The Letter to the Hebrews
Chapter 6
Copyright ©2007, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington
Chapter[ 1 ] 6 continues a discussion about the lack of spiritual development introduced in the previous chapter (see Heb 5:12-14) where the writer admitted that the subject of Melchizedek is hard to explain (see Heb 5:11).


    1. The peril of those who have fallen away (Heb 6:1-8).
    2. Encouragement by not being overly condemnatory (Heb 6:9-12).
    3. God's oath to Abraham ensures that Jesus has entered heaven and has become High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:13-20).

The early readers of Hebrews were encouraged to be steadfast in the faith. The peril of those who have fallen away is described. The kind Holy Spirit encourages them more by not being overly condemnatory of them. Then an appeal is made to God's oath to Abraham to ensure the infallible claim that Jesus entered heaven and had become High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (see chart HEBREWS 6 OUTLINE). The topics of Melchizedek and the Priesthood of Christ will be resumed in chapter 7.

    (Heb 6:1)

    1. Christ is Priest after the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:10).
    2. Hard to explain since readers became dull.
    3. Christians ought to be teachers (Heb 5:11, 12).
    4. Baby food is for babies; solid food for grown-ups; trained by regular exercise (Heb 5:13, 14).
    5. The theme unfolds as readers rouse from dullness.
    6. Christ's High-priesthood presented; readers should do their best to understand it.
    7. Leaving the primary teaching necessary.

    (Adapted from Vincent 4.441)


6:1, 2 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

Therefore [wherefore].[ 2 ] Once again, a chapter begins with "therefore" or "wherefore" to indicate a connection with what has been said before. The need for milk and not solid food leads in the direction of a thought the Holy Spirit now pursues. In spite of the spiritual dullness of His readers, the Spirit proceeds.

Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ [let us leave the elementary doctrine, teachings, the doctrine of the first principles, the principles of the doctrine, the word of the beginning, of the Christ]. [ 3 ] It seems unusual that since the Holy Spirit has just informed the readers that they are not ready for solid food they would now be able to stretch their minds into deeper studies. Were they any better off than the Corinthians to whom Paul wrote (see 1Co 3:2)?

    (Heb 6:1, 2)

    1. Repentance from dead works.
    2. Instruction about baptisms, washings.
    3. Faith toward God.
    4. Resurrection of the dead.
    5. Eternal judgment.

Evidently so, for now the Spirit proposes to end the discussion of "elementary principles" in order to go on "to perfection" or "to maturity." It was essential that He go on to other topics.[ 4 ] Some of these ideas were difficult for Jewish minds to grasp. An important point is that the priesthood of Christ necessitated the complete ending of the OT Law insofar as it being binding upon Christians (see note on Heb 7:12).

Let us go on to perfection [and press on to what belongs unto, maturity, full growth].[ 5 ] The inspired writer desires to immediately lead the Hebrew Christians onward toward maturity in the faith. He will do this by explaining how Christ fulfills OT prophecies and how He now serves as the only true High Priest of Christians.[ 6 ]

It is a challenge for any teacher to "throw a strike." That is, his teaching must not be so simple that everyone becomes bored. Neither must it be so difficult that most cannot understand it. It has been my experience that many brothers and sisters in Christ appreciate well-prepared lessons. They like to hear presentations that offer them more than first principles. They want a challenge to learn deeper and more advanced material. If you are a teacher, try it. Teach the Bible on a higher level and perhaps a little faster than you have in the past. Give them at least three months of this method in order for them to "catch up" with you or "be brought up to speed." I think you will be surprised in the reception you get.

Not laying again.[ 7 ] In this passage, laying a foundation is another way of describing the teaching of fundamentals.

    (Heb 6:1)

    1. The solid foundation of hearing and doing the sayings of Christ (Mt 7:24-27).
    2. Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Mt 16:13-19).
    3. Jesus Christ the one foundation (1Co 3:11).
    4. Of the apostles and prophets, Jesus being the chief corner stone (Eph 2:20).

    (Heb 6:1)

    1. A good foundation in order to take hold of that which is life indeed (1Ti 6:19).
    2. The firm foundation of God with the seal, "The Lord knows those who are His" (2Ti 2:19).
    3. Foundation teachings of Hebrews 6:1, 2.
    4. Twelve foundation stones of the holy city (Re 21:10, 14, 19, 20).

The foundation [a foundation, foundations].[ 8 ] It is not the intent of the Hebrew writer to continue teaching basics. In order to stem the tide of apostasy, the people desperately required more advanced teaching.

Of repentance [and of repentance].[ 9 ] Except for numerous instances where God is said to have repented (changed His mind), repentance is basically a NT word (see Lu 13:3, 5; Ac 2:38; 11:18). Some exceptions are:

    Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, "Lest perhaps the people change their minds [repent] when they see war, and return to Egypt" (Ex 13:17).

    And the children of Israel grieved [repented] for Benjamin their brother, and said, "One tribe is cut off from Israel today" (Jg 21:6; also 21:15).

    Yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, "We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness" (1Ki 8:47).

    I listened and heard, but they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, saying, "What have I done?" Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle (Jer 8:6).

    Therefore say to the house of Israel, "Thus says the Lord GOD: 'Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations'" (Eze 14:6).

In addition to the few appearances of the words "repent" and "repentance" in the OT Scriptures, the general idea of repentance is taught over and over. People were often directed to turn from evil ways, to rend their hearts and humble themselves before God. These alternate terms may not be exact synonyms for repentance but they teach a similar lesson.

    (Heb 6:1)

    1. A change of the understanding (facts, logic).
    2. A change of feeling (godly sorrow).
    3. A change of the will (repentance).
    4. A change of conduct (turn, fruits worthy of repentance).
    (adapted from Milligan 170)

From dead works.[ 10 ] Several Jews who claimed to be Christians continued some observances of the Law (see Ac 21:20). There was no salvation at all in doing that. The works of the OT Law were "dead" because they did not produce life as does the gospel. The blood of Christ cleanses the conscience from dead works (Heb 9:14).

The Hebrew writer may have had in mind two distinct types of "dead works." First, there were works of the Law. They were dead in the sense that they could not justify (Ga 2:16). Some Jewish Christians were prone to go back to that Law. The original readers had obeyed the gospel of Christ. They had become Christians. They should have stopped following the works of the Law never to go back to them. The reason for this is that he who attempts to be justified by the Law, by so doing, becomes a transgressor and falls from grace (Ga 2:18; 5:4). Secondly, the writer may have meant sinful works in general. The works of the flesh lead to death (Ga 5:19-21). Christians who may have become involved in either type of error needed to repent.

    For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death (Ro 6:20, 21).

And of faith toward God [and faith in God].[ 11 ] Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1Jo 5:4). In his address to the Ephesian elders, Paul spoke of his testimony to both Jews and Greeks:

    Testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Ac 20:21).

I wonder why the Hebrew writer did not say faith in Christ instead of faith in God. Perhaps he was purposely using OT terminology to describe those who "believed" in God. The recitation of the list of faithful saints in Hebrews 11 illustrates the necessity of faith as well as obedience in OT days. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Heb 11:6). Remember it was unbelief that prevented the Israelites from entering God's rest (Heb 3:10, 11, 19). Without faith in Christ there is no salvation (Ac 4:11, 12). The Savior implied that belief in God required faith in Jesus also (see Joh 14:1).

    Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me (Joh 14:1).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11).
    2. Fire (Mt 3:11).
    3. John's (Mt 3:16).
    4. Unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (1Co 10:2).
    5. Suffering (Lu 15:30).
    6. For the dead (1Co 15:29).
    7. Immersion of Jewish proselytes.
    8. Baptism of the Great Commission (Mt 28:19, 20).

[6:2] Of the doctrine of baptisms [with instruction, the teaching of, about, washings, ablutions, immersions].[ 12 ] Translations are divided between baptisms and washings or about cleansing rites. About half of them render the Greek word for baptisms. About half, washings or the equivalent. Some commentators also try to make this passage refer to Jewish washings of cups and pots. The main argument to support the latter position is to call attention to the plural BAPTISMOS baptisms. To me, this is not at all conclusive. I really do not see the Holy Spirit needing to point out that He was leaving a discussion about the ceremonial washing of pots and pans. He could have used words that applied more directly to these Jewish practices (see Heb 9:10; see chart BAPTISMS).[ 13 ]

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. A burial (Ro 6:4; Col 2:12).
    2. For men and women believers (Mk 16:16; Ac 8:12).
    3. For those who have repented (Ac 2:38).
    4. For remission of sins (Ac 2:38).
    5. To wash away sins (Ac 22:16).
    6. Into Christ (Ro 6:3; Ga 3:27).
    7. Saves (1Pe 3:21).

"Baptisms" is a good rendering.[ 14 ] There are at least seven baptisms mentioned in the NT, one of which is the baptism taught as obedience to the gospel of Christ (see chart BAPTISMS). Speaking of it, Paul said there is "one baptism" (Eph 4:5; see chart GREAT COMMISSION BAPTISM).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. For miraculous healing (Mt 9:18; Mk 5:23; 6:5; 7:32; 8:23, 25; 16:18; Lu 4:40; 13:13; Ac 9:12, 17; 28:8).
    2. To bless children (Mt 19:13, 15).
    3. To appoint or give public recognition (Ac 6:6; 13:3; 14:23; 1Ti 4:14; 5:22).
    4. By apostles, to impart miraculous powers (Ac 8:17, 19; 19:6).
    5. To impart strength [in some manuscripts] (Re 1:17).

Of laying on of hands [the, and of, imposition, of hands].[ 15 ] Laying on of apostles' hands imparted certain spiritual gifts for the church in the first century. When the completed revelation came, all of the gifts for confirmation of the word ceased (see 1Co 12:1-12; 13:10; Eph 4:13; chart LAYING ON OF HANDS). An important idea to understand about laying on of hands in NT times is that only through this means the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit were passed on to others by one or more of the the apostles. The only Scriptural laying on of hands today is for the purpose of giving public recognition, to appoint to a work or an office or, possibly, when praying God's blessings on another.[ 16 ]

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Implied by "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob" (Ex 3:6; compare Mt 22:32).
    2. Implied by The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob sent Moses (Ex 3:15).
    3. Widow's son raised (1Ki 17:17-22).
    4. Shunammite's son raised (2Ki 4:20-35).
    5. Man who touched Elisha's bones raised (2Ki 13:21).
    6. My Redeemer lives (Job 19:25, 26).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Wicked reserved for day of calamity (Job 21:30).
    2. Thy dead shall live (Job 26:16-19).
    3. Implied by "Thou art my Son" (Ps 2:7; compare Ac 13:33-41; Heb 1:5; 5:5).
    4. Not leave soul in sheol (Ps 16:8-11; compare Ac 2:22-23).
    5. Shall behold Thy face ... when I awake (Ps 17:15).
    6. Redeem soul from power of grave (Ps 49:15).
    7 Ascended on high (Ps 68:10).

Of resurrection of the dead [resurrection, the, and of, resurrection, of the dead].[ 17 ] The Sadducees denied the resurrection (Mt 22:23; Ac 23:8). So did Greek philosophers (Ac 17:18, 32). Since Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, some have concluded that the OT is silent about the topic of the resurrection from the dead. Not so (see charts OT RESURRECTION SCRIPTURES A-D). The bodily resurrection of Christ was preached in every sermon recorded in the book of Acts. Belief in it is absolutely essential. Teachers must not neglect it. It is not enough to believe in life after death as did the Greeks. The resurrection is the hope of Christians. It is imperative that it be taught clearly and correctly.

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Afterward receive me to glory (Ps 73:24).
    2. In the pathway of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death (Pr 12:28).
    3. The righteous has a refuge when he dies (Pr 14:32).
    4. Your hope will not be cut off (Pr 24:14).
    5. The Lord said to my Lord (Ps 110:1; compare Ac 2:34).
    6. Rejected Stone became head of corner (Ps 118:22-24; Ac 4:11, 12).
    7. Hell stirs up the dead for you (Isa 14:9, 10).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Swallow up death in victory (Isa 25:8; compare 1Co 15:54).
    2. Your dead will live; corpses will rise (Isa 26:19).
    3. Covenant with death to be canceled (Isa 28:18).
    4. See His Offspring, prolong His days (Isa 53:10).
    5. For a brief moment forsaken (Isa 54:7).
    6. Faithful mercies shown to David (Isa 55:3; compare Ac 13:34).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Prophecy of ascension (Da 7:13, 14; compare Mt 16:28; Mk 9:1; Lu 24:46-49; Ac 1:7-9; Col 1:13).
    2. Many that sleep shall awake (Da 12:2, 3; compare Joh 5:28, 29; Ac 24:15).
    3. On third day raise up (Ho 6:2).
    4. Redeem them from death (Ho 13:14; compare 1Co 14:54).
    5. Out of belly of sheol cried I (Jon 1:17-2:6; compare Mt 12:40; Lu 11:30).

