Bible Study Christian Living Discipleship

Hebrews 6:1-12

As Christians, we must know what we believe and why. It is not just pastoral ministry that teaches us, but we must read and STUDY to learn for ourselves. We have that responsibility. It must be our priority.

My translation and notes on Hebrews 6:1-12

Encouragement to Grow in and by Doctrine

1 So then, leaving the discussion about the basic principles about Christ, let us go on to maturity, not laying the foundation again of repentanceN4 from dead works and of faith in God,

[The ‘basic principles’ would be the instruction after believing in Jesus alone for salvation. Some of these ‘basic principles’ are who Christ is and why (basic Christology), then repentance, faith in God, baptisms (see note at Mark 16:16), laying on of hands, resurrection, and eternal judgment. These must be taught all new believers else they won’t know what being a Christian is].

2 Of the doctrine about baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection from the dead, and of eternal judgment.

3 We will do that, if God permits it.

4 For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, experienced the heavenly gift, were made partakers of the Holy Spirit,

[The Greek word for ‘impossible’ is ἀδύνατος adýnatos (G102). It means impossible as in Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27, Romans 8:3 (could not do), Hebrews 10:4, and Hebrews 11:6. Some understand ‘once enlightened’ to only refer to baptism or some ritual, not a work of God. If that be the case, then any sins committed after baptism cannot be forgiven. The Greek word for ‘once’ means once for all. The Greek word for ‘enlightened’ is φωτίζω phōtízō (G5461). It means to shine light on. Our lives are in ignorance as darkness in walking a cave without light. Many understand that knowledge leads to light, but it seems more reasonable to know that truth leads to light and enlightenment. See 1 Peter 2:9 and Ephesians 1:18. They were enlightened by the Holy Spirit and not rejecting that conviction but believing it. There is danger in turning away from God and God’s ways. Can words not be any clearer? Compare Proverbs 2:13-14, Ezekiel 18:26-27, and Ezekiel 33:12-13. The Greek word for ‘experienced’ is γεύομαι geúomai (G1089). It means to taste, that is, experienced the flavor and then applied in different ways. The word can mean a mere tasting rather than eating (Matthew 27:34—Jesus did not take a swig of vinegar; He just tasted it). It can also be tasting in the sense of experiencing something (Mark 9:1—the people physically die). Here it is to not have head knowledge of the heavenly gift (or as some interpret it—taking the Lord’s Supper), but rather they know by experience the heavenly gift. The Greek word for ‘partaker’ is μέτοχος métochos (G3353). It means doing or experiencing something together like a team winning a contest and as is used in Luke 5:7. The word ‘partaker’ is used in Hebrews 1:9; 3:1; 3:14; 6:4, and 12:8. For more information, see here and here].

5 Experienced the good word of God and the powers of the coming age,

[The writer continues from the previous verse. This group of former believers also experience the good word of God (the Gospel) and the powers of the coming age (the blessings of the Kingdom of God and the Apostles’ signs confirming their ministry (2 Corinthians 12:12)). Vincent (WORD STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT) comments: The gospel of Christ as preached. Comp. Hebrews 2:3. To the word are attached life (Acts 5:20); spirit and life (John 6:63); salvation (Acts 11:14); cleansing (Ephesians 5:26); especially the impartation of the Spirit (John 3:34; Acts 5:32; Acts 10:44; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 2:4)].

6 And have fallen away, [it is impossible] to renew them to repentanceN4 again, since they put the Son of God up on the cross again for themselves and expose him to public disgrace.

[‘It is impossible’ is added in brackets because this word is not in the Greek text here but is added to convey the thought of this long sentence, which began in verse 4. The Greek word for ‘fallen away’ is παραπίπτω parapíptō (G3895). It means to fall away as in falling from true faith as in a Jew falling from true worship as in Ezekiel 14:13 and Ezekiel 15:8 and in the New Testament here. The Greek word ‘renew’ is ἀνακαινίζω anakainízō (G340). It means to renew and restore. The words are clear, it is impossible to renew/restore them to repentance. The reason is Jesus died once. He will not die for sins a second time. All are warned. Barclay (beware) writes: But when we read this passage we must remember that—it was written in an age of persecution: and in any such age apostasy is the supreme sin. In any age of persecution a man can save his life by denying Christ; but every person who does so aims a body-blow at the Church, for it means that he has counted his life and comfort dearer to him than Jesus Christ].

7 For the earth, which soaks in the rain that frequently falls on it and produces herbs useful for those who work the soil, receives blessing from God,

8 But that which produces thorns and briars is rejected and about to be doomed, whose final state is to be burned.

[The writer gives a serious warning about apostasy using a common illustration. Compare John 15:2].

9 But, beloved, even though we speak this way, we are convinced of better things of youp and things that accompany salvation.

[The writer is clear. Apostasy is possible but he is convinced that we will not apostatize. He lists some of their godly actions. Note, they are ministering to believers (verse 10)].

10 For God is not unrighteous to forget yourp work and labor of love, which youp have shown [by yourp life] for his name in that, youp have served and do serve the saints.

11 We desire that each one of youp would show the same earnestness to [obtain] the unshakable assurance of hopeN3 all the way to the end,

[Being earnest (Romans 12:11) to obtain the unshakable assurance all the way to end (either the Rapture or death). We began our journey of faith through grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and now we live every day in faith. The stronger our hope; the stronger our assurance. We have a most reasonable faith which increases our hope into stronger assurance. We must grow in faith. Evidently, some of the first readers of this letter were failing].

12 So that youp will not be apathetic but followers of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

N3 and N4 are general notes for all the New Testament occurrences.

N3 ἐλπίς elpís (G1680) is hope. Hope is expectation. Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is based on faith. Faith is believing God based on what is most reasonable to fact and past experiences which have proven true. Hope is the waiting for what is going to happen. I did not superscript the verbs or verb forms.

N4 Repent/repentance. μετάνοια metánoia (G3341) is the noun; μετανοέω metanoéō (G3340) is the verb. Literally, it means change of mind. In the New Testament the word has the idea of being re-formed. Adam was formed from the dirt by God and believers are re-formed by the Holy Spirit (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). Repent/repentance carries with it the idea of a new start, a reformation of heart, a spiritual change towards God. Depending on the context, it can have the idea of remorse for guilt which is brought by God’s work on our heart to believe in Jesus Christ and then be regenerated. ISBE (1915) has this entry: The word metanoeo, expresses the true New Testament idea of the spiritual change implied in a sinner’s return to God. The term signifies “to have another mind,” to change the opinion or purpose with regard to sin. It is equivalent to the Old Testament word “turn.” Thus, it is employed by John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38). The idea expressed by the word is intimately associated with different aspects of spiritual transformation and of Christian life, with the process in which the agency of man is prominent, as faith (Acts 20:21), and as conversion (Ac 3:19); also with those experiences and blessings of which God alone is the author, as remission and forgiveness of sin (Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31). It is sometimes conjoined with baptism, which as an overt public act proclaims a changed relation to sin and God (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; Acts 19:4). As a vital experience, repentance is to manifest its reality by producing good fruits appropriate to the new spiritual life (Matthew 3:8).


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