Hebrews 12:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 12:1, NIV: 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,

Hebrews 12:1, ESV: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:1, KJV: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:1, NASB: Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Hebrews 12:1, NLT: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1, CSB: Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us,

What does Hebrews 12:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original written texts of the Bible. Verses 1 and 2 of chapter 12 flow naturally from the end of chapter 11, providing a direct application of the points made in that passage.

Previously, the writer of Hebrews listed dramatic examples of God's use of faith. This included references to personal examples of faith, such as Abraham (Hebrews 11:17–19), as well as some of the amazing feats which Old Testament believers were able to achieve (Hebrews 11:30–35). And yet, this discussion also included mention of the hardships faced by these faithful ones (Hebrews 11:35–38). Amazingly, God's love for us—those who are still able to hear and respond to the gospel today—is the reason He has waited to fully deliver His ultimate victory over sin and suffering (Hebrews 11:39–40).

This is why this verse begins with the appropriate word "therefore." All of the prior reasoning, including chapter 10's warning about falling away, the definition of godly faith, the catalog of heroes, the list of victories, the reminder of suffering, and the encouragement of God's love, has led to this point: an application of the truth. What should we do with this awesome information?

The writer's answer is deceptively simple, and easy to misunderstand when this verse is taken out of context. The proper response of a Christian, given all of the "witnesses" to godly faith, and their success despite their hardships, and in light of God's loving patience, is to purposefully shed our sins and selfishness and "hold fast" as we strive to fulfill the plans God has in store for us. All we know of God's former work should inspire us to complete, dedicated devotion to His will.

As the next verse will remind us, the ultimate example of this is Christ Himself. Not only did Jesus exemplify how we ought to live our lives (Hebrews 2:10–11), He did so by resisting all of the temptations we face (Hebrews 4:15), and with a firm understanding that His suffering was part of God's plan to "work together for good" everything for His glory and our benefit (Romans 8:28; Philippians 2:8–11).