Bible Study Guides – Hebrews 12:1–13

August 30, 2003 – September 5, 2003

Memory Verse

“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8.

Suggested Reading: The Acts of the Apostles, 480–484.


“Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. In every affliction God has a purpose to work out for our good. Every blow that destroys an idol, every providence that weakens our hold upon earth and fastens our affections more firmly upon God, is a blessing. The pruning may be painful for a time, but afterward it ‘yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness.’ We should receive with gratitude whatever will quicken the conscience, elevate the thoughts, and ennoble the life. The fruitless branches are cut off and cast into the fire. Let us be thankful that through painful pruning we may retain a connection with the living Vine; for if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with Him. The very trial that taxes our faith the most severely and makes it seem as though God had forsaken us is to lead us more closely to Him, that we may lay all our burdens at the feet of Christ and experience the peace which He will give us in exchange. . . . God loves and cares for the feeblest of His creatures, and we cannot dishonor Him more than by doubting His love to us. O let us cultivate that living faith that will trust Him in the hour of darkness and trial!” My Life Today, 93.

“Many who profess the name of Christ and claim to be looking for His speedy coming, know not what it is to suffer for Christ’s sake. Their hearts are not subdued by grace, and they are not dead to self, as is often shown in various ways. At the same time they are talking of having trials. But the principal cause of their trials is an unsubdued heart, which makes self so sensitive that it is often crossed. . . . Give up your self-confidence and self-sufficiency, brethren, and follow the meek Pattern. Ever keep Jesus in your mind that He is your example . . . .” Early Writings, 113.

1 Remembering the examples of faith given to us in Hebrews 11, what are we called to do? Hebrews 12:1.

note: “Here [Hebrews 12:1–3] we are cited to the example of the multitude of faithful witnesses who would not sacrifice their faith and principle for the sake of enjoying ease and self-gratification, but who gave up all, not withholding their lives, for the truth of God. Their example should quicken our zeal and increase our faith. But Jesus is our perfect pattern; and when we look to him who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, we should be aroused to greater earnestness. He has led the way to the heavenly reward in glory. He passed through fiercer conflicts than man will ever be able to endure.” Review and Herald, October 18, 1881.

2 Unto whom must we continually look? Hebrews 12:2.

note: “Those who would advance in spiritual knowledge must stand by the very fount of God, and drink again and again from the wells of salvation so graciously opened unto them. They must never leave the source of refreshment; but with hearts swelling with gratitude and love at the display of the goodness and compassion of God, they must be continually partakers of the living water.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 135.

“The Pattern must be inspected often and closely in order to imitate it. As one becomes acquainted with the history of the Redeemer, he discovers in himself defects of character; his unlikeness to Christ is so great that he sees he cannot be a follower without a very great change in his life. Still he studies, with a desire to be like his great Exemplar; he catches the looks, the spirit, of his beloved Master; by beholding he becomes changed.” Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 17.

3 As we consider Christ, against what will we be guarded? Hebrews 12:3.

note: “Let everyone who professes Christ seek to overcome all unmanliness, all weakness and folly. Some men never grow up to the full stature of men in Christ Jesus. They are childish and self-indulgent. Humble piety would correct all this. Pure religion possesses no characteristics of childish self-indulgence. It is honorable in the highest degree. Then let not one of those who have enlisted as soldiers of Christ be ready to faint in the day of trial. All should feel that they have earnest work to do to elevate their fellow men. Not one has a right to rest from the warfare to make virtue desirable and vice hated. There is no rest for the living Christian this side of the eternal world. To obey God’s commandments is to do right and only right. This is Christian manliness. But many need to take frequent lessons from the life of Christ, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. [Hebrews 12:3, 4 quoted.] You are to show a growth in the Christian graces. By manifesting meekness under provocation and growing away from low earthliness you give evidence that you have an indwelling Saviour, and every thought, word, and deed attracts men to Jesus rather than to self. There is a great amount of work to be done and but little time in which to do it. Let it be your lifework to inspire all with the thought that they have a work to do for Christ. Wherever there are duties to be done which others do not understand because they do not wish to see their lifework, accept them and do them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 597.

4 What does the apostle Paul say we have not yet done? Hebrews 12:4.

note: “The Christian life is a warfare. The apostle Paul speaks of wrestling against principalities and powers as he fought the good fight of faith. Again, he declares: ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’ Ah, no. Today sin is cherished and excused. The sharp sword of the Spirit, the word of God, does not cut to the soul. Has religion changed? Has Satan’s enmity to God abated? A religious life once presented difficulties and demanded self-denial. All is made very easy now. And why is this? The professed people of God have compromised with the power of darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 222.

