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Read Introduction to Hebrews


39 But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.


The Holy Spirit now moves from future considerations to what believers were facing in the first century.

There is a connection between a weak faith and withdrawal from a faithful walk with the Lord. There is also a similarity between the Christian life and the exodus generation (He 3:6–4:13).

39 But we [emphatic, including the author] are not of those who draw back

“Draw back” does not refer to apostasy but contextually to the failure to be consistently true to what God has said (Ga 2:12). The class of those who draw back contrasts with the “faith” class. The author of Hebrews fears that some may have misunderstood the warning of the previous verse (He 10:38).

to perdition [ruin],

“Perdition” here is not hell; it is not eternal destruction of the soul. This word means ruin. The term can refer to either eternal destruction in hell or temporal discipline. Here to draw back will ruin the believer who does this in his present life. These believers “who draw back” will face temporal disciple from God.

The believer cannot draw back to eternal ruin. However, the Christian can ruin their testimony of walking by faith and keeping the clarity of their message if they minimize the finished work of Christ.

but of those who believe to the saving of the soul [life].

The word “saving” in Greek does not refer to saving the soul for eternity. The word in Greek is a noun that should be translated as preservation, keep safe, It is not the normal Greek word for “save.” It has a range of meanings that include conserving the consistent spiritual life of the believer. The preservation here is the saving of the believer from ruining his daily Christian life. This phrase has nothing to do with the conversion of the soul. The point is that the believer is to be careful not to lose his or her healthy spiritual life and thus their reward.

The word “soul” can mean simply normal day-by-day life. Here the meaning is the saving of one’s daily life (He 10:32–39). If one lives by faith during times of duress, then he will receive reward from God. This is the point of the next chapters (He 11 and 12). Thus, the “saving of the soul” here has to do with ruining the Christian life. The believer will have wasted opportunity for rich reward in heaven.


The Christian can lose his or her reward by not remaining true to the truth.


The purpose of the conclusion of Hebrews 10 is to warn believers of God’s disciplining them for distorting doctrine and walking away from a consistent Christian life. Under duress, a believer must not give way to her personal pain. 

The point of the concluding verses of chapter 10 is not apostasy but the danger to believers of willfully departing from God’s will.