Factbook tagging of firstborn in Hebrews 12:23

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danwdoo | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Nov 13 2021 10:07 PM

In Hebrews 12:23, the word firstborn is tagged for factbook as referring to Jesus. The resources I have checked including the UBS on Hebrews seem to conclude that this instance of firstborn is actually believers because it is plural and modified by "who are enrolled", which makes me believe this probably should not be tagged as a factbook entry for Jesus. I am no Greek expert in any sense, so I cannot speak to this with any authority, but my resources at least seem to suggest this is incorrectly tagged. Here is one example:

12:23 assembly of the firstborn. “Firstborn” is plural in Greek and modified by “who are enrolled.” Jesus was previously called the firstborn Son (1:6); here his followers are also granted an inheritance as if they too were firstborn sons (1:14; 2:10; 9:15; 12:5–8).

Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 2384.

Perhaps others can speak to this with much better certainty but this difference can have significant theological implications (of which I am not trying to discuss here!).

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Nov 13 2021 11:52 PM

Agreed. Did a quick search: The NIB (Fred Craddock), WBC (William Lane), Hermeneia (Attridge), NIGTC (Ellingworth), AYB (Koester), NICNT (Cockerill), NTL (Johnson), Lenski, NICNT (Hughes) all acknowledge it’s a plural (as it is in the original Greek) – hence referring to the “assembly of the firstborns"

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 14 2021 12:36 AM

The Greek is "assembly firstborn enrolled", where "assembly" is singular ==> an individual assembly/congregation/group of people, "firstborn" is plural and genitive, and the verb "enrolled" is also plural and genitive. Hence "assembly of <the firstborn who are enrolled>".

Dave
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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 14 2021 5:24 AM

Dave Hooton:

"firstborn" is plural and genitive.. Hence "assembly of <the firstborn who are enrolled>".

An even better translation: "assembly of [those] firstborn..." (bringing out the plural genitive)..?

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Nov 14 2021 12:17 PM

The less literal translations have "the assembly of God’s firstborn children" (GW, NLT), "the meeting of God’s firstborn children" (NCV).

Dave
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