in that sense by 

almost all commentators, and this seems to be 
favoured by the qualifying adjective attached to 
it. Neither is that a sense absolutely strange. 
It is found, though with extreme rarity, both in 
the classics and elsewhere (2 Kings xix. 29 ; 
I Mace. X. 30). The word, however, would 
mean naturally 'sowing,' which sense (alone with 
the secondary meanings of 'seed-time and 
' of&pring ') it has in the Classics. Here, there- 
fore, it refers to the Divine act, described as a 
begetting, which is the point of origin for the 
new life. — ^through Qod'i living and abiding 
Word. There is a change in the preposition now, 
of which some strange explanations are given. 
It is not because Peter now passes from the figure 
to a literal designation of the medium of 
regeneration (Schott, Weiss, etc), nor because 
the Word of God is now to be distinguished as a 
r^eneratins instrument from the Spirit of God 
implied in the for^;oing ' seed ' as the r^enerating 
power in the Word (de Wette, Briickner), nor is 
It even to mark out two different aspects of the 
same Word, namely the Word as external 
instrumentality in the production of the new life, 
and the Wonl (in the character of ' seed ') as 
internal principle of the new life (Huther). It is 
due simplv to the fact, that having named the 
act of Gocl, which is the originating ix>wer, Peter 
now names the medium through which that 
takes effect (cf^ Jas. i. 18). The Logos or 
' Word ' by which God begets us is neither the 
Personal Word, Christ, by whom God has spoken 
finally, nor the written Word, the ' Scripture,' 
with which Paul opens his quotations, but, as in 
Heb. iv. 12, Revelation, or the declared will of 
God, and here that will as declared specially in 
the Gospel. Though the Word of God does not 
assume m Peter the form to which John carries 
it, it may yet be fairly said that it is ' more here 
than any written book, more than any oral 
teaching of the Gospel, however mighty that 
teaching might be in its effects' (Plumptre). 
The context shows Peter to be viewing it as a 
voice which penetrates man's nature like a 
quickening principle, * a Divine, eternal, creative 
power, working in and on the soul of man ' 
(Plumptre), and nearly identified with God 
Himself, just as in Heb. iv. there is an immediate 
transition from the Word (ver. 12) to God 
Himself (ver. 13). It is not quite clear which 
of the two subjects, God or the Word, is qualified 
by the adjectives 'living' and 'abiding.' The 
order in the Greek b peculiar, the noun ' God's ' 
being thrust in between the two adjectives. 
Most interpreters agree with the E. V. in taking 
the Word to be the subject described here as 
'living 'and 'abiding,' in favour of which it is 
strongly urged that the passage which follows from 
the Old Testament deals not with God's own 
nature, but with that of His Word. The peculiar 
order of the Greek is then explained as due to 
the quality ' living ' being thrown forward for the 
sake of emphasis. On this view the thing most 
decidedly asserted is the /t/ie which inheres in the 
Word, and the subsequent citation from Isaiah 
would be introduced to express the contrast 
between the Word of God in this respect and the 
best of all natural things. The arrangement of 
the terms points, however, more naturally to God 
as the subject described by the epithets, and in 
support of this, Dan. vi. 26 is appealed to, 
where God is similarly described, and, indeed, 



ever emphasb of pawwnnife love repeated, ol 
trhich the echo b not tuaA «t last ' (Landor).^ 
witlMnd «M tlM gEUi. nd th« lloww (the vroid 
< tk€rmf* is not wwUinrH hf the best anthoritics) 
foil oC A lifelike pktnie of the actual occurs 
rence, the tenses osed bein^ thoae of diicct 
nanatiQQ (aptly given hj Wydiifc diiedvp. • . . 
lUl downX wh^ may be rendered, as in the! 
E. v., by oar English present, as expcesnng vrhat 
takes place habitoally, bat virhich rather represent 
the thu^ as vritnessed by the eye of the reporter, 
*3at vm woid oC the jUxd andamlh for ew: 
Having the Gospel inimediatdT in view, Peter sab- 
stitutcs ' the vrordof the Lt^ here for * the vrord 
of our God," vrhich is the phrase in Isa. xl. %^ 
in both the Hebrew text and the Greek. Other 
departnres from the Old Testament passage, as we 
have it, also appear, some of whidi are of minor 
interest, others of a remaikabie kind. Not only 

according to one of the ancient Greek translators, 
in precisely the same terms. Calvin, therefoie, 
supported by the Vulgate, and foUoired by some 
good exegetes, prefers tlw view that these epithets 

* living ' and * abiding ' are given here to God 
Himself, vrith reference to His Word, as that in 
winch 'His own perpetuity is reflected as in a 
living mirror.' In this case we should have the 
same kind of connection between God and His 
Word as we have also in Heb. iL 12, 13, where 
the conception of the former as having all things 
naked and opencil to Him, and that Si the latter 
as quick, powerful, and piercing, lie so near each 
other ; and the following citation would have the 
more distinct design of affirming the Word to be 
partaker of the very life and perpetuity which in- 
here in God Himself, In either case the quality 
of 'abiding* is not a mere superaddition (as 
Huther, etc., make it), but rather so weighty an 
inference from the 'living' that it 2one is 
expounded in what follows. For the dominant 
idea is still the kind of love which believers 
should exhibit toward each other, namely, 
persevering, lasting love, and the geneiml 
mtention of the closing verses is to show that 
while to the unrcgenerate all that is possible may 
be a love changeml and transient like the nature 
of which it is bom, the regenerate are made 
capable of, and thereby pledged to, a love of the 
enduring quality of that new life which, like God 
Himself and God's Word, lives and therefore 
abides. The words ' for ever ' are omitted by the 
best authors. 

