Parapiptō in Hebrews 6

By Hal Harless, Ph.D.

 

Hebrews 6 has been a persistent interpretive challenge.  It is the thesis of this paper that mistranslation of parapiptō ("fall alongside") has been an impediment to understanding the meaning of Heb 6:1-6.  Because parapiptō is a hapax legomenon in the NT, I will give particular attention to the LXX and extrabiblical Gk to determine its probable range of meaning.  Based on the results of that research, I will suggest a solution to the challenge of Heb 6:1-6.

 

I.  The Common Thread

            1.  The Arminian position.  Arminians have long held that Heb 6:1-6 presents a real possibility of the loss of salvation.[1]  Adam Clarke held "that there is a fearful possibility of falling away from the grace of God...."[2]  Indeed, John Wesley did not shrink even from the impossibility of repentance:

Here is not a supposition, but a plain relation of fact.  The apostle here describes the case of those who have cast away both the power and the form of godliness; who have lost both their faith, hope, and love, Hebrews 6:10, etc., and that wilfully, Hebrews 10:26.  Of these wilful total apostates he declares, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance.  (though they were renewed once,) either to the foundation, or anything built thereon.[3]

 

Ralph Earle states that "the Greek clearly indicates that one may become a partaker of the Holy Spirit--obviously a Christian--and yet fall away and be lost."[4]  

            2.  Calvinist positions.  Calvinist interpreters normally see this passage as either hypothetical or as describing those who had stopped short of full faith in Jesus.  John Calvin asserted that Heb 6:1-9 refers to reprobates.[5]  However, Albert Barnes took the hypothetical view:

It is material to remark here that the apostle does not say that any true Christian ever had fallen away.  He makes a statement of what would occur on the supposition that such a thing should happen--but a statement may be made of what would occur on the supposition that a certain thing should take place, and yet it be morally certain that the event never would happen.[6]

 

Barnes clearly thought that such apostasy was impossible:

The passage proves that if true Christians should apostatize, it would be impossible to renew and save them.  If then it should be asked whether I believe that any true Christian ever did, or ever will fall from grace, and wholly lose his religion, I would answer unhesitatingly, no....[7]

 

Although they proceed from different theological perspectives, both the Calvinist and the Arminian positions share a significant common assumption.

 

            3.  Common assumptions.  The one assumption that all Calvinist and Arminian positions share is that parapiptō in Heb 6:6 means, "to fall away" or "to apostatize."  The Arminian position considers the apostasy actual.  The Calvinist positions consider the apostasy hypothetical or apparent.  Nevertheless, both sides see apostasy as the issue.

            Both the Arminian position and the Calvinist position that considers the apostasy to be hypothetical view the fallen described in Heb 6:4-6 as actual believers.  However, the other main Calvinist view is that Heb 6:1-6 describes the apparent apostasy of those who had not yet exercised saving faith.  Therefore, a few observations are in order concerning the identity of the fallen.

Admittedly, Heb 6:4-6 does not explicitly refer to the fallen as believers.  However, it is hard to see the four aorist participles in Heb 6:4-5 as referring to other than actual believers.  The author of Hebrews describes the fallen as "those who have once been enlightened (phōtizō)"[8] (Heb 6:4).  In Heb 10:32, phōtizō is used for conversion.  The fallen have also "tasted (geuomai) of the heavenly gift (dōrea)" (Heb 6:4).  In Heb 2:9, geuomai is used as "experience"[9] and dōrea is always used in the NT to refer to Christ, the Holy Spirit, or something given by Christ.[10]  The fallen "have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit (metochous genēthentas pneumatos hagiou)" (Heb 6:4).  The passive participle and the genitive indicate the appropriateness of the primary meaning in BDAG of "sharing/participating in as adj. w. gen. of the pers[on] or thing...."[11]  According to Rom 8:9 and Titus 3:5-7, those who share in the Holy Spirit are regenerate.  Finally, the fallen "have tasted (geusamenous) the good word of God and the powers of the age to come" (Heb 6:5).  The aorist middle participle of geuomai indicates that they have experienced for themselves personally God's word and the powers of the coming age.  I agree with Barnes that