And of eternal judgment [and eternal judgment].[ 18 ] There needs to be more teaching today about the judgment of God, a judgment that is eternal in its effect.[ 19 ] Whatever verdict be rendered on that Day will be everlasting (see Mt 25:41, 46).

    For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2Co 5:10).

    And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Heb 9:27).

    He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still (Re 22:11).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Abraham: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Ge 18:25).
    2. But God is the Judge: he puts down one, and exalts another (Ps 75:7; compare 58:11; 96:13; 98:9).
    3. God shall judge the righteous and the wicked (Ec 3:17).
    4. But know that for all these God will bring you into judgment (Ec 11:9).
    5. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ec 12:14).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people (Isa 2:4; compare 3:13; 5:16; 11:4).
    2. Messiah in tabernacle of David, judging seeking justice, hastening righteousness (Isa 16:5).
    3. For the LORD is our Judge (Isa 33:22).
    4. My arms will judge the peoples (Isa 51:5).
    5. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt (Da 12:2).


Did the OT Jews have any concept of a judgment day? Yes, they did. The idea of God being Universal Judge dates back at least to Abraham, when he bargained with the Lord about Sodom (see charts JUDGMENT IN OT A and B). Many references in the Talmud confirm the Jewish belief in both a judgment of nations and an individual judgment.[ 20 ]

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. You render to each one according to his work (Ps 62:12).
    2. And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? (Pr 24:12).
    3. To give everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his doings (Jer 32:19).
    4. I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways (Eze 18:30).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. He will reward each according to his works (Mt 16:27; Ro 2:6).
    2. According to what he has done, whether good or bad (2Co 5:10; compare 1Pe 1:17; Re 2:23; 20:12).
    3. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work
    (Re 22:12).

Upon what basis will man be judged? First, and somewhat surprisingly, it will be according to opportunity, advantage or privilege. In accordance with this principle, Jesus said to Chorazin and Bethsaida:

    But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you (Mt 11:22; compare Mk 6:11).

The same concept is taught in the passage about the flogged servants.

    But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Lu 12:48; compare Joh 3:19; 9:41 15:22).

    For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law (Ro 2:12).

Secondly, judgment will be done on the basis of works (see charts JUDGED BY WORKS A and B). Although faith is absolutely essential, I cannot recall even one passage that says it will be according to faith (see Heb 11:6). The Judge of all the earth is well aware that faith without works is dead (Jas 2:17, 26).

    (Heb 6:2)

    1. Everlasting contempt (Da 12:12).
    2. Everlasting fire (Mt 18:8; 25:41).
    3. Everlasting punishment (Mt 25:46).
    4. Never forgiveness, subject to eternal condemnation (Mk 3:29).
    5. Everlasting destruction (2Th 1:9).
    6. Vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 7).

The six items mentioned in verses 1, 2 may be easily thought of as either OT or NT truths. Some commentators insist they are all OT doctrines. Others claim they are NT teachings. Jewish Christians were in great danger of falling away. They could rationalize that, under the Old Law, they still could believe in all six of these things. They could argue that a reversion to Judaism would not change their faith very much. Did not the OT teach repentance? Were there not several Jewish BAPTISMOS washings including John's baptism? Does not the OT teach the resurrection? Eternal judgment? Of course, it does. So what is the big problem? The insurmountable problem is that all these doctrines put together cannot save one soul without the perfect High Priest, Jesus Christ. It is absolutely essential that Christians understand this. Without Him, all of the repentance, washings and "correct" doctrines in the world will not matter. There is no salvation without Him (Ac 4:11, 12).


6:3 And this we will do if God permits.

And this we will do [and this will we do, we shall do this]. The Hebrew writer seems to have had some degree of control over the message he wrote. "The spirits of the prophets are subject to prophets" (1Co 14:32). However, the content was not of his own unfolding.

    For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2Pe 1:21).

When both the inspiration of the Spirit and slight regulation by the writer work together, they are accommodative to each other. More importantly, they make the revelation suited to the readers (see note on Jude 1:3).

If God permits [if God permit].[ 21 ] As the human penman continued to write the book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit monitored the spiritual brightness and dullness of the readers in order to temper the depth of the revelation accordingly. His intent was to inspire the writer to record that from which, due to the degree of spiritual alertness, the readers could benefit.


6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

For it is impossible [it is impossible].[ 22 ] The word ADUNATON impossible appears at the beginning of verse 4 in the Greek text. All the translations I have checked say "impossible." Some of the commentaries say it would be difficult.[ 23 ] The Holy Spirit said impossible! He voices a similar warning four chapters later:
    For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries (Heb 10:26, 27).

For those who were once enlightened [for those, as touching those, who have once been enlightened].[ 24 ] The light-giving word had once enlightened these pathetic folk. As a psalmist wrote, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps 119:105). Again:

    The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple" (Ps 119:130).

Jesus encouraged His disciples to be faithful. So did the apostle John and others.
    But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1Jo 1:7).

    Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life" (Joh 8:12).

Sons of light are light in the Lord. Christ is the shining light of the entire world. Those once enlightened had become Christians. They had begun a walk in the light (1Jo 1:7; compare 2:9-11).

    For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (Eph 5:8).

    You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness (1Th 5:5).

If the lexicons are correct that being enlightened was "once for all" we may infer that it alludes to baptism. Hearing, believing, repenting, confessing faith in Christ--all these are continued throughout a Christian's lifetime. The only event that is realized "once and for all" is salvation. Salvation involves the one baptism into Christ for the remission of sins. Being enlightened, therefore, is more than hearing the gospel.[ 25 ] It is to obey it. One is enlightened when, by obedience to the gospel, he is delivered from the domain of darkness, and transferred into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13).

The Holy Spirit reminded the Hebrew Christians that after being "illuminated" they "endured a great struggle with sufferings" (Heb 10:32). When a Jew was baptized, his fellow-Jews excluded and excommunicated him. They cut him off from fellowship. The excommunication process included regarding of the new Christian as dead. It was a time of CHILAH sorrow. This made it "legal" to seize his property.

Anyone who truly understands, believes and obeys the truth should, by so doing, become inoculated from falling away. The blessings of the gospel themselves should motivate everyone to remain faithful. Every enlightened person should remain a faithful Christian forever. But, alas! That is not always the case.

    (Heb 6:4)

    1. Once enlightened (Heb 6:4).
    2. High priest enters most holy place once a year (Heb 9:7).
    3. Once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin (Heb 9:26)
    4. Once to die (Heb 9:27).
    5. Christ once offered (Heb 9:28).
    6. Worshippers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins (Heb 10:2).
    7. Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven (Heb 12:26).

    (Heb 6:4)

    1. Of grace (Php 1:7).
    2. Of inheritance of saints in light (Col 1:12).
    3. Of a heavenly calling (Heb 3:1).
    4. In His holiness (Heb 12:10).
    5. In sufferings of Christ (1Pe 4:13).
    6. Of glory to be revealed (1Pe 5:1).
    7. Of divine nature (2Pe 1:4).

    (Heb 6:4)

    1. That the eyes of your understanding being enlightened (Eph 1:18).
    2. To make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery (Eph 3:9).
    3. Once enlightened, fell away (Heb 6:4).
    4. After illuminated, endured a great struggle with sufferings (Heb 10:32).

    (Heb 6:4)

    1. Enlightenment and baptism used synonymously (Justin Martyr, Apology 1.62, AD 150).
    2. To candidates for baptism: "To those who are about to be enlightened" (Chrysostom, Homily 59, AD 407).
    3. "Who have once [for all] descended to baptism" (Heb 6:4, the Peshitta, ancient Syriac or Aramaic version).
    (adapted from Vincent 4.444)

And have tasted [who have, and, and who have, tasted].[ 26 ] The experience of these first-century Hebrew Christians was not some scanty, watery or shallow tasting. The Greek text suggests that they had decisively perceived and actually partaken of the heavenly gift, the good word of God and the powers of the age to come.

The heavenly gift, [of the heavenly gift].[ 27 ] To taste means the same as it does in Hebrews 2:9, to experience something (see note there). The heavenly gift is salvation in Christ (see Eph 2:8, 9).

    For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (Joh 6:33).

    And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst (Joh 6:35).

    Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you (Joh 6:53).

To eat the flesh of the Son of God is more than partaking of communion (see note on Joh 6: 53). It involves all one does to be dedicated to Christ and to seek eternal life (see Joh 6:27, 51, 58; compare Joh 20:31).

    (Heb 6:4)

    1. Jesus "without measure" (Joh 3:34 KJV).
    2. Apostles [those who obey Him] (Ac 2:1-4; 5:32).
    3. Household of Cornelius (Ac 10:44).
    4. Poured out on Paul (Tit 3:6).
    5. First century miraculous "gifts" (Heb 2:4).
    6. Christians indwelt (1Co 6:19; Eph 3:17).
    7. The sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17).

    (Heb 6:6)

    1. Once enlightened, baptized believers (Heb 6:4)
    2. Tasted the heavenly gift, eternal salvation (Heb 6:4).
    3. Partakers of the Holy Spirit, familiar with miracles or had miraculous gifts themselves (Heb 6:4).
    4. Tasted the good word of God, really shared in the gospel (Heb 6:5).
    5. Tasted the powers of the world to come (Heb 6:5).

And have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit [and were made, became, have become, partakers of the Holy Ghost].[ 28 ] "Partakers of the Holy Spirit" probably refers to Christians who possessed miraculous gifts but by disuse had come to neglect or ignore them. Some Jewish Christians, even gifted ones, came to forget confirmatory signs giving evidence of the truth of Christ. Their indifference and disregard for their gifts allowed them to drift back into Judaism where there were no such gifts (see notes on Ga 3:2-5). How could one who performed miracles ever deny the Messiah? Judas did it. He went out on the limited commission with the other apostles. Along with them, he cast out demons, healed the sick, cleansed lepers and raised the dead (Mt 10:1, 8; Mk 6:13).


[6:5] And have tasted the good word of God [and tasted the goodness of the word of God].[ 29 ] The "good word of God" is the living and active word (Heb 4:12). It is the word that is like a fire and like a hammer that shatters rock (Jer 23:29). It is the word that sanctifies (Eph 5:26). It is the sword of the spirit (Eph 6:17). It is to be preached in season and out of season (2Ti 4:2). It is the living and abiding word by which people are born again (1Pe 1:23). It is God's revealed will. It is recorded in the Bible. Christians, in the early days of the church, had basically the complete revelation that we have today. Before it was all written down, they received it orally. Inspired men and women revealed it to every Christian.

    (Heb 6:4)

    1. Spirit and life (Joh 6:63).
    2. All the words of this life (Ac 5:20).
    3. Words by which you will be saved (Ac 11:14).
    4. Faith comes by hearing (Ro 10:17).
    5. Cleansed with the washing of water by the word (Eph 5:26).

And the powers of the age to come [and the works of power of the world to come].[ 30 ] The "age to come" is the church age (see note on Heb 2:5). It came with power (see Mk 9:1). The apostles received power when the Holy Spirit came upon them (see Ac 1:8; 2:1-4). They laid hands upon many others who received power (see Ac 8:18, 19). Like so many thousands of other Christians in the first century, the Hebrew Christians had experienced first-hand the miracles performed by the power of the Holy Spirit. These were not just "nominal Christians." They had a substantial amount of knowledge. They were real sharers in several aspects of the new life. To say that they were never saved in the first place is to deny the obvious.


[6:6] If they fall away [and have, if they then, if they shall, commit apostasy, and then fell away, have fallen away, by the way-side].[ 31 ] This is one of the more than 2,500 warnings of the possibility of apostasy in the sacred writings.[ 32 ] If people were not Christians at one time they could not fall away. Apparently some forsook the Savior to return to the shadows of the OT. The purpose of the Holy Spirit in giving information about falling away is to issue a severe warning that it is possible for Christians to fall away. Could the warning be any plainer or stronger?

Although some had fallen away, keep in mind that the Holy Spirit did not say that all of His readers had done so. In fact, He said these encouraging words:

    But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner (Heb 6:9).

    (Heb 6:6)

    1. The Savior versus no Savior.
    2. Saving faith versus unbelief.
    3. Suffering reproach for Christ versus joining those who murdered Him.

    (Heb 6:6)

    1. My spirit shall not strive with man forever (Ge 6:3).
    2. But the person who does anything presumptuously ... shall be cut off from among his people (Nu 15:30).
    3. Because I called, and you refused ... the complacency of fools will destroy them (Pr 1:24-32).
    4. Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near (Isa 55:6).

    (Heb 6:6)

    1. Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone (Ho 4:17).
    2. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, to vile passions; God gave them over to a debased mind (Ro 1:24, 26, 28).
    3. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2Th 2:11, 12).

    (Heb 6:6)

    1. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you (Ac 8:22).
    2. If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one (Ga 6:1).
    3. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1Jo 1:7-9).
    4. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins (Jas 5:19, 20).

