Hebrews 4:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 4:2, NIV: For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.

Hebrews 4:2, ESV: For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

Hebrews 4:2, KJV: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

Hebrews 4:2, NASB: For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united with those who listened with faith.

Hebrews 4:2, NLT: For this good news--that God has prepared this rest--has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn't share the faith of those who listened to God.

Hebrews 4:2, CSB: For we also have received the good news just as they did. But the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith.

What does Hebrews 4:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

A common claim of false teachers in the early church was that Jesus had already returned in His second coming (2 Thessalonians 2:1–3; 2 Timothy 2:17–18). As in verse 1, the writer of Hebrews seeks to dispel the suggestion that his readers have permanently lost out on their opportunity to enter into Christ's "rest."

In this context, the "rest" at stake is a saved believer's spiritual inheritance. The analogy of Israel's failure to immediately enter Canaan was not a metaphor for salvation, but of the consequences of faithlessness. Chapter 3 made a strong point about the need to "hold fast" to faith in God, lest this inheritance be lost. Later verses will give more details on this concept.

Here, the term "good news" is being used in a more general sense than simply that of the gospel. It's worth pointing out that the gospel of Jesus Christ is about much more than eternal salvation. It's also good news about freedom from the power of sin. The Bible mentions both the "rest" of salvation (Matthew 11:28) and the "rest" of submission (Matthew 11:29–30). It describes the blessing of finding both peace with God (Romans 5:1) and the peace of God (Philippians 4:6–8).

However, in this verse, the writer is reflecting back on the example of Israel, given in chapter 3. Those people had an opportunity to obtain the promised inheritance, but failed, since they didn't unite with others who had faith in God. The "rest" they were meant to obtain was not leisure, but a completion of the work God had assigned to them.