Hebrews 1:1-12

Hebrews 1:1-12
Christmas Day ABC


Long agoA GodB spoke to our ancestorsC in manyD and various waysE by the prophets,F 

Notes on verse 1

A “long ago” = palai. 7x in NT. Perhaps from palin (back, again, further); probably from the same as pale (wrestling, struggle, conflict); from pallo (to sway or vibrate). This is long ago, former, ancient, in the past.
B “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
C “ancestors” = pater. This is father in a literal or figurative sense. Could be elder, senior, ancestor, originator, or patriarch.
D “many” = polumeros. 1x in NT. From polus (much, many, high number, abundant) + meros (part, share, portion; a share literally or figuratively); {from meiromai (to receive one’s portion or allotment)}. This is in many parts, variously, and so on, at sundry times, piecemeal.
E “various ways” = polutropos. Related to “many” in v1. 1x in NT. From polus (see note D above) + tropos (way, manner, circumstance, style; used figuratively of character); {from the same as trope (turning, change, shifting; used figuratively for a variation); from trepo (turning or adopting a new manner)}. This is in many way or variously.
F “prophets” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear)}. This is a prophet or poet – one who speaks with inspiration from God.

2 but in these lastG daysH he has spoken to us by a Son,I 

Notes on verse 2a

G “last” = eschatos. Related to eschaton (end, last); perhaps from echo (to have, possess, hold). This is last, end, extreme, final. It is often used to discuss the end times, prophecies of the future, and the afterlife. The branch of theology focusing on all these topics is called “eschatology.”
H “days” = hemera. Perhaps from hemai (to sit). This is day, time, or daybreak.
I “Son” = huios. This is son, descendant – a son whether natural born or adopted. It can be used figuratively for other forms of kinship.

whom he appointedJ heirK of all things,L through whom he also createdM the worlds.N 

Notes on verse 2b

J “appointed” = tithemi. This is to put, place, set, fix, establish in a literal or figurative sense. Properly, it is placing something in a passive or horizontal position.
K “heir” = kleronomos. 15x in NT. From kleros (lot, portion, heritage; that share assigned to you; also a lot used to determine something by fate, chance, or divine will); {perhaps from klero (casting a lot) or from klao (to break in pieces as one breaks bread)} + the same as nomos (what is assigned – usage, law, custom, principle; used for the law in general or of God’s law; sometimes used to refer to the first five books of the Bible or the entire Old Testament; also used to refer to theology or the practice and tradition of interpreting and implementing the law of God); {from nemo (to parcel out, assign)}}. This is heir, inheritor, or possessor – whether literal of figurative.
L “all things” = pas. This is all or every.
M “created” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
N “worlds” = aion. From the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.

He is the reflectionO of God’s gloryP and the exact imprintQ of God’s very being,R

Notes on verse 3a

O “reflection” = apaugasma. 1x in NT. From apo (from, away from) + auge (brightness, dawn; ray of light, which implies radiance). This is radiance, gleaming, someone literally shining and bright.
P “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
Q “exact imprint” = charakter. 1x in NT. From the same as charagma (stamp, engraving, sign, image, mark; an engraving or etching; figuratively, a mark that proves identity; used of an imprint on a coin or an engraver’s seal; later, it came to be mark that expressed identity much like a brand does today); from charasso (to sharpen, engrave). This is an impression, representation, or exact reproduction. It has a figurative sense of a likeness that shows inner character. Can also refer to an engraver or an engraving tool. This is where “character” comes from.
R “very being” = hupostasis. 5x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, under authority) + histemi (to stand, place, set up, establish, stand ready, stand firm, be steadfast). Properly, this describes a person who has standing or a legitimate claim in a legal contract or agreement. It is a guaranteeing and so a support, steadiness, assurance, or confidence. It is also used figuratively to describe essence.

and he sustainsS all things by his powerfulT word.U

Notes on verse 3b

S “sustains” = phero. This is to bear, bring, lead, or make known publicly. It is to carry in a literal or figurative sense.
T “powerful” = dunamis. From dunamai (to be able, have power or ability). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
U “word” = rhema. From rheo (to speak, command, make, say, speak of); from ereo (to all, say, speak of, tell; denotes ongoing speech). This is word, which implies a matter or thing spoken, a command, report, promise, thing, or business. Often used for narration, commands, or disputes.

