The Letter to the Hebrews
Chapter 5
Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington

Chapter 5 teaches[ 1 ] that Jesus, the Son of God was made a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. On earth He prayed with tears (Heb 5:7) He learned obedience and became the Author of eternal salvation to those who obey Him. The original readers of the book of Hebrews had grown dull and unable to teach God's Word effectively. They had been feeding on the milk of the Word (see chart HEBREWS 5 OUTLINE).


    1. The Son of God made a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:1-6).
    2. His prayer with tears was heard (Heb 5:7).
    3. He became the Author of eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Heb 5:8-10).
    4. The readers, feeding on the milk of the Word, had grown dull and unable to be teachers
    (Heb 5:11-14).


Before beginning an exposition of this chapter, I am compelled to say something about the priesthood of Christ. It may be that many Gentile converts were not motivated to appreciate what priesthood means to them. Anyone who really understands the significance for Christ to be his own High Priest has a deep emotional appreciation of it. He is stimulated to trust God, serve Him faithfully and never turn away from Him.

No other system, secular or religious, offers to its members the advantage that Christians, have of a great, heavenly High Priest. Think of what was involved on the Divine side to make such a High Priest possible. First, He desired everyone to be saved.


    1. Planned by God for our good. Knowing that should encourage us.
    2. Makes available the benefits of the sacrifice of Christ.
    3. Demonstrates the mercy and love of God because by it our sins are forgiven.
    4. In accordance with it, Christ's great intercessory work is accomplished.
    5. It necessitated a change in the Law because man can no longer be subject to the OT Law and benefit by the priesthood of Christ (Heb 7:12).



    1. To demonstrate why the Old Law had to end.
    2. To show the accessibility of God's grace.
    3. To engender deeper love and appreciation for Christ.
    4. To motivate Christians to draw near to the Throne of Grace by means of it.
    5. An encouragement never to turn away from Christ.

Consider what Jesus, in his humanity, suffered in order to become our High Priest. A full knowledge of the priesthood is vital to bring us to maturity as Christians. Let us give our minds to a study of this topic and gain a clear, correct and thorough understanding of it (see chart THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST).

Christians are encouraged to make use of the priesthood of Christ. It is designed for their aid, support, forgiveness, restoration and comfort. The holy purpose of the discussion of it is fivefold (see chart REASONS FOR DISCUSSING THE PRIESTHOOD).


5:1 For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.

    (Heb 5:1)

    1. On earth, He was not of Aaron's lineage.
    2. On earth, He did not wear priestly garments.
    3. On earth, He did not enter the most holy place.
    4. On earth, He did not offer animal sacrifices for sins.
    5. On earth, He was not a priest.

For every high priest [ every high priest].[ 2 ] The Holy Spirit begins to discusses the high-priesthood in general terms. He does this in order to draw parallels to the ministry of Jesus who is our High Priest. In Scripture, the high priest is sometimes called the chief priest. He was over the other priests. Once a year he alone was allowed to enter the most holy place[ 3 ] (Le 16:3, 15, 17). Aaron was the first high priest (Ex 28, 29; Le 8). All the Jewish priests were to be descendants of him (Ex 29:9). The people addressed in Hebrews may have thought of Aaron as the model high priest. Some of their contemporary high priests were anything but models of righteousness.

There is absolutely no Bible authority for designating gospel preachers, elders or deacons as priests in order to distinguish them from other Christians. Neither is there any justification for "the sacrifice of the mass." There is no validity to the claim that so-called "priests" offer up the actual body and blood of the Lord. They have no special sacerdotal functions.[ 4 ] The unscriptural designation of certain men in the church as priests has given rise to the distinction between clergy and laity. In Scripture, none of the apostles or early evangelists were even called clergymen or priests.[ 5 ]


    (Heb 5:5)

    Herod the Great of Judea


                Ananelus (restored)

                Jesus, son of Faneus

                Simon, son of Boethus


    (Barnum 385)


    (Heb 5:5)

    Archelaus of Judea

                Jesus, son of Sie

                Jozarus (again)

    Cyrenius of Syria
        Ananus (Annas)

    Valerius Gratus of Judea Ishmael

                Simon, son of Kamith

    Vitellius of Syria
        Caiaphas (Joseph)

                Jonathan, son of Ananus

                Theophilus (Barnum 385)


    (Heb 5:5)

    Herod Agrippa
        Simon Cantheras

              Matthias, son of Ananus


    Herod Agrippa II
        Joseph, son of Camei



              Ismael, son of Fabi

              Joseph Cabi

              Ananus, son of Ananus

                    (Barnum 385)


    (Heb 5:5)

    Appointed by people

      Jesus, son of Dameneus

              Jesus, son of Gamaliel


    Chosen by lot
        Phannias, son of Samuel
    (Barnum 385)


    (Heb 5:1, 2)

    1. Must be taken from among men (Heb 5:1).
    a. So he can have compassion on the ignorant and those going astray (Heb 5:2).
    2. Must be appointed.
    a. Called of God as was Aaron (Heb 5:4).

Taken from among men [being taken from amongst men, chosen from among men, people].[ 6 ] This points out the requirement that the high priest be

human. Christ fully met this qualification.

    Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (Heb 2:17).

Is appointed [is ordained, established].[ 7 ] The OT high priests were always appointed or set in office. None of them were self-chosen. The elaborate ordination of Aaron is described in Exodus 29.

For men [in behalf, to act on behalf, of men, of people].[ 8 ] It was not for God's benefit that the priesthood was established. He does not need the assistance, aid and comfort provided by such. Because humans are sinful, it is for them. The function of a high priest was to present offerings for himself and the people. He represented man before God (see chart FUNCTIONS OF A PRIEST).


    (Heb 5:2, 3)

    1. Dispense knowledge (Le 10:11; Ne 8:7; Mal 2:7).
    2. Exercise authority over people (Nu 27:21).
    3. Judge (De 17:8-11).
    4. Set an example (Isa 24:2; Ho 4:9).
    5. Offer sacrifices for own sins (Heb 5:3).
    6. Offer for the people (Heb 5:1).
    7. Have compassion on ignorant, misguided (Heb 5:2).

In things pertaining to God [in relation to, for the things relating to God].[ 9 ] The "things pertaining to God" had to do mainly with the problem of sin and its atonement. The high priest was to make propitiation for the sins of the people (see note on Ro 3:25). Priests were not allowed to drink wine or strong drink in order that they might correctly discern between the holy and the profane, and between the unclean and the clean (Le 10:9, 10). They had to decide perplexing cases such as the degree of homicide, types of lawsuits and kinds of assaults. They had to render verdicts in cases too difficult for ordinary judges (De 17:8, 9). They had to be able to distinguish between types of leprosy and prescribe rules pertaining to lepers (De 24:8).

That he may offer [to offer].[ 10 ] The high priest brought to the altar sin offerings (Le 4:1-35; 6:24-30), trespass offerings (Le 5:14-6:7) and peace offerings (Lu 3:1-17). Along with the ritual of peace offerings, under the direction of the high priest, were the wave and heave offerings (Le 7:30-34; 10:10-15). In addition, there were meal offerings (Ex 29:41; 30:9; 40:29; Le 2:1-16) and drink offerings (Ex 29:40; 30:9; Nu 15:5; 28:7-31; 29:6-39). In the first century, the high priest probably delegated all priestly duties except entrance into the most holy place once a year on YOM KIPPUR, the Day of Atonement.

Both gifts [gifts].[ 11 ] "Gifts" were to be cheerfully and gratefully given. Although the term is rather inclusive, "gifts" under the Law are is generally considered to refer to bloodless, freewill offerings such as thank offerings. I cannot say the term is always exclusive of bloody sacrifices.

And sacrifices.[ 12 ] Sacrifices were primarily animals slain as offerings for sins. Perhaps that is the meaning here as well as in Hebrews 8:3; 9:9. However, since the word "offerings" is general enough to include sacrifices, I doubt any real point can be made in distinguishing the two in the present context. The two Greek terms are used interchangeably in Genesis 4:3-5 Septuagint. Gifts and sacrifices are mentioned together in Hebrews 8:3; 9:9.

For sins.[ 13 ] "For sins" give the purpose of the sacrifices (see note on verse 3).


5:2 He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also beset by weakness.

He can have compassion [who can, He is able to, being able to, bear gently, exercise forbearance].[ 14 ] OT high priests were subject to stresses, trials and pressures. This enabled them to better understand sympathize with other sinful humans. One of their finest works was to "have compassion" or "bear gently" with sinners, that is, with the ignorant and misguided. The Greek word indicates that they were not to be completely rigid nor totally intolerant of sin but to have compassion. They were to be reasonable and kind. They needed to fully recognize the enormity of sin. Yet, being sinful human beings themselves, they were to have a degree of mercy for the sinner. They were not to excuse the sin. On the other hand, they were not to become so enraged by it that they would drive penitent sinners away from God. They were expected to deal with them gently and patiently, yet firmly and fairly.

During the last 200 years of the Jewish era, one has to search diligently to find high priests who filled this qualification. Consider evil Annas and wicked Caiaphas who officiated at Christ's mock trial. Brutal Theophilus issued letters to Paul to bind Christians and bring them to Jerusalem to be punished. Then there was Ananias, the inhuman "whitewashed wall" who commanded Paul to be struck on the mouth (Ac 23:2)

I am fully aware that gospel preachers are not high priests but compassion needs to be a characteristic of all of God's servants. They need to have compassion or bear gently with patience.


