What Is Being Neglected or Forsaken?

by Adam Litmer

The following question was recently asked:

“What specifically is meant in Hebrews 10:25 by ‘neglecting’ or ‘forsaking’? Is it inferring a requirement of attendance, or is it addressing an attitude towards worship? If it is a requirement, wouldn’t that infer all opportunities (Wednesday night, etc.) set up by local elders or congregation?”

Let’s begin by reading Hebrews 10:23-27 to get a little context.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.

The Hebrew writer is expressing concern over the potential conduct of the Christians to whom he’s writing. It is possible that they would fail to walk worthy of their calling and choose to deliberately live in sin. The frightening outcome of such a choice is stated clearly in Hebrews 10:26-27. To prevent that from happening, he wanted them to hold fast to their confession without wavering and to focus on encouraging one another to love and good works. (Hebrews 10:23-24)

To provide such encouragement, they were required to spend a significant amount of time together. “The Day” of Jesus’ return draws nearer each passing hour (Hebrews 10:37). The saint, then and now, must live with a sense of urgency in holding fast to their confession and living lives of active service to God and people.

I do not believe there is any textual reason to limit this “meeting together” to “worship assemblies.” Though they are included, I believe the Hebrew writer is speaking of Christians being together generally. He urges them to take advantage of opportunities to be together and encourage one another. Meeting with our brethren does not always need to be for the sake of Bible study, singing, or worship. Developing real friendships with fellow Christians is of vital importance. Simply enjoying one another’s company as friends can be one of the most encouraging and spiritually beneficial things we can do. We must work at it.

If Hebrews 10:25 is an inspired command (it is), then to neglect to meet together falls into the deliberate sin of Hebrews 10:26-27. If “meet together” is broader than “worship assemblies” (it is), then only meeting with brethren while in the “worship assembly” fails to satisfy the instruction of Hebrews 10:25. Ultimately, Hebrews 10:25 is about Christians committing to being with one another often to bolster one another’s faith and provide encouragement. Let’s commit to it!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email