Hebrews 4:13 Commentary

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The Epistle
to the Hebrews

Hebrews 1-10:18
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Superior Person
of Christ
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Superior Priest
in Christ
Hebrews 4:14-10:18
Superior Life
In Christ
Hebrews 10:19-13:25
Hebrews 1:1-4:13
Heb 4:14-7:28
Heb 8:1-13
Heb 9:1-10:18



ca. 64-68AD

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Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai ouk estin (3SPAI) ktisis aphanes enopion autou, panta de gumna kai tetrachelismena (RPPNPN) tois ophthalmois autou, pros on hemin ho logos.

Amplified: And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

Barclay: No created thing can ever remain hidden from his sight; everything is naked to him and is compelled to meet the eyes of him with whom we have to reckon. (Westminster Press)

NLT: Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: No creature has any cover from the sight of God; everything lies naked and exposed before the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (Phillips: Touchstone)

Wuest: And there is not a thing created which is hidden from His sight. But all things are naked and laid bare to His eyes, to whom we must give account.

Young's Literal: and there is not a created thing not manifest before Him, but all things are naked and open to His eyes—with whom is our reckoning.

AND THERE IS NO CREATURE HIDDEN FROM HIS SIGHT: kai ouk estin (3SPAI) ktisis aphanes enopion autou:

  • 1Samuel 16:7; 1Chronicles 28:9; 2Chronicles 6:30; Ps 7:9; 33:13, 14, 15; 44:21; 90:8; 139:11; Ps 139:12; Proverbs 15:3,11; Jeremiah 17:10,23,24; John 2:24; 21:17; 1Corinthians 4:5; Revelation 2:23
  • Nothing is hidden from God - 2Ki 19:27; Mt 9:4; Jn 2:24, 25)
  • Hebrews 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Related Resource: Secret Sins - C H Spurgeon on Ps 19:12KJV

“It may be a secret sin on earth, but it is open scandal in heaven.” - Lewis Sperry Chafer

No (3756) (ou) means absolute negation. No exceptions here! The old saying is apropos - "You can run but you cannot hide"! Why not? Because God sees all, all our thoughts and all our actions, everything hidden in our heart and unknown to our mate!

1Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

2 Chronicles 6:30 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men,

Job 34:21-22 For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

Psalm 7:9 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous; For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.

Psalms 11:4 The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

Spurgeon: His eyes behold. The eternal Watcher never slumbers; his eyes never know a sleep.

His eyelids try the children of men: he narrowly inspects their actions, words, and thoughts. As men, when intently and narrowly inspecting some very minute object, almost close their eyelids to exclude every other object, so will the Lord look all men through and through. God sees each man as much and as perfectly as if there were no other creature in the universe. He sees us always; he never removes his eye from us; he sees us entirely, reading the recesses of the soul as readily as the glancings of the eye. Is not this a sufficient ground of confidence, and an abundant answer to the solicitations of despondency? My danger is not hid from him; he knows my extremity, and I may rest assured that he will not suffer me to perish while I rely alone on him. Wherefore, then, should I take wings of a timid bird, and flee from the dangers which beset me?

Psalm 33:13-15 The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works.

Spurgeon: The Lord is represented as dwelling above and looking down below; seeing all things, but peculiarly observing and caring for those who trust in him. It is one of our choicest privileges to be always under our Father's eye, to be never out of sight of our best Friend. He beholdeth all the sons of men. All Adam's sons are as well watched as was Adam himself, their lone progenitor in the garden. Ranging from the frozen pole to the scorching equator, dwelling in hills and valleys, in huts and palaces, alike doth the divine eye regard all the members of the family of man. The Lord is represented as dwelling above and looking down below; seeing all things, but peculiarly observing and caring for those who trust in him. It is one of our choicest privileges to be always under our Father's eye, to be never out of sight of our best Friend. He beholdeth all the sons of men. All Adam's sons are as well watched as was Adam himself, their lone progenitor in the garden. Ranging from the frozen pole to the scorching equator, dwelling in hills and valleys, in huts and palaces, alike doth the divine eye regard all the members of the family of man.

Psalm 44:21 Would not God find this out? (What? Ps 44:20) For He knows the secrets of the heart.

Spurgeon: Shall not God search this out? Could such idolatry be concealed from him? Would he not with holy indignation have detected unfaithfulness to itself, even had it been hidden in the heart and unrevealed in the life? For he knoweth the secrets of the heart. He is acquainted with the inner workings of the mind, and therefore this could not have escaped him. Not the heart only which is secret, but the secrets of the heart, which are secrets of the most secret thing, are as open to God as a book to a reader.

Psalm 90:8 You have placed our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your presence.

Spurgeon: There are no secrets before God; He unearths man's hidden things, and exposes them to the light. There can be no more powerful luminary than the face of God, yet, in that strong light, the Lord set the hidden sins of Israel. Sunlight can never be compared with the light of Him who made the sun, of whom it is written, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." If by His countenance is here meant His love and favour, it is not possible for the heinousness of sin to be more clearly manifested than when it is seen to involve ingratitude to one so infinitely good and kind. Rebellion in the light of justice is black, but in the light of love it is devilish. How can we grieve so good a God? The children of Israel had been brought out of Egypt with a high hand, fed in the wilderness with a liberal hand, and guided with a tender hand, and their sins were peculiarly atrocious. We, too, having been redeemed by the blood of Jesus, and saved by abounding grace, will be verily guilty if we forsake the Lord. What manner of persons ought we to be? How ought we to pray for cleansing from secret faults?

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:11 Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord, How much more the hearts of men!

Jeremiah 17:9-10 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?“I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.

Jeremiah 23:24 "Can a man hide himself in hiding places So I do not see him?" declares the Lord. "Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?" declares the Lord.

Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.

No creature - No created thing or thing created. Contemplate what the writer is saying. Not a single created thing in the entire universe, in the whole of creation, is unexposed before God's omniscient eye!


We should earnestly labour to be right, for no deceptions will avail. The Lord's word lays us bare and opens up our secret selves. Oh, to be clean before the Lord! This we can never be except by faith.


Creature (2937) (ktisis from ktizo = create, form or found) stresses work of original formation of object and represents something which has undergone a process of creation. While all of mankind represents a creation of God, but not all of God's creations are God's children, contrary to popular teaching in many churches today. Remember that in God's sight there are only two families, the family of God (Jn 1:12, 13, 1Jn 3:7, 8, 9, 10) and (as unpopular as truth is) the family of the Devil (1Jn 3:10, Jn 8:44), children of light (Jn 12:36, Lk 16:8, Ep 5:8-note, 1Th 5:5-note, 1Th 5:6-note, Ro 13:12-note) and children of darkness (Col 1:13-note, 1Pe 2:9-note, cp 2Co 6:14, 15, 16, 17, 18), sons of obedience (Ro 6:16-note, He 5:9-note, 1Pe 1:2, 3-note) and sons of disobedience (Ep 2:2-note, Col 3:6KJV-note, Ro 2:8-note, 2Th 1:8, 9, 10, 1Pe 4:17-note - Note: Obedience per se does not save. Only faith in Christ results in genuine salvation. But the faith that is real and effective saving faith is a faith that shows itself real in one's grace enabled obedience. This obedience is not legalism, nor is it perfection, but instead it shows itself to be real by one's general "direction" toward the light, toward righteousness, toward heaven. 2Pe 1:10,11 -note; 2Co 13:5, 1Co 6:9, 10, 11). There is no middle ground!

