The Berean Expositor
Volume 44 - Page 95 of 247
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"He had this testimony" (11: 5).
"These all, having obtained a good report" (11: 39).
"So great a cloud of witnesses" (12: 1).
CLOUD (nephos). The word does not occur elsewhere in Scripture, the usual word
for cloud being the related nephele. It is a word in use among Greek writers for a great
company. Homer, in the Iliad, has the line: "With him followed a cloud of foot-men."
So Herodotus, Euripides and others. The figure was used likewise by Latin writers: Livy
has the line peditum equitumque nubes, "a cloud of horse and foot".
PATIENCE (hupomone). The only occurrences of this word in Hebrews are 10: 36
and 12: 1.  The word literally means "to remain under". We take note of it here
because of its cognates that are not so obvious in the English translation. The verbal
form (hupomeno) comes in Heb. 10: 32, "Ye endured"; 12: 2, "He endured the cross";
12: 3, "endured such contradiction"; 12: 7, "If ye endure chastening".
Closely allied, and having a very definite bearing upon the theme, is the simple form
meno, "to remain". It occurs six times in Hebrews:
"Abideth a priest continually" (7: 3).
"He continueth ever" (7: 24).
"An enduring substance" (10: 34).
"Those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (12: 27).
"Let brotherly love continue" (13: 1).
"For here have we no continuing city" (13: 14).
RACE (agon). The word means a contest, a race, a conflict, and the accompanying
imagery is borrowed from the Greek games.
"So run, that ye may obtain . . . . . every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate
. . . . . they do it to obtain a corruptible crown" (I Cor. 9: 24, 25).
"I have fought a good fight . . . . . henceforth . . . . . a crown" (II Tim. 4: 7, 8).
A connection hidden from the English reader is found in Heb. 12: 4 "Striving
against" is antagonizomai, just the verbal form of agon as used in I Cor. 9: 25, with the
prefix anti, against.
The consideration of these words has of itself created the true atmosphere of the
passage. It is a race, calling for endurance, beset with peculiar difficulties, having a prize
ahead, and a glorious Example. We are now ready for the structure, and can then pass on
to the argument itself.