Christos as Pistos: The Faith(fulness) of Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews

TODD D. STILL
Truett Seminary, Baylor University Waco, TX 76798

NO SMALL NUMBER of contemporary Pauline interpreters are now inclined to render πίστι Χριστο (and similar expressions in Paul’s letters) as the “faith(fulness) of Christ” (the so-called subjective genitive reading).1 Although such a construal of πίστι Χριστο is not a new development in Pauline studies, it continues to incite learned and animated responses from scholars who remain convinced that the phrase is best understood as “faith in Christ” (known as the objective genitive reading).2 Indeed, those who are engaged in this complex, lively debate have expended a tremendous amount of energy and have generated a staggering number of publications.
In addition to those who raised questions and offered suggestions when I presented an earlier form of this essay at the Hebrews and Theology Conference in St. Andrews, Scotland, in July 2006, I would like to thank Craig Koester of Luther Seminary, Christopher Richardson of Aberdeen University, and Jason Whitlark of Baylor University for reading and critiquing this work in progress. The remaining shortcomings, of course, must be placed at my feet. 1 Seven such phrases appear in Paul; see Gal 2:16 (twice), 20; 3:22; Rom 3:22, 26; Phil 3:9. For a study of Jesus’ faith(fulness) both within and beyond the NT, see Ian G. Wallis, The Faith of Jesus Christ in Early Christian Traditions (SNTSMS 84; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 2 For a relatively recent update on the state and the stakes of this debate, see Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ: The Narrative Substructure of Galatians 3:1–4:11 (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002) 272-97. Cf. R. Barry Matlock, “‘Even the Demons Believe’: Paul and πίστι Χριστο ,” CBQ 64 (2002) 300-318. See now also Douglas A. Campbell, The Quest for Paul’s Gospel: A Suggested Strategy (JSNTSup 274; London/New York: Clark, 2005) 90-93; and David G. Horrell, An Introduction to the Study of Paul (2nd ed.; Continuum Biblical Studies; London/New York: Clark, 2006) 78-80.

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. 27. .g. . 23.”3 Given the ongoing discussion and important repercussions of this scholarly sea change. Paul. With respect to Jesus’ faith(fulness) in particular. David G. 24. 79. Furthermore. New York: Doubleday.5 My purpose in this essay is to examine the recurring comments regarding Jesus’ fidelity in Hebrews in order to discover both the substance and significance of this christological belief for the author and auditors of this first-century C.” CBQ 52 (1990) 270-91. “Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews: The Jesus Factor. 6 Specifically. I seek to make possible a fuller understanding of. . 8. and Victor (Sung-Yul) Rhee. now the stress is not on the believer’s response but on the action of Christ. 39. Stringing together three biblical citations. on what God has done in Christ. 24 below. not to mention the demonstrable literary.4 one is surprised by the paucity of academic work devoted to the subject of Jesus’ faith(fulness) in a letter that for many Christian centuries was commonly thought to have been written by Paul. in addition to the works cited in n. 31.E. Faith in Hebrews: Analysis within the Context of Christology. 5. 2 of the letter. 2001). see Erich Grässer. “It may be going too far to see this [i. 13. see Dennis Hamm. Jesus’ Faith(fulness) as High Priest and Son . 9. 30. and Wallis. 29. 3. but it certainly shifts the focus [as well as how one reads certain verses in Paul’s letters] . New York: Peter Lang. πιστό appears in 11:11. see. Der Glaube im Hebräerbrief (Marburger Theologische Studien 2. 1997) 693-94. and stands with believers (2:10-11). Horrell offers this explanation. 17. or. 20. where πίστι occurs no fewer than twenty-four times. 22.. wherein Jesus is now speaking. particularly in chap. 33. an increased tendency among Pauline interpreters to read πίστι Χριστο subjectively as opposed to objectively] as a major change in our whole understanding of Paul’s gospel. An Introduction to the New Testament (ABRL. 21. Marburg: Elwert. and historical connections between Paul and the Epistle to the Hebrews. 11.6 terms built on this root first feature in chap. 1965). more precisely. Faith of Jesus Christ. in 2:12-13 the author places Scripture on the lips of the ρχηγό . 28.e. λόγο τ παρακλήσεω (“word of exhortation” [Heb 13:22]). Hebrews has the lowered Lord declare that he will proclaim and praise Horrell. 145-61. Raymond E. and appreciation for. Although words with the root πιθ (meaning “to bind”) recur in Hebrews. Brown. and πιστεύω occurs in 11:6. 4. Having pictured and portrayed Jesus as the originator or pioneer ( ρχηγό ) of salvation who suffers. 11. Hebrews’ signal contribution to the NT canon along lines of christology in general and Jesus’ faith(fulness) in particular. theological. in 11:1. 3 4 I. and Ethics (Studies in Biblical Literature 19. sanctifies. 6. On the various links between Paul and Hebrews. e. Eschatology. Additionally. 5 Regarding faith in Hebrews in general. 7 (twice).CHRISTOS AS PISTOS 747 For those who might wonder why the translation of πίστι Χριστο has led to a hullabaloo among Paulinists.

