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Hebrews chapter 13

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

7Remember your leaders who have spoken God's word to you. As you carefully observe the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9Don't be led astray by various kinds of strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established by grace and not by food regulations, since those who observe them have not benefited. 10We have an altar from which those who worship at the tabernacle do not have a right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the most holy place by the high priest as a sin offering are burned outside the camp. 12Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, so that he might sanctify the people by his own blood. 13Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing his disgrace. 14For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come. 15Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16Don't neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices. 17Obey your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. 18Pray for us, for we are convinced that we have a clear conscience, wanting to conduct ourselves honorably in everything. 19And I urge you all the more to pray that I may be restored to you very soon.
New Living Translation

King James Version

1Let brotherly love continue. 2Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. 3Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. 4Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge. 5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 7Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 9Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. 10We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. 11For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

What does Hebrews chapter 13 mean?

The final chapter of the book of Hebrews offers instructions for Christian living and a farewell which includes both a prayer request and a benediction. Chapter 12 ended with an encouraging reminder about the nature of the new covenant (Hebrews 12:26–29). This passage begins with a series of statements applying Christian principles to daily life, then transitions into a short-hand summary of the letter's major points.

The writer commends concepts such as love, charity, sexual purity, and contentment. These are all ideas promoted heavily in other New Testament passages. The principles given here are grounded in the letter's prior themes, such as the constancy of Christ. The common theme of this group of instructions is mostly actions or attitudes (Hebrews 13:1–6).

Next, this chapter presents instructions for spiritual living. The two major points given here are the need to respect one's spiritual leaders and the importance of faithfully maintaining sound doctrine. Just as the heroes of the faith were mentioned in chapter 11, this passage refers to more recent leaders as those to be emulated in our walk with Christ. Also, the writer makes a strong point about the constancy of the gospel. Jesus Christ does not change, and neither does the truth. Christians, therefore, ought to be careful not to follow novel, strange, or changing doctrines (Hebrews 13:7–9).

From there, the writer returns to drawing comparisons between elements of the old covenant and the ministry of Jesus Christ. Earlier in this book, it was explained that rituals and sacraments of the Levitical law were meant to symbolize the "real" plan, enacted through Jesus (Hebrews 8:5–6). In this section, a parallel is shown between the disposal of sacrificed animals and the crucifixion of Christ. Animals offered to consecrate Aaron's priesthood were burnt outside the borders of Israel's camp (Exodus 29:14). Jesus, whose sacrificial death reconciled us to God (Hebrews 2:10; 9:24–26), was executed outside the borders of the city of Jerusalem (John 19:17–20).

In making this comparison, the writer once again encourages the reader to "hold fast" in the face of persecution, choosing to be identified with Christ rather than with the world (Hebrews 11:24–26). This leads back to another reference to spiritual leadership, reminding believers to cooperate with teachers, rather than frustrating them (Hebrews 13:10–17).

After this appeal, the writer asks for two personal prayer requests. Showing great humility, he requests prayer that his actions be honorable and his conscience clear. Secondly, he wishes to be able to visit the original readers of this letter as soon as possible (Hebrews 13:18–19).

Finally, the writer pronounces a blessing on his readers. This, again, seems to echo the themes found throughout the rest of this book. Peace, Christ's role as an example, the eternality of the new covenant, God's will expressing itself in our lives, and the glory of God are all part of this prayer. Then, in an interesting remark, the writer essentially apologizes for giving such a brief treatment to these deep subjects. After a few other minor comments, the book of Hebrews closes with a phrase found frequently at the end of Paul's writings, wishing grace upon the readers.
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