To renew them again to repentance [to restore again, to renew again unto repentance].[ 33 ] The reason these apostates could be reclaimed was that it was possible to renew them again to repentance. Stubborn rejection of Christ made others incapable of coming back. They had erected emotional or intellectual barricades to their own repentance. They effectively prevented their own restoration and salvation. They repudiated the only true Source of remission of sins. They sought forgiveness through a system that offered none. Can such a person ever be saved? No, as long as he persists in his stubbornness. Yes, if he returns to Christ. Apparently, the people described in the present context were beyond help. They were so obstinate they would not return. Sadly, they had gone back to the OT Law where there was no real forgiveness of sins. Only the blood of Christ provides that. Beware of accepting any system of thought that does not offer pardon through the blood of the crucified Savior.

    (Heb 6:6)

    1. Never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation (Mk 3:28).
    2. Poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity (Ac 8:23).
    3. Quenching the Spirit (1Th 5:19).
    4. Living in pleasure--dead while she lives (1Ti 5:6).
    5. Willful sin after knowledge of truth (Heb 10:26).
    6. Sin leading to death (1Jo 5:16).
    7. Turning from the holy commandment; end worse than beginning (2Pe 2:20, 21).

Some Calvinists have argued that those who fell away were never Christians in the first place.[ 34 ] It they are right, we are asked to believe that a dim enlightenment, a weak taste of the word, a fake partaking of the Holy Spirit had much to do with their falling away, which was not actually a falling away, because they were never saved to begin with. If words have meaning, the Calvinistic position is ridiculous.[ 35 ] If it was impossible for a Christian to fall away, why did the Holy Spirit give so many warnings about it?

    (Heb 6:6)

    1. Angels who sinned (2Pe 2:4; Jude 6).
    2. Judas by transgression fell (Ac 1:25).
    3. Turned aside after Satan (1Ti 5:15).
    4. Demas loved this present world (2Ti 4:10).
    5. Those once enlightened fell away (Heb 6:6).
    6. If anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure
    in him (Heb 10:38).

Since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God [crucifying, they have crucified, afresh, the Son of God on their own account, to themselves, as they do the Son of God].[ 36 ] These were not just Christians who accidentally wandered away or sinned in a moment of passion. They were Jews who had become converts to Christ. They had once understood the truth of the gospel. They had witnessed miraculous powers of the Holy Spirit. These enlightened folk had rejected Christ to return to Judaism. In doing so, they gave up their only hope of remission of sins. Once again, they were lining up with the very people who crucified the Son of God (see Ac 2:23, 36). By joining them, in effect, they expressed agreement with those who had shouted, "Crucify Him!" They said, "His blood be on us and on our children!" (Mt 27:25). If given the opportunity, would they have crucified the Son of God again? Actually, by crucifying Him figuratively they hurt themselves terribly. They rejected His blood's cleansing power. In its place, they acquired a weight of guilt corresponding to that of those who literally crucified Him.

The apostates were joining their fellow-Jews who were looking for a future Messiah, someone other than Jesus. They were in a spiritual predicament. Under the Law, there was no salvation for them and there was no future Messiah coming to save them.

And put Him to an open shame [and put him to open shame, hold him up to contempt, and making a show of him].[ 37 ] When the apostates rejected Christ as Savior, it was as though they were mocking the ignominious[ 38 ] death of the crucified Savior. They no longer could say He was good. He was either what He claimed to be or else He was an impostor guilty of the charge of blasphemy (see Mt 27:65). According to the OT Law, one who blasphemed was worthy of death.

    And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the LORD, he shall be put to death (Le 24:16).

Apparently anyone who rejected Christ as Savior chose to regard Him as a criminal worthy of the open shame of crucifixion. Those who so regarded the Lord were guilty of a terrible sin.


6:7, 8 For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; 8 but if it bears thorns and briars, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned.

For the earth [for land, ground].[ 39 ] Everyone who lives on the earth should have some degree of familiarity with simple agriculture. Rain falls. Grass grows. Things like that. Some liberal theologians say that since most people today do not live in an agricultural society they cannot understand such verses as this!

Which drinks in the rain [which has drunk, drinketh in, the rain].[ 40 ] Moisture in the soil is essential for the roots to absorb necessary water by osmosis. Without water plants die.

That often comes upon it [which cometh, falls, oft upon it].[ 41 ] By mentioning the rain that falls on the earth from time to time, the Hebrew writer alludes to the spiritual blessings of God, especially to the revealed word. The Song of Moses gives this beautiful description of the teaching of God:

    Let my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, as raindrops on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass (De 32:2).

And bears herbs [and produces, brings forth, bringeth forth, vegetation].[ 42 ] An invitation was given to Israel to return to the Lord (Ho 14:1). If they would only return to Him, God promised them:

    I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon. 6 His branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an olive tree, and his fragrance like Lebanon (Ho 14:5, 6).

In the parable of the sower, the seed is the word of God (Lu 8:11). The soil is the hearts of men and women. God is expected to cause growth (1Co 3:7). Fruit-bearing is required. Jesus said:

    Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit (Joh 15:2).

Useful for those by whom it is cultivated [meet for, useful to, them for whose sake, sakes, it is also, also it is, tilled, dressed, who cultivate it].[ 43 ] One of the joys of farming is to stroll across a newly planted field and see the young shoots of corn or other plants coming up. On a sunny, spring day, hopeful thoughts of a coming harvest of a good and useful crop flood the mind with gladness.

Receives blessing from God [receiveth, partakes of, a blessing, from God].[ 44 ] God provided the earth. He created plants that produce the seed. He sends the rain. The farm receives a blessing from God. But the Hebrew writer is alluding to spiritual blessings. God made man as a creature of understanding and choice. He gave him the seed (the word of God). This is a great blessing from God.


[6:8] But if it bears thorns [but that which, beareth thorns, but bringing forth thorns].[ 45 ]

And briars [and thistles].[ 46 ] What if, after good seed is planted in a field and, after good rains come to water it, most of the sprouts are thorns, thistles and briars? The farmer who walks through such a field must be heart-broken.

It is rejected [is rejected, found worthless].[ 47 ] The farmer who has a field of thorns realizes his crop will be a failure. Undesirable plants have taken over. In the spiritual application, the seed of the kingdom (the word) produces Christians. How do you think God feels when they do not develop properly? When they turn their attention to unworthy, worldly pursuits or doctrines that exclude salvation by Christ?

And near to being cursed [and nigh, and is nigh, unto a curse, cursing].[ 48 ] The Holy Spirit says that the field of briars is near, nigh or close to being cursed. Can the crop be saved? Is there a hint here that maybe, just maybe, the field of briars can be salvaged? Is it possible that with careful, painstaking work it can be reclaimed? Can it be replanted with good seed and still produce a satisfactory crop?

Sometimes when a plant does not produce fruit as it should, it just has to be condemned. The fig tree Jesus cursed had leaves but no figs. Like hypocritical Jews who pretended righteousness but responded negatively to Christ, the fig tree was deceptive. Jesus cursed it (see notes on Mt 21:19-22; Mk 11:20-24).

Whose end is to be burned [its end, and the end, is to be burned].[ 49 ] The thorny field could not be saved. The roots of the briars and thistles were too strong. Uprooting them would only tear out the tender corn plants. There was only one thing to do--burn it off. The Holy Spirit was not giving a lesson on agriculture. He was talking about souls, not soils. Would all of the Hebrew Christians who were looking back longingly at the OT Law be forever lost? Would they all spend eternity in hell? Please read on.


6:9 But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner.

But, beloved [yet in your case, beloved].[ 50 ] The writer of Hebrews called his readers "beloved" by inspiration. That implies that the Holy Spirit loved them. This is very encouraging. Dear reader, if you are drifting away from Christ, be sure of this one thing. God still loves you. To Him, you are "beloved." Come back to Him while you can.

We are confident [we are sure, feel sure, are persuaded].[ 51 ] It is encouraging when someone believes in you. When a youngster steals or lies, his parents and others may lose their trust in him. Loss of trust is very difficult to overcome. Confidence has to be re-established. It may take a long time. In the context of these verses, Christians were toying with a complete desertion of Christ in order to return to Judaism. In spite of that, the Holy Spirit had a degree of confidence that they would turn, that they would pull out of it, that they would be strengthened in Christ and, finally, make it to heaven.

Of better things concerning you [better things, of better things, of you]. [ 52 ] The Hebrew writer was convinced that the Hebrew Christians were better than a field of briars that needed to be burned off, better off than those who had fallen away.


Yes, things that accompany salvation [even things having to do with, and connected with, things that belong to, salvation].[ 53 ] What are things that accompany salvation? First, there is faith (see chart THROUGH FAITH AND PATIENCE A and B at verse 12). Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Ro 10:17). To their own hurt, some weak Christians stop attending worship and Bible study entirely. That is one of the worse things they can do. Then if they quit studying the word of God at home, they completely lose one of the vital things that accompanies salvation. They lose the indispensable feeding on the Word of God that brings or increases faith. Other significant things that accompany salvation are love, hope and good works (see chart JUDGED BY WORKS at verse 2). Without faithful Bible study and regular attendance at church services it not likely that faith will remain strong (see Heb 10:25). A weak faith dims one's hope (see note on Ro 8:24, 25) and causes love to grow cold (compare Mt 24:12; Re 2:4). In the case of at least some of the Hebrew Christians, works and love were not totally abandoned (see verse 10).

Though we speak in this manner [even though, even if, we thus speak, speak thus, we speak like this].[ 54 ] The Holy Spirit offers hope to His weak readers. The prospect of burning a field of briars is unpleasant (see verse 8). Much more so is the doom of Christians who fall away from Christ. It is impossible to save some of them. But, even then, with the realization of God's mercy and grace, there is still a tiny glimmer of hope for those who fall away. What is impossible with men is possible with God (see Mt 19:26; Mk 10:27; Lu 1:37; 18:27).


6:10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

For God is not unjust [for God is not unrighteous, so unjust].[ 55 ] The Hebrew Christians were showing both work and love toward God's name. God is not unjust. He does not forget that.

To forget your work [as to overlook your work].[ 56 ] The Hebrew Christians apparently had forgotten to study the word (see note on Heb 5:12). However, they were still performing works of kindness to assist their brothers and sisters. It has been often said that works do not save, but think about it. They just might (compare Mt 25:31-40). Right here is an example. A reason the Holy Spirit had confidence in the Hebrew Christians was because of the importance of their works. In spite of their lack of progress in the faith, they were still maintaining works of genuine kindness toward other Christians. These works went up as a memorial before God (see Ac 10:4, 31).

Dear reader, how long has it been since you, as an individual, have done any benevolent work? One should never cease doing acts of kindness in the name of Jesus Christ.[ 57 ] The work one does may save his soul at last. You ask, do I not know that man's works do not pay for his salvation? Yes, I am aware of that. I also know that, according to this verse, God will not forget one's good works (see Ac 10:4).

And labor of love [and the love].[ 58 ] The versions with "labor of" are generally considered to be inaccurate in this instance. Those two words may be an interpolation.[ 59 ] Labor without love is worthless (see note on 1Co 13:3). However, the idea of "labor of love" is Scriptural. Paul encouraged the Thessalonians by his continual prayers for them wherein he mentioned their "labor of love."

    Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father (1Th 1:3).

Which you have shown [which ye showed, have shewed].[ 60 ] Love does not mean much unless it is shown. Husbands and wives express their love by words as well as by deeds. In the same way, Christians show love toward God and toward each other.

Toward His name [his, to his, name, for his sake].[ 61 ] The name of God stands for God Himself. Love shown toward God's name is shown toward Him. The love shown in deeds of kindness toward other Christians is, in effect, shown toward Christ (see note on Mt 25:40).

In that you have ministered [in serving, in that ye, having, by having, ministered].[ 62 ] The writer alludes to what was done in the past. The Hebrew Christians had rendered excellent service in the past. That was good, but it was not enough.

To the saints [the, unto the, saints].[ 63 ] Ministering to the saints is recognized by the great God of the universe. The fact that the Hebrew Christians were continuing to minister to the saints showed a spirit of earnestness, diligence and perseverance. This would assure their salvation if they continued to the end (see verse 11).

And do minister [as you still do, and still do minister, and still ministering].[ 64 ] It is not enough to rest on past accomplishments. One must keep on serving the Lord to the end (see note on Col 4:17).


6:11, 12 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

And we desire [but we desire earnestly, earnestly desire].[ 65 ] What would your desire be for every member of the church where you worship? I would like to see each one attend every regular Bible class and worship hour that circumstances permit. I would like to see each one involved in private and daily Bible study. I would like to see everyone looking for opportunities to do acts of kindness to others. I would like to see them teaching others the precious gospel of Christ. I would like to hear them singing and praying. I would like the faith, hope and love of each Christian to grow stronger.

That each one of you [each one, that every one, of you].[ 66 ] Karl Marx considered the individual to be just a part of the masses, expendable for the good of the state. In contrast, the Holy Spirit deems each one, each individual, important (see Mt 16:26). In a general sense, Christ saves the church (Ac 20:28; Eph 5:25), but He saves people as individuals. Each one is born again (Joh 3:5). One may try to get lost in the crowd or claim the works of others in the congregation, but that will not impress God. The emphasis here is upon what each individual is to do. No matter how humble or exalted a Christian may be, the work of each one is looked upon and remembered by the Lord and, I would like to think, He does so with a smile.

