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Hebrews chapter 2

English Standard Version

New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

New King James Version

What does Hebrews chapter 2 mean?

Hebrews chapter 2 continues the main theme of chapter 1: distinguishing Jesus from angels. The chapter includes additional Old Testament quotes in order to make these points. In addition, the writer of Hebrews warns against the dangers of ignoring the message of Christ and refers to the way Jesus became human in order to perfectly serve as our ultimate high priest.

This passage opens with a warning (Hebrews 2:1–4). According to the Scriptures, when God delivers a message and it is ignored, there are consequences. This applies to more than just a take-it-or-leave-it approach to God's message; "drifting" from His truth also results in problems. The Greek of this passage includes terms related both to deliberate sin as well as to mistakes (Hebrews 2:1–2). Regardless of how it happens, moving from truth to error never ends well. In the case of this particular message, God has gone to great lengths to provide proof (Hebrews 2:3–4), so there are no good excuses for "drifting."

After that caution, the writer of Hebrews returns to the Old Testament. The purpose is to continue proving that Jesus, the Messiah, is not an angel. He is superior to angels both in His divine nature and as a Savior for mankind. The quotations and arguments used in this passage emphasize the humanity of the Messiah (Hebrews 2:5–18). An angel could not experience true humanity—they cannot call mankind "brothers" (Hebrews 2:5–13). Christ became a man, in every respect, in order to completely destroy the Devil's power of death and sin over man (Hebrews 2:14–17).

The result is a Savior who understands suffering and temptation personally (Hebrews 2:18). When He offers comfort and encouragement, it's sincere. Jesus can honestly look at our circumstances and say, "I know how you feel. I have been there, too." In order for Jesus to really be the perfect substitute for us, He needed to overcome what we could not: human temptation. This is why Satan attempted to short-circuit Jesus' path to the cross (Matthew 4:1–11; Matthew 26:36–46).

This chapter continues the book of Hebrews' extensive use of Old Testament quotations. As a letter written mostly to a Jewish Christian audience, these references would have been well-known and well-respected. This also means, for the modern reader, that understanding those Old Testament references is important when interpreting each passage of this book.
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