has Christ assert that he has come to do God’s will (cf. enslaved seed of Abraham. Philadelphia: Fortress. This is illustrated by 5:7-10. Furthermore. see. the letter writer conveys the idea of Jesus’ fidelity by referring to the “prayers and supplications” that Jesus offered up to God with loud cries and tears. Heb 10:9a with Ps 39:9 LXX). he learned obedience [to God] through what he suffered” (cf. Ps 21:23. deSilva’s suggestion that Jesus is placing his trust in individual believers. seemingly drawing on Isa 8:17 (cf.9 Returning to terms in Hebrews with the root πιθ. Beginning in 5:7. 8 contends. in 2:13a the writer. Attridge. Here it appears that Jesus is acknowledging his belief and declaring his confidence in God.. was integral to his being perfected and enabled him to become the “source of eternal salvation (α τιο σωτηρία α ωνίου) to all those who obey him. drawing on Ps 39:7-9 LXX. cf. 2 Sam 22:3. 3:1. who suggests. under the power and fear of death. 1989) 91.. which caused him to become “blood and flesh” and to “be made like the brothers in all things.8 In communicating the concept of (Jesus’) faith(fulness) to the letter’s addressees. The Epistle to the Hebrews (NIGTC. one first encounters the adjective πιστό near the end of chap. in a broader epistolary frame. 2000) 116-17. 2. “The trust that Christ exhibits is related to the faith that is fitting for every child of God (Heb 11). 9 holds. Koester (Hebrews: A new translation with introduction and commentary [AB 36.g.g. 2001] 237). which was marked by suffering and temptation. Isa 8:18 LXX). Phil 2:8). it introduces the important leitmotif of faith or fidelity. See his Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle “to the Hebrews” (Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans. 2007 God’s name among the congregation. Jesus’ incarnation. the children whom God has given him (2:12. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. 7 that Jesus was heard by God because of his “reverent submission or piety” (ε λάβεια) to God. 7 . New York: Doubleday. John M. 1991). 1993) 169. “I will trust in him” ( γ σο αι πεποιθ π α τ ). I am not persuaded by David A. 13b.” See also Paul Ellingworth. “although he was a Son. Moreover. 8 See Harold W. the author maintains in v. Scholer. 6:20). In 2:14-17 the author maintains that it was Jesus’ concern for the sinful. has Jesus confess. The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hermeneia.” The term rendered “high priest” ( ρχιερεύ ) appears seventeen times in Hebrews. Proleptic Priests: Priesthood in the Epistle to the Hebrews (JSNTSup 49. 15. Ps 17:3). e. Additionally.” 283-86) also notes the texts referred to in this paragraph and elaborates on them more fully.” It is also worth noting in passing that Heb 10:5-10. v. the author of Hebrews does not feel constrained to employ only those words with the root πιθ. frequently with special reference to Jesus (e.7 This confession serves at least two functions: in its immediate literary context. 10 On (Jesus’) priesthood in this epistle. 9 Hamm (“Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 4:14.10 It is only in So also Craig R. it underscores the shared faith of Jesus with his brothers and sisters in God.748 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 69.” Moreover. v. enabled him to become a “merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God” and “to make expiation for the sins of the people. The Son’s obedient suffering.