When you come to the genealogy chapters in the Bible, do you tend to skip over and not even read the long lists of names? Do you secretly wish that the Holy Spirit had not included them? Consider a different point of view. What if your own name had been omitted? Your child's name? Your grandchild's? You see, individuals take on a greater importance when they are of one's own family. Individual names are important to God. He told Moses, "I know you by name" (Ex 33:17). To Cyrus, king of Persia, He said:

    For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me (Isa 45:4).

The Lord has interest in the detailed circumstances of His people. "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Mt 10:30). There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents (Lu 15:7). All Christians are members of the family of God and, as such, are important to Him. The Good Shepherd calls His own sheep by name (Joh 10:3). An example of the Lord's personal knowledge of an individual is the case of Nathanael. Jesus said to him, "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you" (Joh 1:48).

Show the same diligence [to show, do shew, may show, the same earnestness].[ 67 ] The present verse teaches us that the Holy Spirit strongly desires Christians to continue all of the fine works and the love in which they are engaged as they exhibit eager concern and diligently strive to enter heaven (see note on Heb 10:24).

To the full assurance of hope [to have, in realizing, the full assurance of hope, unto the fullness of hope].[ 68 ] Desire and expectation are elements of hope. Christians hope to be raised from the dead. They hope for eternal life. They desire and expect the accompanying blessings (see Heb 10:35, 36).

Until the end [unto, even to, the end].[ 69 ] Diligence to the end of life is essential to salvation. There is no retirement from the service of God while on earth we dwell.


[6:12] That you do not become sluggish [so that you may not be, that ye be not, you will not be slothful, lazy].[ 70 ] The writer urges the Hebrew Christians not to become lethargic, lazy, shiftless or sluggish.

But imitate those [but imitators, followers, of them, of those].[ 71 ] It is a good idea to imitate those who are strong in the faith. Imitate their faith, their love, their prayers. Imitate their work for the Lord. Imitate their instruction of the lost. Paul urged the Philippians to do this very thing (see chart BE IMITATORS).

    Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern (Php 3:17).

    (Heb 6:12)

    1. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1Co 11:1).
    2. Be imitators of God as dear children (Eph 5:1).
    3. And you became followers of us and of the Lord (1Th 1:6).
    4. Imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus (1Th 2:14).
    5. Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct (Heb 13:7).

Who through faith.[ 72 ] In Hebrews 11, we shall see examples of faithful men and women who inherited the promises. Consider Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets.

    (Heb 6:12)

    1. Through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe (1Co 1:21).
    2. The righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe (Ro 3:22).
    3. God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith (Ro 3:30).
    4. Justified by faith in Christ Jesus (Ga 2:16).

    (Heb 6:12)

    1. Might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Ga 3:14).
    2. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Ga 3:26).
    3. For by grace you have been saved through faith (Eph 2:8).
    4. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him (Eph 3:12).
    5. That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith (Eph 3:17).

And patience.[ 73 ] Faith and patience go together. They complement and support each other. Without faith there is little patience. Patience and living faith are companions. Paul spoke proudly of the Thessalonians' perseverance and faith (2Th 1:4). Their faith had been severely tested by persecution (Ac 17:5; 1Th 1:6; 2:14). The testing of faith produces endurance (Jas 1:3; see charts THROUGH FAITH A and B).

Inherit the promises [have been inheritors of the promises].[ 74 ] Christians are promised a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2Co 5:1, 2), a promise to be at home with the Lord (2Co 5:6-8), a promise of future rest (Heb 4:9).

    (Heb 6:13)

    1. To make him a great nation; to bless all families of earth in him (Ge 12:1-3).
    2. Land (Ge 12:7).
    3. Innumerable descendants; land (Ge 13:14-17).
    4. To be very great (Ge 15:1).
    5. Descendants to be enslaved 400 years; to come out with many possessions (Ge 15:13, 14).

    (Heb 6:13)

    1. Land from river of Egypt to Euphrates (Ge 15:18).
    2. Many descendants; land (Ge 17:1-8).
    3. Sarah to have a son; Ishmael to be father of 12 princes (Ge 17:16, 19).
    4. Sarah to bear a son "next year" (Ge 18:14).
    5. With an oath: to greatly bless; in his seed all nations to be blessed (Ge 22:16, 17).


6:13, 14 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."

For when God made a promise to Abraham [for when God made promise, the promise, to Abraham].[ 75 ] One of the most prominent, celebrated and renowned men of faith in all the Bible is Abraham. God made several promises to him but He confirmed one of them with an oath. That oath was, in part, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you." It was probably about twenty-five years after the birth of Isaac that this particular promise was made.[ 76 ] It came right after he offered Isaac (see chart PROMISES TO ABRAHAM A and B).

    And said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-- 17 blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice" (Ge 22:16-18).

Because He could swear by no one greater [since he had no greater by whom to swear, to swear by, since he could swear by no, by none, greater].[ 77 ] Abraham understood there was only one Great God of the universe. No one was greater than God, so He could not swear by anyone greater than Himself.

He swore by Himself [swore, he sware, by himself]. It was after Abraham offered Isaac that the Lord said:

    By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son (Ge 22:16).

This was God's way of imparting a firm guarantee to Abraham that what He said would come to pass. God's holy character, power and authority were on the line. What He said would happen! Since He is unchangeable, His promise to bless Christians is just as strong as was His word to Abraham. He can be trusted absolutely. Just as an anchor holds a ship, so His word holds true (see verse 19).

    (Heb 6:14; Ge 22:15-18)

    1. He would be blessed (Ge 22:17; Heb 6:14).
    2. He would have many, many descendants (Ge 22:17; compare Ex 1:7; De 1:10).
    3. Implied that his family of the faithful would be many (Ge 22:17; compare Ro 4:11, 16).
    4. In his seed all nations would be blessed, that is, through Christ (Ge 22:18; Ga 3:16).

[6:14] Saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you" [saying, Surely I will, I will surely, bless thee, blessing I will bless thee].[ 78 ] This phrase is a Hebraism that strengthens and magnifies both the blessing and the multiplying. Long after the death of Abraham, during the life of Moses, another promise of blessing was given to the Jews.

    For the LORD will greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance (De 15:4).[ 79 ]

And multiplying I will multiply you [and multiply thee, and I will surely multiply you].[ 80 ] Many years prior, God had promised Abraham, "I will make you a great nation" (Ge 12:2). The particular promise to multiply him was given to him after he offered up Isaac (see Ge 22:16-18).


6:15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

And so [and thus].[ 81 ] Abraham waited patiently for the promise to be fulfilled. He waited for the promised blessing (Ge 12:1-3). He waited for a son. After Ishmael was born, he waited for Sarah to have a son. His logic said that, without children, his descendants would not increase in number.

After he had patiently endured [Abraham, having had long patience, by patiently enduring, waited, after waiting patiently].[ 82 ] Abraham had remarkable patience as he waited for the promise to be eventually fulfilled. The example of his patience is cited to encourage Christians to be patient throughout life and not lose faith.

He obtained the promise [obtained, he got, he attained, the promises].[ 83 ] In what sense did Abraham obtain the promise? In the past, he had been given at least nine promises (see charts PROMISES TO ABRAHAM A and B; compare Heb 11:17). It must be that, in some sense, he received the fulfillment of the promise. Yet, the same Holy Spirit who said "He obtained the promise" inspired these words in the NT:

    These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Heb 11:13).

So, he did not completely and actually receive the total fulfillment of the promises. He did not fully receive the fulfillment of the land promise, nor the ultimate multiplication of his descendants. In his lifetime, the promise that through him all nations would be blessed was not fulfilled.

    Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, "So shall your descendants be" (Ro 4:18).

What then? Abraham received the promise in that it was made so sure to him that, in effect, it was a reality. Think about it for a minute. His life had already been spared by miracle (implied by Ge 12:16, 17, 20; 20:2, 3, 11, 17). He had already been given Isaac by miracle (inferred from Ge 16:2, 16, 21; 18:14; 21:1, 2; Heb 11:12). He had already offered Isaac and had been given him back again as if by resurrection.[ 84 ] All of this made the promise so sure that when God swore with an oath (Ge 22:16) that to Abraham there was absolutely no room for doubt. Abraham believed God.

Jesus understood the certainty with which Abraham was given the promise. He said:

    And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 8:11).

    Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad (Joh 8:56).

When Lazarus died he was carried by angels to "Abraham's bosom" (Lu 17:22, 25, 29). So in a fuller sense at the time of the writing of the Hebrew letter, Abraham had received the promise in that he was with the Lord. It was not by accident that Peter said:

    The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go (Ac 3:13).

Abraham, after about fifty years, enjoyed the promised land. Then he died. Abraham did not, in his lifetime, receive the full and complete fruition of his hope in God's oath-promise (see Eph 1:14; 2Pe 3:13), but he patiently waited. Our hope for eternal life rests on strong assurance like that given to him. We, too, must patiently wait (Ro 8:25).


6:16 For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.

For men indeed swear [men, for people, verily, indeed, swear].[ 85 ] An oath is usually an appeal to God in order to substantiate or ratify a statement. The Law regulated the use of oaths (Ex 22:11). Swearing usually consisted of two things: (1) the swearer called upon God to witness the truth of what he said or promised and (2) he called upon Him to punish him if he lied. In Scripture, we have record of various human beings who have sworn. The first example is contained in what Abram said to the king of Sodom:

    But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, 23 that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, 'I have made Abram rich'" (Ge 14:22, 23).

Paul came near to swearing when he said, "Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying" (Ga 1:20; compare 2Co 11:31).

Various formulas were used for swearing, including, "As the Lord lives" (1Sa 14:39) and "Indeed the LORD be between you and me forever" (1Sa 20:23). Sometimes the hand was raised toward heaven (Ge 14:22; De 32:40) or was placed under the thigh (Ge 24:2; 47:29). At least once a burning torch was passed between the divided parts of slain animals (Ge 15:8-18).[ 86 ]

By the greater [by a greater, by a greater than themselves].
[ 87 ] Sometimes men swore by something or by some one. Jacob swore to Laban by the fear of his father Isaac (Ge 31:52, 53). It was also done by the life of a person being dealt with (1Sa 17:55), by the life of the king (1Sa 17:55), by one's own head (Mt 5:34), by the angels, by the temple (Mt 23:16), by Jerusalem (Mt 5:35), as well as by God Himself. Swearing by a false god was forbidden (Jos 23:7).

And an oath for confirmation [and the oath is final for, as a, confirmation, as making matters sure].[ 88 ] Joseph swore to his father Jacob that he would carry his body out of Egypt (Ge 47:31). It was a confirmation to the patriarch that his son would follow his instructions. That put his mind at ease and he died.

Is for them an end of all dispute [is to them, in all their disputes, in every dispute of theirs, is the end of every dispute, of all strife].[ 89 ] An oath has put an end to many an argument. An example of an oath ending a dispute is when Abraham swore that he would not deal falsely with Abimelech (Ge 21:23, 24).[ 90 ] Abimelech seemed satisfied with the oath.


6:17, 18 Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

Thus God [so when, wherein, since, God].[ 91 ] God used an oath to end dispute. It removed all doubt (see verse 16).

Determining to show more abundantly [desired, willing, being minded, to shew, to show clearly, more convincingly].[ 92 ] It is not necessary for God to swear in order to make His word binding. It is binding with or without an oath. He did it for man's sake, since humans usually place more confidence in statements made under oath.

To the heirs of promise [unto the heirs of the promise].[ 93 ] The purpose of God's oath was to make his promise to Abraham stand out as firm, clear and dependable. The oath to Abraham was not so much for him because he already believed God (Ge 15:6; Ro 4:3). It was made for the benefit of the heirs of the promise, that is, both Jews and Christians who might need added assurance.

    (Heb 6:17)

    1. Heirs of God, fellow-heirs with Christ (Ro 8:17).
    2. Heirs according to the promise (Ga 3:29).
    3. An heir through God (Ga 4:7).
    4. Heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Tit 3:7).
    5. Heirs of the promise (Heb 6:17).
    6. An heir of the righteousness which is according to faith (Heb 11:7).
    7. Heirs of the kingdom (Jas 2:5).

The immutability [the unchangeable character, the unchangeableness].[ 94 ] (see verse 18).

Of His counsel [of his purpose].[ 95 ] The word "counsel" or "purpose" tells us that the promise made to Abraham was in God's plan and purpose. His purpose had to do with the salvation of mankind.

Confirmed it by an oath [intervened, interposed, he interposed, with an oath].[ 96 ] Zacharias, father of John the Baptist realized that God guaranteed His promise by an oath. The emphasis should be placed on the latter part of the statement of John's father Zacharias "might serve Him without fear." He, by inspiration, spoke the confirmation of God's oath to Abraham.