Ver. 84. F6r aU fleah ia aa gran. Peter 
breaks off into the rapid, vivid terms in which the 
prophet of Isa. xL speaks of his commission. ' The 
air is full of inspiration, of Divine calls and pro* 
phetic voices ' (M. Arnold). The prophet hears a 
voice say to him, Ciy ; he asks what he shall cr^, 
and the voice gives him as his cry thb ' antithesis 
between the decay — it may be the prenoature 
decay (for the breath of Jehovah " bloweth " wktu 
''it listeth") — to which even the brightest and 
best of earthly things arc liable, and the necessary 
permanence of Jehovah and His revelation' 
(Cheyne). The particular revelation or ' word ' 
there affirmed to stand infallibly for ever is God's 
promise regarding Israel. Here that is identified 
with the word now preached through the Gospel. 
The phrase ' all flesh ' (which in the Old Testa- 
ment is characteristic of certain books only, 
occurring, e.g.^ repeatedly in the Pentateuch and 
the second half (never in the first) of Isaiah, four 
times in Jeremiah, three times in Ezekiel, once in 
Zechariah) embraces man and all that is of roan 
as he is by nature. — and all its glory m flower 
of grass. The reading followed by the E. V., 

* the glory of man,' must yield to the better read- 
ing, *its glory.* If the 'flesh,' therefore, is 
compared to grass (a familiar biblical figure of 
transient human life, cf. Ps. xc 5, 6, ciil. 
I5f 16 > Job viii. 12, xiv. 2 ; Isa. xxxvii. 27, L 
la ; Jas. vii. 10, 11), and one to which the 
rapidity of growth and decay in Eastern climates 
gives additional force, the ' glory ' of the flesh, by 
which is meant its goodliest outcome, ' the most 
splendid manifestations of man's life,' is compared 
to the still more tender bloom that brightens on 
the flower only to fall off. ' There are no flelds 
of amaranth on this side of the grave ; there are 
no voices, O Rhodop^, that are not soon mute, 
however tuneful \ there is no namci with what- 

is the qoali^ring ' as ' introdnoed before the 'pass, 
the stronger term 'gloij' given for *goodhnes^' 
the phnue 'flower of grass' sohstitated for 
'flower of the fleld,' and 'fiiideth' displaced by 
' fell ofi^' but the important section of the Hebrew 
text winch ascribes the decadence of grass and 
flower to the Spint of the Lord blowing npon 
them (ver. 7) is entirdy omitted. In these 
particulars, Peter follows the text of the anctent 
Grwk translation. On the other hand, he 
departs from the Greek text, and returns to the 
Hebrew, in adopting 'all aCr gloij ' instead of 'all 
the glory tf wtamJ It appears, therefote, that 
Peter miakes a verv free quotation, oc rather, 
that he does not brin^ in this passage as a 
formal quotation snstaming hb statement by 
an App^ to Scripture, bat simply exp res se s in 
Old lestament vi'ords which come easdy to his 
lips a reason for the incorruptibility irhich he 
attributes to the new Uie, namely, that k is dat 
to the action of a power whidi ^adarea Uke God 
Himself This is supported by the frict that ths 
passage is introduced not by the ocdmary con* 
junction 'for,' but by a different term, used dan 
m ver. 16, meaning rather 'because.' — Andtkii 
ia the wocd which by the goepel ia pwnehei 
onto yon, or rather, and the word of too foivel 
which was prenched onto yon was thia The 
sentence is not parallel, as it is taken by nuunr, to 
Rom. X. 5-13, where the mearmess or ocaessmHiy 
of the Word is in view. What is affirmed is not 
that this Word, of which thinps so glorious are 
said, is yet so near them as to be at thdr hand in 
the Gospel, but that the good tidings iriudi 
were brought to these Asiatic Christians by Fanl 
and his comrades were nothing else than that 
Word of the Lord of which tM proplwt 8pak% 
aud nothing less enduring than the Voice of the 
desert had proclaimed that Word to be. So Peter 
identifies the revelatbn in the form of the ancicrt 
word of promise with the revelation in the fans 
of the recent word of preaching ; whidi he wkjs 
also, was not merely to them, or for their benenL 
but u9tio them, addressed to them personallv and 
borne in among them. He gives implicit witness 
at the same time to the fret that what he himself 
had now to teach them was nothing but the same 

Sace which Paul and othen had proclaimed, 
ence the past tense, ' 7oas preached,* as referring 
to their first acquaintance with the Gospel, whan 
others than he who wrote to them had been th^ 
means of conveying to them the Lord's enduring 
Word, and thus creating in them a life capable « 



a sted£ttt aad imdMaying love. The tenn used 
for the * Word ' in ver. 23 (Lmu) gives place now 
to a difleient term {rJkema\ which is supposed to 
express only the word as uttered (while tne other 
denotes the word whether uttered or unuttered), 
aod to gjive a more oonerete view of ilL How (ar 

the distinction can be carried out, however, is 
doubtful. And it is more than doubtful whether 
in the present instance the cliange is due to aught 
else than the fact that the Greek translation which 
Peter seems to follow uses the latter word in the 
passage cited. 

