Practically Speaking (Hebrews 13:1–3)

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If it’s true that the only Jesus people see is the one that we present by our lives then we had better be sure that we practice what we preach. Practically speaking, we had better be sure that we are practically speaking. And one of the most profound ways that we do so is in our relations with fellow Christians. It has been helpfully observed that “in the absence of demonstrations of love to other confessors of Christ, public confession is an empty gesture. Confession in the form of action is indispensable.”1

For the most part, the writer to the Hebrews is finished with the doctrinal thrust of the book, and so now he wraps things up with some practical consequences of what he has said. This is the New Testament way of ethics. Duty is always rooted in doctrine; belief effects behaviour. So, having called these Hebrews to faith in Christ, the author now calls them to faithful living. “True faith demands true living.”2

Having been instructed in the indicatives, we are now to obey the imperatives.

Having just exhorted these believers to worship God acceptably, which contextually means to do so under the new covenant rather than under the old covenant, what flows is what he expects of such Christ-centred worship: a life of Christ-centred service. Worship is to be a way of life. We are never “on leave” from this high and holy and happy calling.

Some have argued that there is such an obvious shift from 12:29 to chapter 13 that this must be the addition of a later editor. Others suggest that these closing verses serve as an appendix of not necessarily related thoughts yet important and authoritative ones nonetheless. Though I can see why some would initially reach this conclusion, nevertheless I think it is unwarranted.

Clearly, from v. 9, the content of the epistle is still within view of the writer, and so it would seem strange that the previous passage (vv. 1–8) would be some kind of an addendum.

It seems clear that this pastoral-hearted author, having pointed them to Christ, now points them to practical areas in which they are to live out their devotion to Him.

Pastoral Concerns

Any pastor knows the burden of identifying areas where his flock are under pressure and therefore are being tempted to live sub-Christianly. It seems that this shepherd was particularly concerned about four major areas: (1) brotherly love in the community of faith (vv. 1–3); sexual purity (v. 4); materialism, covetousness and dissatisfaction (vv. 5–6); and doctrinal autonomy (vv. 7–17).

But it is important for us to note that everything that follows v. 1 actually flows from the commandment in v. 1. Love of the brethren will be manifested in hospitality, compassionate identification, sexual purity, avoidance of greed and covetousness, submission to the leadership of the community, and unity in the faith. So, in essence, we can conclude that acceptable practical worship is intimately connected to practical love of the brethren.

Pressures and Passions

When the going gets tough it is quite tempting to focus on ourselves and on our own needs rather than concerning ourselves with the needs of others. This temptation would be covered by vv. 1–3.

Sometimes the pressures that arise from devotion to Christ can tempt us as believers to cave in to cultural immoralities. Verse 4 would certainly address such a scenario.

And is it not true that discontentedness is the bug-bear that we must fight when our Christianity costs us; especially when it costs us our possessions, material provisions and even possibly our employment. Verses 5–6 help us with such temptations to discontent.

Finally, when pressures mount, it becomes very tempting for the sheep to scatter. When popular teachings promise an easier way, it is tempting to become critical, if not cynical, concerning those who are leading us down what is the more difficult path of truth. Therefore vv. 7–17 address such potential rejection of good and godly leadership.

So, we can say that this closing chapter is a logical appeal from how the body of the epistle closes, with an appeal to acceptable worship. What follows are the ethical expectations of those who belong to the unshakeable kingdom, which recognises the God who is both consuming fire and all-consuming love.

In our study we will identify two major headings.

We Must Remain in Love

Verse 1 gives an imperative: “Let brotherly love continue.”

Think back to when you became a member of your local church. Perhaps you were filled with joy, excitement and affection. You attended the services and activities at almost every opportunity. You involved yourself in ministry and in the various opportunities to serve the body. You prioritised the prayer meetings and the small group ministry of your church. You offered yourself in ministering to the needs of your fellow church members. You were eager to share the gospel. Though there were times when people offended you, you were quick to forgive and to let such wrongs be repelled like water off a duck’s back. At that time, you chose to love the brothers and sisters. And so you gathered and served with anticipation, you grew as you prioritised God and His people at the church. Perhaps you even attended the church’s annual general meeting! You were, to use a descriptive adjective, a Philadelphian Christian. But, sadly, this is not always the way a church member remains. Perhaps you have not remained so.

