William Barclay on Hebrews 6:4-6


studylight.org/commentaries … ews-6.html

This might be the best expounding of Hebrews 6:4-6 I’ve read.


Yea, Barclay’s daily bible commentary is great. From my point of view, the issue is that he is reading Hebrews like it was written to himself and all Christians through all of time. The historical significance seems to be lost. Even the site Biblica says:

Hebrews must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in a.d. 70 because: (1) If it had been written after this date, the author surely would have mentioned the temple’s destruction and the end of the Jewish sacrificial system; and (2) the author consistently uses the Greek present tense when speaking of the temple and the priestly activities connected with it (see5:1–3; 7:23,27; 8:3–5; 9:6–9,13,25; 10:1,3–4,8,11; 13:10–11).

Now I don’t know about the Greek stuff, but surely the author would have made mention that this sacrificial system WAS as in ‘used to be’ before the temple destruction. I kind of think that Hebrews was written to the Hebrews. :open_mouth:

As a side note, I remember a Free Will Baptist pastor sitting at my kitchen table and using these very verses to try to convince me that the ‘once saved always saved’ doctrine was rubbish. :astonished:

Having said that Barclay does end with this:

Go figure.


“impossible…to renew unto repentance” which some ETers take to mean they can never be saved

  1. but does Heb.6:4-6 mean it is impossible for men, or for God, to renew such a one to repentance?

  2. does it imply it is impossible forever, or could it be for a limited time, e.g. for this age & the next?

Re 1. above i think of the scripture which asks, is anything too difficult for the Lord? Jesus said,
With man this is impossible, but with God all is possible. So i’d suggest that a possible interpretation
of the Hebrews passage in harmony with UR is that it is impossible for the man himself or other men
to renew him to repentance, but not impossible for God.

Even some bible commentators who do not support UR admit the Hebrews passage is not saying it is
impossible for God to save them & that it is possible for Him to do so. Just that He has chosen not to,
for various reasons.

In Acts 4:8 we read of a lame man who was unable to walk. It was impossible for him to walk.
The same Greek word is used for “impossible” as in Hebrews 6. While it was impossible for the
man to walk or cure himself of his inability to walk, it was possible with God’s help. In
verses 9-10 he was healed. In the age to come when all are resurrected by the Lord will they
not also be able to walk?

If God hardens a heart so he cannot let the people of Israel go, then it is impossible for him
to repent (change his mind) and let them go. But if God later allows him to let them go, then
it was not impossible for him to do that forever, but only while God hardened his heart.

While God hardened his heart he was not allowed or permitted to let the people go. The Hebrews
6:4-6 passage also speaks of people doing something only “if God permit” (v.3). So might those for
whom it is impossible to be renewed unto repentance be that way because God does not “permit” it?
Could He at some point in the future permit them again? I don’t see anything in Heb.6:4-6 that
says otherwise.

The Hebrews passage paints a contrast between those who can go on to maturity “if God permits”
and those who are not being permitted, as it is presently impossible for them. Why? Because
God does not presently “permit” it to such as those described in the context?

Hebrews references to Pharoah’s hardening? Romans.

Re 2. above Heb 6 has similarities to the unpardonable sin of the 4 gospels, which is not forgiven in this
age or the age to come. Both passage speak of the Spirit of the Lord & the age to come. Could
this gospels’ account be what the Hebrews writer had in mind? If so, then it leaves open the
possibility of their repentance & pardon in the age after the one to come, since the Scripture
speaks of more than one future age.

