The Book of “Hebrews” Warren Camp’s Bible Study for Hearty Boys
Summary with Videos, Questions, and Answers

Hebrews 2:10–18 . . .

“Jesus, Perfect Pioneer of Salvation”

Today's passage details various results of our Lord’s incarnation and sufferings, proving that his suffering and humiliation was absolutely fitting and proper. At the right time, Father God would send his Son to earth to be the "pioneer," "suffering servant," and trailblazer of salvation.

Perfect Salvation through Suffering (2:10)

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"perfect" repetitions.

The author begins to elaborate on his warning about "the great salvation" (2:3), that by God's grace, Jesus might taste death for everyone. He wants to amplify what it means that Christ became a man, suffered, and died. The Son of God, who'd dwelt in eternity with his Father, left heaven to come to earth, be born into the human race, become fully man and fully God, go to the cross, suffer and die as a man, and be exalted to heaven so that all who believe in him would be saved. So v. 10 states, "it was fitting for God," emphasizing that God is in control of everything. The suffering and death of Christ is not a tragic add-on. It's a provision of a God who controls all; everything exists for him and comes through his power "in bringing many sons and daughters to glory."

10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered (2:10).

Pastor/teacher/elder Bob Deffinbaugh says this about v. 10a: "'Bringing many sons to glory' (NASB) might well be an expanded expression meaning 'salvation,' but in the light of vv. 5–9, it would seem that this expression might refer to salvation as the solution to man’s dilemma of lost authority and glory, as a result of the fall. If so, then 'bringing many sons to glory' is 'restoring many sons to their former, but lost, glory.'"

You're possibly wondering: How can the Lord's incarnation, followed by his sufferings, be "fitting" for Father God to have intended for his Son? The answer appears in the next eight verses, wherein the author unfolds several results of our Lord’s incarnation that couldn't have occurred absent the incarnation.

What God intended through his Son's suffering and death (v. 10) was to bring to perfection the "pioneer of their salvation" through his sufferings. Jesus is the sinless Lamb of God.

The Greek word protopóros has been variously translated as "pioneer" (NIV, NET, CSE, MSG), "author" (NASB, MEV, ASV), "source" (CSB), "founder" (ESV), "perfect leader" (LTB), and "captain" (KJV, NKJV). Clearly, no one English word fully captures the essence of protopóros. So it was the Father's plan to perfect, to bring to completion the pioneer/author/source/founder/perfect leader/captain, to accomplish everything in him that needed to be done through his suffering.

Jesus Calls Us His Brothers and Sisters (vv. 11–13)

We come back to the humanity that's highlighted in v. 11's "Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family." Christ is the sanctifying One who makes people holy, setting them apart. "Those who are made holy" are those who choose to trust in him and experience the great salvation he provides. God is perfectly holy because he's completely set apart from all sin and defilement. In Christ we've been sanctified, set apart from sin. God can say to us who are true believers in Christ Jesus, "You shall be holy for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16).

11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12He says, “I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.”[Psalm 22:22] 13And again, “I will put my trust in him.” [quoted from Isaiah 8:17] And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me” (2:11–13).

The "one who makes people holy" is Father God's Son, Jesus. And "those who are made holy" are the Jewish Christians who believed in Jesus. Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ and Christians "are of the same family" (v. 11), which literally reads "all are of one." All who believe in Jesus and his gift of salvation are united with him and have become one with all other believers, members of one family. While Christ is "the Son," we who believe in him are "sons of God."

Christ's favorite name for himself during his earthly ministry was "Son of Man," identifying with humanity. He wasn't ashamed to have been identified as a man and live on earth as a man. Neither was he then, nor is he now, ashamed to call those who are made holy his "brothers and sisters." Note: The Greek word used here for "brothers and sisters" (adelphoi) in vv. 11 and 12 refers to believers — both men and women — as part of God’s family.

As revealed in the highlighted passage above, the author refers to Psalm 22:22 in v. 12b. Note: Psalm 22 is perhaps the most messianic of all the psalms. The first verse begins, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" the very question Christ asked while hanging on the cross. The psalm talks about how soldiers beneath his cross would cast lots for his garments. It gives the fullest description of Christ's crucifixion found in the Bible. Supporting what he'd said at the end of v. 11, the "Hebrews" author quotes from Psalm 22:22: "I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you," emphasizing that Jesus isn't ashamed to call those who are made holy his "brothers and sisters." Lord Jesus identifies himself with true believers in him.

The author's next Old testament Scripture reference appears in v. 13a, citing Isaiah 8:17b. Remember: This epistle was written to a local church of Jews who believed that Jesus was Messiah. They didn't have their Bible in front of them like you do. It was expected and required that Jewish believers would recognize and appreciate the relevance and meaning of Scripture. Realize how blessed we are to have a complete Bible and that God expects us to be familiar with his words and recognize their truth.

