Monday, October 14, 2019

Hebrews 1:3 (Translate as "substance"?)

ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, (Hebrews 1:3 WH)

ASV: "who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"

The rendering "substance" is possibly not the best way to translate ὑπόστασις in the passage above. BDAG Greek-English Lexicon gives this observation for ὑπόστασις in Heb. 1:3:

"the essential or basic structure/nature of an entity, substantial nature, essence, actual being, reality . . ."
BDAG glosses Heb. 1:3 this way:

"a(n) exact representation of (God's) real being (i.e. as one who is in charge of the universe)"

NET Bible has:

"The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence"

Commentator William L. Lane seems to prefer "nature" as a rendering of ὑπόστασις in Heb. 1:3.

David Ripley Worley has written an interesting monograph about this subject--God’s Faithfulness to Promise: The Hortatory Use of Commissive Language in Hebrews (2019). See

He writes (page 65)

It is not necessary in the first place to translate ὑπόστασις with the meaning it has elsewhere in Hebrews (1:3; 3:14); ὑπόστασις is polysemic and the sense appropriate in 11:l is constrained by the immediate context (‘syntagmatic relationship’).31 A leading question for us is whether πίστις and ὑπόστασις share a related sense (‘paradigmatic relationship’) as do πίστις and ἔλεγχος, and if so, whether such a related sense is appropriate in the immediate context. To answer our question we must turn to the use of ὑπόστασις in the papyri.32

A number of commentators insist that Heb. 1:3 uses ὑπόστασις philosophically or with a philosophical sense. One problem is that most read this word through a fourth-century prism.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is your thoughts on this video dealing with Hebrews 1? He shuts down the Trinity.