Hebrews 10:23 Faith or Hope, Which One Is the Correct Rendering?
This verse in the KJV is said by so many commentators to be indicative of error that the time to respond is long overdue. The verse says, Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Seminary dean & professor, Dr. William Combs, says faith in this verse is an incorrect rendering of the Greek, the proper one supposedly being hope. However, faith is what our hope is all about, and the two terms are intertwined so that either can apply in a given context. Indeed the lexicon meanings for hope (Gr. elpis) include terms like trust & confidence that are equivalent in sense to faith (Gr. pistis), and related spelling of the two Greek terms is indicative of common etymology, or derivation, of the terms.
The KJV here says Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; the proper rendering of the Greek here is supposedly hope, but faith is what our hope is all about, and the two terms are intertwined so that either can apply in a given context. Indeed, lexicon meanings for hope (Gr. elpis) include terms like trust & confidence that are equivalent in sense to faith (Gr. pistis), and related spelling of the two Greek terms is indicative of common etymology, or derivation, of the terms.
Most scholars today seem to have lexicon definitions so fixed in their minds that they do not apply language to its full extent. Faith is the better choice in Heb.10:23 that speaks of a pro- fession since profession or confession of faith is what we are to give without wavering, hope being the power behind that faith. We profess/confess our faith to those outside the faith, but our hope applies inwardly. This fits with the sense of faith as the substance & evidence (what we profess) in response to our hope a little later in Heb.11:1 that says faith (pistis) is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 1 Peter 3:15 says…be ready always to give a reason of the hope that is in you, and giving that reason is the profession of our faith
Further, context here favors faith over hope in that Heb.10:22 speaks of the assurance of faith, and it is the assurance of faith that leads to our profession of it, so faith is the logical subject of our profession in Heb.10:23. Furthermore, the rendering faith in the first clause of verse 23 relates logically to the latter clause, for he (God) is faithful that promised, our faith being a response to the faithfulness of God. That is, because God is faithful we are exhorted to hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering.
KJV translators normally rendered hope for the subject Greek term, as seen in many verses (e.g. Acts 23:6 & 26:7, Rom.5:4, 12:12 & 15:13, 1 Cor.13:13, etc., so it's clear that they knew the basic meaning of the term. They made an exception in Heb.10:23, obviously because the two terms are so close in the sense of meaning, and contextual language favors the sense of faith. This is a case of fine tuning in translation indicative of KJV scholarship notably superior to the modern brand.