Hebrews 6

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

Let us cease to speak ( αφεντες τον λογον ). Second aorist active participle of  αφιημ, to leave off or behind.

Of the first principles of Christ ( της αρχης του Χριστου ). Objective genitive  Χριστου (about Christ). "Leaving behind the discussion of the beginning about Christ," another way of saying again  τα στοιχεια της αρχης των λογιων του θεου of 5:12.

And press on ( κα φερωμεθα ). Volitive present subjunctive passive, "Let us be borne on" (both the writer and the readers). The Pythagorean Schools use  φερωμεθα 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  αφεντες φερωμεθα (Eurip., Androm. 393, for instance).

Unto perfection ( επ την τελειοτητα ). Old word from  τελειος mature, adults as in 5:14. Only twice in N.T. (here and Col 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 θεμελιον καταβαλλομενο ). The regular idiom for laying down the foundation of a building ( θεμελιον, Lu 6:48f.). The metaphor is common (1Co 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  διδαχην in apposition with  θεμελιον may mean that there are only four included in the  θεμελιον. Two are qualitative genitives after  θεμελιον ( μετανοιας and  πιστεως ). What is meant by "dead works" ( απο νεκρων εργων ) is not clear (9:14), though the reference may be to touching a corpse (Nu 19:1f.; 31:19). There are frequent allusions to the deadening power of sin (Jas 2:17,26; Joh 7:25; Rom 6:1,11; 7:8; Col 2:13; Eph 2:1,5). The use of repentance and faith together occurs also elsewhere (Mr 1:15; Ac 20:21; 1Th 1:9).

The other four items are qualitative genitives with  διδαχÂην ( βαπτισμων, επιθεσεως χειρων, αναστασεως νεκρων, κριματος αιωνιου ). The plural  βαπτισμων "by itself does not mean specifically Christian baptism either in this epistle (9:10) or elsewhere (Mr 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 (Joh 3:25). See also Ac 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 (Mt 19:13), of healing (Mr 7:32), in the choice of the Seven (Ac 6:6), in the bestowal of the Holy Spirit (Ac 8:17f.; 19:6), in separation for a special task (Ac 13:3), in ordination (1Ti 4:14; 5:22; 2Ti 1:6). Prayer accompanied this laying on of the hands as a symbol. The resurrection of the dead (both just and unjust, Joh 5:29; Ac 24:15) is easily seen to be basal (cf. 1Co 15) as well as eternal judgment (timeless and endless).

If God permit ( εανπερ επιτρεπη ο θεος ). Condition of the third class with  εανπερ (note  περ indeed). See 1Co 16:7 ( εαν ο κυριος επιτρεψη ) and Ac 18:21 ( του θεου θελοντος ). 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 (13:23) if the way opens, a less probable interpretation.

As touching those who were once enlightened ( τους απαξ φωτισθεντας ). First aorist passive articular participle (the once for all enlightened) of  φοτιζω, old and common verb (from  φως ) as in Lu 11:36. The metaphorical sense here (cf. Joh 1:9; Eph 1:18; Heb 10:32) occurs in Polybius and Epictetus. The accusative case is due to  ανακαινιζειν in verse 6.  Hαπαξ here is "once for all," not once upon a time ( ποτε ) and occurs again (9:7,26,27,28; 12:26,27).

Tasted of the heavenly gift ( γευσαμενους της δωρεας της επουρανιου ). First aorist middle participle of  γευω, old verb once with accusative (verse 5,  καλον ρημα, δυναμεις ), usually with genitive (Heb 2:9) as here.

Partakers of the Holy Ghost ( μετοχους πνευματος αγιου ). See 3:14 for  μετοχο. These are all given as actual spiritual experiences.

And then fell away ( κα παραπεσοντας ). No "then" here, though the second aorist (effective) active participle of  παραπιπτω, old verb to fall beside (aside), means that. Only here in N.T. In Gal 5:4 we have  της χαριτος εξεπεσατε (ye fell out of grace, to law, Paul means).

It is impossible to renew them again ( αδυνατον παλιν ανακαινιζειν ). The  αδυνατον (impossible) comes first in verse 4 without  εστιν (is) and there is no "them" in the Greek. There are three other instances of  αδυνατον in Hebrews (6:18; 10:4; 11:6). The present active infinitive of  ανακαινιζω (late verb,  ανα, καινος, here only in the N.T., but  ανακαινοω, 2Co 4:16; Col 3:10) with  αδυνατον 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 verses 8-12, not here.

Seeing they crucify to themselves afresh ( αναστραυρουντας εαυτοις ). Present active participle (accusative plural agreeing with  τους ... παραπεσοντας ) of  ανασταυροω, the usual verb for crucify in the old Greek so that  ανα- 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 ( κα παραδειγματιζοντας ). Present active participle of  παραδειγματιζω, late verb from  παραδειγμα (example), to make an example of, and in bad sense to expose to disgrace. Simplex verb  δειγματισα in this sense in Mt 1:19.

Which hath drunk ( η πιουσα ). Articular second aorist active participle of  πινω, to drink.

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

Meet ( ευθετον ). Old compound verbal ( ευ, τιθημ ) well-placed, fit (Lu 9:62).

It is tilled ( γεωργειτα ). Present passive indicative of  γεωργεω, old and rare verb from  γεωργος (tiller of the soil,  γη, εργον, 2Ti 2:6), here only in the N.T.

Receives ( μεταλαμβανε ). Present active indicative of  μεταλαμβανω, old verb to share in, with genitive ( ευλογιας ) as here (Ac 2:46) or with accusative (Ac 24:25).

If it beareth ( εκφερουσα ). Present active participle of  εκφερω, conditional participle. For "thorns and thistles" see Mt 7:16 for both words ( ακανθας κα τριβολους ). Roman soldiers scattered balls with sharp iron spikes, one of which was called tribulus, to hinder the enemy's cavalry.

Rejected ( αδοκιμος ). See 1Co 9:27; Ro 1:28. For  καταρας εγγυς (nigh unto a curse) see Gal 3:10.

To be burned ( εις καυσιν ). "For burning." Common sight in clearing up ground.

But we are persuaded ( πεπεισμεθα δε ). Perfect passive indicative of  πειθω, literary plural. Note Paul's use of  πεπεισμα in 2Ti 1:12.

Better things ( τα κρεισσονα ). "The better things" than those pictures in 6:4-8.

That accompany salvation ( εχομενα σωτηριας ). "Things holding on to salvation" (Mr 1:38), a common Greek phrase  εχομενα, present middle participle of  εχω.

Though we thus speak ( ε κα ουτως λαλουμεν ). Concessive condition of the first class. Explanatory, not apologetic, of his plain talk.

Not unrighteous to forget ( ου γαρ αδικος επιλαθεσθα ). Second aorist middle infinitive of  επιλανθανω with genitive case ( εργου, work,  αγαπης, love). But even God cannot remember what they did not do.

In that ye ministered and still do minister ( διακονησαντες κα διακονουντες ). First aorist active and present active participle of the one verb  διακονεω, the sole difference being the tense (single act aorist, repeated acts present).

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

Unto the fulness of hope ( προς την πληροφοριαν της ελπιδος ). For  πληροφορια see 1Th 1:5; Col 2:2.

To the end ( αχρ τελους ). As in 3:6,14.

That ye be not sluggish ( ινα μη νωθρο γενησθε ). Negative final clause with second aorist middle subjunctive of  γινομα, "that ye become not sluggish (or dull of hearing)" as some already were (5:11).

Imitators ( μιμητα ). See 1Th 1:6; 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."

Made promise ( επαγγειλαμενος ). First aorist middle participle of  επαγγελλω. Could swear by none greater ( κατ' ουδενος ειχεν μειζονος ομοσα ). Imperfect active of  εχω in sense of  εδυνατο as often with  ομοσα (first aorist active infinitive of  ομνυω ) and  ωμοσεν (he sware) is first aorist active indicative.

Surely ( ε μην ). By itacism for  η μην (Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 205). The quotation is from Ge 22:16f. (the promise renewed to Abraham with an oath after offering of Isaac).

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

Having patiently endured ( μακροθυμησας ). First aorist active participle of  μακροθυμος ( μακροσ, θυμος, long spirit) illustrating  μακροθυμια of verse 12.

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

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

Final ( περας ). Limit, boundary (Mt 12:42). Men may perjure themselves.

To shew ( επιδειξα ). First aorist active infinitive of  επιδεικνυμ, to show in addition ( επι- ) to his promise "more abundantly" ( περισσοτερον ).

The immutability of his counsel ( το αμεταθετον της βουλης αυτου ). Late compound verbal neuter singular (alpha privative and  μετατιθημ, to change), "the unchangeableness of his will."

Interposed ( εμεσιτευσεν ). First aorist active indicative of  μεσιτευω, late verb from  μεσιτης, mediator (Heb 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 ( ορκω ). Instrumental case of  ορκος (from  ερκος, an enclosure), Mt 14:7,9.

By two immutable things ( δια δυο πραγματων αμεταθετων ). See verse 17. God's promise and God's oath, both unchangeable.

In which it is impossible for God to lie ( εν οις αδυνατον ψευσασθα θεον ). Put this "impossibility" by that in verses 4-6.

Theon is accusative of general reference with  ψευσασθα, first aorist middle infinitive of  ψευδομα.

That we may have ( ινα εχωμεν ). Purpose clause with  ινα and the present active subjunctive of  εχω, "that we may keep on having."

Strong consolation ( ισχυραν παρακλησιν ). "Strong encouragement" by those two immutable things.

Who have fled for refuge ( ο καταφυγοντες ). Articular effective second aorist active participle of  καταφευγω, old verb, in N.T. only here and Ac 14:6. The word occurs for fleeing to the cities of refuge (De 4:42; 19:5; Jos 20:9).

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

Set before us ( προκειμενης ). Placed before us as the goal. See this same participle used with the "joy" ( χαρας ) set before Jesus (12:2).

Which ( ην ). 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 ψυχης ). Old word, literally in Ac 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 (1Ti 1:19).

Both sure and steadfast ( ασφαλη τε κα βεβαιαν ). This anchor of hope will not slip (alpha privative and  σφαλλω, to totter) or lose its grip ( βεβαια, from  βαινω, to go, firm, trusty).

That which is within the veil ( το εσωτερον του καταπετασματος ). The Holy of Holies, "the inner part of the veil" (the space behind the veil), in N.T. only here and Ac 16:24 (of the inner prison). The anchor is out of sight, but it holds. That is what matters.

As a forerunner ( προδρομος ). 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 ( εγγυος, Heb 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 αιωνα ). 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 (5:10f.).

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