Friday, June 29, 2012

Hebrews 6:1-3; Baptisms?

Hebrews 6:1-3
1 Therefore, leaving the primary message about the Anointed One, let us be carried on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and faith in God, 2 teaching of cleansing rites, and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead, and the eternal judgment.  3 We will do this, if only God permits.
The entire context if from 5:11 - 6:12.  Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians and we should always keep that in mind.  Some of my commentary on this passage would be:
1. These Christians are being told that they are about to be taught some deep things (mature things) around their faith and they need to move on from the very basics that distinguishes Jewish Christians from Jews.  
2. “Dead Works” probably refers to the Jewish Law and how that “faith in God” from a Jewish prospective is now different from the “Christian faith in God”.  
3. “Teaching of Cleansing Rites (baptisms) probably refers to the difference between Jewish cleansing rites and Christian cleansing rites (baptism).  The Greek word βαπτισμός is only used 4 times in the NT.  It is used as “washing” in Mark 7:4 and later on in Hebrews 9:10.  The only time that it may actually refer to what we call “baptism” today is in Colossians 2:12.  With that said, we must assume that the Author of Hebrews is using the word here as he uses it in 9:10.  
4. The whole letter is an appeal to the Jewish Christians to not slip back into Judaism and to show that Faith in Jesus is superior to the Old Covenant.

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