Hebrews 12:1-13



“cloud” is “nephos” and means cloud.  The Greek play writer Aristophanes used the concept of clouds as a group people.  In the classical world a cloud of people was a picture of a group of people who had a unity in their witness.


“witnesses” is the word “marturon” was one who could confirm and attest to the truth of a matter.


These people from chapter 11 have witnessed God’s promises and his faithfulness through out time beginning with Abel and extending up through the more recent Maccabees.


To run effectively there are two things you must do:

  1. Lay off the things that slow you down (bad food and poor diet).
  2. Lay off the things that are sinful or illegal that will disqualify you (steroids, cheating in the games)


“hinders” is “ogkos” and means “bulk, mass, weight. 

  • An athlete would prepare for competition by losing weight and reducing body mass.
  • An athlete would compete naked so as to not be restricted by clothes.
  • An athlete would train with extra weights or resistance which would obviously not be used in competition


“throw off” is “apothemenoi” and means “to lay aside from oneself, to lay aside one’s clothing”


“so easily entangles” is “euperistatos” and can mean:

  1. easily avoided
  2. admired
  3. easily surrounding, besetting
  4. Dangerous

The image of “easily entangles” may refer to a long robe that would be ridiculous to compete in.


“patience” is “hupomone” and refers to “patient endurance”.  Not passively giving up but to continue in difficulty in blazing hope or to continue towards the end of the tunnel even though there is no light at the end besides the hope in your soul.


“race” is “agon” where we get our word “agony”.  It means “struggle, contest, race”


marked out for us” is “is prokeimenon” and means “to lie before”


The Christian contest has been laid out before us.  We now must prepare to win it.


First Corinthians 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such away as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. . . I do not run aimlessly. . . I do not fight like a man beating the air. . . .”



Let us fix our eyes” (literally “Let us look away to”) is “aphorontes” it means “to look way from on thing and concentrate on another, to look away to.”


An athlete gets rid of everything that hinders his performance.  He looks away from it and looks only to the things that can help him achieve his goal.   It is not his goal that he chooses.  At the end of 12:1 it is a race or contest we did not choose.


4 Maccabees 17:9 says “Here an aged priest and an aged woman and seven sons lie buried through the violence of a tyrant who wished to destroy the Hebrew race.  They verily vindicated our nation, keeping their eyes fixed on God and enduring torments even unto death.”


“Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith”

“author” is “Pioneer, trail blazer, leader, author”

“perfecter” is “finisher”, the one who brought the work to the final goal.

Hebrews 2:10

Jesus is a closer example than even the Maccabees.  Jesus lived in their generation, in their culture and faced very similar opposition.

This is the same Jesus who lead or went before the witnesses of chapter 11:

  • Paul says in 1 Cor. 10:3, the spiritual rock that accompanied them in the wilderness was Jesus.
  • Jude says in Jude 5 “The Lord delivered his people out of Egypt.”  The image is of the Lord going first out of Egypt.

When we consider that the “God of Glory” appear to Abraham and Moses considered the sufferings of Christ or greater value than Egypt that it was Jesus who the believers of chapter 11 were following.


As the one who goes before, Jesus also had to live in faith and did not see the invisible.  He had to accept death as God’s will not his.  For the joy that was in the future he endured the cross.


“the joy set before him” was not just his joy but the joy made available to the believers.

     1.   John 15:11       2.  John 16:20-24     3. John 17:13



“Consider” means “to reckon up, to count up, to consider.”  It also means to meditate.




Many of chapter 11 shed their blood for their faith.  Some from the Maccabean times shed their blood for the Law.


The readers of this letter have not yet shed their blood for the faith.



The word of encouragement comes from Proverbs 3:11-12.

Consider life through Proverbs 3:11-12 and you will be able to keep things in perspective.

The promise of blessings in Proverbs 3 comes before and after these verses.

The mere human in their fallen, untrained state is incapable of walking in God’s goodness.  God in his mercy will train us so we can.


The great men of faith had to go through hardship in order to be trained:

·        Jacob,

·        Joseph,

·        Moses,

·        David

Those that skipped the training faltered and failed in the end:

·        Saul,

·        Solomon


Suffering in life comes from:

  1. Sin - Numbers 12:10-12
  2. Instructive Discipline - Hebrews 12:5-12
    1. “paideias” (12:5 – “discipline) – means “instructive discipline”.  In Judaism a father was required to provide proper instruction to a child.  This instruction included whipping with a light stick as acceptable.  This word includes instruction even to the dealing out of physical blows.
    2. “elegchomenos” (12:5 –“rebuke”) – to reprove, to rebuke, to reproach, to state that someone has done wrong
    3. “mastigoi” (12:6 – “punishes” or “scourges”) – means “to beat with a whip, to scourge”
  3. Ignorance – Hosea 4:6
  4. Strengthening - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 1 Peter 5:10
    1. Restore “to put in order, to mend, to reestablish, to make whole”
    2. Make you strong “to set up, to fix firmly, to establish, to strengthen”
    3. Make you firm similar and may refer to the deeds that come in a sequence after “a” and “b”.
    4. Make you Steadfast “to make a foundation, to provide a solid foundation, to ground firmly.”
  5. Reveal God’s grace, power or the comfort (not of this world)-2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  6. It is unknowable and unrevealed to man - Exodus 4:11; John 9:1-3
  7. Righteousness in a fallen world results in suffering (when a righteous person lays down their life for someone – Jonathan faithfully died with his father Saul
  8. Sins of others result in suffering for the righteous - Jeremiah in Jerusalem
  9. Situations in an imperfect world - stubbed toe, tooth decay, etc.