Ktisis - 19x in 19v - Mark 10:6; 13:19; 16:15; Rom 1:20, 25; 8:19ff, 39; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Col 1:15, 23; Heb 4:13; 9:11; 1 Pet 2:13; 2 Pet 3:4; Rev 3:14. NAS = created thing(1), creation(14), creature(3), institution(1).

Hidden (852) (aphanes from a = without + phaino = to appear) means literally not appearing and so not manifest or non-apparent, concealed, invisible. Unable to be known about. God's microscope can lay bare the smallest microbe of doubt and sin.

As Jesus taught His disciples…

there is nothing concealed that will not be revealed or hidden that will not be known. (Mt 10:26)

His… Him - Note the transition from the Word of God to the God of the Word as indicated by the writer's use of these personal pronouns. The living Word transitions to the living God.

Sight (1799) (enopion from en = in + ops = ace, eye, countenance) means in the face of, in front of, before, in the sight of.

Enopion - 94x in 86v -

Luke 1:15, 17, 19, 75f; 4:7; 5:18, 25; 8:47; 12:6, 9; 13:26; 14:10; 15:10, 18, 21; 16:15; 23:14; 24:11, 43; John 20:30; Acts 2:25; 4:10, 19; 6:5f; 7:46; 9:15; 10:30f, 33; 19:9, 19; 27:35; Rom 3:20; 12:17; 14:22; 1 Cor 1:29; 2 Cor 4:2; 7:12; 8:21; Gal 1:20; 1 Tim 2:3; 5:4, 20f; 6:12f; 2 Tim 2:14; 4:1; Heb 4:13; 13:21; Jas 4:10; 1 Pet 3:4; 1 John 3:22; 3 John 1:6; Rev 1:4; 2:14; 3:2, 5, 8f; 4:5f, 10; 5:8; 7:9, 11, 15; 8:2ff; 9:13; 11:4, 16; 12:4, 10; 13:12ff; 14:3, 10; 15:4; 16:19; 19:20; 20:12. NAS = before(46), front(1), presence(20), sight(22).

Hughes - There is a natural transition from "the word of God" in the previous verse to "God" Himself here, for the word of God is not only the activity of God but also His revelation of Himself, whether it be in judgment or in salvation. As God is its source so also He is its fulfilment, and there is therefore the closest association between God and the word by which he effectively acts and reveals himself. "The author passes insensibly," says Spicq, "from the notion of the word of God to God himself, and finally identifies them, since the word was truly in the place of the omniscient and omnipresent God, and received its power and its qualities only from him." Clearly, as God is by his word the Creator and Sustainer of the whole order of creation, all, that is, all things which includes all men, are open and laid bare to Him. There is not and cannot be any part of reality which is unknown or incomprehensible to Him Who is the source of all being and the fount of all knowledge. Every creaturely covering and pretext is stripped away. There is no recess, no dark depth, that is not wide open before Him (cf. 1Co 4:5).This profound and solemn truth is one that man in his fallenness does not like to face. (Hebrews- An Anchor for the Soul, Volume 1 Preaching the Word)

In Genesis we read…

Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty (El Shaddai). Walk (a command - Interesting that the Lxx instead of using a verb for "walk" substitutes the verb "be pleasing" in the present imperative = command calling for continual obedience) before Me, and be blameless. (Genesis 17:1)

God's charge to Abraham was to walk before Him, in God's sight, indeed living in the consciousness and knowledge that the eyes of God were always upon him.

THOUGHT - What difference beloved would it make in our walk if we conducted ourselves continually with a conscious sense of God's presence? Would it not serve as a holy impediment to sin on one hand (cp Job 1:1, Ge 39:9) and a desire to walk worthy of our calling to please Him on the other hand (cp Ep 4:1-note, 1Th 2:12-note, Acts 24:16)?

Nu 32:23

Achan experienced the truth of this passage when he took some of the the banned spoil from defeated Jericho (the spoil was to be for God) and then hid it in his tent (hidden from man but not from God!)

Joshua 7:15-21'It shall be that the one who is taken with the things under the ban shall be burned with fire, he and all that belongs to him, because he has transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he has committed a disgraceful thing in Israel.' " So Joshua arose early in the morning and brought Israel near by tribes, and the tribe of Judah was taken. He brought the family of Judah near, and he took the family of the Zerahites; and he brought the family of the Zerahites near man by man, and Zabdi was taken. He brought his household near man by man; and Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was taken. Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, I implore you, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give praise to Him; and tell me now what you have done. Do not hide it from me." So Achan answered Joshua and said, "Truly, I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar and two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold fifty shekels in weight, then I coveted them and took them; and behold, they are concealed in the earth inside my tent with the silver underneath it." … Josh 7:25 Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day." And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. (Compare the similar sad saga of Elisha's servant Gehazi whose greed prompted him to sin by taking booty from Naaman - read 2Ki 5:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)

BUT ALL THINGS ARE OPEN AND LAID BARE: panta de gumna kai tetrachlismena (RPPNPN):


See also: God's Omniscience

  • Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He watches all his paths.
  • Proverbs 15:3 (See commentary) The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.

But - Always observe what is being contrasted (See contrasts) or what change of direction the writer is making. Here the contrast is dramatic - NOhiddenBUTALLopenlaid bare!

All (pas) means all without exception and amplifies "no" exceptions mentioned in the first part of this verse. The all knowing God knows our actions, our locations, our thoughts, our words, our ways, and our even our motives (1Co 4:5). Remember that the context is the Word of God, which penetrates like a sharp sword the innermost part of our being which leaves no detail or aspect of our light hidden from His inexorable gaze!

