Monday, December 21, 2020

107. An Exposition of Hebrews

An Exposition of Hebrews. Arthur W. Pink. 1954/2012. 1428 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Before taking up the study of this important Epistle let writer and reader humbly bow before its Divine Inspirer, and earnestly seek from Him that preparation of heart which is needed to bring us into fellowship with that One whose person, offices, and glories are here so sublimely displayed.

An Exposition of Hebrews is a commentary on the book of Hebrews by Arthur W. Pink. Goodreads gives the publication year of 1954. I'm not confident that this is the right year--but it might be. 

Pink provides commentary on every single verse of Hebrews. He also shares insights from other preachers/teachers/commentators as appropriate. Hebrews has thirteen chapters. And each chapter of this commentary tackles one--perhaps two--verses. Some verses have multiple chapters. It isn't unusual, for example, to have chapters broken into two or three parts all handling the same verse or two. 

Hebrews is a complex book. That isn't an exaggeration. It is one of the weightiest books of the Bible. It almost demands a thorough working knowledge of the books of the Law and the legal/priestly aspect of Old Testament faith. But it focuses primarily on Jesus Christ. It has much to say about his life, his death, his resurrection, his ascension, and his current work of interceding for the saints. This book is theologically rich and intellectually demanding. That is the book of Hebrews. The commentary is in some ways intimidating, but it is also readable--if one sticks with it and takes it bite by bite. Much like the old saying, how do you eat an elephant--one bite at a time. 

I didn't agree 100% with every single sentence. As I mentioned earlier, it is a WEIGHTY book of the Bible that covers a good many doctrines of the faith. And sometimes Pink's interpretation of a verse differs--in varying degrees to other interpretations that I hold closer to. That isn't to say that there's any one section of his commentary that I find myself in strong, overwhelming disagreement with.

