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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Hebrews 6



Other Authors
Verse 1

Wherefore (διοdio). Because of the argument already made about the difficulty of the subject and the dulness of the readers.

Let us cease to speak (απεντες τον λογονaphentes ton logon). Second aorist active participle of απιημιaphiēmi to leave off or behind.

Of the first principles of Christ
(της αρχης του Χριστουtēs archēs tou Christou). Objective genitive ΧριστουChristou (about Christ). “Leaving behind the discussion of the beginning about Christ,” another way of saying again τα στοιχεια της αρχης των λογιων του τεουta stoicheia tēs archēs tōn logiōn tou theou of Hebrews 5:12.

And press on
(και περωμεταkai pherōmetha). Volitive present subjunctive passive, “Let us be borne on” (both the writer and the readers). The Pythagorean Schools use περωμεταpherōmetha in precisely this sense of being borne on to a higher stage of instruction. Bleek quotes several instances of Greek writers using together as here of απεντες περωμεταaphentes pherōmetha (Eurip., Androm. 393, for instance).

Unto perfection
(επι την τελειοτηταepi tēn teleiotēta). Old word from τελειοςteleios mature, adults as in Hebrews 5:14. Only twice in N.T. (here and Colossians 3:14). Let us go on to the stage of adults, not babes, able to masticate solid spiritual food. The writer will assume that the readers are adults in his discussion of the topic.

Not laying again the foundation
(μη παλιν τεμελιον καταβαλλομενοιmē palin themelion kataballomenoi). The regular idiom for laying down the foundation of a building (τεμελιονthemelion Luke 6:48.). The metaphor is common (1 Corinthians 3:11) and the foundation is important, but one cannot be laying the foundation always if he is to build the house. There are six items mentioned here as part of the “foundation,” though the accusative διδαχηνdidachēn in apposition with τεμελιονthemelion may mean that there are only four included in the τεμελιονthemelion Two are qualitative genitives after τεμελιονthemelion (μετανοιαςmetanoias and πιστεωςpisteōs). What is meant by “dead works” (απο νεκρων εργωνapo nekrōn ergōn) is not clear (Hebrews 9:14), though the reference may be to touching a corpse (Numbers 19:1.; Numbers 31:19). There are frequent allusions to the deadening power of sin (James 2:17, James 2:26; John 7:25; Romans 6:1, Romans 6:11; Romans 7:8; Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1, Ephesians 2:5). The use of repentance and faith together occurs also elsewhere (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21; 1 Thessalonians 1:9).

Verse 2

The other four items are qualitative genitives with διδαχηνdidachēn (βαπτισμων επιτεσεως χειρων αναστασεως νεκρων κριματος αιωνιουbaptismōn class="normal greek">βαπτισμων — epitheseōs cheirōn class="translit"> anastaseōs nekrōn class="translit"> krimatos aiōniou). The plural baptismōn “by itself does not mean specifically Christian baptism either in this epistle (Hebrews 9:10) or elsewhere (Mark 7:4), but ablutions or immersions such as the mystery religions and the Jewish cultus required for initiates, proselytes, and worshippers in general” (Moffatt). The disciples of the Baptist had disputes with the Jews over purification (John 3:25). See also Acts 19:2. “The laying on of hands” seems to us out of place in a list of elementary principles, but it was common as a sign of blessing (Matthew 19:13), of healing (Mark 7:32), in the choice of the Seven (Acts 6:6), in the bestowal of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17.; Acts 19:6), in separation for a special task (Acts 13:3), in ordination (1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6). Prayer accompanied this laying on of the hands as a symbol. The resurrection of the dead (both just and unjust, John 5:29; Acts 24:15) is easily seen to be basal (cf. 1Cor 15) as well as eternal judgment (timeless and endless).

Verse 3

If God permit (εανπερ επιτρεπηι ο τεοςeanper epitrepēi ho theos). Condition of the third class with εανπερeanper (note περper indeed). See 1 Corinthians 16:7 (εαν ο κυριος επιτρεπσηιean ho kurios epitrepsēi) and Acts 18:21 (του τεου τελοντοςtou theou thelontos). It is not an idle form with the author. He means that he will go on with the argument and not attempt to lay again the foundation (the elements). Moffatt takes him to mean that he will teach them the elements at a later time (Hebrews 13:23) if the way opens, a less probable interpretation.

