- Locate the Passage
2:5-18 follows the first warning passage (2:1-4) and is the fourth major paragraph in the first section of the letter.
Expository. There are no imperatives or imperatival forms in the text.
- Determine the Structure of the Passage
Hebrews 2:5–18 is a unit comprised of two main paragraphs: vv. 5–9 and vv. 10–18. The latter is further comprised of two subparagraphs: vv. 10–13 and vv. 14–18.
The conjunction gar links the new unit begun at 2:5 with the preceding section and introduces the grounds for what has been said in the previous paragraph.
Verse 10 begins a new subparagraph with gar, which can be interpreted as introducing the reason Jesus had to die or as offering an explanation for the incarnation in v. 9.
Verse 14 begins a subparagraph ending with v. 18. It is introduced by the Greek conjunction oun and introduces a conclusion from the preceding argument. The use of epei (“since”) in v. 14 introduces the grounds for the conclusion that follows with the meaning “since the children have a human nature, therefore Jesus took on human nature as well.”
Verse 17 begins with a conjunction translated “For this reason” and can be interpreted as a conclusion based on v. 16, as introducing a summary of vv. 10–16, or as a restatement of v. 14.
Verse 18 begins with “for,” which gives the reason that Christ’s becoming like his brothers enabled him to become a merciful and faithful high priest.
- Exegete the Passage
See Neva Miller, The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Analytical and Exegetical Handbook, 38-63; J. Harold Greenlee, Hebrews: An Exegetical Summary, 51-84; and David L. Allen, Hebrews, 201-35.
- Let the structure of the text drive the structure of the sermon.
2:5-18 further supports the exhortation of 2:1 by giving the second grounds for it. This should be brought out in the sermon. Jesus has taken on human nature so that humanity can reach the destiny God has designed for it. The incarnation allows for Christ to die for sins as our high priest.
I. 2:5-9 (Introduces the second ground for the exhortation in 2:1. The incarnation makes possible
redemption for humanity.)
A. 2:10-18 (Introduces the grounds for the conclusion reached in 2:9.)
1) 2:10-13 (Grounds for the conclusion of v.9 – the incarnation brings solidarity
between Jesus and those who are saved.)
2) 2:14-18 (Introduces a summary of the grounds-conclusion argument in 2:5-13.
Here the author develops the purpose for the incarnation and atonement.)