Hebrews 10:34 New International Version

You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.

English Standard Version

For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

ὕπαρξιν (hyparxin)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's 5223: Goods, substance, property, possessions. From huparcho; existency or proprietorship, i.e. property, wealth.

At https://biblehub.com/hebrews/10-34.htm, 11 versions use the plural form and 11 versions use singular. Why is there this difference? Is this perhaps an English language issue?

1 Answer 1


The problem in Heb 10:34 is not just with the last word in the verse but also with one of the other central words. Here is the version from BLB -

For both you sympathized with the prisoners and you accepted the plundering of your possessions with joy, knowing yourselves to have a better and abiding possession.

  • The first highlighted word, ὑπαρχόντων, is plural (from ὑπάρχω), which many versions translate in the singular
  • The second highlighted word, ὕπαρξιν, is singular (from ὕπαρξις), which many translate in the plural

Perversely, some reverse both and some make both plural and some make both singular. I can justify none of this - I prefer the literal version above in this case.

The first highlighted word above appears to be referring to many household items (hence the plural) as "possessions"; the second highlighted word appears to be referring to a property or estate - the totality of one's home - a reference to the heavenly home provided by God, although it may also refer to the possession of the truth of the Gospel in Jesus which cannot be confiscated. [The "in heaven" of the KJV, TR, Majority and Byzantine texts is questionable.]

The Cambridge Bible commentary has this:

knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven The “in heaven” is almost certainly a spurious gloss, and the “in” before “yourselves” should be unquestionably omitted. If the true reading be ἐαυτοῖς, the meaning is “recognising that ye have for yourselves,” but if we may accept ἑαυτούς, the reading of א, we have the very beautiful and striking thought, “recognising that ye have yourselves as a better possession and an abiding.” He points them to the tranquil self-possession of a holy heart (Luke 9:25; Luke 21:19), the acquisition of our own souls, as a sufficient present consolation for the loss of earthly goods (Hebrews 11:26), independently of the illimitable future hope (Matthew 6:20; Romans 8:18; 1 Peter 1:4-8).

Ellicott appears to agree -

for a better possession and one that abideth They had been taught the meaning of the words spoken by Jesus of the man who gains the world and loses himself (Luke 9:25), and of those who win their souls by their endurance (Luke 21:19); so in Hebrews 10:39 the writer speaks of “the gaining of the soul.” Thus trained, they could accept with joy the loss of possessions for the sake of Christ, perceiving that in Him they had received themselves as a possession, a better and a lasting possession. (It would be possible to render the clause, “knowing that ye yourselves have a better possession,” &c.; but the parallelism of Hebrews 10:39 renders it almost certain that the former view of the words is correct.)

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