Friday, February 27, 2009

Exegesis of Hebrews 10:38

Burgess, William Penington. "Remarks on Hebrews X, 38." Methodist Review 9 (1826): 346-47.

In this article Burgess uses 10:38 to argue against the view of perseverance of the saints. The KJV renders the verse as follows: "The just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." The words "any man" have no justification from the Greek. Burgess supposes that the words have been inserted to preserve the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. However, The substantive δικαιος is the subject of both ζησεται and υποστειληται. Thus the passage clearly intends to show that it is possible for the just man to fall away.

Some, however, have argued that this is only a hypothetical statement; that in actuality no just man will ever draw back from the faith. To argue this is to put an absurd interpretation on this verse. Human governments enact laws to prevent the commission of crimes and to punish those who commit such crimes. It is a universal rule that such actions are not only possible, but in fact have been committed. It makes no sense for governments to pass laws that are impossible to break, for example, to prohibit someone from plucking the sun out of the sky. By analogy it makes no sense for scripture to make this claim if in fact it was impossible for the righteous man to fall away. This verse by itself is "enough to overturn altogether the doctrine of the absolute and infallible perseverance of the saints" (347). With this assessment I find myself in full agreement.

No comments:

Post a Comment