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Hebrews 1:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners,
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— God having spoken in many parts and in many ways formerly to the fathers in the prophets,
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Whereas, in many parts and in many ways of old, God spake unto the fathers, in the prophets,
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— In many parts, and many ways, God of old having spoken to the fathers in the prophets,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all,
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— God who at sundry times, and in diuers manners, spake in time past vnto the Fathers by the Prophets,
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— IN manifold portions, and in all manners, spake Aloha with our fathers by the prophets from the first:
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— IN many ways, and many forms, God anciently conversed with our fathers, by the prophets:

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
God, 2316
{2316} Prime
θεός
theos
{theh'-os}
Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very.
who at sundry times 4181
{4181} Prime
πολυμερῶς
polumeros
{pol-oo-mer'-oce}
Adverb from a compound of G4183 and G3313; in many portions, that is, variously as to time and agency (piecemeal).
and 2532
{2532} Prime
καί
kai
{kahee}
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
in divers manners 4187
{4187} Prime
πολυτρόπως
polutropos
{pol-oot-rop'-oce}
Adverb from a compound of G4183 and G5158; in many ways, that is, variously as to method or form.
spake 2980
{2980} Prime
λαλέω
laleo
{lal-eh'-o}
A prolonged form of an otherwise obsolete verb; to talk, that is, utter words.
z5660
<5660> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 714
in time past 3819
{3819} Prime
πάλαι
palai
{pal'-ahee}
Probably another form for G3825 (through the idea of retrocession); (adverbially) formerly, or (relatively) sometime since; (elliptically as adjective) ancient.
unto the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
fathers 3962
{3962} Prime
πατήρ
pater
{pat-ayr'}
Apparently a primary word; a 'father' (literally or figuratively, near or more remote).
by 1722
{1722} Prime
ἐν
en
{en}
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537); 'in', at, (up-) on, by, etc.
the x3588
(3588) Complement

ho
{ho}
The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
prophets, 4396
{4396} Prime
προφήτης
prophetes
{prof-ay'-tace}
From a compound of G4253 and G5346; a foreteller ('prophet'); by analogy an inspired speaker; by extension a poet.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Hebrews 1:1

_ _ Hebrews 1:1-14. The highest of all revelations is given us now in the Son of God, who is greater than the angels, and who, having completed redemption, sits enthroned at God’s right hand.

_ _ The writer, though not inscribing his name, was well known to those addressed (Hebrews 13:19). For proofs of Paul being the author, see my Introduction. In the Pauline method, the statement of subject and the division are put before the discussion; and at the close, the practical follows the doctrinal portion. The ardor of Spirit in this Epistle, as in First John, bursting forth at once into the subject (without prefatory inscription of name and greeting), the more effectively strikes the hearers. The date must have been while the temple was yet standing, before its destruction, a.d. 70; some time before the martyrdom of Peter, who mentions this Epistle of Paul (2 Peter 3:15, 2 Peter 3:16); at a time when many of the first hearers of the Lord were dead.

_ _ at sundry timesGreek, “in many portions.” All was not revealed to each one prophet; but one received one portion of revelation, and another another. To Noah the quarter of the world to which Messiah should belong was revealed; to Abraham, the nation; to Jacob, the tribe; to David and Isaiah, the family; to Micah, the town of nativity; to Daniel, the exact time; to Malachi, the coming of His forerunner, and His second advent; through Jonah, His burial and resurrection; through Isaiah and Hosea, His resurrection. Each only knew in part; but when that which was perfect came in Messiah, that which was in part was done away (1 Corinthians 13:12).

_ _ in divers manners — for example, internal suggestions, audible voices, the Urim and Thummim, dreams, and visions. “In one way He was seen by Abraham, in another by Moses, in another by Elias, and in another by Micah; Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezekiel, beheld different forms” [Theodoret]. (Compare Numbers 12:6-8). The Old Testament revelations were fragmentary in substance, and manifold in form; the very multitude of prophets shows that they prophesied only in part. In Christ, the revelation of God is full, not in shifting hues of separated color, but Himself the pure light, uniting in His one person the whole spectrum (Hebrews 1:3).

_ _ spake — the expression usual for a Jew to employ in addressing Jews. So Matthew, a Jew writing especially for Jews, quotes Scripture, not by the formula, “It is written,” but “said,” etc.

_ _ in time past — From Malachi, the last of the Old Testament prophets, for four hundred years, there had arisen no prophet, in order that the Son might be the more an object of expectation [Bengel]. As God (the Father) is introduced as having spoken here; so God the Son, Hebrews 2:3; God the Holy Ghost, Hebrews 3:7.

_ _ the fathers — the Jewish fathers. The Jews of former days (1 Corinthians 10:1).

