Hebrews 10:32-39


Key words: Faith, Confidence, Endurance, Perseverance, Promises, Rewards, Shrinking, Destruction,



“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering.”


“Remember” in the Greek is imperative and means “you remind yourselves” or “you remember


“received the light” is the same Greek word as 6:4 “those who have once been enlightened” and refers to the Holy Spirit revealing Jesus and plan of salvation.


great contest of suffering

  1. “contest” is “athlesin” and gives the image of a contest where the suffering or the trials were fighting back against these young Hebrew Christians
  2. “athlesin” means “fighting, conflict, struggle”


stood your ground” or “endured” is “hupemeinate”

  1. “hupemeinate” means “to remain under, to patiently bear, to patiently and hopefully endure”
  2. Often it was the common Christian experience in the early church to face persecution and hardships as in Acts 5:41.
  3. Their problems for responding to the “light” came from:
    1. Family
    2. Fellow countrymen
    3. Pagans
    4. Government


Notice of their high level of maturity at a young spiritual age.  But with lack of faith comes lack of confidence and they have returned to spiritual immaturity.



“Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.”


“Publicly exposed” is “theatrizomenoi”

·        The word does not necessarily mean they were put on display in the amphitheater.

·        In Acts19:29 they were.


Sometimes they were attacked personally.

Other times they were attacked because they stood with someone who was being attacked.



“You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.”


First – example of standing by someone -  “sympathized with those in prison”

Second – example of their own personal suffering – “confiscation of your property.”


These believers had:

  1. Suffered reproach and affliction (10:33)
  2. imprisonment (10:34)
  3. loss of possessions (10:34)
  4. NOT death or martyrdom (12:4) – Jerusalem had seen Stephen, James and others die.


sympathized” means to suffer together, to suffer with someone


those in prison




confiscation” – means seizing, plundering.  This word implies their property had been seized by authorities or plundered by a mob.


your property


“because you knew”

  1. Philippians 4:12 – “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation”
  2. Joshua 1:8-9 – “meditate on it day and night . . . then you will be prosperous and successful.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”


better and lasting possessions


These believers had to be depressed and cowardly.



So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.


Loss of truth led to

Loss of convictions led to

Loss of confidence led to

Loss of righteous action (deeds) led to

Loss of eternal rewards

“Throw away” is “apobalete” (“balw” means to throw) this word is the Aorist Subjenctive used with the negative which makes it prohibitive which means this action of throwing away their confidence has not happened yet and it should not be allowed to arise.

(1 Timothy 4:14 “stop neglecting your gift”)


“Confidence” is “parrhesia” means “boldness, confidence”



You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”


“You need perseverance” is the author diagnosis of their problem.


“persevere” is “hupomones” and means endurance, a willingness to remain under adverse circumstances without compromise of defection”.  Important from the Linguistic Key:

“It is the spirit that can bear things not simply with resignation but with blazing hope; it is not the spirit that sits statically enduring in one place, but the spirit that bears all things because it knows that these things are leading to a goal of glory.”


Similar verses dealing with “hupomones”  and “promises” in Hebrews:

  • 6:12
  • 6:15
  • 11:13
  • 11:39

Some promises were fulfilled others promises were held until eternity.


Key is here – “When you have done the will of God

  • This begins with character and Christ being formed inside
  • “doing the will of God” begins with believing in Jesus
  • Secondary, is the idea of doing great feats for God. 
    • Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  Many said did we not do this and do that but Jesus said, “I never knew you.”


James 1:4 says these trials develops perseverance.



“For in just a very little while, ‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.  But my righteous one will live by faith.  And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.’


Free quotation of Habakkuk 2:3-4 and opening from Isaiah 26:20


In a little while” was used by Isaiah to refer to Christ’s coming.


Point here is:  We need faith if confidence is going to be maintained!


shrinks back” means to draw oneself back, to withdraw oneself, to shrink back.



But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.”


Literal Greek:

“But we are not of withdrawal to destruction, but of faith to possession of soul


withdrawal” or “shrink back” means “shrinking, timidity”

Here it says “we do not belong to those who are timid” which is a reference to the unsaved who shrank from the light of salvation.


Destroyed” is “apoleian” and means “destruction, ruin” and in the NT refers to eternal damnation as in: Mt. 7:13; Rom. 9:22; Phil. 1:28; 3:19; 1 Tim. 6:9.  Judas and A.C. are called the “son of perdition” or “son of destruction”.  The destruction here is not discipline from the Father God, but eternal damnation from the eternal God and judge.


“Faith” or “believe” is the character of this writer and his readers.  They had belief to be saved.  Now the writer wants them to continue in their faith with confidence and deeds.


“possession” is “peripoiesis” means “possession” and indicates what one makes one’s own either by keeping or gaining.”


This verse says:

  • Shrink from  God and be destroyed eternally
  • Have faith in God and possess your souls