Let Us Consider One Another
According to the Louw & Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains, the word translated consider in Hebrews 10:24, means “to give very careful consideration to some matter. … to consider closely.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament says, “to consider attentively, fix one’s eyes or mind upon.”
In Hebrews 10:24, what is it that we are supposed to be watching attentively? It’s one another! The clear meaning of the Hebrews writer’s statement, given him by the Holy Spirit, is that Christians keep a close watchful attentiveness toward one another. We are looking out for each other! Obviously, the only way to do that is if we are together regularly.
Going on, in Hebrews 10:26, the writer says, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins…” The word “for” in that statement means “because.” So, why did the Holy Spirit have the Hebrews writer exhort Christians to keep a close watchful eye on each other? Because sin is extremely dangerous and we are in the greatest danger of sin when we stay out of each other’s view!
“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment.”(Proverbs 18:1, NKJV)
To Stir Up
The word translated “stir up” means “…stimulating a change in motivation or attitude” (Louw & Nida). Or, “an inciting, incitement; to provoke” (Thayer’s).
Christians are supposed to be keeping a close watchful eye on each other to stimulate, motivate, and provoke one another to “love and good works.”
The word translated “forsaking” in Hebrews 10:25, means “to cease from an activity which has gone on for some time – to cease, to stop, to forsake” (Louw & Nida). And, “to abandon, desert” (Thayer’s).
The Hebrews writer is saying that we must not cease, or stop, the continual practicing of “assembling ourselves together.” Why? Because we need the motivation of the church – our brothers and sisters in Christ – to motivate and provoke us to “love and good works.” Without that regular assembling together we don’t have that motivation and “sin lies at the door”! (Genesis 4:4). Again, the more we keep ourselves isolated from the community of believers, the more likely we will “sin willfully” by turning back to our former worldliness. It is the careful watchfulness of those who love and care about us – our family in Christ – that will help keep us safe.
In the Greek, the statement is “assembling together of ourselves.” “Assembling together” is one Greek word preceding the word translated “of ourselves.”
“Assembling together” means, “the gathering together of a group, gathering, assembly” (Louw & Nida). Thayer’s says, “a gathering together in one place.”
The only way we can keep a close watchful eye on each other is by being together with each other!
This passage, in the negative – “not forsaking” – is an explicit command for us to meet in regular assembly. If we “cease” from, or “abandon,” that regular assembly then we have broken God’s command! Of course, that is if it is a willful choice we are making to not assemble. If we are unavoidably hindered from the assembly then that is not forsaking the assembly. But, if we are choosing to do so, without just cause (i.e. we just don’t want to go to church), then we are sinning.
The Hebrews writer was addressing an original audience that was going through a very difficult and discouraging time. I’m sure we can relate! It is in times like this that we need the assembling of ourselves together more than ever. We need to be in a community of people that will help us, motivate us, to what is right and good. Discouragement is always worse – even becoming depression – when we isolate ourselves from others. We require the interaction and encouragement of a community to grow as we should. Please don’t cut yourself off from your greatest source of strength in a difficult time. Lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ for the help and encouragement we all need.
In Christian Love,