We see the effects of this divine exposure in the book of beginnings where Moses writes that before the fall "the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Ge 2:25)

After the fall we read "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." (Ge 3:7-10)

Richard Hughes remarks that "Anyone with any spiritual awareness is made very uneasy by the thought of God's searching gaze. Remember the scene in the garden after Adam and Eve had first sinned. In their original state, before they fell into sin, they were "naked and were not ashamed" (Ge 2:25). With no sin to condemn them, they delighted in the gaze of their loving Creator. But after the fall, they hid their shame even from one another, pathetically sewing on fig leaves for garments. Even more, they dreaded the presence of God, fleeing and hiding from him as he approached. This is how many Christians feel in their relationship with God. The thought of His gaze chills their bones. They are willing to do anything but deal with God Himself, skulking around the edges of his light rather than drawing near to Him. They struggle to pray and seldom do unless forced by circumstances. It is this paralyzing fear that the writer of Hebrews now addresses. As Philip Hughes explains: "Sinners are no longer commanded to keep their distance in fear and trembling, but on the contrary are now invited to draw near, and to do so with confidence." (Reformed Expository Commentary – Hebrews)

A W Tozer - God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones, and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell. (From Tozer, A. W., & Verploegh, H. The Quotable Tozer I: Wise Words with a Prophetic Edge. Includes index. Camp Hill, PA.: WingSpread annotated as from The Knowledge Of The Holy)

The prophet Daniel founded his prayer (the answer to which formed the very basis for God's plan for the ages!) on the truth that all things are open to the eyes of God affirming that "It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:22)

Jamieson rightly exhorts based on the truth in this passage "Show, O man, shame and fear towards thy God, for no veil, no twisting, bending, coloring, or disguise, can cover unbelief"

Open (1131) (gumnos cp our English "gym") means not covered, nude or naked but not necessarily descriptive of absolute nakedness as it was used of a person wearing only an under-tunic (descriptive of the mode of dress in the ancient gymnasiums in Greece and Rome). As such it could mean one who was comparatively naked or scantily dressed. It was used of one poorly dressed (Jas 2:15). Figuratively in this verse gumnos means uncovered, manifest, disclosed, exposed, not hidden and easy to be known. Gumnos can refer to being inadequately clothed (Mt 25:36, 38, 43,44) or lightly clothed (Jn 21:7)

Liddell-Scott (LS) says in secular Greek gumnos could mean unarmed so that parts are not covered by armor = the exposed parts. LS - of things - e.g., an uncovered bow, i.e. taken out of the case. LS = in common language meant lightly clad, i.e. in the tunic only without the mantle

The first use in the Septuagint describes Adam and Eve as "naked and were not ashamed." (Ge 2:25) but when sin entered through Adam (Ro 5:12), "they knew that they were naked," (Ge 3:7) and sought to cover themselves. Similarly because of his sin Adam realized he was naked and tried to hide from God (Ge 3:10-11). In one of the more famous uses of gumnos in the Lxx Job declared "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21, cp Lxx use of gumnos in Eccl 5:15) "Naked is Sheol before" God alludes to His all seeing eye (Job 26:6).

Friberg - (1) literally; (a) naked, unclothed, bare; substantivally naked person (Mk 14.52); (b) poorly dressed, (partially) naked (James 2.15); (c) without an outer garment, thus unpresentable for public appearance (Jn 21.7); (2) figuratively; (a) without bodily form, without body (2Cor 5.3); (b) of things disclosed easy to be known, exposed, not hidden (Heb 4.13); (c) substantivally person spiritually unprepared (Rev 3.17)

Open - Stark naked! Stripped down! Without clothing! We can hide from others. We can even do a good job of hiding from ourselves. But how do we hide from the One before Whom all hearts are open and all desires known? We cannot -- We cannot hide from God. Given that we are naked before Him, there is nothing to hide in or behind.

Gumnos - 15x in 15v - NAS = bare(1), naked(11), open(1), stripped(1), without clothing(1).

Matthew 25:36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

44 "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

Mark 14:51 A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him.

52 But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.

John 21:7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord." So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.

Acts 19:16 And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

1 Corinthians 15:37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

2 Corinthians 5:3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

James 2:15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,

Revelation 3:17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,

Revelation 16:15 ("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.")

Revelation 17:16 "And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.

Gumnos - 35v in Lxx -

Gen 2:25; 3:7, 10f; 27:16; 1 Sam 19:24; 2Chr 28:15; Job 1:21; 22:6; 24:7, 10; 26:6; 31:19; Prov 23:31; Eccl 5:15; Isa 20:2ff; 32:11; 58:7; Ezek 16:7, 22, 39; 18:7, 16; 23:29; Dan 4:33; Hos 2:3; Amos 2:16; 4:3; Mic 1:8;

Both soul and body are effectively "naked" to the eyes of God. Remember that truth the next time you commit a willful, premeditated sin beloved. You are sinning against great grace, great light, a great God! (Ge 39:9) As it is the same sun that melts the wax which hardens the clay, so it is the same Word of God that leads some on to salvation, and turns others who will have none of it away into outer darkness (contrast these two reactions to truth - Jn 3:19, 20 versus Jn 3:21)

THOUGHT - Dear believer, are you in the Word daily that your thoughts, words and deeds might be exposed and shown for what they truly are? If not you need to be, for as Jesus said

He who has bathed (Gk = louo = wash all over, the whole body, picturing the once for all bath of "regeneration") needs (literally "has need" where "has" = present tense expressing this as a continual necessity = the Word of God that first made us holy positionally, must be "washed in" so that it might continue to daily make us holy in practice, i.e., progressive sanctification, the walk of holiness, growth in Christ-likeness - Jn 17:17) only to wash (Not louo but nipto = wash a part of the body) his feet (cp "washing of water with the word" Ep 5:26-note), but is completely clean (positionally clean equating with the once for all "cleansing" that occurs when by grace through faith we are justified or declared righteous in standing before God - Ro 3:24-note; Ro 5:1-note, Ro 5:2-note); and you are clean, but not all of you. (Jn 13:10)

Barclay explains that "What he is saying is that as far as men are concerned we may be able to wear our outward trappings and disguises; but in the presence of God these things are stripped away and we have to meet Him as we are. (Hebrews 4 Commentary)

Guzik writes that open or "Naked reminds us of the way God saw through Adam’s feeble hiding (Ge 3:7, 8, 9). God sees through our hiding the same way.

Even the pagan mind understood this concept of inability to hide from God, Seneca writing that "We ought always to so conduct ourselves as if we lived in public; we ought to think as if someone could see what is passing in our inmost breast; and there is one who does thus behold us. Of what avail is it, then, that any deed is concealed from man? Nothing can be hidden from God. He is present with our very souls, and penetrates our inmost thoughts, and, indeed, is never absent from us. (Seneca, Epistle 83)

Newell - At a great camp-meeting I attended many years ago, there was a great deal of prayer. Some 1500 Christians had come together from all over the United States and Canada. I remember Fanny Crosby sitting in the second seat from the front, a dear saint, with Heaven upon her face. One day some one had preached the Word with power in the afternoon, and the people were dispersing. But a man of color came running up to the altar, dropped on his knees, and began to cry mightily to God. I truly believe his voice could have been heard a mile. We gathered around him to comfort him, but it was as if we were not in existence. The Word of God had pierced even to the dividing of soul and spirit. Our singing, our talk, meant nothing to the man. He had been a backslidden church member, and as he afterwards told it, “I saw myself before God’s judgment bar! yea, slipping into hell, and the voices of earth meant nothing.” Alas, we forget that many come to meetings, enjoy the singing and the organ, yea, the eloquence of the preacher; but never experience dividing of soul and spirit. All is “soulical” to them. There is no direct dealing with God.