Chapter II. 1-3. 

Exkortation to Hve on the Word with a view to Growth in Grace. 

I \ Tl 7HEREF0RE, * laying aside ' all * malice, and all ^ guile, « acu vii aS; 

V V and ' hypocrisies, and ' envies^ and all -^ evil-speakings, eX>v"^*"' 

a as new-born ' babes, * desire * the sincere ' milk of the * word,' Jm. i. ai :' ' 

3 that ye may 'grow thereby:* "^if so be ye have "tasted* that ^MaLvi/^w; 

the Lord is ' gracious/ Rgj^ »^2|' ' 

siv. so : Eph. !▼• 31 : Cbl. iii. 8 ; Tit. iii. 3 ; i Pet. iL 16. c Mat. xxvi. 4 ; Mk. vii. 99, xlv. x : Jo. i. 47 : Ron. i. 29 ; 

a Got. idL 16; i 11ms. ii. 3 : i Pet. ii. n, iiL la i/Mat xxiii. 28 ; Mk. xii. 15 ; Lu. xii. 1 ; Gal. ti. 13 : zTim. iv. a. 

# Ifat. MxyiL 18 ; Mk. xv. xo ; Rom. L aj^ ; Gal. v. at ; Phil. i. 15 : x Tim. vi. 4 ; Tit. iii. 3 ; Jas. iv. 5. 

/a Cor. xii. ao. £ Vax, i. 41, 44, u. la, x6, xviii. 15 : Acts vii. 19 ; a Tim. iii. 15. h a Cor. v. t, ix. 14 ; 

a. i. XI ; PhiL L 8, iL a6 ; x Thes. iii. 6 : a Tim. i. 4 ; Jas. iv. 5. i i Cor. iii. a, ix. 7 ; Heb. v. za, X3. 

k Roak ziL I. / X Cor. iii. 6, 7 ; a Cor. ix. xo^ z^ ; Col. i. 6, zo ; a Pet. ilL z8. m Rom. viii. ^ ; z Cor. xv. xs : 

"^ ~ L 6. If Ph xjoniL 8 ; Prov. xxxL x8 ; Heb. ii. 9. vi. 4, 5. o Mat. xi. 30 ; Lu. v. 35* 39: Rom. ii. 4; Eph. iv. 3a. 

' Havin|r put off, therefore * long for {as in R, V,\ or, earnestly desire 
* the spiritual milk which is without guile {as in R, K), or literally^ the 
ional, guileless milk * therein, or. in it. Also add unto salvation. 


' if indeed ye tasted 


The doty which Is next to be urged is intro- 
dnoed by *whefefoie.* and is thus given as one 
which follows natufally upon what has just been 
sUted. The pulse of two thoughts, which have 
ruled the preceding section, b^ts in this new 
pttisgraph — that of orotherly love and that of the 
new nith. Of these the second is the more pro- 
minenti the immediate link of connection being 
between the * bom again ' of i. 23 and the ' new- 
bom babes' of ii t« The fact that these converts 
live a new life, which they owe to an incor- 
raptible Source, is an argument for cherishing 
the life to that it may grow and develop all its 
gracxMts capacities. The fact that this new life 
has come to them through the medium of tlie 
enduring Word of God, which has made it the 
icdpient of its own qualities, is an argument for 
naking that Word, as in the Gospel it is preached 
to thai, their sonVs very food. But it the life 
is of the high strain whicn should expand into a 
bfotherly love as constant and unaecaying as 
natural allection is apt to prove transient and 
fickle, growth in this life implies the renouncing 
of every base feeling, word, and act. The things 
whidi are to be put away are things inconsistent 
»t once with brotherly love, with a right use of 
the Word, and with growth unto fmal salvation. 
They are unlovely dispositions of the old nature, 
whioi form the common temptation of all Chris- 
tiansi and the special note m no single class or 
nationality. Tney cannot be said to * point, 
especially in the hjrpocrisies and '* evil-speakings,'* 
to the besetting sins of the Jewish rather than 
the Gentile duuacter, as condemned by our Lord 
(Matt xxiii et ml.) and St. James (iii. iv.)' 