the language here is such as appropriately describes Christians, and as indeed can be applicable to no other.  It may be remarked respecting the various expressions used here (ver. 4, 5,) (1) that they are such as properly denote a renewed state.  They obviously describe the condition of a Christian....  If they are not, it would be difficult to find any language which would be properly descriptive of the character of a sincere Christian.  I regard the description here, therefore, as that which is clearly designed to denote the state of those who were born again, and were the true children of God; and it seems plain to me, that no other interpretation would ever have been thought of, if this view had not seemed to conflict with the doctrine of the "perseverance of the saints."[12]

 

Thus, Heb 6:4-6 describes actual believers.

 

II.  Is the Fall Hypothetical OR ACTUAL?

            The Geneva Bible and the KJV translate Heb 6:6 as "if they shall fall away...."  The NKJV, NIV, RSV, and the ESV have all adopted similar translations.  This translation would seem to support either the Arminian view or the Calvinist hypothetical view.  However, is this an accurate translation?

            Had the author of Hebrews wished to state clearly that he referred to a hypothetical situation, he could have used a second class condition.  Had he wished to indicate a possibility, a third class condition would have made this clear.  However, Heb 6:6 has no condition at all in the Gk.  Instead, the Gk text has parapesontas, an aorist active participle of parapiptō.  Since all five of these aorist participles in Heb 6:4-6 are governed by one article, they are adjectival in nature.  Some have asserted that this participle can be conditional.  This can be true of adverbial participles but this participle is adjectival.[13]  Zane Hodges notes that "far from treating the question in any hypothetical way, the writer’s language sounds as if he knew of such cases."[14]  Walter Kaiser questions the logic of the hypothetical view:

Is it possible that the author is simply writing about a hypothetical situation?  If so, there are two possible ways to understand it.  The first is that both the author and his readers know that this cannot happen, so it is hypothetical for all of them.  In that case one wonders why the author wasted his ink.  His purpose clearly is to exhort them not to return to Judaism.  If his warnings are only hypothetical, how would they keep people from apostatizing?  The second possibility is that the author knows this is hypothetical, but he believes his readers will take it seriously.  In that case it would serve as a warning, but it would be deceptive.  Is the author of Hebrews likely to defend the truth with deception?  Would he scare his readers with a situation he knows could never happen?[15]

 

Thus, Hebrews 6:6 must describe an actual fall--not a potential or hypothetical fall.

 

 

III.  PARAPIPTŌ: Apostasy or Transgression?

            Most Bible translations agree with the commentators and understand parapiptō to mean "fall away" or "apostatize" in Heb 6:6.  The NASB, NRSV, NAB, the Darby Bible, and the NJB translate parapesontas as "have fallen away" and the ASV translates it as "fell away."  The NLT is more obvious with its translation of parapesontas as "turn away from God."  The RSV bluntly translates parapesontas as "commit apostasy."  Does the evidence support such translations?[16]

            1.  Classical Greek.  The Gk verb parapiptō is a compound formed from the preposition para ("alongside") and the verb piptō ("to fall").  Therefore, the basic etymological meaning of parapiptō is "to fall alongside or beside."  LSJ defines the basic meaning of parapiptō in Classical Gk as "fall beside ... fall in one’s way ... go astray, err."[17]  LSJ does list the possible meaning of "fall aside or away from," but notes that, in this usage, parapiptō precedes the genitive of the object from which one had fallen.  They cite Polybius (204-122 BC), Hist. 3.54.5 (tēs hodou, "the road"); 8.11.8 (tou kathēkontos, "that which is proper"[18]); 12.12.2 (tēs alētheias, "the truth"); and Strabo (b. c. 63 BC), Geogr., 1.1.7 (tēs historias, "history") as examples similar to Heb 6:6.  However, Heb 6:6 does not have this construction.  The text does not read kai parapesontas tēs pisteōs ("and fell aside from the faith").[19]  Moreover, Bauder defines parapiptō as "lit. fall beside, befall, go astray, err,"[20] or as "a mistake, err, meaning an accidental and excusable oversight."[21]  Michaelis also summarizes the Classical Gk meaning of parapiptō as "'to fall beside or aside,' ... 'to stumble on something by chance,' ... 'to be led somewhere or other,'....  The sense 'to be led past,' 'to go astray,' 'to be mistaken,' also occurs in Polyb.... also abs. 'to make a mistake.'"[22] 

