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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Hebrews 6

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-20


Warning and Encouragement

1. Leaving.. let us go on] RV 'let us cease to speak of.. and press on.' The words are either an exhortation to the readers to advance beyond the elementary stage of Christian doctrine, or a resolution on the part of the writer to omit the discussion of rudimentary truths and to proceed to more advanced subjects. The latter is probably correct, in which case the 'us' is that of authorship. But though he determines to omit the treatment of elementary doctrines, he mentions what they are under six headings arranged in three pairs. The first are 'repentance from dead works and faith toward God,' the first steps to be taken in the Christian life: cp. Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; Acts 17:30 see on Hebrews 9:14. Dead works] i.e. sinful works, the wages of which is death (Romans 6:23).

2. The second pair comprises the 'teaching of baptisms and of laying on of hands,' which constitute the next step in the Christian life. Baptism is for the remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost: see Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16, Acts 8:17. The plural ('baptisms') is employed probably because instruction with regard to Christian baptism would necessitate a comparison with Jewish baptism and other ceremonial washings. The third pair is 'resurrection and eternal judgment,' also fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and dealt with in apostolic preaching: see Acts 4:2, Acts 4:33; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31; Acts 24:25.

4-8. Any attempt to lay the foundations of Christian doctrine afresh for those who, after accepting them, have rejected them and are in a hopeless condition, is (to the author and his readers at any rate) in vain: see on Hebrews 12:17.

4. Tasted] i.e. had full experience of: cp. Hebrews 2:9. The heavenly gift, if it is not a general expression denoting the whole contents of the grace of God, wil mean either the forgiveness of sin or the gift of the Holy Ghost. Of these two the former is the most probable, seeing the latter is expressly mentioned in the next clause.

5. Powers of the age to come] so RV. Either the miraculous gifts referred to in Hebrews 2:4, or more probably the fortifying influences of God's sure promises concerning the future.

6. Crucify.. afresh] They take the part of those unbelieving Jews who rejected Christ and openly reviled Him: cp. Hebrews 10:29.

7. The earth] rather, 'the land' or 'the field'. that makes a good use of God's gift of rain is blessed by Him; but 'the field' that responds to His goodness with a crop of thorns and thistles is destroyed. The parable is a warning against the wilful misuse of those gifts of God referred to in Hebrews 6:4-5 : cp. Romans 2:4-9.

9. Beloved] only used here in this Epistle. The word expresses the writer's solicitude for his readers in view of even the remote possibility in their case of such an awful fate as has been described. Accompany salvation] are intimately connected with it, leading to it.

11. The same diligence] i.e. be as zealous in maintaining the fulness of their own hope as they have been in ministering to their brethren.

12. Inherit] i.e. enter into possession of what is promised. The verb is in the participial mood, and refers equally to the past and present. The writer is thinking of the class of persons who may be described as 'inheritors of the promises.' Patience] means patient waiting.

13-20. The example of Abraham is an encouragement in this respect. God's promise to him was confirmed by an oath, and the Christian hope is no less sure, because not only has God given promise of the heavenly inheritance, but Christ has entered within the veil as High Priest and Forerunner.

13. See Genesis 22:16, Genesis 22:17.

15. He obtained the promise] i.e had the promise made to him: cp. Genesis 22:16. “What Abraham actually saw in his lifetime was only the beginning of the fulfilment: cp. Hebrews 11:39-40,

16. RV 'and in every dispute of theirs the oath is final for confirmation.'

17. Wherein] i.e. this being the case among men. Confirmed it by an oath] RV 'interposed' (RM 'mediated') 'with an oath.' The idea is that as there was no greater who could be called in as a third party or surety for the fulfilment of the promise, God made Himself the surety by means of the oath by Himself.

18. Two immutable things] viz. the promise, which, because it was God's promise, was immutable, and the oath, which, though not necessary in this case, was added for confirmation of men's faith. Consolation] RV 'encouragement.'

19. Sure and stedfast, and which entereth] RV inserts 'a hope' before these adjectival terms, thus confining the metaphor of the anchor to the one clause, 'as an anchor of the soul,' and taking the three expressions as descriptive not of the anchor, but of the hope. This simplifies matters in so far as it gets rid of the somewhat incongruous idea of an anchor entering within the veil. There may be, however, a mingling of fact and figure. The first two epithets are certainly suggested by the anchor, if they do not directly apply to it. The general idea is sufficiently clear. The Christian hope is infallible, because it is fixed on Christ, who, as High Priest and Forerunner, is now within the veil. The veil] The entry of the High Priest through the veil into the Holy of Holies was the climax of his ministry on the Day of Atonement: see Leviticus 16:2, Leviticus 16:12.

20. The discussion is brought round to the point where it was interrupted (Hebrews 5:10) by the warning against the danger of spiritual dulness and apostasy.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 6:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/hebrews-6.html. 1909.

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