Chapter 12:2. Who for the joy, etc. Hardly any agree with Calvin in the view he takes of this clause. The preposition is, indeed, used in both senses; but the words, |set before him,| and the argument, evidently favor the other view. The subject handled is, that the prospect of future glory ought to sustain us under the evils of the present life; and Christ is referred to as an example; and the Apostle says, that he for the sake of the joy set before him endured the cross. The same word is here used and rendered, |set before him,| as in chapter 6:18
The first clause of the verse is rendered by Calvin, |the prince and perfecter of the faith;| by Beza, |the leader and consummator of the faith;| by Doddridge, |the leader and finisher of our faith;| by Macknight, |the captain and perfecter of the faith,| and by Stuart, |the author and perfecter of our faith.| The first word is rendered |author| by the Vulg., and |the beginner| by Erazmus. Following this meaning we may render thus, |the beginner and perfecter of the faith,| that is, of the Gospel, or of the religion we profess. Christ being the author or originator, and also the complete revealer of the faith, of what we profess to believe, may fitly be set forth as our example. This is the view of Stuart.
Doddridge takes faith as a principle, that is, subjective faith, faith in us; so Theophylact did, |He at first gives us faith, and afterwards brings it to perfection.| Scott mentions this view, and then adds, |From him as the great Prophet, the doctrine of faith had been delivered from the beginning, and perfected in the revelation made in the Gospel; and this none would ever be authorized to change, add to, or deduct from.|
But the reference here seems to be to what Christ did in his own person, as it appears from what follows; he endured the cross, which seems to refer to the first word, |leader;| and his sitting down at God's right hand appears to be explanatory of his being the consummator of the faith. The Apostle's subject is the race, that is, the race of faith, or in behalf of the faith we profess. Christ is the captain or leader in this race of faith; and though he had the cross to endure, he yet completed it, and is now at God's right hand. This is the example that is presented to us. Schleusner explains teleioten as one who brings anything to an end, a finisher, a completer. Christ is the captain or leader in the contest of faith, and the completer of it, having brought it to a triumphant issue.