Verse 4

As touching those who were once enlightened (τους απαχ πωτιστενταςtous hapax phōtisthentas). First aorist passive articular participle (the once for all enlightened) of ποτιζωphotizō old and common verb (from πωςphōs) as in Luke 11:36. The metaphorical sense here (cf. John 1:9; Ephesians 1:18; Hebrews 10:32) occurs in Polybius and Epictetus. The accusative case is due to ανακαινιζεινanakainizein in Hebrews 6:6. απαχHapax here is “once for all,” not once upon a time (ποτεpote) and occurs again (Hebrews 9:7, Hebrews 9:26, Hebrews 9:27, Hebrews 9:28; Hebrews 12:26, Hebrews 12:27).

Tasted of the heavenly gift (γευσαμενους της δωρεας της επουρανιουgeusamenous tēs dōreas tēs epouraniou). First aorist middle participle of γευωgeuō old verb once with accusative (Hebrews 6:5, καλον ρημα δυναμειςkalon rēma class="normal greek">μετοχους πνευματος αγιου — dunameis), usually with genitive (Hebrews 2:9) as here.

Partakers of the Holy Ghost
(μετοχοιmetochous pneumatos hagiou). See Hebrews 3:14 for και παραπεσονταςmetochoi These are all given as actual spiritual experiences.

And then fell away
(παραπιπτωkai parapesontas). No “then” here, though the second aorist (effective) active participle of της χαριτος εχεπεσατεparapiptō old verb to fall beside (aside), means that. Only here in N.T. In Galatians 5:4 we have tēs charitos exepesate (ye fell out of grace, to law, Paul means).

Verse 6

It is impossible to renew them again (αδυνατον παλιν ανακαινιζεινadunaton palin anakainizein). The αδυνατονadunaton (impossible) comes first in Hebrews 6:4 without εστινestin (is) and there is no “them” in the Greek. There are three other instances of αδυνατονadunaton in Hebrews (Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 10:4; Hebrews 11:6). The present active infinitive of ανακαινιζωanakainizō (late verb, ανα καινοςana class="normal greek">ανακαινοω — kainos here only in the N.T., but αδυνατονanakainoō 2 Corinthians 4:16; Colossians 3:10) with αναστραυρουντας εαυτοιςadunaton bluntly denies the possibility of renewal for apostates from Christ (cf. 3:12-4:2). It is a terrible picture and cannot be toned down. The one ray of light comes in Hebrews 6:8-12, not here.

Seeing they crucify to themselves afresh (τους παραπεσονταςanastraurountas heautois). Present active participle (accusative plural agreeing with ανασταυροωtousανα parapesontas) of και παραδειγματιζονταςanastauroō the usual verb for crucify in the old Greek so that παραδειγματιζωana - here does not mean “again” or “afresh,” but “up,” sursum, not rursum (Vulgate). This is the reason why renewal for such apostates is impossible. They crucify Christ.

And put him to an open shame
(παραδειγμαkai paradeigmatizontas). Present active participle of δειγματισαιparadeigmatizō late verb from paradeigma (example), to make an example of, and in bad sense to expose to disgrace. Simplex verb deigmatisai in this sense in Matthew 1:19.

Verse 7

Which hath drunk (η πιουσαhē piousa). Articular second aorist active participle of πινωpinō to drink.

Herbs (βοτανηνbotanēn). Old word from βοσκωboskō to feed, green plant, only here in N.T. Cf. our botany.

(ευτετονeutheton). Old compound verbal (ευ τιτημιeu class="normal greek">γεωργειται — tithēmi) well-placed, fit (Luke 9:62).

It is tilled
(γεωργεωgeōrgeitai). Present passive indicative of γεωργοςgeōrgeō old and rare verb from γη εργονgeōrgos (tiller of the soil, μεταλαμβανειgē class="normal greek">μεταλαμβανω
ergon 2 Timothy 2:6), here only in the N.T.

(ευλογιαςmetalambanei). Present active indicative of metalambanō old verb to share in, with genitive (eulogias) as here (Acts 2:46) or with accusative (Acts 24:25).

Verse 8

If it beareth (εκπερουσαekpherousa). Present active participle of εκπερωekpherō conditional participle. For “thorns and thistles” see Matthew 7:16 for both words (ακαντας και τριβολουςakanthas kai tribolous). Roman soldiers scattered balls with sharp iron spikes, one of which was called tribulus, to hinder the enemy‘s cavalry.

