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March 10, 2011


The four levels of hearing a divine word

by quaesitor

Hebrews 3 has always held a fascination for me because of the way that the writer skillfully weaves 3 or even four (if you assume he had future generations like ours in mind) together to understand the way God speaks. So it was great to get the chance to delve a little deeper in my prep for our BibleFresh sunday at the weekend. It is one of those striking passages where the tense of one word profoundly shapes our understanding of a whole chapter.

And in this case it is the tense of the word “says” (3:7 – λεγει). As the English translation correctly has it, it is present tense – despite the fact that the writer immediately goes on to quote an ancient psalm, which is itself a reflection on an ancient event. It thus offers a template for how God speaks through ancient texts… and is therefore quite an significant passage for a whole host of reasons…

Anyway, here’s the talk and my overview of the passage’s levels:

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Mar 11 2011

    Mark, I’m teaching Hebrews at the moment here in PE. May I use this? Also I was wondering…as you get into chapter 4 and the definition(s) of ‘rest’ become necessary, maybe one could do a similar illustration showing the unfolding of God’s rest: Canaan…Christ…new Creation ??

    • Mar 11 2011

      Hi James
      By all means use it – no problem – not planning on doing ch4 for a while as this was a one-off talk. but you’re definitely right to see rest as the key focal point of the trajectory. And so yes, I think that a parallel diagram is perfectly doable…


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