STUDY Hebrews 10:32-39
(click here for notes)
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while,
"He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved. (NIV)
Remember and Hope
The author of Hebrews has just exhorted his readers to stand firm and not to apostatize. He outlines the severity of the consequences for continuing to sin after receiving "the knowledge of the truth" and states that for such people there is "no sacrifice for sins" left. (v. 26) He ends this chapter with a call for the readers to persevere and not to forget their initial experiences when they received the gospel and experienced God's power.
1. What had they experienced when they "received the light"? (see Hebrews 6:4-6; Ephesians 2:8; Galatians 3:2)
2. The Hebrews had also suffered when they first believed. What kinds of sufferings did the early believers experience? (see v. 34; Philippians 1:29-30; 1 Thessalonians 2:2; Acts 14:19; 16:22)
3. What are the "lasting possessions" which become the inheritance of a Christ-follower? (see Hebrews 11:10; 13-16; 26; 35; Matthew 5:11-12; 6:19-21; Romans 8:18; Revelation 21:1-4, 7)
Persevere in Confidence
The author builds up the Hebrews' faith by reminding them that God will keep his promises.
4. What is the "confidence" which he warns them not to "throw away"? (see Ephesians 3:12; 2 Corinthians 3:3-6; Hebrews 3:14; 4:15-16; 10:19; 1 John 2:28; 4:16-17)
5. How were these Hebrew Christians likely to "throw away [their] confidence"? (see v. 26-29; Gal. 2:11-16; 4:8-11)
6. How does one "persevere"? (see Romans 5:3-5; Hebrews 12:1-3; James 1:2-5, 12; 5:7-11; 2 Peter 1:3-9)
7. What has God promised to those who do his will? (see Hebrews 9:15; Acts 20:32; Ephesians 1:13-14; Matthew 20:34; Colossians 1:10-14; 3:23-25; 1 Peter 1:3-5)
8. How does one know the will of God? (see Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 5:17-18; Philippians 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 5:16-18; John 14:15; 15:17; 1 John 3:23; 4:21; 2 John 6)
Fulfilling Habakkuk's Prophecy
The author drives home his point about persevering and receiving the promise by quoting a prophecy from Habakkuk 2:3,4. This prophecy came to Habakkuk while Israel was captive in Babylon and promised the fall of Babylon which occurred 66 years later.
9. What was the setting for this prophecy in Habakkuk? (see Habakkuk 1 and 2)
10. In Habakkuk 2:4 it says, "the righteous will live by his faith". An alternate translation for this passage is, "the righteous will live by his faithfulness." How has this prophecy become support for the New Testament teaching about salvation and Godly living? (see Romans 1:17; Gal. 3:10-13; Ephesians 2:8)
11. What is significant about Habakkuk's statement, "the righteous will live by his faith(fulness)", and how is that declaration related to the quote in Hebrews, "But my righteous one will live by faith"?
Shrinking Back vs. Believing
"And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him," the author ends his quote from Habakkuk.
12. Who are "those who shrink back and are destroyed"? (see Matthew 7:21-23; 13:20-22; 25:14-15, 24-30)
13. How does one stay grounded in belief instead of shrinking back?
14. In what circumstances have you been or are you tempted to lose your confidence?
15. Have you suffered for your faith in Jesus? If yes, how?
16. Has living by faith changed your life? If yes, how?
17. What part of your life would you like to be changed by faith?
18. What threats or trials tempt you to "shrink back" and avoid the conflict your belief generates?
19. In what area of your life are you trying to know the will of God?
20. What has God suggested you need to give up or change in your life?
21. How have you rationalized not doing what you fear God may be asking you to do?
22. Tell God honestly how you feel about the things he is suggesting you submit to him. Tell him what you fear you will lose and what you fear you may have to do. Let yourself experience the feelings such thoughts generate. Ask God to help you to submit to hi love and to give you a trusting heart which he can heal. Let Jesus be your strength. Let his love hold you and his Spirit increase your faith. Do what he asks of you, trusting him to be your comfort.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised April 3, 2001.