I was able to discover one hundred and six instances of parapiptō in the period from the fifth century to the third century BC (see Table 1).[23]  After eliminating thirty-five instances of medical, zoological, astronomical, and geometric terms,[24] I observed the following: In the majority, parapiptō means "to occur or befall" (26.8%)[25] or "a chance or unexpected occurrence" (8.5%).[26]  The next most frequent sense is "opportunity" (18.3%),[27] consistently pairing parapiptō with kairos.[28]  The meanings "to fall beside or alongside" and "to fall or fall in" are the next most frequent (16.9%).[29]  The related sense of "to gain entrance" occurs in 11.3% of the instances.[30]  The meaning "to miss or fail" occurs in 9.9% of the instances.[31]  There are three instances where parapiptō means "to make a mistake" (4.2%).[32]  However, none of these meanings fit the context of Heb 6:6.  Twice, parapiptō means "to transgress" (2.8%).[33]  Finally, on one occasion it means "to be lost" (1.3%).[34]  However, this instance refers to the loss of small quantities of grain.  The sense of "miss or fail" would be equally likely.  Therefore, I conclude that, in Classical Gk, parapiptō does not mean "to apostatize" and possibly means "to transgress".

TABLE 1

 

PARAPIPTŌ (5th Century BC-3rd Century BC)

 

Extrabiblical References

 

 

CENTURY

MEANING

5 BC

4 BC

3 BC

5 BC-3 BC

to fall beside or alongside

 

4

4

8

to fall, to fall in

1

1

2

4

to miss, fail

 

3

4

7

to be lost

 

 

1

1

to gain entrance

1

 

7

8

to occur, befall, present

11

3

5

19

chance or unexpected occurrence

4

1

1

6

opportunity (usually with kairos)

5

4

4

13

to make a mistake

1

 

2

3

to transgress

 

 

2

2

Medicine

3

 

 

3

Geometry

1

 

21

22

Astronomy

 

4

 

4

Zoology

 

6

 

6

TOTAL

27

26

53

106

 

            2.  Septuagint.  The LXX heavily influenced the author of the book of Hebrews.  Hagner notes that "the book of Hebrews is, then, very dependent upon the OT (about thirty actual citations and over seventy allusions have been counted).  In quotations the author regularly follows the Greek (LXX) rather than the Hebrew (or Masoretic) text that has come down to us."[35]  Therefore, the LXX is of primary importance in understanding the meaning of parapiptō in the book of Hebrews.

            The LXX employs parapiptō on eight occasions.  Esther 6:10 uses parapiptō, translating nāphal, as "to fall short" of fulfilling a command.  Wisdom 6:9 uses parapiptō for "fall into error" (NJB) or "transgress" (NRSV).  Wisdom 12:2 uses parapiptō as "offend" (NJB) or "trespass" (NRSV).  The remaining passages all reside in Ezekiel (14:13; 15:8; 18:24; 20:27; 22:4) and are translated by "trespass" or "transgress" (Brenton's English Translation of the LXX). 

