Hebrews 13:2

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Hebrews 13:2

This verse closely matches Paul’s words of Romans 12:13 where he uses the same word signifying “hospitality” that is used here. There he exhorts that they were to be “distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” As there, the author here exhorts the Hebrew people that they are not to “forget to entertain strangers.”

Some scholars take this as meaning that this is speaking of fellow believers, and not necessarily anyone in general. There is a giant problem with that thought which is revealed in the next words, “for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.” A stranger is a person who is unknown. One could go through a process of asking questions about his faith, the church he attends, the name of the pastor, etc., but this isn’t the intent of the words. It is to “entertain strangers.”

It may be that finding out if a person is a believer is a good thing to do. If not, then one can evangelize the non-believer. But this verse leaves no qualifiers, and it doesn’t mention the strangers as “brethren.” It simply says to “entertain strangers.” In so doing, one might actually, and without knowing it, “entertain angels.”

The word “angel” signifies a messenger. It is true that the word is usually associated with heavenly beings, but Paul says this to the Galatians using the same word –

“And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” Galatians 4:14

James says this about the spies whom Rahab received, again using the same word –

“Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?” James 2:25

Paul’s statement indicates an angel of God, but they knew him to be a messenger of the gospel. James’ words indicate that these spies were messengers. Rahab entertained, or welcomed, them and saved herself and her household. It does seem, however, that the intent of the author’s words is that he is referring to heavenly beings. Some equate this with the visitation of Abraham by the three men in Genesis 18. However, Abraham, from his first words to them, addressed the leader of them as Adonai. It is a term indicating the Lord (Jehovah). Abraham wasn’t unaware of who He was, only as to why He had come.

The reason for this verse is probably that of a test of the individual. God already knows how we, as individuals, will respond to certain situations, but we do not. By sending an angel, we are given the chance to learn about ourselves, and to then reflect on what occurred. In the end, though, the verse says that our meeting is actually unknown to us. We will not be able to definitively state, “I was visited by an angel.” Rather, we will have a suspicion that it is so. This is the purpose of such a test.

Life application: Whether or not people since the completion of the Bible really have had angelic visits where they have communicated with those angels, while knowing they were angels, is disputable. The evidence is usually against such. However, the author today makes it abundantly clear that we may be visited by angels without ever realizing it.

When we entertain a stranger – helping him in some way for example – we learn more about ourselves. After doing whatever it is he has come to challenge us with, we can look back and really wonder, “Was that an angel?” How often do we hear of someone who helps another person, or is helped by them, and then that person just disappears? When this happens, the person will evaluate his own actions during the situation and hopefully realize that one of God’s messengers really may have been involved in it.

This should (stress should) make him want to search out the things of God even more. It should also prompt him to act likewise towards others in the future. If you believe you have had an angelic encounter, take time to evaluate yourself. If there are angels, there is a God. If there’s a God, then we really are accountable to Him. Contemplate this and understand His good intent for you by allowing an angel to interact with you.

Lord, Your word says that we are to entertain strangers because we may actually be entertaining an angel without even realizing it. As this would then be a test for us to learn from, help us to reflect on all of our interactions with others, and to be willing to be hospitable to everyone that we are able to help. Isn’t this the purpose of such a test in the first place? Help us to be charitable according to the grace You have first shown us. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

5 thoughts on “Hebrews 13:2

  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at 7:23 am

    amen thank you

  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at 9:42 am

    Wow this has a personal touch for me. Way WAY back in my early transition from being brought up Catholic to finding my true path to Jesus. How far back you ask well I was reading a new book called “The Late Great Planet Earth”. Ya way back lol. I had a very brief run in with a person an older woman that has had me wondering all these years if she was really an angel. I have resigned myself that it was failed encounter on my part because this person made a suggestion to me that I never followed up on, she wanted me to go into a store/exhibit at the Montreal world exhibition that we were visiting at the time, and it has haunted me all these years. We / I never went in and the what ” if’s” has never left my mind. So having said that I am looking forward to going home any moment now and having the lord tell just how badly I blew it that day lol. How ever it goes I just want closure on it. In a nut shell I can totally relate to having nagging suspicions regarding this subject?

    Ok that’s my 2 cents on the subject 🙂

    We ARE another day closer to home
    Grace mercy and peace on you and yours
    God bless my friends we fly soon

  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at 10:21 am


  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Exciting study which I have to add my 2 cents. 2 times I questioned if i was helped by an angel. One time at 15 yrs old in Paris with a school group, I got lost on the subway, fell asleep actually, and woke up with the tour group all off the train. Not ever been in a big city and not knowing my address where we were staying I was scared to death. Asking everyone around for help, noone spoke Eng. Finally a gentle kind and sweet lady, small and quiet, said she would help me. She took me right to ouraccommodations. I ran inside to let all know I was back safe and ran right back out to thank her and she was gone. Looked up and down the street and mo way, I thought, could she have just disappeared so quickly. I felt bad that I ran into the place so fast.
    And about 20 years later, my young daughter and I, unbeknownst to us, were stranded in the mountains of TN, thinking it was just raining, it turned into a flash flood. Again, to make the story short, again a lady appears out of seemingly no where and , same description of the lady in the first scenario, showed us the way to get down the mountain amidst all the flash flooding, and disappears. Again I was upset I didn’t thank her enough. Angel? It’s hard not to believe she was
    Even my daughter believed she must have been one. But even it not, God is awesome, amazing and worthy to be praised for all we go through, good times and bad times, He will never leave us or forsake us! Amen!

  • Tuesday, May 7th, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Very cool Mary thanks for sharing with us.


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