Ten spies returned from spying out Canaan with a discouraging report. Then Aaron, the first Jewish high priest, and Moses fell on their faces before God (Nu 14:5). Both men did the same at the rebellion of Korah (Nu 16:22). After the congregation grumbled against Moses and Aaron, blaming them for the deaths of the sons of Korah, Aaron, over 80 years of age, ran into the midst of the assembly with his censor to make atonement for the people (Nu 16:45-47). Moses was known for his humility. He was more humble than any man on the face of the earth (Nu 12:3). In humility, Aaron was definitely outclassed by his brother Moses (compare Ex 32:24).


On those who are ignorant [with, on, towards, the ignorant].[ 15 ] The OT has much to say about sins of ignorance.

    If you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments which the LORD has spoken to Moses-- 23 all that the LORD has commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day the LORD gave commandment and onward throughout your generations-- 24

    then it will be, if it is unintentionally committed, without the knowledge of the congregation, that the whole congregation shall offer one young bull as a burnt offering, as a sweet aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one kid of the goats as a sin offering. 25 So the priest shall make atonement for the whole congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them, for it was unintentional; they shall bring their offering, an offering made by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their unintended sin. 26 It shall be forgiven the whole congregation of the children of Israel and the stranger who sojourns among them, because all the people did it unintentionally. 27 And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. 28 So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the LORD, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. 29 You shall have one law for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them (Nu 15:22-29).

From these verses, one may infer that sins of ignorance were not overlooked. Offerings had to be made for them. In fact, these sins were the very kind that could be "rolled forward" or forgiven on a "passing over" basis. The high priest made atonement for sins once a year.

    But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed in ignorance (Heb 9:7)

Atonement was necessary for sins of ignorance. No doubt this helped the Jews to hone their concept of sin. One might think himself innocent but, with perfect discernment, God might find him guilty.


Defiant, rebellious and recalcitrant sinners were not forgiven.

    But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the LORD, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him (Nu 15:30, 31).

Presumptuous sinners were to be put to death (De 17:6). The High Priest had to decide whether the sin was committed in ignorance or "presumptuously" with "a high hand." Sometimes this was a very difficult task.

And going astray [and wayward, erring, the erring ones, and on them that are out of the way].[ 16 ] The prophet spoke of "all we" going astray.

    All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all (Isa 53:6).

Christians may be overtaken in trespasses.

    Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted (Ga 6:1).

Saints may wander into sin.

    Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins (Jas 5:19, 20).

Peter describes sinners "like sheep going astray" (1Pe 2:25). The NT counterpart to defiant sin is discussed in Hebrews 10:26-29.

Since he himself is also beset by weakness [for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity, clothed with infirmity].[ 17 ] Aaron and other OT high priests were not appointed because of their sinless perfection. They were weak human beings.

    For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever (Heb 7:28).

When Aaron was making the golden calf, he must have suffered terrible pangs of conscience (see Ex 32:1-6). Then, after he was forgiven, he must have felt great pity toward other sinners. Human priests were weak in that they were subject to injury, sickness and death. Although not special priests, gospel preachers are taken from among men and are able to sympathize with the lost and dying.

In this respect, Christ was very different from the human high priests. He is "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens" (Heb 7:26). Though He is without sin, He met the qualification of being sympathetic to sinners because of the ordeal of His suffering and crucifixion.


5:3 Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins.

Because of this [and so, and by reason thereof, hereof, and, on account of this infirmity]. Because an OT high priest was a sinful human being, he had to offer sacrifices for his own sins. Regular, daily offerings were made. There were also special sacrifices for unusual sins (Le 4:3-12). All these involved his own sins as well as the people's. Then there was the yearly Day of Atonement when the high priest went into the most holy place to offer for his own sins and then for those of the people.

He is required [is bound, he ought, to offer sacrifices].[ 18 ] required, If the OT high priest was to serve faithfully, he was obligated to take care of the offering for his own sins first and then offer for others. Servants of God today should first cleanse their own souls through repentance and prayer before trying to correct or convert others (see Mt 7:5).

As for the people [as well as for those of, not only for, even as for, the people].[ 19 ] In addition to the sacrifices offered for himself, the OT high priests offered sacrifices for all of God's people.

So also for himself [for his own, but for himself also].
[ 20 ] The OT priests were sinful beings who needed sacrifices to be offered for themselves. This does not apply to Christ because He was totally without sin (see Heb 4:15; 7:26, 27; 9:14).

To offer sacrifices for sins [to offer, to offer sacrifice, for sins].[ 21 ] The words "for sins" help to define "sacrifices" by giving their purpose (see verse 1). Sacrifices for sins made by the high priest, whether yearly, monthly or daily, were offered first for his own sins and then for those of the people (Le 9:7).


5:4 And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was.

And no one takes this honor to himself [no one, and no man, and one does not, take, taketh, the honor, upon himself]. The sons of Korah tried to officiate as priests unappointed. The earth opened up and swallowed them (Nu 16:1-33). The bronze censors of those who perished were hammered out as a plating for the altar as a memorial that no outsider should ever come in and try to burn incense at the tabernacle.

    To be a memorial to the children of Israel that no outsider, who is not a descendant of Aaron, should come near to offer incense before the LORD, that he might not become like Korah and his companions, just as the LORD had said to him through Moses (Nu 16:40).

Was the reason Paul did not recognize Ananias as "God's high priest" because he who claimed to be high priest was indeed a usurper (see Ac 23:5)?

But he who is called by God [but when he, but he that, but as, except the one, who is, called of God].[ 22 ] Aaron was appointed by God (Ex 28:1). The same was true of his son Eleazar (Nu 20:24-26) and his son Phinehas (Nu 25:10-13). During the first century, high priests were appointed by Herod the Great, Archelaus, various Roman governors and the family of Herod. The last high priest, Phanni, son of Samuel, was appointed by lot during the war against Rome[ 23 ] [about AD 67].[ 24 ]

On earth, Christ was Prophet. In heaven, he is Priest and King (Zec 6:13). Through Moses, God's promise to raise up a prophet, according to Peter, applies to Jesus Christ (Ac 3:22-26). God said:

    I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him (De 18:18).

By an oath, God also made Christ "a priest forever" (Ps 110:4). He reigns upon the throne of David (Isa 9:6, 7).

The present verse does not describe a "call" of any minister to preach the gospel. The divine calling in this verse deals with high priests, not preachers. The verse has nothing to do with the "call" of denominational preachers. Neither does it have to do with robed priests in the Catholic, Episcopal, Mormon, Methodist or other churches. Those who claim to be special priests or ministers set apart from "ordinary" Christians are impostors. Their distinctive dress does not make them qualified to serve God as priests. The Bible does not authorize a NT office of robed priests. Neither does it teach that some Christians are ordinary. Ministers today who claim a miraculous call to preach are either deceived or are themselves deceivers.

Just as Aaron was [as, even as, was Aaron, Aaron was also]. Although Christ is High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, in some respects, His Priesthood bears a likeness to that of Aaron. For example, Aaron was called by God to be high priest. Along with the instructions about building the tabernacle, God selected Aaron. To Moses, God said:

    Now take Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister to Me as priest, Aaron and Aaron's sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar (Ex 28:1).

Aaron's divine call was confirmed by inspiration long after his death:

    The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses; and Aaron was set apart, he and his sons forever, that he should sanctify the most holy things, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister to Him, and to give the blessing in His name forever (1Ch 23:13).


5:5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You."

So also Christ did not glorify Himself [so Christ also, thus the Christ, glorified not, has not glorified, did not exalt, himself].[ 25 ] The position of high priest was glorious. That glory came from God who called him. Neither did Christ, who is our High Priest, glorify Himself.

    Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God (Joh 8:54; compare 17:5).

On Pentecost, Peter announced God's exaltation of His Son:

    Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Ac 2:36).

By announcing that Christ was His Begotten Son, God glorified Him (see note on Ac 13:33; also note below on But He who said to Him).

To become High Priest [to be made a, an, high priest].[ 26 ] Although as the Son of Man, He had power on earth to forgive sins (Mt 9:2; Mk 2:5, 9, 10; Lu 5:20, 23; 7:48) and was vested with "all authority" (Mt 28:18), Jesus had not always held the office of High Priest. He became High Priest as well as King upon His ascension to heaven.

But it was He who said to Him [but he, but the One, that spake, who had said unto him].[ 27 ] It was God who spoke to Christ to glorify Him as high priest. This is recorded in Psalm 2:7. In the context of Psalm 2, when God announced, "You are My Son," it had to do with making Him King. Thus God, who called Jesus His Son, made Him King. The Hebrew writer associates the same event with Him being made High Priest. This is understandable because His heavenly reign as King and Priest are simultaneous (see Zec 6:13).



    (Heb 5:5)

    1. Had to be perfected by suffering
    (Heb 2:17, 18; 4:15; 5:8, 9).
    2. Had to receive honor or glory from God.
    a. This occurred, in part, when Christ was raised from the dead (see note on Heb 1:5).
    3. Had to be appointed by God.
    a. His appointment occurred after His resurrection (compare Heb 1:5).
    4. It did not take place until his ascension into heaven (Heb 8:4).

You are My Son today I have begotten You [Thou art my Son, This day have I begotten thee, I have to-day begotten thee].[ 28 ] The NIV with "today I have become your Father" hints that Christ was made high priest when he was born of Mary. If this implication was intentional, it suggests the translators did not fully understand the meaning of the verse.

