Hebrews 6 – Let Us Move Beyond the Elementary

Today, we’re diving into a truly profound chapter in the New Testament—I’ll be walking through and sharing some of my thoughts and commentary on Hebrews 6. This passage holds wisdom and encouragement designed to uplift and challenge us in our walk with Christ. Whether you’re a seasoned believer or new to the faith, Hebrews chapter 6 offers rich insights that speak directly to our hearts and daily lives.

As we explore this chapter together, we’ll uncover the deep call to maturity in our faith, the beautiful assurance of God’s promises, and the powerful reminder to take hold of the hope we have in Him.

Before digging into a Bible study summary of Hebrews 6 it’s crucial to understand its context. This chapter is one of the most difficult passages to understand in all of scripture. If you have not already read chapters 1-5 of the book of Hebrews I would suggest you start there. This passage cannot be interpreted apart from the foundation the author previously laid in the first five chapters.

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What is the Main Point of Hebrews Chapter 6?

The main point of Hebrews 6 centers on the call for believers to advance beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and move towards spiritual maturity. It emphasizes the importance of growing in faith and warning against the dangers of apostasy. The chapter also highlights the certainty of God’s promises, reassuring us of His unwavering faithfulness. Through vivid illustrations and earnest exhortations, the author of Hebrews encourages us to remain steadfast in our faith journey, holding on to the hope set before us as an anchor for our souls.

Now that we’ve got a glimpse of the main ideas of this chapter, let’s dig deeper and take a look at Hebrews 6 verse by verse.

Hebrews 6:1-3 Commentary

hebrews bible study

Therefore let us move beyond the elementary doctrine of Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. Hebrews 6:1-3

The beginning of Hebrews 6 is a continued thought that the author had started at the end of chapter 5. It would be very helpful to read this full section, Hebrews 5:11-6:14

In these first few verses, we see the author continue in His rebuke to press on toward maturity. 

The author had begun to teach about a new priesthood but was struggling to explain it because they had become dull of hearing.

The readers are then encouraged to leave the elementary principles of Christ. Elementary principles can be translated as “the word of the beginning of Christ”, or “the beginning word of Christ”. These were the Old Testament doctrines that were intended to point Israel to the coming of Jesus.

Instead of pressing on toward a deeper understanding of Christ, they sought to return to their old religious practices based on the law.

The list of elementary teachings in verses 1-2 are not the basic teachings of the Christian faith. If you look closely there is no mention of faith in Christ or salvation through grace. These doctrines fall short of the basic teachings of Christ.

The author is not saying they should completely abandon these teachings or consider them worthless, but they need to move beyond them.

Philippians 3 reminds us that true righteousness is through faith.

not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith – Philippians 3:9

We must remember that our own good works, or following a specific set of rules is not what gets us closer to God. We are made righteous by faith in the work of Christ on the cross. It’s not a righteousness that we derive in our own strength or works, but a righteousness that is imparted to us through faith in Christ.

Hebrews 6:4-6 Commentary

Hebrews 6:4-6

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Here we are! We have arrived at one of the most debated and difficult passages in all of Scripture. Let’s dig in!

This passage needs to be interpreted, not only within the context of the scriptures right before and after, but also within the book of Hebrews as a whole. So let’s do a quick recap.

Here are some of the main points we’ve seen thus far in Hebrews:

  • Pay attention to the Word that God has spoken through His son. 
  • Jesus is worthy of more glory than the angels.
  • Jesus is worthy of more glory than Moses (through whom the law was given).
  • There is danger in unbelief
  • There is a rest that remains for God’s people. Perseverance in faith is how we enter that rest. Unbelief disqualifies us from it.
  • Jesus has been made our faithful High Priest through whom we draw near to God.

Before we get into this passage, it’s important to note that it is one that has caused much debate among scholars for many years. I think it’s unwise to approach the interpretation of this passage, even after careful study, in a dogmatic way. 

Some scholars use this passage to prove the idea that a person can lose their salvation. However, if we continue on that thought train, then we must believe that this is a person who not only can lose their salvation but also who can never get it back!

That doesn’t line up with scripture.

If we look at the full counsel of God’s Word it’s very clear that our salvation is secure in Christ. Once we place our hope in Christ, by grace through faith, we are sealed (secured) with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of our eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:13).

Others believe that this passage refers to those who, at some point, display spiritual experiences without experiencing genuine salvation. The parable of the soils is a great example. But again, we run into the same problem. You would have to believe that this person could not be renewed to repentance.

This is why it’s so important for us to interpret this passage within the context of Hebrews as a whole.

Also, there are a few aspects of our salvation that we should also consider:

Justification – This is what happens the moment we place faith in Christ. We are forgiven and made eternally holy before God. This is not something we can lose. It’s our eternal position.

Sanctification – This is the lifelong process of becoming more like Christ. Our present condition is still being made holy. This process continues to move forward as we grow in our knowledge of Him and walk in the good works God prepared for us. Ephesians 2:8-10.

