An Enduring Call for Christian Maturity: An Exegesis of Hebrews 6:1-8

A summary statement of Hebrews 6:1-8 could be stated as the following: in Hebrews 6:1-8, the writer of Hebrews described the importance of maturity in the believer’s life and the curses of one that joined the ministry of the church, but apostatized. Perhaps no other passage of Scripture has been enveloped by so much controversy as Hebrews 6:1-8. Recently, this writer had a former congregant to contact him concerning the text of Hebrews 6. The woman had been involved in a debate with a person who claimed that Hebrews 6 demonstrates that one could lose his or her salvation. This woman, as well as this writer, comes from the Baptist heritage which accepts the doctrine termed perseverance of the saints, otherwise known as eternal security. The woman wanted to know if the text implied that salvation could be lost. This paper will offer an exegesis of Hebrews 6:1-8. First, the historical and cultural context of Hebrews will be evaluated. Then, the paper will examine the exegetical content of Hebrews 6:1-8. It will be demonstrated that the passage of Hebrews 6:1-8 can be broken into three categories: the maturity of doctrine, the maturity of devotion, and the maturity of deeds. Finally, an application will be given at the end of this paper. Does the text imply that a believer can lose one’s salvation or does it address the maturity of a true believer? The forthcoming section of the paper will evaluate the historical and cultural elements of the book of Hebrews.

 Historical-Cultural Context

As difficult as Hebrews 6:1-8 is to understand, it is eclipsed in its difficulty by the authorship of the book. David Allen rightfully notes that “Many have conjectured, some have conjured, but very few have been convinced in the search for the author of Hebrews.”[1] The trouble behind this enigma is that neither the internal nor external evidence of Hebrews leads to any convincing indication of who the author could be. Many hold that Paul is the writer of the text. Barker and Kohlenberger note that the “earliest reference to authorship is a statement of Clement of Alexandria that Paul wrote this work in Hebrew and that Luke translated it into Greek. When it was accepted as part of the NT, this was partly because contemporaries held Paul to be the author.”[2] Thomas D. Lea notes that “Eastern Christianity viewed Paul as the author, even though those who supported Pauline authorship knew that the language did not resemble Paul’s other letters. Western Christianity did not accept Pauline authorship until the fourth century.”[3] One thing that is certain, as Charles Ray notes, the author of Hebrews was “well educated, skillful in the use of language, and methods of argumentation…[and] had a passion for people.”[4] One of the better candidates for Hebrews authorship is none other than Luke, the associate of Paul. David Allen notes that “When one considers the lexical, stylistic, and theological similarities between Luke-Acts and Hebrews coupled with the way in which a theory of Lukan authorship can be historically reconstructed from the texts themselves, there is impressive evidence that points to the Lukan authorship of Hebrews.”[5] While this writer concedes that the best evidence supports Lukan authorship, it is best to accept that the authorship of Hebrews is an enigma that will not be conclusively solved on this side of eternity.

Who were the recipients of the book of Hebrews? The writer provides a clue towards the end of the text, as he denotes that the recipients were to “Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send their greetings” (Hebrews 13:24). Either the recipients were being addressed from Italy or the recipients were those in Italy, particularly Rome. Ray notes that the latter option is preferable as “the earliest quotations from and references to the book of Hebrews are found in the Letter of 1 Clement, which was written from Rome near the end of the first century.”[6] If this is the case, then the author of the text clearly was writing to a group of Christians that faced intense persecution. Others have suggested locations that include Jerusalem or even Antioch.[7] Regardless, the writer of Hebrews notes that the recipients of the book had endured being “publically exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated” (Hebrews 10:33). That the recipients suffered some degree of persecution is evidenced in the call that the recipients would “persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36). The previous section evaluated the historical and cultural aspects of Hebrews; the forthcoming section will examine the text of Hebrews 6:1-8.

 Exegetical Content

Hebrews 6:1-8 is part of a larger discourse that begins in Hebrews 5:11 and extends through Hebrews 6:12. Prior to the text at hand, the writer of Hebrews notes the difference between the one that “lives on milk, being still an infant” (Hebrews 5:13)[8] and the mature who “consume solid food” (5:14). It will be of particular interest to this paper that the writer of Hebrews notes the promises of God concerning salvation immediately after the text in question. The writer denotes that “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help him” (6:10) and that “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (6:19). Thus, the flow of the text denotes the idea of authentic faith that leads toward maturity compared to the inauthentic believer that withers and eventually apostatizes. The first section of Hebrews 6:1-8 is found in the first three verses as the writer addresses spiritual maturity as it pertains to doctrine.

 Maturity of Doctrine (vs. 1-3)

 The writer of Hebrews addresses the issue of doctrinal maturity in a couple of ways. First, the writer notes that this maturity is initiated by moving “beyond the elementary teachings about Christ” (6:1). Then, the writer of Hebrews denotes six essential doctrines that relate to mature Christianity as identified in verses 1 through 4. First, one must consider the initiation, or ignition, that leads one towards maturity.

Doctrinal Maturity Initiated (v. 1a)

 The writer of Hebrews uses two particularly important terms in the first portion of verse 1. The writer notes that the recipients were to move past the “ἀρχῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ λόγον.”[9] The term ἀρχῆς is translated as elementary and is defined as “elementary and preliminary aspects defining the nature of something—‘elementary aspect, simple truth.’”[10] The recipients of the letter are instructed to move past the introductory aspects of the faith. David Allen notes that “To ‘leave’ connotes the idea of leaving something behind in order to pass on to something else.”[11] Thus, the writer of Hebrews does not indicate that the recipients were to neglect or forsake the essentials of the faith. Rather, the writer is suggesting that the recipients were to move past the introductory essentials of the faith, those things that infants need (5:13), and move towards the more advanced aspects of the faith, the “solid food” of 5:14.

The author notes that the recipients were to move “ἐπὶ τὴν τελειότητα.”[12] Louw and Nida define τελειότητα as “maturity in thought and behavior.”[13] One would imagine that either the recipients were behaving in an immature fashion or the recipients were struggling over particular doctrines. A third option exists in that some may have struggled in both avenues, a view that this paper supports. Since the author spells out the essentials of the faith, one might be compelled to think that the primary problem was theologically motivated which influenced the behavior of the recipients. The initial move towards maturity not only involves one’s entrance into the family of God, but it also involves growth past the fundamental doctrines of the faith. But what were the foundational doctrines that the writer considered to be essential?

Doctrinal Maturity Identified (vs. 1b-3)

The writer of Hebrews identifies six main essentials of the faith. The six essentials are grouped together in three couplets. The first couplet consists of “repentance from acts that lead to death and of faith in God” (6:1b). The recipients were to leave their life of sin while placing faith in God. Both are essential aspects of the Christian walk. Perhaps notions of the Old Testament prophets were brought to mind as they called for repentance. Messianic Jew David Stern, pertaining to repentance and faith, rightly denotes that “Both aspects are necessary: claiming to trust God without leaving one’s sins behind is hypocrisy, because God is holy. Attempting to turn from sin without trusting God either fails, leads to pride in self-accomplishment, or both.”[14] Stern’s thinking is verified in the New Testament. The apostle John denotes that “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them” (1 John 5:18). John implies, as does the writer of Hebrews, that a believer will live a life of repentance and possess a faith in God. Whereas faith and repentance mark the first couplet, the second couplet involves baptism and laying on of hands. The NIV translates the following couplet as “instruction about cleansing rites” (6:2) and “the laying on of hands” (6:2). The former has been the center of great discussion and a hotbed of dispute among translators. The NLT differs from the NIV in its translation of verse 2. The NLT uses the term “baptisms” (6:2, NLT).[15] But which translation is correct? Or, do both have a semblance of truth?

The Greek term employed is baptismwn. The question revolves around whether the term only indicates the Christian baptism ceremony or a series of ceremonial washings which could include baptism. The plural usage of the term, as Guthrie notes, “shows that not simply one act, but several ritual cleansings are in mind…It is not impossible that the writer used the plural to suggest a comparison of the Christian practice of baptism with the Jewish idea of washings, as the word is used elsewhere in the general sense of cultic washings (Heb. 9:10).”[16] Some tend to think that the plural version of the term references something other than Christian baptism altogether, as the term is “usually used of purification ceremonies other than Christian baptism (9:10; Mk 7:4).”[17] However, it must be noted that these washings could include baptism, as the Didache (c. A.D. 100) lists “different forms of baptism [that] were practiced in the early church, but with evident preference given to immersion.”[18] Thus, one could claim that the various forms of baptisms could have been included in the writer’s view of washings, especially since this practice was listed among some of the more important issues of the day. Keener would seemingly concur as the term “probably refers to the various kinds of ceremonial washings in Judaism, of which the most relevant to Christianity was proselyte baptism as an act of conversion washing away the former impurity of a pagan life.”[19] It would appear that the NIV is justified in its use of “cleansing rites” (6:2). Suffice it to say, such rites were important among the recipients of the book of Hebrews and one could rightfully claim that baptism was part of the ceremonial washings addressed in this particular passage. But what of the “laying on of hands” (6:2); what does one make of this practice? The practice of laying one’s hands upon a convert, or one being commissioned for the cause of Christ, is not nearly as problematic as its’ coupled counterpart. In Acts 8:17, one finds that the apostles laid their hands upon new believers following baptism. While the text indicates that the “Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:16, NLT), it appears that the practice was continued at the time that Hebrews was written. The text continues with the third couplet.

The third couplet involves doctrines of eschatological importance, mainly the “resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment” (6:2). The resurrection of the dead addresses the end time judgment. Parallels can be found in Jesus’ messages, particularly in John 5:25. Paul placed a great deal of emphasis on the resurrection of Christ and the final resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Thus, it is not surprising that the writer of Hebrews stressed the vast importance of the final resurrection to the recipients of the letter. In addition, the writer stressed the final judgment. Paul also stressed the importance of judgment in his writings by teaching on the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and the individual accountability of each person on the final day of judgment (Romans 14:14). Eschatology played an important role to early Christians and it should not be surprising that one finds such an emphasis on eschatological doctrines in Hebrews. So how do these couplets fit in the overall scheme of maturity?

The writer of Hebrews emphasized that the mature believer would adhere to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, one reason why this paper holds that baptism is referenced at least in part in verse 2. It is not that these rituals and activities save a person. Rather, it is as John writes that “this is the love of God: to keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3). Orthodoxy influences orthopraxy, orthopraxy is indicative of genuine Christianity, and genuine Christians grow towards maturity. Christian devotion is addressed in the forthcoming section.

 Maturity of Devotion (vs. 4-6)

 In verses 4-6, the writer of Hebrews discusses the importance of enduring devotion in the believer’s life. These verses are among some of the most hotly contested in the entire Bible. Traditionally, Arminian believers and Calvinist believers have taken very different interpretations pertaining to this passage. Yet, David Allen rightly notes that “biblical theology must precede systematic theology.”[20] Thus, this paper will seek to evaluate the text within the context of the passage and offer a proposed interpretation of the passage.

Devotion’s Impossibility (v. 4)

 In the Greek text, one sentence comprises what English translations segment into verses 4 through 6. Thus, before engaging the more controversial aspect of this section, one must first evaluate the verb and the adjective that set up the sentence. However, it must be noted that the sentence itself is very complicated as the “subject of the sentence actually does not appear in the text until v. 6 with the infinitive translated “to be brought back.”[21] Nonetheless, the verb “enlightened” is the term photosthentos which is defined as “to cause light to shine upon some object, in the sense of illuminating it—‘to illuminate, to shine upon.’”[22] Thus, the writer identifies the individuals in question as those who have “shared in the Holy Spirit” (6:4) since the Holy Spirit is the one who illuminates the heart and mind (e.g. Matthew 16:17ff; John 14:17ff). The verb is offset by the adjective adunaton, which is translated as “impossible” (6:4). This term is indicative of something that is “pertaining to being impossible, presumably because of a lack of power to alter or control circumstances—‘impossible.’”[23] The term is also used later in the chapter where it is stated that it is “impossible for God to lie” (6:18). Whereas the writer uses absolute certainty in the positive sense in verse 18 as it relates to the character of God, absolute certainty is used in the negative sense as it relates to the impossibility of one being “brought back to repentance” (6:6). What is it that is impossible? This will be examined in the next subsection.

Devotion’s Antithesis (vs. 5-6)

One must accurately interpret the bookends of this elongated sentence, remembering that the subject of the sentence is found in verse 6, “repentance” (6:6), coupled with the verb parapipto translated “fallen away” (6:6), while also connecting the terms photisthentos and adunatos from verse 4. The term translated “repentance” (6:6) is no stranger for one knowledgeable in theology; it is the term metanoia. The word was used, as described by Louw and Nida, to specify “the total change, both in thought and behavior, with respect to how one should both think and act.”[24] Whatever state from which the person has fallen, connecting metanoia to adunatos demonstrates the hopeless impossibility of one in such a state being transformed. But what state does the writer address? The aforementioned question is central to the text.

To understand the state of the person who finds oneself in the state in which it is impossible to find repentance, one must first evaluate the phrases found between the two bookends of the elongated sentence. Then, one must evaluate the term parapipto in verse 6. Considering the phrases found between the two bookends, the key question is whether these phrases describe one who has experienced salvation or one who is disillusioned concerning one’s salvation. The phrase “tasted the heavenly gift…shared in the Holy Spirit…tasted the goodness of the word of God” (6:4-5) seem to imply that the person in question has in fact experienced salvation. John Calvin, however, would disagree. Calvin, due to his strong belief in election, writes “That God indeed favours none but the elect alone with the Spirit of regeneration, and that by this they are distinguished from the reprobate; for they are renewed after his image.”[25] Thus, Calvin suggests that only the elect could be saved genuinely saved. Some find contradictions to Calvin’s viewpoint within other statements of Scripture, particularly Paul’s statement in that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). David Allen argues for another position.

David Allen writes that “There is a growing consensus crossing the Calvinist/Arminian divide that the language of Heb 6:4–6 describes genuine believers.”[26] But if these are genuine believers, does this not necessarily mean that one can lose salvation? The writer of Hebrews seems to counteract such a notion by saying that “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help him” (6:10). Some have suggested, since it appears that believers are addressed, that the writer is addressing the loss of rewards. Allen notes that “The Loss of Rewards view best explains the immediate context of failure to press on to spiritual maturity…and the broader context of the other four warning passages in Hebrews, all of which warn genuine believers of the same danger.”[27] Yet, one must ask, is the so-called Loss of Rewards view completely honest with the term parapipto? To answer this question, one must offer a definition of the term.

Louw and Nida define parapiptw as “to abandon a former relationship or association, or to dissociate (a type of reversal of beginning to associate).”[28] This is problematic for the so-called Loss of Rewards view as parapiptw references one who has abandoned someone or something. Relating this abandonment back to the orthodoxy, and perhaps orthopraxy, that we referenced in the first portion of the text, one must consider the fact that the writer is in fact addressing one who donned the title “follower of Christ” only to fall back into the old life. As previously noted, some would claim that this falling denotes that salvation can be lost. Yet, does such a view not relate salvation back to a result of works instead of grace? Such finds difficulty with Paul’s clear teaching that salvation is a matter of grace given by God (e.g. Ephesians 2:8). So how should this be settled?

Calvin’s view is much more tenable than one might expect, even for one who is not a hyper-Calvinist.[29] Derek Cooper explains Calvin’s overall viewpoint was that “God saved the elect but God allowed the reprobate to slip and fall in the mud of apostasy. All sins that the elect committed were pardonable; they could not ‘lose’ their salvation, in other words, because they had not participated in it any way. God saved them. The reprobates, by contrast, necessarily lost their ‘salvation.’”[30] This fits within the overall context of Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews stresses Christian endurance while, at the same time, noting the enduring promise of God. In verse 9, the writer of Hebrews notes that “though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation” (6:9). Thus, the contrast would seem to indicate that the loss of salvation is not the issue in verses 1-8. In addition, the writer notes the character of God in that it is “impossible (adunaton) for God to lie” (6:18). That is to say, the promises of God are irrevocable because God cannot go back on God’s word. Also, an interesting parallel can be found in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23). In the parable, Jesus notes that various seeds, representing the gospel message, are received in various ways. Jesus noted that there would be many who would receive the message, but not necessarily receive him. He noted that the “seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23). Therefore, the teachings found in Hebrews 6:4-6 finds a home in the Parable of the Sower. One must wonder if the writer of Hebrews had this particular parable in mind when writing the text. In the end, the writer may be stressing that not everyone who claims to be in the body of Christ truly holds a relationship with the risen Christ.

The true Christian will desire to mature through endurance. Their salvation will be demonstrated by their fruits and their growth towards maturity. While a loss of rewards may be referenced as it relates to the lack of maturity, the essence of the Hebrews 6:4-6 message is actually contrary to the view that one could lose salvation. If one tasted the benefits of the work of God and did not maintain one’s status in the church, then there is no hope that such a person would ever be saved. Did one who lacks endurance think that he or she was saved? Assuredly, such a person would. However, Jesus reminds individuals in a haunting fashion in Matthew 7 that not everyone who claims him as Lord is a true believer, and in the end, Jesus will say to such a one, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew 7:23)! The writer of Hebrews denotes yet another way in which maturity is evaluated, and in turn, false believers are identified through their fruit. Thus, one’s transformed heart will lead towards transformed deeds.

 Maturity of Deeds (vs. 7-8)

 The writer of Hebrews provides an agrarian parable that denotes the blessings found by the one who faithfully endures and matures in the faith which lead to good deeds, in contrast to the one who is unfaithful and has one’s deeds burned.

 Deeds that are Blessed (v. 7)

 As noted earlier in the paper, the writer of Hebrews references, at least implicitly, the Parable of the Sower as found in Matthew 13. In the parable, Jesus refers to seeds that fall on bad soil and seeds that find rest in good soil. The good soil represents those who receive the gospel message and “who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown” (Matthew 13:23). The writer of Hebrews alludes to the production of the blessed one and that such a one will produce fruit “useful to those for whom it was farmed” (6:7). Concerning the text’s reference to the blessing of God, Allen denotes that “Because of what Christ has done in his atoning work, the new covenant is eternal (Heb 10:18). He is a priest forever. An eternal inheritance is every Christian’s promised blessing.”[31] Therefore, instead of promoting the lack of eternal security, the writer provides assurance to the one in Christ, the one who endures and is growing towards maturity. But the same cannot be said for the one who lives in rebellion.

 Deeds that are Burned (v. 8)

Verse 8 demonstrates the end result of a person who does not grow towards maturity, or endures in the faith. Again, the writer references the Parable of the Sower. Jesus notes that the seed “falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:23). The writer likewise compares the unfruitful person to one who “produces thorns and thistles is worthless and in danger of being cursed” (6:8). Clear parallels exist between the two passages. Has such a one truly received the salvation of God, or are they simply playing church? Barker and Kohlenberger evaluate the teaching as one of “warning to professing Christians whose lives produce only the equivalent of weeds.”[32] This paper agrees with Allen that “Were it possible for a Christian to remove himself from the covenant of salvation by apostasy, then Christ’s death is not eternally saving.”[33] The key is found in Hebrews 10 where the writer notes that “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left” (10:26). Such are those who have received the tenets of the Christian life intellectually, but have failed to receive Christ relationally. So, how might one apply these truths?

 Application

Three principles can be extracted from the text. The primary principle in Hebrews 6:1-8 is that the true Christian should strive to mature in the faith. Christians cannot remain stagnant. Stagnancy results in one simply “going through the motions” of church. The Christian life is to be a vibrant, relational walk with the risen Lord Jesus. Also, endurance is critical for the true Christian. Like the recipients of Hebrews, modern Christians find themselves among a growing antagonism towards Christianity. The true Christian will remain standing regardless of what may come, whereas the one falsely claiming to be of Christ will fall from one’s faith and will leave the church. Finally, the true Christian will produce fruit. Fruitfulness is an extension of relational obedience. Often, modern Christians are bombarded with unfruitful mentalities such as easy believism and the health and wellness gospel. True Christianity does not promise flashy objects, but rather produces fruitful obedience which leads to the transformation of the Christian, and service to others for the glory of God.

 Conclusion

This paper has provided an exegesis for Hebrews 6:1-8. Throughout the paper, it has been noted that the writer of Hebrews has demonstrated a strong need for Christian maturity. The historical-cultural section of the paper noted that while Luke could strongly be attested to be the author of Hebrews, the evidence does not provide a concrete answer to the author’s identity. It was also revealed that the recipients of the letter were Christians who had faced some form of persecution. The paper provided an examination of the text, providing the focus of the writer upon a believer’s maturity in doctrine (6:1-3); that is, the intellectual assent of the core fundamentals of the faith as evidenced by three couplets of six beliefs and/or practices. Also, the paper evaluated the author’s focus on Christian maturity as it relates to a Christian’s devotion (6:4-6). It was demonstrated that while several viewpoints envelop this controversial passage, no should not think that the writer had claimed that one could lose one’s salvation, nor does the evidence suggest that the writer is only addressing the rewards of a believer. Rather, the text suggests that many, who claim to be Christian, are Christians in name only. That is to say, such individuals have accepted intellectually the claims of Christianity, but have not truly encountered the risen Jesus relationally. Finally, the paper evaluated the writer’s focus on how maturity will provide fruit. In relation to Jesus’ Parable of the Sower, the writer addressed that the faithful will produce fruit and will be blessed, whereas the false believer will not produce fruit and will be found to be cursed. Many other issues should be evaluated as it pertains to Hebrews 6:1-8. Lukan authorship deserves further evaluation. If Luke is the author of Hebrews, could this explain the connection of Hebrews to the apostle Paul? In addition, could Paul have played a role in the information that was provided? Finally, the connection between the Parable of the Sower and Hebrews 6:1-8 deserves further attention. The most powerful truth extracted from the text is that not everyone who claims identity with Christ is a genuine believer. True Christianity is found in dedication to Christ, which lends towards growth, which in turn provides endurance for the believer. One who knows the truth of Christ and rejects his grace is one whose heart has become severely hardened, perhaps beyond repair.

The contents of this article represent the academic work of Brian Chilton. Any use of this content without proper documentation can lead to charges of plagiarism.

Copyright 2015. Brian Chilton.

 

Bibliography

 Allen, David L. Hebrews, The New American Commentary. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2010.

Barker, Kenneth L., and John R. Kohlenberger III. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: New Testament, Abridged Edition. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.

Calvin, John, and John Owen. Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010.

Cooper, Derek. “Reformation Responses to Novatianism: 16th-Century Interpretations of Hebrews 6:4-6.” Journal of Theological Interpretation 3, 2 (September 1, 2009): 261-279. ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials, EBSCOhost (Accessed January 31, 2015).

Erickson, Millard J. Christian Theology, 2nd Edition. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998.

Guthrie, Donald. Hebrews, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Leicester; Grand Rapids: InterVarsity; Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1996.

Harris, W. Hall, III. The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament: SBL Edition. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010.

Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1993.

Lea, Thomas D. Hebrews, James, Holman New Testament Commentary, Volume 10. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999.

Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.

Ray, Charles A. “Hebrews, Letter to the.” In Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition. Edited by Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1998.

Stern, David H. Jewish New Testament Commentary: A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament. Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996.

[1] David L. Allen, Hebrews, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2010), 29.

[2] Kenneth L. Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: New Testament, Abridged Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 941.

[3] Thomas D. Lea, Hebrews, James, vol. 10, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999), 1.

[4] Charles A. Ray, “Hebrews, Letter to the,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Revised Edition, Chad Brand, Charles Draper, and Archie England, eds (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1998), 737.

[5] Allen, Hebrews, NAC, 61.

[6] Ray, “Hebrews, Letter to the,” HIBD, 737.

[7] David Allen offers a compelling case that Hebrews was written by Luke, from Rome, to converted priests who were abiding in Antioch. See Allen, Hebrews, NAC, 70.

[8] Henceforth, quotations from Hebrews will be identified only by the numerical address.

[9] W. Hall Harris III, The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament: SBL Edition (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010), Hebrews 6:1.

[10] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 587.

[11] Allen, Hebrews, NAC, 339.

[12] Harris III, The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, Hebrews 6:1.

[13] Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 753.

[14] David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary: A Companion Volume to the Jewish New Testament, electronic ed. (Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1996), Hebrews 6:1.

[15] Scripture noted by NLT comes from the New Living Translation (Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2013).

[16] Donald Guthrie, Hebrews, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids: InterVarsity Press; Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1996), 139.

[17] Barker and Kohlenberger, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 963.

[18] Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 537.

[19] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 1993), 660.

[20] Allen, Hebrews, NAC, 344.

[21] Ibid., 345–346.

[22] Louw and Nida, Greek Lexicon of the New Testament, 172.

[23] Ibid., 668.

[24] Ibid., 509.

[25] John Calvin and John Owen, Commentary on the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2010), 138.

[26] Allen, Hebrews, NAC 353.

[27] Allen, Hebrews, NAC 393.

[28] Louw and Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 448.

[29] This writer holds to the view coined “congruism” as presented by Millard J. Erickson. That is to say, human response and/or free will fit within the foreknown plan of God. See Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd Ed (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 1998), 448.

[30] Derek Cooper, “Reformation Responses to Novatianism: 16th-Century Interpretations of Hebrews 6:4-6,” Journal of Theological Interpretation 3, 2 (September 1, 2009): 277.

[31] Allen, Hebrews, NAC, 392.

[32] Barker and Kohlenberger, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 965.

[33] Allen, Hebrews, NAC, 392.