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The Letter To The Hebrews: Chapter 6

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6Therefore let us go on toward perfection, d Or toward maturity leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, 2instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3And we will do a Other ancient authorities read let us do this, if God permits. 4For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6and then have fallen away, since on their own they are crucifying again the Son of God and are holding him up to contempt. 7Ground that drinks up the rain falling on it repeatedly, and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and on the verge of being cursed; its end is to be burned over.

9Even though we speak in this way, beloved, we are confident of better things in your case, things that belong to salvation. 10For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake b Gk for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11And we want each one of you to show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope to the very end, 12so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

13When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you.” 15And thus Abraham, c Gk he having patiently endured, obtained the promise. 16Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. 17In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, 18so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. 19We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, 20where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.


d Or toward maturity

a Other ancient authorities read let us do

b Gk for his name

c Gk he

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

1.1–4.13 Word of God spoken through the Son.

3.7–4.13 : Entering God's rest.

The author makes an extended commentary on Ps 95.7–11 and appliesit to the lives of the audience.


Rebellion and testing are translations of the Hebrew names Meribah andMassah in Ps 95.8 (Ex 17.1–7; Num 20.1–13; Deut 33.8).


My rest, the possession of the promisedland of Canaan.


Jer 17.5 .


The deceitfulness of sin, disobedience (Num 14.1–4,34,41 ), leading to apostasy or renunciation of faith.


A series of questions refers to Israel, those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses and who did not enter the rest. The unbelief of the Israelites will be comparedwith the necessary faithfulness of the Christian community.

4.1–13 : The faithfulness required of Christians.


God's promise, which must be fulfilled, remains forfaithful Christians to inherit.


Those who listened, Num 13.30–14.10 .


Ps 95.11 .


Gen 2.2 . The meaning of “rest” is enlarged to include God's sabbath rest.


Ps 95.11 .


Today, see 3.13 . Thepossession of Canaan under Joshua was not the promised rest, otherwise David, understood to be theauthor of the psalm, would not have spoken centuries later of a rest still remaining (Ps 95.7–8 ).


Sabbath rest, points back to God's rest after the work of creation (Gen 2.2 ), and forward to rest as theultimate destiny of followers in heaven.


The author exhorts the community to enter into the restand concludes the opening section, which has explored the theme of God's speaking, with a statementabout the word of God which is living.


The Gk word translated account is “logos,” the same wordtranslated as “word” in v. 12 .

4.14–10.31 : Jesus as the eternal high priest.

4.14–5.10 : Christ as great high priest.

The author under stands Jesus' life, death, and present heavenly role through the category of “high priest” who perfects the ancient sacrificial system of Judaism. Having discussed Jesus' “faithfulness”( 2.17; 3.1–6 ), the author turns to reflect on his “mercy.”


Through the heavens, Jesus has passed through the series of heavensabove the earth and entered into the highest where God dwells. His entry is the basis for the confidenceand hope of Christians.


Approach the throne of grace, the sermon's imagery shifts from holding fast( 3.6,14; 4.14 ) to moving forward, an image that will be explored as the sermon proceeds.


The authordefines what a high priest is and shows how the definition fits Jesus. A priest is chosen from among humanbeings and represents them before God in sacrifices he offers.


He can effectively represent them becausehe shares human weakness.


See Lev 9.7 .


He is called by God to this office. Aaron, Ex 28.1 .


Citing Ps 2.7 , the author demonstrates that Christ is appointed by God (cf. Lk 3.22 ).


The author quotes Ps110.4 . According to the order of Melchizedek is interpreted to mean “like” Melchizedek. The sermon willreturn to this element in 7.1–22 .


The author refers to an example of Jesus' sharing human weaknessand suffering in order to show how that makes him a source of salvation for human beings.


Traditionally, this verse has been understood to refer to Gethsemane (Mk.14.32–42 and parallels). However, thedescription resembles the portrayal of the typical Jewish hero, such as Abraham or Moses, who prays loudly to God for deliverance (2 Macc 11.6 ; Philo, Rer. div. her. 19).


Melchizedek, see 7.1–10 n. Although simply called a “priest according to the order of Melchizedek” in the psalm citation, the authorelaborates that Jesus is a “high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

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