5 Did Christ resist unto blood, in His struggle for us? Luke 22:44.

note: “The temptations to which Christ was subjected were a terrible reality. As a free agent, he was placed on probation, with liberty to yield to Satan’s temptations and work at cross-purposes with God. If this were not so, if it had not been possible for him to fall, he could not have been tempted in all points as the human family is tempted. The temptations of Christ, and his sufferings under them, were proportionate to his exalted, sinless character. But in every time of distress, Christ turned to his Father. He ‘resisted unto blood’ in that hour when the fear of moral failure was as the fear of death. As he bowed in Gethsemane, in his soul agony, drops of blood fell from his pores, and moistened the sods of the earth. He prayed with strong crying and tears, and he was heard in that he feared. God strengthened him, as he will strengthen all who will humble themselves, and throw themselves, soul, body, and spirit, into the hands of a covenant-keeping God.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 26, 1899.

6 What strength may we have in resisting sin? 11 Timothy 2:1; Ephesians 6:10; Colossians 1:10, 11.

note: “Before us is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ—obedient to all the principles of the law of God. But of ourselves we are utterly powerless to attain to this condition. All that is good in man comes to him through Christ. The holiness that God’s Word declares we must have before we can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as we bow in submission to the discipline and restraining influence of the Spirit of truth.

“Man’s obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ’s righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of true obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his diseased soul. He has not the wisdom and strength without which he cannot overcome. They belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help.” In Heavenly Places, 129.

7 If we murmur at trial, what have we forgotten? Hebrews 12:5.

note: “When tribulation comes upon us, how many of us are like Jacob! We think it the hand of an enemy; and in the darkness we wrestle blindly until our strength is spent, and we find no comfort or deliverance. To Jacob the divine touch at break of day revealed the One with whom he had been contending—the Angel of the covenant; and, weeping and helpless, he fell upon the breast of Infinite Love, to receive the blessing for which his soul longed. We also need to learn that trials mean benefit, and not to despise the chastening of the Lord nor faint when we are rebuked of Him.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 11.

8 Of what is chastisement evidence? Hebrews 12:6–8.

note: “The Lord can bring victory out of that which may seem to us discomfiture and defeat. We are in danger of forgetting God, of looking at the things which are seen, instead of beholding by the eye of faith the things which are unseen. When misfortune or calamity comes, we are ready to charge God with neglect or cruelty. If He sees fit to cut off our usefulness in some line, we mourn, not stopping to think that thus God may be working for our good. We need to learn that chastisement is a part of His great plan and that under the rod of affliction the Christian may sometimes do more for the Master than when engaged in active service.” The Acts of the Apostles, 481.

9 For what reason does God chastise? Hebrews 12:9, 10.

note: “The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 10.

10 If chastisement is endured with patience, what will be the result? Hebrews 12:11.

note: “In order that we may die to self, we are called upon to endure trial, and when the chastening hand of the Lord is laid upon us, we are not to fret and complain, not to rebel, not to worry ourselves out of the hand of Christ. We are to humble ourselves before God, pleading with him to give us rest and peace. We enter the furnace of affliction with our hearts darkened by selfishness; but if patient under the crucial test, we shall come forth reflecting the divine image, as gold tried in the fire. [Hebrews 12:11 quoted.]” The Signs of the Times, December 10, 1896.

11 Instead of murmuring when faced with trials, what should be our response? Hebrews 12:12.

note: “The feeble hands are not to be deterred from doing something for the Master. Those whose knees are weak are not to be caused to stumble. God desires us to encourage those whose hands are weak, to grasp more firmly the hand of Christ, and to work hopefully. Every hand should be outstretched to help the hand that is doing something for the Master. The time may come when the hands that have upheld the feeble hands of another may, in turn, be upheld by the hands to whom they ministered. God has so ordered matters that no man is absolutely independent of his fellowmen.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 496.

12 In what kind of paths must we run and why? Hebrews 12:13.

note: “If from the beginning we had walked in the counsel of God, thousands more would have been converted to the present truth. But many have made crooked paths for their feet. My brethren, make straight paths, lest the lame be turned out of the way. Let no one follow a crooked path that some one else has made, for thus you would not only go astray yourself, but would make this crooked path plainer for some one else to follow. Determine that as for yourself, you will walk in the path of obedience. Know for a certainty that you are standing under the broad shield of Omnipotence. Realize that the characteristics of Jehovah must be revealed in your life, and that in you a work must be accomplished that will mold your character after the divine similitude. Yield yourself to the guidance of Him who is the Head over all.” Sons and Daughters of God, 192.

The “Letter to the Hebrews” Bible Study Guide has been adapted from the International Sabbath School Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Co., Oakland, California, 1889 and 1890.