The quotation from Psalm 2:7 is a prophecy (compare Isa 42:1; Mt 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mk 9:7; Lu 9:35). It speaks of Christ being God's Son. In the book of Hebrews, it is shown to have to do with Him being made High Priest. Four events had to occur prior to His becoming High Priest (see chart PREREQUISITES FOR CHRIST TO BECOME HIGH PRIEST).


5:6-8 As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek"; 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

As He also says in another place [said, as he saith, just as He says, also in another place, passage, even as also in another place he says]. The reference passage is:

    The LORD has sworn and will not relent, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" (Ps 110:4; some assign the authorship of Ps 110 to Melfhizek[ 29 ]).

You are a priest forever [Thou art a priest for ever].[ 30 ] The Aaronic priests were to serve perpetually (Ex 40:15; compare Nu 25:13). They were bound by time, by the period of their earthly service.

    Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing (Heb 7:23).

Levites began service at age 25.[ 31 ] Unless they died first, they were to retire from service at age fifty (Nu 4:46-49; 8:24, 25). By contrast, Christ continues as high priest in heaven forever because His tenure is not limited by, nor can it be cut short by, retirement or death. He lives on and on.

    Here mortal men receive tithes, but there he receives them, of whom it is (Heb 7:8).

    But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood (Heb 7:8).

Jesus, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. There are no successors to His priesthood. "Forever," in this context, denotes the time-span of His service. Will He have a need to serve as High Priest after all the redeemed get to heaven?

According to the order of Melchizedek [after the order, of Melchizedek].[ 32 ] Although Christ's priesthood is similar to that of Melchizedek, the NIV is simplistic with the rendering "just like Melchizedek." He is like him but perhaps not "just" like him. The Greek may mean nothing more than that He was of the same rank or station as Melchizedek.[ 33 ] Insofar as Scripture informs us, Melchizedek had no beginning or end. Since he had neither predecessor nor successor, order does not require a succession of similar priests. Jesus is still King and Priest. He is a Priest after the order of Melchizedek in that He is like him, that is, "according to the likeness of Melchizedek" (see Heb 7:15).


    (Heb 5:6)

    1. Both were priests.
    2. Neither of the tribe of Levi.
    3. Both greater than Abraham.
    4. Both greater than the Aaronic priests.
    5. Both were kings.
    6. Their kingship not inherited from ancestors.
    7. Their priesthood not inherited.

Melchizedek is first mentioned in Genesis 14:18. The only other OT reference to him is Psalm 110:4. The present verse (Heb 5:6) is the first NT passage to mention him. The writer continues to discuss him in Hebrews 5, 6 and 7. Then his name is dropped. It does not appear again in all the NT. The last mention of his name is in Hebrews 7:21.

In the patriarchal age, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others performed priestly acts (see Ge 4:4; 8:20; 12:8; 28:23; 26:25; 33:20). Others carried out priestly duties shortly before the formal ordination of Aaron and his sons (Ex 5:1-3; 19:22). The sons of David were called "chief ministers," literally,
[ 34 ] (2Sa 8:18). There were priests in non-Jewish nations as well. Potiphera in Egypt (Gen 41:45); Jethro in Midian east of the Gulf of Aqaba (Ex 2:16).


[5:7] Who.[ 35 ] This personal pronoun, omitted from several modern versions, is appropriately carried in the NKJV and KJV translations. This reference to Christ shows that Christ, although not Himself sinful, is able to sympathize with those for whom He serves as High Priest.

In the days of His flesh.[ 36 ] The "days of His flesh" is another way of saying His time on earth. Jesus' glorified body is not one of flesh and blood (compare 1Co 15:50; Php 3:21). He was not high priest during the "days of His flesh" (see note on Heb 8:4) but during his earthly ministry He was preparing for that office. His agony in the garden of Gethsemane, followed by his mock trial and crucifixion, perfectly fitted him for the priesthood in that He can sympathize with human beings in all their temptations and trials. This has already been alluded to in Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:14, 15.

When He had offered up prayers [having offered up prayers, he, Jesus, offered both supplications].[ 37 ] Becausthey were themselves sinners, the OT high priests had to first offer for themselves. Jesus was without sin and did not need to do that. Never did He ask forgiveness for anything. Some try to attach a "priestly" meaning to His prayers, such as those in Gethsemane. Also His prayer in John 17 has been erroneously referred to by several as His "high-priestly" prayer. None of His prayers were the deeds of a priest. Other passages plainly teach that He was not a priest while on earth (see note on Heb 8:4).

And supplications [and petitions, and entreaties].[ 38 ] Supplications are prayers requesting assistance for self or for others. They are usually offered with great fervor and earnestness.

With vehement cries [with strong crying, with loud cries].[ 39 ] One of the Messianic Psalms predicted this very point.

    For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard (Ps 22:24; compare 31:22; 39:12; 69:1-3; 116).

By saying "with vehement cries" it may be possible that the Holy Spirit had in mind some such prayer as when He was in Gethsemane:

    He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will (Mt 26:39).

If so, we can be sure the Savior prayed, not silently or in a whisper, but very much aloud. He was in anguish. The tension was unbearable. "He prayed more earnestly" (Lu 22:44). The volume of his imploring voice could easily have been heard by the disciples, had they not slept through it. After his Gethsemane prayers were ended, He still was yet to drink "the cup" (Joh 18:11). The cup of suffering was primarily His terrible scourging and atrocious death on the cross.

It may be possible that other prayers were in special view here. Some have pointed out that they had to do with His being saved from death, or, at least, from being held in hades (see Ac 2:31).[ 40 ]

And tears.[ 41 ] The mention of tears helps to define the strong crying as a prayer of sorrow and anguish, not simply a loud call to the Father. Jesus was "a Man of sorrows" (Isa 53:3). At the tomb of Lazarus, He wept (Joh 11:35). He wept over Jerusalem (Mt 23:37-40; Lu 19:41-44).

To Him who was able to save Him from death [unto him that was able to save him out of death].[ 42 ] The One able to save Him from death was God. Jesus prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him (Mk 14:35). However, His basic request was to "Take this away from Me" (Mk 14:36) or "Let this cup pass from me" (Mt 26:39; Lu 22:42), apparently that the Father would save Him from death. "Save" can either mean to keep from dying, or to preserve from the corruption of death. It may also mean to deliver from the clutches of it.[ 43 ] If the latter is intended, it was adequately bestowed by His resurrection. The way He was saved from death was in the sense that He was raised from the dead.[ 44 ]

And was heard [and having been, and he was, heard].[ 45 ] There is an OT prediction to the effect that the prayer of Christ would be heard.

    For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard (Ps 22:24).

Jesus said, "And I know that You always hear Me" (Joh 11:42). One of the things He prayed for was that the Father's will be done (Mt 26:39, 42). That request was answered affirmatively. He also was strengthened (Lu 22:43).[ 46 ]

Sometimes faithful Christians pray that some dreaded event may not occur and still it does. This does not prove that God did not hear. In spite of the fact that Christ's prayer was heard, He still had to suffer the cruel death of Calvary.

Because of His godly fear [for his godly fear, reverence, piety, in that he feared]. "His godly fear" no doubt correlates with the sorrowful time when Jesus prayed with piety, humble and reverent submission, as he wept in the Garden (Mt 26:36-46; Lu 22:39-46). [ 47 ]As man, in Gethsemane, did He fear the ordeal of death? Was He delivered from the fear of death? Did He fear God in the sense of awe and reverence? Did He fear that Satan would somehow foil the divinely determined crucifixion?[ 48 ] The Greek term may signify either (compare reverence or godly fear in Heb 11:7).


[5:8] Though He was a Son [although he was, were, a Son, he is the Son].[ 49 ] The fact that Jesus was God's Son might be thought by some to prevent the necessity for Him to learn obedience.[ 50 ] The Sonship and Priesthood of Christ are very closely connected. He had to suffer to become a perfect Priest. Being the Son of God had its advantages, but it did not eliminate the need to suffer. This was essential to prepare Him for the Priesthood (see note on Heb 4:15).

Yet He learned obedience [yet learned, he learned, yet learned he, obedience, about obedience].[ 51 ] Jesus always knew the definition of obedience. He did not need to learn what it was. Did He need to learn to obey? Yes, in spite of the fact that He always obeyed (Joh 8:29; 14:31; 15:10; Ro 5:19; Heb 10:9). He was always wise (see Isa 11:2; Mt 13:54; 2Co 1:24; Col 2:3). Yet He increased in wisdom (Lu 2:52).

In what sense did Christ learn obedience? He certainly did not learn it like we do by suffering because of His own sins.[ 52 ] When He suffered, what He learned was how arduous, trying and difficult obedience can sometimes be for human beings. He learned the limits to which man can go before requiring divine help (see note on 1Co 10:13). It was the will of God for Him to suffer (Joh 18:11). His suffering was part of His obedience, as foretold by the prophet.

    The Lord GOD has opened My ear; and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away. 6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting (Isa 50:5, 6).

His literal baptism was "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). So was his figurative baptism of suffering (see previous footnote).

By the things which He suffered [through what, from the things, he suffered].[ 53 ] Even though Jesus was the Son of God, He was not exempted from suffering in the school of obedience. By enduring the test of suffering He became able to "sympathize with our weaknesses" (Heb 4:15). In general, sons learn obedience to their human fathers through suffering.

    Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (Heb 12:9).

The allusion here is to His suffering in Gethsemane and onward. He "became obedient to the point of death" (Php 2:8). Generally, people suffer because of their own sins. However, some very righteous souls, such as Job, may suffer tremendously for some other reason. Christ did no sin. Yet he endured "an overwhelming tide of suffering."[ 54 ]


5:9-11 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek," 11 of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

And having been perfected [and having been made perfect, being perfected].[ 55 ] Christ was made perfect through suffering (see notes on Heb 2:10; 7:28).[ 56 ] By suffering, He finished His earthly mission to become the Savior. He perfected His preparation for the priesthood. That is, He completed it. Perfect suffering made Him a perfect High Priest. Consider this from the standpoint of forgiveness of sins. OT priests did not bring perfection in this respect.

    Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? (Heb 7:11; compare 7:19).

Perfection (that is, complete forgiveness of sins) was not provided under the Aaronic priesthood. Christ was made perfect in that He accomplished that which was necessary to take away sins, namely the shedding of His precious blood on Calvary (see note on Heb 11:40). By His sacrifice on the cross He provided the complete merit for the salvation of those who obey Him. He was perfected as the acceptable and perfect sacrifice. When He died on the Cross where He shed His precious blood for the sins of the world He perfected forever the way to heaven.

There may be an allusion here to the suffering of Christians as they continue to obey Christ. As Christ "steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem"[ 57 ] to suffer on Calvary, so Christians dedicate themselves to taking up His cross in obedient following. The choice is theirs. They can obey even if it means suffering, or they can camouflage their faith or deny Him and avoid it. The latter alternatives are included in the expression "draw back to perdition" (Heb 10:39). The destruction into which they pass is one of greater suffering. The admonition of Christ is to be faithful unto death[ 58 ] (Re 2:10). The context suggests it is, "unto" death, not just "until" death. "Unto" implies one is to be faithful even if one suffers death for Christ.

He became [became].[ 59 ] This alludes to the completion of the process of suffering by which Christ became Savior in the fullest sense.


    (Heb 5:9)

    1. Hear the gospel (Ro 10:17).
    2. Believe (Joh 8:24; Ac 2:36).
    3. Repent of sins (Lu 13:3; Ac 2:38).
    4. Confess faith in Christ as Lord (Ac 8:37;
    Ro 10:9, 10).
    5. Be baptized for the remission of sins (Mk 16:16; Ac 2:38; 22:16; Ro 6:3, 4; 1Pe 3:21).
    6. Live faithfully (Joh 15:6; 1Co 9:27; Heb 10:39;
    Re 2:10).

To all who obey Him [unto all them that obey him].[ 60 ] Jesus tasted death for every man (Heb 2:9). But who will enter the kingdom of heaven? Not everyone (Mt 7:21). Only those who do the will of the Father in heaven. Only those who obey Him. This clearly states the necessity of obedience to Christ. Stated conversely, those who do not obey Him are lost (see note on 2Th 1:8). It is amazing that people read the present verse and still say that obedience has nothing to do with one's salvation.


    (Heb 5:9)

    1. Whoever hears . . . and does them . . . a wise man (Mt 7:24).
    2. For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother (Mt 12:50).
    3. If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine (Joh 7:17).
    4. If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word
    (Joh 14:23).
    5. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever
    (1Jo 2:17).

The author of eternal salvation [author, the source, of eternal salvation].[ 61 ]

    There is something appropriate in the fact that the salvation which was procured by the obedience of the Redeemer should be made available to the obedience of the redeemed.[ 62 ]


    (Heb 5:9)

    1. Eternal salvation (Heb 5:9).
    2. Eternal redemption (Heb 9:12).
    3. Eternal inheritance (Heb 9:15).
    4. Through the blood of the everlasting covenant
    (Heb 13:20).


[5:10] Called by God [named of God, being designated by God, addressed by God].[ 63 ] The Greek word suggests the appointment of Christ to be High Priest. The Jews understood that Aaron was named of God. Just as surely Christ was named of God to be the High Priest for Christians. The Jews, as a general rule, believed Psalm 110 was Messianic, written by David under inspiration of the Holy Spirit.[ 64 ] This is shown, in part, by a conversation Jesus had with the Pharisees about this very Psalm. They did not question that Psalm 110 spoke of the Messiah, nor did they discount its inspiration.

    He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: 44 The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool'? 45 If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" (Mt 22:43-45).

As High Priest [as, a, an, high priest]. Jesus was designated High Priest after His resurrection and His ascension into heaven.

According to the order of Melchizedek [after the order of Melchizedek].[ 65 ] The quotation is from Psalm 110:4. In a note above that quotes Matthew 22:43-45, it was shown that this Psalm was attributed to David by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it referred to the Messiah.[ 66 ] Actually, some of the Jews misunderstood the prophecies. They supposed there were two Messiahs, one a suffering, priestly servant and the other a triumphant king. In reality, the priestly and kingly Messiah were one and the same. Both aspects of the Messiahship were completely fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He is both King and Priest (see Zec 6:13).[ 67 ] The Messiah (that is, the Christ) is the One whom David foretold would be a high priest after the order of Melchizedek. The Aaronic priests were required to be Levites. Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, not Levi (Mic 5:1; Mt 1:2; Heb 7:14); Re 5:5).[ 68 ]

It was after Christ was invited to "sit down" in heaven, that is, after He was made the highest ruler in the universe [except for the Father], He was saluted as High Priest (see chart EVENTS AS CHRIST BECAME HIGH PRIEST). In effect, this was the universal acknowledgement by the Father that through His Son Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins had become viable (compare Php 2:9, 10). By this, Jesus became the forerunner for Christians, making it possible for them to enter heaven also.

    Where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:20).

This study of the priesthood of Christ should provide encouragement to all Christians. Through Him they have remission of sins and eternal life. Keep in mind that salvation is not of humin merit. It is the gift of God (Eph 2:8, 9).


    (Heb 5:10)

    1. Told to sit (Ps 110:1).
    2. Sat down at the right hand of God:
    a. After He finished His earthly work.
    b. After He ascended (Mk 16:19).
    c. Stephen saw Him standing at right hand of God (Ac 7:56).
    d. When He had made purification of sins (Heb 1:3).
    e. A high priest, who has taken His seat (Heb 8:1).
    f. Having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him (1Pe 3:22).


    (Heb 5:10)

    1. He sat down after He presented His crucified body before God (Heb 1:3; 10:10).
    2. He was proclaimed [saluted] as Priest
    (Ps 110:4).
    3. He was then Priest on His throne (Zec 6:13).


[5:11] Of whom [about, concerning, this, him].[ 69 ] The topic of Melchizedek will be developed further by the writer in Hebrews 6, 7. The Jews had entered into a great deal of discussion about Melchizedek. Bruce cites at least ten references to support this.[ 70 ]

We have much to say [we have many things to say, much to relate].[ 71 ] Much needed to be written about Melchizedek as well as our High Priest, Christ, who was like him. More information will be given about this subject in chapter 7.

And hard to explain [which is hard, but difficult, of interpretation, to be interpreted in speaking of it, to explain, to be uttered].[ 72 ] Some of the things about Melchizedek are hard to understand as well as to explain (see chart MELCHIZEDEK, THINGS HARD TO UNDERSTAND). One reason it was hard to explain was because of dullness of the hearers. The Jewish Christians had not progressed very far in study of the revealed will of God. Perhaps they had forgotten some of what they had originally learned.



    (Heb 5:11)

    1. How did he become priest?
    2. How could he be "without father, without mother" (Heb 7:3)?
    3. How could he be "without genealogy" (Heb 7:3)?
    4. How is he without "beginning of days nor end
    of life" (Heb 7:3)?
    5. How could he remain "a priest continually"
    (Heb 7:3)?



    (Heb 5:11)

    1. Why does "the power of an endless life" qualify Christ to be a priest after his likeness
    (Heb 7:16)?
    2. Did he offer sacrifices for his own sins
    (see Heb 7:27)?
    3. Since he did not minister in the holy place, why is Christ "a minister in the
    true tabernacle" (Heb 8:2)?


    (Heb 5:11)

    1. Dull of hearing (Heb 5:11).
    2. Forsaking the assembly (Heb 10:25).
    3. Hands that hang down, palsied knees (Heb 12:12).
    4. Divers and strange teachings (Heb 13:9).

Since you have become dull of hearing [seeing ye are, ye are become, because you are, dull in hearing].[ 73 ] The Greek is literally "dull of hearing" but, by synecdoche, means dull or sluggish in understanding of spiritual ideas. Notice that they had "become" dull. They had "become" such as had need of milk. The fact that they had "become" suggests that, in comparison to their former attainments, they were now in a state of spiritual decline.

This begins the third great exhortation in the book of Hebrews. It continues through the end of chapter 6. The first was to give the more earnest heed (Heb 2:1). The second was not to harde their hearts (Heb 3:7-11). The fourth is in Hebrews 10:19-25 and concerns drawing near, exhorting one another and not forsaking the assembly.


5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

For though by this time [for when by reason of, for when for, for even because of, the time].[ 74 ] How long does it take for a person to learn enough to teach the word of God? How much time is required for one to learn how to teach? The disciples were with the Lord for about three years but someone says they were inspired. If one spends two or more years in a school of biblical studies he may become a pretty good teacher, providing he has diligently applied his mind. If one spends twenty or more hours per week preparing a lesson, his instruction should be acceptable.

