Hebrews 2

Hebrews class 4, Hebrews chapter 2

January 28, 2009

Tod Kennedy

The Father honors the Son

Main points to emphasize in Hebrew 2

  1. Do not drift away from and neglect what we have heard from the Father through the Son because if disobedience to the law brought penalty, so will disobedience to the New Testament message (Hebrews 2:1-4).
  2. The sign spiritual gifts were given to demonstrate the truthfulness and authority of the apostles and were limited in time to the first century (Hebrews 2:3-4).
  3. God has subjected earth creation under the authority and care of mankind and ultimately to Jesus, the Son of man (Hebrews 2:5-8).
  4. Jesus (used 14 times in 8 chapters) has not had all things subjected to him yet. That will come in the future when death, the devil, and creation come under his authority (Hebrews 2:9-13).
  5. The subjection of all things to Jesus depended upon him successfully tasting death for everyone and therefore making the devil powerless and removing the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14-18).
  6. Jesus was tempted while suffering during life. He understands suffering and temptation. Because he suffered and never failed to please the Father he is willing and able to aid us when we are tempted (Hebrews 2:17-18).


  1. Do not drift away from and neglect biblical teaching (Hebrews 2:1-4).
  2. The sign spiritual gifts authenticated the apostolic ministry (Hebrews 2:3-4).
  3. Jesus’ as a man gained authority over all creation through His death for sins (Hebrews 2:5-13).
  4. Jesus is our victorious, merciful, and faithful high priest (Hebrews 2:14-18).