(Dean Plumptre). PauVs handling of the ' back- 
bitings ' among the Corinthians (a Cor. xii. 20), 
and the 'dissimulations' among the Galatians 
(Gal. ii. 13), is enough to show the precariousness 
of any such limited application. Paul's letter to the 
churches of one of tne territories here addressed 
by Peter, discovers conditions out of which evils 
like those which are repudiated here very readily 
sprang. His letters to the Ephesians and 
Colossians recognise similar roots of bitterness at 
work there. And it is probable enough that what 
operated to this effect in the churches, of Ephesiu, 
Colosse, and Galatia, existed in some degree in 
the churches of the other territories. The evils 
which are to be renounced are evils which crush 
out love and create dissension among men. So 
Peter passes easily through what he says here of 
the need of putting away such elements of division 
to what he has next to say of what believers ought 
to be as a united body, and how the aim set before 
them is to build up a spiritual house for their Lord, 
so that His Church may be carried to her com- 

Ver. I. Having put off. The noun connected 
with this verb is used by ^eter in the ccnoeat which 
he throws in on the subject of the antitypical 
relation of the waters of baptism to those of the 
flood, where he explains that what he has in view 
is ' not the putting away of the filth of the flesh ' 
(iii. 21). The verb itself occurs both in the 
Pauline writings (Rom. xiii. la) and in others 
(Heb. xii. i ; Jas. i. 21) with the figurative sense, 
taken from the act of putting off or laying aside 
clothes (cf. Acts viii. 58), and is employed in 
Paul's two great statements regarding the 'putting 



parts of die lerse, and the introdactioa of vices 
like gmiU and kyf$crisj^ which are more directly 
opposed to simplicitj and sincerity than is lo?^ 
Uyoat the latter word. In that case, the point 
would be the rennndatioo of eveiything alien 
to diild-like candour, to the transparency and 
healthfiilness of the child-like cfanxacter. The 
former view is generally prelened, however, and 
is sapported by the picwent tone of the evils 
specified, as well as by the relation of dependency 
in which this diaige stands to the focmer. It is 
doubtful whether moch is intended by the par- 
ticular Older in which the things are given. It 
is supposed, ^.^., that the malice comes first, as 
being 'the mam cause of dissensions,' and that 
then we get naturally 'guile the inwaid disease, 
hypocrisy its outward manifestation, and, as a 
result of the oonsdousuess of evil, envy in its 
various forms, specially directed against those 
who have the peace in which the hypocrite knows 
that he is lackmg, a feeling whidi sooner or later 
breaks out in calumnious aspersions' (Canon 
Cook). But if any inner connection is to be 
traced at all, it is rather that the malice which 
purposes evil to a brother, is named first as at 
the root of all ; that this carries with it the guile 
which schemes to accomplish the end ; that the 
guile which secretly works by plot and artifice for 
the ends of self, reveals itself in the hypocrisies 
into which it is driven to deceive the eye ; while 
the masked acts by which we painfully cover our 
assault upon a brother's good, exasperate our 
envyings of his good, and these find vent in evil- 
speakings or overt attempts to talk him down. 

Ver. 2. aa new-bom babea. Of two words far 
child, one of which corresponds etjrmologically to 
our ' infant,' and means the child yet incapable of 
speech, and then more generally (as in GaL iv. i) 
a minor, the other the child at the stage of birth, 
or at the tenderest age (of. Luke xviiL 15 ; Acts 
vii. 19), it is the latter that is used here, at it is 
also iised of Timothy (2 Tim. iiL 15), and of the 
infant Jesus (Luke ii. 12, 16). It is not used, 
however, in the metaphorical sense in which the 
babe (as designated hy the other word) in know- 
ledge is contrasted with him who is of foil age 
(Heb. V. 13), or the immature and carnal with 
the spiritual (i Cor. iii i). It expresses a simple 
fact here, the recency of the Christian life in these 
converts, which is marked still more emphatically 
by the addition of the strong adjective (nowhere 
else used in the N. T.) ' new-bom.' llie contrast 
is not between Christians at different stages of 
Christian maturity, but between these converts at 
once they were and as now they have jnst come 
to be. And it is in this character (the 'as' here 
again being the note of Quality or fact, not uf 
comparison) that they are chargei to long for tlM 
pore, rational milk. The verb (an intensive or 
compound form) means not merely ' desire ' (as 
the £. V. renders it here, although elsewhere it 
deals better with its force, e,g» Rom. i. 1 1, 'long;' 
I Thess. iii. 6, 'desire greatly,' etc.), but 'ear- 
nestly desire,' or 'long for/ as with the keen and 
healthy appetite of the child, with whom it is to 
natural to turn to the ' food convenient ' for it, 
that, as Bengel says, it is capable of nothing but 
this desire. It is difficult to convey the precise 
sense of the three words which follow. It is 
clear, however, that they describe the food for 