You ought to be teachers [ye ought to, you who should, be teachers.][ 75 ] There is great advantage held by those with a good knowledge of the word of God. Those who do not study cannot be good teachers. One cannot teach what he does not know. Learners ought to become teachers after a reasonable length of time. In fact, they are under obligation to do so.[ 76 ] At least, they ought to be able to receive solid spiritual food. The writer may be using hyperbole. Certainly, every Christian is not expected to preach publicly. For example, women are not to become public preachers. However, every one is expected to teach in some manner, whether by personal evangelism or by counselling someone. A Christian may simply speak a word in due season to a fellow-worker, student or neighbor. Every parent and grandparent ought to strive to be a good teacher of children.

You need someone to teach you again [ye have need, have need again, again need, that one, for someone, again to teach you, should teach you].[ 77 ] The Hebrew Christians were not the only ones who were naive, slow, undeveloped or, to say the least, dull of hearing. First principles need to be taught again and again.

The first principles [the rudiments of, which be, what are, the basic principles, the elements of the beginning].[ 78 ] I take "first principles" to be the basic fundamentals of the faith. Perhaps there is an allusion to the OT teachings that every Jew should have understood. Had the Hebrew Christians become so satisfied with their elementary knowledge that they, through neglect, were no longer even sure of that?

Of the oracles of God [of God's word].[ 79 ] Oracles are nothing more than divine utterances (compare Ac 7:38; Ro 3:2; 1Pe 4:11). Had the Jewish Christians ignored the basic OT prophecies of Christ? Had they forgotten the purification from their former sins (compare 2Pe 1:9)? Had they drifted so far that they could not tell someone how to become a Christian? Did they need instruction about washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment (see Heb 6:2)?


And you have come [and are become, you have].[ 80 ] The Hebrew Christians had changed for the worse. They had retrogressed. For awhile, they had seemed ready to go on learning. Because of their neglect they had reached the sorry state of needing to be taught again the very things they had previously learned.

To need milk [such as have need of, you need, that you need, milk].[ 81 ] "Milk" is a metaphor meaning basic teachint. Peter exhorted his readers to desire the total revealed word as babies desire milk.

New babies desire pure milk. All Christians should desire the word. However, the Hebrew writer goes beyond that. He gently suggests the reason his readers need milk is because they have backslidden, digressed or drifted. Paul's word to the Corinthians is a near parallel:

And not solid food [not, and not of, solid food, strong meat, strong food].[ 82 ] The Greek word translated "meat" (ASV, KJV) does not mean flesh but food in general. Neither does it mean "strong" in seasoning. It means solid, that is, not liquid or gaseous. Apparently instruction about Melchizedek and the priesthood of Christ was considered to be more advanced teaching than their sluggish ears were ready to receive.


5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.

For everyone who partakes only of milk [everyone, that partaketh of, who lives on, that useth, who uses only, milk].[ 83 ] "Milk" stands for spiritual baby food. Some scholars understand the Hebrew writer to suggest that some of his readers were taking the milk of the word only.

Is unskilled [is without experience, is unskillful].[ 84 ] Those who subsist on baby food are inexperienced. They have no skill to understand deeper meanings of Scripture. They have little or no proficiency to accomplish anything in the spiritual realm.

In the word of righteousness [of the word of righteousness].[ 85 ] The gospel is the word of righteousness because in it has revealed the righteousness of God (Ro 1:17). It is the only message that shows sinful man how to become righteous in God's sight.


    (Heb 5:13)

    1. Way of righteousness (Mt 21:32; 2Pe 2:21).
    2. Gift (Ro 5:17).
    3. Instruments (Ro 6:13).
    4. Slaves (Ro 6:18, 19).
    5. Law (Ro 9:31).
    6. Ministry (2Co 3:9).
    7. Weapons (2Co 6:7).
    8. Fruit(s) (2Co 9:10; Php 1:11; Jas 1:20; 3:18).


    (Heb 5:13)

    1. Ministers (2Co 11:15).
    2. Hope (Ga 5:5).
    3. Breastplate (Eph 6:14).
    4. Crown (2Ti 4:8).
    5. Word (Heb 5:12).
    6. King (Heb 7:2).
    7. Preacher (2Pe 2:5).

For he is a babe [for he is a child, an infant].[ 86 ] Jesus commended certain traits of children such as trust and forgiveness. In the present context, it is not these characteristics, nor the innocence of children, that the writer has in mind.

It was in a negative aspect that the sacred writer describes the Hebrew Christians as babes. They were babies in understanding spiritual truths. They were slow in understanding deeper religious thoughts. Paul called the Galatians children in a similar sense. Those who understood only the Law of Moses were "children." In Christ, they were expected to be mature sons (see note on Ga 3:28).

Paul said:


5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age [but strong meat is for, belongeth to, fullgrown men, the mature, the mature people].[ 87 ] Mature, grown up or fullgrown Christians are "spiritual people" (1Co 3:1). Paul said:

That is, those who by reason of use [who, even those who, because of, use, for those by practice, on account of habit].[ 88 ] By long use, practice or habit, by studying and putting into practice Biblical truths, men and women become mature in the faith. Their senses become trained to discern good and evil. Apparently, many among the "Christian" masses are unable to discern between the truth of God and the errors of human creeds. Sadly, they may not really care whether they follow the will of God or the traditions of men. If true, this is evidence of a lack of genuine faith.

Have their senses [who have their faculties, perceptions].[ 89 ] Physical senses may be heightened as witnessed by blind persons who can hear better than seeing persons. The deaf learn to rely more upon their sharpened sense of feeling. Here, by analogy, the writer is speaking of the inner senses of the spiritual man. He speaks of the part of man that perceives, discerns and understands. The same inner being draws one toward God and away from evil (see Jas 4:8).

Exercised [trained]. [ 90 ] One's senses may be trained in that which is good. Timothy was admonished, "Exercise yourself toward godliness" (1Ti 4:7). Such discipline may seem to be a drudgery, but the results are spectacular. Negatively, the heart may be exercised in evil, for example, "trained in covetous practices" (2Pe 2:14).

To discern both good and evil [to distinguish, for distinguishing, good from evil].[ 91 ] One essential to knowing the truth is a dedication to do God's will (see note on Joh 7:17). Another is to develop a genuine love for the truth (see note on 2Th 2:10). When Christians become mature in their understanding of the Scriptures, even the slightest deviation from the right path is perceptible to them. Some members of the Lord's church seem to be unable to recognize false doctrine when they see it. This is evidence of lack of knowledge, too little experience or a weak or powerless faith. Such members become enamored by cute and interesting speakers whether or not they teach the truth. It is not just the "religious masses" who are unable to discern good and evil. Members of the Lord's church are not immune.

Pragmatism[ 92 ] has become the standard by many leaders in His church. If a certain procedure gives "results" it is adopted, whether or not there is a "Thus saith the Lord" for it. When a congregation agrees with the premise of pragmatism it is on its way to departure from the truth.



    1. Christ's priesthood a great encouragement.
    2. Not shameful for men to shed tears.
    3. Permissible to fear death because God made it dreadful:
    a. To prevent suicide.
    b. To motive man to prepare to die.
    4. As one approaches death he should pray.
    5. Christians nearing death get comfort by Christ's death for them.
    (Adapted from Barnes 9.119, 120).



    1. All ought to be teachers.
    2. Some not sufficiently grounded to discern good and evil.
    a. Have no program of diligent Bible study.
    b. Their teachers persist in "milk-toast" lessons.
    (Adapted from Barnes 9.119, 120).


