A Retake On Hebrews 13 (updated)2
This may be one of the most mis-translated and thus mis-interpreted chapters of all Scripture. Below is my translation interspersed with explanatory comments.
1 Let brotherly love (eucharist) now proceed. This should be heard as a 1st century Preface.
2 Do not neglect to [eucharistically] welcome strangers [those from other communions who are in your region]; for by so doing some have unwittingly 'entertained' angels.
(this ties in with the gospel Lk 14:7ff, the invitation here and in the gospel is a eucharistic invitation; the present one and the future eternal one; this is not an admonition for Christians to offer B&B services; though it would not exclude that for believers traveling on church business)
3 Remember [in your eucharistic prayer] those imprisoned [for the faith] as if imprisoned with them. [Also remember eucharistically] those who are mistreated [for their faith] since you yourselves are also members of the SOMA [of Christ in Holy Communion].
4 Let the wedding [code for eucharist] be deeply reverenced by all, and the bed (code for altar) undefiled; because God will judge adulterers and fornicators [the unfaithful recipients].
5 Let your lives be free from the love of money, and be content with what you have for he says [pf tense] "I will never leave you nor forsake you." [this should be thought of as the Bridegroom's wedding vow].
6 So we can say confidently, "The Lord is my helper of whom shall I be afraid? What can any man do to me?" [This should be taken as the Bride's response to the groom's vow of permanent faithfulness.]
7 Remember [in your eucharistic prayer] your founders [of your church], those who spoke [aorist] the word of God to you. Memorialize their way of life, and be initiators (pf) of them. (or this could be speaking of their present clergy, but it seems to be of previous personages)
8 Jesus Christ yesterday and today, and unto the ages of ages! [I consider this the distribution formula of this congregation: and could there be any better?]
9 Do not be carried away by various and strange [eucharistic] doctrines; for it is beneficial that the heart should be made firm by grace [i.e. the flesh of Christ]; and not by foods [various Jewish dietary and sacrificial food practices] by which those devoted to them have profited nothing.
10 We have an altar [an actual altar, and not imaginary one, around which they are presently gathered] from which those who worship in the tent [Jews] have no right to eat. [Herein we find 'closed communion'].
11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy precincts by the high priest to atone for sins, are burned outside the camp.
12 So also Jesus who, in order to sanctify the people, suffered outside the camp! 13 Accordingly, let us as bearers of his reproach go to him outside the camp. [i.e. in this new covenant in his blood]. 14 For we have here no abiding city; but instead we seek the city that is to come.
15 Through him, then, let us offer [“anaphora/anaphero” a highly technical eucharistic term] the sacrifice of praise through all [the worshipers in conjunction with Christ] to God. THIS is the fruit of lips that confess his name.
(note that this verse is wildly mistranslated by all English versions I have seen; also conveniently misunderstood by Melanchthon in AP, XXIV. This is not only or even primarily, an admonition to verbalize adulation to God; but code for the eucharist; from which every adulation of our God proceeds)
16 Do not neglect to do [this] good [thing], to commune; for with such sacrifice [the eucharist] God is pleased.
17 Obey your clergy and submit to them for they watch over your souls and must give an accounting [to God]. Do this so that they may perform their labors with joy, and not grief, for that would be unprofitable for all of you.