Greek: ge gar e piousa (AAPFSN) ton ep' autes erchomenon (PMPMSA) pollakis hueton, kai tiktousa (PAPFSN) botanen eutheton ekeinois di' ous kai georgeitai, (3SPPI) metalambanei (3SPAI) eulogias apo tou theou;
Amplified: For the soil which has drunk the rain that repeatedly falls upon it and produces vegetation useful to those for whose benefit it is cultivated partakes of a blessing from God. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: For when the earth has drunk the rain that comes often times upon it and when it brings forth herbage useful to those who cultivate it, it receives a share of blessing from God; (Westminster Press)
ESV: For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. (ESV)
KJV: For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
NET: For the ground that has soaked up the rain that frequently falls on it and yields useful vegetation for those who tend it receives a blessing from God. (NET Bible)
NIV: Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: Ground which absorbs the rain that is constantly falling upon it and produces plants which are useful to those who cultivate it, is ground which has the blessing of God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: For land which drank in the rain that comes often upon it and produces herbage suitable for those on whose account it is also tilled, partakes of a blessing from God. (Eerdmans)
Weymouth: For land which has drunk in the rain that often falls upon it, and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sakes, indeed, it is tilled, has a share in God’s blessing.
Young's Literal: For earth, that is drinking in the rain many times coming upon it, and is bringing forth herbs fit for those because of whom also it is dressed, doth partake of blessing from God,
FOR GROUND THAT DRINKS THE RAIN WHICH OFTEN FALLS ON IT: ge gar e piousa (AAPFSN) ton ep autes erchomenon (PMPMSA): (Deut 28:11,12 Ps 65:9-13, Ps 104:11, 12, 13 Isaiah 55:10, 11, 12, 13 Joel 2:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 James 5:7)
For (gar) is a strategic term of explanation which should always prompt a pause to prayerfully ponder what the author is saying in a given section. This pause that refreshes will give your Teacher, the Spirit, an opportunity to speak to your heart (so that what you read is more than just head knowledge), not only illuminating the text (see The Bible and Illumination) but applying the text practically to your personal life (Application). Therefore, energized by the Spirit, let us discipline ourselves for godliness and frequently "P & P" (pause and ponder) the Word -- we are sure to be richly rewarded by our Father in Heaven, for "godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come!" (1Ti 4:7-8-note, 1Ti 4:9-10-note)
To review remember that there are 4 Interpretative Views of Hebrews 6:4-8...
Ground that drinks the rain - The contrasting issue is either usefulness or worthlessness. The initial advantage described is the same and it is only the final result that is different. Agricultural illustrations are frequent in Scripture (Isaiah 5:1-7- notes [Israel compared to a vineyard cultivated by God and yet did not yield fruit] ; Isaiah 28:23-29; Ezek 19:10-14 [Judah prospered like a luxuriant vine but God plucked the vine in judgment]]; Mt 3:10 [Divine judgment > fruitless persons would be destroyed like fruitless trees]; Matthew 7:16 see note).
John Piper writes concerning these verses that...
F B Hole (Biographical Note) writes that - The contrast in verses 7 and 8 is not, you notice, between ground which this season is fruitful and the same ground which another season is unfruitful, but between ground which is essentially good and another piece which is essentially bad. The very form of this illustration supports the explanation just given of verses 4 to 6. Judas enjoyed "the rain that cometh oft," yet he only brought forth thorns and briars and was rejected. (Hebrews Commentary Notes)
Expositor's Bible Commentary - The process is illustrated from agriculture. There is land that frequently drinks in rain and as a result brings forth a crop. The rain comes first. The land does not produce the crop of itself. The spiritual parallel should not be overlooked. The word translated "a crop" (botane) is a general term for herbage; it does not mean any specific crop. "Useful to those for whom it is farmed" means that the beneficiaries are people in general and not only those who actually work on the farm. This land, then, receives God's blessing. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
AND BRINGS FORTH VEGETATION USEFUL TO THOSE FOR WHOSE SAKE IT IS ALSO TILLED, RECEIVES A BLESSING FROM GOD: pollakis hueton kai tiktousa (PAPFSN) botanen eutheton ekeinois di ous kai georgeitai (3SPPI) , metalambanei (3SPAI) eulogias apo tou theou: (Ge 27:27 Lev 25:21 Ps 24:5 Ps 65:10 Ps 126:6 Isaiah 44:3 Ezek 34:26 Hosea 10:12 Mal 3:10)
The rain comes first. The land does not produce the crop of itself. The spiritual parallel is that fruit-bearing is the evidence of a genuine faith and regeneration. Fruit-bearing (cf. John 15:5-6) is the evidence of a true relationship with Christ. The fruit of course is the evidence of and not the means of salvation.
