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Hebrews 4:1

    Hebrews 4:1 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Let us then, though we still have God's word that we may come into his rest, go in fear that some of you may be unable to do so.

    Webster's Revision

    Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.

    World English Bible

    Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into his rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.

    Definitions for Hebrews 4:1

    Let - To hinder or obstruct.

    Clarke's Commentary on Hebrews 4:1

    Let us therefore fear - Seeing the Israelites lost the rest of Canaan, through obstinacy and unbelief, let us be afraid lest we come short of the heavenly rest, through the same cause.

    Should seem to come short of it - Lest any of us should actually come short of it; i.e. miss it. See the note on the verb δοκειν, to seem, Luke 8:18 (note). What the apostle had said before, relative to the rest, might be considered as an allegory; here he explains and applies that allegory, showing that Canaan was a type of the grand privileges of the Gospel of Christ, and of the glorious eternity to which they lead.

    Come short - The verb ὑστερειν is applied here metaphorically; it is an allusion, of which there are many in this epistle, to the races in the Grecian games: he that came short was he who was any distance, no matter how small, behind the winner. Will it avail any of us how near we get to heaven, if the door be shut before we arrive? How dreadful the thought, to have only missed being eternally saved! To run well, and yet to permit the devil, the world, or the flesh, to hinder in the few last steps! Reader, watch and be sober.

    Barnes' Notes on Hebrews 4:1

    Let us therefore fear - Let us be apprehensive that we may possibly fall of that rest. The kind of "fear" which is recommended here is what leads to caution and care. A man who is in danger of losing his life or health should be watchful; a seaman that is in danger of running on a lee-shore should be on his guard. So we who have the offer of heaven, and who yet are in danger of losing it, should take all possible precautions lest we fail of it.

    Lest a promise being left us - Paul assumes here that there is such a promise. In the subsequent part of the chapter, he goes more into the subject, and proves from the Old Testament that there is such a promise made to us. It is to be remembered that Paul had not the New Testament then to appeal to, as we have, which is perfectly clear on the subject, but that he was obliged to appeal to the Old Testament. This he did not only because the New Testament was not then written, but because he was reasoning with those who had been Hebrews, and who regarded the authority of the Old Testament as decisive. If his reasoning to us appears somewhat obscure, we should put ourselves in his place, and should remember that the converts then had not the full light which we have now in the New Testament.

    Of entering into his rest - The rest of God - the rest of the world where he dwells. It is called "his" rest, because it is what he enjoys, and which he alone can confer. There can be no doubt that Paul refers here to heaven, and means to say that there is a promise left to Christians of being admitted to the enjoyment of that blessed world where God dwells.

    Any of you should seem to come short of it - The word "seem" here is used as a form of gentle and mild address, implying the possibility of thus coming short. The word here - δοκέω dokeō - is often used so as to appear to give no essential addition to the sense of a passage, though it is probable that it always gave a shading to the meaning. Thus, the phrase "esse videatur" is often used by Cicero at the end of a period, to denote merely that a thing "was" - though he expressed it as though it merely "seemed" to be. Such language is often used in argument or in conversation as a "modest" expression, as when we say a thing "seems" to be so and so, instead of saying "it is." In some such sense Paul probably used the phrase here - perhaps as expressing what we would by this language - "lest it should appear at last that any of you had come short of it." The phrase "come short of it" is probably used with reference to the journey to the promised land, where they who came out of Egypt "came short" of that land, and fell in the wilderness. They did not reach it. This verse teaches the important truth that, though heaven is offered to us, and that a "rest" is promised to us if we seek it, yet that there is reason to think that many may fail of reaching it who had expected to obtain it. Among those will be the following classes:

    (1) Those who are professors of religion but who have never known anything of true piety.

    (2) those who are expecting to be saved by their own works, and are looking forward to a world of rest on the ground of what their own hands can do.

    (3) those who defer attention to the subject from time to time until it becomes too late. They expect to reach heaven, but they are not ready to give their hearts to God "now," and the subject is deferred from one period to another, until death arrests them unprepared.

    (4) those who have been awakened to see their guilt and danger, and who have been almost but not quite ready to give up their hearts to God. Such were Agrippa, Felix, the young ruler Mark 10:21, and such are all those who are "almost" but not "quite" prepared to give up the world and to devote themselves to the Redeemer. To all these the promise of "rest" is made, if they will accept of salvation as it is offered in the gospel; all of them cherish a hope that they will be saved; and all of them are destined alike to be disappointed. With what earnestness, therefore, should we strive that we may not fail of the grace of God!