What does Hebrews 4:6 mean?
ESV: Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,
NIV: Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience,
NASB: Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who previously had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,
CSB: Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news did not enter because of disobedience,
NLT: So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God.
KJV: Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
NKJV: Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience,
Verse Commentary:
This verse continues an explanation of why the inheritance "rest" of God is still available to us. God Himself only rested when His creative work was done (Genesis 2:2), and this Sabbath rest continues even now. Hebrews chapter 3 explained that Israel's lack of faith in the desert cost them their "rest" in Canaan. They did not complete the works given to them by God (Psalm 95:7–11).

However, the writer of Hebrews has quoted from Psalm 95, which was written long after Israel's disobedience at the borders of the Promised Land. That passage uses the word "today," meaning there is an opportunity yet for some to enter into the rest which the disobedient ones were denied (Hebrews 4:7). This argument will be developed through verse 10, which clearly states that there is a "rest" still available to those who "hold fast" to their faith (Hebrews 3:6).

This is not about maintaining our salvation. Canaan, in this example, is not a metaphor for heaven. Instead, this is the spiritual inheritance of the Christian believer. While all who put their faith in Christ are saved (John 6:39–40), only those who maintain their trust in God will obtain the greater rewards (Revelation 2:26–27). This helps greatly in understanding the meaning of "rest" as used in these verses. It is a reference to the end of a certain period of work, not leisure or relaxation. In order to "rest" from the work, the work must be completed.
Verse Context:
Hebrews 4:1–13 reassures Christians that they have not missed their opportunity to enjoy the ''rest'' promised by God. Chapter 3 warned about the dangers of losing faith and disobeying God. In this passage, the writer points out that psalmists like David, who came long after Moses, encouraged Israel to obtain God's rest ''today.'' Since God's rest on the seventh day of creation came only after His work was done, and Israel only suffered loss when they failed to complete their assigned work, Christians should strive to complete the work given them by God, in order to obtain the greater heavenly rewards. The most potent tool we have in this effort is the razor-sharp Word of God.
Chapter Summary:
In Hebrews chapter 4, the author refines the theme of chapter 3. An entire generation of Israel lost out on their inheritance of the Promised Land due to a lack of faith. Here, the author points out that the rest promised by God is still offered, through Christ. The razor-sharp truth of the Word of God will separate what is truly spiritual from what is faithless. We should make every effort to obtain our inheritance in Christ, which is something separate from our eternal salvation. We can also be confident, knowing Jesus can uniquely sympathize with our temptations and sufferings.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 1 and 2 explained how Messiah could not be an angel, but had to be human in order to become our example and the ''Captain'' of our salvation. Chapter 3 described Jesus as worthy of greater glory than Moses, since Jesus fulfilled the promises Moses only spoke of. Chapter 4 will continue to place Jesus as a higher example than Old Testament figures, including Joshua. This chapter bridges the focus of Hebrews from our need to ''hold fast'' in faith to Jesus' status as our ultimate High Priest.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
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