Glorification – This is when we go to Heaven and receive the fullness of our salvation. 

So, here is another thought…

It seems as though this passage is a warning to not fall away from sanctification. It is impossible for us to lose our justification (we cannot again crucify the Son of God) so we must either continue on to maturity in Christ or we will not achieve all that we have been created in Christ to accomplish. We must continue in Him.

This passage refers to the importance of repentance from dead works. Any good work that we set to achieve will not bear kingdom fruit if it’s not united with faith in Christ. 

This idea flows into the next section.

Bible Study Printables

Hebrews 6:7-8 Commentary

For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and produces vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

A crop is only useful for producing a harvest. A farmer can plant, water, weed, and tend a crop, but if it doesn’t produce its harvest it is no longer useful.

We see this principle also illustrated in 1 Corinthians 3:7-15. Look specifically at v. 15.

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now the one who plants and the one who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire. – 1 Corinthians 3:7-9

Those who unite their works with faith in Christ will produce an eternal harvest resulting in eternal rewards. Those who do not unite their work with faith in Christ, who instead engage in dead works, will not produce lasting fruit. They will be saved because they have been justified in Christ, but they will suffer a loss of rewards in heaven.

Related Post: What it Means to Store Up Treasures in Heaven

Hebrews 6:9-10 Commentary

But, beloved, we are convinced of better things regarding you, and things that accompany salvation, even though we are speaking in this way. 10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, by having served and by still serving the saints. 

I find it interesting that the author abruptly switches the use of pronouns at the beginning of this section. When referring to those who do not press on to maturity he uses “they”. Here he shifts to using “you, your”. 

He is making a distinguishing contrast between these two groups. The first describes those who have fallen away.

The second group describes those who need perseverance.

The author affirms that he doesn’t believe that they have fallen away, just that they are in danger of it. 

These believers needed perseverance. Let’s keep this in mind as we continue to study through this chapter!

The next section shows us how we find the strength we need to continue in Christ.

Hebrews 6:11-12 Commentary

11 And we desire that each one of you demonstrate the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and endurance inherit the promises.

The author says that his desire is that they demonstrate the same diligence that they once showed so that they realize the full assurance of hope until the end.

The word “realize” is a preposition of direction. It’s moving towards something. The author is saying that their continued diligence in the things they had once shown will move them towards the hope they need to persevere. 

In verse 12 we see a contrast – those who are sluggish and those who through faith and endurance inherit the promise.

Hebrews 6:19

Hebrews 6:12-20 Commentary

For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear an oath by no one greater, He swore by Himself, 14 saying, “indeed I will greatly bless you and I will greatly multiply you.” 15 And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise. 16 For people swear an oath by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath serving as confirmation is an end of every dispute. 17 In the same way God, desiring even more to demonstrate to the heirs of the promise the fact that His purpose is unchangeable, confirmed it with an oath, 18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to hold firmly to the hope set before us. 19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and reliable and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

In order to understand the author’s reference to faith and patience, we must understand God’s promises to Abraham.

If you are unfamiliar with Abraham’s story you can find it in the following verses.

  • Genesis 12:1-2
  • Genesis 13:14-16
  • Genesis 15:4-6, 18
  • Genesis 17:1-8, 15-21
  • Genesis 21:1-12
  • Genesis 22:1-19 (this is where we find the quoted passage in Hebrews 6:14)

God has asked Abraham to sacrifice His son, Isaac. It was also through Isaac that God gave the promises. So how could the promise be fulfilled?

Abraham had to have hope. We see in verses 16-18 what Abraham placed his hope in.

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death. Hebrews 11:17-19

Abraham chose to place his hope in the unchanging faithfulness of God. If Abraham allowed his circumstances to determine his hope, it would have no longer been based on God’s promise.

This same hope is still available to you and I today. It is a hope that moves us forward towards the promises of God until the end.

Our hope is what keeps us anchored. Here is a great encouraging word from one commentator:

The ship must have hold of the anchor, even as we must lay hold of hope. The anchor itself may have a strong grip, and be secured to the ocean floor, yet if it isn’t securely attached to the ship it is of no use. But there is also a sense in which the anchor has hold of the ship, even as hope has hold of us. But the anchor analogy doesn’t apply perfectly. We are anchored upward in heaven, not down in the ground; and we are anchored to move on, not to stand still. – David Guzik

Hebrews 6

Final Thoughts on Hebrews Chapter 6

As I said in the beginning, we see two main ideas in this chapter:

  1. Pressing on toward maturity
  2. Having hope for the future

These ideas are connected because immature people lose hope. Based on what have seen in the book of Hebrews thus far, mature people:

  • Listen to and believe what God has spoken in His Son
  • Able to discern good doctrine from bad doctrine
  • Persevere in faith by placing their hope in the faithful promises of God

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