A note on ὄγκος in Hebrew 12:1

I just preached this past Sunday on Hebrews 12:1-3 and in verse 1, the author exhorts us to “lay aside” two things and to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The first verbal is an aorist middle participle (ἀποθέμενοι) while the second is a present active subjunctive. The second one influences the first and we have two exhortations. The author is inviting his readers to do these two things. The first exhortation calls for us to lay aside “every encumbrance” (ὄγκος). It is a term that is used only here in the NT and never in the LXX. It was used in classical Greek of any type of weight or mass. All attempts to identify more specifically what he has in mind are hindered by the use of πάντα (“all”). In other words, anything in life that holds us back from running this race with Christ as our goal is to be discarded. He also exhorts us to lay aside “the sin” which so easily entangles us. In other words, lay aside all sin and for that matter, we are to lay aside anything at all that restricts us. Some of what holds us back may not be sin, but just an unnecessary weight that we need to shed.

Categories: ὄγκος, Hebrews

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