In Ezek 22:4, the underlying Heb is ´āsham.  BDB defines ´āsham as, "offend, be guilty."[36]  In Ezek 14:13; 15:8; 18:24; and 20:27, the underlying Heb is `al.  HALOT defines `al as "to be untrue, violate one’s legal obligations"[37] and BDB as "act unfaithfully, treacherously"[38]  By violating the stipulations of the Mosaic covenant, Israel acted unfaithfully and violated her obligations under the Torah.  TWOT notes that

in almost all the biblical references `al is used to designate the breaking or violation of religious law as a conscious act of treachery.  The victim against whom the breach is perpetrated is God....

This word does not describe the sins of unbelievers but of believers, covenant peoples, those who "break faith" with their suzerain.  Thus, Ezek 18:24 pronounces the principle, "When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity (´āwel) ... in his trespass that he has committed (`al) and in the sin he has sinned (Êāðā´) he shall die."

Of the many words for sin in the OT, `al is used most frequently in a parallel phrase with Êāðā´ (q.v.) "to sin, miss the mark": Lev 5:15; Num 5:6; 2 Chr 33:19; Ezek 14:13; Ezek 18:24.  There are a number of words used in the LXX for `al.  Interestingly, in Ezek the word used most prominently is parapiptō "to trespass" while in Ezra and Nehemiah the word is asunthetō "to default, deflect."[39]

  

The range of meaning of `al is greater than parapiptō.  Thus, parapiptō refers to transgressions of covenant stipulations.  However, breaking of a covenant is translated by asyntheteō.

In Ezek 18:24, the phrase "in his trespass wherein he has trespassed (en tō paraptōmati autou hō parepesen)" parallels "and in his sins wherein he has sinned (kai en tais hamartiais autou hais hēmarten)" (Brenton's English Translation of the LXX).  The conjunction kai joining these two phrases is ascensive.[40]  Therefore, the LXX of Ezekiel views parapiptō and hamartanō as synonyms.[41]  Bauder, who does consider parapiptō to mean "fall away" in Hebrews 6:6, still admits that "the NT sense of to lose one’s salvation has no parallel in the OT....  The meaning to sin, is found only where parapiptō is used...."[42]  It is also worthy of note that, in Ezek 18:24, a paraptōma ("transgression") is the result of parapiptō ("to transgress").  Thus, the LXX employs parapiptō for "to transgress" and not for "to apostatize."

            3.  Koiné Greek.  In the period from the second century BC to the first century AD, I discovered fifty-seven instances of parapiptō outside of the Scriptures (see Table 2).  The meanings of "to fall beside or alongside," "to fall or fall in," and "to fall upon" made up 33.3% of the whole.[43]  The senses of "to occur," "occur by chance," and "opportunity" constitute 33.5% of the references.[44]  Technical astronomical terms make up 7%.[45]  The meaning "to gain entrance" is greatly decreased (1.7% from 11.3%).[46]  Flavius Josephus (AD 37-c. AD 100) used parapiptō once (1.7%) as being deprived of something.[47]  The sense of "to miss or fail" is better attested (15.8%)[48] than in previous centuries (9.9%) and is used of failing to meet contractual obligations[49].  The sense of "to be lost" occurs once (1.7%).[50]  Moulton and Milligan also note the meanings of parapiptō as to break contractual terms (AD 129) and something being lost (AD 396).[51]  A literal translation of parapiptō as "fall aside" fits the last two examples.  The terms of a broken contract have fallen aside in the same sense as parapiptō in Esther 6:10 (LXX).  An item has fallen aside somewhere and, thus, is lost.  The sense of "to make a mistake" has vanished.  Clement of Rome (c. late first century A.D.) used parapiptō twice in the sense of "to sin," as did Plutarch (c. AD 45-c. AD 125) once (5.3%).[52]  The contemporary usage of parapiptō that best fits our context remains "to sin" not "to apostatize."

