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Chapter 13:8 Jesus Christ the same, etc The connection of this verse is differently viewed, and also its meaning. Some connect it with the preceding verse thus, — “Jesus Christ is even the same in power, grace, and faithfulness; he supported your leaders and guides, who have completed their trials victoriously; he being still the same will support you.” Such is the view taken by Grotius, Doddridge, Macknight, Scott, and Stuart. Others, as Scholefield, Bloomfield, and some German divines, connect the verse with what follows in this sense, — “Jesus Christ is the same, therefore be ye the same, and be not carried about by divers and strange doctrines.”
But there is no need of this exclusive connection, as the verse appears connected with the preceding and the following verse. Those who adopt the first view seem to be wrong as to the main subject of the passage. What the Apostle exhorted the Hebrews to do was to follow the faith of their leaders who were gone to rest, and the contemplation of their happy and victorious end was introduced for the purpose of encouragement in following their faith. And that this is the particular and the chief point handled here is evident from the ninth verse, where this doctrine is as it were applied, “Be ye not carried about,” etc. Then the meaning of the whole passage may be given thus, — “Follow the faith of your departed guides; there is no change in it, Christ is ever the same in his mind, will, and purpose as to the faith: suffer not, therefore, yourselves to be led astray by various and strange doctrines, different from the faith of those who taught you and have attained a happy end.” Thus the passage appears consistent throughout and suitably connected, —
7. Remember your leaders, who have spoken to you the word of God, and contemplating the end of their life, follow their
8. faith: Jesus Christ, yesterday and today, is the same, and
9. will be for ever: Be not carried about by various and strange (new) doctrines; for it is good that the heart should be made firm by grace, not by meats, by which they have not profited who have been so occupied.
If the auxiliary verb be put in at all in the eighth verse, it ought to be put in twice. But the words may be rendered as a nominative case absolute, “Jesus Christ being the same yesterday, and today, and for ever;” as though he had said, “I exhort you to follow their faith, inasmuch as Jesus Christ, our teacher, mediator, and Savior never changes, but is ever the same.”
The MSS. are more in favor μὴ παραφέρεσθε, “Be ye not carried away,” than of μὴ περιφέρεσθε, “Be ye not carried about;” but as the latter verb is used on the same subject in Ephesians 4:14, it is better to adopt it here: the difference indeed is very trifling.
The passage, as thus explained, bears strongly against every innovation in the faith, in the doctrine of the Gospel, Christ its teacher being ever the same. There are to be no strange or new doctrines; for such is the meaning of strange here, that is, what is alien to the Gospel, and therefore new. And what are all the additions which have been made by the fathers, and especially by the Church of Rome, but various doctrines, foreign to the Gospel, which ever continues the same? Their variety is as great as their novelty. Christ was, is, and will ever be the same as teacher, mediator, and Savior; hence the faith, once delivered to the saints, must continue unchangeably the same.
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