A Word for Today | Hebrews 2:1
One of the great mysteries of the New Testament concerns the authorship of the book of Hebrews. While there are many candidates — Paul, Apollos, and Barnabas, for instance – the reality is that the Holy Spirit did not give us the name of Hebrews’ author. I would suggest that whoever he was, the writer of Hebrews had extensive seafaring experience. I say this because of the many and valuable naval analogies that are found in this book.
The first example of a maritime allusion gives us an answer to the question: “How do I avoid drifting from my Christian faith?” This question is important in a time when Christians are scattered and isolated, unable to join together for the worship of the church. Hebrews 2:1 urges us: “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” The Greek word pararreo was a term for a ship that had drifted off its course, or a ship in harbor that had slipped its moorings. In other contexts, it is used for something that slips from our minds, or even a ring that slips off a finger. The key idea is that drifting away happens largely unnoticed. The changes are imperceptible; only later do the consequences become clear. According to Hebrews 2:1, this danger of slowly drifting from Christ and His gospel is a real one.
The first remedy to drifting away given in Hebrews 2:1 is “pay attention”! Do we realize that if we do not pay attention to our spiritual condition it will deteriorate on its own? Given the corrupt nature of this world and of our hearts, we naturally become spiritually deadened and begin believing the lies of our age. My hope is that the disruption of our lives during the coronavirus crisis may give many of us time and motivation to pay attention to our spiritual condition. If you have not regularly prayed, why not give special attention right now to this deficiency and devote special times to prayer? Perhaps families might take up more structured times of family worship, and couples might start a new habit of praying together at the start and end of the day?
The second remedy involves God’s Word: “We must pay much closer attention to what we have heard.” Drifting from our faith takes no effort, but holding fast to our course requires constant diligence. Therefore, perhaps the single best response Christians can make to the coronavirus is to devote ourselves to reading and studying our Bibles. The way for a Christian not to drift away is to be lashed securely to Jesus Christ, feeding our faith with the life that comes from Scripture. We all have many needs in these trying times, but our greatest need is to know Christ better – and He speaks to us in His Word! So let’s not drift, but draw close to Jesus in prayer and Bible study, and in this way grow spiritually through these difficult times.
We find it in
In Christ’s Love,