The Meaning of Hebrews 12:14 Explained

Hebrews 12:14

KJV: Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

YLT: peace pursue with all, and the separation, apart from which no one shall see the Lord,

Darby: Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord:

ASV: Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord:

What does Hebrews 12:14 Mean?

Verse Meaning

We need to live peaceably with all people as much as we can (cf. Matthew 5:9; Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18; Romans 14:19) because peaceful interpersonal relationships foster godliness ( James 3:18). However this writer"s emphasis was more on the objective reality that results from Christ"s death than on our subjective enjoyment of peace. Since we will one day see the Lord, and since no sin can abide in His presence ( 1 John 3:2), we must pursue holiness in our lives now. A better translation than "sanctification" here is "holiness" (Gr. hagiasmos; cf. hagiatetos in Hebrews 12:10, and hagiasomenoi in Hebrews 10:10). In Koine Greek, nouns ending in mos in the nominative case describe action. As with peace, holiness is our present state, and we need to continue to manifest it by remaining faithful when tempted to depart from the Lord.
This statement may seem at first to contradict the fact that Satan saw God and appeared in His presence in Job 1 , 2. While Satan did and probably still does have access to God"s presence, that will not be his permanent privilege. The writer of Hebrews spoke here of the permanent privilege of human beings.

Context Summary

Hebrews 12:9-17 - Endure Chastening Seek Holiness
If we are God's children, we will not look on suffering as a punishment. Chastening it may be, but not the penalty of sin. It is administered by our Father. Don't look at the intermediary links in the chain, but remember that Satan could not go beyond the Father's limit in the case of Balaam or Job. See Numbers 22:31; Job 2:6. It is only for the present; it will soon be over; it is intended to free us of dross and is therefore to profit; it will yield peace, and righteousness, and true holiness. Look on and up-the harvest will repay.
We are bidden, Hebrews 12:14-17, to watch each other's interests and to stay the first speck of corruption in the fruit, lest it spread. The corrupt soul infects all in its neighborhood. There are irrevocable acts in life. We cannot undo them, but we may be forgiven. Esau received all that this world could give and became a prince, but he never got back his spiritual leadership. [source]

Chapter Summary: Hebrews 12

1  An exhortation to constant faith, patience, and godliness by Christ's example
22  A commendation of the new covenant

Greek Commentary for Hebrews 12:14

Follow after peace [ειρηνην διωκετε]
Give peace a chase as if in a hunt. With all men Like Paul‘s use of διωκω — diōkō with ειρηνην — eirēnēn in Romans 14:19 and his to εχ υμων — ex humōn (so far as proceeds from you) in Hebrews 12:18. This lesson the whole world needs including Christians. Sanctification Consecration as in 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Romans 6:19, etc. Without which Ablative case of the relative with χωρις — chōris (post positive here). About seeing God compare Matthew 5:8 where we have καταροι — katharoi f0). [source]
Follow peace [εἰρήνην διώκετε]
Comp. lxx, Romans href="/desk/?q=ro+14:19&sr=1">Romans 14:19; 1 Peter 3:11. The verb is used of the pursuit of moral and spiritual ends, Romans 9:30, Romans 9:31; Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 14:1; Philemon 3:12, Philemon 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22. [source]
Holiness [ἁγιασμόν]
See on Romans 6:19. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Hebrews 12:14

