Hebrews 1:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 1:1, NIV: In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,

Hebrews 1:1, ESV: Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,

Hebrews 1:1, KJV: God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Hebrews 1:1, NASB: God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

Hebrews 1:1, NLT: Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets.

Hebrews 1:1, CSB: Long ago God spoke to our ancestors by the prophets at different times and in different ways.

What does Hebrews 1:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Hebrews begins with a reference to God's communication with mankind. The letter is primarily written to Jewish believers, who placed great importance on the prophets of the Old Testament. Verses 1 and 2 explain that God spoke through prophets in the past, and speaks now through Jesus Christ. This is an important point for several reasons.

First, this reminds us that the Old Testament and New Testament are not contradictory. The message of God given by the prophets is not different than the message of God given through Christ. The same God is speaking, continuing to show us more and more of His plans.

Second, this emphasizes how important it is to listen to the message of Christ. If God is speaking, then we ought to listen. The Jewish people, in particular, would have been sensitive to this idea. Israel was the chosen nation, given special attention by God. The message of the prophets was given to Israel, and God expected them to listen to what He said. Here, the writer of Hebrews wants us to understand that when God speaks, we have an obligation to pay attention. This is the background for this letter's many warnings against abandoning the gospel.