Laid bare (5136) (trachelizo from trachelos = neck) means to bend back the neck as the surgeon does for operating, as the anesthesiologist does that he might be able to see the vocal cords thus enabling him to insert the tube that conducts life giving oxygen thru the airway! Figuratively as used here (the only NT use), trachelizo means to lay bare or open and the perfect tense pictures this effect as enduring or permanent.

Trachelizo was also used to describes the bending back of the neck of an animal to be slaughtered for an offering in order to expose the throat. It may refer to the wrestler’s art of seizing one by the throat, rendering him limp and powerless.

Wuest writes that trachelizo "means “to seize and twist the neck or throat.” It was used of combatants who handled their antagonists in that way. It meant also “to bend back the neck of the victim to be slain, to lay bare or expose by bending back.” Hence the verb came to mean “to lay bare, to uncover, to expose.” (Hebrews Commentary)

Vincent - The exact metaphor, however, it is impossible to determine. The following are the principal explanations proposed: taken by the throat, as an athlete grasps an adversary; exposed, as a malefactor’s neck is bent back, and his face exposed to the spectators; or, as the necks of victims at the altar are drawn back and exposed to the knife. The idea at the root seems to be the bending back of the neck, and the last explanation, better than any other, suits the previous figure of the sword. The custom of drawing back the victim’s neck for sacrifice is familiar to all classical students. See Hom. Il. i. 459; ii. 422; Pindar, Ol. xiii. 114. The victim’s throat bared to the sacrificial knife is a powerful figure of the complete exposure of all created intelligence to the eye of him whose word is as a two-edged sword. (Vincent, M. R. (2002). Word Studies in the New Testament 4:429)

Friberg writes that trachelizo means "strictly take hold of by the neck; only passive in the NT, as a metaphor drawn from ancient custom, either of making an enemy face his conquerors by a sword fixed under his chin, of fastening a lock grip on an opponent in wrestling, or of bending back the head of a sacrificial victim, ready for the knife be exposed, i.e. be easily known. (Friberg, T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Baker Academic)

Vine writes that trachelizo "literally means to have the throat exposed. It is taken from the games, and signified to bend back the neck. Here the metaphor may be taken either from the sacrifice of a victim or from a mode of punishment. Whatever the metaphorical sense is, the warning is that there is no hiding oneself in any part of our being from God. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

MacArthur adds that trachelizo had two distinct uses in ancient times: "It was used of a wrestler taking his opponent by the throat. In this position the two men were unavoidably face to face. The other use was in regard to a criminal trial. A sharp dagger would be bound to the neck of the accused, with the point just below his chin, so that he could not bow his head, but had to face the court. Both uses had to do with grave face-to-face situations. When an unbeliever comes under the scrutiny of God’s Word, he will be unavoidably face-to-face with the perfect truth about God and about himself. (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press)

Thayer has the following entry for trachelizo - 1. to seize and twist the neck or throat; used of combatants who handle thus their antagonists (Philo, Plutarch, Diogenes Laërt, others). 2. to bend back the neck of the victim to be slain, to lay bare or expose by bending back; hence, tropically, to lay bare, uncover, expose

God's sharp Word shows us where we are wrong not only in what we do, but in how we think and feel. We would like to hide our guilt but we cannot. God has perfect knowledge of what is going on in His world, even to the point of knowing the very thoughts of our hearts. This calls us to repent before we have to face the final judgment.

Barnes - The design of the remark here is, to guard those to whom the apostle was writing from self-deception --since they could conceal nothing from God. (Albert Barnes. Barnes NT Commentary)

Barclay summarizes the three potential meanings of trachelizo writing…

(i) It was a wrestler’s word and was used for seizing an opponent by the throat in such a way that he could not move. We may escape God for long enough but in the end he grips us in such a way that we cannot help meeting him face to face. God is one issue that no man can finally evade.

(ii) It was the word that was used for flaying animals. Animals were hung up and the hide was taken off them. Men may judge us by our outer conduct and appearance but God sees into the inmost secrets of our hearts.

(iii) Sometimes when a criminal was being led to judgment or to execution, a dagger, with point upwards, was so fixed below his chin that he could not bow his head in concealment but had to keep it up so that all could see his face and know his dishonour. When that was done, a man was said to be tetrachēlismenos. In the end we have to meet the eyes of God. We may avert our gaze from people we are ashamed to meet; but we are compelled to look God in the face.

Kermit Eby writes in The God in You: “At some time or other, a man must stop running from himself and his God—possibly because there is just no other place to run to.” There comes a time to every man when he has to meet that God from whose eyes nothing ever can be concealed (Hebrews 4 Commentary)

TO THE EYES OF HIM WITH WHOM WE HAVE TO DO: tois opthalmois autou pros on hemin ho logos:

  • Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 7:21,22; 25:31,32; John 5:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29; Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16; Romans 14:9, 10, 11, 12; 2Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11, 12, 13, 14, 15
  • Hebrews 4 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


To the eyes (3788) (opthalmos) most often describes literal eyes which give sight, but occasionally is used figuratively to describe the eyes as the source of spiritual sight (or lack thereof). Thayer - metaph. the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing.

Here in Hebrews 4:13 eyes is an anthropomorphic description of God, Who sees all and knows all. You cannot hide, be you a saved or unsaved sinner. In a parallel OT use (in the Septuagint translation) Solomon reminds us that "The eyes (opthalmos) of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good." (Pr 15:3)

Jesus use opthalmos several times in the Sermon on the Mount - eye makes you stumble tear it out (Mt 5:29-note, 18:9, Mk 9:47), in reference to the saying "an eye for an eye, " (Mt 5:38-note), the eye as "the lamp of the body" (Mt 6:22-23-note, Lk 11:34), figuratively of judging another by looking at "the speck that is in your brother's eye" and not see the "log that is in your own eye," (Mt 7:3-5-note, Lk 6:41-42). Used of opening eyes of blind (Mt 9:30, Mk 8:25, Jn 9:6, 10-11 - "opened" = regained sense of sight - similar uses in context - Jn 9:14,17, 21, 26, 30, 32, 10:21, 11:37). Figuratively the Jews had "closed their (spiritual) eyes" (Mt 13:15, cp Mk 8:18, Acts 28:27, Ro 11:8, 10-note cp "He has blinded their [spiritual] eyes" Jn 12:40 - don't misunderstand for while blinding their eyes was part of God's sovereign plan, those blinded were still responsible - see Jn 8:24 - mysterious? Yes!) in contrast to the blessing of the "eyes" that see spiritual truth (in context understand who Jesus was). Now the great need for all who are spiritually blind is "eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see" (Rev 3:18-note). Even those who refuse the "eye salve" to see Christ for salvation, will yet see the Messiah at His Second Coming when "every (Greek means all without exception!) eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him." (Rev 1:7-note)

Jesus speaks figuratively of an envious "eye" an eye that is jealous. (Mt 20:15), with opthalmos actually translated as envy in Mk 7:21-note. "Eyes were heavy" refers to becoming sleepy or tired (Mt 26:43, Mk 14:40). "Lifted up His eyes" means to turn His gaze toward His disciples (Lk 6:20). The "tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven," expressive of his humility, brokenness, contrition over sin. (Lk 18:13) "Hidden from your eyes" is Jesus' figurative use, where the spiritual truth was hidden from the understanding of the Jews (Lk 19:42). The disciples on the road to Emmaus spiritual "eyes were prevented from recognizing Him." (Lk 24:16), but later "their eyes (spiritual understanding) were opened and they recognized" their resurrected Lord.

