What was the harder things for them to understand?

Hebrews 6:1-2
New American Standard Bible

6 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to [maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of instruction about washings ( baptism )and laying on of hands, and about the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.

When I read that verse it’s always a bit amusing to me because often it seems now days those are some of the subjects most often misunderstood when talking to random Christians I meet in person and online. Even for myself some of the issues is a bit outside of what I have really studied such as what exactly is the resurrection and ect… but from this letter it seems for the early church this was something they felt very understood or the basics to the faith.

Outside of end times writings I wonder what was the mature , beyond entry level topics, they felt was next to be studied?

Great question! I think doing a Bible Study on the book of Hebrews as a whole might help us work out what some of these ‘mature’ things are. Here are some I can find in Chapters 12 & 13 after a quick speed read:

  • Throw off everything that hinders and the sin that entangles, and run the race with perseverance
  • Set our mind on Jesus, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross
  • Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy
  • Let us be thankful
  • Show hospitality to strangers
  • Don’t be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings
  • Learn to continually offer God a sacrifice of praise
  • Honour marriage, keeping it pure
  • Do not forget to do good and share with others

All of which becomes possible not in our own efforts alone, but by becoming closer to God and growing in the understanding of all He has done for us.

Those are my initial thoughts on the question. Look forward to hearing what others have to share.

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So you see it as the mature things is more about righteous living and not so much harder to understand doctrines? I’ll definitely have to relook at it all through that lens.

I would not go so far afield in looking for the meaning, for I think it explains what it means right there. At most I would only ask what the “therefore” beginning the statement is referring to, and I don’t think you have to look far for that either.

Hebrews 5:11 About this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need some one to teach you again the first principles of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food; 13 for every one who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.

Chapter 6 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 with instruction about ablutions, 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 become partakers of 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 commit apostasy, since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt.

The concern quite clearly seems to me that this constant emphasis upon and return to the idea of repentance and forgiveness. If this becomes the constant refrain then it becomes cheap forgiveness. Going back to our sins and seeking forgiveness over and over again looks to the writer like we are going nowhere. There is more to Christianity than this, the writer complains. He think there ought to be an expectation that we leave our sins behind and embark on a journey that goes on from there to a richer life and a growing relationship with God.

On the other hand… this is the author’s frustration. But the reality is for many people with quite a catalogue of bad habits to their account, it can take a considerable amount of time to discover and combat them all.

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Am I understanding rightly that you’re saying the initial “Repentance from Sin” stage of Christianity is the milk stage (which also encompasses this new understanding as a baby Christian about the resurrection to come, eternal judgement etc.)? And if we keep falling back into our old ways of the sin we already repented from, we are not moving on into maturity?

It is not what I say but essentially what the author of Hebrews is saying. But I also said it was not that simple, even though I can understand the author’s frustration.

It makes sense in so far as repentance is where we begin. We cannot be reborn and begin the Christian walk without repentance. And yes I think there is more to Christianity than this. It is not just about forgiveness of sin, but going on to sin no more. Paul says this more strongly in Romans 2, “4 Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 For he will render to every man according to his works:”

What do you think?

I certainly do not think Christianity is about getting indulgences for sin, so we can just escape the consequences. It is about changing our heart and being conformed to the image of the Son.

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I agree that the word ‘therefore’ is an important hint. The previous chapter (5) starts by telling about Christ being our high priest. Chapter 4 ends:
‘let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need’.

My current interpretation is that the writer wanted to go to the symbolic meanings of the priesthood and service in the OT tabernacle in relation to Christ, our high priest. These things were very meaningful to the believing hebrews at that time. The writer feels that he cannot progress to that direction because the readers are still stuck in the first steps of becoming/being followers of Christ.

There may be a wider meaning in this passage but the interpretation above is perhaps the simplest one.

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I guess for me when reading it and it says “ not again laying there foundation of repentance “ it was placing repentance as one of the first things you learn. That repentance is milk, just like the other foundational teachings mentioned. This repentance would have resulted from a understanding of righteousness. I then thought he was using order of Melchizedek as imagery to understand why Jesus is a priest forever who can continually save his people and give them eternal life which would all fall under the elementary teachings of “ resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgement “ meaning the more mature foods was beyond all of those things mentioned in the verses of 6 I showed.

I’ll definitely take all the info her perceptions here though when I continue to study it.

I agree that teachings about repentance is milk: “laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God”.

It should be noted that the letter was directed to persons who had a background in the old covenant. Repentance of dead works vs. faith towards God were at least partly a reminder of the fact that we cannot earn our salvation by trying to follow the law of Moses, God saves us through faith. This is of course just my interpretation.

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