Dallas: Word. Having depicted Jesus as “the apostle and high priest of [their] confession” in 3:1. the biblical author describes Moses as a servant (θεράπων) who was “faithful [πιστό ] in [ ν] all of [God’s] house. Like πίστι . that in light of the lexical flexibility of πιστό as well as the multifaceted nature and character of Jesus’ high priesthood set forth in the lines of the letter (see esp.e.. 6 in the Greek text (cf. 148.” In 3:6.” even if in this instance the latter valance is stronger than the former. cf.g. anointed Son of God (cf.. 4:15. not to mention the contention in 2:13 that Jesus trusted in God (in the throes of suffering and temptation [2:12. 14 See Albert Vanhoye. 15 Hamm (“Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews.’ Hebr. [T]NIV. The Epistle to the Hebrews (NICNT. Bruce. 1:9. Hamm. that Jesus is depicted as a πιστ ρχιερεύ . “Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews. 11 12 . however. that such a monodimensional understanding of the term in 3:2 (and 3:6) is overly precise and unnecessarily restrictive. Following Albert Vanhoye. drawing on Num 12:7. πιστό is a polyvalent word that can carry both a passive (“trustworthy. 16 Attridge (Hebrews. Then in v. So Wallis. 3:2). the idea is implied by the coordinating (contrastive) conjunction δέ and is rightly supplied by most modern translations (e. Although πιστό does not actually appear in v. faithful”) meaning. “Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews. where the Lord declares that he will raise up for himself a faithful priest ( ερέα πιστόν).12 At the outset of chap. Missoula. Moses in the Letter to the Hebrews (SBLDS 42. Faith of Jesus Christ. 1991] 76) rightly link 2:17 and 3:2 with respect to Jesus’ role as a faithful (i. not his fidelity toward God. 10:21).15 Even if 3:2 emphasizes Jesus’ fidelity to God as a son in his divinely ordained role as apostle and high priest (3:1). 2:14. 3. 250). This title resembles 1 Κgdms 2:35. the writer proceeds to state in v. Dennis Hamm maintains that in 3:2 (cf. 95). cf. Koester (Hebrews. 13 See further Mary Rose D’Angelo. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. F. 3. Hebrews. 5:7-8]). it appears that πιστό is utilized to describe Christ both as “a trustworthy or reliable high priest” and as “one who is faithful to God. “Jesus’ ‘fidelis ei qui fecit eum.CHRISTOS AS PISTOS 749 2:17. 5). 2 that Jesus was faithful (πιστό ) to the one who appointed him (i. Note also Bruce. 5:7-10). 1979). this in no way precludes πιστό from connoting that he exercised and exhibited faith in fulfilling his appointed functions as the incarnate.2. 1964) 52.13 In the course of this comparison. 52. 7:26-28). NASB. however.” VD 45 (1967) 291-305. MT: Scholars Press.. NEB).16 See Hamm.” 281-82.” 281. “Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews. God) even as Moses was faithful in God’s house.e. however.” 282) reasons similarly with respect to 2:17.” 281. 3:6) πιστό denotes Jesus’ trustworthiness as God’s high priest. Hebrews holds that Christ was a son “over [ π ] [God’s] house” (cf. [N]RSV. the author compares Jesus to Moses. Lane (Hebrews 1–8 [WBC 47A. πιστό appears twice more (3:2. 18.11 In 2:17. 5. This suggestion becomes all the more probable in view of the author’s conjoining of πιστό with ρχιερεύ in 2:17.14 It seems to me. and Hamm. and William L. and F. firm”) and an active (“trusting.

