Friday, May 31, 2024

Additional Notes on Heb. 12:1-2

Here are a few more thoughts about Heb. 12:1-2.

1) Most New Testament authors have nothing to say about sports. Paul is the exception. "I have finished the race" (2 Tim. 4:7) is an image taken directly from the arena. He seemed to be thoroughly familiar with the sports of his day. Is this a blanket endorsement of sports? Hardly. But sports has much to teach us about life, including the Christian life.

2) The metaphor of "cloud" of witnesses could also be rendered "throng." I like that. It's a stronger term.

3) "Let us run" is in a Greek tense that emphasizes that a) we are already in the race and b) we have to continue to run the race until the end. The Christian life is more than one outstanding burst of energy. It requires "endurance."

4) Even though the marathon was unknown in ancient times (the longest race the Greeks had was about 3 miles), endurance is still required even for shorter races.

5) Not only are the words of the passage inspired by the Holy Spirit but so is the structure of the text. The passage contains only one main command: "Let us keep on running." This is modified by three participial phrases that tell us how to do this:

  • by drawing encouragement from others
  • by throwing off everything that hinders us
  • by fixing our eyes on Jesus

Here's my sample sermonic outline:

Passage: Heb. 12:1-2

Title: Keep Persevering in the Race of Life!


Our encouragement

Our entanglements

Our example

I'll close with these words of Corrie ten Boom:

Look inside and be depressed.

Look outside and be distressed.

Look to Him and be at rest. 

Have a wonderful evening!