Rejected (αδοκιμοςadokimos). See 1 Corinthians 9:27; Romans 1:28. For καταρας εγγυςkataras eggus (nigh unto a curse) see Galatians 3:10.

To be burned
(εις καυσινeis kausin). “For burning.” Common sight in clearing up ground.

Verse 9

But we are persuaded (πεπεισμετα δεpepeismetha de). Perfect passive indicative of πειτωpeithō literary plural. Note Paul‘s use of πεπεισμαιpepeismai in 2 Timothy 1:12.

Better things (τα κρεισσοναta kreissona). “The better things” than those pictures in Hebrews 6:4-8.

That accompany salvation
(εχομενα σωτηριαςechomena sōtērias). “Things holding on to salvation” (Mark 1:38), a common Greek phrase εχομεναechomena present middle participle of εχωechō

Though we thus speak
(ει και ουτως λαλουμενei kai houtōs laloumen). Concessive condition of the first class. Explanatory, not apologetic, of his plain talk.

Not unrighteous to forget
(ου γαρ αδικος επιλατεσταιou gar adikos epilathesthai). Second aorist middle infinitive of επιλαντανωepilanthanō with genitive case (εργουergou work, αγαπηςagapēs love). But even God cannot remember what they did not do.

In that ye ministered and still do minister
(διακονησαντες και διακονουντεςdiakonēsantes kai diakonountes). First aorist active and present active participle of the one verb διακονεωdiakoneō the sole difference being the tense (single act aorist, repeated acts present).

Verse 11

And we desire (επιτυμουμεν δεepithumoumen de). Literary plural again like πεπεισμεταpepeismetha (Hebrews 6:9). He is not wholly satisfied with them as he had already shown (Hebrews 5:11-14). They have not given up Christ (Hebrews 6:4-8), but many of them are still babes (νηπιοιnēpioi Hebrews 5:13) and not adults (τελειοιteleioi Hebrews 5:14) and others are in peril of becoming so.

Unto the fulness of hope (προς την πληροποριαν της ελπιδοςpros tēn plērophorian tēs elpidos). For πληροποριαplērophoria see 1 Thessalonians 1:5; Colossians 2:2.

To the end
(αχρι τελουςachri telous). As in Hebrews 3:6, Hebrews 3:14.

Verse 12

That ye be not sluggish (ινα μη νωτροι γενηστεhina mē nōthroi genēsthe). Negative final clause with second aorist middle subjunctive of γινομαιginomai “that ye become not sluggish (or dull of hearing)” as some already were (Hebrews 5:11).

Imitators (μιμηταιmimētai). See 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14 for this word (our “mimic” in good sense). The writer wishes to hold and develop these sluggards through those who inherit the promises (see 10:19-12:3), one of his great appeals later in ch. Heb 11 full of examples of “faith and long-suffering.”

Verse 13

Made promise (επαγγειλαμενοςepaggeilamenos). First aorist middle participle of επαγγελλωepaggellō Could swear by none greater (κατ ουδενος ειχεν μειζονος ομοσαιkat' oudenos eichen meizonos omosai). Imperfect active of εχωechō in sense of εδυνατοedunato as often with ομοσαιomosai (first aorist active infinitive of ομνυωomnuō) and ωμοσενōmosen (he sware) is first aorist active indicative.

Verse 14

Surely (ει μηνei mēn). By itacism for η μηνē mēn (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 205). The quotation is from Genesis 22:16. (the promise renewed to Abraham with an oath after offering of Isaac).

Blessing (ευλογωνeulogōn). Hebraism (present active participle) for the Hebrew infinitive absolute and so with πλητυνωνplēthunōn (multiplying).

Verse 15

Having patiently endured (μακροτυμησαςmakrothumēsas). First aorist active participle of μακροτυμοςmakrothumos (μακροσ τυμοςmakros class="normal greek">μακροτυμια — thumos long spirit) illustrating επετυχενmakrothumia of Hebrews 6:12.

He obtained (επετυγχανωepetuchen). Second aorist (effective) active indicative of epetugchanō old verb with genitive. God was true to his word and Abraham was faithful.

Verse 16

In every dispute (πασης αντιλογιαςpasēs antilogias). Objective genitive of old word several times in Hebrews (Hebrews 6:16; Hebrews 7:7; Hebrews 12:3). Talking back, face to face, in opposition.

Final (περαςperas). Limit, boundary (Matthew 12:42). Men may perjure themselves.

Verse 17

To shew (επιδειχαιepideixai). First aorist active infinitive of επιδεικνυμιepideiknumi to show in addition (επιepi -) to his promise “more abundantly” (περισσοτερονperissoteron).

The immutability of his counsel (το αμετατετον της βουλης αυτουto ametatheton tēs boulēs autou). Late compound verbal neuter singular (alpha privative and μετατιτημιmetatithēmi to change), “the unchangeableness of his will.”

(εμεσιτευσενemesiteusen). First aorist active indicative of μεσιτευωmesiteuō late verb from μεσιτηςmesitēs mediator (Hebrews 8:6), to act as mediator or sponsor or surety, intransitively to pledge one‘s self as surety, here only in the N.T.

With an oath
(ορκωιhorkōi). Instrumental case of ορκοςhorkos (from ερκοςherkos an enclosure), Matthew 14:7, Matthew 14:9.

Verse 18

By two immutable things (δια δυο πραγματων αμετατετωνdia duo pragmatōn ametathetōn). See Hebrews 6:17. God‘s promise and God‘s oath, both unchangeable.

In which it is impossible for God to lie (εν οις αδυνατον πσευσασται τεονen hois adunaton pseusasthai theon). Put this “impossibility” by that in Hebrews 6:4-6. πσευσασταιTheon is accusative of general reference with πσευδομαιpseusasthai first aorist middle infinitive of ινα εχωμενpseudomai

That we may have
(ιναhina echōmen). Purpose clause with εχωhina and the present active subjunctive of ισχυραν παρακλησινechō “that we may keep on having.”

Strong consolation
(οι καταπυγοντεςischuran paraklēsin). “Strong encouragement” by those two immutable things.

Who have fled for refuge
(καταπευγωhoi kataphugontes). Articular effective second aorist active participle of κρατησαιkatapheugō old verb, in N.T. only here and Acts 14:6. The word occurs for fleeing to the cities of refuge (Deuteronomy 4:42; Deuteronomy 19:5; Joshua 20:9).

To lay hold of
(κρατεωkratēsai). First aorist active (single act) infinitive of προκειμενηςkrateō in contrast with present tense in Hebrews 4:14 (hold fast).

Set before us
(χαραςprokeimenēs). Placed before us as the goal. See this same participle used with the “joy” (charas) set before Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

Verse 19

Which (ηνhēn). Which hope. What would life be without this blessed hope based on Christ as our Redeemer?

As an anchor of the soul (ως αγκυραν της πσυχηςhōs agkuran tēs psuchēs). Old word, literally in Acts 27:29, figuratively here, only N.T. examples. The ancient anchors were much like the modern ones with iron hooks to grapple the rocks and so hold on to prevent shipwreck (1 Timothy 1:19).

Both sure and steadfast
(ασπαλη τε και βεβαιανasphalē te kai bebaian). This anchor of hope will not slip (alpha privative and σπαλλωsphallō to totter) or lose its grip (βεβαιαbebaia from βαινωbainō to go, firm, trusty).

That which is within the veil
(το εσωτερον του καταπετασματοςto esōteron tou katapetasmatos). The Holy of Holies, “the inner part of the veil” (the space behind the veil), in N.T. only here and Acts 16:24 (of the inner prison). The anchor is out of sight, but it holds. That is what matters.

Verse 20

As a forerunner (προδρομοςprodromos). Old word used for a spy, a scout, only here in N.T. Jesus has shown us the way, has gone on ahead, and is the surety (εγγυοςegguos Hebrews 7:22) and guarantor of our own entrance later. In point of fact, our anchor of hope with its two chains of God‘s promise and oath has laid hold of Jesus within the veil. It will hold fast. All we need to do is to be true to him as he is to us.

A high priest for ever (αρχιερευς εις τον αιωναarchiereus eis ton aiōna). There he functions as our great high priest, better than Aaron for he is “after the order of Melchizedek,” the point that now calls for elucidation (Hebrews 5:10.).


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Hebrews 6:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

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