Hebrews 6:4-9


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”


“If” clause that introduces verse 6 is important.

1.      the conditional is expressed here in the  Greek with the participle “parapesontas” or parapesontaV .  This verb is used only here in the Greek NT.

2.      it is aorist active participle and is conditional

3.      parapesontaV  means “to fall beside, to go astray, to miss.  And refers to a falling away from an excepted standard

4.      It came to mean “apostasy” in theology (see para - pesontaV)

5.      The aorist tense means a complete falling away that has occurred after the enlightenment and the sharing of verses 6:4,5.


Two extremes:

1)     These verses are only teaching of a straw man.  An impossible situation

2)     These verses are speaking to any sin committed after baptism (Tertullian)  


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
    1. 2 Corinthians 4:4 the world is blind
    2. John 8:12 and 1:9 Jesus is the light
  2. “Tasted the heavenly gift”
    1. Tasting is more than the “knowledge” or “enlightenment” of #1.
    2. Tasting implies personal experience
    3. Psalm 34:8
    4. 1 Peter 2:3
    5. Knowing about food (looking at it) has a completely different affect on the body than eating and tasting the food.
  3. “Shared in the Holy Spirit”
    1. “sharers” is  metochoi” and is used in 1:9 (“companions”); 3:1(“share in the heavenly calling”); 3:14 (“share in Christ”)
    2. Also used in Luke 5:7 as “partners in the other boat”
  4. “Tasted the goodness of the word of God”
    1. “tasting” is used again
    2. “goodness” is “kalon” indicates both “beauty” and “moral goodness”
    3. The Word of God is not tasted but the “goodness” of it is tasted.
    4. “Word of God” is “theou rhema” (again in 11:3) not “logos tou Theou” (4:12; 13:7)
    5. Focus of “rhema” is the specific communication from God and not the general message.
    6. This again refers to not just having heard Bible teaching but having experience the results of the application to one’s life.
  5. “Powers of the coming age”
    1. “tasted” also applies to “powers of the coming age”
    2. “these last days” 1:1
    3. Simon Magus saw the goodness of God’s word and the power in Acts 8:5 but it was to no avail
    4. Matt. 12:28



“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.”


και      παραπεσοντας       παλιν        ανακαινιζειν        εις       μετανοιαν   

and      falling away            again         to renew               to      repentance


ανασταυρουντας          εαυτοις          τον        υιον       του        θεου       και

crucifying again         for themselves  the        Son              of   God      and



putting to open shame


for themselves” from εαυτοις  is the dative of advantage for themselves.  This word indicates these individuals would be taking full responsibility for the disgrace.


παραδειγματιζοντας “to expose public, to make a public example of, to expose to disgrace”.


Linguistic Key says: “If the readers were to return again to Judaism, no possibility existed for them to begin their spiritual life anew.  This would require a recrucifixion of Christ, putting Him to open shame.  For this reason they must continue toward maturity despite the difficulties, problems, and persecutions that attend their walk.”


Basically Acts 3:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”



1)      Calvin believed God kept the elect understood the tasting here as a partial experience and that the people of Hebrews did not respond to it.  But no where are these verses talking about partial enlightenment.

2)      This may speak of the unpardonable sin of Matthew 12.  Many people would be concerned with having committed this “unforgivable sin”.  If they sense guilt and desire to repent would not God accept them?

3)      The writer does not indicate here or anywhere that his readers were in this position.

                                                               i.      This then is a warning of potential

                                                             ii.      This warning only views salvation from the human side

                                                            iii.      Other places in the scripture indicate the divine involvement

1.      Romans 8:35-39

4)      The passage is stating the impossibility of the condition of repentance that is first referred to in verse 6:1.  This is the initial state of entry into salvation.  Once phase one is initiated it can not be redone.  Once you are saved you can not go back and get saved again.  You must simply continue the Christian walk and face the challenges and the hardships.







“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.”


The Vineyard song of Isaiah 5:1-7




“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.”