So, v. 13 quotes from Isaiah 8:17b, wherein Father God says, "I will put my trust in him," speaking about Jesus, his Son who was God, as well as fully man, and how he'd lived on earth. Looking again at Isaiah 8, it's worth noting what that prophet wrote in v. 18a: "Here am I, and the children the Lord has given me." Just as Isaiah could include his sons among those who were with him in trusting God, so our Lord Jesus could include his spiritual children among those who, with him, trust in God, no matter the trials and tribulations. Therein we can see God's sovereignty in this work: The Son of God became man; through his sufferings, death, and resurrection, he's capable of providing salvation to mankind.

Therefore, we see that our Lord’s incarnation resulted in the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming of Messiah. His incarnation set the stage for the life-saving work he performed on the cross of Calvary that produced Christian brothers and sisters, all members in the same new God-honoring family.

Satan’s Defeat Prevents the Fear of Death (vv. 14–15)

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"blood" repetitions.

For Lord Jesus to effectively lead this new God-honoring family of Jewish Christians who, in their flesh-and-blood existence, have been made holy, he likewise had to become human and acquired flesh and blood. We ought to be thankful that our "Hebrews" author will continue to reveal how Jesus' incarnation affects Christians of his day and those of us today. Fortunately, he'd demonstrated in vv. 11–13 that Jesus' incarnation paved the way for our Lord to have created a family. Then, in the next two verses, he'll bring to light how this incarnation enabled the Son of God to defeat Satan, thereby eliminating the "fear of death," through which the evil one dominates humanity who are made of "flesh and blood."

14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil — 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death (2:14–15).

To save mankind, the Son had to first take on "flesh and blood" and share in our humanity by dying for man so that he could convincingly defeat the one who holds the power of death: Satan. Many Scriptures reveal that the devil loves death and murder. Charles Spurgeon (English Baptist preacher, 1834–1892) wrote this about Satan's focus on the power of death: "I think death is the devil’s masterpiece. With the solitary exception of hell, death is certainly the most Satanic mischief that sin hath accomplished. Nothing ever delighted the heart of the devil so much as when he found that the threatening would be fulfilled, ‘In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.'"

In his commentary on this passage, David Guzik writes: "Satan repeatedly tried to kill Jesus: He tried through the murderous intent of Herod when Jesus was a baby; he tried at a synagogue where they tried to kill Jesus; he tried to starve Jesus and tried to drown Him. None of these plans worked, until Jesus stood before Pilate and received the sentence of execution — what joy there was in the councils of Hell! They were convinced they finally had Jesus where they wanted Him. Yet the death of Jesus became defeat for the devil."

Verse 15's "free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death" brings to a focus man's being held in slavery or bondage as a result of fearing death. Perhaps mankind's biggest fear is personal death. Thankfully, we faithful believers might fear our dying but don't fear our death. We're delivered from death because Jesus has all power over death and our bondage to its fear; the element of death for Christians effectively serves purpose in the life of every believer — to "set prisoners free."

God’s Merciful and Faithful High Priest (vv. 16–18)

The author next plots an uncommon course, proving the benefits that Christ’s death obtained. He gives clear differentiation between Jesus and angels in v. 16.

16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted (2:16–18).

Here the author continues his assertion of Christ's incarnation, not taking upon him the character and personality of angels but of the seed of Abraham; he'll show the reason for his doing so in these three closing verses.

Jesus defeated evil and death by being human and assuming the vital office of Israel’s "merciful and faithful high priest in service to God." This theme is one of the most powerful contributions to Scripture’s witness of Christ. His priestly vocation is clearly revealed, set out in comprehensive terms: He's a "merciful and faithful high priest."

Jesus intentionally took on the elements of flesh and blood. As God, he preexisted from eternity; yet in the fullness of time he fused our nature with his divine nature, truly becoming a real man. He didn't take hold of angels but of Abraham's seed. When the angels fell, Jesus let them go; the nature of angels couldn't be an atoning sacrifice for the sin of man. However, Christ, resolving to recover the seed of Abraham and raise up his people from their fallen state, took upon himself human nature from one descended from the loins of Abraham so that the same nature that had sinned might also suffer, enabling him to restore human nature to a hopeful condition of special favor through salvation.