TABLE 2

PARAPIPTŌ (2nd Century BC-1st Century AD)

Extrabiblical References

 

CENTURY

MEANING

2 BC

1 BC

1 AD

2 BC-1 AD

to fall beside or alongside

1

3

4

8

to fall, to fall in

1

1

6

8

to fall upon

 

 

3

3

to miss, fail

3

1

5

9

to be lost

 

 

1

1

to be deprived

 

 

1

1

to gain entrance

 

 

1

1

to occur, befall, present

 

1

4

5

chance or unexpected occurrence

 

 

3

3

opportunity (usually with kairos)

1

5

5

11

to transgress

 

 

3

3

Astronomy

1

3

 

4

TOTAL

7

14

36

57

 

4.  New Testament.  The NT uses parapiptō only once (Heb 6:6).  Surprisingly, Louw and Nida define parapiptō as "to abandon a former relationship or association, or to dissociate (a type of reversal of beginning to associate)--'to fall away, to forsake, to turn away.'"[53]  Michaelis, although writing, "the sense seems to be 'fallen away,'" notes that parapiptō "does not mean 'to fall away,' but 'to offend,' 'to fall,' 'to sin,' as in the LXX."[54]  BDAG defines parapiptō as "(... In the pap. mostly = become lost) fall beside, go astray, miss (... = make a mistake) fall away, commit apostasy ...  whatever sins we have committed 1 Cl 51:1."[55]  The lack of evidence from classical Gk, the LXX, and Koiné Gk makes the lexicographers’ desire to add terms to their definitions such as "fall away" and "commit apostasy" difficult to comprehend.

            Although the NT only employs the verb parapiptō here, the noun form, paraptōma, always denotes "sin" not "apostasy."[56]  Sanders interprets the noun form as "trespass."[57]  Doriani sees paraptōma as a "general term for offenses or lapses."[58]  Other Gk words would more clearly express the idea of apostasy, such as aphistēmi[59] or skandalizō.[60]  Dahms observes that

(1) Parapiptō means “fall beside,” “fall,” not “fall away (from)” (TDNT 6, 171).  It is therefore not the most appropriate word to express complete turning away from Christ.  To express such a lapse aphistēmi, which occurs in 3:12, or ekpiptō, which occurs in Gal 5:4, would be more appropriate.  It is, however, quite appropriate to express a fall that does not involve giving up all belief in Christ (cf. the use of paraptōma in Gal 6:1).  (2) Nowhere is the fall described as a denial of Christ.  In 6:12 it is described as being or becoming sluggish (nōthroi genēsthe) in contrast to being "imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."[61]

 

If parapiptō meant “to fall away from the faith” or “apostatize” in Heb 6:6, it would be the singular exception.[62]

 

V.  A PROPOSED SOLUTION

 

1.  The Transgression.  This admonition concerns those who have seriously transgressed but not apostatized.  They had fallen down, not away.  Dahms notes that "if the readers had been in danger of giving up all faith in Jesus, it would have been useless to warn them against crucifying the Son of God.  The response would be, 'But we doubt that Jesus is the Son of God.'"[63]  The transgression (parapiptō) in Heb 6:6 addresses the same issues as the sin (hamartanō) in Heb 10:26. 

Those mentioned were believers.  However, they were not holding fast to their confession without wavering (Heb 4:14; 10:23).  They had abandoned assembling with other Christians (Heb 10:25).  They were aware that Christ has "perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Heb 10:14).  Although, they had been "sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10), yet they had returned to the Levitical sacrifices to avoid persecution (Heb 10:32-36).  However, the Levitical sacrifices were no longer efficacious (Heb 10:18; 26) and they were "sinning willfully" by going back to them.  By their actions, they were denying that the Messiah had "offered one sacrifice for sins for all time" (Heb 10:12).  One who does this, in effect, "has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace" (Heb 10:29).  In short, "they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame" (Heb 6:6).  This put them under severe divine discipline (Heb 6:7-8; 10:26-31).

2.  The Result.  Were then these individuals lost eternally?  The book of Hebrews does not say that.  It does indicate that "much severer punishment" (Heb 10:29) awaits them.  Even physical death is mentioned and they are warned that "it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb 10:31).  Since they had returned to the sacrificial cult in order to avoid persecution, incurring divine chastisement should have given them pause (Heb 10:32-39). 