When he had madeV purificationW for sins,X

Notes on verse 3c

V “made” = poieo. Same as “created” in v2. See note M above.
W “purification” = katharismos. 7x in NT. From katharizo (to cleanse, make clean, purify, purge, or declare to be clean; includes cleansing in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense); from katharos (clean, clear, pure, unstained; clean in a literal, ritual, or spiritual sense; so, also guiltless, innocent or upright; something that is pure because it has been separated from the negative substance or aspect; spiritually clean because of God’s act of purifying). This is cleansing or purification. It can be used in a literal, ritual, or moral sense.
X “sins” = hamartia. Related to “many” in v1. From hamartano (to miss the mark, do wrong, make a mistake, sin); {from a (not) + meros (see note D above)}. Literally, this means not having one’s share or portion – like not receiving inheritance or what was allotted to you. This word means missing the mark so it is used for guilt, fault, and acts of sin.

he sat downY at the right handZ of the MajestyAA on high,BB 

Notes on verse 3d

Y “sat down” = kathizo. From kathezomai (to sit down, be seated); {from kata (down, against, according to, among) + hezomai (to sit); {from aphedron (a seat, a base)}}. This is to sit, set, appoint, stay, rest.
Z “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is right, right side, or the right hand.
AA “Majesty” = megalosune. 3x in NT. From megas (big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc). This is greatness or majesty. Always refers to the divine in the Bible.
BB “high” = hupselos. 12x in NT– in Matthew’s and Luke’s Temptation story as well as Matthew and Mark’s Transfiguration accounts. From hupsos (height, high position, heaaven, dignity, eminence; elevation, altitude; to be exalted); from hupsi (on high, aloft); from huper (over, above, beyond). This is high, lofty, or exalted. It can be lofty in elevation or in character.

having becomeCC as much superiorDD to angelsEE

Notes on verse 4a

CC “become” = ginomai. This is to come into being, to happen, become, be born. It can be to emerge from one state or condition to another or is coming into being with the sense of movement or growth.
DD “superior” = kreitton. 15x in NT. From the same as kratistos (strongest, noblest – high in dignity or honor; used to speak to a high ranking Roman; can also differentiate an equestrian from a senator); from kratus (strong); from kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised). This is stronger, better, more dominant or nobler. It is better in the sense that it is mastered or developed.
EE “angels” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.

as the nameFF he has inheritedGG is more excellentHH than theirs.

5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,

“You are my Son;
    todayII I have begottenJJ you”?

Or again,KK

“I will be his Father,LL
    and he will be my Son”?

Notes on verses 4b-5

FF “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.
GG “inherited” = kleronomeo. Related to “heir” in v2. 18x in NT. From kleronomos (see note K above). This is to acquire or get by inheriting.
HH “more excellent” = diaphoros. Related to “sustains” in v3. 4x in NT. From diaphero (to carry through as in all the way to the end; differing or fully distinguishing – separating by comparison; literally, to transport – figuratively to report or surpass); {from dia (through, because of, across, thoroughly) + phero (see note S above)}. This is to different or diverse. It can also be excellent or surpassing.
II “today” = semeron. Related to “days” in v2. From hemera (see note H above). This is today, last night, at present.
JJ “begotten” = gennao. Related to “become” in v4. From genna (descent, birth); from genos (family, offspring, kin – in a literal or figurative sense); from ginomai (see note CC above). This is to beget, give birth to, or bring forth. Properly, it refers to procreation by the father, but was used of the mother by extension. Figuratively, this can mean to regenerate.
KK “again” = palin. Related to “long ago” in v1. See note A above.
LL “Father” = pater. Same as “ancestors” in v1. See note C above.

6 And again, when he bringsMM the firstbornNN into the world,OO he says,

“Let all God’s angels worshipPP him.”