It should be noted that some evangelical commentators like Dr Charles Ryrie feel that the writer is describing loss of rewards in Hebrews 6:6-7.
Brings forth (5088) (tikto) means to be born (of children in Mt 1:21 speaking of Mary declaring "she will bear a Son..."), here of course describing the earth producing or yielding vegetation. The present tense describes ground that continually (as a "lifestyle") gives "birth" to useful vegetation.
Blessing (2129) (eulogia from eu = good, well + lógos = word) is literally a good word and by metonymy (figure of speech consisting of use of name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated - e.g., "Washington" for the US government), blessing, favor conferred, gift, benefit, bounty.
Eulogia is the act of speaking in favorable terms (praise) or the benefit of blessing. Here it speaks primarily of the spiritual benefits bestowed by God upon His family members. He blesses because He is ready, willing and able to do so, not because we deserve His blessings or have earned them (it is all of grace). He is the source of all blessing, of every good thing. Goodness can only come from God because there is no source of goodness outside of God (the natural man bristles at truths such as this).
Jon Courson writes that...
Wycliffe Bible Commentary - In choosing to reject Christ, the apostates most resembled a field that yields only thorns and thistles, though the rains falling upon it and the farmers tilling were intended to produce beneficial herbs. There can be no mistaking the direct and strong warning to readers tempted to turn away from Christ. Indeed, what was true for these first century believers is still true for believers today. (Pfeiffer, C F: Wycliffe Bible Commentary. 1981. Moody)
KJV Bible Commentary - It should also be noticed that the illustration does not speak of a parcel of land that first produces and later becomes void of life; so it does not illustrate someone saved then lost. (Dobson, E G, Charles Feinberg, E Hindson, Woodrow Kroll, H L. Wilmington: KJV Bible Commentary: Nelson)
Wuest - In these verses the writer presents an analogy in nature. The abundant and frequently renewed rain, represents the free and reiterated bestowal of spiritual enlightenment and impulse to these Hebrews. One piece of ground reacts by producing herbage good for food. This is the Hebrew who accepts the New Testament by faith. On the other hand, the ground that receives the same rain, but produces thorns and briers, is likened to the Hebrew who being the recipient of the pre-salvation work of the Spirit, yet turns his back on Him and goes back to the First Testament sacrifices, the apostate who can look for nothing but certain judgment (Hebrews 10:26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31). (Hebrews Commentary online)
Spurgeon - If, after having ploughed this ground, and sown it, and after it has been watered by the dew and rain of heaven, no good harvest ever comes of it, every wise man would leave off tilling it. He would say, “My labor is all thrown away on such a plot of ground as this. Nothing more can be done with it, for after having done my utmost nothing but weeds is produced, so now it must be left to itself.” You see, if it were possible for the work of grace in your souls to be of no avail, nothing more could be done for you. You have had God’s utmost effort expended upon your behalf, and there remains no other method of salvation for you. I believe that there have been some professors, such as Judas and Simon Magus, who have come very near to this condition, and others who are said, after a certain sort, to have believed, to have received the Holy Spirit in miraculous gifts, and to have been specially enlightened so as to have been able to teach others; but the work of grace did not affect their hearts, it did not renew their natures, it did not transform their spirits, and so it was impossible to renew them to repentance. When all that is possible is done for a piece of land, and yet it bears no harvest, it must be given up. If, after all, the Holy Spirit’s work in a man should prove fruitless, he must be given over to destruction; nothing else remains.
