Hebrews 13:18
Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) The following verses—containing personal notices relating to the writer himself and his readers (Hebrews 13:18-19; Hebrews 13:22-23), a prayer on their behalf (Hebrews 13:20-21), a doxology (Hebrews 13:21), and brief salutations (Hebrews 13:24-25)—present many points of resemblance to the concluding sections in some of St. Paul’s Epistles. The first words, “Pray for us,” are found in Colossians 4:3; 1Thessalonians 5:25; 2Thessalonians 3:1. That the writer does not use the plural pronoun of himself alone appears certain from the change in Hebrews 13:19; but it is not clear whether he is associating himself with the rulers of the Church (mentioned in Hebrews 13:17), or with the companions in labour who were with him as he wrote.

We trust.—A change in the reading of the Greek requires the translation: For we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring in all things to conduct ourselves well. Some prejudice against the writer, or some mistrust of his motives, must have existed in the Church; that amongst Hebrew Christians a disciple of St. Paul should be misrepresented or misunderstood, can cause us no surprise. But whatever suspicion might be cherished by a few, the next verse is proof that he knew himself to be beloved by the many.

Hebrews 13:18-19. Pray for us — For our freedom and success in preaching the gospel, (see the margin,) and our deliverance from the enemies of the faith; for — Though our enemies may meanly insinuate the contrary, and though the doctrine inculcated in this epistle may not be pleasing to some of you; we trust we have a good conscience — Have acted, and continue to act, conscientiously before God, his people, and all men, and have executed our trust faithfully, declaring the whole counsel of God; willingΘελοντες, desiring, and resolving; in all things — Or among all men, as εν πασι may signify, among the Jews as well as among the Gentiles; to live honestly — Or rather, to behave ourselves well, or honourably, as the original expression signifies; that is, always to act in the most fair and reputable manner, according to the obligations of our sacred profession and office, though this should be attended with the sacrifice of every thing. I beseech you the rather to pray earnestly for me, that I may be restored to you the sooner — From this confinement, and may have it in my power to render you those services, which have been and still are prevented by this unjust imprisonment.13:16-21 We must, according to our power, give to the necessities of the souls and bodies of men: God will accept these offerings with pleasure, and will accept and bless the offerers through Christ. The apostle then states what is their duty to living ministers; to obey and submit to them, so far as is agreeable to the mind and will of God, made known in his word. Christians must not think themselves too wise, too good, or too great, to learn. The people must search the Scriptures, and so far as the ministers teach according to that rule, they ought to receive their instructions as the word of God, which works in those that believe. It is the interest of hearers, that the account their ministers give of them may be with joy, and not with grief. Faithful ministers deliver their own souls, but the ruin of a fruitless and faithless people will be upon their own heads. The more earnestly the people pray for their ministers, the more benefit they may expect from their ministry. A good conscience has respect to all God's commands, and all our duty. Those who have this good conscience, yet need the prayers of others. When ministers come to a people who pray for them, they come with greater satisfaction to themselves, and success to the people. We should seek all our mercies by prayer. God is the God of peace, fully reconciled to believers; who has made a way for peace and reconciliation between himself and sinners, and who loves peace on earth, especially in his churches. He is the Author of spiritual peace in the hearts and consciences of his people. How firm a covenant is that which has its foundation in the blood of the Son of God! The perfecting of the saints in every good work, is the great thing desired by them, and for them; and that they may at length be fitted for the employment and happiness of heaven. There is no good thing wrought in us, but it is the work of God. And no good thing is wrought in us by God, but through Christ, for his sake and by his Spirit.Pray for us - This is a request which the apostle often makes in his own behalf, and in behalf of his fellow laborers in the gospel; see 1 Thessalonians 5:25. notes, Ephesians 6:18-19.

For we trust we have a good conscience ... - see the notes on Acts 24:16. The apostle here appeals to the uprightness of his Christian life as a reason why he might claim their sympathy. He was conscious of an aim to do good; he sought the welfare of the church; and having this aim he felt that he might appeal to the sympathy of all Christians in his behalf. It is only when we aim to do right, and to maintain a good conscience, that we can with propriety ask the prayers of others, or claim their sympathy. And if we are "willing in all things to live honestly," we may expect the sympathy, the prayers, and the affections of all good people.