_ _ byGreek, “in.” A mortal king speaks by his ambassador, not (as the King of kings) in his ambassador. The Son is the last and highest manifestation of God (Matthew 21:34, Matthew 21:37); not merely a measure, as in the prophets, but the fullness of the Spirit of God dwelling in Him bodily (John 1:16; John 3:34; Colossians 2:9). Thus he answers the Jewish objection drawn from their prophets. Jesus is the end of all prophecy (Revelation 19:10), and of the law of Moses (John 1:17; John 5:46).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Hebrews 1:1-3

_ _ Here the apostle begins with a general declaration of the excellency of the gospel dispensation above that of the law, which he demonstrates from the different way and manner of God's communicating himself and his mind and will to men in the one and in the other: both these dispensations were of God, and both of them very good, but there is a great difference in the way of their coming from God. Observe,

_ _ I. The way wherein God communicated himself and his will to men under the Old Testament. We have here an account, 1. Of the persons by whom God delivered his mind under the Old Testament; they were the prophets, that is, persons chosen of God, and qualified by him, for that office of revealing the will of God to men. No man takes this honour to himself, unless called; and whoever are called of God are qualified by him. 2. The persons to whom God spoke by the prophets: To the fathers, to all the Old Testament saints who were under that dispensation. God favoured and honoured them with much clearer light than that of nature, under which the rest of the world were left. 3. The order in which God spoke to men in those times that went before the gospel, those past times: he spoke to his ancient people at sundry times and in divers manners. (1.) At sundry times, or by several parts, as the word signifies, which may refer either to the several ages of the Old Testament dispensation — the patriarchal, the Mosaic, and the prophetic; or to the several gradual openings of his mind concerning the Redeemer: to Adam, that the Messiah should come of the seed of the woman, — to Abraham, that he should spring from his loins, — to Jacob, that he should be of the tribe of Judah, — to David, that he should be of his house, — to Micah, that he should be born at Bethlehem, — to Isaiah, that he should be born of a virgin. (2.) In divers manners, according to the different ways in which God though fit to communicate his mind to his prophets; sometimes by the illapses of his Spirit, sometimes by dreams, sometimes by visions, sometimes by an audible voice, sometimes by legible characters under his own hand, as when he wrote the ten commandments on tables of stone. Of some of these different ways God himself gave an account in Numbers 12:6-8, If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known to him in a vision, and will speak to him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses: with him I will speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches.

_ _ II. God's method of communicating his mind and will under the New Testament dispensation, these last days as they are called, that is, either towards the end of the world, or the end of the Jewish state. The times of the gospel are the last times, the gospel revelation is the last we are to expect from God. There was first the natural revelation; then the patriarchal, by dreams, visions, and voices; then the Mosaic, in the law given forth and written down; then the prophetic, in explaining the law, and giving clearer discoveries of Christ: but now we must expect no new revelation, but only more of the Spirit of Christ to help us better to understand what is already revealed. Now the excellency of the gospel revelation above the former consists in two things: —

_ _ 1. It is the final, the finishing revelation, given forth in the last days of divine revelation, to which nothing is to be added, but the canon of scripture is to be settled and sealed: so that now the minds of men are no longer kept in suspense by the expectation of new discoveries, but they rejoice in a complete revelation of the will of God, both preceptive and providential, so far as is necessary for them to know in order to their direction and comfort. For the gospel includes a discovery of the great events that shall befall the church of God to the end of the world.

_ _ 2. It is a revelation which God has made by his Son, the most excellent messenger that was ever sent into the world, far superior to all the ancient patriarchs and prophets, by whom God communicated his will to his people in former times. And here we have an excellent account of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

_ _ (1.) The glory of his office, and that in three respects: — [1.] God hath appointed him to be heir of all things. As God, he was equal to the Father; but, as God — man and Mediator, he was appointed by the Father to be the heir of all things, the sovereign Lord of all, the absolute disposer, director, and governor of all persons and of all things, Psalms 2:6, Psalms 2:7. All power in heaven and earth is given to him; all judgment is committed to him, Matthew 28:18; John 5:22. [2.] By him God made the worlds, both visible and invisible, the heavens and the earth; not as an instrumental cause, but as his essential word and wisdom. By him he made the old creation, by him he makes the new creature, and by him he rules and governs both. [3.] He upholds all things by the word of his power: he keeps the world from dissolving. By him all things consist. The weight of the whole creation is laid upon Christ: he supports the whole and all the parts. When, upon the apostasy, the world was breaking to pieces under the wrath and curse of God, the Son of God, undertaking the work of redemption, bound it up again, and established it by his almighty power and goodness. None of the ancient prophets sustained such an office as this, none was sufficient for it.

_ _ (2.) Hence the apostle passes to the glory of the person of Christ, who was able to execute such an office: He was the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, Hebrews 1:3. This is a high and lofty description of the glorious Redeemer, this is an account of his personal excellency. [1.] He is, in person, the Son of God, the only-begotten Son of God, and as such he must have the same nature. This personal distinction always supposes one and the same nature. Every son of man is man; were not the nature the same, the generation would be monstrous. [2.] The person of the Son is the glory of the Father, shining forth with a truly divine splendour. As the beams are effulgent emanations of the sun, the father and fountain of light, Jesus Christ in his person is God manifest in the flesh, he is light of light, the true Shechinah. [3.] The person of the Son is the true image and character of the person of the Father; being of the same nature, he must bear the same image and likeness. In beholding the power, wisdom, and goodness, of the Lord Jesus Christ, we behold the power, wisdom, and goodness, of the Father; for he hath the nature and perfections of God in him. He that hath seen the Son hath seen the Father; that is, he hath seen the same Being. He that hath known the Son hath known the Father, John 14:7-9. For the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son; the personal distinction is no other than will consist with essential union. This is the glory of the person of Christ; the fulness of the Godhead dwells, not typically, but really, in him.