For some, if not perhaps for many, as time wears on, one’s affection for the Lord and for His people often wears thin. There are various reasons for this, but fundamentally it is a problem of worship. And such a malady, at its root, is due to a lack of appreciation, apprehension and application of the gospel of God. This was the challenge obviously being faced by the original recipients of this epistle.

Because they were tempted to look away from Christ back to the old covenant, and because they were failing to listen to the one who speaks from heaven (12:25), they were losing their focus and this was showing up in their neglect of fellowship (10:22–25). “In the general decay of their faith, tendencies to disown Christian fellowship had become apparent.”3 As their faith lagged, their fellowship lagged too. As their love for the Lord waned, so their love of the church waned.

Therefore, we have this vital exhortation in v. 1; an exhortation that, as I suggested earlier, undergirds all that is said up until at least v. 19.

Loving and serving God is inseparable from loving and serving one another in the church. In fact, it should be noted, especially with reference to the content of an epistle like this, that the first commandment in the Bible with reference to loving one another came in the context of a book dedicated to how to acceptably worship God. Leviticus 19:1 –18 says, “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbour, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbour as yourself: I am the LORD.”

So it should not surprise us that, after twelve chapters of instruction concerning how to acceptably draw near to God in Christ, we are immediately exhorted to “let brotherly love continue.” In other words, if we acceptably worship God then we will affectionately relate to others who are also acceptably worshipping God. There are several aspects of this that we must consider.

The Character of Brotherly Love

We are commanded to remain Philadelphian. “Brotherly love” is a translation this word. The kind of love to which we are called is a familial love.

You don’t get to choose your siblings, but you are responsible to love them in a way that you love no one else. Because you share the same household, and because you share the same connection parentally—regardless of whether or not you share blood type—there is an intimate connection that is to be respected and well regarded.

This is the principle regarding brotherly love in the church, with particular reference to brotherly love within the local church. Because we are members of the same household, because we have the same Father, and because we have the same elder Brother (2:11), we are to “let brotherly love continue.” And we are to do so regardless of any inconsequential demographic distinctions. In fact, we are not even to notice such. As one author has recorded, “In Christianity the confession of Christ outweighs all other considerations in the determination of brothers and sisters.”4

The root adelphia means “of the same womb” and so Donald Guthrie writes, “Philadelphia expresses that special mutual regard for one another irrespective of race which is particularly characteristic of Christians.”5 In fact as Calvin said, “We can only be Christians if we are brethren.”6

I recently enjoyed something of a family reunion as my siblings and I gathered together with my mom around my father’s death. Though we have spent little time together in recent years, and though our churches and our theology are quite different, we were able to enjoy sweet fellowship together. Our union around the same father transcended our many differences.

The Context of Brotherly Love

Jesus said that all would know that we are His disciples to the degree that we love one another (John 13:35). And such love, practically speaking, is His family love.

When He was once told that His mother and brothers and sisters were trying to gain access to Him, Jesus made the poignant point that all those who do God’s will are His mother, brothers and sisters (Matthew 12:46–50).

In other words, all those who obey God’s will to believe on and to subsequently honour His Son are in the family of God. Those who acceptably worship God will affectionately relate to their fellow worshippers. This, of course, is the context of such brotherly love.

It is impossible to acceptably worship God while treating your sister or brother in Christ unacceptably. In fact, in a passage very similar to this one, Paul exhorts that a major consequence of rendering acceptable service to God is healthy relationships within the Body of Christ—healthy because loving. Note Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” As Andrews notes, “It is just such holy and sacrificial living that constitutes the burden and import of Hebrews 13.” After all, “a new covenant demands a new lifestyle—one that flows from God’s laws written in the heart and in the mind.”7

And what does such a Word-informed heart and mind look like? Paul tells us in vv. 3ff and almost every one of these describes some type of service that the Christian is to render to other believers.

We often quote Romans 12:2 with reference to having a mind that is not worldly. And often we think of a mind transformed from musing on evidently evil things. That, of course, is a truth but this is not the context. No, the context reveals that the difference between a mind that is worldly and a mind that is godly is with reference to our view of ourselves and of others. Romans 12:10 sums this up well when it says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.” And so, “put in its most basic form, brotherly love is caring for fellow Christians more than we care for ourselves.”8

Do we put ourselves or others first? That seems to be Paul’s burden. And it should be ours. The character of brotherly love is selfless service on behalf of our spiritual siblings.