For additional perspectives on Hebrews 6:4-6, there is the following:

richardwaynegarganta.com/Bible%2 … lained.htm

“4 This description applies only to those who participated in the Pentecostal blessings. They were enlightened, they’ tasted the celestial gratuity,
they became partakers of holy spirit, and God’s declaration, and they only experienced the powers of the kingdom eon, and many of them fell aside. These blessings were based on their repentance, or change of mind, which was induced largely by the miracles which they saw. When the kingdom failed to appear, and its powers vanished, their repentance went also. Hence the impossibility of renewing it, for the means which produced it were no longer in evidence. Such a course is not possible in a day of grace, such as we live in. In place of repentance and pardon, we have faith and justification, which know no falling away, being entirely of grace, from first to last.” (Concordant Commentary)
concordant.org/expositions/conco … testament/

God is the Saviour of all (1Tim.4:10)



Much of what you are addressing is simply about Jesus’ mission to the Israelites, my contention is the idea that the bible is pretty clear that He (Jesus) came ‘but for the house of Israel’. We want to superimpose all the words of Jesus and all of scripture to be speaking to us (us here and now) but there is an alternative view that would say that Jesus did great things for His people, and thus did what was foretold through Abraham to all of humanity was that God would through Israel, bless all people.

Thus many of these Ect and annihilationist believers are going to have to deal with this fact.

What The Hell Is Hell?
by Don (Beres) Bartlett | Apr 14, 2017
The first church fathers, mostly Greek speakers, understood the common collection of NT greek writings from a greek mindset. And NONE of them taught of an eternal hell used by God to punish humans.
The later Latinizers of the Bible; (the Latin gang of four were Jerome, the translator of the Greek and Hebrew into the Latin Vulgate, Augustine, the dogma dictocrat, who once boasted that he would never learn Greek or Hebrew, yet is called a Saint, Damasus the Pope, all standing on the shoulders of Constantine who most successfully married Paganism to Christianity); these four were principally concerned with a common Bible in the Latin tongue for cohesive political clout and an empire wide religion of uniform beliefs.
In this process, and towards this end, simple basic greek words were outrageously, permanently and deliberately mistranslated. Among which was “hell”, a word which neither Jesus nor Paul, ever used.
The word “hell” in the English, came to us via the “set in concrete” religious dogma of the RCC (Roman Catholic Church), and was never seen until some 700 years after the life and death of Jesus. The Latin word used was “infernum”. How multiple Greek words meaning a rubbish dump, a grave, and other things, can be translated into ONE single English word is an insult to intelligence and logic.
This conflation of gehinnon (a valley outside Jerusalem), outer darkness (No one knows exactly what that is, though many pretend to), tartarus ( a place of underground torture for those who threatened the gods, and straight out of Greek mythology), and the grave (hades – sheol in the O.T.), have all gone into building the Latinizers false narrative of Hell, then Limbo, and then Purgatory.then commercialized prayers for the dead.
Mistranslate as well, the greek term “aeonian” and voila! Now you have an ETERNAL Hell!!! WooHoo! Such religious shenanigans!
Then to take these false translations, forced interpretations, and religious contortions to prove that Jesus ever spoke of “hell”, is to call me either ignorant, a liar, or an idiot.
I call BS!
IF truth requires manipulative fear to succeed in its success, then you can keep it.
“I am God, and I love you so much that I created Hell just in case you don’t love me back!”.
Knock Knock;
Who’s there?
Jesus, your loving Saviour;
What do you want?
I want to tell you the good news;
What good news?
The good news of what I am going to do to you if you don’t open the door!


Re 1. above i think of the scripture which asks, is anything too difficult for the Lord? Jesus said,
With man this is impossible, but with God all is possible. So i’d suggest that a possible interpretation
of the Hebrews passage in harmony with UR is that it is impossible for the man himself or other men
to renew him to repentance, but not impossible for God.

Jesus also said it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle then a rich man to go to heaven so obviously it’s hyperbole and he is warning that riches can become your god and keep you from heaven. IMO this is the same type of warning as the writer says to his fellow Hebrews that they have tasted the Holy Spirit and if they then fall away back into Judaism because of peer pressure they may not be able to recover again. The rest of the NT tells us numerous times that believers who fall away can and should recover so this letter must be read with the context of this message kept in mind. It’s a very specific message intended for a very specific group of people.


This is key IMO and the old saying says it well… “A text without a context is a pretext for a proof-text.

