As we walk through Hebrews in our reading plan, below are a few additional thoughts, questions, commentary, and quotes. These aren’t designed to substitute your personal study and reflectionon God’s Word, but they’re small supplements to your study. It’s always helpful to begin your study by reading the passage and making some basic observations. See the post “Making Observations” for basic questions to help you understand and apply what you’re reading.
“The readers are verging toward lethargy, and hence he warns them against it so they won’t be lethargic (6: 12). 247 The readers won’t understand the truth if they don’t want to understand it, and so the fundamental issue facing the readers isn’t intellectual but moral.” (Thomas Schreiner, Hebrews, 169)
“Christians never leave or abandon the elementary teachings of the faith. They are, as Hebrews says, foundational and fundamental. On the other hand, something is radically wrong if the same teachings need to be defended and explicated repeatedly.” (Thomas Schreiner, Hebrews, 177)
“The author sees that they are at a crossroads. He perceives that if they turn away from Christ, there will be no future repentance for them. 269 It isn’t the case that God would not and could not forgive them. Rather, the readers, if they repudiate Christ, will have no desire to return to him. They will have left that ‘phase’ of their life behind. Hence, the urgency of the current situation provokes the author to admonish them severely.” (Thomas Schreiner, Hebrews, 180)
Study, Reflection, and Discussion Questions
- Are there any ways you’re sluggish, apathetic, or unresponsive in your response to God’s Word (5:11; 6:12)? How do you respond to sermons, personal Bible reading, when others speak truth into your life, or when convicted? Is there anything you need to repent of and take more seriously or be responsive toward?
- The author lists the way they love each other as fruit of their salvation (cf. 1 John 3:11-15; John 17:20-21; Col. 1:3-5; 1 Thess. 1:3). Why is love for one another a key fruit of life in Christ? What are ways you sacrificially love others?
- Maturity is described by applying and responding to God’s Word (5:14), while immaturity is described by apathy to God’s Word (5:11) and resistance to applying it (5:12-13). What does this tell us about the importance of not just hearing or learning about God’s Word but applying and obeying it? What would be some indications of apathy to God’s Word versus being responsive to it?
- In 5:11-6:20, what are examples of our role in growth and endurance, and what are phrases or examples highlighting God’s role and work in keeping and preserving us? Why are both vital to remember and live in light of?
- In light of the serious warnings, the exhortations not to be sluggish, the promises we need for encouragement, and the way God uses words to help us persevere, how should we encourage one another with our words? What are practical ways to do that for one another?
- Read 6:12, 13-15; 11:39-12:2; 13:7. Why are godly examples significant for our growth and endurance in the Christian life? Who are models you look up to and follow as they follow Christ?
For Further Study
- Perseverance: John 8:31; 15:1-11; Heb. 3:14; Phil. 2:12-13; Col. 1:21-23; 1 Cor. 15:2; 2 Peter 1:10.
- Preservation: John 6:37-40; 10:28-29; 17:12; 18:9; Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:28-30, 38-39; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Tim. 1:12; 4:18; Eph. 1:4; 4:30; Jude 24; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; (Rom. 11:29); Heb. 7:25; Jer. 31:31-34; 32:36-41; 1 John 5:4; Luke 22:32.
- Genuine vs False Faith: 1 Cor. 11:19; 1 John 2:19-20; Matt. 7:21-23; 15:8; John 2:23-25; 8:31; 2 John 9; Mark 4:5-6, 16-17.
- Warning Passages: “Warning Passages Ahead” by Collin Hansen at thegospelcoalition.org; “Calvinism and the Warning Passages: A Brief Reply to Scot McKnight” at credomag.com; 5-minute video by Tom Schreiner, “Can You Lose Your Salvation? What About the Warning Passages?” at youtube.com
- Perseverance & Preservation: “Does Hebrews 6 Teach You Can Lose Your Salvation?” by Ardel Caneday at thegospelcoalition.org; “Perseverance and Assurance: A Survey and A Proposal” by Tom Schreiner; “The Necessity of Perseverance in Faith and the Assurance of Salvation” and “Do Not Harden Your Heart in the Day of Trouble” by John Piper at desiringgod.org; “Perseverance in Faith because of Preservation by Grace” by Dustin Crowe at indycrowe.com. Kept for Jesus by Sam Storms; Run to Win the Prize by Tom Schreiner.
Ideas for Response
- Not being sluggish or dull of hearing to God’s Word and enduring in the Christian life is not something we do alone. Ask one or two people to regularly ask questions about how you’re doing spiritually and ask them to regularly encourage you with truth and promises from the Bible.
- Spend time praying for one another. Pray for specific temptations or trials. Pray against apathy or hard hearts. Ask for God to stir in one another a love for Christ and an eagerness to hear and heed the Word.
- This week has some verses that can be difficult to understand. Use the recommend resources section this week to do some further reading.