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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Backsliding

a falling off, or defection in matters of religion; an apostasy, Acts 21:21; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:1 . This may be either partial or complete: partial, when it is in the heart, as Proverbs 14:14; complete, as that described in Hebrews 6:4 , &c; Hebrews 10:6 , &c. On the latter passage Chrysostom observes, "When a house has a strong foundation, suppose an arch fall, some of the beams break, or a wall decline, while the foundation is good, these breaches may be repaired; so in religion, whilst a person maintains the true doctrines, and remains on the firm rock, though he fall, true repentance may restore him to the favour and image of God: but as in a house, when the foundation is bad, nothing can save the building from ruin; so when heretical doctrines are admitted for a foundation, nothing can save the professor from destruction." It is important in interpreting these passages to keep it steadfastly in mind, that the apostasy they speak of is not only moral but doctrinal.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Backsliding'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/b/backsliding.html. 1831-2.

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