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Hebrews 2:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

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.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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 pararruēsbut 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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Christ being proved to be superior to the angels, this doctrine is applied. Our minds and memories are like a leaky vessel, they do not, without much care, retain what is poured into them. This proceeds from the corruption of our nature, temptations, worldly cares, and pleasures. Sinning against the gospel is neglect of this great salvation; it is a contempt of the saving grace of God in Christ, making light of it, not caring for it, not regarding either the worth of gospel grace, or the want of it, and our undone state without it. The Lord's judgments under the gospel dispensation are chiefly spiritual, but are on that account the more to be dreaded. Here is an appeal to the consciences of sinners. Even partial neglects will not escape rebukes; they often bring darkness on the souls they do not finally ruin. The setting forth the gospel was continued and confirmed by those who heard Christ, by the evangelists and apostles, who were witnesses of what Jesus Christ began both to do and to teach; and by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, qualified for the work to which they were called. And all this according to God's own will. It was the will of God that we should have sure ground for our faith, and a strong foundation for our hope in receiving the gospel. Let us mind this one thing needful, and attend to the Holy Scriptures, written by those who heard the words of our gracious Lord, and were inspired by his Spirit; then we shall be blessed with the good part that cannot be taken away.
Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 2, 38

Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted. God calls upon His people, who have the light before them in the Word and in the Testimonies, to read and consider, and to take heed. Clear and definite instruction has been given in order that all may understand. But the itching desire to originate something new results in strange doctrines, and largely destroys the influence of those who would be a power for good if they held firm the beginning of their confidence in the truth the Lord had given them. 2SM 38.1

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip [margin: “run out as leaking vessels”]. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” (Hebrews 2:1-3). “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Hebrews 3:12-14). 2SM 38.2

Brother and Sister Haskell, we must put on every piece of the armor, and having done all, stand firm. We are set as a defense for the gospel, and we must compose a part of the Lord's grand army for aggressive warfare. By the Lord's faithful ambassadors the truth must be presented in clear-cut lines. Much of that which today is called testing truth is twaddle which leads to a resistance of the Holy Spirit.… 2SM 38.3

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 404

Study carefully the first chapter of Hebrews. Become interested in the Scriptures. Read and study them diligently. “In them ye think ye have eternal life,” Christ said, “and they are they which testify of Me.” It means everything to us to have an experimental and individual knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, “whom He hath sent.” “For this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.”—Special Testimonies On Education, March 23, 1896. FE 404.1

“The entrance of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple,”—to those who are not self-sufficient, but who are willing to learn. What was the work of the God-given messenger to our world? The only-begotten Son of God clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to our world as a teacher, an instructor, to reveal truth in contrast with error. Truth, saving truth, never languished on His tongue, never suffered in His hands, but was made to stand out plainly and clearly defined amid the moral darkness prevailing in our world. For this work He left the heavenly courts. He said of Himself, “For this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” The truth came from His lips with freshness and power, as a new revelation. He was the way, the truth, and the life. His life, given for this sinful world, was full of earnestness and momentous results; for His work was to save perishing souls. He came forth to be the True Light, shining amid the moral darkness of superstition and error, and was announced by a voice from heaven, proclaiming, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And at His transfiguration this voice from heaven was again heard, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him.” FE 405.1

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 190

All around us are the young, the impenitent, the unconverted, and what are we doing for them? Parents, in the ardor of your first love, are you seeking for the conversion of your children, or are you engrossed with the things of this life to such an extent that you are not making earnest efforts to be laborers together with God? Do you have an appreciation of the work and mission of the Holy Spirit? Do you realize that the Holy Spirit is the agency whereby we are to reach the souls of those around us? When this meeting shall close, will you go from here and forget the earnest appeals that have been made to you? Will the messages of warning be left unheeded, and the truth you have heard leak out of your heart as water leaks out of a broken vessel? 1SM 190.1

The apostle says, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:1-4). 1SM 190.2

The third angel's message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. Today you are to give yourselves to God, that He may make of you vessels unto honor, and meet for His service. Today you are to give yourself to God, that you may be emptied of self, emptied of envy, jealousy, evil surmising, strife, everything that shall be dishonoring to God. Today you are to have your vessel purified that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord—fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.—The Review and Herald, March 22, 1892. 1SM 190.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 41

A wealth of moral influence has been brought to us in the last half century. Through His Holy Spirit the voice of God has come to us continually in warning and instruction, to confirm the faith of the believers in the Spirit of prophecy. Repeatedly the word has come, Write the things that I have given you to confirm the faith of My people in the position they have taken. Time and trial have not made void the instruction given, but through years of suffering and self-sacrifice have established the truth of the testimony given. The instruction that was given in the early days of the message is to be held as safe instruction to follow in these its closing days. Those who are indifferent to this light and instruction must not expect to escape the snares which we have been plainly told will cause the rejecters of light to stumble, and fall, and be snared, and be taken. If we study carefully the second chapter of Hebrews, we shall learn how important it is that we hold steadfastly to every principle of truth that has been given.—The Review and Herald, July 18, 1907. 1SM 41.1

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