    The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear (Lu 1:73, 74; compare Ac 2:30).


[6:18] That [so that, in order that].[ 97 ]

By two immutable things [through two unchangeable things].[ 98 ] Two immutable or unchangeable things are (1) God's oath with His promise to Abraham and (2) His oath with His promise that Christ would be Priest after the order of Melchizedek.

In which it is impossible for God to lie [in which it was impossible that God should lie, prove false].[ 99 ] God cannot lie, and He cannot break His promise. The word of God is absolutely trustworthy (see Mt 24:35; Joh 14:6, 17; 1Jo 5:6). This is especially true regarding the two promises confirmed by an oath. Whatever God says is true whether or not there is an oath (compare Mt 5:18).

    If we are faithless, he remains faithful; he cannot deny Himself (2Ti 2:13; compare 2Co 1:20).

We might have strong consolation [we may have a strong encouragement].[ 100 ] The purpose of God swearing in connection with the two promises mentioned is that Christians would have a strong encouragement from OT Scriptures that salvation is indeed found in Christ Jesus. It was according to God's purpose all along that salvation should be made possible by Christ. If Christians went back to trusting the OT Law for salvation they would contradict the purpose of God. To do this is equivalent to deserting a life raft to return to a sinking ship. It is like returning to a burning building to perish after being rescued.

Who have fled for refuge.[ 101 ] The idea of fleeing for refuge was introduced in the OT along with the setting aside of six Levitical cities to which one who accidentally killed another could flee for safety (Nu 35:6, 12; De 19:1-7). There were three cities on each side of the Jordan River. The cities on the east were Bezer, Ramoth and Golan (De 4:41-43; Jos 20:8). Those on the west were Kedesh, Shechem and Kiriath-arba (Jos 20:7). Additional cities were designated later (see 1Ch 6:67-81). A manslayer could flee for safety to one of these cities. So long as he remained therein he was safe from the avenger of blood.

Christ is our refuge. Sinners have claimed God's protection by fleeing unto Him and into Him by faith and baptism (see Mk 16:16; Ro 6:3; Ga 3:27). As long as they live faithfully in Him they are safe from sin's penalties (1Jo 1:9).

To lay hold [to seize].[ 102 ] Paul used a similar expression[ 103 ] when he said, "Lay hold on eternal life" (1Ti 6:12).

Of the hope set before us [on, upon, the hope set, that is, before us].[ 104 ] The Christian's hope is Christ Himself who has gone into heaven. Hope gives strength to aid the Christian to remain steadfast (Ro 8:24). It is because of it that one perseveres (Ro 8:25). Hope is a helmet to protect (1Th 5:8). It is essential to hold fast to the hope (Heb 3:6). It is through hope that one draws near to God (Heb 7:19).


6:19, 20 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

This hope we have [which we have, which hope we have].[ 105 ] The trustworthy Scriptures are the source of information about the hope Christians enjoy.

    For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope (Ro 15:4).

As an anchor of the soul [as anchor, we have this anchor, to the soul].[ 106 ] In ancient times, an anchor was often used as a symbol of hope. Socrates said, "To ground hope on a false assumption, is like trusting in a weak anchor."[ 107 ]
Epicetus wrote, "A ship should never depend on one anchor, or a life on one hope."

Pythagoras said:
    Wealth is a weak anchor; fame is still weaker. What then are the anchors which are strong? Wisdom, great-heartedness, courage -- these are the anchors which no storm can shake.[ 108 ]

Both sure [a sure, a hope both sure, secure].[ 109 ] The Christian's hope is both sure and steadfast. It pertains to the resurrection of the dead (Ac 24:15). It is laid up in heaven (Col 1:5). It is a blessed hope that will come to fruition when the Savior appears (Tit 2:13). It is a living hope because of the resurrection of Christ from the dead (1Pe 1:3).

And steadfast [as steadfast, and firm].[ 110 ] The Greek suggests a figure picturing Christians walking toward heaven upon their hope. Hope in Christ does not break down or crumble as one walks. It is steadfast and sure.

And which enters the Presence behind the veil [and enters, and a hope that enters, entereth, and entering, into that, into the inner shrine, which is, that which is, within the curtain].[ 111 ] The veil of the temple separated the holy place from the most holy place. The holy place is a type of the church and the most holy place a type of heaven. In this figure, when one enters within the veil it is equivalent to saying he enters heaven. Our hope is predicated on the resurrection of Christ from the dead and His ascension into heaven. As High Priest, He has entered the heavenly sanctuary. There He offered His crucified body for our sins. There He intercedes for us (Heb 7:25).


[6:20] Where the forerunner [where Jesus has gone, whither as, as a, where as, forerunner a forerunner].[ 112 ] In ancient times, when a king planned to visit another country, he would often send a forerunner ahead of him to see that things were ready for his reception. John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ (Isa 40:3; Lu 3:4-6). In a similar way, Christ has gone into glory before us in order to assure us that it is possible for us to enter heaven. Because He entered heaven, we are assured that we shall be able to follow Him there. We will be admitted to heaven because our Forerunner was.

Has entered [is entered, Jesus entered].[ 113 ] Christ entered into heaven itself, into the very presence of God (Heb 9:24).

For us [on our behalf].[ 114 ] Jesus entered heaven for us. He is our precursor, our prototype. He entered heaven to present His sacrifice to God. He also entered heaven to become King of His kingdom, the church, and to reign as High Priest who intercedes for us. He has accomplished His work of redemption. He now reigns in heaven. He is the firstfruits. We are the crop.

Having become High Priest [being, become, made a, an, high priest].[ 115 ] He went to heaven in order to perform his functions as Priest and King as well as to prepare a place for His own (Joh 14:1-3).

Forever.[ 116 ] Jewish priests were limited in tenure because of human frailty. Not so with Christ. He will reign as High Priest throughout the entire church age.

According to the order of Melchizedek [after the order of Melchizedek].[ 117 ] This verse gives a summation of what has been discussed (Heb 6:13-19). Difficulties with regard to Melchizedek are not yet resolved. At least, some background for the treatment of this great OT priest has been presented. Chapter 7 continues the discussion.

    And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest (Heb 7:15).

The idea of "succession" is not inherent in the word "order." The NEB has inserted an idea from thin air with its "in the succession of Melchizedek." The NIV translators have also overstepped the meaning of "likeness" with "just like" Melchizedek (but see note on Heb 7:1).