[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, ESB, KJV, RSV and occasionally another version. Greek transliteration tends to follow the BibleSoft method.
[ 2 ] PAS ARCHIEREUS, for every high priest (Marshall 862; Williams; Lenski 154); every Levitical high priest (Vincent 4.432); high priest, president of the Sanhedrin (Arndt 112).
[ 3 ]In Scripture, the most holy place is sometimes called the "most holy place" (1Ki 6:19; 8:6; 1Ch 6:49), the "holy of holies" (see Ex 26:33; 2Ch 3:8; 4:22; Heb 9:3) and even the "holy place" (Heb 9:12, 24, 25). The furnishings of it are termed "things that are most holy" (Eze 44:13).
[ 4 ]"Sacerdotal" describes anything that relates to priests or to the priesthood.
[ 5 ]Except in the sense that all Christians are priests (see 1Pe 2:5; Re 1:6; 5:10; 20:6)
[ 6 ]EX ANTHROOPOON LAMBANOMENOS, out of men being taken (Marshall 862); being taken, or since is taken: not who is taken (Vincent 4.432); who is chosen from among men (Arndt 464); taken, that is, chosen, selected (Thayer 371); who is taken from men (Williams); taken from among men (Lenski 154); although no priests were females, ANTHROOPOON is human beings. The word does not mean males exclusively.
[ 7 ]KATHISTATAI, is appointed in (Marshall 862); [a strengthened form of HISTEEMI to make to stand, to appoint], usually signifies to appoint a person to a position. In this sense the verb is often translated to make or to set, in appointing a person to a place of authority . . . it is used of the priests of old (Vine 59); constituted priest (Vincent 4.432); is appointed in relation to God, brought (Arndt 390); is appointed (Williams; Lenski 154).
[ 8 ]HUPER ANTHROOPOON, on behalf of men (Marshall 852; Williams); on behalf of men (Vincent 4.432); [to act] on behalf of men (Arndt 390); for the benefit of men (Lenski 154).
[ 9 ]TA PROS TON THEON, the things in regard to God (Marshall 862); as respects his relation to God (Vincent 4.432); in matters relating to God (Williams); with reference to the things pertaining to God (Lenski 154).
[ 10 ]HINA PROSPHEREE, in order that he may offer (Marshall 862); literally, to bring to [the altar] (Vincent 4.432); of offerings under, or according to, the Law (Vine 802); bring, offer, present of offerings, gifts, etc. (Arndt 719); that is, to offer (Williams); to offer (Lenski 154).
[ 11 ]DOORA TE, gifts both (Marshall 862); offerings generally (Vincent 4.432); of gifts offered to God (Vine 476); bring his offerings (Arndt 211); gifts (Williams); both gifts (Lenski 154).
[ 12 ] KAI THUSIAS, and sacrifices (Marshall 862; Lenski 154); bloody sacrifices (Vincent 4.432); sacrifices, offerings (Arndt 366); of animal or other sacrifices, as offered under the Law (Vine 985); and sin offerings (Williams).
[ 13 ]HUPER HAMARTIOON, on behalf of sins (Marshall 862); in this the priest's efficiency is especially called out, and he who has not genuine compassion for the sinful cannot do this efficiently (Vincent 4.432); in order to atone for [the] sins or to remove them (Arndt 838); sin-offerings (Williams); in behalf of sins (Lenski 154).
[ 14 ]METRIOPATHEIN, to feel in the measure (Marshall 862); originally of the rational regulation of the natural passions, as opposed to the Stoic APATHEIA, which involved the crushing out of the passions . . . signifies to be moderate or tender in judgment toward another's errors. Here it denotes a state of feeling toward the ignorant and erring which is neither too severe nor too tolerant. The high priest must not be betrayed into irritation at sin and ignorance, neither must he be weakly indulgent (Vincent 4.432, 433); moderate one's feelings, deal gently, with dative of the person . . . deal gently with the sinners (Arndt 515); treat with mildness, or moderation, to bear gently with [METRIOS moderate, PASCHOO to suffer]. The idea is of not being unduly disturbed by the faults and ignorance of others; or rather perhaps of feeling in some measure, in contrast to the full feeling with expressed in the verb SUMPATHEOO in Hebrews 4:15, with reference to Christ as the High Priest (Vine 94); such a one [implied] is capable of dealing tenderly (Williams); as able to be moderate (Lenski 154).
[ 15 ] TOIS AGNOOUSIN, for the ones not knowing (Marshall 862); a difference is pointed out between sins of ignorance and sins of presumption (Vincent 4.433); signifies to be ignorant, not to know . . . [used] intransitively (Vine 576); do wrong, sin in ignorance (Arndt 11); with the ignorant (Williams); with the ignorant (Lenski 154).
[ 16 ]KAI PLANOOMENOIS, and being led astray (Marshall 862); [PLANEE, a wandering; compare English planet], in the passive voice, to be led astray, to err (Vine 369); metaphorically, to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive . . . especially through ignorance to be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sin (Thayer 514); and erring ones (Williams); and erring (Lenski 154).
[ 17 ]EPEI KAI AUTOS PERIKEITAI ASTHENEIAN, since also he is set round with weakness (Marshall 862, 863); has infirmity lying round him . . . ASTHENIAN, the moral weakness which makes men capable of sin (Vincent 4.433); was subject to weakness; [Christ] was crucified as a result of his weakness [his weak nature] (Arndt 115; 648); since he himself is subject to weakness (Williams); since also he himself is encompassed with weakness (Lenski 154).
[ 18 ]OPHEILEI, he ought (Marshall 863); it is his duty, growing out of the fact of his own infirmity (Vincent 4.433); and so is obliged (Williams); and for this reason is obliged (Lenski 154).
[ 19 ] KATHOS PERI TOU LAOU, as concerning the people (Marshall 863); according as, just as, even as on account of, that is, for, for the benefit or advantage of the people of [Israel] as distinguished from the priests (Thayer 314, 372, 501); not only for the people (Williams); as for the people (Lenski 154).
[ 20 ] HOUTOOS KAI PERI HEAUTOU, so also concerning himself (Marshall 863); HOUTOOS KAI in comparison stands antithetic to [the] adverb or relative pronoun, in the manner spoken of; in the way described; in the way it was done; in this manner; in such a manner; thus, so, of himself (Thayer 87, 468); but for himself as well (Williams); so also for himself (Lenski 154).
[ 21 ]PROSPHEREIN PERI HAMARTIOON, to offer concerning sins (Marshall 863); primarily, to bring to [PROS to, PHEROO to bring], also denotes to offer . . . offerings under, or according to, the Law (Vine 802); to offer sin-offerings (Williams); to make offering for sins (Lenski 154).
[ 22 ]ALLA KALOUMENOS HUPO TOU THEOU, but being called by God (Marshall 863); Received Text HO KALOUMENOS, but being called by God [he taketh it], as did Aaron (Vincent 4.433); of the call to an office by God (Arndt 400); of God appointing or committing an office to one (Thayer 321); but is called to it by God (Williams); but as called by God (Lenski 158).
[ 23 ]After the high priest Onias III was deposed in 174 BC, Jason and later Menelaus were appointed to the high priesthood by Antiochus IV (also called Epiphanes). Antiochus IV was the Seleucid ruler who had a pig sacrificed on the altar in Jerusalem. He also forbade circumcision and destroyed all the OT books he could find. Alcimus was appointed by Demetrius I, king of Syria, in 162 BC. The Hasmonaean Jonathan (a Maccabbean Jew who opposed Antiochus) was appointed in 152 BC by Alexander Balas, supposed son of Antiochus IV. His brother Simon and his successors were appointed by decree of the Jewish people in 140 BC (1Macc 14:41). These high priests, though appointed by people who had no right to do so, were still descendants of Aaron. With the fall of the Hasmonaean house, the high priests were appointed successively by Herod the Great (37-4 BC), Archelaus (4 BC-AD 6), Roman governors (AD 6-41), and members of the Herod family (AD 41-66) and others.
[ 24 ]Bruce 92.
[ 25 ]HOUTOOS KAI HO CHRISTOS OUCH HEAUTON EDOXASEN, so also Christ not himself glorified (Marshall 863); glorified is general, and is more specifically defined by GENETHENAI ARCHIEREA to be made high priest (Vincent 4.433); so Christ too did not take upon Himself the glory (Williams); thus also Christ did not glorify himself (Lenski 158).
[ 26 ]GENEETHEENAI ARCHIEREA, to become a high priest (Marshall 863); he did not exalt himself to be made high priest (Arndt 159); of being appointed High Priest (Williams); to become High Priest (Lenski 158).
[ 27 ]ALL' HO LALEESAS PROS AUTON, but the one speaking to him (Marshall 863); supply glorified him. He did not glorify himself, but God who styled him "son" glorified him (Vincent 4.434); but it was God who said (Williams); but the One who said to him (Lenski 158).
[ 28 ]HUIOS MOU EI SU, Son of me art thou (Marshall 863); Thou art my Son is introduced thus in close connection with the call to the priesthood, in recognition of the fact that the priesthood of Christ had its basis in his sonship (Vincent 4.434); You are my Son (Williams); Son of mine art thou (Lenski 158).
[ 29 ]Cohen 143.
[ 30 ]SU HIEREUS EIS TON AIOONA, Thou art a priest unto the age (Marshall 863); an eternal priest, independent of fleshly descent (Vincent 4.434); for ever (Thayer 19; see Arndt 28; Vine 373); You are a priest forever (Williams); Thou a priest for the eon (Lenski 158).
[ 31 ]Those who entered the service to do the work in the tent of meeting had to be at least thirty years of age (Nu 4:3; compare Nu 4:23, 30, 35).
[ 32 ]KATA TEEN TAXIN MELCHISEDEK, according to the order of Melchisedec (Marshall 863; Lenski 158); according to the rank which Melchizedek held. Almost=like (Vincent 4.434); after the manner of the priesthood of Melchizedek (Thayer 614); see notes on verse 10; Heb 6:20; 7:11, 17, 21); belonging to the rank of Melchizedek (Williams).
[ 33 ]Barnes 9.112.
[ 34 ]Hebrew COHANIM priests (compare 1Ch 18:17). It is possible the word is used here in its earlier and secondary meaning: rulers.
[ 35 ]HOS, who (Marshall 863); nominative to EMATHEN learned, verse 8, to which all the participles are preparatory (Vincent 4.434); HOS is not the relative, but the personal pronoun, and denotes Christ, who is mentioned [in] verse 5 (Macknight 528); he who (Lenski 161).
[ 36 ]EN TAIS HEEMERAIS TEES SARKOS AUTOU, in the days of the flesh of him (Marshall 863); during his mortal life (Vincent 4.434); during His human life [in the days of His flesh] (Williams); in the days of his flesh (Lenski 161).