The Cooling of Brotherly Love

But alas, as we have seen, though we start well, such brotherly love does not always “continue.” It often grows cold—hence the need for the biblical exhortation: “Let.” Do something about it. Keep at it. We will look shortly at how to do so, but here we need to pause and examine why at times our brotherly cools rather than continues.

Pressures

“Every man for himself” is often our response when the going gets tough. Some years ago a cruise ship sunk just off the South African coast. The liner was commissioned by TFC Cruises. A joke soon arose that “TFC” stands for “Try Find the Captain” because, sadly, the captain was first to abandon ship when it started sinking.

When the pressures of life assail us—economic hardships, a new baby in the house, relational stresses, or even, as here, persecution for the faith—it is easy to become distracted from our duty to others as we become self-absorbed. The result is that we will be tempted to not make others a priority; we will be tempted to pull away from them; we will be tempted to ignore the very real needs of others; we may slowly but surely become thoughtless and inconsiderate. And all of this, in fact, can result in a subtle but sure drift away from those to whom we have been called to draw near.

Pain

Life can be hard, it can be painful. And such pain can lead to self-absorption and eventually to bitterness. I suppose that the natural response to pain is to seek solitude as shelter. But if we do so, then a cooling of our affections for others can result and this can further morph into bitterness. We need to guard our hearts. We need to remain in fellowship and to remain in love.

Perspective

Sadly, believers sometime lose sight of the gospel. Again, this is the fundamental concern of the writer. To lose sight of the gospel is, in fact, the fundamental cause of any cooling of our affections. If we maintain our focus on the grace and greatness and glory of the gospel of Christ then we will not lose our joy or our love in the midst of our pain or in the stream of our pressures. Rather, the gospel will empower us to continue to love and to relate and therefore to connect and to constructively serve.

The Continuance of Brotherly Love

The writer clearly commands these believers to continue to love one another in a biblically unique and brotherly way. They had done so (6:10); they needed to keep dong so. But the question is, how?

I have already alluded to this above: We are to keep the gospel central. As we do so, the embers of our brotherly affection continue to burn.

Loving one another is not eas—at least not over the long haul. The longer we are together, the more opportunities arise for offence and hurt and even irritation. But to the degree that we focus on the Lord Jesus Christ, we are empowered to continue to love. One of the best illustrations of this principle, I think, is found in John 21:1–19.

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

(John 21:15–19)

Peter was called to shepherd the Jerusalem church. This was no easy task. Sheep can be frustrating and messy. Sheep are not easy to love over the long haul. But Jesus is. So when the Lord charged (“ordained”) Peter to this role, He reminded Him of the key: love for the Lord. At no time in these verses did the Lord command Peter to love the lambs. No, the primary command was to love the Lord. Jesus knew that if Peter would love Him then Peter would love those that were His. So with you and me. As we grow in our love for the Shepherd (v. 20) then we will grow in our practical love of the sheep. Have you noticed that the Lord told Peter to do something for the sheep? Feeding, leading and heeding the sheep is tantamount to loving the sheep.

So, as we contemplate the gospel, we grow in our love for Jesus with the result that we will serve those whom He loves. It is in this way that we “let brotherly love continue.”

If you are pulling away from the church family then realise you are pulling away from your elder Brother. Return to Him and you will return to us.

Guard your times of private devotion with the Lord.

Deliberately deepen your knowledge of the gospel.

Be honest with yourself as you seek to be honest to God. You do not fall in and out of love. No, you choose whether or not you will remain in love. Abide in Christ and you will abide with the congregation.

We Must Remember to Love

The second major (and related) exhortation is given in vv. 2–3:

Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.

(Hebrews 13:2–3)

If we are Christians then of course we will obey our Lord and “let brotherly love continue.” This means, among other things, that we will practically meet the needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ. And we will remind ourselves to do so. This is the burden of vv. 2–3. In other words, practically speaking, a love that continues will look something like Hebrews 13. Lane notes that philaelphia “serves to introduce a cluster of instructions concerning the relationship of the members of the community to one another as well as outsiders.”4

In these verses we read what constructive continuance in love looks like. It looks like meeting the material needs of Christians. This is always the case, for the gospel is rooted in sacrifice and therefore results in sacrifice. This is our love for Christ practically speaking. In other words, “Christian love must not degenerate into a mere pious emotion. It must be expressed in continuing practical concern.”10

There are clear examples of this principle is the New Testament, the most obvious of which are found in Acts 11:26ff and 2 Corinthians 8–9.

