Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hebrews 6

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Recall that I put the end of chapter 5 with today's reading as it seems to fit here better.

Warning Against Apostasy (5:11-6:12)

By now you should be teachers, but instead you still need to be taught the basics of the word of God. The advanced lessons are for those who have been trained by constant practice discerning good from evil.

Basically we seem to be calling these people idiots, or at least bad students.

We will therefore leave the elementary doctrine and move on to maturity. For if someone has known Christ but then leaves the faith, they will not be able to return to the faith as they are crucifying Jesus again with their actions. They are like a field that once bore useful crops but now is overrun with thorns an thistles, such a field should be burned.

Here we are basically saying that if you leave the faith you can never come back, you have crucified Jesus all over again. I once heard someone make a claim along these lines, that once you leave the faith you are crucifying Jesus in your heart and you can't be saved again as Jesus already died for you once. I thought the statement was totally bizarre, I should have figured it was right out of the bible. 

This whole idea of apostates being evil is definitely a negative. It makes sense that it would be in a religion, I could see it being useful as far as keeping members. But it definitely has some negative consequences. It makes you fearful of exploring certain ideas, you can't leave the faith and come back, it could make you hate people who have left your faith, they are a lost cause so why treat them well. This reminds me a lot of blasphemy being an unforgivable sin, from a meme standpoint it is a useful item to have in the religion, but it seems to be a negative for the people who are actually members of that religion.

It also mentions leaving the elementary doctrines, which are basically the magic tricks of Jesus, in favor of more mature things. I'd sure like to know what those mature things are, hopefully they are coming up.

But we know that you are not apostates, we want you to have hope until the end and work hard for the saints.

I'm not sure who is writing this letter and how they are related to the saints, but this plea sounds somewhat self serving. Also, I find the wording of v11 which includes "until the end" very curious.

The Certainty of God's Promise (v. 13-20) 

God has made a promise to Abraham and his heirs, so he has made 2 promises. Since he cannot lie we should hold fast to hope.

I don't really understand the significance of the second promise. If God can't lie it is redundant, if he can, why couldn't he just lie twice? Also, it says that god cannot lie, yet we know this to be false.

Note: I had a busy day today, and didn't have time to give the commentaries the same attention I typically like to. Though I did quickly scan one and found nothing significant worth mentioning. If anyone thinks I missed a perspective please feel free to speak up. As always, this kind of thing is more than welcome.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)


6:6 Apostates are crucifying Jesus a second time

"[For it is impossible...] to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt."


  1. I had almost the exact same thoughts about this chapter as you did. I think the whole idea of "leave us and you can't come back" is pretty awful but from a religious standpoint very useful. No one wants to be ostracized from a group, especially when a group has closed ranks and contains most of the people you've ever known. I think it ties into the whole idea of apostasy as well. If you ask questions, or you will be scorned by other members and viewed as evil. No one wants that. While the Bible in itself is a big "argument from authority", there are a few passages where they seem to almost come outright and say it.

    That's good that you pointed out the contradiction in Thess. Here are some othernuggets.

    1. good references, it's pretty incredible that people will say that there are no contradictions in the bible, I really assume it just means that they haven't read it carefully. Some of them can be explained away, but stuff like this is pretty cut and dry, one verse says God can't lie, then several which say he does lie.

      As to the idea that apostates can't come back. Something I hadn't considered the day I read this chapter, the religion would need to get to some critical mass of members before such a doctrine would be a good idea. The real power of it comes from being ostracized from a group, if that group is too small then who would care? However, if a huge portion of your community is in that group suddenly this is a big concern.


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