18. Pray for us—Paul usually requests the Church's intercessions for him in closing his Epistles, just as he begins with assuring them of his having them at heart in his prayers (but in this Epistle not till Heb 13:20, 21), Ro 15:30. "Us," includes both himself and his companions; he passes to himself alone, Heb 13:19.

we trust we have a good conscience—in spite of your former jealousies, and the charges of my Jewish enemies at Jerusalem, which have been the occasion of my imprisonment at Rome. In refutation of the Jews' aspersions, he asserts in the same language as here his own conscientiousness before God and man, Ac 23:1-3; 24:16, 20, 21 (wherein he virtually implies that his reply to Ananias was not sinful impatience; for, indeed, it was a prophecy which he was inspired at the moment to utter, and which was fulfilled soon after).

we trust—Greek, "we are persuaded," in the oldest manuscripts. Good conscience produces confidence, where the Holy Spirit rules the conscience (Ro 9:1).

honestly—"in a good way." The same Greek word as "good conscience." Literally, "rightly," "becomingly."

Pray for us: the closing duty becoming the subjects of the kingdom of Christ, is prayer, upon some special accounts, Hebrews 13:18,19, that they would with their renewed souls, influenced and assisted by the Spirit of grace and supplication, pour forth their desires to God with faith, fervency, and importunity, for his vouchsafing to the apostle himself, and for their spiritual guides and rulers, that the things they need, and God hath promised to them, as to the successful course of their ministry, may be bestowed on them, which the Spirit specifieth elsewhere, 2 Corinthians 3:5,6 Eph 6:18-20 Colossians 4:3,4 2 Thessalonians 3:1,2.

For we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly: he urgeth this on them, for that he was a fit subject to be prayed for, however any might accuse or charge him for rejecting Judaism out of singularity, prejudice, or some evil design; he assures them from the Spirit of God, that he had a rightly informed conscience by God’s word, and which testified his innocency and sincerity, and which did dictate and influence him to be communicating and promoting, with all and to all, the truth of the gospel; and that his own life and conversation in the world was agreeable to the gospel rule, in all godliness and honesty, Acts 23:1 24:14; compare 1 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 1:12. Pray for us,.... Who are in the ministry; your guides and governors; since the work is of so much moment, and so arduous and awful, and you have such a concern in it; See Gill on 2 Thessalonians 3:1.

for we trust we have a good conscience; there is a conscience in every man, but it is naturally evil: a good conscience is a conscience sanctified by the Spirit of God, and sprinkled by the blood of Jesus; here it chiefly respects the upright discharge of it in the ministerial work: this the apostle often asserts, and appeals to, and which he here expresses with modesty, and yet with confidence; and which he uses as an argument for prayer for them:

in all things willing to live honestly; not only as men, but as ministers; faithfully dispensing the word of truth, without any regard to the favour or frowns of men, as good stewards of the mysteries of God; which contains in it another reason for prayer: the phrase, "in all things", is so placed, that it may be read in connection with either clause; and the sense is either that they exercised a good conscience in all things, in which they were concerned with God, or man, and among all persons, Jews and Gentiles; or that they were willing to live honestly in every respect, as men, Christians, and ministers.

{11} Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

(11) The last part of this epistle, in which he commends his ministry to the Hebrews, and wishes them steadfastness and increase of graces from the Lord: and excuses himself in that he has used but few words to comfort them having spent the epistle in disputing: and salutes certain brethren in a familiar and friendly manner.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Hebrews 13:18-19. Summons to the readers to intercession on behalf of the author. Comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Romans 15:30; Ephesians 6:19; Colossians 4:3.

