Hebrews 12:2, "our" faith

From: Mark Beatty (marksresearch@hawaii.rr.com)
Date: Sun May 28 2000 - 23:05:46 EDT

On Sat, 27 May 2000 13:51:54 -0500 "Harold R. Holmyard III" wrote:

> So which is the more
> likely translation alternative for ARCHGOS, prince, founder, or originator?
> I think that "originator" or "founder" would be more natural choices than
> "prince." There is interaction within the pair of words, a contrast beween
> starting and ending. Christ is where the faith begins. We trust in Christ
> as Savior, and He made a way for faith through His life, death, and
> resurrection. He is also the God who provided salvation. What Christ
> started, He will finish. He will guide us in our faith as Lord of the
> Church until we stand before Him.

I agree about the "beginning and end" translation. I question whether this is the
"beginner and finisher". But first a related question, why do many translations
translate the definite article of "THS PISTEWS" as the possessive pronoun "our"? (The
pronoun is singular feminine.) If you take the possessive idea out, then you get
"Jesus is the beginning and end of the faith"--meaning there is no other besides Him.
This would fit into the major theme (as I see it) of Hebrews as believers are tempted,
at a variety of levels, to finish with something else that which was first a faith in

Another important result of taking "our" out of the verse is that Jesus would then not
be the end of everyone's faith--only those who set their eyes on Him. This might be
paraphrased as "set your eyes on Jesus if you want to run the race because there are
no other options out there." The "our" faith translation to me implies the
possibility that " even if you abandon Jesus for the Mosaic system or the temple,
Jesus is still at work perfecting your faith." Of course, this is contrary to the
rest of the book.

Finally, it seems very strange to translate "the" for "our" when the Greek language
very much has the ability to indicate that difference lexically, and again, the
definite article is not even plural.

My thought is that the translators made an exegetical conclusion and then skipped a
step. Along the logic, 1) Jesus perfects those who set their eyes on Him, 2) We set
our eyes on Him, 3) therefore Jesus perfects "our" faith. So my thought is that
translators got in the habit of translating this "our" faith and few have questioned

What do you think:
1) Is there any reason to translate THS PISTEWS as "our" faith?
2) Why not just translate it "the" faith?
3) The "beginning and end" indicate that there is no other than Jesus to trust in.

Thanks in advance,

Mark Beatty
University of Hawaii

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