“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,”
Explanation and Commentary of Hebrews 12:1
Astoundingly, the author of Hebrews has made the strong case that all the heroes of Old Testament faith were saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, though they had not directly heard of him or understood this (Heb 11). Their obedience to God was counted as righteousness in Christ, along with Abraham (Ro 4:3).
This is the “great cloud of witnesses” spoken of here. Their witness to the reader is the example of their faith lived out in their obedience, and this is to give us an example to follow and encouragement to obey God in our own lives as proof of our own belief in the saving power of Jesus Christ. Part of the way to do that is to “throw off” the hindrances of sin when we have been entangled by it. If we do not throw it off, how are we to run the “race marked out for us” with “perseverance?”
Grace is not opposed to effort, only to earning. The Christian is one who knows her need for God to save her, and then, accepting that free gift seeks to live unto God with perseverance. The “race marked out for us” is the unique call on our lives to walk the path that God has planned for us. He knows each of us uniquely. Salvation is not unique, but our individual path to the Day of Judgement, where we stand alone in Christ, is.
Breaking Down the Key Parts of Hebrews 12:1
#1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,”
In this instance, the “therefore” is defined by what follows, “since.” Each of these men and women of God are listed in Hebrews 11 as an example of the truth of God’s promises, and each teaches that belief is shown by action, and that action is reckoned as righteousness.
#2 “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”
If one is going to run a race, they had better not be shackled to any hindrances. Sin acts as weight or drag. It entangles and halts progress. The way to throw it off is to face it honestly, confess it, repent of it and run forward, leaving it behind.
#3 “And let us run with perseverance…”
To persevere we must see the long game of our faith and sanctification. We must realize that until we have reached our destination, death or the last trumpet, there is a road ahead, and it is narrow, straight, and satan will not stop tempting us to swerve. We must keep our eyes and on the prize, and keep stepping.
#4 “…the race marked out for us.”
In general, the race is the same for everyone who would finish in the arms of God. But God has a unique plan for each of us, and we can trust him that it will include everything that is needed for us to make it well, becoming what we are to become in Christ.
Bible Study on Hebrews 12:1
Expert Overview of Hebrews
Biblical Translations of Hebrews 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.