περὶ ἡμῶν] The plural has reference exclusively to the author of the epistle. In addition to himself, to think of Timothy (Seb. Schmidt, al.), or of the ἡγούμενοι spoken of Hebrews 13:17 (Carpzov, Kluge), or of the fellow-labourers in the gospel in the midst of the Gentile world, remote from the Hebrew Christians (Delitzsch, comp. also Alford), or of the companions in his vocation, with regard to whom it was to be made known that they wished to be looked upon as joint-representatives of the subject-matter of the epistle (Hofmann), is arbitrary. For—apart from the fact that no mention has been made of Timothy until now, and that the presupposition that the author wished himself to be numbered among the ἡγούμενοι spoken of in Hebrews 13:17 is a wholly baseless one—the singular, which in Hebrews 13:19 without any qualification takes the place of the preceding plural, is in itself decisive against this view. For, even if perchance at Hebrews 13:19 the person of the writer had to be brought into special relief, out of a plurality of persons indicated at Hebrews 13:18, a distinguishing ἐγώ as addition to the simple παρακαλῶ could not have been wanting.

πειθόμεθα γὰρ ὅτι κ.τ.λ.] for we persuade ourselves, i.e. we suppose or take it to be so (comp. Acts 26:26), that[126] we have a good conscience, since we endeavour in all things to walk in a praiseworthy manner. Indication of the reason on the ground of which the author believes he is entitled to claim an interest on the part of the readers, manifesting itself in intercession on his behalf. But in the fact that he regards such explanation as necessary, there is displayed the consciousness that the Palestinian Christians took umbrage at him and his Pauline character of teaching; to remove this umbrage is therefore the object of the justificatory clause.

ἐν πᾶσιν] belongs to that which follows, not still, as Oecumenius and Theophylact suppose, to ἜΧΟΜΕΝ; and ΠᾶΣΙΝ is not masculine (Chrysostom: οὐκ ἐν ἐθνικοῖς μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν; Oecumenius, Theophylact, Luther, Er. Schmid, Tholuck, Hofmann, al.), but neuter.

[126] Bengel, Böhme, Kuinoel, Klee, and others take ὅτι—in reading the received πεποίθαμεν γάρ, and then supposing this to be put absolutely—as the causal “for” or “because,” which, however, even supposing the correctness of the Recepta, is forced and unnatural. Yet more unsuitable, however, is it when Hofmann, even with the reading πειθόμεθα, will have ὅτι taken causally. The sense is supposed to be: “if we believe that ye are praying for us, this has its ground in the fact that we have a good conscience.” But to derive the more precise indication of contents for the dependent πειθόμεθα from that which precedes, is altogether inadmissible.Hebrews 13:18. προσεύχεσθε περὶ ἡμῶν.… Both the next clause and the next verse seem to indicate that by ἡμῶν the writer chiefly, if not exclusively, meant himself; the next clause, for he could not vouch for the conscience of any other person; the next verse because one principal object or result of their prayer was his restoration to them. Request for prayer is common in the Epistles, 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Romans 15:30; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:3. The reason here annexed is peculiar. “The allusion to his purity of conduct, and strong assertion of his consciousness of it, in regard to them and all things, when he is petitioning for their prayers, implies that some suspicions may have attached to him in the minds of some of them. These suspicions would naturally refer to his great freedom in regard to Jewish practises” (Davidson). But notwithstanding Hebrews 13:23 it may be that he was under arrest and shortly to be tried and naturally adds to his request for prayer a protestation of his innocence of all civil offence. [καλῶς ἀναστραφῆναι occurs in Perg. Inscrip., v. Deissmann, p. 194, E. Tr.] The writer was conscious of a readiness and purpose to live and conduct himself rightly in all circumstances. This gives him confidence and will lend confidence to their prayers. He is more urgent in this request (περισσοτέρως παρακαλῶ) because he is desirous to be quickly restored to them; implying that he in some sense belonged to them and that the termination of his present exile from them would be acceptable to them as well as to him. [The verb ἀποκαθ. first occurs in Xenophon, see Anz. p. 338.]

