So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. [NLT]Hebrews 4:11-13
You may wonder what I am doing here. I told you in the last Gem that I had divided the remaining segment into two. But I only gave you the first segment of what remains – i.e. Hebrews 4:4-11. I consider the last verses of this segment to be the closing portion – i.e. Hebrews 4:12-13. But you will see in what I have given you above I have actually combined verse 11 with both segments. I wonder why.
Notice how this segment starts or if you like becomes the bridge between them:-
. . . So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall. . . Hebrews 4:11Hebrews 4:11
Many of us may even have verses 4:12-13 memorised because they are powerful verses which have a lot to say about the powerful and active nature of the Word of God. However the difficulty lies in seeing how the pieces go together. In some ways the final two verses just seem to be tacked on to the end of the passage and left hanging. Is that really the case? Or are these last two verses an integral part of what the writer had to say to those Christian Jews who were considering going back to the synagogue and being classified by the Roman system as a religio licita again? It is certainly something we need to check out.
Verse 11 which I have used above to be a bridge could be connected back to Hebrews 4:3-7 or the connection could even go all the way back to Hebrews 3:7. [Oun] ‘therefore’, ‘wherefore’, ‘in view of’ could link back to either thought the author has had prior to this.
For only we who believe can enter his rest, as for the others . . .Heb 4:3:7
That is why the Holy Spirit says, “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts . . .Heb 3:7-11
The way the author has written this section, his thought process could relate to either of the previous statements. It fits with both because the author has made the same point numerous times. So now we need to look carefully at the last two sentences to see how they fit in with the whole. Together they form a very significant, deep concept which we need to analyse in depth. This discussion gives us a [hupodeigma] “an example”, “pattern” or “paradigm” to follow to ensure we don’t fall as those who were disobedient did. The writer is using the wilful disobedience of the Israelites in the wilderness as an example of what not to do (Verse 11).
Now we have those two meaty verses to consider:-
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.Hebrews 4:12-13
The two verses could be the concluding statements to sum up Chapter 4, or Chapters 3 and 4 or even the fitting conclusion to all the writer has been saying since he began the letter. He introduced the letter with all the ways God has communicated His Words through the prophets in the past but now has communicated His word through the Son. It could connect to any of these three alternatives and therefore is worthy of close attention. I have emboldened all the words in these two verses which require our attention. You can see for yourself that there are not many words left without bold type.
I suggest that you now take the time before the next Gem to read back through the three contexts to which these two verses could relate. Perhaps it would be a good thing to commit these two verses to memory. Would it surprise you if I told you these two verses are in fact a single Greek sentence? If you survey the translations you will find they range from dividing these two verses into anywhere from 1 single sentence [LITV or LSV] up to 6 sentences [TEV]. Have a look at the various translations you have at your place and see what your survey turns up. Now you can see I have given you significant ‘food for thought‘.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.Heb 4:12
Every word of God proves true.Prov 30:5
But don’t just listen to the God’s word. You must do what it says.James 1:22
The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. John 1:14John 1:14