Hebrews 12:4 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 12:4, NIV: In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Hebrews 12:4, ESV: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Hebrews 12:4, KJV: Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Hebrews 12:4, NASB: You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;

Hebrews 12:4, NLT: After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.

Hebrews 12:4, CSB: In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

What does Hebrews 12:4 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Earlier verses referred to the extreme persecution suffered by heroes of the Christian faith. Near the end of chapter 11, the writer gave a long list of hardships, including torture, imprisonment, and horrific death. This list culminated in the example of Jesus (Hebrews 12:2–3). Even though He was sinless (Hebrews 4:15), and God incarnate (Hebrews 1:3), Jesus experienced pain and suffering, including an agonizing death (Hebrews 2:10). The point being made in this passage, particularly in future verses, is that worldly suffering is not a sign of God's displeasure. Rather, God uses those hardships to "train" us to be more dependent on Him, and more like Him.

Speaking to this particular audience, the writer indicates that they—personally—have not yet been forced to shed blood for the sake of their faith. The writer of Hebrews might mean that these believers have not been martyred for professing Christ. He might also mean that their persecution, to that point, was not as extreme as the examples given for those who came before, including Jesus. This point is meant to connect two ideas: one from the prior verse and one stated in the next verse.

First of all, Jesus endured suffering and hardship—and He was able to do this without sin (1 Peter 2:22) and with an attitude that trusted in God (Hebrews 12:2). Secondly, Scripture indicates that God "trains" those He loves in order to strengthen them; these kinds of hardships don't mean that God hates us. On the contrary, the fact that God gives us opportunity to strengthen faith through trials is a sign of His love and concern for us.