Each verse in a book of the Scriptures is in a context. To study the content of a verse or phrase one must consider to whom the book is written. The purpose of the book and the writer’s approach to his subject also help us understand the emphasis of words and phrases.
Phrase or verse study requires word study helps. Two or three reliable Bible translations are good references. Mr. W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, along with Robertson Word Pictures and Strong’s Concordance are a must. Unless one is qualified in Greek or Hebrew, accept the explanations of the above gifted brethren and apply the meanings in the context of the passage.
When responsible to lead the assembly Bible Reading, my work is to present to the saints the meaning of the passage. This presentation should be a condensed overview of truth and exhortation. In order to guide in the remainder of the chapter, I must have done my homework verse by verse. To shortcut my studies because of assumed meaning or personal opinions will leave me without authority for statements of doctrine and its application.
Reading this book, we learn that it is not addressed to a particular assembly testimony. It is a rich exposition of Jesus, the Son of God, fulfilling types in Jewish rituals. He is the believer’s Great High Priest in the heavenly tabernacle. He has been appointed to function after the order of Melchesidic with the New Covenant, sealed by His own blood at Calvary. In particular he reveals how Jesus fulfilled the sacrifice of atoning work typified in the Jewish Festival of the Day of Atonement as seen in Leviticus 16. He closes by encouraging them in their faith in Christ. Individuals who triumphed by faith are listed. He calls them to separation from the visible and powerless rituals of worship to the living and all-fulfilling Person of the Son of God, Jesus (Heb 13:13-14).
In the section from chapters 1-2:3, I note the writer’s approach is to establish the supremacy and sovereignty of the Son of God. He is the fullness of revelation to mankind and the heir of all as Creator. He is the determiner of purpose of angelic hosts, of the habital earth, of the Law to Israel, and of the gospel of grace to the habitable world.
The third verse is unique, awesome, and very encompassing. To consider the meaning and import of each word in this verse is too lengthy for this article. In its word study you will find a beautiful inter-relation and progression of truth. Allow me to point out three characteristics of the verse.
1. It is the hinge verse of the chapter. The Son of God at “the right hand of the majesty on high,” is the fulfiller of vv 1-2. He is therefore the determiner of the existence and purpose of the beings, materials, and spiritual truths stated in the remainder of the chapter.
2. The verse contains a word used only once in the New Testament: “brightness.” This word is preceded by the word “being” which indicates He is timeless without beginning or end. So this “brightness” always exists and is unchangeable because He is the creator of time and not governed by it. This confirms why He alone is the fulfiller of vv 1-2. “Brightness” tells us the Son of God fully represents the glory of God. By Him we know what God is like. He is the effulgence, indicating He is not reflecting glory, but is “the Lord of glory.”
3. It is unique in its comprehension of the history of the incomparable Son of God. His eternity of being and His true humanity are seen in one glorious person. He controls the destiny of all ages as well as things by His own spoken word. For and by Himself, He made purgation of sin, and in resurrection and ascension received His acquired and original glory, formally seating Himself “at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” From eternity to eternity He is the fullness, the fulfiller, and the fulfilled One in Whom “all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God by us” (2 Cor 1:20).
It is necessary to study the Scriptures statement by statement in preparation for Bible readings. This does not make one a “know-it-all.” Use your studies to clarify the truth of the passage for presentation to the saints. God’s dear people are hungry for bread from God. Let us give them the very best food, wholesome and fresh, from His table.