Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Hebrews 13:21

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Make you perfect - Καταρτισια ὑμας· Put you completely in joint. See the note on 2 Corinthians 13:9, where the meaning of the original word is largely considered. From the following terms we see what the apostle meant by the perfection for which he prays. They were to do the will of God in every good work, from God working in them that which is well pleasing in his sight.

  1. This necessarily implies a complete change in the whole soul, that God may be well pleased with whatsoever he sees in it; and this supposes its being cleansed from all sin, for God's sight cannot be pleased with any thing that is unholy.
  • This complete inward purity is to produce an outward conformity to God's will, so they were to be made perfect in every good work.
  • The perfection within and the perfection without were to be produced by the blood of the everlasting covenant; for although God is love, yet it is not consistent with his justice or holiness to communicate any good to mankind but through his Son, and through him as having died for the offenses of the human race.
  • To whom be glory for ever -

    As God does all in, by, and through Christ Jesus, to him be the honor of his own work ascribed through time and eternity. Amen.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Make you perfect - The apostle here does not affirm that they were then perfect, or that they would be in this life. The word used here - καταρτιζω katartizō- means to make fully ready; to put in full order; to make complete. The meaning here is, that Paul prayed that God would fully endow them with whatever grace was necessary to do his will and to keep his commandments; see the word explained in the notes on Hebrews 11:3. It is an appropriate prayer to be offered at all times, and by all who love the church, that God would make all his people perfectly qualified to do all his will.

    Working in you - Margin, “Doing.” The idea here is, that the only hope that they would do the will of God was, that he would, by his own agency, cause them to do what was well-pleasing in his sight; compare notes on Philemon 2:12. It is not from any expectation that man would do it himself.

    Through Jesus Christ - The idea is, that God does not directly, and by his own immediate agency, convert and sanctify the heart, but it is through the gospel of Christ, and all good influences on the soul must be expected through the Saviour.

    To whom be glory forever and ever - That is, to Christ; for so the connection evidently demands. It is not uncommon for the apostle Paul to introduce doxologies in this way in the midst of a letter; see the notes, Romans 9:5. It was common among the Jews, as it is now in the writings and conversation of the Muslims, when the name of God was mentioned to accompany it with an expression of praise.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    We must, according to our power, give to the necessities of the souls and bodies of men: God will accept these offerings with pleasure, and will accept and bless the offerers through Christ. The apostle then states what is their duty to living ministers; to obey and submit to them, so far as is agreeable to the mind and will of God, made known in his word. Christians must not think themselves too wise, too good, or too great, to learn. The people must search the Scriptures, and so far as the ministers teach according to that rule, they ought to receive their instructions as the word of God, which works in those that believe. It is the interest of hearers, that the account their ministers give of them may be with joy, and not with grief. Faithful ministers deliver their own souls, but the ruin of a fruitless and faithless people will be upon their own heads. The more earnestly the people pray for their ministers, the more benefit they may expect from their ministry. A good conscience has respect to all God's commands, and all our duty. Those who have this good conscience, yet need the prayers of others. When ministers come to a people who pray for them, they come with greater satisfaction to themselves, and success to the people. We should seek all our mercies by prayer. God is the God of peace, fully reconciled to believers; who has made a way for peace and reconciliation between himself and sinners, and who loves peace on earth, especially in his churches. He is the Author of spiritual peace in the hearts and consciences of his people. How firm a covenant is that which has its foundation in the blood of the Son of God! The perfecting of the saints in every good work, is the great thing desired by them, and for them; and that they may at length be fitted for the employment and happiness of heaven. There is no good thing wrought in us, but it is the work of God. And no good thing is wrought in us by God, but through Christ, for his sake and by his Spirit.
    Ellen G. White
    This Day With God, 32.4

    All right inventions and improvements have their source in Him who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working. Whatever we do, in whatever department of the work we are placed, God desires to refine and ennoble us. He desires to control man's mind, that he may do perfect work. TDG 32.4

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 543

    You are pressed with urgent cares, burdens, and duties; but the greater the pressure upon you, and the heavier the burdens you have to bear, the greater your need of divine aid. Jesus will be your helper. You need constantly the light of life to lighten your own pathway, and then its divine rays will reflect upon others. The work of God is a perfect whole, because perfect in all its parts. It is the conscientious attention to what the world calls little things that makes the great beauty and success of life. Little deeds of charity, little words of kindness, little acts of self-denial, a wise improvement of little opportunities, a diligent cultivation of little talents, make great men in God's sight. If those little things be faithfully attended to, if these graces be in you, and abound, they will make you perfect in every good work. 4T 543.1

    It is not enough to be willing to give liberally of your means to the cause of God. He calls for an unreserved consecration of all your powers. Withholding yourselves has been the mistake of your life. You may think it very difficult in your position to maintain a close connection with God, but your work will be tenfold harder if you fail to do this. Satan will beset your path with his temptations, and it is only through Christ that you can gain the victory. The same indomitable will that gives success in intellectual pursuits is essential in the Christian course. You must be representatives of Jesus Christ. Your energy and perseverance in perfecting a Christian character should be as much greater than that displayed in any other pursuit as the things of eternity are of more importance than temporal affairs. 4T 543.2

    If you ever achieve success in the Christian life you must resolve that you will be men after God's own heart. The Lord wants your influence to be exerted in the church and in the world to elevate the standard of Christianity. True Christian character should be marked by firmness of purpose, an indomitable determination, which cannot be molded or subdued by earth or hell. He who is not blind to the attraction of worldly honors, indifferent to threats, and unmoved by allurements will be, all unexpectedly to himself, overthrown by Satan's devices. 4T 543.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Our High Calling, 191.5

    The Lord has a great work for us to do, and He invites us to look to Him, to trust in Him, to walk with Him, to talk with Him. He invites us to make an unreserved surrender of all that we have and are to Him, that when He shall call upon us to sacrifice for Him, we may be ready and willing to obey. We shall enjoy the fullness of divine grace only as we give all to Christ. We shall know the meaning of true happiness only as we keep the fire burning on the altar of sacrifice. God will bequeath the most in the future to those who have done the most in the present.... Each day, under different circumstances, He tries us; and in each truehearted endeavor He chooses His workers, not because they are perfect, but because they are willing to work unselfishly for Him, and He sees that through connection with Him they may gain perfection. OHC 191.5

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    Ellen G. White
    The Ministry of Healing, 167

    “I rejoice that in everything I am of good courage concerning you.” “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;” “being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is right for me to be thus minded on behalf of you all, because I have you in my heart.” “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” “Now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.” Verse 16, A.R.V.; Philippians 1:3-5; 1:6, 7, A.R.V.; 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 3:8. MH 167.1

    Paul wrote to these brethren as “saints in Christ Jesus;” but he was not writing to those who were perfect in character. He wrote to them as men and women who were striving against temptation and who were in danger of falling. He pointed them to “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep.” He assured them that “through the blood of the everlasting covenant” He will “make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:20, 21. MH 167.2

    When one at fault becomes conscious of his error, be careful not to destroy his self-respect. Do not discourage him by indifference or distrust. Do not say, “Before giving him my confidence, I will wait to see whether he will hold out.” Often this very distrust causes the tempted one to stumble. MH 167.3

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