And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
I just read an interesting article by David Peterson (â€œFurther Reflections on Worship in the New Testamentâ€ The Reformed Theological Review 44 May-August 1985, p. 34-41). Part of the article discusses the two verses from Hebrews listed above. In the article, Peterson quotes B.F. Wescott (The Epistle to the Hebrews, London: MacMillan, 3rd edn., 1914, p. 327):
The participle engkataleipontes [translated “forsaking” above] in 10:25 conveys the notion â€œnot simply of leaving, as no longer taking part in the assembly, but of abandoning, leaving the assembly exposed to peril in the conflictâ€. The concept is not that of self protection by staying in the fold but of a positive responsibility to minister to other Christians.
According to Wescott, this verb is used in Hebrews 13:5 in a quote from Deut. 31:6: For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Therefore, the negative instruction in Hebrews 10:25 could better be translated, “not abandoning your responsibilities in the assembling of ourselves together.” In other words, there is more to this command that simply an encouragement to continue “attending” a gathering. The author of Hebrews is reminding his readers that each one of them has a responsibility to the assembly of believers. Adding the teachings concerning spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12-14, each believer has been gifted by the Holy Spirit in order to serve others, and each believer has a responsibility to exercise that gift during the assembly of the church in order to build up other beleivers.
Either failing to attend the gathering or failing to edify the body during the gathering is tantamount to neglecting your responsibilities to God.