Amplified: But if [that same soil] persistently bears thorns and thistles, it is considered worthless and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned. [Gen. 3:17, 18.] (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: but if it produces thorns and thistles it is rejected and is in imminent danger of a curse, and its end is to be appointed for burning. (Westminster Press)
ESV: But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. (ESV)
KJV: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
NET: But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is useless and about to be cursed; its fate is to be burned. (NET Bible)
NIV: But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (NIV - IBS)
NLT: But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: But ground which produces nothing but thorns and thistles is of no value and is bound sooner or later to be condemned - the only thing to do is to burn it clean. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: But if it brings forth thorns and thistles, it is rejected and almost cursed, and its end is burning. (Eerdmans)
Weymouth: But if it only yields a mass of thorns and briers, it is considered worthless, and is in danger of being cursed, and in the end will be destroyed by fire.
Young's Literal: and that which is bearing thorns and briers is disapproved of, and nigh to cursing, whose end is for burning;
BUT IF IT YIELDS THORNS AND THISTLES IT IS WORTHLESS: ekpherousa (PAPFSN) de akanthas kai tribolous adokimos : (Heb 12:17 Ge 3:17,18 4:11 5:29 De 29:28 Job 31:40 Ps 107:34 Isaiah 5:1-7 Jer 17:6, 44:22 Mark 11:14,21 Lk 13:7-9 )
Yields (1627) (ekphero from ek = out + phéro = bring, bear, carry) means to bear or carry out, bring forth, or yield. Note the present tense which means if it continually (as a "lifestyle") yields thorns and thistles.
Thorns (173) (akantha from ake = a point or prick) refers to a thorn plant, thistle or brier which abounds with pricks
Thistles (5146) (tribolos from treís = three + bélos = an arrow, dart, or bolís = dart) means three-pointed or three-pronged.
Vincent notes that the tribolos described...
Worthless (96) (adokimos [word study] from a = without + dokimos = tested and thus reliable or acceptable) refers to that which is rejected after a trial or examination because it fails the test. It means to put to the test for the purpose of being approved, but failing to meet the requirements.
The basic meaning of adokimos is that of failing to meet the test or not standing the test. It describes that which does not prove itself to be such as it ought and which is therefore disapproved and useless. Worthless land does not produce fruit and does does not stand God's test. Adokimos a strong word and most of the NT's 8 usages (see below) refer to non-believers. In short adokimos describes that which is worthless, spurious, unqualified, disqualified, corrupted, not approved.
Adokimos was commonly used of metals that were rejected by refiners because of impurities. The impure metals were discarded, and adokimos therefore came to include the ideas of worthlessness and uselessness.
In relation to God, the rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind (Ro 1:28) and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless. Thus Paul records
Study (and ponder) these other 6 NT uses of this picturesque adjective adokimos...
There are 2 uses of adokimos in the Septuagint (LXX), Pr 25:4 and Isaiah 1:22.
Of unbelievers, Jeremiah wrote,
The mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself. It is debauched, deceived, and deserving only of God’s divine wrath. The sinful, depraved mind says to God, “Depart from us! We do not even desire the knowledge of Thy ways."
This group in Hebrews 6:4-6 (see Group 2) are professor whose deeds substantiate that their profession is false and their destiny is eternal burning in the Lake of fire.
Adam Clarke has a comment appropriate to these who fall away - "Adulterate; like bad coin, deficient both in the weight and goodness of the metal, and without the proper sterling stamp; and consequently not current. If they did a good work, they did not do it in the spirit in which it should be performed. They had the name of God’s people; but they were counterfeit. The prophet said; Reprobate silver shall men call them." (Titus 1)
Adokimos was used to describe a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight, the worthless money being called adokimos. The word also was used of counterfeits of various sorts. Adokimos was used to describe a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle. Adokimos described a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless. Finally a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction, the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital "A" (for adokimos) on it's surface. The ultimate test of life is usefulness, and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow-men. Instead of helping God’s work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster.
It is as if these unsaved men profess Christ but in actuality deny Him and then have a giant "A" stamped on their head and heart. They stand forever rejected by the Master Architect and of no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our hearts that these men and women are so deceived. Doubtless they will be among the
The ultimate test in this life is usefulness to God and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow men. Instead of helping God's work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster.
For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he truly examined himself realized he was not "in the faith" as illustrated by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled "The Almost Christian":
Fruitfulness is a test of genuine nature of a tree or plant and is a metaphor which Jesus Himself frequently used...
