Hebrews 6:6 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Hebrews 6:6, NIV: and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Hebrews 6:6, ESV: and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Hebrews 6:6, KJV: If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Hebrews 6:6, NASB: and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

Hebrews 6:6, NLT: and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame.

Hebrews 6:6, CSB: and who have fallen away. This is because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding him up to contempt.

What does Hebrews 6:6 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Verses 1 through 3 set up the motivation for this warning in chapter 6. Stagnant, immature faith is not merely weak, it is dangerous. Those who do not move beyond the basics of the faith risk straying from the truth, which is disastrous.

The central concept in verse 6 is the Greek word parapesontas, which means "to fall to the side, wander, or take the wrong path." This is not the term apostasia, which produces the English word apostasy. The full context of the book of Hebrews, since chapter 3, has been the threat of doubt leading to disobedience. The primary example given is Israel, who suffered forty years of judgment for that very reason (Numbers 13—14). In the book of Hebrews, this illustrates how even a saved believer can suffer when they fail to "hold fast" in their faith (Hebrews 3:12–19; 4:11).

The book of Hebrews is written to persecuted Jewish Christians of the early church. The leading verses in chapter 6 described some of the basic differences between Judaism and Christianity. Those who continued to wallow in spiritual immaturity, doubting those very concepts, placed themselves in a dangerous position. The ultimate outcome of this weakness is explained here in verse 6. It's important to recall that these words are all intended for saved believers—those who have "shared the Holy Spirit" (Hebrews 6:4; Galatians 3:2), and such persons can never lose that salvation (John 10:28–30). They can, however, sabotage their own effectiveness in serving God (1 Corinthians 9:27).

It's also helpful to notice the specific structure of this sentence in Greek. All of these phrases are in a "present tense," so that we could state the conditions as "who have…" done all of these things. That includes the rejection of Christ. In short, a Christian who falls into doubt, disbelief, and disobedience is siding—at least in practice—with the world which crucified Jesus. To "fall aside" from trust in Christ is to support the worldview which crucified Him. It means they are, as of the present time, impossible to reach. Once a person is in that frame of mind, no earthly argument or encouragement will bring them back.

The context of this verse not only depends on the setup of verses 1 through 3, but also the imagery of verses 7 and 8. There, a field which is unproductive is restored by fire—an often-used metaphor for the judgment of God. The field is not destroyed, just as the saved believer is not cast into damnation. However, the process of clearing away spiritual thorns and weeds is painful, to say the least. This work can only be done by God, not by men (Luke 18:27).

Christians cannot lose their salvation. However, those who falter due to a shallow, disobedient faith put themselves in a position where only hardship and suffering can bring them back.