The Warning Conundrum

A conundrum is a difficult or challenging problem. And if any book in the NT presents a conundrum it is the writing we know as Hebrews. Filled with incredibly profoundĀ  theological depictions of Christ and His work, it also has some of the most difficult passages for the reader to wrestle with. There is significant debate on who wrote the book, where the original audience lived, and to a lesser degree when it was written. But the real challenge is trying to determine what the warning passages are warning us about.

By Beeblebrox (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Picture by Beeblebrox via Wikimedia Commons

There is even debate as to which passages are to be considered warning passages (see this list here).

The warning passages confront the scholar and lay reader alike.

  • What does it mean to “hold fast our confidence”, “confession” or “hope” to the end (3:6, 14; 4:14; 6:18; 10:23)?
  • What happens if we fail to heed these warnings?
  • What punishment will we fail to escape (2:3; 10:28-29; 12:25)?
  • What rest will we fail to enter (3:11,18-19; 4:3-5)?
  • What does it mean to be part of “God’s house” (3:6) or to “share in Christ”? (3:14) or to “share in the Holy Spirit” (6:4)? How does enduring confidence and falling away affect how we participate in these things?
  • What does the author mean by sanctification? And is that something that isĀ  considered in process, completed, and/or reversible (2:11; 10:10, 14, 29; 13:12)?

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