The imagery of burning in Heb 6:7-8 has suggested hell to some.  Hodges comments:

Naturally, the reference to "burned" has caused many to think of hell....  In fact, to think of hell here is to betray inattention to the imagery employed by the author.  The burning of a field to destroy the rank growth it had produced was a practice known in ancient times.  Its aim was not the destruction of the field itself (which, of course, the fire could not effect), but the destruction of the unwanted produce of the field.  Thereafter the field might be serviceable for cultivation.[64]

 

This resembles the Parable of the Vine and the Branches (John 15:1-16).  Derickson demonstrates that the practices in that passage seek to promote growth.[65]  References to burning ground to clear it are found in the Bible (Jer 26:18; Isa 4:4), the Talmud (b. mas. Avodah Zarah 38a), and Greco-Roman literature (Virgil, Georgics 1.71, 84, 257; Pliny the Elder, Nat. Hist. 18.61; Plato, Georgias 354a).  Therefore, Heb 6:7-8 does not refer to eternal salvation but "things that accompany salvation."

            3. The Hope.  The impossibility of renewing them to repentance that locked them into immaturity is based on their continuing to "again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame" (Heb 6:6).  The present infinitive anakainizein ("to renew") controls two adverbial participles, anastaupountas ("again crucify") and paradeigmatizontas ("put Him to open shame").[66]  Most translations take them causally.[67]  Robertson comments that “this is the reason why renewal for such apostates is impossible.  They crucify Christ.”[68]  It is impossible to bring them to repentance while they continue in this transgression.  However, if they cease so doing, there is every reason to believe that restoration to fellowship and going on to maturity is possible.

 



[1] Interestingly enough, Arminius agreed with the Reformed position that those mentioned by Heb 6:1-9 were not true believers (James Arminius “A Dissertation of the Epistle to the Romans,” The Works of Arminius, 3 vols., trans. James Nichols, William Nichols (London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, 1828; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996) 2:494, 530, 541; and “A Letter on the Sin Against the Holy Ghost,” The Works of Arminius 2:731-54).

[2] Adam Clarke, The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments, 6 vols. (reprint, Nashville, TN: Abingdon, n.d.) 6:725.

[3] John Wesley, Notes on the Bible: New Testament (n.p.: 1754), in Master Christian Library ver. 8.0 [CD-ROM] (Albany, OR: AGES, 1997) 741-42.

[4] Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1986) 423.

[5] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion 3.3.21.

[6] Albert Barnes, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, 14 vols., ed. Robert Frew (London: Blackie, 1885; reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 13:130.

[7] Ibid. 13:131.

[8] All Scripture quotations are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.

[9] BDAG 195.

[10] See John 4:10; Acts 2:38; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17; Rom 5:15, 17; 2 Cor 9:15; Eph 3:7; 4:7.

[11] BDAG 643.

[12] Barnes, Barnes’ Notes 13:129.

[13] See Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996) 633; J. A. Sproule, "Parapesontas in Hebrews 6:6," GTJ 2 (Fall 1981) 327-32; James L. Boyer, “Other Conditional Elements in New Testament Greek,” GTJ 4 (Fall 1983): 185-86.

[14] Zane Hodges, “Hebrews,” The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty: New Testament, ed. John F. Walvoord, Roy B. Zuck (n.p.: Victor, 1983) 795.

[15] Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Peter H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, Manfred T. Brauch, Hard Sayings of the Bible (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1996) 682-83.

[16] However, Charles B. Williams translates Heb 6:6, "and then have fallen by the wayside" (The New Testament: A Translation in the Language of the People).

[17] LSJ 1321.

[18] LSJ 852-53.

