The Exhortations Of Hebrews 10:19-25 -- By: Rodney J. Decker

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 06:1 (Spring 2002)
Article: The Exhortations Of Hebrews 10:19-25
Author: Rodney J. Decker

The Exhortations Of Hebrews 10:19-25

Rodney J. Decker

Associate Professor of Greek and New Testament
Baptist Bible Seminary, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

One of the most difficult of the warning passages in Hebrews is found in 10:26–31. That warning does not occur in a vacuum, however. To be properly understood, it must be seen in light of the exhortations that precede it in 10:19–25. The purpose of this article is to do exactly that. The next article in the series will then focus on the warning that follows.

The Argument Of Hebrews 10:1-18

Hebrews 10:19–25 comes at the close of the central expository section of the book (6:13–10:18). In the immediately preceding context, chapter 9 focuses on the new covenant work of Christ. In 10:1–18 the finality and superiority of Christ’s work in contrast to the repetitive nature of the OT system is discussed. Hebrews 10:19–25 forms an overlapping, hinge section that serves to conclude the discussion of the high priesthood of Christ as well as to introduce the exhortation/warning that follows in 10:26–31.1

The argument of 10:1–14 is a complex fabric that can best be explained with the help of the following diagram.2

Diagram 1: The Argument of Hebrews 10:1–14

Having discussed the work of Christ on the cross in chapter 9, particularly in light of its relationship to the contrasting blood typology, the writer of Hebrews presents in chapter 10 a broader contrast between the two sacrificial systems. There are three items that are repeatedly contrasted in the first 18 verses: the repetition, character, and result of sacrifice. The OT sacrifices are repeatedly presented as inferior to Jesus’ sacrifice because they were never finished: “repeatedly year after year.” This is noted in vv. 1, 2, and 11. By contrast, Jesus’ sacrifice was “once for all,” “for all time,” “forever” (vv. 10,

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