9:24). which is described in 11:1 as a hopeful. 182) also correlates these verses. is said trusting and trustworthy) high priest (contrast Hamm. not only can they boldly approach the Son’s heavenly throne of grace expecting mercy. because Jesus is a tested. The author of Hebrews views Jesus as one who trusts in God fully (2:13a. like God. In the course of the letter. Correlatively. 10:7. even as God is dependable. 1:12). high priest. Jesus. In fact. is predicated on and supported by the Son’s fidelity to the Father. 6:20. 5:7) as well as one who faithfully reflects God to humanity and ably represents and intercedes for sinful people before God (1:3. 2:5-9). cf. He was not only “faithful over God’s house as a son” (3:5). 5:8. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (13:8). The Epistle to the Hebrews regards faith as foundational. 7:11) and praises him as a high priest who is “holy. 7:19. but he was also faithful to God who appointed and sent him (3:1-2. blameless. 12:1-3). yet trustworthy. it is in light of Jesus’ merciful dependability before his Father as well as his steadfast trust in his Father that the letter’s author and recipients can picture themselves as the house of God over which Jesus serves as high priest (3:6b). for. cf. II. 25. cf. 12:24) and the source of salvation for those who obey him (5:9). Additionally. his character and conduct are constant (10:23. Jesus is none other than the pioneer and perfecter of the faith (12:2). the pastor also challenges the letter’s recipients to conceive of their heavenly calling and to contemplate their common confession in light of Jesus’ faithful endurance and obedience (5:8. and exalted above the heavens” (7:26). Ellingworth (Hebrews. the Sine Qua Non of Faith(fulness) . the author understands Christ to be the mediator of a new and better covenant (8:6. it belongs to believers’ theological ABCs. Faith. separated from sinners. committed mind-set regarding the reality of those things not yet seen. Hebrews grounds this belief in Christ’s fidelity and authority as God’s Son (cf. undefiled. Jesus is regarded and presented in this epistle as a trustworthy Lord who lived an exemplary life. if you will (6:1).” 28182). In Hebrews. God’s faithful Son Jesus is worthy of much more glory (3:3). 7:25. 9). then. Hebrews’ portrayal of Jesus as dependable.750 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 69. Hebrews presents Jesus as more akin to Melchizedek than to his Aaronic priestly predecessors (5:6. but along with Vanhoye (“Jesus’ ‘fidelis ei qui fecit eum’”) understands πιστό to refer exclusively to Jesus’ faithful discharge of his high priestly office. 9:15. “Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews. but they can also approach God through him and anticipate acceptance (see 4:14-16. As the writer construes and confesses. 2007 The author of Hebrews reasons. that although God’s faithful servant Moses was great. 10:19-22).

who is steeped in the stories of Scripture. and Rahab’s welcoming of the Israelite spies as yet additional examples of fidelity. Hebrews notes seven other Hebraic heroes (Gideon. 7).CHRISTOS AS PISTOS 751 to enable people to apprehend God’s generative. 4). Earlier in chap. affliction. Commencing with Abel (v. 2003).18 transitions in chap. if beleaguered and wavering. Going forward. The anonymous author. 10. theological sophistication. After Father Abraham is featured. 19-23). addressees a veritable laundry list of Jewish luminaries who were marked by fidelity. who exhibits rhetorical skill. Last.” are admonished to draw near to this faithful God “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” and “to hold fast the confession of [their] hope without wavering” (vv. Special commendation is given to Abraham and his ilk for being “strangers and exiles” with their attention fixed on another land. the author of Hebrews iterates their need for confidence and assurance in doing the will of God with a view to receiving that which is promised by God (10:32-36). See now Radu Gheorghita. Rom 1:17) leads to an affirmation of the steadfast commitment the pastor shares with the people. and if he shrinks back. The writer concludes chap. 10 by calling the auditors to faithful endurance: “But my righteous one will live by faith. the builder and maker of the better country (vv. and Joseph in the patriarch’s faith picture (vv. cf. They are not those “who shrink back and are destroyed”. creative power (11:3) and to please God (11:6a). Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 7) as examples. 18 Ruth Hoppin (Priscilla’s Letter: Finding the Author of the Epistle to the Hebrews [San Francisco: Christian Universities Press. this Jewish Christian letter writer. who have confidence before and access to God through “the blood of Jesus. and the plundering of personal property. continues by offering Enoch (v. my soul takes no pleasure in him” (v. including public abuse. 17 . 23-28). the writer offers the crossing of the Red Sea. the recipients. Furthermore. In the midst of a passage that speaks concretely of the addressees’ former struggles. Jacob. 13-16). 13-22). biblical knowledge. rather.17 This truncated citation of Hab 2:4 (cf. 5) and Noah (v. 38. the author lingers longer over Abraham and includes Sarah. 1997]) revives and expands on Adolf von Harnack’s thesis that Priscilla (Prisca) authored Hebrews. a heavenly city prepared for them by God. The Role of the Septuagint in Hebrews: An Investigation of Ιts Influence with Special Consideration to the Use of Hab 2:3-4 in Heb 10:37-38 (WUNT 2/160. Isaac. selected episodes from the life of the lawgiver Moses are set forth in an effort to reinforce further the necessity of faith (vv. the fall of the walls of Jericho. they are those “who have faith and preserve their souls” (10:39). 11 to offer the believing. and pastoral sensitivity throughout the letter. Although the author of Hebrews defies identification. a masculine participle is employed in 11:32. Hebrews maintains that trusting in God’s existence and divine benevolence is essential for drawing near to God (11:6b). Returning to a more cursory cataloging of events and characters. 13:4.

