The Meaning of Hebrews 12:2 Explained

Hebrews 12:2

KJV: Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

YLT: looking to the author and perfecter of faith -- Jesus, who, over-against the joy set before him -- did endure a cross, shame having despised, on the right hand also of the throne of God did sit down;

Darby: looking stedfastly on Jesus the leader and completer of faith: who, in view of the joy lying before him, endured the cross, having despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

ASV: looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Discover Hebrews 12:2

What does Hebrews 12:2 Mean?

Study Notes

leader, or, originator. See margin ref., Hebrews 2:10 .
leader, or, originator, i.e. one who initiates and carries through. Trans. "author" in Hebrews 12:2 .

Context Summary

Hebrews 12:1-8 - Persistently Press Forward
In one of Raphael's pictures the clouds, when looked at minutely, are seen to be composed of little cherub-faces; and those who have already witnessed and suffered for God gather around us as a great cloud, like the crowded amphitheaters in the old Olympian games. We are still in the arena; probably every blow and sigh are beheld and heard by the general assembly and church of the firstborn. What an incentive to lay aside all "cumbrances"; that is, whatever in your life may be a hindrance, though hardly a sin! But above all, we must put away the sin of unbelief, which we can best do by looking unto Jesus.
The word our should certainly be eliminated in Hebrews 12:2. Jesus began and finished His life-career by the same faith-"the faith of the Son of God"-which each of His children has to exercise. The light beyond the Cross beckoned to Him and so enamored Him that he counted no cost too dear, if only He might realize the possibilities that gleamed before His vision, of an elect church and a transformed world. [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 12:2

Looking unto [απορωντες εις]
Present active participle of αποραω — aphoraō old verb to look away, “looking away to Jesus.” In N.T. only here and Philemon 2:23. Fix your eyes on Jesus, after a glance at “the cloud of witnesses,” for he is the goal. Cf. Moses in Hebrews 11:26 The author See Hebrews 2:10 for this word. “The pioneer of personal faith” (Moffatt). Perfecter A word apparently coined by the writer from τελειοω — teleioō as it has been found nowhere else. Vulgate has consummator. For the joy Answering to, in exchange for (Hebrews 12:16), at the end of the race lay the joy “set before him” The cross at his time brought only shame (most shameful of deaths, “yea, the death of the cross” Philemon 2:8). But Jesus despised that, in spite of the momentary shrinking from it, and did his Father‘s will by submitting to it. Hath sat down Perfect active indicative of κατιζω — kathizō and still is there (Hebrews 1:3). [source]
Looking [ἀφορῶντες]
Only here and Philemon 2:28. In lxx see 4Macc. 17:10. Looking away from everything which may distract. Comp. Philemon 3:13, Philemon 3:14, and ἀπέβλεπεν hehad respect, lit. looked away, Hebrews 11:26. Wetstein cites Arrian, Epictet. ii. 19,29: εἰς τὸν Θεὸν ἀφορῶντες ἐν παντὶ μικρῷ καὶ μεγάλῳ lookingaway unto God in everything small and great. [source]
Jesus []
Having presented a long catalogue of witnesses under the old covenant, he now presents Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and the supreme witness. See Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:14; 1 Timothy 6:13. [source]
The author and finisher of our faith [τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτὴν]
The A.V. is misleading, and narrows the scope of the passage. For author, rend. leader or captain, and see on Hebrews 2:10. For finisher, rend. perfecter. For our faith, rend. faith or the faith. Not our Christian faith, but faith absolutely, as exhibited in the whole range of believers from Abel to Christ. Christ cannot be called the author or originator of faith, since the faith here treated existed and worked before Christ. Christ is the leader or captain of faith, in that he is the perfecter of faith. In himself he furnished the perfect development, the supreme example of faith, and in virtue of this he is the leader of the whole believing host in all time. Notice the recurrence of the favorite idea of perfecting. Comp. Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 6:1; Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:19, Hebrews 7:28; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 11:40. Τελειωτής perfecterN.T.oolxx, oClass. [source]
For the joy that was set before him [ἀντὶ τῆς προκειμένης αὐτῷ χαρᾶς]
Ἁντὶ in its usual sense, in exchange for. Προκειμένης lyingbefore, present. The joy was the full, divine beatitude of his preincarnate life in the bosom of the Father; the glory which he had with God before the world was. In exchange for this he accepted the cross and the blame. The contrast is designed between the struggle which, for the present, is alone set before the readers (Hebrews 12:1), and the joy which was already present to Christ. The heroic character of his faith appears in his renouncing a joy already in possession in exchange for shame and death. The passage thus falls in with Philemon 2:6-8. [source]
The cross [σταυρὸν]
Comp. Philemon 2:8. olxx. Originally an upright stake or pale. Σταυροῦν todrive down a stake; to crucify. Comp. the use of ξύλον woodor tree for the cross, Acts 5:30; Acts 10:39; 1 Peter 2:24. See on Luke 23:31. [source]
The shame [αἰσχύνης]
Attendant upon a malefactor's death. [source]
Is set down, etc. []
See Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 1:13; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12. Notice the tenses: endured, aorist, completed: hath sat down, perfect, he remains seated and reigning. [source]

What do the individual words in Hebrews 12:2 mean?

looking to the of [our] faith founder and perfecter Jesus who in view of the lying before Him joy endured [the] cross [its] shame having despised at [the] right hand and of the throne - of God sat down
ἀφορῶντες εἰς τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτὴν Ἰησοῦν ὃς ἀντὶ τῆς προκειμένης αὐτῷ χαρᾶς ὑπέμεινεν σταυρὸν αἰσχύνης καταφρονήσας ἐν δεξιᾷ τε τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ Θεοῦ κεκάθικεν

ἀφορῶντες  looking 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἀφοράω  
Sense: to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.
τῆς  of  [our] 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
πίστεως  faith 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: πίστις  
Sense: conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it.
ἀρχηγὸν  founder 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: ἀρχηγός  
Sense: the chief leader, prince.
τελειωτὴν  perfecter 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: τελειωτής  
Sense: a perfector.
Ἰησοῦν  Jesus 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: Ἰησοῦς  
Sense: Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites, Moses’ successor.
ἀντὶ  in  view  of 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἀντί  
Sense: over against, opposite to, before.
προκειμένης  lying  before 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Middle or Passive, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: πρόκειμαι  
Sense: to lie or be placed before (a person or a thing) or in front of.
χαρᾶς  joy 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: χαρά  
Sense: joy, gladness.
ὑπέμεινεν  endured 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀπομένω 
Sense: to remain.
σταυρὸν  [the]  cross 
Parse: Noun, Accusative Masculine Singular
Root: σταυρός  
Sense: an upright stake, esp.
αἰσχύνης  [its]  shame 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: αἰσχύνη  
Sense: the confusion of one who is ashamed of anything, sense of shame.
καταφρονήσας  having  despised 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: καταφρονέω  
Sense: to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of.
ἐν  at 
Parse: Preposition
Root: ἐν 
Sense: in, by, with etc.
δεξιᾷ  [the]  right  hand 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Feminine Singular
Root: δεξιός  
Sense: the right, the right hand.
τοῦ  of  the 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
θρόνου  throne 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θρόνος  
Sense: a throne seat.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  of  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
κεκάθικεν  sat  down 
Parse: Verb, Perfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: καθίζω  
Sense: to make to sit down.

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