Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 12

The meaning of God as our Father

Hebrews 12:9-10

God is a much better Father than our fathers are on this earth.

For ‘fathers on this earth’, the author uses the phrase ‘fathers of our flesh’. ‘Flesh’ means the human body. The Bible often uses that word in order to express the idea that people are weak. The Bible considers people weak because they must die. Our bodies are weak because they cannot last in the grave.

And our fathers were weak. Perhaps they tried to teach us, and we respected them. Perhaps they wanted to teach us what is right. But they could only teach what seemed right to them (Hebrews 12:10). In fact, the word ‘right’ is not even in that verse in the original language. They taught us whatever they wanted to teach us. They punished us whenever they wanted to punish us. Perhaps they tried hard, but their best efforts were weak.

The opposite of the flesh is the spirit. So God is called ‘the Father of spirits’. And God teaches our spirits to make them strong, so that they will always live (John 3:16).

We respected our fathers on this earth, so certainly we should respect God. By their best efforts, they could only teach us what seemed right to them. But God knows what is right. He knows when to teach us, and he knows when to punish us. All his lessons will benefit us. Even when we suffer, we do not suffer without a proper purpose. God even uses our troubles to teach us lessons that will benefit us.

God’s purpose is to make us holy. He wants us to belong to him completely. We are his sons and daughters but still we often do wrong things. So it is very important that we respect him as our Father. And it is very important for us to learn the lessons that he teaches us.

Next part: The reward when we learn from God (Hebrews 12:11)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.