19 Recent treatments of Hebrews 11 include Michael R. and by way of extension. he “has not only completed the worldly race. not neglecting to meet together. exalt. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. the pastor enjoins them to “encourage one another every day. Jesus “provides the perfect example of faith-inpractice”. 13:7).. 1988). 74-76. as opposed to a fateful. see further N. Religious. 11:38 asserts. “Jesus is the climax of the examples of faith. 2:18.g. Hebrews. as [was] the habit of some. Philadelphia: Fortress. the author admonishes the addressees to fidelity. 10:20. To facilitate and motivate a faithful. and Philosophical Context (SNTSMS 98. and all the more as [they saw] the Day drawing near” (10:23-25). 159. and worthy of imitation (see 6:12.”20 Furthermore. 356-57.” 21 So Barnabas Lindars. GA: Mercer University Press. Atlanta: Scholars Press. ‘frame of mind’]” (3:13-14). but also inherited the eternal prize.752 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 69. 32-38)—people of whom. Frank Clarke. maturity. necessary. and purity (e.19 Faithful though they were and helpful though they are. 24). while it is still called ‘today. The Rhetorical Composition and Function of Hebrews 11. 5:8. The Jewish Heroes of Christian History: Hebrews 11 in a Literary Context (SBLDS 156. all human manifestations of fidelity pale in comparison to the martyr and mediator par excellence (see 8:6. 13:3). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 6:1. but the Lord of the believers. On Jesus as paradigm. 1997). the world was not worthy. 12:2) and calls them to consider how “to stir up one another to love and good deeds. in Light of Example Lists in Antiquity (Macon. 20 Wallis. which has at last reached its climax and consummation in Jesus. 1969) 105: “The New Testament in general does not go to Jesus for the essence of faith. Samuel. for the writer of Hebrews all of these people serve as penultimate examples in the unfolding plan of God. Clayton Croy.”21 Because Jesus suffered fully and faithfully. and exhibit him as Lord (1:2. Jesus Means Freedom (trans. and Pamela Michelle Eisenbaum. but encouraging one another. Samson. III. Faith of Jesus Christ. Endurance in Suffering: Hebrews 12:1-13 in Its Rhetorical. 5:14. 20). Although faithful witnesses in the past and in the present are valuable. Crosby. 12:2. Similarly. 12:1. Jephthah. 1991) 112. The Necessity of Ongoing Fidelity to God . David. He is not a model for faith. 9:26. 2007 Barak.. The Theology of the Letter to the Hebrews (NTT. because it is he who alone inaugurated the fulfilment of God’s eschatological plan of salvation and also carried it through in his own person. See similarly Attridge. 3:1. and the prophets) and alludes to a slew of other faithful people in Jewish history (vv.” and has given believers hope “by the new and living way” (see 1:3. in the body of believers as they embrace. was raised and exalted to the “right hand of the Majesty on high. 13:12.’ that none of [them] may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin—for [the writer reasons they] are partakers of Christ if [they] hold to [their] first confidence [lit. 1998) esp. Contrast Ernst Käsemann. the pioneer and perfecter of the faith (τ ν τ πίστεω ρχηγ ν κα τελειωτ ν). 9:15.