See related notes on assessing the genuineness of one's faith (Jas 2:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26) - James 2:14 ; James 2:15; James 2:16; James 2:17; James 2:18; James 2:19; James 2:20; James 2:21; James 2:22; James 2:23; James 2:24; James 2:25; James 2:26
The rain that falls from heaven corresponds to the enlightening referred to in Hebrews 6:4-5 (see notes Hebrews 6:4; 6:5). If the seed of the word of God is truly present in the soil (the hearts of men and women), the rain causes fruitful crops to grow, fulfilling the blessing intended by God. On the other hand if the word of truth is heard but rejected, the rain can only bring to life that which is already in the soil (thorns and thistles).
Thomas Lea writes...
Wayne Grudem adds that the writer in this section of Hebrews moves...
AND CLOSE TO BEING CURSED AND IT ENDS UP BEING BURNED: kai kataras eggus to telos eis kausin: (Heb 10:27 Isaiah 27:10,11 Ezekiel 15:2-7, 20:47 Mal 4:1, Mt 3:10, 7:19, 25:41 John 15:6, Rev 20:15)
Close (1451)(eggus) describes a position relatively close to another position or a point of time subsequent to another point of time, but relatively close. Near. Nigh.
Being cursed (2671) (katara from katá = against + ará = a curse) is an execration or imprecation. It can refer to a human utterance wishing evil on someone but this context implies it is God's righteous judgment on that which is unfruitful.
Ends up (5056) (telos from tello = to set out for a definite point or goal) is the culmination or the outcome of a growth or development representing an attained objective. Telos is never used in NT as a chronological end, as if something simply stops. Instead, telos speaks of a consummation, a goal achieved, a result attained, or a realization. Telos is the result of an event or process with special focus upon the final state or condition - outcome, result. Telos refers to the outcome of a growth or development representing an attained objective.
Telos used 5x in Hebrews...
Being burned (2740) (kausis from kaio = to burn) Literally the Greek reads "the end into burning"
This person alluded to in Hebrews 6:7-8 reminds one of the spies at Kadesh-barnea (Dt 1:19-26 - see below) who saw the land and had the very fruit of it in their hands, and yet turned back! The Israelite spies had experienced to the full the goodness of God but unbelief manifested itself in disobedience and their unbelief blocked their entrance into God's Rest (ultimately His salvation Rest in Christ).
John Piper writes that...
Paul and James also wrote of people who profess a connection with the Christian faith, but who subsequently fail to continue and thus show they are not genuine believers...
Expositor's Bible Commentary - This land then, producing only what is worthless, awaits the curse. "Is in danger of being cursed" might give the impression that the land came close to being cursed but just escaped. The author seems rather to be saying that at the moment of which he speaks the curse has not yet fallen, certain though it is. Such a field in the end "will be burned." Some commentators think the writer knew little of agriculture, for the burning of the field was not a curse but rather a source of blessing as it got rid of the weeds and so prepared for a good crop. But whatever his knowledge of farming, he had a valid point. Land that produced nothing but weeds faced nothing but fire. The warning to professing Christians whose lives produce only the equivalent of weeds is plain. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
F B Meyer notes that...
F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - The writer of this Epistle is eager to lead his readers from first principles to. that strong ineat which was befitting for those of mature growth; and, as he proceeds to do so, it was as though he were arrested by a sudden thought of some who had recently fallen away from the faith.
In the awful stress of trial which accompanied the fall of Jerusalem, the Hebrew Christians, who were still dwelling in Palestine, were strongly tempted to apostatise. Some, indeed, had done so. But can we really consider that they ever were true Christians? They went out, because they had never been truly of. They had been enlightened as to the doctrines of Christianity; but the enlightenment had been of their head rather than of their heart. They had tasted of the heavenly hopes, anticipations, and joys of the Gospel message, without really belonging to the Household of Faith. But, notwithstanding all, they had gone back.
It is impossible to renew such to repentance, whilst they go on living as they do, crucifying the Son of God by their vicious and cowardly course of action, and putting Him to an open shame. Notice that whilst, suggested by Bishop Westcott, of the margin of the r.v. It is the solution of the great difficulty which has perplexed many timid souls. The impossibility of renewal is only for those who persist in their evil ways. Abandon your sins, and God will restore you to your old place.
It cannot be too clearly emphasized that this text does not say that backsliders cannot be restored to the favor and forgiveness of God; but that they cannot be restored so long as they cling to the things which had been the sources of their declension. (Meyer, F. B. Our Daily Homily)