World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
3. we—who have received the message of salvation so clearly delivered to us (compare Heb 12:25).
so great salvation—embodied in Jesus, whose very name means "salvation," including not only deliverance from foes and from death, and the grant of temporal blessings (which the law promised to the obedient), but also grace of the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, and the promise of heaven, glory, and eternal life (Heb 2:10).
which—"inasmuch as it is a salvation which began," &c.
spoken by the Lord—as the instrument of proclaiming it. Not as the law, spoken by the instrumentality of angels (Heb 2:2). Both law and Gospel came from God; the difference here referred to lay in the instrumentality by which each respectively was promulgated (compare Heb 2:5). Angels recognize Him as "the Lord" (Mt 28:6; Lu 2:11).
confirmed unto us—not by penalties, as the law was confirmed, but by spiritual gifts (Heb 2:4).
by them that heard him—(Compare Lu 1:2). Though Paul had a special and independent revelation of Christ (Ga 1:16, 17, 19), yet he classes himself with those Jews whom he addresses, "unto us"; for like them in many particulars (for example, the agony in Gethsemane, Heb 5:7), he was dependent for autoptic information on the twelve apostles. So the discourses of Jesus, for example, the Sermon on the Mount, and the first proclamation of the Gospel kingdom by the Lord (Mt 4:17), he could only know by the report of the Twelve: so the saying, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Ac 20:35). Paul mentions what they had heard, rather than what they had seen, conformably with what he began with, Heb 1:1, 2, "spake … spoken." Appropriately also in his Epistles to Gentiles, he dwells on his independent call to the apostleship of the Gentiles; in his Epistle to the Hebrews, he appeals to the apostles who had been long with the Lord (compare Ac 1:21; 10:41): so in his sermon to the Jews in Antioch of Pisidia (Ac 13:31); and "he only appeals to the testimony of these apostles in a general way, in order that he may bring the Hebrews to the Lord alone" [Bengel], not to become partisans of particular apostles, as Peter, the apostle of the circumcision, and James, the bishop of Jerusalem. This verse implies that the Hebrews of the churches of Palestine and Syria (or those of them dispersed in Asia Minor [Bengel], 1Pe 1:1, or in Alexandria) were primarily addressed in this Epistle; for of none so well could it be said, the Gospel was confirmed to them by the immediate hearers of the Lord: the past tense, "was confirmed," implies some little time had elapsed since this testification by eye-witnesses.