In Acts 1:9 as Jesus' disciples were looking on "a cloud received Him out of their sight (opthalmos)." Saul "eyes were open, he could see nothing." (Acts 9:8, he was "without sight" or blinded - Acts 9:9) until something like scales "fell from his eyes." (Acts 9:18) Tabitha's opening of "her eyes" was the first sign she had been brought back from the dead (Acts 9:40). Paul was chosen and sent by Jesus especially to the Gentiles "to open their eyes (of their heart, of their spiritual understanding) so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me (Jesus is speaking to Paul)." No fear of God "before their eyes" means before their spiritual eyes (which were really spiritually blind eyes) (Ro 3:18-note). Paul uses "eye" metaphorically to describe the different members of the body of Christ (1Cor 12:16, 17, 21). The eye blinks were rapidly and so Paul uses the phrase "In the twinkling of an eye" to depict the rapidity with which our glorification will occur. In one of Paul's great prayers (one with which we should all be continually interceding for one another) "Eyes full of adultery" is surely also a figure to describe their hearts full of adultery, the eye gate being the conduit to the heart. (2Pe 2:14-note).

John uses eye figuratively in the phrase "the darkness has (spiritually) blinded his eyes" (referring to the one who habitually hates his brother) (1Jn 2:11-note). In 1Jn 2:16-note) the "lust (epithumia) of the eyes" depicts man's natural eyes as the "open windows" that allow temptation to enter, which in turn is able to stimulate the evil cravings (lusts) that lodge in our fallen nature (our "anti-God" flesh). Hiebert adds that "the reference is not merely to physical sight but includes intellectual visualization." Eve fell prey to the "lust of her eyes" for she "saw the tree was good for food." (Ge 3:6 - Note the Lxx uses opthalmos three times, once in each verse - Ge 3:6-8 - It was our EYES which were critical in bringing about the first sin! And our eyes are still the main sense tempting us to sin against God!). In a related use of opthalmos in the Septuagint we read that Job declared "I have made a covenant with my eyes (Lxx = opthalmos). How then could I gaze (Hebrew = bin/biyn = not just a casual or accidental, unavoidable glance, but careful consideration. Lxx uses suniemi = to understand!) at a virgin?" (Job 31:1-see comment. See also a similar principle regarding the vital importance of guarding one's heart in Pr 4:23-note, cp Pr 4:25-27)

Eyes refers to God's eyes in only two passages - Heb 4:13-note, 1Pe 3:12-note. Eyes describes the four living creatures around the throne of God (Rev 4:8-note, Rev 5:6-note). In two of my favorite (albeit somewhat mysterious) passages in Revelation we read that "God will wipe every tear from their eyes." (Rev 7:17-note, Rev 21:4-note). Eyes like fire repeatedly describe the risen, glorified King (Rev 1:14-note, Rev 2:18-note, Rev 19:12-note).

L-S - Eyes were painted on the bows of ancient vessels. Phrases in secular Greek that use opthalmos - to have before one's eyes, what is before one's eyes, what was ridiculous to the eye, to get out of any one's sight, to tell one to one's face, to accuse him to his face; the eye of a master or ruler. Figuratively - the dearest, best, as the eye is the most precious part of the body, hence of men, eye or bud of a plant or tree, in Persia the king's eye was a confidential officer, through whom he beheld his kingdom and subjects.

Zodhiates - In phrases, ophthalmós haploús (haploús [573], single, without folds), meaning a sound eye, as contrasted to ophthalmós ponērós (ponērós [4190], evil), an unsound, evil or diseased eye (Matt. 6:22, 23). With anoígō (455), to open, to open the eyes (Acts 9:8, 40), means either one’s own eyes or those of another, i.e., to cause to see, to restore sight (Matt. 9:30; 20:33; John 9:10, 14, 17, 21, 26, 30, 32; 10:21; 11:37; Sept.: Is. 35:5; 37:23; 42:7); metaphorically, it means to open the eyes of the mind, i.e., cause to perceive and understand (Acts 26:18). With dianoígō (1272), to open wide the eyes, means to cause to see what was not seen before (Luke 24:31; Sept.: 2 Kgs. 6:17); with exorússō (1846), to dig out, denotes entire devotedness (Gal. 4:15; Sept.: 1 Sam. 11:2); with epaírō (1869), to raise up, to lift up the eyes, means to look upon (Matt. 17:8; Luke 6:20; 16:23; 18:13; John 4:35; 6:5; 17:1; Sept.: Gen. 13:10; Ezek. 18:6); with kamnúō (2576), to shut down, to close the eyes so as not to see (Matt. 13:15; Acts 28:27, quoted from Is. 6:10). In 1 Pet. 3:12, “The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous” means the eyes of the Lord are directed upon the righteous implying affection, quoted from Ps. 34:15. In 2 Pet. 2:14 “eyes full of adultery” indicates one who looks at others with adulterous desire. Heb. 4:13, “naked and open in his eyes” (a.t.), means uncovered, manifest. See also Sept.: Job 27:19. (The Complete Word Study New Testament - Spiros Zodhiates)

Ophthalmos - 100x in 85v translated envy*(1), eye(29), eyes(68), gaze(1), sight(1).-

Matt 5:29, 38; 6:22-23; 7:3-5; 9:29-30; 13:15-16; 17:8; 18:9; 20:15, 33; 21:42; 26:43; Mark 7:22; 8:18, 25; 9:47; 12:11; 14:40; Luke 2:30; 4:20; 6:20, 41f; 10:23; 11:34; 16:23; 18:13; 19:42; 24:16, 31; John 4:35; 6:5; 9:6, 10-11, 14-15, 17, 21, 26, 30, 32; 10:21; 11:37, 41; 12:40; 17:1; Acts 1:9; 9:8, 18, 40; 26:18; 28:27; Ro 3:18; 11:8, 10; 1Cor 2:9; 12:16f, 21; 15:52; Gal 3:1; 4:15; Eph 1:18; Heb 4:13; 1 Pet 3:12; 2 Pet 2:14; 1John 1:1; 2:11, 16; Rev 1:7, 14; 2:18; 3:18; 4:6, 8; 5:6; 7:17; 19:12; 21:4