Exposition of Hebrews 2

  1. Do not drift or neglect what has been taught because if disobedience to the law brought penalty, so will disobedience to the New Testament message (Hebrews 2:1-4)
    1. Hebrews 2:1. “For this reason” goes back to Hebrews 1:1-2. The Father has now spoken through the Son. The Son is greater than angels and what he said has great importance. See the superiority of the Son in chapter 1 for explanation of the Son’s superiority: heir, creator, radiance and exact character, sustainer of everything, purification of sins, seated at the right hand of the Father, excellent name.
      1. We are to pay attention to the Son’s message and doctrine given by Him, by His apostles, and by teachers who followed them (Hebrews 2:3). The grammar says this is a necessity— δεῖ περισσοτέρως προσέχειν ἡμᾶς.
      2. Paying attention prevents us from spiritual drifting. Spiritual drifting is being carried along by whatever is prevalent, popular, or wrong. Drift παραρρέω, aorist passive subjunctive, to wash, drift, slip. Here the warning is against drifting away from Jesus, the Son, and what the Father has revealed through Him, his apostles, and teachers (Hebrews 2:3). Hebrews 5:11 warns lazy learners (dull of hearing νωθρός, ά, όν lazy sluggish).
    2. Hebrews 2:2. Angels were involved in bringing the Mosaic Law to the Hebrew people. Acts 7:53 and Galatians 3:19 say that angels organized in some way the receiving of the law. Disobedience of the law brought a penalty. And angels are inferior to the Son.
  2. The sign spiritual gifts authenticated the apostolic ministry (Hebrews 2:3-4).
    1. Hebrews 2:3. The Hebrew believers will not escape divine discipline if they neglect the Son’s message and work.
    2. Escape is ἐκφεύγω run away, escape, avoid, shun, be acquitted. Future middle indicative. This is the main verb.
      1. Neglect is ἀμελέω, aorist active participle, circumstantial time or concession, to have no care for, to be unconcerned, to neglect.
      2. The object is “so great salvation,” σωτηρία. In context salvation refers not just to escape from judgment for sin but especially to eternal life and its potential possessions (Hebrews 1:14; 2:3; 2:10). Salvation is found in Hebrews 1:14; 2:3; 2:10; 5:9; 6:9; 9:28; 11:7. We do not want to neglect these great opportunities for inheritance blessings-rewards.
      3. This message involved three generations of people: 1. Jesus our Lord, 2. those who heard him directly—primarily apostles, and 3. the present listeners. We could put this into a chronology. Jesus ministry was about AD 30-33; the apostles and the others who heard him directly would be from about AD 33 to the then present; and the present listeners from the time of the apostles to the then present.
    3. Hebrews 2:4. The sign gifts (signs, wonders, various miracles) were used to verify (testify) to the truth of the message about Jesus. The second generation “them” were the apostles and some others. This teaches us the purpose of the sign gifts. Admittedly, it does not say that only the second generation had the sign gifts, but the implication is that they were the ones who needed and had the gifts. The principle of temporary spiritual gifts is found in Hebrews 2.3-4, 2 Corinthians 12.12, Romans 15.18-19, and 1 Corinthians 13.8-11, and there are others.
  3. Hebrews 2:5-13. Jesus’ as a man gained authority over all creation through His death for sins).
    1. The Father subjected his creation to mankind, and mankind is lower than angels (Hebrews 2:7), but everything is not yet under mankind’s subjection (8) because of sin. The author uses Psalm 8 as his Old Testament support of the question, “what is man” and why did God’s Son need to become man.
    2. Verse 8 shows that creation is not completely subjected to man. The reason in this context is because sin brought death (9) and death distorted creation and man’s dominion.
    3. Verse 9 brings Jesus (Him is Jesus) in as the one who suffered death for everyone and so defeated death.
      1. Read the verse as “lower than angels…so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” Jesus as a man was lower than angels (man is lower than angels in ability) and as man he was qualified to “taste death for everyone.” The part of the sentence, “because…honor” explains Jesus. He suffered death and was crowned with glory and honor. This teaches Jesus’ humanity, his death for mankind, his suffering, and his superiority. Jesus, though a man, was crowned with glory and honor because of his nature and his actions (chapter 1). It also teaches the unlimited extent of the death of Jesus on the cross—it was for all mankind (unlimited atonement).
      2. The word “taste” is sometimes claimed about Hebrews 6:4 and 5 to indicate something less than faith for eternal life and therefore the Hebrews 6 people were not believers. Both passages use the same word γεύομαι, to take of, taste, to experience. Both refer to the real experience. Jesus died (Hebrews 2:9) and Hebrews 6 people experienced the heavenly gift and the word of God. Note that the argument that Hebrews 6 readers are believers is not made from the use of taste. It is simply bad exegesis to use “taste” to deny they are believers.
    4. Verse 10. The Father (Him) tested and made perfect Jesus the captain, pioneer, leader of our salvation and he did this putting Jesus through suffering. Suffering characterizes the world and all mankind. Jesus as our substitute suffered like we do, but above and beyond our suffering. “Sons to glory” refers to believers gaining heaven and the rewards and blessings.
      1. God the father is the goal of creation and the agent of creation. He possesses glory, power, and honor.