off' which is invoh*ed in the ' putting 00 ' of the 
'new man* (Eph. iv. 24, 25 : CoL iiL 8, 10). 
The vices to be renounced, therefore, arc com- 
pared implicitly to a foul garment enwrapping the 
old man. They are the * Ncssns shirt ' of oornipt 
habits which the new man tears off. This 
divestiture is represented here (the participle 
being in the simple past) as preparatory to, and 
the condition of, the fulfilment of the positive 
charge which follows. — therefore, r./'.=having by 
help of the Word an undying life capable of an 
undecaying love, forswear everything hostile to 
the life, and by a right use of the Word foster it 
till it grows to the perfection of final salvation. — 
all (or, evay kind of) malice. The noun (which 
in the Septuagint, e.g, Amos iiL 6 ; Kccles. 
vii. 14, xii. I ; and once in the N. T., MatL 
vi. 34, has also the objective sense of calamity or 
trouble) may mean either wUhdnas^ viciomsnai^ 
in general (as in I Cor. v. 8, xiv. 20; Acts 
viii. 22), or, in particular (as in Rom. L 29; 
Eph. iv. 31 ; CoL iiL 8 ; Tit iiL 3 ; Jas. L 21), 
tnalivoUnce^ thf unsh to injure. On the ground 
of its apparent import in ver. 16, some give it the 
former sense here, in which case it would be the 
parent disposition, of which the things which 
follow are the issue. The latter sense, however, 
is favoured both by the re{>etition of the 'all' 
with the 'f^ile' (which would give us a second 
generalization), by the analogy of Eph. iv. 31, 
Col. iii. 8, Jas. i. 21, and by the relation of 
the whole sentence to the previous charge to 
brotherly love. The 'wickedness' which the 
R. V. places in the text, therefore, should go to the 
margin, and its marginal ' malice ' should occupy 
the text. — and all guile, i.e. every form of the 
disposition to reach selfish ends artfully or by 
deception. In iii. 10 this is re-introduced in 
relation to speech, as that is dealt with in Ps. 
xxxiii. 13. — and hypocriaies and enviea. llie 
transition to the plural indicates perhaps that acts 
arc now in view, the unlovely acts which arise 
in those dispositions of malice and guile, lliese 
' hypocrisies ' are in strong contrast to the love 
'unfeigned,' literally ' unhypocritical,' in i. 22. 
The word (which is used in Gal. ii. 13 with the 
softened sense of the dissimulation of Cephas and 
the Jews, which amounted to a ' practical denial 
of their better insight') covers here all the 
insincerities, the masked acts and concealments 
into which the heart full of malice and guile 
drives one in relation to his fellows. The 
•envies* (the only vice in this list which is 
explicitly named in Paul's enumeration of the 
'works of the flesh,* GaL v, 20, 21) embrace 
all exhibitions of jealousy and grudging. — and all 
ovil-speakingB. The term is one of rare occur- 
rence. The cognate verb, indeed, is found 
occasionally in the Classics, and there with the 
twofold sense of 'babbling' and 'railing.' But 
the noun itself is unknown to classical Greek, 
although it is found occasionally in the Septuagint 
(Wisdom L li), the Fathers (e.g. Clem. Rom. 
and Polycarp), and in one other passage of the 
N. T. (2 Cor. xii. 20). It means literally 
's^xiakings against^' and will include all words 
of detraction, railing, defamation, and the like. 
The five evils mentioned here may be antithetical 
to either of two things, — the brotherly love for- 
merly in view, or the character implied in the 
immediately succeeding designation, 'new-bom 
babes.' The close connection between the two 

which these converts are to cultivate an appetite, 
and the E. V., though literally inexact, gives a 



sufficiently correct representation of their general 
import by its rendering * sincere milk of the word.* 
Thie term *milk' here does not mean the ele- 
mentary doctrine which is suitable for babes in 
CZhrist in contrast with the 'meat' (i Cor. iii. 3), 
or the 'strong meat' (Heb. v. 12-14), which else- 
where is said to be for the full-grown. It is 
simply a figurative expression for the food which 
tbey roust have, seeing that they are now in a new 
lifie. They themselves are not compared to babes, 
tmt said to be babes, as having been only recently 
vshered into the Christian life. And their food 
Is not compared to milk, but said to be milk. But 
this is at once qualified by two adjectives which 
exhibit its nature. One of these is resolved into 
a noun, 'of the word,' by our E. V. and some 
other versions, as well as by Beza, Bengel, etc. 
This brings out the sense well enough, but is not 
itself a correct translation. What the food is 
which is indicated by the 'milk,' is not stated, 
bot is left to be inferred from the context, which 
certainly points neither to the Eucharist, as some 
strangely imagine, nor even to Christ, as the 
Logos preached in the Word (so Weiss), but 
simply to the Word itself. And to make this 
plain, an adjective is attached which occurs often 
m the Classics, and in a variety of senses {e.g, 
bdonging to speech, possessed of reason, logical, 
etc), but in the N. T. is found only once again 

IRom. xii. i). In lioth its N. T. occurrences 
and even in ecclesiastical Greek, the offering of 
the angels being described, ^.^., in the Testament 
§f the 7\oehfe Patriarchs^ as a 'rational and 
bloodless offering ') it seems to mean rational, or 
spiritual (though these English words poorly ex- 
press the idea), as opposed to literal or ceremonial. 
In the Pauline passage it desi^ates the new 
sacrificial service to which the Christian is pledged 
bj Christ's sacrifice, as one in which the mind is 
engaged, which cannot be discharged by the hand 
without the heart or as an opus operatum like the 
legal circumstantial service of the Jew. In the 
present passage it explains the ' milk ' to be food 
for the soul, not for the body ; spiritual mUk for 
the spiritually new-bom, not material milk as for 
the natural babe. But this is further defined by a 
second term, which signifies 'guileless,' and in 
which, therefore, there may be an echo of the 
' all guile ' of ver. i. Two shades of meaning, 
however, are possible. If the figure of the ' milk ' 
b regarded as sunk in the idea of the Word to 
whid it points, the term will be rendered ' sin- 
cere ' (as m E V. and the Geneva Version), or 
* without guile' (as in Wycliffe), or 'without 
deceit ' (as in Cranmer ; Tyndale gives ' without 
corruption'). The point then will be that the 
Word is pure, ' uncrafty ' (as Jeremy Taylor puts 
it), incapable of deceiving or corrupting; with 
which may be compared the use of the cognate 
verb in 2 Cor. iv. 2, ' handling the Word of God 
deeeiifMlfy,* If, as is more likely, ths figure rules 
the term, it may be rendered unadtdterate ; free 
from any foreign element hurtful to the life ; an 
analog to which is found (see Lillie) in Shake- 
speare 8 ' the innocent mUk in its most innocent 
month ' (IVintcf^s Tale, iii. 2).— that ye may 
grow thereby. The best authorities add here 
the important words, unto salvation, which carry 
these converts in thought at once from their pre- 
sent infancy in ^ace on to what they are designed 
to be in the ultimate manifestation of the sons of 
God. The unflagging spiritual appetite or ' long- 
VOL. IV. 13 

ing ' which is spoken of is to be cherished with 
this in view as its most proper object, — their own 
growth from strength to strength, until they reach 
the measure of final redemption. This increase 
will be secured, and that goal reached, only 
'thereby,' or rather, 'therein ;' that is, so far as 
the Word is made the mental food in which their 
new life instinctively seeks its nourishment, and 
made this with that great object in view. Any 
other use of the Woid of God comes short of a 
worthy use. * To desire it only for some present 
pleasure and delight that a man may find in it, 
is not the due use and end of it : that there is 
delight in it, may commend it to those who find 
it so, and so be a means to advance the end ; but 
the end it is not. To seek no more but a present 
delight, that vanisheth but with the sound by the 
woids that die in the air, is not to desire the Word 
as meat but as music' (Leighton). 

Ver. 3. if indeed je tasted that the Lord is 
good. A condition is added which represents 
the previous charge as one which is applicable 
indeed only to those who have a particular per- 
sonal experience (expressed as tasting), but ob- 
viously applicable to such, and certain to recom- 
mend itself to them. The sentence puts the 
condition as one which may be held to oe made 
good, = if, that is to say (and that I take for 
granted), ye tasted. The tense (a simple historical 
past, not * have tasted,' as both A V. and R. V. 
give it) describes the experience as one belonging 
definitely to the past, and points, therefore, to 
what they found the Lord to be when they first 
came to know Him. The adjective has not so 
specific a meaning (although it approaches that) 
as is implied in the ' gracious ' by which both the 
A. V. and the R. V. render it. Neither has it 
here the sense of ' sweet,' as if the Lord Hinuself 
were viewed as the 'rational unadnlterate milk,' 
and declared now to be as milk 'sweet' to the 
taste in the sense in which meats and drinks are 
pronounced 'sweet' or 'good.' It designates 
moral goodness under the twofold aspect of at- 
tractiveness and kindly disposition or active bene- 
ficence, as distinguished from other adjectives 
which describe goodness on the side of its sterling 
worth and its gentleness. The idea, therefore, is 
that if, as Peter assumed it to be the case, they 
had found Christ Himself to be good in their own 
first inward perception of what He was, they could 
not but hunger for that living Word of the Gospel 
by which thev had received Him and life with 
Him, and make such use of it that their life should 
be a growing life and themselves children, dwell- 
ing in brotherly love, and advancing in raeetness 
for the children's inheritance. It is not necessary 
(with many interpreters) to limit this goodness of 
the Lord to the active beneficence of which the 
providing of this preached Word was the special 
proof. The source of the verse shows the sense 
to be more general. For Peter seems to have in 
mind here the 34th Psalm, one of the eight 
Psalms which are referred by their inscriptions to 
the painful period of David's life during which he 
was a fugitive from Saul. The particular words 
which he reproduces are those in which the 
Psalmist calls on God's saints to make proof for 
themselves of that kindness of Jehovoii which 
throws the shield of angelic protection round 
them, — words on account of which the early 
Church made thb Psalm its Communion Psalm 
(see Delitzsch in loc,). In order to adapt it to 



his present purpose, Peter makes certain changes 
on tne sentence, dropping the imperative form, 
and giving the single term ' taste ' instead of the 
two terms 'taste' and 'see,* by which the Psalm 
expresses the spiritual experience which leads to 
spiritual perception. And what is said of the 
Jehovah of the O. T., Peter applies thus to Christ 

without further qualification. If they had once 
tasted this goodness, the^ must have the appetite, 
and that would keep their life from being stunted. 
If they had once known what the Lord Himself 
is, they could not but long for that Word n^hich 
is His preacher, that they might have an ever* 
deepening experience of His goodnc 

Chapter II. 4-6. 

Exhortation to Continuous Building on Christy the Foundatum. 