Finally, the author shows the usefulness of Christ's taking on the elements of flesh and blood when he says that he might become a "merciful and faithful high priest." He became merciful and faithful because, through his suffering and temptations by the enemy, he developed a kinship to mercy. Christ, at God's right hand right now, has two functions: (1) to be the judge of the human race (John 5:27) and (2) with Father God, he intercedes continually for us as our faithful advocate; hence, he's called a "faithful high priest." He understands every emotion, every frustration, and every temptation we could ever face. So turn over all your worries to Jesus today.

Closing Considerations

There are two final thoughts to consider and remember. According to Scripture, a faithful high priest prepared God’s people for battle against God’s enemies. Sin and death aren't only humanity’s fiercest foes, they're also God’s chief rivals (Revelation 20:13–141 Corinthians 15:24–26). The priestly Son’s battle with the evil one (cf. Hebrews 2:14) is waged on behalf of God to destroy the forces that sabotage hope for heaven (cf. 2:15). The messianic priest’s self-sacrifices, as acts of his faithfulness to God (cf. Romans 3:22; 5:18–19Galatians 2:16), "make atonement for the sins of the people" (Hebrews 2:17) and present the happy prospect of a forgiven people’s redeemed life with God.

Today, this same merciful high priest pastors God’s people who've had their sins washed away, to defeat their temptation to sin by trusting in God’s salvation message. The Son learned the ways of God at ground level while spending a lifetime of suffering. He was made perfect (2:10) so that he could divinely mediate God’s sanctifying grace to his suffering children (2:11, 18).

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The author’s image of a priestly Son rendering pastoral care to those who are suffering is nicely captured by the Greek word used herein: boētheō. This word is earlier used in the poignant story of the non-Jewish Gentile woman who pleads her sick daughter’s case by saying to a merciful Jesus, "help [boētheō] me" (Matthew 15:25). Life’s heartaches often test our loyalty to Father God. The Son made perfect by his suffering, now has the rightful, exalted position at his Father’s right hand, to not only receive our pleas for help but render his priestly care for us in a willful, effective way. Jesus became a man so that he could effectively be our high priest, who'd obviously be better for us than angels. We find a very encouraging promise for us believers in v. 18: Because Jesus overcame temptation, he's able to give us victory over our temptation!

It Makes You Wonder . . .
  • Q. 1  Why did we need someone with flesh and blood, like us, not like angels, to die in our place (vv. 14–18)?
  • Q. 2  What's the difference between the way Jesus made atonement (v. 17) and the way the priests mediated atonement?
  • Q. 3  Which of Jesus' three titles means most to you now and why? Pioneer of salvation, v. 10; brother, v. 11; high priest, v. 17?

This Week’s Passage
Hebrews 2:10–18

New International Version (NIV) or view it in a different version by clicking here.
Listen to chapter 2, narrated by Max McLean.

. . . how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him.

— Hebrews 2:3
Jesus Made Fully Human

5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:
    “What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
        a son of man that you care for him?
    7You made them a little[a] lower than the angels;
        you crowned them with glory and honor
    8 and put everything under their feet.” [Psalm 8:4–6]

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

— Hebrews 2:5–9
I will wait for the Lord,
    who is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob.
I will put my trust in him.

— Isaiah 8:17b
And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

— John 5:27
13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

— Revelation 20:13–14
24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, . . .

— Romans 3:22
18Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

— Romans 5:18–19
. . . know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

— Galatians 2;16

The Son of Man — In this video, we’ll explore the meaning of this fascinating phrase and see how it invites us into the larger biblical story.

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Key Words Repeated in "Hebrews"   [ Click  here  to download/print this list. ]

blood (used 24 times in the NIV)

2:14   Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death — that is, the devil —

9:7     But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.

9:11   [The Blood of Christ] When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

9:12   He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.

9:13   The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.

9:14   How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

9:18   This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood.

9:19   When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people.

9:20   He said, "This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.”

9:21   In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies.

9:22   In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

9:25   Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own.

10:4    . . . because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

10:19   Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, . . .

10:29   How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?

11:28   By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

12:4     In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

12:24   . . . to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

13:11   The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp.

13:12   And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.

13:20   May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, . . .

Key Words Repeated in "Hebrews"   [ Click  here  to download/print this list. ]

perfect” or “perfection” or "perfecter" (used 11 times in the NIV)

2:10    In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.

5:9      . . . and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him . . .

7:11    If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come . . . ?

7:19    (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

7:28    For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.

9:11    When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.

10:1    The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming — not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.

10:14   . . . because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

11:40   God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

12:2     Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

12:23   . . . to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, . . .

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Lyrics from the hymn "Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing"

. . .
He breaks the power of canceled sin,
  He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
  His blood availed for me.
. . .

Charles Wesley (1739): He wrote this hymn to commemorate the first anniversary of his conversion.

Listen to the entire hymn performed by the Saint Michael's Singers, Paul Leddington Wright