      2. “author” is ἀρχηγός, οῦ, ὁ leader, ruler, founder, leading pioneer. See Hebrew 12:2. This is Jesus.
      3. Grammatically, “bringing many sons to glory” goes with the accusative “author.” Jesus is the founding pioneer of the faith. He is bringing many sons to glory.
    5. Hebrews 2:11-13 demonstrate the solidarity that Jesus has with believers. He calls believers brethren (Hebrews 2:11 and 12) and children (Hebrews 2:13).
      1. In verse 11 Jesus is the subject, “He.” Jesus sanctifies believers (Hebrews 13:12) by his work on the cross. This is positional sanctification. The “those” are believers. Jesus calls us brethren.
      2. Verse 12 goes back to Psalm 22:22. In Psalm 22 David said that he will tell others in the assembly about God’s greatness. Jesus is not ashamed to praise the Father before believers. He has sanctified them (Hebrews 2:11) and boldly includes believers when He praises God.
      3. In verse 13, Jesus trusts the Father, as do believers. Faith in someone is the basis for fellowship. Jesus and believers trust God the Father. He calls believers children in the sense that believers rely on Him for eternal life, for service, and for living the Christian life. See Hebrews 12:1-2.
  4. Hebrews 2:14-18. Jesus is our victorious, merciful, and faithful high priest.
    1. Verse 14 recalls Jesus as true man—made lower than angels—so he could taste death for everyone. This also relates to verses 10-13, Jesus solidarity with humanity who believes Him. Those related to Him and trusting God (Hebrews 2:11-13) are free to live life out from under the fear of death. This section has special emphasis on living now in time.
      1. Verse 14. Jesus became true humanity so that He could defeat the devil and therefore defeat death. This He did. Here we have another clear declaration of the humanity of Jesus. Compare this with chapter 1 where we have a clear declaration of the deity of the Son of God, Jesus.
        1. Note the significance of “children share in flesh and blood” and “He…partook of the same.” Share is κοινωνέω, to have in common, to take part in, to share; perfect active indicative stressing their present state—humanity. Partook (μετέχω, to partake of, to share, to be members of; aorist active indicative) teaches that the eternal Son of God entered humanity at the incarnation.
      2. Verse 15. Jesus Christ by His death set people free from fearing death. Death no longer controls us. When death controls anyone, that person is a slave to death and does anything to ward it off. His entire life is lived as a slave to death. See 1 Corinthians 15:51-58. Death was conquered.
      3. Verse 16. Jesus takes hold of believers and helps us. The help has to do with living as humanity in a fallen world (Hebrews 2:17-18).
        1. He helps (ἐπιλαμβάνομαι, present middle indicative 3 ms, take hold of, grasp, catch, take hold of an so help).
        2. Seed of Abraham may have special reference to Hebrew believers in context of the letter, but Galatians 3:29 says all believers are the spiritual seed of Abraham because we all come the faith way as Abraham did.
        3. Verses 17-18 expand on Jesus’ help for believers. He had to take on humanity so that He might die as our substitute, but He also was tempted and suffered like all mankind so He could help us in our temptation and suffering. He experienced what we must experience. He is our merciful and faithful high priest for all things that related to God.
          1. “He has suffered” is πάσχω, to experience something, to have something done to one, to suffer; perfect passive indicative. The perfect brings the completed action of suffering throughout his life. This is the main verb in this clause. Jesus suffered when He was tempted. He did not fail. We suffer when we are tempted or tested and Jesus will help us.
          2. “[When] He Himself was tempted” πειράζω, to try, to tempt, to put someone to a test, to make an effort to do something; aorist passive participle masculine nominative singular. Circumstantial participle of time meaning when he was tempted, or being tempted. See Mark 1:13 where Satan tempted Jesus.
          3. Jesus will “come to the aid” is βοηθέω, aorist active infinitive, to render assistance, furnish aid, help. This introduces the high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ. Hebrews will develop this in more detail in the coming chapters. See Matthew 15:25, Mark 9:22, Acts 16:19, 21:28, and 2 Corinthians 6:2 for this word in similar contexts.
          4. “those who are being tempted” is present passive participle, masculine plural dative of the verb πειράζω, to try, to tempt, to put someone to a test, to make an effort to do something.
          5. Jesus is our merciful and faithful high priest. Therefore Jesus has the desire, the ability, and the ministry to help us when we our tempted. Jesus was also tempted. “He Himself was tempted,” aorist passive participle, masculine nominative singular of the same verb (πειράζω) but here the present passive participle, masculine plural dative. See Mark 1:13 where Satan tempted Jesus. The verb is found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 in the aorist passive indicative. In that passage God will not allow us to be tempted beyond our capability. The noun πειρασμός is the first word in that verse and is related to the verb. James 1 teaches that God never tempts to sin.
          6. Jesus as our high priest will come to our help when we are tested. To accept His help we must rely on Him—trust Him for that help. His help comes from His intercessory prayer (Romans 8:34), from the Holy Spirit whom He sent (John 15:26), and from the Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16 and Psalm 119:11).

End of Hebrews 2 study.