[ 1 ]The basic text in this chapter is the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Alternate phrases in brackets are from ASV, Darby, ESB, KJV, RSV and occasionally another version. Greek transliteration tends to follow the BibleSoft method. Edited January 2005.
[ 2 ]DIO, wherefore (Marshall 864); observe that DIO wherefore is connected with the rebuke in chapter 5:11, 12; and that rebuke is directly connected with the announcement of the doctrine of the Melchizedek priesthood of Christ (Vincent 4.441); therefore (Lenski 174); so then (Williams).
[ 3 ]APHENTES TON TEES ARCHEES TOU CHRISTOU LOGON, leaving the of the beginning of Christ word (Marshall 864); APHENTES is the second aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of APHIEEMI (Han 398); literally, leaving the word of the beginning concerning Christ ... leaving as a builder leaves his foundation in erecting his building (Vincent 4.441); leaving the discussion of [what constitutes] the beginning of [the connection with] Christ (Lenski 174); let us once for all quit the elementary teaching about Christ (Williams).
[ 4 ]It may be that the writer means by "elementary teaching" the principles taught in both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament contained types, the New, the antitypes. The Old had shadows, the New, the reality.
[ 5 ]EPI TEEN TELEIOTEETA PHEROOMETHA, on to maturity let us be born (Marshall 864); PHEROOMETHA is first person plural, present middle subjunctive of PHEROO (Han 398); literally, let us be borne on to completeness ... let us be borne on to completeness, and, because of this, leave, etc. (Vincent 4.442); of swift and energetic movement (Bruce 110); let us bring ourselves [in our discussion] to [what constitutes] the proper] maturity (Lenski 174); and continue progressing toward maturity (Williams).
[ 6 ]"Perfection" relates to the "solid food" the writer mentions in Hebrews 5:12, 14. Some of the more profound doctrines of the Bible include the nature of the Godhead, the atonement, foreknowledge and predestination, the rejection and destruction of the Jewish nation, the man of sin, the origin and nature of the devil, the necessity of eternal punishment, reasons behind God's rules on divorce and remarriage, the way the Holy Spirit works, how one is saved by God's grace but, at the same, time faith and works are essential, the nature of the bodily resurrection and what the changed body will be like, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and the millennium.
[ 7 ]MEE PALIN KATABALLOMENOI, not again laying down (Marshall 864); KATABALLOMENOI is the present middle or passive participle, nominative plural masculine of KATABALLOO (Han 398); [not] casting down [KATA], used metaphorically, in the middle voice, negatively, of laying a foundation of certain doctrines (Vine 649); not laying again (Vincent 4.443); not laying again (Lenski 174); let us stop relaying (Williams).
[ 8 ]THEMELION, a foundation (Marshall 864; Lenski 174; Williams); properly an adjective denoting belonging to a foundation [connected with TITHEEMI to place], used as a neuter noun of the ministry of the gospel and the doctrines of the faith (Vine 458).
[ 9 ]METANOIAS, of repentance (Marshall 864; Lenski 174; Williams); literally, to perceive afterwards [META after, implying change, NOEOO to perceive; NOUS the mind, the seat of moral reflection], after-thought, change of mind, repentance, used of repentance from sin or evil, except in Hebrews 12:17 [see note there] (Vine 951, 952); a change of mind, making up the mind to serve the Lord (Littrell).
[ 10 ]APO NEKROON ERGOON, from dead works (Marshall 864; Lenski 174); works without the element of life which comes through faith in the living God (Vincent 4.442); the works of the Law, inasmuch as, however good in themselves, Romans 7:13, they cannot produce life (Vine 265); from works that mean only death (Williams).
[ 11 ]KAI PISTEOOS EPI THEON, and of faith toward God (Marshall 864; and of faith toward God (Lenski 174); faith, trust, confidence in God (Arndt 662); and faith in God (Williams).
[ 12 ]BAPTISMOON DIDACHEES, of baptisms of teaching (Marshall 864); the teaching [DIDACHEN] of baptisms (Vincent 4.443); of teaching about ceremonial washings [Jewish washings, John's baptism, and later practices] (Williams); of [the] doctrine concerning baptisms (Lenski 174); BAPTISMOUS is used of the "washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots" (Mk 7:4). In Colossians 2:12, the word for baptism is BAPTISMATI [some authorities have BAPTISMO]. BAPTISMOIS is used of "various washings" of the Jews (Heb 9:10).
[ 13 ]When a Gentile man or woman was converted to Judaism, three things were done. (1) In the case of a male circumcision was performed. (2) There was a ceremonial washing or baptism of either man or woman. (3) An offering was made (Zondervan page 691).
[ 14 ]It has been observed that the usual word for baptisms in the NT should be BAPTISMA, whereas the word used here is BAPTISMOS (used in Mk 7:4, 8; Heb 9:10) for Jewish washings. However, valid this may look on the surface, let it be remembered that both words are derived from BAPTIZOO and signify immersions. Josephus uses BAPTISMOS when he speaks of John's baptism (Antiquities 18.5.2).
[ 15 ]EPITHESEOOS TE CHEIROON, and of laying on of hands (Marshall 864); the laying on of hands (Arndt 293); a laying on, imposition [of hands]. The imposition of hands CHEIROTHESIA, was a sacred rite transmitted by the Jews to the Christians, and employed in praying for another, or in conferring upon him divine blessings, especially bodily health, or the Holy Spirit [at the administration of baptism and the inauguration to their office of the teachers and ministers of the church (Thayer 238); and laying on of hands (Lenski 174); and the laying on of hands (Williams).
[ 16 ]The command, "Do not lay hands upon any one too hastily" (1Ti 5:22) involves the appointment of men such as elders and deacons.
[ 17 ]ANASTASEOOS NEKROON, of resurrection of dead persons (Marshall 864); a rising from the dead, of all men at the end of the present age (Thayer 42, 43); of the future resurrection at the Judgment Day (Arndt 60); and concerning resurrection of [the] dead (Lenski 174); the resurrection of the dead (Williams).
[ 18 ]KAI KRIMATOS AIOONIOU, and judgment of eternal (Marshall 864); certainly cannot here signify everlasting. It expresses rather a judgment which shall transcend all temporal judgments; which shall be conducted on principles different from those of earthly tribunals, and the decisions of which shall be according to the standards of the economy of a world beyond time (Vincent 4.443); without end, very often of God's judgment (Arndt 28); and concerning eternal judgment (Lenski 174); and final [eternal, so final] judgment (Williams).
[ 19 ]The eternal judgment is not to be confused with "the judgments of God" that are designed for the correction of Christians (2Co 4:17; Heb 12:6-11).
[ 20 ]Cohen 370-378.
[ 21 ]EANPER EPITREPEE HO THEOS, if indeed permits God (Marshall 864); EPITREPEE is third person singular, present active subjunctive of EPITREPOO (Han 398); [EPI to, TREPOO to turn], entrusts, signifies permits (Vine 849); permits, allows, gives leave (Thayer 245); allows, permits (Arndt 303); if God, indeed, permits (Lenski 174); if God permits (Williams).
[ 22 ]ADUNATON GAR, For [it is] impossible (Marshall 864); it is impossible (Arndt 19); it is impossible to dilute this word into difficult (Vincent 4.444); [A negative, DUNATOS able, strong], impossible (Vine 581); impossible (Thayer 12); it is impossible (Arndt 19); for it is impossible (Lenski 179); for it is impossible (Williams).
[ 23 ]James Macknight (532) wrote, "The apostle does not mean that it is impossible for God to renew a second time an apostate; but that it is impossible for the ministers of Christ [to do it]."
[ 24 ]GAR TOUS HAPAX PHOOTISTHENTAS, the [ones] once being enlightened (Marshall 865); PHOOTISTHENTAS is the first aorist passive participle, accusative plural masculine of PHOOTIZOO (Han 398); once for all enlightened (Vincent 4.444); so probably once (Arndt 80); like the Latin SEMEL, used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition, once for all (Thayer 54); those who were once enlightened (Lenski 179); for those who have once for all been enlightened (Williams).
[ 25 ]PHOOTIZTHENTAS enlightened is often used in Scripture in the sense of teaching or instruction. In The Greek Septuagint version it is "instructed" (2Ki 12:2); "teach" (2Ki 17:27); "PHOTIEI gives light" (Ps 119:130). David said, "Thy word has revived me" (Ps 119:50). Jesus the true light "which enlightens every man" (Joh 1:9; compare Joh 9:5). Bilney, the martyr, said, "When I heard the words, `Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,' it was as if day suddenly broke in the midst of a dark night. In non-biblical writings, PHOOTISMOS enlightenment is often used to stand for baptism. For example, Justin Martyr (Apology 1.62; used PHOOTIZEIN and PHOOTISMOS as synonyms for baptism. He further used the verb PHOOTIZOO and the noun PHOOTISMOS to describe baptism, and does so in a way which indicates this was a current usage among the Christians of his acquaintance (First Apology 61.12;65:1; cited by Bruce 120). Chrysostom entitled one of his sermons addressed to candidates for baptism, "PROS TOUS MELLOONTAS PHOOTIZESTHAI to those who are about to be enlightened" (Homily 59). He justified his use of the word "enlightened" for baptism on the grounds of Hebrews 10:32, "But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings." The Peshitto translates Hebrews 6:4, "who have once [for all] descended to baptism" (Vincent 4.444). It does the same in Hebrews 10:32. The Peshitto or Peshitta, or "simple" version, is the common name for the ancient Syriac (Aramaic) translation of the Bible, the standard version being that of Rabbula, bishop of Edessa in the fifth century (Zondervan 640). There is, however, no direct statement in the English NT to the effect that enlightenment is baptism.
[ 26 ]GEUSAMENOUS, and tasting (Marshall 865); the first aorist middle participle, accusative plural masculine of GEUOMAI (Han 398); GEUSAMENOUS tasted, partook of, enjoyed, figurative, come to know ... obtained a gift tasted, that is, perceived the flavor of, partook of, enjoyed ... that is, shall partake of my banquet] ... [have] felt, made trial of, experienced (Thayer 114); aorist tense, have tasted (Milligan 178); and tasted (Lenski 179); and have experienced (Williams).
[ 27 ]TE TEES DOOREAS TEES EPOURANIOU, of the gift heavenly (Marshall 865); of tasting the heavenly gift [different from receiving it] (Vine 1123); the heavenly gift (Lenski 179); the gift from heaven (Williams).
[ 28 ]KAI METOCHOUS GENEETHENTAS PNEUMATOS HAGIOU, and sharers becoming Spirit of [the] Holy (Marshall 865); sharing in, partaking of (Thayer 407); sharing or participating in the Holy Spirit (Arndt 514); real sharers (Harrison 917); and became partakers of the Holy Spirit (Lenski 179); who have been made sharers of the Holy Spirit (Williams).
[ 29 ]KAI KALON GEUSAMENOUS THEOU RHEEMA, and [the] good tasting of God word (Marshall 865); the gospel of Christ as preached; the meaning is, have consciously partaken of (Vincent 4.445); the word of God that is good (Bruce 110); affecting the mind agreeably, comforting and confirming ... the gospel and its promises full of consolation (Thayer 322); figuratively, to know something ... the good word of God,a word of God [verse 5]; good, full measure ... subjective genitive, that which is said, word, saying, expression ... Generally the singular brings together all the divine teachings as a unified whole with some such meaning as gospel, or confession (Arndt 157, 735); and tasted God's excellent utterance (Lenski 179); the good word of God, (Vine 1123); with accusative of the thing: a word of God [verse 5]; good, full measure ... subjective genitive, that which is said, word, saying, expression ... Generally the singular brings together all the divine teachings as a unified whole with some such meaning as gospel, or confession (Arndt 157, 735); and have experienced how good God's message is (Williams).
[ 30 ]DUNAMEIS MELLONTOS AIOONOS, and powerful deeds of a coming age (Marshall 865); MELLONTOS is the present active participle, genitive singular masculine or neuter of MELLOO (Han 398); not foretastes of heavenly bliss. The world to come is the world of men under the new order which is to enter with the fulfillment of Christ's work... . These powers are characteristic of that period, and in so far as that dispensation is inaugurated here and now, they assert and manifest themselves (Vincent 4.445); inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth (Thayer 159); plural, outward expressions of power: deeds of power, miracles, wonders ... future, to come, the age to come (Arndt 208, 501); and the powers of the age to come (Vine 1123); and [his] powers of the eon about to come (Lenski 179); and the mighty powers of the age to come (Williams).
[ 31 ]KAI PARAPESONTAS, and falling away (Marshall 865); PARAPESONTAS is the second aorist active participle, accusative plural masculine of PARAPIPTOO (Han 398); literally, and having fallen away ... deviated, turned aside (Vincent 4.445); fallen away, committed apostasy (Arndt 621); to fall away [from the true faith]: from Christianity (Thayer 485); aorist tense, have fallen away (Milligan 178); and fell away [to fall away utterly] (Lenski 179, 185); and then have fallen by the wayside [picture of runners falling beside the race track] (Williams 489).
[ 32 ]Woods 1.134.
[ 33 ]PALIN ANAKAINIZEIN EIS METANOIAN, again to renew unto repentance (Marshall 865); ANAKAINIZEIN is the present active infinitive of ANAKAINIZOO (Han 398); [ANAKAINOUN to renew] (Vincent 4.445); restore to repentance (Arndt 55); so to renew that he shall repent (Thayer 38); again to renew them unto repentance (Lenski 179); to keep on restoring them to their first [literally, renew them to repentance (first step in Christian life; so EGT)] (Williams).
[ 34 ]Some Calvinists twist the Scripture to try to make it say no one actually fell away. They deny that falling away is possible. If Calvin was right, why did the Holy Spirit waste time warning about apostasy?
[ 35 ]An example of a Calvinistic comment is that of Albert Barnes (9.131): "If then it should be asked whether I believe that any true Christian ever did, or ever will fall from grace, and wholly lose his religion, I would answer unhesitatingly, no."
[ 36 ]ANASTAUROUNTAS HEAUTOIS TON HUION TOU THEOU, crucifying again for themselves the Son of God (Marshall 865); ANASTAUROUNTAS is the present active participle, accusative plural masculine of ANASTAUROOO (Han 398); ANA here has the sense of anew ... HEAUTOIS for themselves. So that Christ is no more available for them. They declare that Christ's crucifixion has not the meaning or the virtue which they formerly attached to it (Vincent 4.446); to raise up upon a cross, crucify [Winer admits that in Heb.1.c. the meaning to crucify again, or afresh, may also be assigned to this verb legitimately, and that the absence of a precedent in professional writings for such a sense is, from the nature of the case, not surprising] (Thayer 42); it is possible the prefix ANA- is used in the sense of "up," not again (Bruce 111); since they continue to crucify the Son of God to their detriment [dative of disadvantage] (Williams); since they are recrucifying the Son of God (Lenski 179); of Hebrew apostates, who as merely nominal Christians, in turning back to Judaism, were thereby virtually guilty of crucifying Christ again (Vine 249); note Vine's expression "merely nominal Christians," which points out his hesitancy to openly admit the possibility of apostasy. This is one of the very few instances where Vine departs from true scholarship.
