Hebrews 6 Study Sheet

The following is a simple study sheet that contains a brief outline of the chapter and a few questions that focus on the text. One of the first and most important parts of good Bible study is observation. What does the text say? Until we know what the text says, it is fruitless to try to discover what it means and how it applies. Most of the questions are designed to do little more than help the reader observe the text. There may be an occasional question that asks for deeper meaning or application.

OUTLINE

I. The Danger of Apostasy (6:1-8)

A. It is necessary to deepen our spiritual understanding (1-3).

B. Falling away places our souls in jeopardy (4-8).

II. Optimism for the Future (6:9-20)

A. There are reasons to be confident that Christians can remain faithful (9-10).

B. Encouragement to be faithful (11-12)

C. God’s promise to Abraham and the oath that undergirded it are two immutable things that support our hope for the future (13-20).

QUESTIONS

  1. What is the primary statement of encouragement in 6:1 (hint: “let us…”)?
  2. List the “elementary teaching” that the writer says we should move past (6:1-2).
  3. In 6:4-5, the writer lists five characteristics of those who could fall away. What are they?
  4. According to 6:6, is it possible for a person to pass a point of no return?
  5. What characteristic of God in 6:10 should encourage us to be faithful?
  6. What characteristics should we maintain all the way to the end (6:11)?
  7. What two characteristics will help us to inherit the promises (6:12)?
  8. How did God reinforce his promise to Abraham (6:13, 17)?
  9. What are the two “unchangeable things” that give us hope (6:18)?
  10. How does the writer describe our hope (6:19)?

APPLICATION

One of the beauties of Bible study is how it reveals the nature of God. Right in the middle of a frightening warning about the possibility of apostasy, the writer reminds us of several of God’s qualities that should ease our fears. Among them are these:

  • God blesses those who bear good fruit (6:7).
  • We are God’s beloved (6:9).
  • God has confidence in us (6:9).
  • God will not forget our loving ministry to others (6:10).
  • God will keep his promises (6:18).

These are not only characteristics that deserve our gratitude, they are also tremendous motivations for us to maintain our loyalty and commitment to Jesus.

Romans 3:21 – 4:25

Introduction: Having established that everyone – Jew and Gentile – stands in need of salvation due to personal sin, Paul now turns his attention to explaining the basis of the salvation offered in Christ. We are not justified by merit. God justifies us because we trust him to save us.

I. The Basis of Justification is Grace, Appropriated by Faith (3:21-31)

A. The “righteousness of God” (i.e., the justification that comes from God) is possible apart from works of law in general, and the works of the Law of Moses in particular (3:21).

B. The basis of justification is the same for all, the grace of God made possible by Jesus Christ, who is the propitiation for our sins (3:22-25a).

C. God’s amazing plan for the redemption of man allows God to be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (3:25b-26).

D. Because we are declared righteous apart from meritorious works, we have no basis to boast (3:27-28).

E. God has decreed that both Jew and Gentile can be saved in the same way–on the basis of trusting, not earning (3:29-30). But this principle does no damage to the law. Rather, it harmonizes with it (3:31).

II. Abraham: and Example of Justification by Grace Through Faith (4:1-25)

A. Paul will explain in this chapter that the greatest hero of the Jews, Abraham, found justification through his trust in God, not any meritorious system of law.

B. Had Abraham been justified by merit, he would have plenty of reasons to boast. But the Scriptures are clear that what was put on his account as “righteousness” was his faith (Gen. 15:6), not meritorious works (4:1-8).

1. Paul explains the difference between grace and merit. When one works for pay, his wages are not counted as a gift (4:4).

2. But the one who doesn’t attempt to earn justification, but trusts in the one who can justify the ungodly, “his faith is counted as righteousness” (4:5-6).

C. Pious Jews placed inordinate value on circumcision, to the point that it was viewed meritoriously–that is, they believed that circumcision, in and of itself, obtained God’s approval (cf. Acts 15:1-5; Gal. 2:1-21; 5:6).

D. In 4:9-12, Paul reminds the Jewish Christians in Rome that Abraham was justified by faith long before he was ever circumcised.

1. The blessing of justification is not reserved for the circumcised only, and Abraham’s justification prior to circumcision proves that (4:9-10).

2. The fact that Abraham was counted as righteous because of his faith, and not because of his circumcision, is proof that he is the father of all who trust God for salvation, Jew or Gentile (4:11-12).

E. The promises that God made to Abraham regarding the blessings that would come through his descendants were made long before the Law of Moses ever came to be (4:13-15).

F. If the blessings promised through Abraham required perfect law-keeping, no one would enjoy them. That’s why those blessings are obtained through trusting God for them (4:16-17).