Again YES! And Paul had this to say…


1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
3 And this we will do if God permits.
4 For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,
5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6 if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.
8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned

You might find the following an interesting interpretation. When was in my late teens I attended and was a member a conservative Baptist Church at the time. According to them, the writer is talking about leaving the elementary teaching about Christ, not trying to preach repentance from dead works and faith toward God etc., because backslidden Christians have already done that. They are Christians, and so they need to be fed and so go on to maturity (vs 1). It was impossible for those backslidden Christians be restored to repentance, because they had already repented and were saved. So they couldn’t get saved all over again (once saved always saved). These Christians have fallen away from their life in Christ, and no longer bear good fruits. However, the text does not say that the LAND (these backslidden Christians) will be cursed but rather NEAR to being cursed. Also land itself is not burned but the thorns and thistles that grow upon it are burned. Sometimes people say that land is burned, but that is a manner of speaking. They mean that the land is burnt OVER. That is, the unwanted growth on it is burned up. So those backsliding Christians will not go to the fiery hell, but their useless works will be burned up.

As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:15
If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.


Paidion wrote:

The idea that there is such a thing as a ‘backsliding’ Christian is an interesting view. If Christ ‘atoned’ for our sins, then backsliding is funny, if he did not ‘atone for our sins,’ His crucifixion might well be questioned. The other view is that Christ was the savior Messiah of Israel, and thus as per Genesis, is the savior of the nations, or more precisely, for all of humanity… And it has happened. :laughing:

You seem to want people to pay for their misdeeds… Or at least want to tell folks that the bible tells them that. What would you say that people need to do or not do to escape this correction? :open_mouth:


Certainly Jesus could have meant a camel through the eye of a sewing needle. But there is evidence that the eye of the needle was a way into Jerusalem, a very small opening which only allowed a camel through after everything was taken off of him, was laying down and forced through. Basically, this was a small gate. It had to be such, otherwise a military force could send an army through it.

First thing, it makes complete sense if you think about it. How does a rich man get to heaven? By basically disregarding his possessions. The same thing one must down (unload the camel of their possessions) to get through into the city. Also, if this wasn’t the case, then Jesus should have said “It is IMPOSSIBLE for a rich man to…” I mean, everyone knows a camel cannot literally go through a sewing needle. It isn’t possible, period.

MacDonald, also, was a believer that Jesus did not use hyperbole at all. It was all serious. What we attribute hyperbole to Jesus, it allows us to explain away his hard meanings… Maybe they are hard because we don’t understand the culture of the context of words. I mean, did Jesus really mean for the young rich ruler to part with his wealth… Most people say no, he didn’t. It was just a ‘test’ and he failed. I say, no, it wasn’t just a ‘test’ anymore so than God asking any of us to do things. We can view them as a test, but basically God is inviting us to do his work with Him.




This is a very quick post, excuse typos, random thoughts, incomplete thoughts, etc… Off to church!


I could not resist (I have to get going to Church) but… The idea of two types of Christians - backsliders and non-backsliders is rubbish to me. I can see in everyone Christian’s life visibly on the outside that they daily, take 2 steps forward, 1 step back, sometimes 3 steps back and 2 steps forward… Some days are better than others, some days are worse. People are foolish, in my opinion, to think they are on ‘fire’ for God and that their live is only taking steps forward. The more honest ones are likely to feel that they are backsliders. The ones who are not honest with themselves don’t realize that day in and day out, they have attitudes of the heart that are constantly in flux. Some of the arrogant people I have met imply they don’t sin in their lives and they have their act together. Not sure why someone would even suggest and say it, but they do. It is crazy.


MacDonald, also, was a believer that Jesus did not use hyperbole at all. It was all serious. What we attribute hyperbole to Jesus, it allows us to explain away his hard meanings… Maybe they are hard because we don’t understand the culture of the context of words.

So when Jesus said to cut off our hand he was literal? That culture did use hyperbole to make a point and using it didn’t mean the speaker wasn’t serious, it was simply a method to emphasize a particular point.


Gabe, what denomination is your church?


I think you are confusing terms. Just because it wasn’t hyperbole doesn’t mean it should be taken literally. In other words, literal and hyperbole are not mutually exclusive.


I look at Hebrews 6:1-3 like the Lampstand(diagram linked below)


The central post rising up from the base is the doctrine of Christ- “There is no other foundation which any man can lay but Jesus Christ” … “I am determined to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified”.

