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Hebrews 12 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

A Large Crowd of Witnesses

12 Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side[a] of God’s throne! So keep your mind on Jesus, who put up with many insults from sinners. Then you won’t get discouraged and give up.

None of you have yet been hurt[b] in your battle against sin. But you have forgotten that the Scriptures say to God’s children,

“When the Lord punishes you,
    don’t make light of it,
and when he corrects you,
    don’t be discouraged.
The Lord corrects the people
    he loves
and disciplines those
    he calls his own.”

Be patient when you are being corrected! This is how God treats his children. Don’t all parents correct their children? God corrects all of his children, and if he doesn’t correct you, then you don’t really belong to him. Our earthly fathers correct us, and we still respect them. Isn’t it even better to be given true life by letting our spiritual Father correct us?

10 Our human fathers correct us for a short time, and they do it as they think best. But God corrects us for our own good, because he wants us to be holy, as he is. 11 It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace.

12 Now stand up straight! Stop your knees from shaking 13 and walk a straight path. Then lame people will be healed, instead of getting worse.

Warning against Turning from God

14 Try to live at peace with everyone! Live a clean life. If you don’t, you will never see the Lord. 15 Make sure that no one misses out on God’s wonderful kindness. Don’t let anyone become bitter and cause trouble for the rest of you. 16 Watch out for immoral and ungodly people like Esau, who sold his future blessing[c] for only one meal. 17 You know how he later wanted it back. But there was nothing he could do to change things, even though he begged his father and cried.

18 You have not come to a place like Mount Sinai[d] that can be seen and touched. There is no flaming fire or dark cloud or storm 19 or trumpet sound. The people of Israel heard a voice speak. But they begged it to stop, 20 because they could not obey its commands. They were even told to kill any animal that touched the mountain. 21 The sight was so frightening that Moses said he shook with fear.

22 You have now come to Mount Zion and to the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the living God, where thousands and thousands of angels have come to celebrate. 23 Here you will find all of God’s dearest children,[e] whose names are written in heaven. And you will find God himself, who judges everyone. Here also are the spirits of those good people who have been made perfect. 24 And Jesus is here! He is the one who makes God’s new agreement with us, and his sprinkled blood says much better things than the blood of Abel.[f]

25 Make sure that you obey the one who speaks to you. The people did not escape, when they refused to obey the one who spoke to them at Mount Sinai. Do you think you can possibly escape, if you refuse to obey the one who speaks to you from heaven? 26 When God spoke the first time, his voice shook only the earth. This time he has promised to shake the earth once again, and heaven too.

27 The words “once again” mean that these created things will someday be shaken and removed. Then what cannot be shaken will last. 28 We should be grateful that we were given a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And in this kingdom we please God by worshiping him and by showing him great honor and respect. 29 Our God is like a destructive fire!

Footnotes:

  1. 12.2 right side: See the note at 1.3.
  2. 12.4 hurt: Or “killed.”
  3. 12.16 sold his future blessing: As the first-born son, Esau had certain privileges that were known as a “birthright.”
  4. 12.18 a place like Mount Sinai: The Greek text has “a place,” but the writer is referring to the time that the Lord spoke to the people of Israel from Mount Sinai (see Exodus 19.16-25).
  5. 12.23 all of God’s dearest children: The Greek text has “the gathering of the first-born children” (see the note at 1.6).
  6. 12.24 blood of Abel: Cain and Abel were the two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain murdered Abel (see Genesis 4.1-16).

Hebrews 12 New International Version (NIV)

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

God Disciplines His Children

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

Warning and Encouragement

14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. 17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.

The Mountain of Fear and the Mountain of Joy

18 You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; 19 to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, 20 because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”[c] 21 The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.”[d]

22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”[e] 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”[f]

Footnotes:

  1. Hebrews 12:6 Prov. 3:11,12 (see Septuagint)
  2. Hebrews 12:13 Prov. 4:26
  3. Hebrews 12:20 Exodus 19:12,13
  4. Hebrews 12:21 See Deut. 9:19.
  5. Hebrews 12:26 Haggai 2:6
  6. Hebrews 12:29 Deut. 4:24
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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