February 25, 2015

Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith

Hebrews 12:1-3

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

—  Hebrews 12:1-2

Do you know what it means to "tartle"? It's a Scottish word used when, after being introduced to someone, you promptly forget that person's name. In embarrassment, Scottish people say, "Pardon my tartle!"

Some words are hard to translate from one language to another. We have a case of this with Jesus' title "pioneer and perfecter of faith." The author uses the Greek word archegos to describe Jesus's relation to our faith. The word originally meant "hero or founder of a city." Since the Greek word doesn't neatly translate into English, it is translated variously as "pioneer," "author," "originator," "guide," "initiator," or "source."

The same difficulty in translation is found with the Greek teleiotes, the second title for Jesus in relation to our faith. This word originally meant "to carry through or complete," and it is translated as "per­fecter," "completer," or "finisher."

Despite the complexity of translating this title of Jesus, the truth is simple and profound: Jesus, who initiated our faith through the power of the Holy Spirit, will remain with us until we see him face to face. He is the founder and finisher of our faith. So let's take comfort in this truth and run the good race of faith by following Jesus.

Lord Jesus, we take great comfort and confidence in you as the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. Help us to follow you courageously today in obedience and loving service. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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