The first two branches coming out from the central post are “repentance and faith towards God” (salvation)

The next two are “doctrines of baptisms and laying on of hands” (membership in the body and ministries/functions)

The two at the top “resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment” (the restoration of all things and Gods reason\plan of the ages)

At the top of the central post is the bowl of oil from which the florets are fed and receive fuel for the illuminating flame, representing that all light flows out of Christ.(referred to in biblical description not shown on drawing)

The requirements for the condition defined in verses 4-6 are that a person has " enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come".

IMO this is not a newly saved believer who is struggling with sin. the person described in 4-6 is impossible to “renew unto repentance” because there is nothing you can say to them they do not already know. I think the best description of this is John 15

If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

and it has to do with “abiding, dwelling, continuing” in Christ, not some momentary lapse or even necessarily some egregious sin, because there are many examples where repentance is renewed for egregious sinners, such as David(murder, adultery). Most of the examples of “being cut-off and gathered and thrown in the fire” that I see are examples of willful persistence in the face of merciful appeals and correction.


North American Baptist. I don’t subscribe to some of their ideas, but there are quite a few good people there. Small church. Pastor does believe in ECT quite firmly. In fact, I recall him joking about Annihilation by saying “Wow, who thunk up that idea? Had to be someone who wanted to excuse away things” basically inferring someone who believed that way was deceiver and ear tickler and apostate, etc… lol, I just laugh in my head. I don’t care. He is good guy in his inner most being and on a human level, probably just scared it is true so he believes it is true. Indoctrination does that to you.


Nothing wrong with worshipping with folks who hold different doctrines. Yesterday I attended service at a UMC church, and I’m a universalist preterist who thinks communion should be served as wine! :laughing:


I agree, especially about the wine. :wink:


Eaglesway, what denomination church do you attend?


Why cannot a Christian fall away from his walk with Christ, stop submitting to Christ’s authority, and live his life for himself again? Do you think he is FORCED to continue following Christ? Or do you think Christ’s atonement somehow “covers” him so that God is okay with him WHATEVER he does or however he lives his life?

Is not the very purpose of Christ’s death to DELIVER us from wrongdoing? That’s what I have found is the purpose, according to Paul, Peter, and the writer to the Hebrews:

Healed from our sinsickness!

You seem to presume that I still hold the same view that I did in the Baptist church as a teenager. What are your grounds for this assumption?
Indeed, there is nothing I wrote that indicates that even at that time I wanted people to “pay” for their misdeeds. That’s why as a teenager, I felt the need to tell them how to get “saved” so that they wouldn’t have to suffer eternal punishment in hell.

As for my present view, I believe that God doesn’t penalize people but corrects them to bring them out of their wrongdoing. It’s the most loving thing He could do for them. How horrid it would be if God did nothing but just allowed them to continue to go ever deeper in their hurt and harm of themselves and of others!


I do not attend any particular church regularly. I attend several different churches. I was saved by a sovereign revelation of Jesus Christ when God intervened in my life in 1974, I was a hippie who was losing his mind to too many drugs. I started out in a Nazarene church, but then I went into an independent street ministry in Detroit. It was charismatic in nature, and I was involved in the charismatic renewal in the denominational churches after that for a number of years in music and prison ministry and youth ministry. Later I went into the Assemblies of God for awhile but numerous doctrinal differences arising out of my continuing independent studies led me out of there. It was then, in a small fellowship in Denver Co. that a brother named Darrell Scott (writer of God’s Sacred Secret) introduced me to UR. I hovered between annihilationism and UR for awhile, until I started getting into languages of antiquity and translation. SInce I came up solid in UR, I have been a vocal proponent of it, so I am a happy heretic unfit for ministry in established churches, but I have been involved in a few home fellowships and music ministries. The pastor of the last church I attended regularly became a UR proponent and we both got kicked out :slight_smile:

A good friend of mine once said, “The Spirit of God has a lot to say, be careful not to structure a ‘brand’ with your religion that prevents Him from illuminating.”