Hebrews 12:8
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
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(8) Whereof all are partakers.—Better, whereof all (God’s children) have been made partakers. Were it possible that they have never known this fatherly “chastening,” it must be that they are not sons whom a father acknowledges, and for whose training he has care.

12:1-11 The persevering obedience of faith in Christ, was the race set before the Hebrews, wherein they must either win the crown of glory, or have everlasting misery for their portion; and it is set before us. By the sin that does so easily beset us, understand that sin to which we are most prone, or to which we are most exposed, from habit, age, or circumstances. This is a most important exhortation; for while a man's darling sin, be it what it will, remains unsubdued, it will hinder him from running the Christian race, as it takes from him every motive for running, and gives power to every discouragement. When weary and faint in their minds, let them recollect that the holy Jesus suffered, to save them from eternal misery. By stedfastly looking to Jesus, their thoughts would strengthen holy affections, and keep under their carnal desires. Let us then frequently consider him. What are our little trials to his agonies, or even to our deserts? What are they to the sufferings of many others? There is a proneness in believers to grow weary, and to faint under trials and afflictions; this is from the imperfection of grace and the remains of corruption. Christians should not faint under their trials. Though their enemies and persecutors may be instruments to inflict sufferings, yet they are Divine chastisements; their heavenly Father has his hand in all, and his wise end to answer by all. They must not make light of afflictions, and be without feeling under them, for they are the hand and rod of God, and are his rebukes for sin. They must not despond and sink under trials, nor fret and repine, but bear up with faith and patience. God may let others alone in their sins, but he will correct sin in his own children. In this he acts as becomes a father. Our earthly parents sometimes may chasten us, to gratify their passion, rather than to reform our manners. But the Father of our souls never willingly grieves nor afflicts his children. It is always for our profit. Our whole life here is a state of childhood, and imperfect as to spiritual things; therefore we must submit to the discipline of such a state. When we come to a perfect state, we shall be fully reconciled to all God's chastisement of us now. God's correction is not condemnation; the chastening may be borne with patience, and greatly promote holiness. Let us then learn to consider the afflictions brought on us by the malice of men, as corrections sent by our wise and gracious Father, for our spiritual good.But if ye be without chastisement - If you never meet with anything that is adapted to correct your faults; to subdue your temper; to chide your wanderings, it would prove that you were in the condition of illegitimate children - cast off and disregarded by their father.

Whereof all are partakers - All who are the true children of God.

Then are ye bastards, and not sons - The reference here is to the neglect with which such children are treated, and to the general want of care and discipline over them:

"Lost in the world's wide range; enjoin'd no aim,

Prescrib'd no duty, and assign'd no name."


In the English law, a bastard is termed "nullius filius." Illegitimate children are usually abandoned by their father. The care of them is left to the mother, and the father endeavors to avoid all responsibility, and usually to be concealed and unknown. His own child he does not wish to recognize; he neither provides for him; nor instructs him; nor governs him; nor disciplines him. A father, who is worthy of the name, will do all these things. So Paul says it is with Christians. God has not cast them off. In every way he evinces toward them the character of a father. And if it should be that they passed along through life without any occurrence that would indicate the paternal care and attention designed to correct their faults, it would show that they never had been his children, but - were cast off and wholly disregarded. This is a beautiful argument; and we should receive every affliction as full proof that we are not forgotten by the High and Holy One who condescends to sustain to us the character, and to evince toward us, in our wanderings, the watchful care of a Father.

8. if ye be without—excluded from participation in chastisement, and wishing to be so.

all—all sons: all the worthies enumerated in the eleventh chapter: all the witnesses (Heb 12:1).

are—Greek, "have been made."

then are ye bastards—of whom their fathers take no care whether they are educated or not; whereas every right-minded father is concerned for the moral well-being of his legitimate son. "Since then not to be chastised is a mark of bastardy, we ought [not to refuse, but] rejoice in chastisement, as a mark of our genuine sonship" [Chrysostom].

But if God chasten you not, or if he do, and ye have not grace, or do not rightly endure it, are not managing yourselves well under it, nor are profited by it, when all and every one of his children are partakers of it, then are ye a false and spurious seed, and not God’s genuine offspring,

bastards in his account; and indeed so the most forlorn, wretched persons of all others, left under the power and dominion of sin, hurrying them on to their utter destruction, John 8:41. These visible church members have a bastardly disposition, hearts alienated from God and his law, and inclined to the will and works of the flesh, expressing it in their conversation, running into the excess of sin, having no chastening to restrain them, and are deserted by God for it, Isaiah 1:4-6 Hosea 4:14,17.

But if ye be without chastisement,.... Or have no affliction:

whereof all are partakers; that is, all the children of God; they are all alike children; they are all in a state of imperfection, and prone to sin; God has an impartial respect unto them: and though they are not all alike chastened, nor chastened at all times, yet none are exempted from chastisement, but have it in some way or another, and at some time or another.

Then are ye bastards, and not sons; all are not sons that are under a profession of religion; all that are under a profession of religion are not chastised; but then those are not the children of God, but the children of the world, of Satan, and of the antichristian harlot; for though all that are chastised are not children, yet all that are children are chastised: hence we learn, that outward peace and prosperity is not a note of a true church; and that such have reason to distrust their state, who know not what it is to have the chastising rod of God upon them; and that afflictions are rather arguments for than against sonship.

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Hebrews 12:8. Εἰ δὲ χωρίς ἐστε παιδείας] If, on the other hand, ye are free from chastisement (have been spared it). Wrongly Theodoret: εἰ τοίνυν καὶ ὑμεῖς τὴν παιδείαν ἐκκλίνετε.

ἧς μέτοχοι γεγόνασιν πάντες] of which all (sc. whom God—like the saints of the O. T. enumerated chap. 11—has really acknowledged as His sons) have become partakers. That the relative clause contains no statement of entirely universal import, applicable also to the relation towards the earthly fathers (Camerarius, Beza, Limborch, al.), but, on the contrary, one affecting exclusively the relation towards God, is clear from the parallel with Hebrews 12:7, as well as from the perfect γεγόνασιν.

νόθοι] bastards, begotten out of wedlock, for whose weal or woe their father is not wont to be greatly concerned.

8. whereof all are partakers] He speaks of God’s blessed and disciplinary chastisement as a gift in which all His sons have their share.

Hebrews 12:8. Εἰ δὲ χωρίς ἐστε) If ye are and wish to be, etc.; χωρὶς, without, a melancholy particle.—μέτοχοι, partakers) A favourable word.—πάντες, all) all sons, Hebrews 12:7 : all the witnesses, Hebrews 12:1.—ἄρα νόθοι ἐστὲ καὶ οὐχʼ υἱοὶ, in that case ye are bastards and not sons) An Enthymeme (covert Syllogism), in which this may be understood: but we do not wish to be bastards but sons; therefore we shall receive the discipline.

Hebrews 12:8Of which all are partakers (ἧς μετοχοι γεγόνασι πάντες)

Rend. "of which all have been made partakers." For μέτοχοι partakers see on Hebrews 3:14. All, that is, all sons of God.

Bastards (νόθοι)

N.T.o. See Wisd. 4:3. They might think that they would not suffer if they were really God's sons; whereas the reverse is the case. If they did not suffer, they would not be God's sons.

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