[19] In Acts 13:8, Elymas was "seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith (zētōn diastrepsai ton anathypaton apo tēs pisteōs)."  We find this construction with aphistēmi ("depart from").  Paul wrote to Timothy that, in the later times, "some will fall away from the faith (apostēsontai tines tēs pisteōs)" (1 Tim 4:1).  Heb 3:12 exhorts being careful lest anyone "falls away from the living God (apostēnai apo Theou zōntos)."  Of course, Heb 3:12 refers to entering God's rest, not salvation.  We see this construction with ekpiptō (“fall out”) as well.  Paul warned that, in their legalism, the Galatians had "fallen from grace (tēs charitos exepesate)" (Gal 5:4).    They had fallen away from a gracious basis for the Christian life.  Peter also warned of the danger that his readers might "fall from your own steadfastness (ekpesēte tou idiou stērigmou)" (2 Pet 3:17).  John used the adverb pothen ("from where") with piptō ("to fall") to remind the Ephesians "from where you have fallen (pothen peptōkas)" (Rev 2:5).

[20] NIDNTT 1:608.

[21] NIDNTT 3:585.

[22] TDNT 6:170.

[23] I made use of the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (E), the Perseus Project (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/), and the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cache/perscoll_DDBDP.html) databases in my search.

[24] Aratus, Phaen. 1.312, 1.615; Archimedes, Con. sph. 1.161.9; 1.162.2; 1.165.13; 1.218.9; 1.219.12, 22; 1.225.8, 15; 1.237.17, 27; 1.238.4, 27; 1.239.14, 18; 1.240.24; 1.241.1, 6, 11, 15, 16; Aristotele, Gen. an. 718a.1; 756b.1; Hist. an. 540b.6, 9, 23; 541a.32; Euclid, Fr. 284.19; Eudoxus, Fr. 42.2; 88.8; Hippocrates, Int. 34.6; De exsectione foetus 1.5, 2.1; Philolaus, Test. 24.3.

[25] Alchidamas, Fr. 15.9.6; Demades, Fragmenta 38.4; Palaephatus, De incredibilibus 49.10; Plato, Ep. 324.c.2; Leg. 667.b.9; 686.d.10; 709.c.9; 832.b.6; 857.c.4; Phileb. 14.c.7; Resp. 466.a.2; 561.b.3; Polybius, Hist. 1.55.6.2; 3.12.6.3; 11.4.5.4; 31.5.2.1; SB 10845.3; Xenophon, Eq. 6.16.6; Eq. mag. 7.5.1.

[26] Aristotele, Top. 117a.10; Euripides, Orest. 1173; Herodotus, Hist. 8.87.3; Lysias, Against Epicrates and his Fellow Envoys 27.15; Polybius, Hist. 11.16.1.1; Xenophon, Cyr. 1.2.10.8.

[27] Anaximenes, Rhet. Alex. 2.26.4; 5.2.5; 5.4.3; Demosthenes, 1 Olynth. 8.2; Isocrates, Euth. 1 8.8; Trapez. 8.6; Plato, Leg. 842.a.8; Polybius, Hist. 1.75.9.1; 4.57.6.1; 9.2.5.5; 12.6.5.3; Thucydides, The Pelopennesian War 4.23.2.9;  Xenophon, Ways and Means 5.8.2.

[28] An exception is Polybius, Hist. 4:57.6.1.

[29] Alchidamas, Fr. 15.7.4; Aristophanes, Hist. an. epitome 2.120.10; Charondas Nomographus, Fr. 62.23; Demosthenes, 1 Steph. 45 84.5; Philochorus, Fr. 3b,328,F.59.4; Philoxenus, Fr. b.26; Polybius, Hist. 3.51.5.5; 11.15.2.4; 15.28.4.4; 16.3.12.3; Theophrastus, Caus. plant. 1.22.7.1.

[30] Plato, Phaed. 66.d.5; Polybius, Hist. 2.53.6.1; 3.117.8.3; 4.80.10.1; 5.81.5.1; 6.55.1.6; 8.34.1.2; 9.3.4.2.