While asking their prayers for himself the writer prays for them: ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης.… He prays to the God of peace (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Php 4:9) because this attribute of God carries in it the guarantee that a termination shall be put to all misunderstanding, disturbance, and inability to do His will. His love of peace is shown in nothing more than in His concluding an eternal covenant with men. This covenant was sealed when “our Lord Jesus,” having laid down his life for the sheep, was brought up from the dead in virtue of the perfect and accepted sacrifice (ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης). Elsewhere in the Epistle the blood is spoken of as giving entrance to the presence of God, here as delivering from that which prevented that entrance. As Vaughan says: “The arrival in the heavenly presence for us in virtue of the atoning blood is here viewed in its start from the grave … It was in virtue of the availing sacrifice that Christ either left the tomb or reentered heaven.” ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης is therefore more naturally connected with ἀναγαγών than with τὸν ποιμένα, although the two connections are closely related. It was as the Great Shepherd that Jesus gave His life for the sheep and by this act established for ever His claim to be the Shepherd of His people. It is this claim also that guarantees that He will lose none but will raise them up at the last day (cf. John 15). [It is probable that the phrasing of this verse was influenced by Zechariah 9:7, σὺ ἐν αἵματι διαθήκης σου ἐξαπέστειλας δεσμίους σου ἐκ λάκκου οὐκ ἔχοντος ὕδωρ, and by Isaiah 63:11, ποῦ ὁ ἀναβιβάσας ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης τὸν ποιμένα τῶν προβάτων.] The prayer follows, καταρτίσαι ὑμᾶς, “perfectly equip you” (cf. Hebrews 11:3) ἐν παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ, “in every good work,” that is, enabling you to do every good work and so equipping you εἰς τὸ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημα αὐτοῦ, “for the doing of His will,” “doing in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ” (cf. Php 2:13). The words διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ are apparently attached not exclusively to f1τὸ εὐάρεστον κ.τ.λ., but to the whole clause and especially to καταρτίσαι; it is through Jesus, now reigning as Christ, that all grace is bestowed on His people. The doxology may be to the God of peace to whom the prayer is addressed, more probably it is to Jesus Christ, last-named and the great figure who has been before the mind throughout the Epistle.18. Pray for us] A frequent and natural request in Christian correspondence (1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Romans 15:30; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:3). The “us” probably means “me and those with me,” shewing that the name of the writer was well known to those addressed.

we trust] Rather, “we are persuaded.”

we have a good conscience] The writer, being one of the Paulinists, whose freedom was so bitterly misinterpreted, finds it as necessary as St Paul had done, to add this profession of conscientious sincerity (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16; 1 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 1:12). These resemblances to St Paul’s method of concluding his letters are only of a general character, and we have reason to suppose that to a certain extent the beginnings and endings of Christian letters had assumed a recognised form.

willing] i.e. “desiring,” “determining.”

honestly] Honourably.Hebrews 13:18. Προσεύχεσθε περὶ ἡμῶν, pray for us) So Paul is wont, and especially at the conclusion, to ask those to whom he writes: Romans 15:30.—πεποίθαμεν) we trust, that we ourselves shall be heard and delivered.—γὰρ, for) the force of the Ætiology properly falls on Hebrews 13:19.—ὅτι) that is, because; for, we trust, is used absolutely, as we are confident, 2 Corinthians 5:8. Conscience produces confidence: 1 John 3:21; 2 Corinthians 1:12.—καλὴν, καλῶς, good, in a good way [well]) Conjugates.—πᾶσι, in all things) Neuter: see note on 2 Corinthians 11:6.—θέλοντες, willing) The conscience follows the will.Verse 18. - Pray for us: for we trust (rather, we are persuaded, πειθόμεθα) that we have a good conscience, in all things willing (i.e. desiring) to live honestly. When St. Paul uses the plural ἡμεῖς he usually at least, if not always, includes his colleagues (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; Colossians 4:3). So probably the writer here, especially as there is a transition to the singular in the following verse. Whoever he was, he associates himself in sending the Epistle with his fellow-laborers, i.e. with others of what we may call the Pauline circle, who were engaged with him elsewhere. Both this and the request for prayer, and also the assertion of integrity, which seems to imply suspicion of possible mistrust, are quite in St. Paul's way, and confirm the view that, though the author may not have been St. Paul himself, it was at any rate some one who was, or had been, closely connected with him.
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