G. Abraham’s strong faith (4:18-21) was placed on his spiritual account as righteousness, not just for his sake alone, but for ours, too. If we follow in his steps, we will be justified in the same way he was (4:22-25).

III. Lessons

A. God blesses us, not because of who we are, but because of who he is (4:1-4; 1 John 4:19). God did not choose to bless Abraham because he owed Abraham.

B. There are four important terms used in this section that help us to understand our salvation:

1. Justification (3:24, 26, 28, 30) – a judicial term that denotes vindication, or receiving a favorable verdict. When we are justified, God drops the charges.

2. Redemption (3:24) – a financial term that denotes a payment of ransom. When we are redeemed, God pays for our release from captivity.

3. Propitiation (3:25) – a sacrificial term denoting the appeasement of righteous anger. Through the death of Jesus, the righteous demands of God’s nature are satisfied.

4. Accounting (4:11, 23-24) – another financial term that refers to a mathematical calculation that would be placed in a ledger. When we trust God for salvation, he places “righteousness” on our spiritual ledger.

Conclusion: Few Bible doctrines offer as much hope and peace as the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. We would all be hopelessly doomed to eternal torment if our salvation were contingent on our personal perfection.

Abraham’s Early Mornings

I have never been a “morning” person. At times I wish I were. Without an alarm clock pounding my eardrums, I can easily sleep much longer than I should. I just don’t naturally wake up early under normal conditions. If, however, the day promises something out of the ordinary and pleasant (e.g., the beginning of a vacation), I’ve been known to wake up before the alarm clock goes off. As hard as it normally is, the prospect of an unpleasant day makes getting up that much more challenging and pulling the covers over my head that much more alluring.

That’s one component of Abraham’s faith that makes it so amazing. There are three instances in his life in which the Bible says that he arose early in the morning – and he knew on all three of those days that what he had to do would not be pleasant. Yet, instead of hiding under the covers, he got up early to face each day.

Sodom and Gomorrah

God left no doubt regarding the evil character of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 13:13; 18:20; 19:13; 2 Pet. 2:7-8). Though he had been patient with them, God’s longsuffering finally reached its righteous end. When he told Abraham of his plan to destroy the cities of the plain, the faithful patriarch interceded on behalf of his noble nephew, Lot, who lived in Sodom (Gen. 18:22-33).

God promised Abraham that he would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten righteous souls could be found there, but it was not to be (Gen. 19:13). God rained fire from heaven and engulfed in his wrath those sinful cities.

Note carefully how Genesis 19:27 begins, “And Abraham went early in the morning” to inspect the damage. There is little doubt that Abraham feared Lot would suffer the same fate as the wicked. Abraham knew that the cities were overcome with iniquity. When he spoke with God earlier, he didn’t seem confident that God would find the agreed-upon ten righteous souls that would have spared them. That deep anxiety for the welfare of his kinsman and the nagging feeling that it might be Lot’s last day did not make for a pleasant morning. Still, Abraham arose early to face the challenge.

Hagar and Ishmael

Moses records in Genesis 21 the joyous fulfillment of God’s promise to bless Abraham and Sarah with a son through whom God would establish Abraham’s lineage and bring the Messiah into the world. Isaac brought laughter and joy into the lives of his aged parents (21:1-7).

But Sarah’s animosity toward her handmaid, Hagar, who had previously given Abraham a son, intensified. Sarah demanded that Abraham send Hagar and Ishmael away (21:8-10). Even though Ishmael was not the son of promise, he was still Abraham’s son, and the thought of sending him away “was very displeasing to Abraham” (21:11). But God counseled the patriarch to do as Sarah requested (21:12-13). His response? “So Abraham rose early in the morning” and sent Hagar and Ishmael away (21:14).

Isaac

While Isaac, the son of promise, was still a young boy, God tested his father (Gen. 22:1) by instructing him to sacrifice Isaac on an altar. Abraham had waited long for Isaac to be born. The boy brought him great joy. And now God commanded him to take his life. How did he respond? “So Abraham rose early in the morning” to obey the Lord (22:3). His confidence that God would provide another sacrifice (22:8) or that he would raise Isaac from the dead (Heb. 11:17-19) probably tempered his emotions somewhat. But surely no one would argue that it was a pleasant morning.

Abraham, no doubt, arose early to some wonderful mornings. But the three above are the only ones specifically mentioned in the Bible. How brutal they must have been! How tempting it might have been for him to keep rolling over and sleeping just a little longer. Yet, instead of hiding under the covers, he rose up early and met the challenges of the day.

Life brings with it many unpleasant days. But the with the help of God and the faith of Abraham, we can throw off the covers, confidently rise from our beds, and face what each day brings. Regardless of what today brings, it is still a day created by the Lord, and in it, we have plenty of reasons to rejoice and be thankful (Psa. 118:24; 1 Thess. 5:18).