What does the author mean in 2:3 regarding “neglecting” salvation? Does the author include himself in that warning? Do you think that Christians can “neglect” salvation? Give reasons for your answer. How would you encourage a person who was afraid that they were “neglecting” his salvation? What would you say to help him avoid this situation?
It would seem that in the authors’ time there were many believers who were falling away from the faith. While the word neglecting may seem strange until you take a closer look at the actual Greek word behind it. The word paorreo describes a ship at sail that has drifted off course, or a ship in harbor that has slipped its moorings. It also has the connotation of a ring slipping off of a finger or an object going in the wrong direction.
I would say yes that he includes himself in the warning because when you read it he uses the personal pronoun of we twice in giving this exhortation. George Gutherie believes that the word translated “ignore” in the NIV is an appropriate translation; because the original word there means to neglect through apathy or not care enough about something. It sounds as though the pastor was not only preaching to his congregation, but was preaching to himself as he was writing.
Do I think Christians can neglect salvation? That is a loaded question if I have ever heard one. I do not feel that a true Christian can neglect their salvation, I do feel that they can negelect the means in which they grow in sanctification. Richard Phillips describes what begins to happen, “without giving heed to the spiritual resources God provides, your heart will revert to greed, pride, avarice, sensuality and malice—all those characteristics that define our natural state in sin and lead to destruction.” We are told in the New Testament that there will come a time when some we called brother will fall away, and not to be mad because they were never really one of us. Through the neglect or ignorance of the means of growth all believers will become stunted and stale.
I would first ask the person what do they mean when they say that they are neglecting their salvation? I say that because if they think that they have control of their salvation or misunderstand what it really is; then this is the time to help lovingly guide them back to the “dock” and “anchor” them is sound theology. Explain that there are two main areas to our salvation our justification which is passive and our sanctification which is active, and by not reading the Bible and praying then you are neglecting that aspect of your salvation. After clarifying this, I would then offer to help pray with and for them and offer some recommendations on things to help them grow in appreciation of the Bible so they would want to read it more often.
Richard D. Phillips, Hebrews: Reformed Expository Commentary. (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2006)47.
George H. Guthrie, The NIV Application Commentary-Hebrews.(Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998)84.
Phillips., Hebrews., 48.