Mind Over Matter

The author provides two examples. Both indicate that brotherly love originates not so much in the heart as it does in the mind. In both cases, we are exhorted to keep something in mind: We are exhorted to remember to love. In the midst of these two exhortations there is a fundamental principle we need to assimilate: To love properly means we are to think properly. To “remember” means “more than simply to call to mind: it involves the idea of identification with them.”11 Practically speaking, we are to be practically serving.

This is important for us to keep before us because all too often we can relegate certain acts of love to those of a more “tender” disposition. But that would be wrong. In vv. 2–3 the writer says that these Hebrew Christians—each of them—are to apply their minds to the duty to love. In v. 2 he writes, “Do not forget” to be hospitable. That is, they are to think, to keep before their minds their responsibility for hospitality.

Then, in v. 3, the writer says, “Remember” to care for both prisoners and for those being mistreated. Again, they were to keep this in mind; they must think about those Christians and then respond practically with brotherly love.

Christians, regardless of their temperament, regardless of the bent of their giftedness are responsible to practise brotherly love. But this requires that they apply their minds; it requires that they be alert to the circumstances faced by their brethren.

Perhaps one of the major contributing factors to the cooling of love, in practical terms, is that we just don’t think about it; or, to be more specific, we don’t think about others. Inconsiderate is the appropriate word.

Don’t Forget to Remember

Because we do not consider others, because we forget to consider, others are forgotten. Needs go unmet and our own personal love grows stale and lifeless.

If brotherly love will “remain”—if it will continue from strength to strength—then we must think about others. In the words of the writer, we must “consider one another” (10:24).

But why is such an admonition required? Why do we so easily forget to remember’? Let me suggest some reasons.

Pressures can so lean into us that we become absorbed with our own “survival,” resulting in a shutting down of our minds—and then of our hearts and hands. We become so consumed with our problems that we quite literally do not think about the challenges faced by other Christians. But this is not the way of the Master.

Consider, for example, the record of Mark 1. Jesus was under severe pressure, yet He continued to minister. Paul similarly faced great pressure, yet he took the time—and exercised his mind—to write to struggling believers.

A few days after my dad died, I was busy cutting down a tree in my mom’s backyard. I walked around to the front of the house and saw a woman pulling out of the driveway. She saw me and rolled down her window to talk to me. This woman had lost her husband completely unexpectedly just two weeks before that, but she had taken the time to make a meal for our family at the loss of my father. She could have remained wallowing in her own grief, but she reached out instead to minister to others.

Pain can be so intense that we shut off our mind to the needs of others and to our responsibilities as a Christian.

Perhaps you experience the pain of being betrayed, or the pain of insult, or the pain of loss, or the pain of being wronged in some most hurtful of ways. This pain can be so intense that if we do not make the wilful decision to consider others and our responsibility to them then our love can be stone cold dead as we sit back without lifting a finger to help.

Just think where the history of the church would not be, humanly speaking, if the apostles merely nursed their many relational and even physical wounds rather than considering their responsibility to their fellow Christians.

In sum, we are to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5–11) as we respond to others. Christ was betrayed, yet He reached out in love to save those who had sinned against Him.

Once we have settled on our responsibility to think about others, what specifically are we to now constructively do? That is, once we remember to love how are we to relate such love? We are given two concrete ways in which, practically speaking, we declare and demonstrate our love: by being hospitable and by being sympathetic.

We are to be Hospitable

According to v. 2, Christians have the responsibility to remember to show brotherly love by sharing our goods with those in the family of God: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.”

