STUDY Hebrews 2:1-9
(click here for notes)
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testifies to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet."
In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (NIV)
In chapter 1 the author of Hebrews developed an argument that Jesus is greater than the angles, whom the Jews credited with mediating the Old Covenant to Israel. He continues into the first four verses of chapter 2 by warning his audience to "pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away." This warning is the first of five warnings interjected throughout the book of Hebrews.
1. What was it they had heard from which they were not to drift away? (John 1:14; 14:9; 3:16, 17; Romans 5:8-10, 15, 20, 21; 6:8-10)
2. Why was it important not "to drift away"? (see Romans 11:22; 1 Cor. 15:2; Col. 1:22,23; Hebrews 3:6)
3. The author contrasts "the message spoken by angels" with "what they have heard"-"such a great salvation". What was the message spoken by angels? (see Deut. 33:2; Psalm 68:17; Acts 7: 37-38, 52-53; Gal. 3:19)
4. Why is it so much more serious to "ignore such a great salvation" than it is to violate the "message spoken by angels", and why does the author imply that ignoring the gospel will bring more serious punishment than ignoring the message of angels? (see Hebrews 6:4-6; 10: 26-29; 12:25; Deut. 17:6,7; Matt. 26:27-28)
Confirmed by Signs and Miracles
"This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him," the author continues.
1. Who were "those who heard him"? (see Luke 1:2; Mark 1:1; John 15:26-27; Acts 1:21-22; 1 Peter 5:1; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1; Matt. 17:1-9; Luke 24:36, 48)
2. The author further asserts that God himself "testified to" the gospel by miraculous gifts "distributed according to his will." How did "signs, wonders, andmiracles" testify to the gospel, and why was it necessary for God himself-in addition to Jesus and the eyewitnesses-to testify to it? (see Mark 16:20; John 4:48; Acts 3:7-9, 11-12, 16; 2:4-12)
3. What is the significance of the fact that the Holy Spirit distributes God's gifts "according to his will," and how does this sovereign act of God affect our personal freedom? (see Ephesians 1:4-6; 11-12; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Cor. 12:7-11; Gal. 5:1; John 8:32,36)
4. Why do you think the author of Hebrews inserted the warning in these first four verses into his discussion of Jesus' superiority to angels?
The author now develops the point that Jesus became human in order to redeem humanity, not angels, and to fulfill humanity's role of being sovereign over the earth. He develops his point around an exposition of Psalm 8:4-6.
1. The Hebrew in Psalm 8:5 translated "You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings" could be translated "You made him a little lower than God". How does the Bible support the psalmist's understanding of humanity's original role? (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 115:16; 8:6-8)
2. What established humanity's sovereignty over the earth, and what limited that role? (Gen. 1:26; 9:2; 3:17-19)
3. Prior to Adam and Eve sinning, the earth was fruitful and hospitable. How did Adam's role with the earth change after sin? (Gen. 2:15; 3:19)
4. How do Adam's pre-sinful and post-sinful roles with the earth illustrate our condition as sinners and our condition as saints saved by grace? (Isaiah 64:6; Eph. 2:8-10; Hebrews 4:9-10)
Made Like Us
The author and the psalmist point out that although God made humanity sovereign over everything on the earth and subject only to God, we do not see everything subject to mankind.
1. What is not subject to humans, and why? (see Gen. 3:16-17; 6:1-3; 11:1-7; 1 Cor. 15:24-27; Eph.6:12)
2. How did Jesus' humanity redeem our promised sovereignty? (see Col. 1:16-20; 2:9-10; 13-15; 1 Cor. 15:20-21; Hebrews 4:15; 2 Cor. 5:16-21)
Crowned with Honor
The author quotes the psalmist as saying, "You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet." But mankind lost the crown of glory and honor, and all things are not under its feet.
1. What was significant about Jesus giving up his glory, becoming "a little lower than the angels", suffering death, and being "crowned with glory and honor"? (see Acts 3:13; Philippians 2:7-9; 2 Cor. 5:15)
2. How do Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection foreshadow humanity's inheritance, both now and in the future?
1. How have you "drift[ed] away" and honored the "message spoken by angels" instead of the gospel?
2. How do you experience God's gifts and sovereignty in your life?
3. Can you be free if you are submissive to Christ's sovereignty?
4. How did Christ's death change your life?
1. What part of your life do you ignore, remaining unexamined and unhealed?
2. In what ways has God confirmed his salvation in your life?
3. Praise God for tasting death for you, and ask him to show you what he wants to change and heal in you. Ask him to help you see what he wants you to see, understand what he wants you to understand, and grow in the ways he wants you to grow.
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