on Hebrews 2 :1
Therefore - Because God has spoken to us by his Son; and because that Son is so great and glorious a personage; and because the subject which is addressed to us is of such infinite importance to our welfare.
We ought to give the more earnest heed - We should hear the doctrine of Christ with care, candour, and deep concern.
Lest at any time we should let them slip - Μη ποτε παραρῥυωμεν· "Lest at any time we should leak out." This is a metaphor taken from unstanch vessels; the staves not being close together, the fluid put into them leaks through the chinks and crevices. Superficial hearers lose the benefit of the word preached, as the unseasoned vessel does its fluid; nor can any one hear to the saving of his soul, unless he give most earnest heed, which he will not do unless he consider the dignity of the speaker, the importance of the subject, and the absolute necessity of the salvation of his soul. St. Chrysostom renders it μη ποτε απολωμεθα, εκπεσωμεν, lest we perish, lest we fall away.
on Hebrews 2 :1
Therefore - Greek "On account of this" - Δια τοῦτο Dia touto - that is, on account of the exalted dignity and rank of the Messiah as stated in the previous chapter. The sense is: "Since Christ, the author of the new dispensation, is so far exalted above the prophets, and even the angels, we ought to give the more earnest attention to all that has been spoken."
We ought - It is suitable or proper (Greek δεὶ dei) that we should attend to those things. When the Son of God speaks to people, every consideration makes it appropriate that we should attend to what is spoken.
To give the more earnest heed. - To give the more strict attention.
To the things which we have heard. - Whether directly from the Lord Jesus, or from his apostles. It is possible that some of those to whom the apostle was writing had heard the Lord Jesus himself preach the gospel: others had heard the same truths declared by the apostles.
Lest at any time. - We ought to attend to those things at all times. We ought never to forget them; never to be indifferent to them. We are sometimes interested in them, and then we feel indifferent to them; sometimes at leisure to attend to them, and then the cares of the world, or a heaviness and dullness of mind, or a cold and languid state of the affections, renders us indifferent to them, and they are suffered to pass out of the mind without concern. Paul says, that this ought never to be done. At no time should we be indifferent to those things. They are always important to us, and we should never be in a state of mind when they would be uninteresting. At all times; in all places; and in every situation of life, we should feel that the truths of religion are of more importance to us than all other truths, and nothing should be suffered to efface their image from the heart.
We should let them slip. - Margin, "Run out as leaking vessels." Tyndale renders this, "lest we be spilt." The expression here has given rise to much discussion as to its meaning; and has been very differently translated. Doddridge renders it, "lest we let them flow out of our minds." Prof. Stuart, "lest at any time we should slight them." Whitby: "that they may not entirely slip out of our memories." The word used here - παραῤῥυέω pararrueō - occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. The Septuagint translators have used the word only once. Proverbs 3:21. "Son, do not pass by (μὴ παραῤῥυῇς mē pararruēs but keep my counsel;" that is, do not pass by my advice by neglect, or suffer it to be disregarded. The word means, according to Passow, to flow by, to flow over; and then to go by, to fall, to go away. It is used to mean to flow near, to flow by - as of a river; to glide away, to escape - as from the mind, that is, to forget; and to glide along - as a thief does by stealth. See Robinson's Lexicon. The Syriac and Arabic translators have rendered it: "that we may not fall." After all that has been said on the meaning of the word here (compare Stuart in loc.), it seems to me that the true sense of the expression is that of flowing, or gliding by - as a river; and that the meaning here is, that we should be very cautious that the important truths spoken by the Redeemer and his apostles should not be suffered to "glide by" us without attention, or without profit. We should not allow them to be like a stream that glides on by us without benefiting us; that is, we should endeavor to secure and retain them as our own. The truth taught, is that there is great danger, now that the true system of religion has been revealed, that it will not profit us, but that we shall lose all the benefit of it. This danger may arise from many sources - some of which are the following:
(1) We may not feel that the truths revealed are important - and before their importance is felt, they may be beyond our reach. So we are often deceived in regard to the importance of objects - and before we perceive their value they are irrecoverably gone. So it is often with time, and with the opportunities of obtaining an education, or of accomplishing any object which is of value. The opportunity is gone before we perceive its importance. So the young suffer the most important period of life to glide away before they perceive its value, and the opportunity of making much of their talents is lost because they did not embrace the suitable opportunities.
(2) by being engrossed in business. We feel that that is now the most important thing. That claims all our attention. We have no time to pray, to read the Bible, to think of religion, for the cares of the world engross all the time - and the opportunities of salvation glide insensibly away, until it is too late.
(3) by being attracted by the pleasures of life. We attend to them now, and are drawn along from one to another, until religion is suffered to glide away with all its hopes and consolations, and we perceive, too late, that we have let the opportunity of salvation slip forever. Allured by those pleasures, the young neglect it; and new pleasures starting up in future life carry on the delusion, until every favorable opportunity for salvation has passed away.
(4) we suffer favorable opportunities to pass by without improving them. Youth is by far the best time, as it is the most appropriate time, to become a Christian - and yet how easy is it to allow that period to slip away without becoming interested in the Saviour! One day glides on after another, and one week, and one month, one year passes away after another - like a gently-flowing stream - until all the precious time of youth has gone, and we are still not Christians. So a revival of religion is a favorable time - and yet many suffer this to pass by without becoming interested in it. Others are converted, and the heavenly influences descend all around us, but we are unaffected, and the season so full of happy and heavenly influences is gone - to return no more.
(5) we let the favorable season slip, because we design to attend to it at some future period of life. So youth defers it to manhood - manhood to old age - old age to a death-bed - and then neglects it - until the whole of life has glided away, and the soul is not saved. Paul knew man. He knew how prone he was to let the things of religion slip out of the mind - and hence, the earnestness of his caution that we should give heed to the subject now - lest the opportunity of salvation should soon glide away. When once passed, it can never be recalled. Hence, learn:
(1) the truths of religion will not benefit us unless we give heed to them. It will not save us that the Lord Jesus has come and spoken to people, unless we are disposed to listen. It will not benefit us that the sun shines, unless we open our eyes. Books will not benefit us, unless we read them; medicine, unless we take it; nor will the fruits of the earth sustain our lives, however rich and abundant they may be, if we disregard and neglect them. So with the truths of religion. There is truth enough to save the world - but the world disregards and despises it.
(2) it needs not great sins to destroy the soul. Simple "neglect" will do it as certainly as atrocious crimes. Every person has a sinful heart that will destroy him unless he makes an effort to be saved; and it is not merely the great sinner, therefore, who is in danger. It is the man who "neglects" his soul - whether a moral or an immoral man - a daughter of amiableness, or a daughter of vanity and vice.
on Hebrews 2 :1
2:1 Lest we should let them slip - As water out of a leaky vessel. So the Greek word properly signifies.