The Wandering People of God: An Investigation into the Letter to the Hebrews (trans. cf. cf. fall by means of disobedience (4:11). 6:11-12. therefore. the writer also places before the “brothers and sisters” (3:1. 15. the writer both dangles an eschatological carrot and brandishes a pastoral stick. 10. and Judith Hoch Wray. See also Jon Laansma. wayward. ‘I Will Give You Rest’: The Rest Motif in the New Testament with Special Reference to Mt 11 and Heb 3–4 (WUNT 2/98. they are reminded of the divine judgment of sin (10:2631) and of the spiritual perils of pulling up short of the finish line (12:1. Their recalcitrance and disobedience precluded them from entering God’s Sabbath rest (4:6). Cain (11:4. Drawing on texts from the Pentateuch (save Leviticus) as well as Ps 95:7-11. Rest as a Theological Metaphor in the Epistle to the Hebrews and the Gospel of Truth: Early Christian Homiletics of Rest (SBLDS 166. 6:11. and those Canaanites who failed to welcome Israelite spies (11:31) serve as antitypes in Hebrews. Roy A. The audience is warned not to drift away from the received message (2:1). . The pastor’s succinct sermon on fidelity begun in 3:7 concludes with this exhortation: “Let us strive. 10:36. Philadelphia: Fortress. this ancient reader of Scripture underscores the wilderness generation’s infidelity to God. theological logic in and the pastoral. to enter that rest. God’s promise of rest became vacuous because “it was not met with faith by those who heard” (4:2). Atlanta: Scholars Press. rhetorical purpose behind 3:7–4:11 are clear. the Israelite people whom he led were faithless. 12. 12:24). 15). Both the biblical. 1998). see further Ernst Käsemann. Although the “good news” of rest had come to them (4:2. cf. or fall away from what they had perceived and tasted spiritually (6:4-6). must continue to hold fast to their confidence and hope lest they also stop short and fall away (3:6. 12.22 Although Moses was faithful as a servant. Jude 5). Harrisville and Irving L. 1:14). Although the author is confident that the addressees will receive salvific rest when Christ appears a second time (6:9. however. 1997). Even as the author of Hebrews employs positive models and enjoins believers to be “imitators of those who through faith and patience are inheriting the promises” (6:12). 4:7). the Egyptians who drowned in the Red Sea (11:29). 6). that the author fashions into a faithless foil (cf. unbelieving hearts (3:8. 13:22) examples that they should not emulate lest they fall prey to spiritual apathy. Hebrews does not regard perseverance in the “good news” as optional for the people of God (4:2. the Hebrew people did not enter the pastures of promise because of their hardened. 10:23). 9:28. an intimate knowledge of the biblical plot precludes the 22 On this passage. Furthermore. 18. if not outright apostasy.CHRISTOS AS PISTOS 753 end for the letter’s auditors. Sandberg. Analogously. 1 Cor 10:1-13. 1984). as does the “short-sighted glutton” Esau. whom the epistle depicts as an “immoral” and “totally worldly” individual (12:16). who view Jesus as a faithful son as well as their “apostle and high priest” (3:1). the recipients of the epistle. turn away from the living God (3:12). 10:19. that no one fall by the same sort of disobedience” (4:11). evil. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. It is the Israelite people whom Moses led out of Egyptian captivity. 12:1).

and Andrew T. New Insights (ed. In addition to Heb 2:17 and 3:2 (cf. Hurst. Hebrews makes a unique contribution to the NT canon. Louisville/ London: Westminster John Knox. also 1 Pet 2:18-25). Rom 5:19.” Christ is lauded as one who trusts in God and is trustworthy before God. 3:6). such as Christ’s obedience to God. The Epistle to the Hebrews: Its Background of Thought (SNTSMS 65. see. to retract this remark entirely. Rev 1:5.25 In this anonymous “word of exhortation. the only other NT texts where the term occurs in conjunction with Jesus are 2 Tim 2:13. e. with respect to the idea of Christ as faithful. Leiden/Boston: Brill. Believers cannot rest on their spiritual laurels. Longenecker. Daniel J. where Witherington considers the link between the two letters with respect to the faith(fulness) of Christ.. Miller.g. see esp. 2006). 2005). 6:11). “Paul and Hebrews: A Comparison of Narrative Worlds. see Ben Witherington. For an important collection of essays written by leading Pauline scholars working in Great Britain on various narratival features ostensibly present in Paul’s thinking and writing. I think. are taken into account (see.” IV. 24 For a comparison between Hebrews and Paul regarding faith and Christ’s obedience. esp. see Narrative Dynamics in Paul: A Critical Assessment (ed. Gabriella Gelardini. Christ is set forth in the letter as the 23 If a scholar were to identify a “narrative substructure” in Paul and wish to see it as more than less explicit. 2002). 151-52. Faith of Jesus Christ. the author of Hebrews is the only NT writer who explicitly explores and expounds upon the faith(fulness) of Christ in any degree of detail (cf. 14. What is more.23 This statement holds true. For accessible surveys of the scholarly study of Hebrews. then the foregoing statement might need to be tempered somewhat. Phil 2:8). Lexicographical similarities notwithstanding.” NTS 37 (1991) 146-52. Bruce W. Harrington. I am disinclined. 25 See Wallis. they. among others. 261-62. NJ: Paulist. In concluding this article I would like to direct our attention to the christological contribution that Hebrews makes to the NT canon by virtue of its presentation of Christ’s faith(fulness). must remain faithful until the end (3:6. What Are They Saying About the Letter to the Hebrews? (New York/Mahwah. D. “The Influence of Galatians on Hebrews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. esp. 1990) 113-24. BIS 75. 19:11. it is seldom used with reference to Christ. 2005) 245-64. See now also James C. L.754 THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL QUARTERLY | 69.” in Hebrews: Contemporary Methods. Conclusion . Lincoln. even if the oblique Pauline phrase πίστι Χριστο is best construed as Christ’s faith(fulness) and even when similar concepts in Paul’s letters.24 Therefore. Hebrews: A Guide (London/New York: Clark. 145: “The Letter to the Hebrews furnishes us with the most explicit references to Jesus’ faith in the New Testament. like their Lord. to be precise). and perhaps 2 Thess 3:3. 2007 letter writer from counting proverbial chickens before they hatch. in both a passive and an active sense. Although πιστό appears with some regularity in the Greek NT (sixty-seven times. however. For connections between Galatians and Hebrews.