Opthalmos in Lxx - over 500 times -

Gen 3:5-7; 13:10, 14; Ge 18:2; 21:19; Ge 22:4, 13; 24:63f; 27:1; 29:17; 31:10, 12, 40; 37:25; 39:7; 43:29; 45:12, 20; 46:4; 48:10; 49:12; Exod 13:9, 16; 14:10; 21:24, 26; 23:8; Lev 4:13; 5:4; 20:4; 21:20; 24:20; 26:16; Num 5:13; 11:6; 14:14; 15:24, 39; 16:14; 22:31; 24:2, 4, 16; 33:55; Deut 3:21, 27; 4:3, 9; 6:8; 7:16, 19; 10:21; 11:7, 12, 18; 13:8; 14:1; 15:9; 16:19; 19:13, 21; 21:7; 25:12; 28:32, 34, 54, 56, 65ff; 29:3f; 32:10; 34:4, 7; Josh 5:13; 23:13; 24:7; Jdg 6:17, 21; 10:15; 14:3, 7; 16:21, 28; 17:6; 19:17, 24; Ruth 2:2, 9-10, 13; 1Sam 1:18, 23; 2:29, 33; 3:2; 4:15; 6:13; 8:6; 11:2; 12:16; 14:27, 29; 16:12, 22; 17:42; 18:8, 20, 23, 26; 20:3, 29; 24:4, 10; 25:8; 26:21, 24; 27:5; 29:6f, 9; 2 Sam 3:19; 6:20, 22; 10:12; 11:25, 27; 12:9, 11; 13:2, 5f, 8, 34; 14:22; 15:25f; 16:4, 22; 17:4; 18:4, 24; 19:6, 18, 27, 37f; 20:6; 22:25, 28; 24:3, 22; 1 Kgs 1:20, 48; 8:29, 52; 9:3; 10:7; 12:24; 20:6, 38, 41; 22:43; 2 Kgs 1:13f; 3:2, 18; 4:34f; 6:17, 20; 7:2, 19; 9:30; 10:5, 30; 13:2, 11; 14:3; 15:3, 9, 18, 24, 28, 34; 16:2; 17:2, 17; 18:3; 19:16, 22; 20:3; 21:2, 6, 9, 15f, 20; 22:2, 20; 23:16, 32, 37; 24:9; 25:7; 1 Chr 13:4; 19:13; 21:3, 16; 2 Chr 6:20, 40; 7:15f; 9:6; 16:9; 20:12; 29:8; 32:23; 34:28; Ezra 3:12; 5:5; 7:28; 9:8; Neh 1:6; 6:16; Esth 4:17; Job 3:10; 4:16; 7:7f; 10:18; 11:20; 13:1; 15:12; 16:10, 20; 17:5, 7; 19:27; 20:9; 21:8, 20; 22:29; 24:15; 27:19; 28:7, 10; 29:11, 15; 31:1, 7, 16; 36:7; 39:29; 40:24; 41:18; 42:5; Ps 5:5; 6:7; 10:8; 11:4; 13:3; 14:3; 17:2, 8, 11; 18:24, 27; 19:8; 25:15; 26:3; 31:9, 22; 32:8; 33:18; 34:15; 35:19, 21; 36:1; 38:10; 54:7; 66:7; 69:3, 23; 77:4; 79:10; 88:9; 90:4; 91:8; 92:11; 94:9; 101:3, 5ff; 115:5; 116:8; 118:23; 119:18, 37, 82, 123, 136, 148; 121:1; 123:1f; 131:1; 132:4; 135:16; 139:16; 141:8; 145:15; Prov 4:25; 5:21; 6:13, 17, 25; 10:10; 15:3, 15, 30; 16:30; 17:24; 20:8f, 12f; 22:12; 23:26, 29, 31, 33; 25:7; 27:20; 28:27; 30:13, 17; Eccl 1:8; 2:10, 14; 4:8; 5:11; 6:9; 8:16; 11:7, 9; Song 1:15; 4:1, 9; 5:12; 6:5; 7:4; 8:10; Isa 1:15f; 2:11; 3:16; 5:15; 6:5, 10; 10:12; 13:18; 17:7; 29:10, 18; 30:20; 33:15, 17, 20; 35:5; 37:23; 38:14; 40:26; 42:7; 43:8; 44:18; 49:18; 51:6; 52:8; 59:10; 60:4; 64:4; Jer 3:2; 4:30; 5:3, 21; 9:1, 18; 13:17, 20; 14:6, 17; 16:9, 17; 19:10; 20:4; 22:17; 24:6; 27:5; 28:1, 5, 10f; 29:21; 31:16; 32:4, 12f, 18, 30; 34:3, 15; 38:26; 40:4; 42:2; 43:9; 51:24; 52:10f; Lam 1:16; 2:4, 11, 18; 3:48f, 51, 63; 4:17; 5:17; Ezek 1:18; 4:12; 5:11; 6:9; 7:4, 9, 13; 8:5, 18; 9:5, 10; 10:12; 12:2, 4, 12; 16:5; 18:6, 12, 15; 20:7f, 14, 17, 22, 24, 41; 21:6; 22:16, 26; 23:16, 27, 40; 24:16, 21, 25; 36:23, 34; 40:4; 44:5; Dan 4:17, 34; 7:8, 20; 8:3, 5, 21; 9:18; 10:5f; Hos 13:14; Joel 1:16; Amos 9:3f, 8; Jonah 2:4; Mic 4:11; 7:10; Hab 1:13; Zeph 3:7; Zech 1:18; 2:1, 8; 3:9; 4:10; 5:1, 5, 9; 6:1; 9:8; 11:17; 12:4; 14:12; Mal 1:5

Here are just a few of the wonderful uses of opthalmos in the Septuagint (see also uses in Psalms below) - In one of the most fascinating uses of eye (Lxx = opthalmos) is all of Scripture Daniel 4 describes what I personally believe was the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar to the true and living God, the Most High God, this previously pagan king after a seven year period of humbling, making the choice (enabled by grace) to declare "At the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes (Lxx = opthalmos) toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom [endures] from generation to generation." (Da 4:34-note) From this testimony of Nebuchadnezzar, John Piper invokes the principle that when we raise our eyes Godward, our reason returns! Are you eyes fixed on your current turmoil, which is clouding your ability to reason clearly? Then look to Jesus and your reason will return. In another "eye raising" scene as he was about to slay his only son, the son of his love, Isaac, "Abraham raised his eyes (Lxx = opthalmos) and looked, and behold, behind [him] a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son." Again in Joshua 5:13-14 we read "Now it came about when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand" and this one was the Captain of the Hosts, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ (Christophany, see discussion of the Angel of the LORD). In Dt 32:10 says "He (the LORD) kept him (His Chosen People) as the apple (pupil) of his eye (opthalmos)." Ruth the Moabitess found favor in the eyes of Boaz (Ruth 2:2, 9-10, 13).

Here are the uses of opthalmos in the Psalms… this would make an interesting study!

Ps 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity.

Ps 6:7 My eye has wasted away with grief; It has become old because of all my adversaries.

Ps 10:8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.

Ps 11:4 The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD’S throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

Ps 13:3 Consider [and] answer me, O LORD, my God; Enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the [sleep of] death,

Ps 14:3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one.

Ps 17:2 Let my judgment come forth from Thy presence; Let Thine eyes look with equity.

Ps 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Thy wings,

Ps 17:11 They have now surrounded us in our steps; They set their eyes to cast [us] down to the ground.

Ps 18:24 Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.

Ps 18:27 For Thou dost save an afflicted people; But haughty eyes Thou dost abase.

Ps 19:8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Ps 25:15 My eyes are continually toward the LORD, For He will pluck my feet out of the net.

Ps 26:3 For Thy lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Thy truth.

Ps 31:9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body [also.]

Ps 31:22 As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Thine eyes”; Nevertheless Thou didst hear the voice of my supplications When I cried to Thee.

Ps 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Ps 33:18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness,

Ps 34:15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, And His ears are [open] to their cry.

Ps 35:19 Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Neither let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously.

Ps 35:21 And they opened their mouth wide against me; They said, “Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!”

Ps 36:1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD. Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; There is no fear of God before his eyes.

Ps 38:10 My heart throbs, my strength fails me; And the light of my eyes, even that has gone from me.

Ps 54:7 For He has delivered me from all trouble; And my eye has looked [with satisfaction] upon my enemies.

Ps 66:7 He rules by His might forever; His eyes keep watch on the nations; Let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah.

Ps 69:3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Ps 69:23 May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see, And make their loins shake continually.

Ps 77:4 Thou hast held my eyelids [open;] I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

Ps 79:10 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let there be known among the nations in our sight, Vengeance for the blood of Thy servants, which has been shed.

Ps 88:9 My eye has wasted away because of affliction; I have called upon Thee every day, O LORD; I have spread out my hands to Thee.

Ps 90:4 For a thousand years in Thy sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or [as] a watch in the night.

Ps 91:8 You will only look on with your eyes, And see the recompense of the wicked.

Ps 92:11 And my eye has looked [exultantly] upon my foes, My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me.

Ps 94:9 He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see?

Ps 101:3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.

Ps 101:5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure.

Ps 115:5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see;

Ps 116:8 For Thou hast rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling.

Ps 118:23 This is the LORD’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.

Ps 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Thy law.

Ps 119:37 Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Thy ways.

Ps 119:82 My eyes fail [with longing] for Thy word, While I say, “When wilt Thou comfort me?”

Ps 119:123 My eyes fail [with longing] for Thy salvation, And for Thy righteous word.

Ps 119:136 My eyes shed streams of water, Because they do not keep Thy law.

Ps 119:148 My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Thy word.

Ps 121:1 A Song of Ascents. I Will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From whence shall my help come?

Ps 123:1 A Song of Ascents. To Thee I lift up my eyes, O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!

Ps 131:1 A Song of Ascents, of David. O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me.

Ps 132:4 I will not give sleep to my eyes, Or slumber to my eyelids;

Ps 135:16 They have mouths, but they do not speak; They have eyes, but they do not see;

Ps 139:16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained [for me], When as yet there was not one of them.

Ps 141:8 For my eyes are toward Thee, O GOD, the Lord; In Thee I take refuge; do not leave me defenseless.

Ps 145:15 The eyes of all look to Thee, And Thou dost give them their food in due time.

God's eyes see all the facts in our inmost hearts. There is neither wall nor veil to God's eye, nor thinnest film of obscurity. Surely every servant of Christ today needs to gaze into this revealing mirror and be honest with himself and God, Who knows us better than we know ourselves!

In the Revelation, on the isle of Patmos the apostle John has a face to face encounter with the risen, glorified Christ writing…

His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. (Re 1:14-note)

Comment: John's description is that of a penetrating discernment that is able to search the inmost depths of our soul. His gaze is searching, revealing and infallible, thereby revealing with piercing clarity the reality of everything there is to know. John had seen these same eyes filled with tears when He wept at the grave of Lazarus (Jn 11:35), but now the aged apostle sees that these are the eyes of the Righteous Judge before whom all creation is laid bare (cp 2Ti 4:1-note, 2Ti 4:8-note).

Tony Garland commenting on Rev 1:14 writes: His eyes are singled out as being like a flame of fire . This evokes the image of a gaze which instantly pierces the deepest darkness to lay bear all sin. It is a reference to His omniscience, omnipresence, and judgment. There is no evil activity of men which Jesus does not see (Job 28:24; Ps. 90:8; 94:9; 139:23; Pr 15:3). There is no den of iniquity so dark that Jesus is not there (Job 34:22; Ps. 139:7; Jer. 23:24; Am 9:2). There is no work of man which will go unjudged by His piercing gaze (1Co 3:15; 2Co 5:10; He 4:13). Truly, God is an all-consuming fire (Num. 11:1; Dt 5:25; 9:3; 2Ki 1:10; Ps 50:3; 78:63; Is 33:14; Lk 9:54; He 12:29; Re 11:5). When speaking to the church at Thyatira, after mentioning His “eyes like a flame of fire” (Re 2:18), Jesus continues, “I know your works” (Re 2:19). He says to the same church, “all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Re 2:23). His piercing eyes are an identifying description in Re 19:12. It is impossible to escape His gaze! “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (He 4:13).

Wiersbe - God uses the Word to enable us to see the sin and unbelief in our own hearts. The Word exposes our hearts; and then, if we trust God, the Word enables our hearts to obey God and claim His promises. This is why each believer should be diligent to apply himself to hear and heed God's Word. In the Word we see God, and we also see how God sees us. We see ourselves as we really are. This experience enables us to be honest with God, to trust His will, and to obey Him. ()

Hughes gives this illustration - God sees everything. This can be discomforting if we have something to hide. This was the experience of some boys who were stealing apples, because as they were in the act it so happened that the great American astronomer Samuel Alfred Mitchell was observing the sun through his telescope as it descended, and just as it set there came into view the crest of an orchard-covered hill some seven miles distant where Dr. Mitchell watched the two boys—one picking apples while the other stood guard making sure they were not seen! (from Walter Paxendale, Dictionary of Illustrations for Pulpit and Platform Chicago: Moody Press, 1949, p. 419)

To do (3056) (logos) means an account or something said. Literally the Greek reads "to whom the account is to us", "to whom is our word" or "with whom our matter is". The idea is with whom our final reckoning has to be made.

