Hebrews 6:1-9


The author is not content to leave his readers with only milk and so destine them to the spiritual state of infants or spiritually immature.


The readers are believers.  Their problem is they are still at an infant state and refuse to advance to spiritual maturity.  They are not being told to become believers nor are they being warned that immature, milk drinking believers loss their salvation.


The author:

1)     does not say as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 3:2 you are not ready for solid food. 

2)     Nor does the author say he will need to teach them the basics all over again.

3)     The only cure for these people is to press on with the solid food, stretch their minds and challenge their understanding of the High Priestly position of Jesus Christ.

So the author begins by saying “therefore we are leaving the basics”


“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,”


διο              αφεντες          τον       της         αρχης        του         χριστου           λογον         επι

Therefore    leaving            the     of the     beginnings                 of  Christ            word          on to


την           τελειοτητα            φερωμεθα            μη              παλιν                θεμελιον 

                 maturity                let us be borne     not          again                a foundation


καταβαλλομενοι              μετανοιας              απο                 νεκρων                   εργων

laying down                    of repentance           from                 dead                       works


και                    πιστεως                επι                 θεον

and                     faith                      toward           God



“leave” does not mean to repudiate these teaching but instead move on to building on these doctrines.  This is like leaving the foundation of a house to build the house.  The foundation is not rejected but instead is the base for the house that is to be built.


“go on to maturity” is “pherometha” does not imply a personal effort on their part but instead a personal surrender to an already active influence.

  1. This same verb was used in Heb. 1:3 of Christ carrying or “sustaining all things by his powerful word.”
  2. Our High Priest will do his work of taking us to maturity but we need to stop hindering his process


“instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.”


βαπτισμων                   διδαχης                          επιθεσεως              τε                  χειρων 

of baptisms                 of teaching                  and of laying on                              of hands


αναστασεως                τε                νεκρων                 και             κριματος              αιωνιου

of resurrection                            of dead persons            and             judgment               of eternal



Are the things listed here:

  1. Elements of Judaism that were foundational to the Christian experience?
  2. Basic Christian doctrines?


These are basics of Christianity that had Jewish roots


Elementary Teachings (three sets of twos):

  1. “Repentance from acts that lead to death”
    1. This is believer’s response to the gospel.
    2. The believer must stop two types of dead works:

                                                              i.      Self-righteous works in an attempt to earn salvation

                                                            ii.      Sinful acts that come from the unregenerate heart

    1. Hebrews 9:14 mentions them again in relationship to the conscience
    2. In the Didache the way of death is described with a catalog of sins like “murders, adulteries, lusts, fornications, thefts, idolatries, magic arts, sorceries, robberies, false depositions, hypocrisies, a double heart, fraud, arrogance, malice, obstinacy, covetousness, filthy language, envy, audacity, haughtiness, boastfulness.”  This is what Paul refers to in Romans 6:21, “the wages of sin is death.”
    3. The Qumran community considered themselves to be “the repentant of Israel”.
    4. The main line of John the Baptists was “repent”
  1. “Faith in God”
    1. Belief and trust in God is foundational through out scripture
    2. Abraham Gen. 15:6
    3. Habakkuk 2:4
    4. This faith in God would include faith in God’s word and faith in God’s messenger, which in this case was Jesus
  2. “Instruction about baptisms (washings)”
    1. “washings” (plural) is “baptisma” in the Greek
    2. This word could refer to:

                                                              i.      Christian baptism but the Greek word is plural

                                                            ii.      Jewish washings which were many

                                                          iii.      Both Jewish washings from the Old Testament and the New Testament counterpart, baptism.  The instruction would have explained NT baptism in light of OT washings.

                                                           iv.      Or the different baptisms in the NT:

1.      John’s baptism of repentance (Acts 19:1-5)

2.      Jesus’ baptism into the office of the Messiah

3.      Christian baptism

4.      Baptism with the Holy Spirit

5.      Baptism into the body of Christ

                                                             v.      In line with the Qumran community is Ezekiel 36:25


  1. “Laying on of hands”
    1. Done to a person at baptism
    2. Done to a person when entering an office (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6)
    3. Done to a person when receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17; 19:6)
    4. In the OT it was used:

                                                              i.      To commission someone for office

                                                            ii.      Part of the sacrificial ritual

                                                          iii.      Later Rabbis were ordained this way

  1. “Resurrection of the dead”
    1. An eschatological doctrine
    2. Israel’s promises would be fulfilled forever according to

                                                              i.      Isaiah 26:19

                                                            ii.      Daniel 12:2

    1. The Pharisees believed this
    2. Jesus supported this with his teaching in Mark 12:26
  1. “Eternal judgment”
    1. Another eschatological doctrine
    2. Notice that an understanding of eschatology is part of the basics for the young believer.
    3. An understanding of our resurrection and judgment are necessary for a solid foundation upon which to build the Christian life.
    4. Daniel 7:9-14


“And God permitting we will do so.”



These next verses are some of the most disputed verses concerning proper interpretation in the entire NT.



1)     in verses 5:11, 12 the author uses “you”

2)     in 6:1 the author uses “us”

3)     in 6:3 the author uses “we”

4)     now in 6:4 the author switches to “those”


6:4, 5

“It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,”


αδυνατον       γαρ       τους       απαξ          φωτισθεντας        γευσαμενους        τε        της      

impossible     for      the ones    once       being enlightened     and tasting                  of the


δωρεας            της          επουρανιου            και         μετοχους                 γενηθεντας       

gift                                 heavenly                and        sharers                     becoming


πνευματος          αγιου             και              καλον              γευσαμενους              θεου
spirit                    of holy           and             good             tasting                        of  God



ρημα            δυναμεις                    τε           μελλοντος                 αιωνος

word        powerful deeds                         of a coming           age    



απαξ  “hapax” means “once for all” (9:7, 26’ 27’ 28; 10:2; 12:26, 27).

  1. hapax can govern each of the five participles.
  2. This points to something complete.  It is not a partial or incomplete work


The Five Participles describing “those”:

  1. “Enlightened” refers to illumination by the Holy Spirit
  2. “Tasted the heavenly gift”
  3. “Shared in the Holy Spirit”
  4. “Tasted the goodness of the word of God”
  5. “Powers of the coming age”


“if they fall away to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.”



“Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God.”



“But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed.  In the end it will be burned.”



“Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in you case – things that accompany salvation.”