Rather than being characterised as thoughtless and inconsiderate of the needs of the body of Christ, we are to be characterised as those who “entertain strangers.” We are called to show hospitality to them. The word does not “mean the polite sort of thing we nowadays call hospitality but rather, a sacrificial giving of whatever it was that another brother or sister in the faith needed.”12

The Greek word translated “entertain strangers” is a compound word, whose root is xenos, meaning “stranger.” Unfortunately, South Africans are familiar with the word “xenophobia,” which literally means “fear of strangers.” Practically—at least as it has been worked out in South Africa—it means hater of strangers. As Christians, however, we are called to be lovers of strangers. Practically speaking, we are to be willing to meet the needs of believers, even those whom we do not know well. In the ancient world, as well as in ours, this is strange. Yet “it is precisely a willingness to share possessions unselfishly that is characteristic of the relationship among members of the same family.” So, “new perspectives concerning familial relationships will inevitably have implications for attitudes toward” what is ours.4

In the ancient world, inns were places of horrible ill repute; they were also notoriously expensive. Most travellers sought to avoid utilising such facilities—especially Christians. It was therefore expected that believers would open their homes to others who were passing through town. Even if the Christian was a “stranger,” whom they had never previously met, nonetheless the follower of Christ was to show brotherly love by opening his home. John wrote his third epistle with such a situation in mind; and in his second epistle he gives some doctrinal guidelines to help hospitable Christians to be on guard against deception.

The early church, in fact, became well-known for this trait, and it caused many in the watching world to scratch their heads. But, of course, such brotherly love was often abused by the less scrupulous. The Didache, an early pamphlet, written around 100 AD to give some practical advice to Christians, warned that if someone sought hospitality for more than two nights, or if they asked for money, they should be treated as a false prophet. Apparently shysters in the church are not a new phenomenon!

Nevertheless, here the writer assumes the best as he exhorts these believers, and us, to give thought to the needs of such Christians and to materially meet their needs.

Hospitality, whether of this kind or of a less intrusive type, nevertheless is the duty of the Christian who takes seriously his or her responsibility to show brotherly love.

We are to have an open door policy to Christians, and rather than treating our possessions as ours and for our use only, we are to view them as belonging to our Father and therefore to be shared with His family. And, by the way, don’t let your good intentions die the death of a thousand qualifications!

In the circumstances surrounding these Hebrew believers, they may have been tempted to be cynical and/or possessive. But if they truly allowed themselves to be informed by the gospel and moved to acceptably serve the Lord, then it was expected that they would practically aim to meet the needs of other Christians—and not only those who were related to them or to whom they were very close. Rather, such love to strangers would be the ultimate proof of their devotion to Christ.

Touched by Angels

The verse closes with what is doubtless a reference to the appearance of angels to Abraham (and perhaps to Lot) as recorded in Genesis 18–19. I love Bruce’s comment: “A true son of Abraham must be hospitable too.”14

In both cases, passages the angels blessed the men to whom they appeared. We think of their blessed message that Abraham and Sarah would have a son born to them within the year, and that Lot would be protected from the wicked men in Sodom.

The writer is not exhorting his readers to be hospitable to strangers in case they may in fact be ministering to supernatural messengers. Rather, the exhortation is a reminder that, when we show hospitality, we may be enormously and surprisingly blessed by God for doing so. “He is assuring them that some of their visitors will prove to be true messengers of God to them, bringing a greater blessing than they receive.”15 Perhaps he is also encouraging them that, overall, the happy experiences will outweigh the unhappy ones. But Phillips may also be correct when he notes that “there may be more to the people we meet than meets the eye.”16 Who knows the blessing you will receive?

In summary, “open hearts and open houses are the Christian way. Hospitality builds the Body of Christ and opens the door to a lost world.”17

We Are to Be Sympathetic

In v. 3, we are exhorted to be sympathetic: “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.”

Leon Morris reminds us that “compassion is an essential part of Christian living.”18 This is the burden of v. 3. It is a command for every brother in Christ. Every Christian, regardless of temperament, is called to practically speak the implications of the gospel in this way. Hughes helpfully exhorts, “None of us can excuse ourselves by rationalizing that we are not empathetic by nature. We are to labor at an imaginative sympathy through the power of God!”19 Practically speaking, we are to think and then we will be sympathetic.

In this verse, the exhortation is not completely a shift from the previous verse but rather it specifies the demonstration of brotherly love in another realm of hospitality; this time in the context of Christians imprisoned wrongly and of Christians who have been mistreated in some other way. The New Testament contains numerous examples of such.