I think the ESV and the NIV renderings are much easier to understand reading "to whom we must give account."

Guzik exhorts us to "Remember the context. The writer to the Hebrews trusts that he has pierced the hearts of his audience, who were contemplating “giving up” on Jesus. In this passage, he has made it plain that they can’t give up on Jesus can keep it “hidden” from God. The word of God has discovered and exposed their condition. (David Guzik. The Enduring Word Commentary Series)

Ryrie writes that it is "A play on the Greek term for "word"; i.e., if our lives conform to "the word of God" (v. 12), then our word (account) in the day of judgment will be acceptable to God. (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)

With whom we have to do - Other renderings…

to Whom we [must] [give] account (He 4:13NKJV)

to whom we must give account (He 4:13NIV)

to whom we must give account. (Wuest)

This is the God to Whom we must explain all that we have done (NLT - first edition, not the revision)

with whom is our reckoning or to whom we have to give account. (Marvin Vincent)

Hughes applies this truth commenting that…

The man who acknowledges that he is now and that he will be hereafter "naked and exposed to the eyes of the One with whom we have to reckon" (NEB), and that the discernment of God is always without error and His judgment righteous and equitable (Is 11:3f), is a man who is standing on the threshold of divine grace; for it is against the background of human guilt and powerlessness that the grace of God which, in Christ, brings forgiveness and victory is most particularly displayed.

In the final words of Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes…

The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14)

God “shall illuminate the crypts of the darkness which naturally fills the self deceiving heart.”

Phillip Hughes writes that "In that day of manifestation both the hypocritical and the hypercritical will be shown for What they really are. (Paul's Second Epistle to the Corinthians)

Spurgeon - However great a revealer the Word may be, however clear a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, the God who gave the Word is even more so. We should earnestly labor to be right, for no deceptions will avail. The Lord’s word lays us bare and opens up our secret selves. Oh, to be clean before the Lord! This we can never be except by faith.

Newell - The Word of God brings everything out into the light: All things are naked and laid open before the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do. As David said to Solomon, “Know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind; for Jehovah searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts” (1 Chron. 28:9). And Hannah, in her great prayer: “Jehovah is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.” And Solomon, in his prayer of dedication: “Render unto every man according to all his ways, whose heart Thou knowest (for Thou, even Thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men).”


We must give a personal account to God for what we have said and done in our own lives (cp at the Bema Seat 2Cor 5:10, Ro 14:10, 11, 12-note, cp 1Co 3:11, 12, 13, 14, 15); non-believers at the Great White Throne Judgment - Re 20:11-note, Re 20:12-note, Re 20:13-note, Re 20:14-note, Re 20:15-note). A personal relationship to God requires personal responsibility. Every time you read the Word, you are exposed to His pure light and revelation always calls for a response. Do not be deceived, for dear Bible believing, Bible church attending Christian, to whom much is given, much is expected (Lk 12:48, cp the same principle in Jas 3:1)! Everyone, must render an account to God for the life they lived while on earth (cp the motivation in 1Pe 1:17-note). This is one appointment we will not be allowed to miss (even if we wanted to) and this certainty should motivate us to reverential, loving, obedience as we ponder the truth that nothing can be concealed from God.

We all should emulate C H Spurgeon who when ask for permission to write his life story replied, "You may write my life in the skies—I have nothing to hide!"

Holman Bible Commentary says that…

Ending with this solemn thought causes us to ask, "Who can represent guilty sinners before a God who sees everything?" This leads to the next section on the high-priestly work of Christ (He 4:14, 15, 16, etc) and its provision of mercy and help for wandering sinners.


He's Watching - In this age of electronics, we have all become aware of bugging devices. A person's office, hotel room, or telephone can be monitored so that every sound is picked up. This is accomplished through highly sensitive microphones that are so small they can easily be hidden. Heads of state, government officials, and business people in strategic positions must be exceedingly careful of what they say, especially when entering a strange setting. The awareness that they might be overheard is sure to make them think twice before they speak.

Did you ever stop to think that God sees everything we do and hears everything we say every moment of the day? Hebrews 4:13 says that "all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

This truth is both comforting and sobering--comforting because God stands ready to deliver us when we are in trouble (Ps. 33:18-19), and sobering because "the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good" (Prov. 15:3). What a profound effect this should have on the way we live!

The next time you are tempted or in trouble, remember that God is watching and listening. —Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

There is no time of day or night,
No place on land or sea
That God, whose eye is never dim,
Does not see you and me. --DJD

To know that God sees us brings both conviction and comfort


Today in the Word (click here) has the following devotional…

Wednesday, April 8, 1998
Read: Hebrews 4:12-16

In [Christ] and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. - Ephesians 3:12

TODAY IN THE WORD - The British pastor Charles Spurgeon once made this observation about our need for the application of the Scriptures: ""When a soldier is wounded in battle, it is of little use for him to know that there are those at the hospital who can bind his wounds and medicines there to ease all the pains which he now suffers. What he needs is to be taken there and the remedies applied. It is thus with our souls. To meet this need there is one, the Spirit of truth, who takes of the things of Jesus and applies them to us.""

Although the writer of Hebrews may not specifically have had the comforting power of God's Word in mind here, Spurgeon's point is helpful. Only the Word of God, applied with surgical precision by the Spirit of God, can meet the needs of the human heart.

Why did the author mention the Scriptures at this point (v. 12)? Because sin is so deceitful (Heb. 3:13) and the danger of drifting away so real that our only safe guide is the Word of God.

The Word is so potent that it can expose the deepest motives of our hearts. We need this penetrating work desperately, as did the Hebrews, because ""the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"" (Jer. 17:9). God's Word can reveal our tendency toward waywardness and help keep us on the path of faithfulness to Christ.

We have another source of help and strength in our struggle. In addition to the living written Word, we have the living incarnate Word in the Person of Jesus Christ.

In verse 14, Jesus is presented in His ministering role as our great High Priest. Jesus took the blood of His sacrifice into the heavenly sanctuary, just as Israel's high priest took the blood of animal sacrifices into the inner sanctuary of the temple to make atonement for sin.

We are encouraged to approach Jesus in our weakness because He was tempted in every way that we are tempted (v. 15). The difference, of course, is that Jesus never succumbed to temptation. He never sinned.

Instead of Jesus' sinlessness being a barrier between Him and us, we are encouraged to come to Him for mercy and grace in our time of need (v. 16).

TODAY ALONG THE WAY - With today's passage we begin the second section of our study, the superiority of Christ's priesthood (see the April 1 study for our brief outline of the book of Hebrews).

We're in for several weeks of encouragement and blessing as we consider Christ's priestly work on our behalf. That ministry is available to you today, especially if you are facing a time of need. Bring your burden, problem, or sin to the Lord right now and thank Him for His mercy and grace to deal with it. (See Moody Bible Institute's Today in the Word)