Original Research

A more comprehensive comprehension and appropriate application: An answer to dwindling faith commitment from the book of Hebrews

Albert J. Coetsee
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 55, No 2 | a2704 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v55i2.2704 | © 2021 Albert J. Coetsee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 November 2020 | Published: 26 April 2021

About the author(s)

Albert J. Coetsee, Unit for Reformed Theology and the development of the SA society, School of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


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Abstract

Closely linked to the phenomenon of the decline in church member numbers in the Western church, is the phenomenon of dwindling their faith commitment. This is the phenomenon in which church members do not show the same vitality and zeal as before and are in danger of abandoning their faith. The current article contributed to the arsenal of studies, aimed at addressing the phenomenon by presenting the solutions deduced from a single biblical book, namely the book of Hebrews. The book of Hebrews is arguably one of the most fitting biblical books to shed light on how the phenomenon can be addressed, as Hebrews was written to a church that experienced a decline in faith commitment. The primary aim of the article was to determine what solutions the writer of Hebrews proposes for addressing his addressees’ dwindling in their faith commitment, while the secondary aim was to reflect on how the writer’s solutions can be applied in the 21st century church. In order to achieve these aims, reconstruction by means of exegesis and a detailed literature study is used in the article. It begins with the reconstruction of the context of the addressees, specifically to determine the reason(s) why they dwindled in their faith commitment. This was followed by reconstructing the writer’s solution for his addressees’ dwindling faith commitment. Next, the writer’s solution was fleshed out in the light of the whole of Hebrews by tracing the major themes and broad lines found in the book. It is noted that the writer addresses the issue by guiding and exhorting his addressees to come to a more comprehensive comprehension and appropriate application of their confessed faith. This he does by shaming, frightening, reminding, guiding and assuring them. By means of reflection, it is suggested in the conclusion that the same strategy can be applied in the church today to address the phenomenon of dwindling faith commitment.

Contribution: The article indicated the relevancy of the book of Hebrews for the church in the 21st century, especially in terms of addressing the issue of dwindling faith commitment. As such, the article gives practical suggestions on how the issue can be addressed from the book of Hebrews by pastors, ministers, pastoral counsellors, Bible students, and church members.


Keywords

dwindling faith commitment; Hebrews; Hebrews 5:11–6:3; faith commitment; comprehensive comprehension; appropriate application; perseverance; apostasy.

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