[ 37 ]DEEESEIS TE . . . PROSENENKAS, petitions both . . . offering (Marshall 863); from DEOMAI to want, to need (Barnes 9.113); contextually, of prayers imploring God's aid in some particular matter (Thayer 126); special, definite requests (Vincent 4.434); He offered up prayers (Williams); having brought petitions (Lenski 161).
[ 38 ]KAI HIKETEERIAS, and entreaties (Marshall 863; Williams); [HIKETEERIAS is] an adjective, pertaining to or fit for suppliants, with RHABDOUS staves or ELAIAS olive-branches understood (Vincent 4.434); plural, supplications (Thayer 301); originally the feminine of the adjective HIKETEERIOS, and such a substantive as ELAIA or RHABDOS [rod, walking stick] is implied along with it, the olive branch being the regular token of supplication. Greek words for olive tree and olive branch are ELAIA and HIKETEERIOS. Supplicants approached the one whose aid they would implore holding an olive-branch entwined with white wool and fillets, to signify that they came as suppliants (Thayer 301); and supplications (Lenski 161); from the discussion about the olive branch, one must not to conclude that Jesus used such, nor are branches necessary for others to offer supplications to God. Any earnest, humble plea is a supplication.
[ 39 ]META KRAUGEES ISCHURAS, with crying strong (Marshall 863); of the wailing of [one] in distress, forcibly uttered (Thayer 309, 359); crying aloud (Williams); with strong crying (Lenski 161).
[ 40 ]Could one of the prayers have been the "loud cry" just before He breathed His last (see Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37; but compare Lu 23:46; Joh 19:30)?
[ 41 ]KAI DAKRUOON, and tears (Marshall 863; Lenski 161); [akin to DAKRUOO to weep] (Vine 1124); tears (Thayer 124); with tears (Williams).
[ 42 ]PROS TON DUNAMENON SOOZEIN AUTON EK THANATOU, to the one being able to save him out of death (Marshall 863); construct with prayers and supplications, not with offered. To save him from death may mean to deliver him from the fear of death, from the anguish of death, or from remaining a prey to death (Vincent 4.435); who was always able to save Him out of death (Williams); to him who is able to save him from death (Lenski 161).
[ 43 ]Westcott points out that EK THANATOU may mean either "out of the midst of the death state" (after having entered into it) or "from death" (in the sense that He prayed that He might not die).
[ 44 ]Was there a possibility that Jesus would die or be killed in the garden of Gethsemane (see Mt 26:38; Mk 14:34; Joh 12:27)? Was the purpose of the angel strengthening Him to prevent His death right then and there (see Lu 22:43)? Would Satan have liked anything better than to cause to be unfulfilled the prediction about His being "lifted up" [on the cross] (see Joh 12:32, 33)?
[ 45 ]KAI EISAKOUSTHEIS, and being heard (Marshall 863); [EIS to, AKOUOO, to hear], was heard so as to answer, of God's answer to prayer (Vine 535); His prayer was heard (Williams); and having been heard (Lenski 161).
[ 46 ]Some manuscripts do not contain Luke 22:43, 44.
[ 47 ]APO TEES EULABEIAS, from [for] the [his] devoutness (Marshall 863); signifies, firstly, caution; then, reverence, godly fear (Vine 415); fear here means fear of God. Compare "God-fearing men," Acts 2:5. The sentiment corresponds remarkably with that of Hebrews 12:5-11 (Howson 862); on account of his godly fear (Vincent 4.435); reverent awe in the presence of God, fear of God (Arndt 321; because of His beautiful spirit of worship (Williams); for his godly fear (Lenski 161); see this word discussed in note on Hebrews 12:28).
[ 48 ]See Acts 2:23.
[ 49 ]KAIPER OON HUIOS, though being a Son (Marshall 863); Son though he was (Bruce 93); for were render was. Connect with EMATHEN learned, not with the preceding clause (Vincent 4.434); although He was a Son (Williams); though being [the] Son (Lenski 161).
[ 50 ]"Though He was a Son" is called a concessive clause in Greek. That is, it denotes some fact considered likely to prevent the occurrence of whatever action is expressed by the verb (Nunn 246).
[ 51 ]EMATHEN TEEN HUKAKOEEN, he learned obedience (Marshall 863); omit he, since the subject of EMATHEN learned is HOS who, verse 7 (Vincent 4.436); refers to His delighted experience in constant obedience to the Father's will [not to be understood in the sense that He learned to obey] (Vine 796); He learned how to obey (Williams); learned the obedience (Lenski 161).
[ 52 ]Although John was baptizing for the remission of sins, the sinless Son of God submitted to it in obedience. Humans learn obedience by chastisement for their errors. Jesus was without sin, yet He submitted to learning obedience by suffering. He also spoke of His suffering as "the baptism with which I am baptized" (Mk 10:39; compare Lu 12:50). He also submitted to that in order to fulfill the will of God.
[ 53 ]APH' HOON EPATHEN, from [the] things which he suffered (Marshall 863); including both sufferings at the hands of men [and] His expiatory and vicarious sacrifice for sin (Vine 1103); note the play on words in the Greek EMATHEN/EPATHEN, learned/suffered. The rhyming words in the Greek EMATHEN/EPATHEN [like our "no pain, no gain"] have given occasion for several secular writers in Greek to speak of learning and suffering together (examples are found in the writings of Aeschylus, Philo and others); from what He suffered (Williams; Lenski 161).
[ 54 ]Coffman 111.
[ 55 ]KAI TELEIOOTHEIS, and being perfected (Marshall 863); the fundamental idea in TELEIOUN is the bringing of a person or thing to the goal fixed by God (Vincent 4.436); to make Him perfect, legally and officially, for all that He would be to His people on the ground of His sacrifice (Vine 846); and because He was perfectly qualified for it (Williams); and having been made complete (Lenski 161).
[ 56 ]Non-biblical writers have borrowed this idea. For example, Eusebius wrote of Marinus who was martyred, "having been led off to death, he was perfected" (cited by Bruce 105).
[ 57 ]Luke 9:51-53.
[ 58 ]Some translations render the phrase "until death" (see NASB, NAU, NKJV).
[ 59 ]EGENETO, he became (Marshall 863; Williams); became (Machen 552, 553; Lenski 161).
[ 60 ]PASIN TOIS HUPAKOUOUSIN AUTOO, to all the [ones] obeying him (Marshall 863); listen, attend [as in Ac 12:13], and so, submit, obey, used of obedience to God (Vine 796); if the captain of salvation must learn obedience, so must His followers (Vincent 4.437); for all who obey Him [the whole process of deliverance from sin to maturity in heaven, so conditioned on obedience; not in conflict with Paul's teaching, saved by faith] (Williams); for all those obeying him (Lenski 161; see note on And on those who do not obey the gospel at 2Th 1:8).
[ 61 ]AITIOS SOOTERIAS AIOONIOU, [the] cause salvation of eternal (Marshall 863); AITIOS, [compare AITIA a cause], describes Christ as the "Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him," signifying that Christ exalted and glorified as our High Priest, on the ground of His finished work on earth, has become the Personal mediating cause [ASV margin] of eternal salvation. It is difficult to find an adequate English equivalent to express the meaning here. Christ is not the merely formal cause of our salvation. He is the concrete and active cause of it. He has not merely caused or effected it, He is, as His Name, "Jesus," implies, our salvation itself, Lu 2:30; 3:6 (Vine 80); an adjective, causing (Vincent 4.436); the procuring cause of salvation (Barnes 9.116); the author of endless salvation (Williams); [the] cause of eternal salvation (Lenski 161).
[ 62 ]Bruce 105.
[ 63 ]PROSAGOREUTHEIS HUPO TOU THEOU, being designated by God (Marshall 863); since he was addressed or saluted by God (Vincent 4.437); primarily denotes to address, greet, salute; hence, to call by name . . . expressing the formal ascription of the title to Him whose it is; "called" does not adequately express the significance. Some suggest the meaning `addressed,' but this is doubtful (Vine 773); addressed by Him, or greeted by Him (Barnes 9.116); since He had received from God the title (Williams); designated by God (Lenski 161).
[ 64 ]Evidence that Psalm 110 refers to the Messiah follows: (1) It is a Psalm of David, and yet is spoken of one who was superior to Him, and whom He calls His "Lord" (verse 1). (2) It cannot be referred to Jehovah Himself, for He is expressly distinguished from Him who is here addressed (verse 1). (3) It cannot be referred to any one in the time of David, for there was no one to whom he would attribute this character of superiority but God. (4) For the same reason there was no one among his posterity, except the Messiah, to whom he would apply this language. (5) It is expressly ascribed by the Lord Jesus to Himself (Mt 22:43, 44). (6) The scope of the Psalm is such as to be applicable to the Messiah, and there is no part of it which would be inconsistent with such a reference (Barnes 9.112).
[ 65 ]KATA TEEN TAXIN MELCHISEDEK, according to the order of Melchisedec (Marshall 863; Lenski 161); after the manner of the priesthood of Melchizedek (Thayer 614); with the rank of Melchizedek (Williams); of the Divinely appointed character or nature of a priesthood, of Melchizedek, as fore-shadowing that of Christ (Vine 817; see notes on verse 6; Heb 6:20; 7:11, 17).
[ 66 ]Some Jews held there were two Messiahs: (1) the Messiah of Israel or the prince of the house of David, and (2) the priestly "Aaronic" Messiah. This distinction is seen in the Qumran literature (for example, 1QS 9.11); compare A. S. van der Woude, Die messianischen Vortellungen der Gemeinde von Qumran (Assen, 1957), passim; K. G. Kuhn, "The Two Messiahs of Aaron and Israel," The Scrolls and the New Testament, edited by K. Stendahl (London, 1958), pages 54 and following; F. F. Bruce, Biblical Exegesis in the Qumran Texts (London, 1960), pages 41 and following (Bruce 94).
[ 67 ]I am aware of the RSV rendering of Zechariah 6:13, "there shall be a priest by his throne," but see the preferable ASV and NASB. The argument that "the counsel of peace shall be between them both" requires two separate persons is fallacious. The NASB makes the meaning clear with "the counsel of peace will be between the two offices."
[ 68 ]I am aware that there has been a feeble and unsuccessful effort to associate Jesus with the tribe of Levi because His aunt Elizabeth, John the Baptist's mother, was of that tribe.
[ 69 ]PERI HOU,