Notes on verse 6

MM “brings” = eisago. Related to “angels” in v4. 11x in NT– used of Jesus’s parents bringing him to be presented at the Temple. From eis (to, into, towards) + ago (see note EE above). This is to bring in, lead in, or introduce in a literal or figurative fashion.
NN “firstborn” = prototokos. 8x in NT. From protos (what is first, which could be the most important, the first in order, the main one, the chief); {from pro (before, first, in front of, earlier)} + tikto (to beget, bring forth, produce). This is firstborn or oldest. Figuratively, it can also mean pre-eminent.
OO “world” = oikoumene. 15x in NT. From oikeo (to settle or be established somewhere in a permanent way, to make a home or live at home); from oikos (house – the building, the household, the family, descendants; the temple). This is the world – the part where people live. It was used specifically for the Roman world. It is the root of the word “ecumenic.”
PP “worship” = proskuneo. From pros (advantageous for, at, to, toward, with) + kuneo (to kiss); {may be related to kuno (dog)}. This is to do reverence, kneel, to prostrate oneself in homage, to worship.

7 QQOf the angels he says,

“He makes his angels winds,RR
    and his servantsSS flamesTT of fire.”UU

Notes on verse 7

QQ {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
RR “winds” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
SS “servants” = leitourgos. 5x in NT. From laos (people, crowd, the chosen people) + ergon (work, task, employment, action, labor; a work or worker who does or makes something); {from erdo (to do)}. This is a public servant, a minister, or other kind of servant. It can be used of priests and Levites. More broadly, it is for anyone who serves or ministers for the community’s good.
TT “flames” = phlox. 7x in NT. From phlego (to burn or flash). This is a flame or blaze. It is where the flowers of the same name take their name from.
UU “fire” = pur. This is fire, lightning, heat from the sun. Figuratively, it can refer to strife or trials.

8 But of the Son he says,

“Your throne,VV O God, is forever and ever,WW
    and the righteousXX scepterYY is the scepter of your kingdom.ZZ

Notes on verse 8

VV “throne” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes from.
WW “forever and ever” = eis + ho + aion + ho + aion. Literally, “to the age of the age.” Aion is from the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.
XX “righteous” = euthutes. Related to “appointed” in v2. 1x in NT. From euthus (straight, early; this is a straight direction that does not make detours and, therefore, implies faster arrival – immediately; the straightness also figuratively implies uprightness and being true); may be from eu (well, good, well done) + tithemi (to place, lay, set, fix, establish; to place in a passive or horizontal position). This is uprightness, straightness, righteous. Literally without deviation or unnecessary delay. Can refer to total justice as being a straight line.
YY “scepter” = rhabdos. 12x in NT. Perhaps from the base of rhapizo (to hit with a rod or to slap); from rhepo (to let fall, to rap). This is staff, rod, cudgel. It is a staff that signifies power, royalty, or authority.
ZZ “kingdom” = basileia. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.

You have lovedAAA righteousnessBBB and hatedCCC wickedness;DDD

Notes on verse 9a

AAA “loved” = agapao. Perhaps from agan (much). This is love, longing for, taking pleasure in. It is divine love or human love that echoes divine love.
BBB “righteousness” = dikaiosune. From dikaios (correct, righteous – implies innocent; this is that which conforms to God’s notion of justice, uprightness); from dike (the principle of justice; that which is right in a way that is very clear; a decision or the execution of that decision; originally, this word was for custom or usage; evolved to include the process of law, judicial hearing, execution of sentence, penalty, and even vengeance; more commonly, it refers to what is right); may be from deiknumi (to show, point out, exhibit; figurative for teach, demonstrate, make known). This is judicial or divine approval of character or action. This is righteousness, justice, justness, divine righteousness.
CCC “hated” = miseo. From misos (hatred). This word is used in two ways in the New Testament. One has to do with how we prioritize. In order to prioritize something the highest, it means we have to rank other things lower. We cannot have 10 number one priorities. So, the nine that are not number 1, we love less or we value them lower. We make a moral choice the springs from our values about where we put our time, efforts, energy, etc. The other way is detesting or hatred as we normally think of it. This sense has a particular affinity with persecuting the one we hate.
DDD “wickedness” = anomia. Related to “heir” in v2 & “inherited” in v4. 15x in NT. From anomos (literally without law; could refer to someone who disregards authority or one who is not under the law (i.e. a Gentile); lawless, wicked, or a transgressor); {from a (not, without) + nomos (see note K above)}. This is lawlessness, disobedience, without law, violation. It is disregarding the law whether human or God’s law, including the harmful impact.