213-37. “is almost certainly the most mysterious text to have been preserved in the NT canon. and David Peterson. 352) remarks: “The whole life of Jesus was characterized by unbroken and unquestioning faith in His heavenly Father.” 30 So Pamela M..” in Hebrews (ed. however. however.26 More than simply a model for believers. for in Him the reasonableness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 7:25. Davids.” 27 So also Croy. the crucifying. . 1979) 78-86. Eisenbaum. the beauty. 4:15. Indeed. Hebrews and Hermeneutics: The Epistle to the Hebrews as a New Testament Example of Biblical Interpretation (SNTSMS 36. and what it results in.” in The Expositor’s Greek Testament [ed. urge.29 which. 28 Marcus Dods (“The Epistle to the Hebrews.E. It is to this end that our learned pastor-theologian is devoted in this letter. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (ICC. desertion and dereliction. and leads them as “the great shepherd of the sheep” (2:11. what it is. Lane (“Hebrews. Downers Grove. unsupported by any visible or tangible evidence. 1924) x. Jesus is presented in Hebrews as the mediator between God and humanity. . . here 213. intercedes for them.27 Additionally. IL: InterVarsity. what it costs. implicit trust. that carried Him through the taunting. 20). it is he whom the original and subsequent recipients of the letter are called to consider as they travel outside the camp in search of the city that is to come (13:13-14).” 29 William L. 31 James Moffatt.”31 If Hebrews is a mysterious masterpiece. 12:2). Hebrews and Perfection: An Examination of the Concept of Perfection in the ‘Epistle to the Hebrews’ (SNTSMS 47. a now unknown Jewish Christian writer of the first century C. Martin and Peter H. 5 vols. 1982) 172. “Hebrews was composed to arouse. 13:12. It was sheer faith in God. encourage and exhort the audience to maintain their Christian confession and to dissuade them from a course of action the writer regarded as catastrophic. artistically and compellingly portrays Jesus as firm and faithful.CHRISTOS AS PISTOS 755 example of one who lived a faithful life and died a faithful death. 1988] 4.28 Getting the sheep to follow the faithful shepherd faithfully. 74: “[I]t is clear throughout Hebrews that Jesus was more than just the perfect example of faith to our author. is no small matter. then Jesus is clearly the centerpiece. 26 Bruce (Hebrews.” See similarly Graham Hughes. 1997] 443-58.” in Dictionary of the Later New Testament and Its Developments [ed. “Locating Hebrews within the Literary Landscape of Christian Origins. Edinburgh: Clark. Endurance in Suffering. and the more bitter agony of rejection. here 453) remarks. Robertson Nicoll. trusting and trustworthy. Gelardini). With bold. Ralph P. and the reward of a life of faith are seen. the scourging. On Him therefore must the gaze be fixed if the runner is to endure. W. as the pure high priest who makes expiation for people’s sins and has compassion on their earthly plight (2:18. even brilliant brushstrokes. in the estimation of one interpreter.”30 Another exegete regards Hebrews as an “early Christian masterpiece. the author and audience of the Epistle to the Hebrews regard Jesus as the Lord who not only enables people to come to God but also sanctifies them. . 366) remarks: “In Him alone do we see absolute dependence on God.

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