[ 37 ]KAI PARADEIGMATIZONTAS, and putting [him] to open shame (Marshall 865); PARADEIGMATIZONTAS is the present active participle, accusative plural masculine of PARADEIGMATIZOO (Han 398); [PARA beside, DEIKNUNAI to show or point out], to put something alongside of a thing by way of commending it to imitation or avoidance. To make an example of; thence to expose to public disgrace. DEIGMATIZEIN to make a public show or example (Vincent 4.446); set forth as an example, make an example of; in a bad sense, to hold up to infamy; to expose to public disgrace (Thayer 480); and exposing him to public ignominy (Lenski 179); hold up to contempt (Arndt 614); and hold him up to contempt (Williams); signifies to set forth as an example [PARA beside, DEIKNUMI to show], of those Jews, who, though attracted to, and closely associated with, the Christian faith, without having experienced more than a tasting of the heavenly gift and partaking of the Holy Ghost [not actually receiving Him], were tempted to apostatize to Judaism, and, thereby crucifying the Son of God a second time, would "put Him to an open shame." So were criminals exposed (Vine 1029). Once again, please note the effort to which Vine goes in order to avoid admitting the obvious--that these apostates were once Christians!
[ 38 ]Ignominious is another word for "shameful."
[ 39 ]GEE GAR, for earth (Marshall 865); the land personified (Vincent 4.446); soil, earth (Arndt 157); arable land (Thayer 114); for land (Lenski 187); for a piece of ground (Williams).
[ 40 ]HEE PIOUSA ... HUETON, drinking the ... rain (Marshall 865); PIOUSA is the second active participle, nominative singular feminine of PINOO (Han 398); of the earth's receiving the benefits of rain (Vine 331); appropriates the heavenly gift of rain, the richness of which is indicated by that cometh oft upon it (Vincent 4.446); watered by rain (Arndt 157); arable land (Thayer 114); that drank the rain (Lenski 187); that drinks in the rains (Williams).
[ 41 ]TON EP' AUTEES ERCHOMENON POLLAKIS, the upon it coming often (Marshall 865); ERCHOMENON is the present middle participle, nominative or accusative singular neuter of ERCHOMAI (Han 398); [akin to POLUS much, many] (Vine 805); of the rain coming down often, frequently (Thayer 251, 529); often coming upon it (Lenski 187); so frequently falling on it (Williams).
[ 42 ]KAI TIKTOUSA BOTANEEN, and bearing fodder (Marshall 865); TIKTOUSA is the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of TIKTOO (Han 398); grass, fodder (Vincent 4.446); of the earth bringing forth its fruits (Thayer 623); and bearing plants (Lenski 187); and continues yielding vegetables (Williams).
[ 43 ]EUTHETON EKEINOIS DI' HOUS KAI GEOORGEITAI, suitable for those on account of whom indeed it is farmed (Marshall 865); GEOORGEITAI is third person singular, present passive indicative of GEORGEOO (Han 398); for EUTHETON, literally, well placed, thence fit or appropriate. GEOORGEIN to till the ground, render tilled. Dress is properly to trim. The natural result of the ground's receiving and absorbing the rains is fruitfulness, which redounds to the benefit of those who cultivate it (Vincent 4.447); useful [some would make the dative here depend on the participle] (Thayer 258); suitable for those on whose account it is also being tilled (Lenski 187); useful to those for whose sakes it is cultivated (Williams).
[ 44 ]METALAMBANEI EULOGIAS APO' TOU THEOU, receives blessing from God (Marshall 865); METALAMBANEI is third person singular, present active indicative of METALAMBANOO (Han 398); partaketh of blessing, the blessing of increased fruitfulness (Vincent 4.447); of the continual fertility of the soil granted by God, is or is made a partaker (Thayer 260, 405); partakes of blessing from God (Lenski 187); receives from God His blessings (Williams).
[ 45 ]EKPHEROUSA DE AKANTHAS, but bring forth thorns (Marshall 865); EKPHEROUSA is the present active participle, nominative singular feminine of EKPHEROO (Han 398); but if it [the ground that receives the rain] bear thorns [from AKE a point] (Vincent 4.447); thorns, bramble-bushes, briers (Thayer 21); but continuing to produce thorns (Lenski 187); but if it continues to yield thorns (Williams).
[ 46 ]KAI TRIBOLOUS, and thistles (Marshall 865; Lenski 187; Williams); and thistles [from TREIS three and BELOS a dart]; having three darts or points ... a kind of thorn or thistle, a land-caltrop, was called TRIBULUS (Vincent 4.447); thistles, prickly wild plants, hurtful to other plants (Thayer 630).
[ 47 ]ADOKIMOS, [it is] disapproved (Marshall 865); literally, unapproved (Vincent 4.447); which does not prove itself to be such as it ought ... of sterile soil (Thayer 12);it is rejected (Lenski 187); it is considered worthless (Williams).
[ 48 ]KAI KATARAS ENGUS, and a curse near (Marshall 865); enhancing the idea of rejected... . exposed to the peril of abandonment to perpetual barrenness (Vincent 4.447); near to being cursed (Thayer 165); and nigh to a curse (Lenski 187); and in danger of being cursed (Williams).
[ 49 ]HEES TO TELOS EIS KAUSIN, of which the end [is] for burning (Marshall 865); HEES whose, of which, may be referred to cursing--the end of which is cursing: but better to the main subject, GE the land. TELOS is consummation rather than termination. EIS KAUSIN, literally, unto burning... . The consummation of the cursed land is burning (Vincent 4.448); the fate of land [appointed it by God] is, to be burned up [by fire and brimstone from heaven] (Thayer 342); end is to be burned over (Arndt 425); [English caustic], literally, whose end is unto burning (Vine 151); whose end is for burning (Lenski 187); and its final fate is burning (Williams).
[ 50 ]AGAPETOI, beloved (Marshall 865; Lenski 189); often suggests an argument [see 1Co 10:14; 15:58; 2Co 7:1] (Vincent 4.448); plural, dear friends (Arndt 6); beloved, esteemed, dear, favorite. Christians, bound together by mutual love, are AGAPETOI [beloved ones] also to one another ... hence they are dignified with this epithet very often in tender address (Thayer 5); dearly loved friends (Williams).
[ 51 ]PEPEISMETHA DE, but we have been persuaded (Marshall 865); PEPEISMETHA is first person plural, perfect passive indicative of PEITHOO (Han 398); we are firmly convinced. The verb indicates a past hesitation overcome (Vincent (4.448); passive voice, are persuaded, believe (Vine 851); persuaded [of] a thing concerning a person (Thayer 497); but we are persuaded (Lenski 189); we are sure (Williams).
[ 52 ]DE PERI HUMOON TA KREISSONA, concerning you the better things (Marshall 865); the article gives a collective force, the better state of things, the going on unto perfection [verse 1] (Vincent 4.448); excellent (Vine 114); more excellent (Thayer 359); concerning you things that are better (Lenski 189); but in your case (Williams).
[ 53 ]KAI ECHOMENA SOOTEERIAS, and having salvation (Marshall 865); ECHOMENA is the present middle participle, nominative or accusative singular neuter of (ERCHOMAI (Han 398); ECHESTHAI with a genitive is a common Greek idiom meaning to hold one's self to a person or thing; hence to be closely joined to it... [The writer] is persuaded that they will give heed to all things which attend the work of salvation and will enjoy all that attaches to a saved condition (Vincent 4.448); connected with salvation, or which lead to it (Thayer 268); and in keeping with salvation (Lenski 189); yea, things that point to salvation (Williams).
[ 54 ]EI KAI HOUTOOS LALOUMEN, if indeed so we speak (Marshall 865); LALOUMEN is first person plural, present active indicative of LALEOO (Han 398); since LALEIN strictly denotes the act of one who utters words with the living voice, when writers speak of themselves or are spoken of by others as LALOUNTESA, they are conceived of as present and addressing their readers with the living voice (Thayer 369); though we speak as we do (Lenski 189); even though we speak in such a tone (Williams).
[ 55 ]OU GAR ADIKOS HO THEOS, for not unjust God [is] (Marshall 865); descriptive of one who violates or has violated justice, unjust [of God as judge] (Thayer 12); for God is not unrighteous (Lenski 189); for God is not so unjust (Williams).
[ 56 ]EPELATHESTHAI TOU ERGOU HUMOPN, to be forgetful of the work of you (Marshall 865); EPELATHESTHAI is the second aorist middle infinitive of EPILANTHANOMAI (Han 398); [EPI intensive, LANTHANOO to escape notice], to forget or neglect, said negatively of God, indicating his remembrance of the work and labor of love of His saints (Vine 451, 452); render your work (Vincent 4.448); forget, in the sense of neglecting, no longer caring for (Thayer 240); forget in a moment (Harrison 918); not literally, neglect, overlook, care nothing about (Arndt 295); to forget your work (Lenski 189); as to forget the service you have rendered (Williams).
[ 57 ]Encouragement to do benevolent work is not intended to imply that elders, teachers and preachers should neglect the word of God to serve tables (see Ac 6:2).
[ 58 ]KAI TEES AGAPEES, and of the love (Marshall 865); omit labor. And the love (Vincent 4.448); of the love of men to men, especially of that love of Christians towards Christians which is enjoined and prompted by their religion, whether the love be viewed as in the soul or as expressed (Thayer 4); and the love (Lenski 189; Williams).
[ 59 ]An interpolation is an addition to the original text. A possible explanation is that a student or a scribe wrote a small comment in the margin. When that manuscript was copied again, the comment appeared in the same handwriting as the text and was eventually copied in as if it were intended to be a part of the document. Most interpolations in the Bible, therefore, do not intentionally contain false doctrine.
[ 60 ]HEES ENEDEIXASTHE, which ye showed (Marshall 865); ENEDEIXASTHE is second person plural, first aorist middle indicative of ENDEIKNUMI (Han 398); which ye showed. The verb means, strictly, to show something in one's self; or to show one's self in something. (Vincent 4.448); shown, demonstrated, proved whether by arguments or by acts (Thayer 213); shown forth, proved love toward God's name (Vine 1033); shown, demonstrated (Arndt 262); you displayed (Lenski 189); you have shown (Williams).
[ 61 ]EIS TO ONOMA AUTOU, to the name of him (Marshall 865); either the love that you have shown with regard to him, that is, for his sake, or we have here the frequently attested ... formula of Hellenistic legal and commercial language: EIS [TO] ONOMA TINOS to the name=to the account [over which the name stands]. Then the deeds of love, although shown to men, are dedicated to God (Arndt 572); the name of God in the NT is used for all those qualities which to his worshippers are summed up in that name, and by which God makes himself known to men; it is therefore equivalent to his divinity, Latin NUMEN, [not his nature or essence as it is in itself], the divine majesty and perfections, so far forth as these are apprehended, named, magnified (Thayer 447); for his name (Lenski 189); his name (Williams).
[ 62 ]DIAKONEESANTES, having ministered (Marshall 865); the first aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of DIAKONEOO (Han 398); of relieving one's necessities, supplying the necessaries of life (Vine 745); to minister, that is, supply food and the necessaries of life, to relieve one's necessities [for example, by collecting alms] (Thayer 137); by your past ministering (Lenski 189); the service you have rendered (Williams).
[ 63 ]TOIS HAGIOIS, to the saints (Marshall 865; Lenski 189); in the plural, as used of believers, it designates all such and is not applied merely to persons of exceptional holiness, or to those who, having died, were characterized by exceptional acts of saintliness (Vine 987); this appellation is very often in the NT transferred to Christians, as those whom God has selected ... that under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may be rendered, through holiness, partakers of salvation in the kingdom of God (Thayer 7); for your fellow-Christians [Greek, the saints] (Williams).
[ 64 ]KAI DIAKONOUNTES, and ministering (Marshall 189); and your present ministering (Lenski 189); and still are doing (Williams).
[ 65 ]EPITHUMOUMEN DE, but we desire (Marshall 865); EPITHUMOUMEN is first person plural, present active indicative of EPITHUMEOO (Han 398); desire, long for (Arndt 293); strongly earnestly (Vincent 4.449); desire earnestly [as with EPITHUMIA a desire, craving, longing], stresses the inward impulse rather than the object desired (Vine 289, 290); properly, keep the THUMOS [passion] turned upon a thing, hence [compare our to set one's heart upon] to have a desire for, long for; absolutely to desire (Thayer 238); moreover we desire (Lenski 193); and we desire (Williams).
[ 66 ]HEKASTON HUMOON, each one of you (Marshall 865; Williams); second person, genitive, each one of you, Machen 94; generally HOOSTE so that is used in such clauses; it is omitted here but understood (Nunn 135, 185, 234); that each one of you (Lenski 193).
[ 67 ]TEEN AUTEEN ENDEIKNUSTHAI SPOUDEEN, the same to show eagerness (Marshall 865); ENDEIKNUSTHAI is the present middle infinitive of ENDEIKNUMI (Han 398); show, demonstrate [the same] earnestness in (Arndt 262, 763); we desire that each of you exhibit the same diligence (Vincent 4.449); to display the same diligence (Lenski 193); to continue to show the same earnestness (Williams).
[ 68 ] TEEN PLEEROPHORIAN TEES ELPIDOS, the full assurance of the hope (Marshall 865); to develop your hope, which is in danger of falling, into full assurance (Vincent 4.449); a fullness, abundance, also means full assurance, entire confidence; literally, a "full-carrying" [PLEROS full, PHEROO to carry]. Some explain it as full fruitfulness (Vine 76); of Christian hope (Arndt 253); unto the full assurance of the hope (Lenski 193); that you may enjoy your hope to the fullest [Greek, for the full assurance of your hope] (Williams).
[ 69 ]ACHRI TELOUS, unto [the] end (Marshall 866); unto the end of the present season of trial with its happy consummation (Vincent 4.449); even to the end [a stronger expression than "unto the end," 1Co 1:8; 2Co 1:13] (Vine 357); to the end (Lenski 193); to the very end (Williams).
[ 70 ]HINA MEE NOOTHROI GENEESTHE, lest dull ye become (Marshall 866); GENEESTHE is second person plural, second aorist middle subjunctive of GINOMAI (Han 398); sluggish, as you will become if you lose hope (Vincent 4.449); indolent, sluggish, here is set in contrast to confident and constant hope (Vine 1053, 1054); that ye become GENEESTHE not slothful (Milligan 182); so that you may not become sluggish (Lenski 193); so that you may not grow careless [literally, dull, sluggish] (Williams).
[ 71 ]MIMEETAI DE TOON, but imitators of the [ones] (Marshall 866); imitators (Vincent 4.449); [English mime], used in exhortations, accompanied by the verb GINOMAI to be, become, and in the continuous tense, except in Hebrews 6:12, where the aorist or momentary tense indicates a decisive act with permanent results (Vine 579); but imitators of those (Lenski 193); but may follow the example (Williams).