therefore God, your God, has anointedEEE you
    with the oilFFF of gladnessGGG beyond your companions.”HHH

Notes on verse 9b

EEE “anointed” = chrio. 5x in NT. Probably related to chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request); related to chre (what is proper, fitting, or necessary). This is to anoint with olive oil, to consecrate or appoint divinely to a particular office or mission. It’s the root that “Christ” comes from.
FFF “oil” = elaion. 11x in NT. From elaia (the olive tree or that which it produces; can also refer to the Mount of Olives). This is olive oil.
GGG “gladness” = agalliasis. Related to “loved” in v9. 5x in NT. From agalliao (joy that prompts you to jump up. It is a full body experience of joy: exulting, rejoicing, or even boasting from joy); from agallomai (to exalt, make glorious) {from agan (see note AAA above) + hallomai (to leap or leap up; when referring to water, springing up or bubbling up; to jump or figuratively to gush)}. This is exultation, wild joy, exhilaration, gladness, or welcome.
HHH “companions” = metochos. Related to “last” in v2. 6x in NT. From metecho (to share in, participate, belong, eat or drink, be a member); {from meta (with, among, behind, beyond) + echo (see note G above)}. This is a partner, one who actively shares with, associate.

10 And,

“In the beginning,III Lord,JJJ you foundedKKK the earth,LLL

Notes on verse 10a

III “beginning” = arche. From archomai (to begin or rule); from archo (to rule, begin, have first rank or have political power). Properly, this is what is first. In a temporal sense, that is beginning or origin. It can also refer to the one who ranks first, i.e. king or ruler. So, it can also be magistrate, power, or principality. It can be used more generally for what is preeminent.
JJJ “Lord” = Kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.
KKK “founded” = themelioo. Related to “appointed” in v2 & “righteous” in v8. 5x in NT. From themelios (related to a foundation); from tithemi (see note J above). This is laying a foundation, grounded, setting a basis. Literally, it can be to erect. Figuratively, it can be to consolidate or settle.
LLL “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.

    and the heavensMMM are the workNNN of your hands;OOO

Notes on verse 10b

MMM “heavens” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
NNN “work” = ergon. Related to “servants” in v7. See note SS above.
OOO “hands” = cheir. This is the hand in a literal sense. Figuratively, the hand is the means a person uses to accomplish things so it can also mean power, means, or instrument.

11 they will perish,PPP but you remain;QQQ
    they will all wear outRRR like clothing;SSS

Notes on verse 11

PPP “perish” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.
QQQ “remain” = diameno. 5x in NT. From dia (through, because of, across to the other side) + meno (to stay, abide, remain, await, continue, endure). This is to remain fully, to abide thoroughly – to continue on all the way, constancy.
RRR “wear out” = palaioo. Perhaps related to “long ago” in v1 & “again” in v5. 4x in NT. From palaios (old ancient); from palai (see note A above). This is to grow old or become obsolete.
SSS “clothing” = himation. From heima (garment) OR from ennumi (to put on). This is the outer garment, cloak, robe, or mantle. It is worn loosely over a tunic.

12 like a cloakTTT you will roll them up,UUU
    and like clothing they will be changed.VVV
But you are the same,
    and your yearsWWW will never end.”XXX

Notes on verse 12

TTT “cloak” = peribolaion. 2x in NT. From peri (about, concerning, around, encompassing) + ballo (to throw, cast, rush, place). Literally, this is that which is thrown around – a mantel or cloak or other covering.
UUU “roll…up” = helisso. 2x in NT. From heilisso (roll together); from heilo (to coil or wrap, to roll together). This is to roll up, coil, or fold up.
VVV “changed” = allasso. 6x in NT. From allos (other, another; another of a similar kind or type). This is to change, transform, or exchange.
WWW “years” = etos. This is year or age.
XXX “end” = ekleipo. 4x in NT. From ek (from, from out of) + leipo (to leave behind, remain, lack, abandon, fall behind while racing). This is to leave out, omit, cease, be obscured, die out.

Image credit: “Ceramic angel sculpture as a candlestick” by Friedrich Haag, 2019.

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