The Profession of Our Faith - Hebrews 10:23
By: Will Kinney

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our FAITH without wavering

In support of the KJB reading of elpis as being correctly translated as faith, the following should be considered.

Even Liddell and Scott's Lexicon list one of the meanings of elpis as "Reason to expect or Believe" page 537. The same is true of Kittle's massive work who shows that elpis shades over into being synonymous with Faith. "Hope as expectation of good is closely linked with trust. This hope is thus trust." "It consists rather in general confidence in God's protection and help." page 522.

The verb form of this noun is elpizo and even the NASB and NIV have at times translated this word as to Trust. The KJB translates this verb as to Trust 18 times as well as to hope. If you trust something or someone, you believe them. It is really "gnat straining" to suggest that we are talking about the noun here and not the verb, when the very verb from which this noun comes is also translated as "to trust" in all the modern Bibles as well.

The King James Bible is not the only one to translate this word as FAITH in Hebrews 10:23. The Spanish Reina Valera of 1602, 9 years before the KJB, also translated this passage in the same way as the KJB. "la professión de nuestra FE (faith). So does the more recent Spanish Valera Neuvo Testamento of 1858.

In addition to these Spanish versions, the Latin version translates this word as Fidelis (Faith) in Hebrews 10:23. Though Adam Clarke does not agree with the KJB reading, he notes in his commentary on this passage that the Old Latin (Itala), Erpen's Arabic and the ancient Ethiopic versions also read "the profession of our Faith".

Other English versions that have translated this word as Faith in Hebrews 10:23 are Daniel Webster's 1933 translation. Daniel Webster knew some 15 different languages including Hebrew and Greek and he made his own translation of the Bible in 1833. He changed the wording of the KJB in many places, but he left the word Faith here in Hebrews 10:23.

In addition to this, we also have the more modern translations of the KJV 21st Century and the Third Millenium Bible and both of these also have elpis as Faith in Hebrews 10:23.

Several Bible commentators agree with the reading as found in the KJB. Matthew Henry, who often made textual corrections to the KJB, when commenting on this passage made no attempt to "correct" the KJB but rather said this verse means: "the duty itself - to hold fast the profession of our faith, to embrace all the truths and ways of the gospel, to get fast hold on them, and to keep that hold against all temptation and opposition."

Jamison, Faucett and Brown, who likewise often correct the KJB, say the word is elpis or hope but remark "our hope, which is indeed Faith exercised as to the future inheritance."

Another who frequently corrected the KJB was John Gill. In his commentary on Hebrews 10:23 he makes no comment correcting the reading of the KJB's "the profession of our Faith" but rather defines faith here as being "faith - either in the grace or doctrine of faith, or in the profession of both."

Isn't it more than a little hypocritical of those who criticize the KJB here for rendering this word as Faith, yet all other times as Hope? The new versions likewise do many similar things in their translations. For example, the word Faith itself. The Greek word for faith is pistis and by far most of the time the NASB and NIV translate this word as Faith. Yet both translate this same word as Pledge only one time (I Timothy 5:12) and one time only as Proof (Acts 17:31). Are they also wrong for departing from the usual sense of the word and only one time translating it with a totally different word too? And they did this not once but twice.

We can easily say that Proof, and Pledge and Faith are not at all the same things in English, yet words have different shades of meaning depending upon the context.

In Summary, we see that the evidence for the KJB being correct or, at the very least, not in error for translating elpis as Faith in Hebrews 10:23 are # 1 - the Lexicons of Liddell and Scott, and that of Kittle; # 2 - other translations both foreign and in English of the Spanish Reina Valera of 1602, and 1858, the Latin, Webster's translation, the KJV 21 and the Third Millenium Bible, and # 3 many commentaries which make no attempt to change the reading of the KJB but rather expound it accurately just as it stands with the reading: "the profession of our Faith".

The context as well shows that Faith is the better choice here than Hope. The context is the once for all sacrifice of our Lord, the remission of our sins and no more offering to be made for sins.

In holding fast the profession (what we speak and confirm) of our faith, is it more accurate to say "I hope I am forgiven", or "I believe (have faith) that I am forgiven"? Therefore God guided the KJB translators in giving the proper full weight to this word elpis as being equivalent to faith and what we firmly trust in and confess before others.