TO w 

horn "coming, ^w unto^ a * living stone, ^disallowed «Heb.iy.x(5: 
indeed of men,* but chosen ''of God,* and^ precious,* 36;Jo^TO.Ii. 

-_ _ — . . o Sec reo. •! 

5 ye also, as ' lively * stones, are -^ built up ' a ^ spiritual house, ^ 


an holy * priesthood,' to * offer up * spiritual sacrifices, ' accept- JSljj^f • 
6 able to God by Jesus Christ "* Wherefore also * it is * contained mic ot. i; 
in the scripture,*** Behold, *^ I lay in Sion a ^ chief comer-stone, ^^'i^^i, 

" and he that 'believeth on him'* shall not fii.^,^^^: 

Lu. iL 5s. 
^Rom. 1^ It; 
a Cor. vi. 9 ; GftL il xo. /Acts ix. 31 ; i Cor. ill 9, 16, viii. t, to, 83, xiv. 4, 17; a Cor. vi. 16 ; Eoh. iL at ; i Thea. ▼. 11. 

ft Cor. X. ^. 4 ; Eph. i. 3 ; Col. i. 9, lu. 16 ; Heb. iii. 6^ x. ai : Mat. xxv. az, as. AVer. 9; Kx. adx. 6b 

Vcr. 84 ; Mat. xvii. i ; La. xxiv. 51 ; Heb. vil 37. ix. 38, xuL 15 : Jas. ii. 37 ; Gen. viii ao. ASee oader (A 

/ Rom. XV. z6, 31 ; a Cor. vi. a, viii la. mCn. i. 16. 34. m Acts xxiit. 35 ; z Mace. xv. a ; a Mace ix. zl; 

xi. z6. aa. See also Lu. v. g ; a Mace. iv. z6. Isa. xxviii. zo. / Eph. ii. ao. a Ver. 4 ; Bfat. xx. i6]_Lii. xxai. 31. 
rVer. 4 ; Lu. vU. a, xiv. 8 ; Phil. iL 39 ; z Kings xxvL az. s Lu. xxiv. 35 ; Rom. is 

/ Rom. V. 5, ix. 33, X. tz ; z Cor. L 37. 

^ elect, ' precious : 
be ' confounded.*' 

ix. 33, X. iz ; I HoL L z& 

* omit /u unto * ^r, by men indeed rejected 

* rather^ but with God elect * omit and 

* or, honourable, as in margin of R. V, ^ living ' £?r, be ye also built up 

* rather^ for, or^ with a view to an holy priesthood • Because 
^® in Scripture, or^ as the margin of the k, V, gives it, in a scripture 
" or^ honourable " or, with margin oj R, K., on it 
^* or, with R, V,, put to shame 

It is supposed by some (Schott, etc. ) that the 
previous section has already had in view the future 
of the Church, and not of the mere individual, its 
import being that by a right use of the Word the 
members of the Church should increase in love as 
a brotherhood, and the Church itself advance 

capacity as the Church of God, is continued for 
some time, and carried into the details of their 
relations to the ancient Church of God in Israel 
(vers. 7-10), to the world and civil society (II-17), 
and to various orders of life. 
Ver. 4. To whom coming. The relative form 

towards its glorious end. In that case, the verses of the sentence indicates its intimate connection 
which now follow would be a mere extension of with the previous section. The connection, how- 
the former paragraph. Up to this point, how- ever, is not between an exhortation and a state- 
ever, Peter has dealt rather with what concerns ment of privilege appended in support of the 
the individual believer's own ripeness for the exhortation, but between two exhortations whidi, 
inheritance of the saints, and now he speaks of while in themselves distinct, have a meeting- 
what relates to the realization of the idea of the point in what is said of 'the Lord.' This venc^ 
collective body, the Church. With the change of therefore, gives a further explanation of the 
view there comes a change of figure. The con- primar3r condition of all growth, namely, onioii 
ception of a life growing passes over into that of a with this Lord Himself. Th^ who have tasted 
building increasing. At the same time the Word that He is good have an irresistible attraction to 
or Revelation, which is the means of the life with Him, and it is by giving effect to this attraction 

■ - If - 

its growth, gives place to the Lord Himself, who that they grow. If the Church, too, is to t 
is the foundation of the structure with its increase, into that which God means it to be, its members 
and the idea of union with Christ Himself as the must not only feed upon the Word, but come con- 
first and the last thing in the regenerate life, stantly to Christ Himself. Though the verb by 
which was but dimly conveyed by the preceding which this is expressed is the-verb from which the 
statement, is now exhibited in all its breadth, word proselyte is derived, it is fanciful to suppose 
The description which is now commenced of what that Peter had in his mind anything relating to 
believers are meant to be in their collective the modes of admission for Gendle converts mto 



