- Locate the passage.
Hebrews 10:26–31 is the second major paragraph of this section begun at 10:18, and also constitutes the fourth warning passage in Hebrews. The paragraph addresses the consequences of “willful sin” in the most severe tones.
- Determine the structure of the text
It is introduced by the subordinating conjunction gar in Greek. This conjunction is functioning to indicate 10:26–31 serves as the grounds for either the entire preceding paragraph or at least for the warning covertly expressed in the participles of v. 25.
The paragraph divides roughly into three parts, with the first two verses serving as the most dominant information semantically:
10:28-29 (Verse 28 is the grounds for the conclusion of v. 29)
10:30-31 (Verses 30-31 are introduced by the Greek conjunction gar and function as the grounds for the conclusion in vv. 28-29)
- Exegete the passage
Verse 26 – Three propositions are encoded in v. 26: (1) reception of the knowledge of the truth; (2) in spite of this, one continues to sin willfully; and (3) consequently, no sacrifice for sin remains.
Verse 27 says the only thing left or remaining (implied from the previous verse) for such willful sin is a “fearful expectation of judgment” and “a raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.”
Verses 28 and 29 function together as a lesser to greater argument. Verse 28 illustrates the principle of judgment from the Exodus generation in an allusion to Deut 17:6 and 19:15.
Verses 10:30-31 – The author concludes this paragraph with an appeal again to Scripture. Two quotations (v. 30) and a comment (v. 31) round out the paragraph. The use of the Greek conjunction gar “for” indicates the grounds for the warning are found in Scripture.
See Neva Miller, The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Analytical and Exegetical Handbook, 307-16; J. Harold Greenlee, Hebrews: An Exegetical Summary, 399-412; and David L. Allen, Hebrews, 520-35, for more detailed exegetical and semantic analysis of the text.
- Let the structure of the text drive the structure of the sermon.
The structure of the passage could be construed as follows, with the semantic focus placed on the first two verses: