Biblical and Theological Studies Faculty Presentations

A Reevaluation of Ἰησοῦς in Hebrews 4:8: Joshua or Jesus?

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Event Date



2018 Evangelical Theological Society’s Midwest Meeting


Wyoming, MI


This paper explores the possible author intended referent of Ἰησοῦς in Hebrews 4:8. Traditionally, the referent is assumed to be “Joshua son of Nun” with minimal supporting exegetical evidence. However, it is also common recently to find interpreters arguing for a double referent of “Joshua” and “Jesus.” Rarely is the referent considered to be only “Jesus.” In this paper, the positive and negative exegetical evidence is weighed for both “Joshua” and “Jesus.” The conclusion of this paper suggests that Hebrews 4:8 most likely refers to “Jesus.” This affects the author’s argument of Hebrews 3:7-4:13 by adding a significant Christological dimension to the author’s theology and exhortation which helps to explain several tension points in the passage.