[31] Epicurus, Gnomologium Vaticanum Epicureum 29.4; P.Mich. 56.29; Philon, Parasceuastica et poliorcetica 79.23; Polybius, Hist. 3.54.5.3; 12.12.3.1; Timaeus, Fr. 3b,566,F.151.11; Stud.Pal. 105.10.

[32] Polybius, Hist. 18.36.6.2; 29.12.11.2; Xenophon, Hell. 1.6.4.3.

[33] Polybius, Hist. 8.11.8; 33.6.4.2.

[34] Chrysippus, Fr. logica et physica 1178.7.

[35] Donald A. Hagner, Hebrews, NIBC (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1983) 15.

[36] BDB 79.

[37] HALOT 1:613.

[38] BDB 591.  The translators of the NASB and the NIV tend to translate the Heb behind parapiptō as “act unfaithful” or “treacherously.”  However, the KJV, ASV, Young’s Literal Translation, and the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh consistently translate the Heb behind parapiptō as “trespass” or “transgress.”

[39] TWOT 519-20.

[40] Wallace, Greek Grammar 670-71.

[41] See also TDNT 6:170.  Posidonius (c. second century BC), Fr. 1.6 has a parallel between parapiptō and diamartanō ("go astray").

[42] NIDNTT 1:609.

[43] Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca historica 3.36.5.12; Dionysius Halicarnassensis, Dem. 43.34; Epictetus, Diatr. 1.4.20.3; Gnom. 17.4; Flavius Josephus, A. J. 13.362.4; 16.200.2; Gaius Musonius Rufus, Dissertationum a Lucio digestarum reliquiae 18A.32; Harpocration, Lexicon 237.8; Heron, Dioptra 5.49; P.Bon. 14.3; P.Mich. 500.12; Philo Judaeus, Migr. 23.4; Plutrach, Fr. 193.96; Lys. 29.2.5; Pel. 27.7.6; Pyrrh. 33.5.2; Quaest. conv. 624.B.2; 707.E.1; Strabo, Geogr. 13.4.12.4.

[44] Apollonius, In Hippocratis de articulis commentarius 8.10; Bato, Fr. 4.20; Dio Chrysostomus, Orationes 22.3.2; 59.11.7; Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca hist.  3.8.5.4; Dionysius Halicarnassensis, Isocr. 19.54; Flavius Arrianus, Fr. 2b.156.F.179.3-s; Hist. succ. Alex. 17.3; Longinus, Subl. 22.1.6; Philo Judaeus, Mos. 1 142.5; Legat. 120.3; 201.4; Plutrach, Alc. 20.4; Pyth. orac. 397.B.7; Eum. 11.5.2; Stoic. rep. 1051.D.2; Sull. 3.1.5; Virt. prof. 85.F.8; Thes. 6.4.7.

[45] Geminus, Elementa astronomiae 7.10.4; 7.11.4; 7.15.6; Hipparchus, In Arati et Eudoxi phaenomena commentariorum libri iii 1.4.13.5.

[46] Plutrach, Cons. Apoll. 108.B.7.

[47] Josephus, A. J. 19.285.

[48] Clement of Rome, Hom. 11.16.6.2; O.Bodl. 62.9; O.Stras; 18.5; O.Wilck 50.3; P.Ryl. 343.3; Plutrach, Marc. 30.5.4; Posidonus, Fr. 1.6; SB 11624.6; Strabo, Geogr. 1.1.7.12.

[49] E.g., O.Bodl. 62.9 (157-151 BC); O.Stras. 18.5 (146-135 BC); SB 11624.6 (AD 7); P.Ryl. 343.3 (AD 14-37); O.Wilck. 50.3 (AD 98).

[50] Plutrach, Stoic. rep. 1051.C.3.

[51] MM 488-89.

[52] Clement of Rome, 1 Clem. 51.1; 56.1; Hom. 7.7.6.2; Plutarch, Galb. 8.5.2.  This agrees with Tertullian, