A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews
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Don’t fall away!. Don’t Depart!. Don’t neglect your salvation!. Don’t cast away your confidence!. Don’t harden your heart!. Don’t drift away!. A Study Of The Apostle Paul’s Letter To The Hebrews. How can we neglect so great a salvation? ~ Hebrews 2:3. Hebrews: Christ Is Superior!

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A Study Of The Apostle Paul’s Letter To The Hebrews

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A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Don’t fall away!

Don’t Depart!

Don’t neglect your salvation!

Don’t cast away your confidence!

Don’t harden your heart!

Don’t drift away!

AStudyOf TheApostlePaul’s LetterTo The Hebrews

How can we neglect so greata salvation? ~ Hebrews 2:3


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews: Christ Is Superior!

Superior Person (1:1—4:13)

Superior to Prophets (1:1-3)

Superior to Angels (1:4—2:18)

Superior to Moses (3:1-19)

Superior to Joshua (4:1-13)

Superior Priest (4:14—7:28)

Superior to Aaron (4:14—6:12)but…

We’ll only study 5:11—6:3 today.

Superior to Melchizedek (6:13—7:10)

Superior to Levi (7:11-28)


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews: Christ Is Superior!

Superior Pact to Moses’ (8:1—10:18)

Superior Promises (8:1-13)

Superior Sanctuary (9:1-15)

Superior Sacrifice (9:16-28)

Superior Results (10:1-18)

Superior Principle (Faith) to Moses’ (10:19—13:25)

Superior Things (10:19-39)

Superior Actions (11:1-40)

Superior Relationship (12:1-29)

Superior Way of Life (13:1-25)


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

At this point, Paul, frustrated with them, broke off from his discussion concern-ing Jesus and His Melchizedekian priesthood to warn them a fourth time. As mentioned before, there are seven warnings in Hebrews: the first three were about their lack of faith, and this one was about their lack of growth.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews 5:11 

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Since the term for whom can be mas-culine or neuter, it falls to the interpre-ter to translate it as either whom or which; in this case the term which is better, because the subject isn’t Jesus or Melchizedek—it’s actually…

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

…the relation of Je-sus to the priestly order of Melchizedek.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

This word could re-fer to Paul and his personal scribe (cf. Rom. 16:22, Gal. 6:11, et. al.), or it could’ve simply been a tact-ful way ofsaying,Wehave much to discuss.

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Interestingly, this phrase is from one Greek term, the pre-fix of which means difficult, while the root means inter-pretation, resulting in explanation. In fact, it’s from this term that we get our word hermeneu-tics—therules of in-terpretation.

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

By saying since you, Paul was blaming them for this being a difficult subject to explain; incident-ally, this helps us to see that the audi-ence is what deter-mines which parts of God’s Word are milkandwhichparts are meat.

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, sinceyou have become dull of hearing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

This phrase tells us thatatonetimethey weren’tlikethis,but because they were pulling away from the truths they had onceconfessed,they had become(not were becoming) dull of hearing. (Cf. notes on 2:1-3 & 4:14.)

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, since you havebecome dull of hearing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The term for dull means slow and is onlyfoundoneother time in the NT (6:12) whereit’stranslated sluggish.

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Thetermforhearing means understand-ing;i.e.,theyhadbe-come slow in learn-ing and therefore in growing.

Of whom we have much to say and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

They were drifting backward insteadof pushing forward (5:12b & 6:1a); so due to their apparent desire to go backward into Judaism instead of forward into Christianity, Paul had a hardtimefiguringouthowtogetthisimportant subject across to them.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Notice Their Journey to Immaturity:

1. They Drifted from the Word (2:1-4).Then…

2. They Doubted the Word (3:7—4:13). And now…

3. They Were Dull in Hearing the Word.

So something we can learn from this is that a symptom of spiritual problems is the attitude which says that Bible study, worship, and preaching are dull.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews 5:12 

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

If this letter was written to Jewish Christians in Jerusa-lem,as surely seems to be the case, then that makes this first clause very strong. Why? Because…

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

In saying by this timeyououghttobe teachers, Paul was referring to the idea that the church had been established there for more than 30 years!

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Since the first prin-ciples here are of the oracles of God, let’stalkaboutthose first:   

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principlesof the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The word for oracles (lŏgiōn) is related to lŏgiastranslated collection (1 Cor. 16: 1-2), but it’s derivedfromthevery fami-liarlŏgŏswhich is variously translated as sayings, words, and even teachings. But…   

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

While lŏgŏs could be used for something anyonethoughtorsaid,lŏgiōnwas only associated with divinethoughts & teachings. So, put- ting this together, we discover that…

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The oracles of God refer to a collection of sayings or teach-ings of God. So what was the collection of God’s sayings they had at that time? The Old Testament.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

What else would people like Paul use to convince Jews that Jesus was the promised Messiah?

By the way…  

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The term lŏgiōnwas used of the Law of Moses by Stephen (Acts 7:38) & by Paul (Rom. 3:2). And… 

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Since Hebrews deals so much with priest-hood, it’s also inter-esting to note that divine oracles were engraved on the high priest’s breast-plate; in fact, the Greek OT employs the termlŏgiōn to describethatbreast-plate in Exo. 28:15. Now…   

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Let’s briefly define thefirst principles. Some synonyms for principlesaretruths, thoughts, ingredi-ents, and elements. Applying it to this context…   

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

This phrase simply refers to the first truths or elements —aboutChrist(6:1) —found in the Old Testament (cf.John 5:39).

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Speakingmoreabout the term for princi-pleshere,everytime Paul used this term he used it in refer-ence to the OT: in Col. 2:8 & 20 and in Gal. 4:3 & 9 (where it’s translated as ele-ments) it’s the idea of that which is ele-mentary or found-ational, that which the OT is.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Notice first Gal. 3:24-25: The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ…. [Now] we are no longer under a tutor.Then notice 4:1-3 & 9: A child … is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bond-age under the elements of the world [the Jewish system]….But now … how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarlyelementsof the world[the Jew-ishsystem,thelawofsin/death]towhichyoudesireagaintobeinbondage? So… 


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

If the oracles of God here are a reference to the Law of Moses, then what was Paul saying? If the OT prophesied of Jesus of Nazareth, and if they were headed back to that world (remember, this was before it was destroyed), then they obviously need-edtobetaught againconcerningthe very fundamentals of the OT. So…

For them to head back to the world that foreshadowed Christ would have been to totally miss the very basics of the OT (cf. Col. 2:16-17 & Heb. 10:1); Jesus being their High Priest was something that should have been fundamental to Jews who had become Christians!


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The milk of God’s Word is obviously equal to the first principles of the oracles of God (or the elementary prin-ciples of Christ, 6:1), including that which he had already dis-cussed—Jesus’ ful-fillment of the type and shadow of the Aaronic priesthood. So…   

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Meat or solid food likely refers to the next step in the dis-cussion of Jesus’ priesthood that Paul was trying to take. Why? Because… 

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

It was at the point of bringing up the priesthood of Jesus in the order of Mel-chizedek that he pausedtoscoldthemfor making this more difficult on him than it should’ve been.

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Notice these three points:

1. This verse implies that it isn’t neces- sary to know everything (or even a great deal)about the Bible to be saved.

2. This verse implies that every Christi-anisexpected to beateacher of God’s Word in one form or another. And…

3. Isn’t it sad that many of those who complain about hearing the basics too often from the pulpit don’t even know where to go in the Bible to share the Gospel plan of salvation with others?


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews 5:13 

Because everyone who partakes only ofmilkisunskilled in the Word of righteousness,for he is a babe.

Why did Paul think they needed to be taught the first principles again?


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The term for unskill-ed means inexperi-enced; i.e.,they needed to be taught so they could teach. And what were they expected to share with the world? 

Because everyone who partakes only ofmilkisunskilled in the Word of righteousness,for he is a babe.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

This phrase brings Romans 1:17 to mind where Paul taught that through theGospel—theNew Testament—we learn how to gain God’s righteousness by faith. I.e.…  

Because everyone who partakes only ofmilkisunskilled in the Word of righteousness,for he is a babe.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Since they were so caught up in and headed back tothe OldCovenant,they were unskilled or inexperienced in teaching peoplethe New Covenant.

Because everyone who partakes only ofmilkisunskilled in the Word of righteousness,for he is a babe.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Being called a babe in Paul’s day wasn’t a good thing; this term referred to someone who was ignorant, either due to a lack of being taught or to a lack of personal study and experience in teaching others.

Because everyone who partakes only ofmilkisunskilled in the Word of righteousness,for he is a babe.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Notice an implied irony here: these brethren weren’t inexperienced be-cause they were babes (which would be normal); they were babes because they were inexperienced, and that by their own choice. See, unlike normal child-ren, they weren’t trying to learn and grow, so they were actually regressing instead of progressing.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews 5:14 

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The term for use re-fers to that which has become second nature. The old say-ing that if you don’t use it,youloseit impliesthatyoucan-not lose what you don’t have, yet Paul was telling them thattheydidn’teven have it because they didn’t use it. (Paul must’ve really enjoyed ironies!)

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The phrase full age refers to adults, of course; and, unlike infants who’ll swal-low anything, adults are much more cau-tious about what they swallow, liter-ally and figuratively.

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The word senses here refers to men-tal abilities, not to the five senses we normally think of; and these exercised senses result in the ability to determine what’s good and what’s bad … to swallow.

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

This phrase doesn’t refer to good & bad morals, but to right & wrong doctrines, for that’s what cor-respondsto this text concerning what makes us righteous. Remember…  

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their sense exercised to discern both good and evil.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

These brethren were being severely pressured to return to Judaism, and this pressure (false teaching as well as persecution from Judaizers) was causing them to neglect, even renounce, what they had been taught and what they had previously accepted as true. This is why Paul indicated that such negli-gence leads to apostasy (6:4-9).


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

There’s something comforting in this verse that we should take to heart: the implied lesson here is that, gener-ally speaking, the more one exercises himself in reading, studying, meditat-ing upon, and teaching God’s Word, the more chance there is that he’s cor-rect in his interpretation; this is obvi-ously why God expects respect in har-mony with one’s amount of spiritual exercise (cf. 1 The. 5:12-13).


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews 6:1a 

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principlesofChrist, letusgoontoper-fection, not laying again the founda-tion of…


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

At this verse Paul began to ease back into the subject of Jesus being of the priesthood order of Melchizedek; this “easing” actually took him the rest of chapter 6. Firstly…

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principlesofChrist, letusgoontoper-fection, not laying again the founda-tion of…


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Ithinkit’simportant to point out here that when Paul used the phrase let us, he didn’t usually mean to include himself—itwas(andis)merely a tactful way to mo-tivatepeople.Imen-tion this here be-cause this phrase applies to both the leaving & the going on clauses. So…

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principlesofChrist,letusgoontoper-fection, not laying again the founda-tion of…


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Paul was saying, Let us be leaving the first principles of Christ, or more liter-ally,Let us be leav-ing the beginning words (logon) about the Messiah. And…  

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principlesofChrist, letusgoontoper-fection, not laying again the founda-tion of…


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Where were (and are) these teachings found again? Right—in the Old Testa-ment, beginning as far back as Genesis 3:15, in fact. However, in this context Paul may have been more specifically referring to the very things he had been talking about up to this point—the Old Testament types and shadows found in the Aaronic priesthood with its sacrifices and offerings. Anyway… Then he went on to say…   


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

The word perfection here comes from a term referring to an end, thus pointing to theend, the pur-pose, theconsum-mation, or the ful-fillment of the OT types, shadows, and prophecies.

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principlesofChrist,letusgoontoper-fection, not laying again the founda-tion of…


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Going on to perfection meant leaving the Aaronic priesthood behind (not just in conversation here, but totally) and ac-cepting the Melchizedekian (eternal) priesthood of Jesus which required the absolution of the old law (cf. 7:12). See, since Melchizedek lived before Moses, Christ’s priesthood wasn’t meant to carry on the old law, but to supersede it.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

This clause is pas-sive, meaning let us be carried on to this perfection—this end; i.e., it was coming whether they were ready or not.

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principlesofChrist,letusgoontoper-fection, not laying again the founda-tion of…


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Theirwildernesswandering,theirtran-sition phase, their forty-year grace period was very near its end! When speaking of Jerusalem’s destruction in AD 70, Jesus said, These are the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled (Luke 21:22). The thing is, these brethren, instead of going backwards, needed all-the-more to start seriously pressing toward and thinking about their future in relation to their present state. Now…   


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Let’s briefly consider the six subjects Paul listed inverses 1b-2, keeping two things in mind:

1. Theywerebeingpressuredtoreturn to Judaism (the Scriptures of which they had).And…

2. They didn’t have much of the New Testament for their Christianity.

The result was that…  


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

They were dwelling on what little they knew, apparently not growing by means of the resources at their dis-posal … even after 30 years! They seemed to be content in drinking the milk of The Law (perhaps as a way to compromise with their persecutors). They just didn’t seem to realize that they, especially in the 60s, didn’t have the time to get stuck dabblin’ in the mere shadows of the substance which was unfolding right before their eyes!


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews 6:1b-2 

…repentance from dead works and faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms [and] of layingonofhands, [and] of resurrec-tion from the dead and of eternal judgment.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Firstly it’s probably worth mentioningthatPaulwrote these 6 topics in 3 sets of 2 as can be seen in his use of the coordinating conjunction and.

…repentance from dead works and faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms [and] of layingonofhands, [and] of resurrec-tion from the dead and of eternal judgment.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Soforbrevity’ssake, I’mgoingtojustcon- ciselyparaphrase what I believe Paul was saying here: 

…repentance from dead works and faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms [and] of layingonofhands, [and] of resurrec-tion from the dead and of eternal judgment.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Yes, studying, believing, and discuss-ing the fact that men must turn from evil deeds that lead to death toward faith in God that leads to life is indeed good old first testament teaching that's brought to its fullness in the second testament, but let's move on. (Notice that it’s faith toward God instead of Jesus,indicating an OT concept.) And… 


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Yes, studying, believing, and discuss- ing how the various ceremonial cleans- ings and laying hands on the sin-sacri-fices beautifully picture our forgive-ness and cleansing is indeed good old first testament teaching that's brought to its fullness in the second testament, but again let's move on. (The original term used for baptisms here is never used in reference to what we usually think of as bap-tism; rather it’s always used in the NT for cere-monial washings [cf. 9:10].) And…  


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Yes, studying, believing, and discuss-ing the wonders of resurrection and the terrors of eternal judgment is in-deed good old first testament teaching that's brought to its fullness in the second testament, but let's move on! (Yes, both of these are taught in the OT, e.g. Dan. 12, et. al.They just had so little infor-mation about these topics that they were far from the truth on what it all meant or how it would all play out. )

Yes, let’s move on.  


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Hebrews 6:3 

And this we will do if God permits.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Since (as will become more clear in our study of 6:4-12) the hearts of these brethrencould be too far gone already, Paul, by this statement, hinted at the possi-bility that God’s na-ture may not permit the desired conse-quenceofthisteach-ing. See…   

And this we will do if God permits.


A study of the apostle paul s letter to the hebrews

Because God created man with free-will, He will not, yea cannot, violate it; i.e., the choice had to be made by these brethren between going back to the first testament or on deeper into the second testament—the purpose of the first testament. If these brethren persisted intheircourse(acoursethatwasimpliedin 3:7-8 when Paul warned against the harden-ed heart) this letter would do them no good; what the result of this letter was we can’t know, but we should be ex-tremely thankful for the good it does for us today.


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