Friday, April 29, 2011

Hebrews 1:1-4 (CEB, Wesley Study Bible)

Over the course of the summer, I hope to work through the new Common English Bible (CEB) translation of Hebrews, as well as the notes for the NRSV Wesley Study Bible on Hebrews.  So since I didn't have any juicy comments to say about politics or Rob Bell today, I thought I would post on the much less popular topic of the Bible (I've been surprised at the massive spike in readership to my blog these last couple days ;-)

1:2--"in these final days"
This is a fairly good equivalent to the literal expression, "in these last days" which echoes Jeremiah 31.

1:3--"The Son is the light of God's glory"
I suppose most interpreters go with "radiance" as the connotation of the word here.  The interesting thing, though, is that the parallel, "imprint," fits much better with another possible translation of the word, namely, "reflection."

1:3--"He maintains everything with his powerful message"
Interesting choice.  Some sort of spoken word seems to be pictured.  I'll have to think if I like "message" as a translation.

1:4--Christ became greater than other messengers, such as angels.
Very interesting.  I'm not sure that the author at this point of the sermon had any messengers other than angels in view. It is an interesting take, though, that fits with an introduction that speaks of various ways God has spoken in the past.  But I often think that interpreters see more profundity in passages than the original author's meant.  This quote of Udo Schnelle pointed out by Nijay Gupta struck me that way.

I feel that way sometimes about interpretations by people like N. T. Wright and Richard Hays.  I used to think, man they see so much depth that I didn't see. I'm so stupid.  Now I think.  That's deep and you are really smart, guys.  But Paul wouldn't know what you were talking about.  Be honest that you're playing a theological descant that transcends the original meaning.

Wesley Study Bible
Very nice and succinct words on this opening to the sermon.  deSilva (I think) gives the main point--the accomplishment of purification.  He gives the clear contrast between the many revelations before and the unique revelation now in Christ.  He mentions the intriguing allusion to Christ as Wisdom.  Perhaps it is wise that he does not try to explore what that allusion might mean.  I certainly have ideas, but one will not find any consensus here.


Jared said...

Wisdom as in Wisdom of Solomon 7 or Ben Sira 24?

Anyway, I don't know about the message; I am not sure "powerful word" quite captures it either. As long as they are consistent, however, when the phrase pops up again later.

I also think "light" loses quite a bit.

Ken Schenck said...

Wisdom 7:26 specifically, but I think deSilva meant wisdom traditions in general.