_ _ (3.) From the glory of the person of Christ he proceeds to mention the glory of his grace; his condescension itself was truly glorious. The sufferings of Christ had this great honour in them, to be a full satisfaction for the sins of his people: By himself he purged away our sins, that is, by the proper innate merit of his death and bloodshed, by their infinite intrinsic value; as they were the sufferings of himself, he has made atonement for sin. Himself, the glory of his person and nature, gave to his sufferings such merit as was a sufficient reparation of honour to God, who had suffered an infinite injury and affront by the sins of men.

_ _ (4.) From the glory of his sufferings we are at length led to consider the glory of his exaltation: When by himself he had purged away our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, at his Father's right hand. As Mediator and Redeemer, he is invested with the highest honour, authority, and activity, for the good of his people; the Father now does all things by him, and receives all the services of his people from him. Having assumed our nature, and suffered in it on earth, he has taken it up with him to heaven, and there it has the high honour to be next to God, and this was the reward of his humiliation.

_ _ Now it was by no less a person than this that God in these last days spoke to men; and, since the dignity of the messenger gives authority and excellency to the message, the dispensations of the gospel must therefore exceed, very far exceed, the dispensation of the law.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Hebrews 1:1

God, who at sundry times — The creation was revealed in the time of Adam; the last judgment, in the time of Enoch: and so at various times, and in various degrees, more explicit knowledge was given. In divers manners — In visions, in dreams, and by revelations of various kinds. Both these are opposed to the one entire and perfect revelation which he has made to us by Jesus Christ. The very number of the prophets showed that they prophesied only "in part." Of old — There were no prophets for a large tract of time before Christ came, that the great Prophet might be the more earnestly expected. Spake — A part is put for the whole; implying every kind of divine communication. By the prophets — The mention of whom is a virtual declaration that the apostle received the whole Old Testament, and was not about to advance any doctrine in contradiction to it. Hath in these last times — Intimating that no other revelation is to be expected. Spoken — All things, and in the most perfect manner. By his Son — Alone. The Son spake by the apostles. The majesty of the Son of God is proposed, Absolutely, by the very name of Son, Hebrews 1:1, and by three glorious predicates, — "whom he hath appointed," "by whom he made," who "sat down;" whereby he is described from the beginning to the consummation of all things, Hebrews 1:2-3 Comparatively to angels, Hebrews 1:4. The proof of this proposition immediately follows: the name of Son being proved, Hebrews 1:5; his being "heir of all things," Hebrews 1:6-9; his making the worlds, Hebrews 1:10-12 his sitting at God's right hand, Hebrews 1:13, &c.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Hebrews 1:1

God, who at (1) sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

The purpose of this epistle, is to show that Jesus Christ the Son of God both God and man is that true eternal and only Prophet, King and High Priest, that was shadowed by the figures of the old law, and is now indeed exhibited of whom the whole Church ought to be taught, governed and sanctified.

(1) The first part of the general proposition of this epistle the son of God is indeed that prophet or teacher, who has actually now performed that which God after a sort and in shadows signified by his prophets, and has fully revealed his Father's will to the world.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance
at:

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
Genesis 6:13-22 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. ... Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.
Genesis 8:15-19 And God spake unto Noah, saying, ... Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, [and] whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.
Genesis 9:1-17 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. ... And God said unto Noah, This [is] the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that [is] upon the earth.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: ... And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 26:2-5 And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: ... Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.
Genesis 28:12-15 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. ... And, behold, I [am] with thee, and will keep thee in all [places] whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done [that] which I have spoken to thee of.
Genesis 32:24-30 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. ... And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
Genesis 46:2-4 And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here [am] I. ... I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up [again]: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes.
Exodus 3:1-22 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, [even] to Horeb. ... But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put [them] upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.
Acts 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into [his] lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and [out of] the prophets, from morning till evening.
1 Peter 1:10-12 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [that should come] unto you: ... Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
2 Peter 1:20-21 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. ... For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.

in:

Numbers 12:6-8 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, [I] the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, [and] will speak unto him in a dream. ... With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

the fathers:

Luke 1:55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Luke 1:72 To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
John 7:22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
Acts 13:32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
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Chain-Reference Bible Search

Gn 3:15; 6:3, 13; 8:15; 9:1; 12:1; 26:2; 28:12; 32:24; 46:2. Ex 3:1. Nu 12:6. Jol 2:28. Lk 1:55, 72; 24:27, 44. Jn 7:22. Ac 13:32; 28:23. 1P 1:10. 2P 1:20.

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