Matthew 5:8 Shall see God [τον τεον οπσονται]
Without holiness no man will see the Lord in heaven (Hebrews 12:14). The Beatific Vision is only possible here on earth to those with pure hearts. No other can see the King now. Sin befogs and beclouds the heart so that one cannot see God. Purity has here its widest sense and includes everything. [source]
Romans 6:19 Holiness [ἁγιασμόν]
Rev., sanctification. For the kindred adjective ἅγιος holysee on saints, Acts 26:10. Ἁγιασμός is used in the New Testament both of a process - the inauguration and maintenance of the life of fellowship with God, and of the resultant state of sanctification. See 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 12:14. It is difficult to determine which is meant here. The passages in Thessalonians, Timothy, and Hebrews, are cited by interpreters on both sides. As in Romans 6:22it appears that sanctification contemplates a further result (everlasting life), it is perhaps better to understand it as the process. Yield your members to righteousness in order to carry on the progressive work of sanctification, perfecting holiness (1 Corinthians 7:1). [source]
Romans 12:13 Given to hospitality [φιλοξενίαν διώκοντες]
Lit., pursuing hospitality. For a similar use of the verb compare 1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 3:11. A necessary injunction when so many Christians were banished and persecuted. The verb indicates not only that hospitality is to be furnished when sought, but that Christians are to seek opportunities of exercising it. [source]
2 Timothy 2:22 Peace [εἰρήνην]
Not a distinct virtue in the list, but a consequence of the pursuit of the virtues enumerated. Const. with with them that call, etc. For peace with διώκειν pursuesee Romans 14:19; Hebrews 12:14, and Psalm 34:14, cit. 1 Peter 3:11. [source]
Hebrews 1:2 In these last times [ἐπ ' ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων]
Lit. at the last of these days. The exact phrase only here; but comp 1 Peter 1:20and Judges 1:18. lxx, ἐπ ' ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν atthe last of the days, Numbers 24:14; Deuteronomy 4:30; Jeremiah 23:20; Jeremiah 25:18; Daniel 10:14. The writer conceives the history of the world in its relation to divine revelation as falling into two great periods. The first he calls αἱ ἡμέραι αὗται thesedays (Hebrews 1:2), and ὀ καιρὸς ὁ ἐνεστηκώς thepresent season (Hebrews 9:9). The second he describes as καιρὸς διορθώσεως theseason of reformation (Hebrews 9:10), which is ὀ καιρὸς ὁ μέλλων theseason to come: comp. ἡ οἰκουμένη ἡ μέλλουσα theworld to come (Hebrews 2:5); μέλλων αἰών theage to come (Hebrews 6:5); πόλις ἡ μέλλουσα thecity to come (Hebrews 12:14). The first period is the period of the old covenant; the second that of the new covenant. The second period does not begin with Christ's first appearing. His appearing and public ministry are at the end of the first period but still within it. The dividing-point between the two periods is the συντέλεια τοῦ αἰῶνος theconsummation of the age, mentioned in Hebrews 9:26. This does not mean the same thing as at the last of these days (Hebrews 1:2), which is the end of the first period denoted by these days, but the conclusion of the first and the beginning of the second period, at which Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. This is the end of the καιρὸς ἐνεστηκώς thepresent season: this is the limit of the validity of the old sacrificial offerings: this is the inauguration of the time of reformation. The phrase ἐπ ' ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων therefore signifies, in the last days of the first period, when Christ was speaking on earth, and before his crucifixion, which marked the beginning of the second period, the better age of the new covenant. [source]
James 3:14 Bitter jealousy [ζηλον πικρον]
ηλος — Zēlos occurs in N.T. in good sense (John 2:17) and bad sense (Acts 5:17). Pride of knowledge is evil (1 Corinthians 8:1) and leaves a bitter taste. See “root of bitterness” in Hebrews 12:14 (cf. Ephesians 4:31). This is a condition of the first class. [source]
1 Peter 1:2 In sanctification [ἐν ἁγιασμῷ]
Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:13. The spiritual state in which the being elected to salvation is realized. The word is peculiarly Pauline, occurring eight times in Paul's epistles, and besides only here and Hebrews 12:14. [source]
1 Peter 3:11 Let him turn away [εκκλινατω]
First aorist active imperative third person singular of εκκλινω — ekklinō where the lxx has εκκλινον — ekklinon (second person singular). Old verb, in N.T. only here, Romans 3:12; Romans 16:17. Peter adapted the passage all through to his own construction and use. So as to ποιησατω — poiēsatō (let him do) for ποιησον — poiēson (do thou), ζητησατω — zētēsatō (let him seek) for ζητησον — zētēson (do thou seek), διωχατω — diōxatō (let him pursue) for διωχον — diōxon (do thou pursue), all first aorist active imperatives (of ποιεω ζητεω διωκω — poieōzēteōdiōkō). See Hebrews 12:14 for “pursuing peace.” If men only did! [source]
Revelation 22:4 They shall see his face [οπσονται το προσωπον αυτου]
Future active of οραω — horaō This vision of God was withheld from Moses (Exodus 33:20, Exodus 33:23), but promised by Jesus to the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8) and mentioned in Hebrews 12:14 as possible only to the holy, and promised in Psalm 17:15. Even here on earth we can see God in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), but now in the New Jerusalem we can see Christ face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12), even as he is after we are made really like him (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2). It is anthropomorphic language, to be sure, but it touches the essential reality of religion. “The supreme felicity is reached, immediate presence with God and the Lamb” (Beckwith). [source]

What do the individual words in Hebrews 12:14 mean?

Peace pursue with all and - holiness which without no one will see the Lord
Εἰρήνην διώκετε μετὰ πάντων καὶ τὸν ἁγιασμόν οὗ χωρὶς οὐδεὶς ὄψεται τὸν Κύριον

Εἰρήνην  Peace 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Feminine Singular
Root: εἰρήνη  
Sense: a state of national tranquillity.
διώκετε  pursue 
Parse: Verb, Present Imperative Active, 2nd Person Plural
Root: διώκω  
Sense: to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away.
τὸν  - 
Parse: Article, Accusative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἁγιασμόν  holiness 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἁγιασμός  
Sense: consecration, purification.
χωρὶς  without 
Parse: Preposition
Root: χωρίς  
Sense: separate, apart.
οὐδεὶς  no  one 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: οὐδείς 
Sense: no one, nothing.
ὄψεται  will  see 
Parse: Verb, Future Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: εἶδον 
Sense: to see with the eyes.
Κύριον  Lord 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: κύριος  
Sense: he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord.