Saturday, May 07, 2011

Hebrews 1:5-14 (CEB, Wesley Study Bible)

In a previous post, I looked at the CEB translation of Hebrews 1:1-4 and the Wesley Study Bible notes of the NRSV of the same.  Today, Hebrews 1:5-14.

1:4 But then, when he brought his firstborn into the world...
This rendering gives a common impression of Hebrews 1:7, namely, that we are now talking about Jesus' birth.  It discourages me.  The words are not "but then" but "and again."  It is a feature of Hebrews' citation style elsewhere (chap. 2) to give two supporting quotes for the same idea with this intro, "and again."  This is not the birth but it still talking about the exaltation, as in 1:5.  The only other place where this word for "world" is used is in 2:5, where it clearly means the world to come.

The rest of the chapter is translated just fine and, like the Greek, can be interpreted variously.

There are two basic approaches to this section among interpreters, off the top of my head.  The one is to see the entire chain of quotes in relation to the exalted Christ, which is the position I take.  The other is more popular, namely, to see this chain as a celebration of Christ throughout his existence--pre-existence, creation, birth, exaltation, maybe even judgment.  You can see how the latter would be popular... just not correct ;-)

Wesley Study Bible (NRSV)
The study notes steer the reader away from thinking the audience is worshiping angels and I strongly suspect this is correct.  There could be some angel thing going on, but insufficient evidence to know what that might look like.  There's a nice text box on John Wesley's understanding of revelation.

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