Judaism. Neither is he alluding specially to 
service. It is held, indeed (e.g, by Schott), that 
Christ being represented here not as the source of 
the indiyidoal believer's life, but rather as the 
ioDodation of the strocture which is being built 
iq> of many regenerate individuals, the ' coming * 
naturally refers neither to the first act of faith nor 
to the diaily renewal of personal fellowship, but to 
the stated coming with all the powers of the 
re gene r ate life to Christ for purposes of service. 
The idea then would be that the giving of our- 
selves to Christ's service in the great work of 
rearing the spiritual temple is to be made our 
recognised mode of conduct But the construction 
of tlK verb (which is unusual here) points rather 
to something more than a simple approach to 
one — to a dose approach or intimate association ; 
while the present tense describes that as a habit. 
The idea, therefore, is simply this — that the 
uphuiding of the Church on Cnnst the foundation 
can be made good only in so far as we, the 
haOders, are ourselves ever coming into close 
personal union with the same Christ. The verb 
idected for the expression of this union, meaning 
as it does to attach one closely to an object, is in 
perfect harmony with the figure under which both 
Christ and believers are represented here. — ft 
IMng stone. The E. V. inserts as onto. The 
original, however, is bolder. It has no such note 
of comparison^ but designates the Lord directly a 
IMng stone ; in which phrase the main thing, 
too, is the noun st<me, not the qualifying adjective 
Htring. Christ is spoken of under the figure of a 
stone simply because in relation to the House He 
is the foundation ; as believers are termed stones^ 
becaose in relation to the same House they are in 
<»e point of view the materials to be used in 
bnildmg, while in another they are the builders. 
The word for stom here is an entirely different 
word from the term which is identical with the 
persooal name Peter, and this prevents us from 
supposing (with Bengel, Canon Farrar, etc) that 
the apostle was thinking here of the new name 
(Peter = rock or stone) which he had himself 
received from Christ He uses the term simply 
as a well-understood Old Testament title of 
Messiah, as he uses it again in his discourse afler 
the healing of the cripple (Acts iv. 11), and as 
Christ Himself employs it in order to point the 
application of the parable of the wicked husband - 
men (Matt xxi. 42). Peter, indeed, as some 
suppose, may have been that 'one of His 
disdpks* who, as Jesus ' went out of the temple/ 
said unto him, 'Master, see what manner of 
stones and what buildings are here,' and who now 
pointed his readers to that Master Himself as 
the chief comer-stone of a more dorious temple 
slowly rising out of more imperishable material. 
The adjective 'living* is attached here, as it is 
also to the subsequent 'stones,' simply as a note 
of the figurative application of the noun. It does 
not refer to the Resurrection of Christ, neither does 
it express such ideas as that Christ became this 
'living foundation' only through death, or that 
He lives to make others alive, or that 'He 
penetrates and fills with His life the whole 
oiganism of believers, and causes it to grow' 
(T^onmiiller). Far less is the expression analogous 
to the phrase living roik, describing the stone in 
its natural state as distinguished from the stone 
broken and hewn. — rejected indeed of men, bnt 
with God chosen, honoaraUe. There is no 

reference here to the Jews as distinguished from 
others. There is simply a broad contrast drawn 
between two kinds of treatment accorded to the 
'living stone,' one on the side of men, and 
another on the side of God. It is much in Peter's 
habit to draw such contrasts (c£ Acts iL 23, 24, 
iiL.13-1^, iv. 10, v. 30, 31, X. 39, 40). Hence, 
too, instead of the ' builders ' of Ps. cxviii. 22, we 
get the more general phrase 'men.' The verb 
which the E. v., following Tyndale, Cranmer, 
and the Genevan Version, translates ' disallowed ' 
here (as it does again in ver. 7, but nowhere else 
in the N. T.), conveys the stronger idea of rejec- 
tion after trial, or on the ground of want of 
qualification. Here 'reproved' b given by 
Wycliffe, and ' reprobatea ' by the Rheims, and 
outside this Epistle the verb is invariably rendered 
' reject ' in the E. V. The value which the stone 
has in God's sight is expressed by two adjectives, 
one of which describes it as 'chosen' or 'elect' 
(f./. chosen by God as qualified for His object) ; 
while the ouer descnbes it as consequents 
' honourable,' or ' in honour ' with Him as such 
(the term being somewhat different from the 
' precious ' in i. 19). Other epithets, which in Isa. 
xxviii. 16 are descriptive rather of what the stone 
is to be in the buildmg than of what it is in God's 
estimate, are omitted. 

Ver. 5. Be ye also as living stones hnilt np. 
The verb admits of being construed either as 
indicative or as imperative. The former is pre- 
ferred by the E. V., in which it follows Tyndale, 
Cranmer, and the Geneva. The same rendering 
is adopted by not a few of the best interpreters 
(Bengel, Wiesinger, Weiss, Hofmann, etc.), 
specially on the ground that what is stated in this 
verse and the following is a natural explanation 
of the practical effect to which that ' goodness of 
the Lord' which they had tasted (ver. 3) had 
served them for good, namely, in having actually 
made them, through attachment to Himself, parts 
of that spiritual edifice of wtuch he is the founda- 
tion chosen of God. But the imperative is to 
be preferred (with Beza, de Wette, Luthardt, 
Huther, Schott, Alford, etc.), as most consistent 
with the use of the similar ' be ye ' in i. 15, with 
the hortatory force which seems inherent in the 
participle 'coming' (ver. 4), and with Peter's 
practice of introducing charg