concerning whom (Marshall 864); concerning which, not Melchizedek, but the topic that Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, a topic to which great importance is attached (Vincent 4.437); about Him [or, about it (this topic)] (Williams); regarding whom (Lenski 169).

[ 70 ]Bruce 107.
[ 71 ]POLUS HEEMIN HO LOGOS LEGEIN, much to us the word=we have much to say (Marshall 864); literally, the discourse is abundant unto us (Vincent 4.437); I have much to say to you (Williams); there is much for us to say (Lenski 169).
[ 72 ]DUSERMEENEUTOS LEGEIN, hard to interpret (Marshall 864); literally, hard of interpretation to speak (Vincent 4.437); but it is difficult to make it clear to you (Williams); and it is made difficult to expound in saying it to you (Lenski 169).
[ 73 ]EPEI NOOTHROI GEGONATE TAIS AKOAIS, since dull ye have become in the hearings (Marshall 864); [NOOTHROI from NEE not, OOTHEIN to push; hence, slow, sluggish] ye have grown dull in your hearing (Vincent 4.437); slow, sluggish, indolent, dull [the etymology is uncertain], (Vine 335); sluggish in hearing=hard of hearing (Arndt 547); since you have become so dull in your spiritual senses (Williams); slow, sluggish, indolent, dull, languid (Thayer 431; see note on Heb 6:12); since you have become sluggish as regards hearing (Lenski 169).
[ 74 ]KAI GAR . . . DIA TON CHRONON, for indeed . . . because of the time (Marshall 864); by reason of the time (Vincent 4.438); literally, because of the time, that is, the length of time elapsed since your conversion (Howson 862); for . . . because you have been Christians so long (Williams); and, indeed, when, due to the length of time (Lenski 171).
[ 75 ]OPHEILONTES EINAI DIDASKALOI, owing to be teachers (Marshall 864); [OPHEILOO to owe] (Vine 820); to be under obligation, bound by duty or necessity, to do something; it behooves one; one ought; used thus of a necessity imposed either by law and duty, or by reason, or by the times, or by the nature of the matter under consideration . . . denoting obligation in its special and personal aspects (Thayer 460); you ought to be teachers of others (Williams); ought to be teachers (Lenski 171).
[ 76 ]I doubt there is any validity to the argument that the book of Hebrews was written to the converted priests (see Ac 6:7). Not only converted priests but all Christians should endeavor to become teachers.
[ 77 ]PALIN CHREIAN ECHETE TOU DIDASKEIN HUMAS TINA, again need ye have to teach you someone (Marshall 864); again need ye have to teach you someone (Marshall 864); PALIN [again] not with teach you, as KJV, but with ye have need. The position of the word is emphatic. Again ye have need; TINA, the KJV takes the pronoun as interrogative. Better indefinite as subject of DIDASKEIN teach. Render "ye have need that some one teach you" (Vincent 4.438); here TINA is not the nominative plural, as our translators supposed, but the accusative, governed by TOU DIDASKEIN [teach you]. Wherefore, the literal translation of the clause is, "teach you certain elements of the beginning of the oracles of God" (Macknight 530); you actually need someone to teach you over and over again (Williams); you again have need that someone teach you (Lenski 171).
[ 78 ]TA STOICHEIA TEES ARCHEES, the rudiments of the beginning (Marshall 864); of a row or series (Vine 978); literally, the rudiments of, the very rudiments of divine truth (Vincent 4.438); the very elements (Williams); the elements of the beginning (Lenski 171).
[ 79 ]TOON LOGIOON TOU THEOU, of the oracles of God (Marshall 864); a diminutive of LOGOS, a word, narrative, statement, denotes a Divine response or utterance, an oracle . . . used of the substance of Christian doctrine (Vine 818); LOGOIN is diminutive, meaning strictly a brief utterance, the beginning of the oracles (Vincent 4.438); of the truths that God has given us (Williams); of the sayings of God (Lenski 171).
[ 80 ]KAI GEGONATE, and ye have become (Marshall 864); as in verse 11, implying degeneracy (Vincent 4.439); the word rendered "are become"--GINOMAI--sometimes implies a change of state, or a passing from state to another--well expressed by the phrase "are become" (Barnes 9.117; see usage in Mt 4:3; 5:45; 10:25; 13:32; Mk 1:17); and you have gotten into such a state (Williams); and have come (Lenski 171).
[ 81 ]CHREIAN ECHONTES GALAKTOS, need having of milk (Marshall 864); of rudimentary teaching (Vine 392); answering to rudiments (Vincent 4.439); metaphorically, of the less difficult truths of the Christian religion (Thayer 108); milk . . . figuratively, of elementary Christian instruction (Arndt 149); that you are in constant need of milk (Williams); to have need of milk (Lenski 171).
[ 82 ][KAI] OU STEREAS TROPHEES, not of solid food (Marshall 864); literally solid meat (Vincent 4.439); as solid food requires more powerful digestive organs than are possessed by a babe, so a fuller knowledge of Christ [especially here with reference to His Melchizedek priesthood] required that exercise of spiritual intelligence which is derived from the practical appropriation of what had already been received (Vine 1059); instead of solid food (Williams); and not of solid food (Lenski 171).
[ 83 ]PAS GAR HO METECHOON GALAKTOS, every For one partaking of milk [META with, ECHOO to have], [used] metaphorically of receiving elementary or rudimentary spiritual teaching (Vine 740, 834); partakes of (Vincent 4.439); for everyone who uses milk alone (Williams); for everyone partaking of milk (Lenski 172).
[ 84 ]APEIROS, [is] without experience (Marshall 864); [A negative, PEIRA a trial, experiment], without experience, unskillful, with reference to the "word of righteousness" (Vine 392); unskilled or inexperienced (Vincent 4.439); is inexperienced (Williams; Lenski 172).
[ 85 ]LOGOU DIKAIOSUNEES, of [the] word of righteousness (Marshall 864); it is a mistake to attempt to give the phrase here a concrete meaning. It signifies simply a word of normally right character. It is not=the Christian revelation, which would require the article (Vincent 4.439); probably the gospel, and the Scriptures as containing the gospel, wherein is declared the righteousness of God in all its aspects (Vine 970); in the message of right-doing (Williams); in right discussion (Lenski 172).
[ 86 ]NEEPIOS GAR ESTIN, for an infant he is (Marshall 864); literally, "without the power of speech," denotes a little child, the literal meaning having been lost in the general use of the word . . . those who re so to speak partakers of milk, and "without experience of the word of righteousness," (Vine 85); he is only an infant (Williams); for he is a child (Lenski 172).
[ 87 ]TELEIOON DE ESTIN HEE STEREA TROPHEE, but of mature men is the solid food (Marshall 864); solid food is for full-grown men (Vincent 4.440); but solid food belongs to fullgrown men (Williams); but solid food belongs to mature persons (Lenski 172); see note on verse 12.
[ 88 ]DIA TEEN HEXIN, because of the[ir] condition (Marshall 864); [akin to ECHOO to have], denotes habit, experience, "use" (Vine 1190); habitude, the condition produced by past exercise, not the process, but the result (Vincent 4.440); who on account of constant use (Williams); who by reason of their condition (Lenski 172).
[ 89 ]TA AISTHEETEERIA, the[ir] faculties (Marshall 864); organs of perception; perceptive faculties of the mind (Vincent 4.440); senses, the faculties of perception, the organs of sense [akin to AISTHANOMAI to perceive], "senses," the capacities for spiritual apprehension (Vine 1017); have their faculties (Williams); their senses (Lenski 172); compare Jeremiah 4:19 Septuagint, "I am pained . . . in the sensitive powers of my heart."
[ 90 ]GEGUMNASMENA, having been exercised (Marshall 864); primarily signifies to exercise naked [from GUMNOS naked], then, generally, to exercise, to train the body or mind [English gymnastic], of the senses, so as to discern good and evil (Vine 389); trained (Williams; Lenski 172).
[ 91 ]ECHONTOON PROS DIAKRISIN KALOU TE KAI KAKOU, having for distinction of good both and of bad (Marshall 864); not moral good and evil, but wholesome and corrupt doctrine (Vincent 4.440); the phrase consisting of PROS, with this noun [DIAKRISIN a distinguishing], literally, "towards a discerning," is translated "to discern," said of those who are capable of discriminating between good and evil (Vine 307); to distinguish good and evil (Williams); for discrimination of both what is excellent and what is bad (Lenski 172).
[ 92 ]Pragmatism is a philosophy founded by C. S. Pierce and William James. They taught that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical results of belief. In religion, this often means that anything that works or produces desired results should be adopted. Extreme pragmatism allows the doing of evil that good may come, a practice condemned by the apostle Paul (see note on Ro 3:8).

Copyright ©2004, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise, are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.

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