the weblog of Alan Knox

Lane on Hebrews 10:24-25

Posted by on Apr 30, 2009 in books, edification, gathering, scripture | 2 comments

The more commentaries I read concerning Hebrews 10:24-25, the more I come across statements like this:

The reason the meetings of the assembly are not to be neglected is that they provide a communal setting where mutual encouragement and admonition may occur… The entire community must assume responsibility to watch that no one grows weary or becomes apostate. This is possible only when Christians continue to exercise care for one another personally. – William L. Lane, Hebrews 9-13, Word Biblical Commentary vol 47B (Dallas: Word Books, 1991), 290

This is not an isolated conclusion. In fact, the vast majority of commentators recognize the importance of “mutual encouragement and admonition” when the church gathers together. They recognize that the author of Hebrews assumed that this would be the norm for church meetings.

So, why do so few church meetings today provide opportunities for mutual encouragement and admonition?


2 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-30-2009

    I found this to be a pertinent question that has bothered me for a long time but from a position of guilt for not going to what we now call “church”. Consider this article that I wrote a while ago. Perhaps the expectations that we have for relationships inside the traditional church are like what Paul was challenging the early Jewish believers who wanted to stay in their stagnated system.

    One of the most frequently used proof-texts used to oppose those who have abandoned regular attendance of religious meetings is Hebrews 10:25. “Do not forsake the assembling of yourself together”.
    Perhaps this targeted audience of Jewish believers who are experiencing the same kind of guilt by departing from the old religious rules have a parallel with us. Meetings and requirements and obligations were a ritual for them. “Hebrews” was illustrating a better way for them (the theme of the book). There was a new freedom to enjoy, but guilt was moving them back to the old way. The new way was for them to rub shoulders in meaningful relationship, considering each other and stirring each other up to good works and love. This was revolutionary thinking compared to the lawful requirements. The “better way” was love-based not obligation-based.
    So the “forsaking” part of not meeting together could well have referred to an abandonment of the new way instead of the old way. The purpose of the meeting together was to strengthen each other in our confession, not our denominational bias. To go back, verse 26, is to appeal to a system that is no longer functioning. If they were to appeal to the sacrificial system of covering for willful sins, they would find it no longer remains. You cannot hop between systems because the new has replaced the old. Staying with the old simply leaves us in fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation. How often have you experienced someone other than the designated “pastor” willing to come over and stir you up to love and good works after the service is over. More often it is to stir you up to something else.

  2. 4-30-2009

    Victor,

    Thanks for the comment. You asked, “How often have you experienced someone other than the designated “pastor” willing to come over and stir you up to love and good works after the service is over?” I think that the stirring up to love and good works is “the service” – that is, the meeting or gathering.

    -Alan