Too Much Lettuce?
Lets talk about vegetables first. Lettuce to be exact. The NIV
has three "let us"s in Hebrews 12:1-2, two more than the original Greek has.
Even the NASB has two "let us"sone more than the original author wrote.
The national security of the United States may not depend on this issue, but accuracy is,
after all, the goal of every translator. If the passage contains only one explicit
commandonly one "lettuce" if you willshouldnt that be
reflected in translation?
Hebrews 12:1-2 form a single sentence in the Greek. The main clause is
"let us keep on running," which is qualified by three dependent clauses
introduced by "having," "throwing off," and "looking off."
Rendering the last two clauses with "let us" is grammatically permissible but
causes certain problems, for such a rendering would suggest that they carry the same
weight as the main clause. In other words, while it is true that we are to throw off what
hinders us and look off to Christ, the main commandand the only real
"lettuce"remains "let us keep on running," and this should be
reflected in translation:
Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and
throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles
us, let us keep on running with endurance the race set before us, looking off to Jesus,
the Founder and Finisher of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross,
disregarding its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Now, how can this bring clarity to Bible study? One way is in terms of
constructing an outline for teaching or preaching. The following analysis of Hebrews
12:1-2 demonstrates how we can get in touch with the text through an awareness of its
let us keep on running with endurance the race
set before us
having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding
throwing off everything that hinders us and
especially the sin that so easily entangles us,
looking off to Jesus, the Founder and Finisher of
Here the basic thought units jump out like the white lines on a
football field. The theme is brought out to the left, while the more subordinated ideas
cluster to the right.
We can immediately see the authors main point running the
race with enduranceas well as his qualifications of the "race":
By knowing that others have finished the race the present generation
of runners can expect to complete it;
No runner, however, can hope to attain the goal without an abhorrence
of personal sin; and
The runner must look to Jesus, "the Pioneer and Perfector of
By reducing these elements to an outline, we can move directly from
analysis to presentation:
Text: Hebrews 12:1-2
Title: Run to Win!
Theme: The Christian is called on to follow the example of Christ into
a life of submission and obedience ("let us keep on running with endurance")
I. Our Encouragement ("having so vast a cloud of witnesses")
II. Our Entanglements ("throwing off everything that hinders
III. Our Example ("looking off to Jesus")
This simple outline clearly demonstrates how by analyzing the text of
the ISV one can move from theory to practice.
But you cant get there without just the right amount of lettuce.