You will recall one of the most quoted portions of Scripture, where Jesus spoke about the final judgement with its separation of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31–46). Jesus said that those who visited the “least of the brethren” who were in prison were deemed to have visited Him. But what kind of prisoners was He speaking of? Doubtless He was speaking of those who were imprisoned for their faith (see Matthew 11:2; Acts 5:21–23; 16:25; 20:23; 25:14, 27; Ephesians 3:1; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:8; Philemon 1, 9; Hebrews 10:34).

In the ancient world, as is even the case in some countries today, prisons were not a place of social welfare. If you were a prisoner, then others on the outside had to provide your food, clothing and bedding. But to identify with a prisoner could put you at risk. It is with this in mind that the exhortation is given to come to the aid of their brothers who are suffering for their faith. Though, of course, there is nothing wrong with applying this to ministering to prisoners in general, with particular reference to those who become Christians while imprisoned, nonetheless the emphasis surely is upon those imprisoned because they are Christians.

We should think about suffering Christians who are imprisoned, those who are bound for their faith. We should pray for them and, when God gives us opportunity, do them good (Galatians 6:10).

Finally, we should also apply our minds those who are “mistreated.” The word carries the idea of being tormented and therefore of being treated in an evil way. This was usually the case with Christians who were imprisoned for their faith (it almost always involved beatings), but it does not necessarily need to be confined to them. The point is obviously that Christians are to have on their minds those who are suffering for their faith—even, I might add, while you are also suffering at the same time.

The point in all of this is that we are to be sympathetic. Bruce describes it as “a capacity for putting oneself in another’s place and exercising imaginative sympathy,” which “is part of true charity.”20 Affection, hospitality and sympathy are inseparable in the life of the Christian.

The verse ends, “since you yourselves are in the body also.” Some interpret this as, “since you belong to the same Body of Christ as them.” Though that is certainly true (and is taught elsewhere, cf. 1 Corinthians 12:26), I don’t think that is what is meant. Rather “body” refers to the physical body. He is saying, “You should give due and compassionate and constructively helpful consideration to Christians who are suffering in their bodies, realising what such suffering entails. Think about your own body suffering like this. Don’t shrug it off. Identify with them in their sufferings and then let brotherly love continue.” I think MacArthur captures the meaning well when writes, “Among other things, Hebrews 13:3 is a warning against spiritualizing the Christian life.”21

Christians, we are called to love and to worship God acceptably. And the corollary to this is to love and serve one another.

Worship is practical, worship is personal, worship is passionate and worship perseveres. But all of this is undergirded by a worship that leads to us pondering.

Yes, we are called to ponder; otherwise, we will be prone to wander. Apply your mind to your worship of God and then apply your mind to loving your brothers and sisters in Christ. Let your love for one another be consistent, constructive and continual. As Hughes so aptly comments, “The implication is clear: what we think about God has everything to do with our relationship to each other and with the world.”22

So, practically speaking, what are you practically speaking?

Show 22 footnotes

  1. William Lane, Hebrews: Word Biblical Commentary, 2 vols. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 2:515.
  2. John F. MacArthur, Jr., Hebrews: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1983), 419.
  3. Marcus Dods, The Expositor’s Greek Testament, 5 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 4:375.
  4. Lane, Hebrews, 2:510.
  5. Donald Guthrie, Hebrews: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 1983), 268.
  6. Leon Morris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 12:146.
  7. Edgar Andrews, A Glorious High Throne: Hebrews Simply Explained (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2003), 478.
  8. MacArthur, Hebrews, 424.
  9. Lane, Hebrews, 2:510.
  10. Raymond Brown, The Message of Hebrews: The Bible Speaks Today (Nottingham: Inter-Varsity Press, 2000), 249.
  11. Guthrie, Hebrews, 269–70.
  12. Jay E. Adams, Hebrews, James, I & II Peter, Jude: The Christian Counselor’s Commentary (Woodruff: Timeless Texts, 1996), 130.
  13. Lane, Hebrews, 2:510.
  14. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews: The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1964), 389–90.
  15. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 391.
  16. Richard D. Phillips, Hebrews: Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed, 2006), 589.
  17. R. Kent Hughes, Hebrews: An Anchor for the Soul, 2 vols. (Wheaton: Crossway, 1993), 212.
  18. Morris, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 12:146.
  19. Hughes, Hebrews, 212.
  20. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 392.
  21. MacArthur, Hebrews, 427.
  22. Hughes, Hebrews, 205.