Hebrews 12:2:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus is called “Author” in Hebrews 12:2, “Prince” in Acts 3:15 and 5:31 and the “Captain of salvation” in Hebrews 2:10. In each case the Greek word is the same: archēgos. Uses of the term in the Greek Old Testament (LXX) and nonbiblical Greek suggest it carries a threefold connotation: (1) path-breaker or pioneer (i.e. one who takes the lead for others and provides an example); (2) the source or founder, hence “author,” “initiator,” “beginner”; and (3) the chief leader or ruler, hence, “captain,” “prince” or “king.”

The ideas may well overlap or be combined. In its fullest sense the Greek word denotes someone who stands at the head and leads, someone who explores new territory, opens a trail and leads others to and through it. The archēgos builds a city or fortress for those who follow and leads them in defense against attackers. When the peace has been won, he remains as their ruler and the city or community bears his name. He is thereafter honored as the founding hero.

In Acts 3:15 Peter accuses the Jews of killing the “author (archēgos) of life,” suggesting that Jesus is the provider-proctor of life, zoē, eternal life that can be more than abundant right now. Later in Acts Peter speaks of Jesus as the “Prince (archēgos) and Savior” who gives repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 5:31:
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

“Prince” and “Savior” are both titles of dignity and honor given by God to exalt his son. The word “Savior” was associated with the Old Testament Judges. Jesus is the one who meets the emergency situation caused by the sin of God’s people, and he comes to bring not only deliverance but also the continuing service of Author (archēgos). The writer to the Hebrews speaks of Jesus as the “captain (archēgos) of. . . salvation” (2:10) and the “author (archēgos) and finisher of our faith” (12:2). In each case Jesus not only initiates and provides the new life for his people but remains with them through it; they bear his name; he is their prince.

Hebrews 2:9-10:
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain (archēgos) of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 12:1-3:
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author (archēgos) and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Jesus is the author (the first one) and the finisher (the perfecter) of faith. He is the one who has in his own person raised faith to its perfection and so set before us the highest example of faith. He blazed a trail to the heart of the father for all to follow and has become the way to everlasting life.

There is a title similar to archēgos used in Hebrews 6:20. It is “forerunner,” prodromos, and it occurs only once in the Bible: “Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Hebrews 6:20). The word signifies one who comes in advance to a place where the rest are to follow, or one who is sent on before as a scout to take observations. In this sense, Christ is our forerunner, for he has gone into heaven to prepare a place for his people into which he will eventually lead them. The idea of a forerunner is peculiar to the grace administration.

By Wayne Clapp