*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Hebrews 10:32-34 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Hebrews 10:32
  • Hebrews 10:33
  • Hebrews 10:34

The Hebrews have proven in the past that they are capable of enduring through trials, suffering for Christ’s sake, and remaining faithful.

After painting a serious picture of pain and loss for those who abandon walking by faith, the Pauline Author tells the Hebrews that they have already shown that they are capable of living faithful and obedient lives that honor God: But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings (v 32). The readers of this letter have already gone through many difficult trials in their lives. 

Here the Pauline Author reminds them of former days where they, as believers, have already suffered gladly. They have been made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations (v 33). They became sharers with those who were so treated (v 33). They showed sympathy to the prisoners (v 34), something that might have also put them at risk of imprisonment. They accepted joyfully the unjust seizure of [their] property because they knew that they had a lasting home in the house of God (v 21). 

It is important to note here that the Pauline Author says you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one (v 34). It is present tense, they have a possession in heaven.

The Pauline Author reminds them of these things so that they would be encouraged to keep persisting in their faith. He points out specific ways they have endured, after being enlightened, after the point of being justified before God. 

Since they became believers, they have shown endurance, strength, and joy, all because they had an eternal perspective. The Pauline Author wants them to keep going, to endure the way they have in the past, until the end, so that they can ultimately enter God’s rest and please Him. The Pauline Author does not want them to lose the reward of their inheritance.

This is also very encouraging because it makes it clear that even though these believers have drifted, become hard of hearing, and are apparently sinning willfully, there is still opportunity to turn back and begin anew. As we saw in Hebrews 6:6, the window for repentance can close. But the Pauline Author is confident they still have opportunity to repent. Once again, this shows God’s benevolence toward us. God really, really wants us to succeed. He wants to reward us.

This better possession is to be “crowned with glory and honor” (Hebrews 2:7-9). The Apostle Paul explained that the way to gain the reward of our inheritance is to be faithful in everything that we do (Colossians 3:23). This reward/possession is a lasting one

Some of these believers have showed sympathy to believers who were made prisoners; when someone is imprisoned they are separated from the outer world. Some of these believers had experienced the seizure of their property; their possessions have been stolen from them. But the reward to those who endure to the end is a reward which no one can separate them from nor can it be taken from them—a better possession and a lasting one

We can fail to receive this reward only by shrinking back in fear (Hebrews 10:39), just as the first generation of freed Jews failed to receive the Promised Land by shrinking back and doubting that God would help them conquer it (Hebrews 3:16-19).

But God and Jesus want to reward us. Jesus wants to share His authority in His kingdom when He comes to rule harmoniously on earth (Revelation 3:21), and every believer who trusts and follows Him throughout their life can receive this better possession, if they suffer rejection from the world as He did (Hebrews 2:10). 

Biblical Text

32 But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated. 34 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one.

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