New American Standard Bible
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
King James Bible
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Darby Bible Translation
God having spoken in many parts and in many ways formerly to the fathers in the prophets,
World English Bible
God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
Young's Literal Translation
In many parts, and many ways, God of old having spoken to the fathers in the prophets,
Hebrews 1:1 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
God who at sundry times - The commencement of this Epistle varies from all the others which Paul wrote. In every other instance he at first announces his name, and the name of the church or of the individual to whom he wrote. In regard to the reason why he here varies from that custom, see the introduction, section 3. This commences with the full acknowledgment of his belief that God had made important revelations in past times, but that now he had communicated his will in a manner that more especially claimed their attention. This announcement was of particular importance here. He was writing to those who had been trained up in the full belief of the truths taught by the prophets. As the object of the apostle was to show the superior claims of the gospel, and to lead them from putting confidence in the rites instituted in accordance with the directions of the Old Testament, it was of essential importance that he should admit that their belief of the inspiration of the prophets was well founded.
He was not an infidel. He was not disposed to call in question the divine origin of the books which were regarded as given by inspiration. He fully admitted all that had been held by the Hebrews on that heart, and yet showed that the new revelation had more important claims to their attention. The word rendered "at sundry times" - πολυμερῶς polumerōs - means "in many parts." It refers here to the fact that the former revelation had been given in various parts. It had not all been given at once. It had been communicated from time to time as the exigencies of the people required, and as God chose to communicate it. At one time it was by history, then by prophecy, by poetry, by proverbs, by some solemn and special message, etc. The ancient revelation was a collection of various writings, on different subjects, and given at different times; but now God had addressed us by His Son - the one great Messenger who had come to finish the divine communications, and to give a uniform and connected revelation to mankind. The contrast here is between the numerous separate parts of the revelation given by the prophets, and the oneness of that given by his Son. The word does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament.
And in divers manners - - πολυτρόπως polutropōs. In many ways. It was not all in one mode. He had employed various methods in communicating his will. At one time it was by direct communication, at another by dreams, at another by visions, etc. In regard to the various methods which God employed to communicate his will, see Introduction to Isaiah, section 7. In contradistinction from these, God had now spoken by his Son. He had addressed us in one uniform manner. It was not by dreams, or visions; it was a direct communication from him. The word used here, also, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament.
In times past - Formerly; in ancient times. The series of revelations began, as recorded by Moses, with Adam Genesis 3, and terminated with Malachi - a period of more than three thousand five hundred years. From Malachi to the time of the Saviour there were no recorded divine communications, and the whole period of written revelation, or when the divine communications were recorded from Moses to Malachi, was about a thousand years.
Unto the fathers - To our ancestors; to the people of ancient times.
By the prophets - The word "prophet" in the Scriptures is used in a wide signification. It means not only those who predict future events, but these who communicate the divine will on any subject. See Romans 12:6 note; 1 Corinthians 14:1 note. It is used here in that large sense - as denoting all those by whom God had made communications to the Jews in former times.
LibraryDecember the Eleventh the Speech of the Incarnation
"He hath spoken to us in His Son." --HEBREWS i. And that blessed Son spake my language. He came into my troubled conditions and expressed Himself out of my humble lot. My surroundings afforded Him a language in which He made known His good news. The carpenter's shop, the shepherd on the hill, the ladened vine, a wayside well, common bread, a friend's sickness, the desolation of a garden, the darkness of "the last things"--these all offered Him a mode of speech in which He unveiled to me the heart …
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year
Mason -- Messiah's Throne
The Winsome Jesus.
Meditations of the Blessed State of the Regenerate Man after Death.
He said, "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.
With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"
"It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.
"We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where He is from."
"But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
"And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE,
whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
Jump to PreviousAncient Different Distinct Divers Fathers Forefathers Formerly Manners Messages Methods Parts Past Portions Prophets Time Times Various Ways Word
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