Let brotherly love continue.
2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
5 Let 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.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
7 Remember 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.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be 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.
10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey 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.
18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.
24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.
25 Grace be with you all. Amen.
Chapter 13 closes the letter with a practical exhortation to his audience. The author does not remain soaring in a powerful theological exposition of what God has accomplished in Jesus. He lands his thoughts in practical counsel to a congregation that badly needs it. He knows them well.
In the beginning of their history, they experienced the goodness of the word of God, tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the Holy Spirit. Later on, however, they lost their possessions and were publicly exposed to shame and affliction because of their faith (10:32). Some of them had been put in jail and had not been liberated (13:2). Then came the false teachers (13:9–10) and the temptations of sex and money (13:4–6). Others failed to grow in knowledge (5:11–14) and their hearts had been hardening by the deceit of sin (3:12–13).
Leaders can help us discern the danger of false teachings and focus instead on hope and good works. The author of Hebrews finishes with a call to intercessory prayer on his behalf. He concludes by appealing to his brothers to hear his “word of exhortation.” But as we read, it may dawn on us that we are part of those “brothers,” that we also need to hear this “word of exhortation” today.
Felix H. Cortez
Andrews University Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary