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Old and New Testament.
two, they were
* with the
Amplified: They were stoned to death; they were lured with tempting offers [to
renounce their faith]; they were sawn asunder; they were slaughtered
by the sword; [while they were alive] they had to go about wrapped in
the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain
with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being
destitute, afflicted, tormented;
NLT: Some died by stoning, and some were sawed in half; others were
killed with the sword. Some went about in skins of sheep and goats,
hungry and oppressed and mistreated. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: They were killed by stoning, by being sawn in two;
they were tempted by specious promises of release and then were killed
with the sword. Many became refugees with nothing but sheepskins or
goatskins to cover them. They lost everything and yet were spurned and
Wuest: They were stoned, tested,
sawn asunder; they died, slaughtered by the sword; they wandered
around in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, hard pressed,
Young's Literal: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tried; in the
killing of the sword they died; they went about in sheepskins, in
goatskins--being destitute, afflicted, injuriously treated,
THEY WERE STONED, THEY WERE SAWN IN TWO, THEY WERE TEMPTED, THEY WERE
PUT TO DEATH WITH THE SWORD; THEY WENT ABOUT IN SHEEPSKINS, IN
GOATSKINS, BEING DESTITUTE, AFFLICTED, ILL-TREATED: elithasthesan,
epristhesan, en phone machaires apethanon, perielthon en melotais, en
aigeiois dermasin, usteroumenoi, thlibomenoi, kakouchoumenoi:
(1Ki 21:10,13, 14, 15; 2Chr 24:21; Mt 21:35; 23:37; Luke 13:34;
Jn 10:31, 32, 33; Acts 7:58,59; 14:19; 2Co 11:25) (1Sa 22:17, 18, 19;
1Ki 18:4,13; 19:1,10,14; Jer 2:30; 26:23; Lam 4:13,14; Mt 23:35, 36,
37; Luke 11:51, 52, 53, 54; Acts 7:52; 12:2,3 ) (2Ki 1:8; Mt 3:4;
Rev 11:3 ) (He 12:1, 2, 3; Zechariah 13:9; Matthew 8:20; 1Co
4:9, 10, 11, 12, 13; 2Co 11:23, 24, 25, 26, 27; 12:10; Jas 5:10,11)
They were stoned (3034)(lithazo
from líthos = a stone) describes a common OT Jewish punishment.
The prophet Zechariah would qualify for this description.
Then the Spirit of God came on
Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest; and he stood above the
people and said to them, “Thus God has said, ‘Why do you transgress
the commandments of the Lord and do not prosper? Because you have
forsaken the Lord, He has also forsaken you.’ ” 21 So they conspired
against him and at the command of the king they stoned him to death
in the court of the house of the Lord. (2Chr 24:20, 21)
According to tradition, which a
number of the Early Church Fathers mention, the prophet Jeremiah was
stoned to death in Egypt by his fellow Jews.
They were sawn in two -
Tradition (again including a number of the Early Church Fathers) also
says that Isaiah was sawn in two with a wooden saw by evil King
Lane records that according
mutually complementary rabbinic
sources, Manasseh, enraged because Isaiah had prophesied the
destruction of the Temple, ordered his arrest. Isaiah fled to the hill
country and hid in the trunk of a cedar tree. He was discovered when
the king ordered the tree cut down. Isaiah was tortured with a saw
because he had taken refuge in the trunk of a tree. (Lane, W. L. Vol.
47B: Word Biblical Commentary: Hebrews 9-13. Word Biblical Commentary
(390). Dallas: Word, Incorporated)
They were tempted
from the noun peira =
test from peíro = perforate, pierce through to test durability
of things) is a morally neutral word simply meaning “to test”. Whether
the test is for a good (as it proved to be in Heb 11:17) or
evil (Mt 4:1) depends on the intent of the one giving the test and
also on the response of the one tested. The trials may come from God
or in this context more likely under His permissive will from the
world, the evil nature (the "flesh"), or the
When the Scriptural context clearly indicates the testing is an
enticement to evil, the word is most frequently translated by a form
of the English tempt, which carries that negative connotation and this
NEVER refers to a test from God.
It seems to me that the trials
and temptations of this life are preparing us for the life to
come, building character for eternity. Have you ever been in a piano
factory? Did you go there to hear music? Go into the tuning room and
you will say, “This is a dreadful place, I cannot stand it, I thought
you made music here.” “No, we do not produce music here. We make
instruments and tune them, and in the process much discord is
produced.” Such is the church of God on earth. The Lord makes the
instruments and tunes them down here. A great deal of discord is
easily perceptible, but it is all necessary to prepare us for the
everlasting harmonies up yonder. I am to stand one day so near to God
that between Him and me there will be but one person, and that person
is the Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord and Mediator. In Christ, I am to
have dominion over all the works of God’s hands and to be crowned with
glory and honor. Angels are to be my servants and heaven my
inheritance. Will I ever grow proud? Will self-exaltation creep in?
No! The character will be fixed for holiness as though etched in
eternal brass. It may be that all the afflictions and temptations that
God permits to pass over us here below are forming us for eternal
bliss. Thus the corn is ripening for the harvester and the fruit is
mellowing for the basket. Here, the engraving tool and hammer bring
out the beauties that will shine in the courts of the Lord forever,
when on us also the record will be written, “They were tempted”.
The presence of temptation
in this list is somewhat surprising and expositors have found it
difficult to interpret. Kenneth Wuest says that...
It is probably best to leave it as
it is, and suggest that one of the most fiendish tortures was not that
of the body but of the conscience, when the torturer would offer the
victim opportunity to recant and thus obtain his freedom.
Put to death with the sword
- Wuest writes that "The Greek has it that they “died by
sword-slaughter,” indicating mass-slaughters. Examples of this abound
in the Maccabean period."
Sheepskins and goatskins -
What does this apparel signify? Where they simply "ascetics"? Was this
"self-abasement and severe treatment of the body" (Col 2:23)? Surely
not, for this is the chapter of faith, not works or legalistic
self-made religion. The simple answer is that these were the only
clothing they had to wear.
from hústeros = last, latter, terminal, hindmost)
has the basic meaning of come to late (in time) or to come after (in terms of
space) and thus it means to fail in something, come short of, miss, not to
reach. Hustereo has the basic meaning of being last or inferior. It
means to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall
short of the end, to lack. It means to come late or too tardily.
It means to be excluded in (Hebrews 12:15)
Hebrews 4:1 as coming too late through one's own fault miss and so
to fail to reach the intended objective or goal.
In several of the NT
passages hustereo means to be in short supply, to fail, to give out or
to lack. Hustereo can mean to experience deficiency in something
advantageous or desirable and thus to be lacking, go without or come short
of (as in Mt 19:20).
Hustereo is used 14 times in the Lxx (Num. 9:7, 13; Neh. 9:21; Job
36:17; Ps. 23:1; 39:4; Eccl. 6:2; 9:8; 10:3; Cant. 7:2; Dan. 4:33; 5:27;
Hab. 2:3) and 16 times in the NT (see below) (Matt. 19:20; Mk. 10:21;
Lk. 15:14; 22:35; Jn. 2:3; Rom. 3:23; 1 Co. 1:7; 8:8; 12:24; 2 Co. 11:5, 9;
12:11; Phil. 4:12; Heb. 4:1; 11:37; 12:15)
The meaning of hustereo is further illustrated in the following
(At the wedding in Cana site of Jesus' first recorded miracle) And when the
wine gave out, (hustereo) the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have
no wine." (John 2:3)
Now when he (the prodigal son) had spent everything, a severe famine
occurred in that country, and he began to be in need (hustereo).
The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still
lacking (hustereo)?" (Mt 19:20)
world was not
holes in the
Amplified: [Men] of whom the world was not worthy—roaming over the desolate
places and the mountains, and [living] in caves and caverns and holes
of the earth.
Bible - Lockman)
KJV: (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and
in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
NLT: They were too good for this world. They wandered over deserts and
mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. (NLT
- Tyndale House)
Phillips: by a world that was
too evil to see their worth. They lived as vagrants in the desert, on
the mountains, or in caves or holes in the ground. (Phillips:
Wuest: men of whom the world was not worthy, wandering over
deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes of the earth. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: of whom the world was not worthy; in deserts wandering, and in
mountains, and in caves, and in the holes of the earth;
(MEN OF WHOM THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY), WANDERING IN DESERTS AND
MOUNTAINS AND CAVES AND HOLES IN THE GROUND: on ouk en axios o kosmos,
epi eremiais planomenoi kai oresin kai spelaiois kai tais opais tes
ges: (1Kings 14:12,13; 2Kings 23:25-29; Isaiah 57:1) (1Samuel
22:1; 23:15,19,23; 24:1, 2, 3; 26:1; 1Kings 17:3; 18:4,13; 19:9; Psalm
142:1; Psalm 142:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
THE REAL ESTIMATE
OF THE WORTH OF ONE'S LIFE
of whom the world was not worthy - Vine comments that
The statement expresses the divine estimate. The world
counts those who are true witnesses to God not worthy of
God reverses the comparison. Separation from the world and its ways
always brings its contempt. The world will one day be compelled to
acknowledge that God is right.
= to weigh)
strictly speaking means bringing up the other beam of the
scales. Having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as
much. Counterbalancing - weighing as much (of like value, worth as
The Holy Spirit) Who calls
you into His Own kingdom and glory.
Bringing into balance and hence equivalent or equal
value/similar worth (Ro 8:18, see use in Lxx of Pr 3:15, 8:11). Other
nuances of axios include describing that which is fitting or
appropriate (1Cor 16:2), that which is deserving (Mt 10:10), that
which "deserves" to be considered or accepted (1Ti 1:15), that which
is worthy of praise (Rev 4:11), that which corresponds to or is
congruent with something else (Mt 3:8, Luke 3:8, 23:41, 26:20). Worthy
or deserving of evil (Rev 16:6).
Axios and kataxioo express the
idea of worthiness. In the Gospels, the original sense--of weight or
value--predominates (as in Jesus' directive to his disciples to
"search for some worthy person" [Mt 10:11]). Compared to the Messiah,
who was about to appear, even the prophet John the Baptist viewed
himself as of little weight (Mk 1:7).
See related study on the adverb
NIDNTT writes that in
classic Greek axios...
(Homer onwards) meant
originally tipping the scales, counter-balancing, of like value (TDNT
I 379). The term compares two entities, either of the same or of
different (anaxios) weight
TDNT says that in regard to
In the NT the thought of merit
is excluded; we are worthy of the gospel only as we receive it (cf.
Mt. 10:11, 13; 22:8; Acts 13:46; Heb. 11:38; Rev. 3:4). In many
infinitive is put with áxios to denote the sphere of correspondence
(cf. Rom. 16:2). Paul admonishes his readers to walk worthy of the
gospel, their calling, and the Lord (1 Th. 2:12; Phil. 1:27; Col.
1:10; Eph. 4:1; cf. 3 Jn. 6), thus linking the motive and goal of
Christian action, the motivating power residing in God’s prior action.
Hence the warning not to receive the Lord’s Supper unworthily (anáxios
) does not refer legalistically to a moral quality but to an attitude
determined by the gospel.
Vine summarizes axios...
axios (514), “of weight,
worth, worthy,” is said of persons and their deeds: (a) in a good
sense, e.g., Matt. 10:10, 11, 13 (twice), 37 (twice), 38; 22:8; Luke
7:4; 10:7; 15:19, 21; John 1:27; Acts 13:25; 1 Tim. 5:18; 6:1; Heb.
11:38; Rev. 3:4; 4:11; 5:2, 4, 9, 12; (b) in a bad sense, Luke 12:48;
23:15; Acts 23:29; 25:11, 25; 26:31; Rom. 1:32; Rev. 16:6.
Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W. (1996). Vine's complete
expository dictionary of Old and New Testament words (2:687).
Nashville: T. Nelson.
Axios has the root meaning of balancing the
scales—what is on one side of the scale should be equal in weight to
what is on the other side. By extension, axios came to be applied
to anything that was expected to correspond to something else. A person
worthy of his pay was one whose day’s work corresponded to his day’s
used to describe the Roman emperor when he marched in a triumphal
procession. He was "worthy" (adjective). John tells us however that the One Who is
truly "worthy" (adjective) is the Lamb, recording that he heard all creation rightly
(adjective) is the Lamb that was slain to receive
power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.
The Lamb slain (the resurrected and glorified Lord
Jesus Christ) is the only One Who is "worthy (adjective) to open the book and to
break its seals." (Rev 5:2-note) The Redeemer Alone had the right to
consummate the full redemption of His creation, the "final act" of which
will begin when He breaks the seven
sealed scroll, which many
futuristic commentators identify as the
"title deed to the earth" (Click
Jesus addressing the church at Sardis
But you have a few
people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk
with Me in white; for they are
Axios (adjective) 41x in 39v - appropriate(1), deserve(2),
deserving(4), fitting(2), keeping(2), unworthy*(1), worthy(29).
Matthew 3:8 "Therefore bear fruit
in keeping with repentance;
NET Bible: Fruit worthy of repentance refers to the deeds that
indicate a change of attitude (heart) on the part of John's hearers.
Matthew 10:10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or
sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.
11 "And whatever city or village you enter, inquire who is worthy
in it, and stay at his house until you leave that city....13 "If the
house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is
not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.
Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not
worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not
worthy of Me. 38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow
after Me is not worthy of Me.
Matthew 22:8 "Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but
those who were invited were not worthy.
Luke 3:8 "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and
do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,'
for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up
children to Abraham.
Luke 7:4 When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying,
"He is worthy for You to grant this to him;
Comment: Here axios carries the meaning of “deserving”
something -- the Jewish elders sent to Jesus by the Roman centurion
pleaded earnestly that he "deserves" for Jesus to heal his servant.
Luke 10:7 "Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you;
for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from
house to house.
Luke 12:48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds
worthy (deserving) of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has
been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted
much, of him they will ask all the more.
Luke 15:19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me
as one of your hired men."'
Luke 15:21 "And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against
heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy (deserve) to be called
Luke 23:15 "No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold,
nothing deserving death has been done by Him.
Luke 23:41 "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving
what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing
John 1:27 "It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am
not worthy to untie."
Acts 13:25 "And while John was completing his course, he kept saying,
'What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming
after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'
Acts 13:46 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was
necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you
repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life,
behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
Acts 23:29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their
Law, but under no accusation deserving death or imprisonment.
Acts 25:11 "If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything
worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those
things is true of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over
to them. I appeal to Caesar."
Acts 25:25 "But I found that he had committed nothing worthy
(i.e., he did not deserve) of
death; and since he himself appealed to the Emperor, I decided to send
Acts 26:20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and
also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and
even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God,
performing deeds appropriate to repentance.
Acts 26:31 and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one
another, saying, "This man is not doing anything worthy of
death or imprisonment."
For I consider (logizomai) that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is (about) to be
revealed to us.
Romans 1:32-note and although they know the ordinance of God, that those
who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do
the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.
Sufferings now are not going to "balance the scales" of the glory that
results from present suffering! Upshot: "Hangeth thou in there dear
child of God." Suffering in life is short when weighed on the scale of
glory that accrues to our account!
A T Robertson: We shall be included in the radiance of the
coming glory which will put in the shadow the present sufferings.
1 Corinthians 16:4 and if it is fitting for me to go also, they
will go with me.
Comment: The idea is that Paul would make the journey if
circumstances were "suitable" or such that that the work demanded him
2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you,
brethren, as is only fitting (proper - the point is the
thanksgiving is appropriate in the circumstances), because your faith is greatly
enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows
1 Timothy 1:15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full
acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
among whom I am foremost of all.
1 Timothy 4:9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full
1 Timothy 5:18 For the Scripture says, "YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX
WHILE HE IS THRESHING," and "The laborer is worthy of his
1 Timothy 6:1 All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard
their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of
God and our doctrine will not be spoken against.
Hebrews 11:38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering
in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Revelation 3:4-note 'But you have a few people in Sardis who have not
soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they
Revelation 4:11-note "Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to
receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and
because of Your will they existed, and were created."
Revelation 5:2-note And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice,
"Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"
Revelation 5:4-note Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found
worthy to open the book or to look into it;
Revelation 5:9-note And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to
take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and
purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and
people and nation.
Revelation 5:12-note saying with a loud voice,
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches
and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
Revelation 16:6-note for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets,
and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it."
For completeness, below are the 6 NT uses of the adverbial form of
that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the
saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of
you; for she herself has also been a helper of many, and of myself as
of conclusion - What is Paul concluding?) I,
the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk (peripateo)
in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been
This verse is like a "hinge" on a door. It swings open the practical
exhortations of chapters 4-6, exhortations which cannot be carried out
without reliance of the foundational truths Paul taught on the "other
side of the door." In other words chapters 1-3 are primarily doctrine
while chapters 4-6 call believers to duties based on sound doctrine.
Belief should always show forth in behavior "in keeping with" ("worthy
of") the truth that one believes. Be careful though -- do not try to
carry out the exhortations and commands of chapters 4-6 in your
strength! You will put yourself under the law and you will surely fail!
Take the yoke of Jesus, the yoke of enabling grace, surrendering to the
Spirit of Christ. Then, and only then, you will be empowered to walk
in a manner worthy of the calling!
= a command to do this as one's lifestyle, which of course can
only be obeyed as the believer surrenders to the Spirit, is filled by
Him [Eph 5:18-note]
and walks by Him [Gal 5:16-note])
in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that (term
- What is Paul concluding?) whether I come and see you or remain absent,
I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one
mind striving together for the faith (the objective truth) of the
Paul is exhorting
them to live their lives like they are citizens of heaven (because they
are! Php 3:20-note), so their
conduct in a sense "weighs as much as" (axios) the gospel they
preach and the faith they profess. In other words, they are to see to it
that they practice what they preach, that their experience measures up
to their new standing as children of the King. We do not behave (or
conduct ourselves in a certain way) in order to go to heaven, as though
we could be saved by our good works, but we conduct ourselves because
our names are already written in heaven, and our citizenship is in
1:10-note so that (term
of conclusion - What is Paul concluding?) you
will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in
all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the
knowledge of God;
Comments: The saints are to see to it that their manner of life,
their conduct, weighs as much as the character of their Lord. That is,
He is to be their example in life, and the copy must be like the
example. Peter says: “Christ also suffered on your behalf, leaving
behind for you a model to imitate, in order that by close application
you might follow in His footprints” (I Pet. 2:21). Expositors says:
“This lofty wisdom and insight is not an end in itself. It must issue in
right practice. Doctrines and ethics are for Paul inseparable. Right
conduct must be founded on right thinking, but right thinking must also
lead to right conduct.”
so that (term
of conclusion - What is Paul concluding?) you
would walk (peripateo)
in a manner worthy of the God (How? cp 1Cor 11:1 - Thus walking
like Jesus, enabled to do so by the same Spirit on Whom He
Lk 4:1, 14 - See discussion of
3 John 1:6
and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well
to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God (Which
begs the question - How would God send them on their way?).
A good picture of
axios is a set of scales that are perfectly balanced. How is that
achieved? Obviously the same weight is
on one side of the scale as on the other side of the scale.
So how does a
set of scales apply to the life of a follower of Jesus Christ?
Well, let's reason this through -- If Jesus is in me, which He is if I
am truly born again, then His Spirit indwells me (Col 1:27b-note,
Then, as I study His Word taught by the Spirit and grown in grace, I
begin to learn to submit or yield to the leading of the Spirit
rejecting self-reliance and learning to lean on Him, depending continually on
His ever sufficient grace. As this pattern becomes a reality in my life,
I will be enabled to live a lifestyle that will "Measure up" to
the Name of the One Who is in me and my words and actions will give a proper opinion
to others of the One Who is in me, the otherwise invisible God (Mt 5:16-note).
When that happens, we are walking worthy of the Lord, of His Gospel, of
God's calling, and of our great name "saints" (set apart ones)! Now
that's abundant life! (cp Jn 10:10b)
A worthy walk
brings "forth fruit in keeping (axios - adjective) with repentance." (Mt
3:8) Keep in mind that the root idea of axios is
having equal weight or worth, and therefore of being appropriate,
suitable or fitting. The upshot is that true
repentance (in contrast to worldly sorrow - 2Cor 7:10) will have have works
which "weigh" as much as the repentance. True repentance brings forth
good fruit. False repentance brings forth rotten fruit, which will not
"balance the scales." Those who claim to know Christ, who claim to
be born again, will demonstrate a new way of living that corresponds to
("has a weight that equates to" or is worthy of) the new birth
The believer who
walks in a manner worthy of the calling with which he has been
called is one whose daily living corresponds to his high position as a
child of God and fellow heir with Jesus Christ. His practical living
matches his privileged position.
As an aside, do
not be surprised that
when we are walking worthy of our calling (in humility rather than
pride, in unity rather than divisiveness, in the new self rather than
the old, in love rather than lust, in light rather than darkness, in
wisdom rather than foolishness, in the fullness of the Spirit rather
than the drunkenness of wine, and in mutual submission rather than
self–serving independence), that we will
experience opposition and conflict from
BIBLICAL DESCRIPTION OF
A WORTHY WALK
The Bible defines a
worthy walk as consisting of the
A worthy walk is a walk in...
the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:4-note,
cp Gal 5:16-note,
humility (Ep 4:2-note)
purity (Ro 13:13-note;
faith (2Co 5:7-note)
righteousness (Ep 2:10-note)
unity (Ep 4:3-note;
gentleness (Ep 4:2-note)
patience (Col 1:11-note)
love (Ep 5:2-note)
joy (Col 1:11-note)
thankfulness (Col 1:12-note)
light (Ep 5:8-note,
knowledge (Col 1:10-note)
wisdom (Ep 5:15-note)
(3Jn 3, 4)
fruitfulness (Col 1:12-note)
In short, “The one who says he abides
in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1John
2:6), because that pleases God (1Thes 4:1 -
Keep in mind that
axios was originally used of drawing down a scale and hence it
had to do with weight and so of that which is of value. For example when
Paul says in Ro 8:18-note
"that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy
(axios - adjective) to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" the
picture he is painting is that present sufferings are of no weight in
comparison with future glory and are not even to be balanced on the
scale with the "heavy" glory that endures forever.
You honor God's name
When you call
Him your Father
And live like His Son
conducting myself in a manner worthy of the Gospel?” is a good question
for us to ask ourselves regularly.
To reiterate this important
point -- Right thinking should always lead
to right conduct. Knowledge and obedience go together. One cannot
separate learning from living. The idea of "worthy" is that the
conduct of the saints weigh as much as the character of Christ. Why?
when we are surrendered to His will, He is living His life through us
via His indwelling Spirit.
Ultimately His conduct is the only conduct which is truly worthy, for no other conduct would
balance God's perfect scales. Christ alone pleases the Father completely and as we
allow Christ to rule and reign in our lives, our lives become pleasing
to the Father.
A WORTHY WALK
UNSEEN HERE BUT NOT THERE
Men of whom the world was not
worthy - Phillips paraphrases it "by a world that was too evil to
see their worth."
Constable comments that...
Sometimes the faithful person’s
reward comes on the other side of the grave. Some of the readers and
we might have to endure death. Those who accept death without
apostatizing are those the world is not worthy of because they do not
turn from following God even under the most severe pressure. (Hebrews 11 Commentary)
Hughes writes that...
The language is vividly descriptive
of the savage indignities and severe hardships which men and women of
faith have been willing to endure rather than deny the truth by which
they have been liberated. It depicts, moreover, the fierce hatred of
the unbelieving world in its guilty hostility to the truth as it
ruthlessly hunts and assaults those whose trust is in the immutability
of the divine promises. Rejecting the world they are ejected by the
world. For their refusal to conform to this world's fallen standards
the world attempts to eliminate them and their witness. But it is
precisely these hunted heroes of the faith of whom (as our author
declares in a resounding parenthesis) the world was not worthy. Their
nobility and their integrity shine forth all the more brilliantly
against the world's dark hatred; for in a world darkened and degraded
by sin they truly are the light, and theirs is the true blessedness
and the everlasting reward (Mt. 5:10-13). As those whose gaze is fixed
on a better world they endure and by their faith they overcome,
knowing as they do (and as the world refuses to know) that "the world
passes away," but that "he who does the will of God abides for ever"
(1 Jn. 2:17; 5:4). (A Commentary On The Epistle To The Hebrews)
You have seen the works of faith
and the sufferings of faith; now you see God’s estimate of faith. He
counts the believing man to be far beyond the rest of mankind.
These worthies lived before Christ
came; but, since then, equally noble exploits have been performed by
the heroes and heroines of faith. The Christian martyrs have shown the
extremity of human endurance when they have been sustained by faith;
and the bead-roll of Christian heroes, since their Lord ascended to
heaven, is longer and even brighter than that of the faithful ones who
came before them in the earlier dispensation.
This is the grandest roll of heroes
that ever lived, and every one among them was a man or woman of faith.
Faith made them so mighty. They were not greater, and in some respects
not better than the rest of us, but they believed in God, they were
firm in faith, and this became the basis of their conquering
character, and thus their names are imperishably recorded here. They
did not win the Victoria cross, but they bore the cross for their
Lord, and he has honored them with an everlasting crown, which shall
never be taken from them.
Steven Cole -
Faith's Reward (Pastor
Cole's sermons are highly recommended
Sermons by Book)
2. Sometimes God blesses those who trust Him with the grace to
endure horrible trials without wavering (Heb 11:35b-38).
“Women receiving back their dead by resurrection” is the apex of the
spectacular. It doesn’t get any more impressive than that! Yet without
skipping a beat, the author continues (He 11:35b-38), “and others were
tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a
better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings,
yes also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in
two, they were tempted [this has weak manuscript support and may not
be original], they were put to death with the sword; they went about
in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and
mountains and caves and holes in the ground.”
After reading the first part of the list, you want to say, “These guys
on the second half of the list must not have had faith, right?” But
the author continues (He 11:39), “And all these, having gained
approval through their faith,…” Those on the second half of the list
were just as much people of faith as those on the first half! In fact,
you could argue that they had greater faith, because it’s not as easy
to trust God when you’re being scourged, stoned, or sawn in two as it
is when you’re seeing foreign armies put to flight and the dead raised
to life. While all of us, if we could, would sign up to be in the
first group, we need to recognize that sometimes God is pleased to
withhold spectacular results and bless us instead with His grace as
our sufficiency in overwhelming trials (2Co 12:9, 10).
With one exception, many names
could fit into the various categories on this list of persecutions.
That exception is “sawn in two,” which is not in the Bible. Tradition
says that the wicked King Manasseh killed the prophet Isaiah by sawing
him in two. A Jewish work, The Martyrdom of Isaiah, recounts this
terrible ordeal, saying, “Isaiah neither cried aloud nor wept, but his
lips spoke with the Holy Spirit until he was sawn in two” (in Philip
Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews [Eerdmans], p.
The description of some being tortured, not accepting their release,
may refer to two incidents during the reign of terror of the wicked
Antiochus Epiphanes (reported in the apocryphal 2 Maccabees 6 & 7). In
the first, an old teacher of the law, Eleazar, was forced to open his
mouth to eat pork. But, “preferring an honour-able death to an unclean
life, he spat it out” (2 Macc. 6:19, New English Bible). They then
stretched him on a rack and flogged him.
