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

Hebrews 3:12-15 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Hebrews 3:12
  • Hebrews 3:13
  • Hebrews 3:14
  • Hebrews 3:15

The Pauline Author continues warning these believers to not turn away from God. He asks them to encourage one another and turn from sin.

The Pauline Author continues his warning; he wants believers to avoid an evil, unbelieving heart, like the hearts that the Israelites demonstrated when they were too afraid to take possession of the Promised Land. The phrase fall away means to rebel. The Pauline Author is using the example of the Israelite’s rebellion against God when they chose not to trust God and enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:9) as a warning to his audience to not rebel against the living God. The Pauline Author offers some instruction on how to avoid turning away from the living God: believers ought to encourage one another to be obedient to God as long as it is called “Today.” In other words, “Trust God right now.”

“Now” is the only time we can take any action; we can only put our faith into action in the present. “Today” emphasizes the urgency of encouragement and obedience, the past has already happened and the future is always in front of us, but today we have an opportunity to turn to God in obedience.

Earlier, the Pauline Author said that we as believers could be a part of God’s house based on our obedience. Here the Pauline Author says that we are partakers of Christ, contingent on our holding fast. (Verse 14, we become partakers if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end). The word “partakers” is metochos in the Greek which can also be translated “companion,” referencing the believer’s journey on toward maturity. Companionship has nothing to do with the promise of being justified in the presence of God; rather, it is referring to the fellowship we have with Jesus as we live our lives in obedience to God and in harmony with others. We are companions, partakers, and co-heirs with Christ if we hold fast until the end of our lives on this earth.

The Pauline Author then repeats a portion of the quote from Psalms 95:7-11 as a warning conveying his sense of urgency with the word “today.” Today, while we have the opportunity, let us obey God, hear His voice, and not harden [our] hearts. We cannot walk in fellowship/companionship with God in this life with a hardened heart of disobedience, and we cannot enjoy the amazing inheritance God has set aside for us if we do not possess it through a walk of faith.

Biblical Text

12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said,
“Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me.”

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