[ 72 ]TOON DIA PISTEOOS, of the [ones] through faith (Marshall 866); faith, as true piety, genuine religion ... which for our literature means being a Christian, through faith (Arndt 488, 663); who through faith (Lenski 193); of those who through their faith (Williams).
[ 73 ]KAI MAKROTHUMIAS, and longsuffering (Marshall 866; Lenski 193); and steadfastness (Arndt 488); longsuffering (Vincent 4.449); faith and longsuffering go together ... predicated of faith (Vincent 4.449); and patient endurance (Williams).
[ 74 ]KLEERONOMOUNTOON TAS EPANGELIAS, inheriting the promises (Marshall 866); KLEERONOMOUNTOON is the present active participle, genitive plural masculine or neuter of KLEERONOMEOO (Han 398); notice the present participle, are inheriting (Vincent 4.450); [came to mean] to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah's kingdom (Thayer 349); are inheriting the promises (Lenski 193); are now possessors of the blessings promised (Williams).
[ 75 ]TOO GAR 'ABRAAM EPANGEILAMENOS HO THEOS, for to Abraham making a promise God (Marshall 866); EPANGEILAMENOS is the first aorist middle participle, nominative singular masculine of EPANGELLOO (Han 398); gave a promise to [Abraham], Thayer 227); for when God made promise to Abraham (Lenski 196); for when God made His promise to Abraham (Williams).
[ 76 ]Josephus, Antiquities 1.13.2.
[ 77 ]EPEI KAT' OUDENOS EICHEN MEIZONOS OMOSAI, since by no one he had greater to swear (Marshall 866); EICHEN is third person singular, imperfect active indicative of ECHOO (Han 398); literally, since he had [the power] to swear by no one greater (Vincent 4.450); of affirming or denying by an oath, accompanied by that which one swears (Vine 1111); since he could swear by none greater (Lenski 196); since He had no one greater by whom He could take it (Williams).
[ 78 ]LEGOON: EI MEEN EULOGOON EULOGEESOO SE, saying: if surely blessing I will bless thee (Marshall 866); LEGOON is the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of LEGOO EULOGOON is the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of EULOGEOO; EULOGEESOO is first person singular, future active indicative of EULOGEOO (Han 399); EI MEEN as a formula of swearing. Blessing I will bless is a Hebraism, emphasizing the idea contained in the verb (Vincent 4.450); saying: Surely, blessing I will bless thee (Lenski 196); saying: I will certainly bless you over and over again (Williams).
[ 79 ]Many years after Moses wrote Deuteronomy, Jerusalem became sinful, especially by practicing idolatry. God swore again, this time to punish: "The Lord GOD has sworn by Himself, the LORD God of hosts says: "I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore I will deliver up the city and all that is in it" (Am 6:8).
[ 80 ]KAI PLEETHUNOON PLEETHUNOO SE, and multiplying I will multiply thee (Marshall 866; Lenski 196); PLEETHUNOON is the present active participle, nominative singular masculine of PLEETHUNOO; PLEETHUNOO is first person singular, future active indicative of PLEETHUNOO (Han 399); increase, multiply (Thayer 516); I will extensively increase your numbers (Williams).
[ 81 ]KAI HOUTOS, and so (Marshall 866; Williams); takes the place of an explanatory participial clause, that is, matters being thus arranged, under these circumstances, in such a condition of things ... [but this explanation of the HOUTOS appears to be too general] ... [that is, since God had pledged the promise by an oath]; which is, things having been thus settled, this having been done, then (Thayer 568); and thus (Lenski 198).
[ 82 ]MAKROTHUMEESAS, being longsuffering (Marshall 866); MAKROTHUMEESAS is the first aorist active participle, nominative singular masculine of MAKROTHUMEOO (Han 399); pointing back to MAKROTHUMIA longsuffering, verse 12 (Vincent 4.450); with longanimity, that is, patiently (Thayer 387); having exercised longsuffering (Lenski 198); by patiently waiting (Williams).
[ 83 ]EPETUCHEN TEES EPANGELIAS, he obtained the promise (Marshall 866; Lenski 198); EPETUCHEN is third person singular, second aorist active indicative of EPITUNCHANOO (Han 399); the compounded preposition EPI has the force of upon; to light or hit upon. The verb indicates that Abraham did not personally receive the entire fulfillment of the promise, but only the germ of its fulfillment. It was partially fulfilled in the birth of Isaac (Vincent 4.451); he obtained what God had promised him (Williams).
[ 84 ]"Concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense" (Heb 11:19).
[ 85 ]ANTHROOPOI GAR OMNUOUSIN, for men swear (Marshall 866; Lenski 200); OMNUOUSIN is third person plural, present active indicative of OMNUOO (Han 399); of affirming or denying by an oath (Vine 1111); for it is a custom among men to take oath (Williams).
[ 86 ]Though presented in an adapted form, credit is given to Zondervan (page 591) for much of the material in this paragraph and the next.
[ 87 ]KATA TOU MEIZONOS, by the greater (Marshall 866; Lenski 200); in swearing to call a person or thing as witness, to invoke, swear by (Thayer 444); by something greater than themselves (Williams).
[ 88 ]EIS BEBAIOOSIS HO HORKOS, for confirmation the oath (Marshall 866); of authoritative validity imparted, said of the settlement of a dispute by an oath to produce confidence. The word [BEBAIOSIS] is found frequently in the Papyri of the settlement of a business transaction; refers to the confirmation of a compact among men, guaranteeing the discharge of liabilities; in their disputes "the oath is final for confirmation." This is referred to in order to illustrate the greater subject of God's oath to Abraham, confirming His promise (Vine 218, 795); as far as making a thing firm is concerned (Lenski 200); and an oath taken for confirmation (Williams).
[ 89 ]KAI PASEES AUTOIS ANTILOGIAS PERAS, and of all [is] to them contradiction an end (Marshall 866); of a thing extending through a period of time [termination], (Thayer 500); gainsaying, contradiction [ANTI against, LEGOO to speak] (Vine 315); is an end for them of all contrary statement (Lenski 200); settles any dispute among them (Williams).
[ 90 ]See also Genesis 31:53; Exodus 22:11; Joshua 9:14-18.
[ 91 ]EN HOO, wherein (Marshall 866; Lenski 201); referring to the whole previous clause. In accordance with this universal human custom (Vincent 4.451); therefore (Williams).
[ 92 ]PERISSOTERON BOULOMENOS EPIDEIXAI, more abundantly resolving to show (Marshall 866); EPIDEIXAI is the first aorist active infinitive of EPIDEIKNUMI (Han 399); being minded (Vincent 4.451); counsel, purpose, especially of the purpose of God respecting the salvation of men through Christ; EPIDEIXAI, to show (Marshall 866); to prove, demonstrate, set forth to be known and acknowledged (Thayer 104, 237); wishing, willing, desiring, purposing [akin to BOULE counsel, purpose], said of God, "being minded" (Vine 743); the more abundantly intending to show (Lenski 201); wanted to make the strongest demonstration (Williams).
[ 93 ]TOIS KLEERONOMOIS TEES EPANGELIAS, to the heirs of the promise (Marshall 866; Lenski 201); the idea of inheritance having disappeared, [those] who have acquired or obtained the portion allotted [them] with genitive of the thing (Thayer 349); compare heirs according to the promise, Galatians 3:29 (Arndt 435).
[ 94 ]TO AMETATHETON, the unchangeableness (Marshall 866); unchangeable, the unchangeableness (Arndt 45, 145); the adjective used substantively (Vincent 4.451); the immutability (Lenski 201); of the unchangeable character (Williams).
[ 95 ]TEES BOULEES AUTOU, of the resolve of him (Marshall 866); counsel, purpose ... of the purpose of God respecting the salvation of men through Christ (Thayer 104); of his purpose (Arndt 145); of his counsel (Lenski 201); of His purpose (Williams).
[ 96 ]EMESITEUSEN HORKOO, interposed by an oath (Marshall 866); EMESITEUSEN is third person singular, first aorist active indicative of MESITEUOO (Han 399); guaranteed by means of an oath (Arndt 506); interposed or mediated [from MESOS midst], placed himself between himself and the heritors of the promise (Vincent 4.451); mediated, gave surety (Vine 597); pledged [Himself], gave surety [with] an oath (Thayer 401, 453); interposed with an oath (Lenski 201); He interposed with an oath (Williams); see note on verse 16.
[ 97 ]HINA, in order that (Marshall 866; Lenski 201); after a present tense, in a final sense to denote purpose, aim, or goal in order that, that (Arndt 376); so that (Williams).
[ 98 ]DIA DUO PRAGMATOON AMETATHETOON, through two things unchangeable (Marshall 866); his word and his oath (Vincent 4.451); through two unchangeable things [that is, the promise and the oath], (Arndt 45, 697); that by means of two immutable things (Lenski 201); so that by these two unchangeable things (Williams).
[ 99 ]EN HOIS ADUNATON PSEUDASTHAI THEON, in which [it was] impossible to lie God (Marshall 866); PSEUDASTHAI is the first aorist middle infinitive of PHEUDOMAI (Han 399); [A negative, DUNATOS able, strong], impossible to deceive by lies (Vine 581, 665); it is impossible [for God to] lie, tell a falsehood (Arndt 19, 891); in which it is impossible for God to lie (Lenski 201); in which it is impossible for God to prove false (Williams).
[ 100 ]ISCHURAN PARAKLEESIS ECHOOMEN, a strong consolation we may have (Marshall 866); be greatly encouraged.Arndt 618); ISCHUROS strong implies indwelling strength embodied or put forth either aggressively or as an obstacle to resistance; as an army or a fortress. For consolation render encouragement (Vincent 4.451, 452); we may have strong encouragement (Lenski 201); may have encouragement strong enough (Williams).
[ 101 ]HOI KATAPHUGONTES, the [ones] having fled (Marshall 866); KATAPHUGONTES is the second aorist active participle, nominative plural masculine of KATAPHEUGTOO (Han 399); the compound verb is well rendered by KJV since, as distinguished from the simple PHEUGEIN to flee, it expresses flight to a definite place or person for safety. Hence often used in connection with an altar or a sanctuary (Vincent 4.452); we who have taken refuge (Arndt 420); who found refuge (Lenski 201); we who have taken refuge with Him (Williams).
[ 102 ]KRATEESAI, to lay hold (Marshall 866); the first aorist active infinitive of KRATEOO (Han 399); lay fast hold (Vincent 4.452); to seize (Arndt 253); so as to hold fast (Lenski 201). "Laying hold" reminds one of the safety that various men sought by entering into the holy place of the tabernacle or temple and laying hold of the bronze horns of the altar (Ex 27:2). Adonijah did so (1Ki 1:50; 2:28), but he was slain anyway by order of Solomon (1Ki 2:34); to make us seize upon (Williams).
[ 103 ]EPILABOU, lay hold on (Marshall 832); that is, practically appropriating all the benefits, privileges and responsibilities involved in the possession of eternal life (Vine 554); seize upon (Williams).
[ 104 ]TEES PROKEIMENEES ELPIDOS, of the set before [us] hope (Marshall 866); PROKEIMENEES is the present middle participle, genitive singular feminine of PROKEIMAI (Han 399); lying before or set before; destined or appointed (Vincent 4.452); hope, something hoped for, the hope that is placed before us (Arndt 420); to the proffered hope (Lenski 201); the hope that lies ahead of us (Williams).
[ 105 ]HEEN HOOS ... ECHOOMEN, which as ... we have (Marshall 866); ECHOOMEN is first person plural, present active indicative of ECHOO (Han 399); which we have as (Lenski 201); literally, which we have (NASB margin); we have as (Williams).
[ 106 ]ANKURAN TEES PSUCHEES, an anchor of the soul (Marshall 866; Lenski 201); anchor, figurative, of hope (Arndt 10); an anchor for our souls (Williams); [ANKOS a curve], anchor, was so called because of its curved form (Vine 46); see 1Ti 1:19).
[ 107 ]Cited by Milligan 187.
[ 108 ]Quotations from Epicetus and Pythagoras are from Barclay 63.
[ 109 ]ASPHALEE TE, safe both (Marshall 866); firm hope (Arndt 119); [A not, SPHALLEIN to make totter], and so to baffle or foil. Hence, secure against all attempts to break the hold (Vincent 4.452); both sure (Lenski 201); secure (Williams).
[ 110 ]KAI BEBAIAN, and firm (Marshall 866; Lenski 201); sustaining one's steps in going [BAINEIN to go], not breaking down under what steps upon it (Vincent 4.452); literally, of a root strong (Arndt 138); and safe (Williams).
[ 111 ]EISERCHOMENEEN EIS TO ESOOTERON TOU KATAPETASMATOS, entering into the inner [side] of the veil (Marshall 866); EISERCHOMENEEN is the present middle participle, accusative singular feminine of EISERCHOMAI (Han 399); the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, the holy of holies as a figure for heaven (Arndt 416); construct the participle EISERCHOMENEN entering with anchor. ESOTERON, comparison of something farther within. That within the veil is the unseen, eternal reality of the heavenly world (Vincent 4.453); and extending into the inner part behind the veil (Lenski 201); which reaches up behind the heavenly veil (Williams).
[ 112 ]HOPOU PRODROMOS, where a forerunner (Marshall 866); forerunner ... expresses an entirely new idea, lying completely outside of the Levitical system. The Levitical high priest did not enter the sanctuary as a forerunner, but only as the people's representative. He entered a place into which none might follow him; in the people's stead, and not as their pioneer. Render whither as a forerunner Jesus entered (Vincent 4.453); going [literally, running], of Jesus, who entered the Holy of Holies as the forerunner of his followers (Arndt 704); an adjective signifying running forward, going in advance, is used as a noun, of those who were sent before to take observations, acting as scouts, especially in military matters; or of one sent before a king to see that the way was prepared ... of Christ in Hebrews 6:20, as going in advance of His followers who are to be where He is, when He comes to receive them to Himself (Vine 449); where as a forerunner (Lenski 201); where Jesus has blazed the way [has entered as a forerunner] (Williams).
[ 113 ]EISEELTHEN 'IEESOUS, entered Jesus (Marshall 867); EISEELTHEN is third person singular, second aorist active indicative of EISERCHOMAI (Han 399); went inside (Arndt 233); HOPOU, strictly where, instead of HOPOI whither, but more significant as indicating an abiding there (Vincent 4.453); there entered in Jesus (Lenski 201).
[ 114 ]HOPOU HEEMOON, on behalf of us (Marshall 866); in our behalf (Lenski 201); for us (Williams).
[ 115 ]ARCHIEREUS GENOMENOS, a high priest becoming (Marshall 867); GENOMENOS is the second aorist middle participle, nominative singular masculine of GINOMAI (Han 399); figurative, of Christ, who has made atonement for the sins of men (Arndt 113); having become a high priest (Vincent 4.453); become a High Priest (Lenski 201); and became a High Priest (Williams).
[ 116 ]EIS TON AIOONA, unto the age (Marshall 867); literally, unto the age, "for ever" [or, with a negative, "never"] (Vine 377); forever (Lenski 201).
[ 117 ]KATA TEEN TAXIN MELCHISEDEK, according to the order of Melchisedec (Marshall 867; Lenski 201); with the rank of Melchizedek (Williams); see note on Hebrews 5:6.

Copyright ©2007, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
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The basic text, and all quotations not designated otherwise, are from the New King James Version, copyrighted ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Bracketed alternatives are drawn from various sources such as the ASV, Darby, KJV and RSV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.

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