At one point, they offered that he could eat clean meat, but pretend
that it was the pork that the king had ordered. He replied, “Send me
quickly to my grave. If I went through with this pretence at my time
of life, many of the young might believe that at the age of ninety
Eleazar had turned apostate. If I practiced deceit for the sake of a
brief moment of life, I should lead them astray and bring stain and
pollution on my old age. I might for the present avoid man’s
punishment, but, alive or dead, I shall never escape from the hand of
the Almighty” (6:24-27). In the other incident, seven sons of one
woman were tortured and killed in front of her for refusing to eat
Our text refutes the health and wealth heresy, to say the least! It
shows us the fierce opposition that Satan has towards the faithful
people of God. It reveals the irrational evil that consumes wicked
people to inflict such atrocities on the godly. And, it should
en-courage us to endure rejection, ill-treatment, injustice, and even
torture and death, if need be, for the sake of the gospel. Although,
like the Hebrews (He 12:4), we have not yet resisted to the point of
shedding blood in our striving against sin,” it may come to that. If
we do suffer for the sake of Christ, we will join a great company of
God’s people down through history “of whom the world was not worthy”
The last two verses of the chapter show us that…
3. God will bless all who trust Him with eternal rewards (He 11:39,
“All these” refers to both groups. They all gained approval (or “a
testimony”) through their faith, yet none received “the promise”
(literal translation). Abraham received the promise of Isaac (He
11:17). Others “obtained promises” by faith (He 11:33). But none
received the promise, which refers to Christ. They saw Him from afar
in types and shadows, but we see Him clearly revealed in the New
Testament. Most of them were under the old covenant, but God “provided
something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made
perfect.” That something better is the new covenant in Christ’s blood.
The old covenant with its sacrifices could not make the worshipers
perfect (He 10:1). But the new covenant has sanctified us “through the
offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (He 10:10). The Old
Testament saints were saved, but their salvation was not complete
until the cross. Ours is complete because Jesus is the perfect
The author’s point is that if the Old Testament saints were faithful
through all of these trials, even though they didn’t receive the
promise of Christ in the flesh, how much more should we be faithful,
since we have Christ! John Calvin (Calvin's Commentaries [Baker], p.
308) put it, “A small spark of light led them to heaven; when the sun
of righteousness shines over us, with what pretence can we excuse
ourselves if we still cleave to the earth?”
Any yet, although we have the promise of Christ, we do not yet have
the full experience of the glory that is to be revealed with Him in
heaven. And so we must, like the Old Testament saints, live by faith
in God’s promise as we await the final consummation when Jesus
returns. We must endure whatever trials come, even persecution, by
fixing our eyes on Jesus (He 12:1, 2, 3).
Let me sum up this section with four applications. I cannot expand on
these, but I encourage you to think about how they apply more
extensively to your life:
(1) Faith is ready to sacrifice present comfort for future reward with
Christ. Faith recognizes that this life is very short in
comparison with eternity. With Paul, faith recognizes that “momentary,
light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far
beyond all comparison” (2Co 4:17). In Paul’s case, this “light
affliction” included beatings, imprisonments, being stoned,
shipwrecked, and often being in danger of death (2Co 11:23, 24, 25,
26, 27)! When you experience “light affliction,” do you grumble or do
you joyfully trust God?
(2) Faith lives with a God-ward focus, not with a focus on people
or things. The saints mentioned in our text could endure mockings,
scourgings, imprisonments, and death because their focus was on God,
not on other people or things. They were looking to eternity, not to
this vapor of life here. Calvin put it this way, “we ought to live
only so as to live to God: as soon as we are not permitted to live to
God, we ought willingly and not reluctantly to meet death” (ibid., p.
(3) Faith trusts and obeys God, leaving the results to His
sovereignty. Some trust and obey God and He grants spectacular
results. Others trust and obey the same mighty God and He enables them
to endure horrific trials in His strength. The difference is not in
the people or in their faith, but in God’s sovereign purpose in each
situation. We know the same God that these Old Testament saints knew,
and we have even more, in that we know Christ personally. So we should
trust Him as they did, whether He chooses to put us to death, as He
did with the apostle James, or to deliver us from death for a while,
as He did with Peter.
(4) Faithfulness to Jesus Christ counts more than anything else,
even than life itself. As Martin Luther put it (“A Mighty
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still;
His kingdom is forever.
Trust God in whatever difficult
situations you face. One day soon you will hear, “Well done, good and
faithful slave…. Enter into the joy of your master” (Mt 24:21)
Where is the balance between accepting our shortcomings and yet
striving by faith to overcome them?
Why is faith not opposed to preparation, planning, and hard work? How
can we know whether the power is from God or from our planning and
Why is it wrong to judge whether we have God’s blessing by the visible
results? How can we know if we have His blessing?
What are some reasons that God does not always deliver those who trust
in Him? (Faith's
Reward (Pastor Cole's sermons are highly recommended
Sermons by Book))
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