  • A silent God is an unknown God: God "speaking" is God expressing, revealing Himself. All that we know or can now know of God is what He has revealed of Himself through His Word.
  • All that God has to say to us is in His Son: all His thoughts, counsels, promises, gifts, are to be found in the Lord Jesus.
  • All true knowledge of God must come from His approach unto us, for we cannot by "reaching" find Him out. The approach must come from His side, and it has come, "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him" (John 1:18).
  • We cannot rightly think of the God-man as where He now is, without realizing that the very circumstance of His being there, shows, in itself, that "our sins" are put away for ever. The present possession of glory by the Mediator is the conclusive evidence that my sins are put away. What blessed connection is there, then between our peace of soul, and His glory!
  • Because He loved righteousness, Christ "hated iniquity." The two things are inseparable: the one cannot exist without the other (Amos 5:15). Where there is true love for God, there is also abhorrence of sin.
  • To what extent do these two things characterize you and me, dear reader? To the extent that we are really walking with Christ: no more, no less. The more we enjoy fellowship with Him, the more we are conformed to His image, the more shall we love the things He loves, and hate the things He hates.
  • By the offering of His body as the sacrifice for sin, He has sanctified all that put their trust in Him. To sanctify is to separate unto God; to separate for a holy use. We who were far off are brought nigh by the blood of Christ. And although our election is of God the Father (who is thus the Author of our sanctification, Jude 4), and the cleansing and purification of the heart is generally attributed to the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:4,5), yet is it in Christ that we were chosen, and from Christ that we receive the Spirit, and as it is by the constant application of Christ’s work and the constant communication of His life that we live and grow, Christ is our sanctification.
  • "Christ Himself is the foundation, source, method, and channel of our sanctification. We are exhorted to put off the old man and to put on the new man day by day, to mortify our members which are upon the earth. But in what way or method can we obey the apostolic exhortations, but by our continually beholding Christ’s perfect sacrifice for sin as our all-sufficient atonement?
  • The Lord Jesus never called His people "brethren" on the other side of the Cross! He spoke of them as "disciples," "sheep," "friends," but never as "brethren." But as soon as He was risen from the dead, He said to Mary, "Go to My brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and to your Father" (John 20:17). Here, then, was the unanswerable reply to the Jews’ objection: Christ could reach resurrection ground only by passing through death, cf. John 12:24.
  • How blessed to know that when we are called on to walk by faith, to submit ourselves unto and live in dependency on God, to look away from the mists of time to the coming inheritance, that Another has trod the same path, that in putting forth His sheep, the Good Shepherd went before them (John 10:4), that He bids us to do nothing but what He has Himself first done.
  • More and more we are learning for ourselves that a short portion of Scripture prayerfully examined and repeatedly meditated upon, yields more blessing to the heart, more food to the soul, and more help for the walk, than a whole chapter read more or less cursorily.
  • Sin must be punished; a holy God could not ignore our manifold transgressions; therefore, if we are to escape the due reward of our iniquities a sinless substitute must be paid the wages of sin in our stead. 
  • You cannot teach a corpse, and the natural man is dead in sin. If the Word of God does not bring him life and light, no words of ours can or will.
  • There are no less than eleven Greek words in the New Testament all rendered "consider," four of them being simple ones; seven, compounds. The one employed by the Holy Spirit in Hebrews 3:1 signifies to thoroughly think of the matter, so as to arrive at a fuller knowledge of it. It was the word used by our Lord in His "consider the ravens, consider the lilies" (Luke 12:24, 27). It is the word which describes Peter’s response to the vision of the sheet let down from heaven: "I considered and saw fourfooted beasts" (Acts 11:6). It is found again in Matthew 7:3, Romans 4:19, Hebrews 10:24. In Acts 7:31 "katanoeo" is rendered "to behold." In Luke 20:23 it is translated "perceived." In all, the Greek word is found fourteen times in the New Testament.
  • There are two great basic truths which run through Scripture, and are enforced on every page: that God is sovereign, and that man is a responsible creature; and it is only as the balance of truth is preserved between these two that we are delivered from error. The Divine sovereignty should not be pressed to the exclusion of human responsibility, nor must human responsibility be so stressed that God’s sovereignty is either ignored or denied. The danger here is no fancied one, as the history of Christendom painfully exhibits. A careful study of the Word, and an honest appropriation of all it contains, is our only safeguard.
  • Is it not a fact that if some Calvinists were honest they would have to acknowledge there are some passages in the Bible which they wish were not there at all? And if some Arminians were equally honest, would they not have to confess that there are passages in Holy Writ which they are quite unable to fit into the creed to which they are committed? Sad, sad indeed, is this.
  • There is nothing in the Word of God of which any Christian needs be afraid, and if there is a single verse in it which conflicts with his creed, so much the worse for his creed.
  • "Oh, blessed word and promise of God, that He will keep us unto the end. But how is it that we are kept? Through faith, through watchfulness, through self-denial, through prayer and fasting, through our constant taking heed unto ourselves according to His Word. ‘Hold fast’ if you desire it to be manifested in that day that you are not merely outward professors, not merely fishes existing in the net, but the true and living disciples of One Master." (Saphir).
  • Sin presents itself in another dress than its own. It lyingly offers fair advantages. It insensibly bewitches our mind. It accommodates itself to each individual’s particular temperament and circumstances. It clothes its hideousness by assuming an attractive garb. It deludes us into a false estimate of ourselves.
  • Never was there a time when true God-fearing Christians more needed to heed that Divine admonition, "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:21). Our only safeguard is to emulate the Bereans and search the Scriptures daily to ascertain whether or not the things we hear and read from men—be their reputation for scholarship, piety, and orthodoxy never so great—are according to the unerring Word of God.
  • If the Christian is to "increase in the knowledge of God" (Col. 1:10), he has to give himself whole-heartedly to the things of God. It is impossible to serve God and mammon. If the heart of the professing Christian be set, as the heart of the nominal professor is, upon earthly comforts, worldly prosperity, temporal riches, then the "true riches" will be missed—sold for "a mess of pottage" (Heb. 12:16).
  • There is no such thing in Scripture as receiving Christ as Savior without also receiving Him as Lord: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). If it be an honest and genuine faith, it is inseparably connected with a spirit of obedience, a desire to please Him, a resolve to not henceforth live unto self, but unto Him which died for me (2 Cor. 5:15). The man who really thinks he has a saving faith in Christ, but yet has no concern for His glory and no heart for His commandments, is blinded by Satan.
  • The Christian is to continue as he began. He is to daily own his sins before God. He is to daily renew the same acts of faith and trust in Christ which he exercised at the first. Instead of counting upon some experience in the past, he is to maintain a present living upon Christ. If he continues to cast himself upon the Redeemer, putting his salvation wholly in His hands, then He will not, cannot, fail him. But in order to cast myself upon Christ, I must be near Him; I cannot do so while I am following Him afar off. To be near Him, I must be in separation from all that is contrary to Him.
  • It is ever God’s way to wound before He heals, to alarm the conscience before He speaks peace to it, to press upon us our responsibility ere He assures of His preserving power.
  • Because Christ has been where we now are, we shall soon be where He now is.
  • All truth is eternal, and in itself is equally valuable and applicable to each age and generation.
  • The everlasting covenant which God made with Christ is the ground of all the good which He does to His people.
  • The veil must be rent, Christ must die, before access to God was possible. When God rent the veil of the temple, clear intimation was given that every hindrance had been removed, and that the way was opened into His presence.
  • Let each troubled and groaning child of God call to remembrance the afflictions through which the Man of sorrows passed!
  • Afflictions are not all that the Lord sends His people: He daily loadeth them with His benefits (Ps. 68:19).
  • Faith shuts its eyes to all that is seen, and opens its ears to all God has said.
  • Faith must have a foundation to rest upon, and that foundation must be the Word of Him that cannot lie. God speaks, and the heart receives and acts upon what He says.
  • The way to victory over suffering is to keep sorrow from filling the soul: "Let not your heart be troubled" (John 14:1). So long as the waves wash only the deck of the ship, there is no danger of its foundering; but when the tempest breaks through the hatches and submerges the hold, then disaster is nigh. No matter what floods of tribulation break over us, it is our duty and our privilege to have peace within: "keep thy heart with all diligence" (Prov. 4:23): suffer no doubtings of God’s wisdom, faithfulness, goodness, to take root there. But how am I to prevent their so doing? "Keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 21), is the inspired answer, the sure remedy, the way to victory. There, in one word, we have made known to us the secret of how to overcome all questionings of God’s providential ways, all murmurings against His dealings with us.
  • "Keep yourselves in the love of God." It is as though a parent said to his child, "Keep yourself in the sunshine:" the sun shines whether he enjoys it or not, but he is responsible not to walk in the shade and thus lose its genial glow. So God’s love for His people abides unchanging, but how few of them keep themselves in the warmth of it.
  • It is one thing to believe intellectually that "God is love" and that He loves His people, but it is quite another to enjoy and live in that love in the soul.
  • Faith discerns that God’s heart is filled with love toward us, even when His hand is heavy and smarts upon us. The bucket goes down into the well the deeper, that it may come up the fuller. Faith perceives God’s design in the chastening is our good.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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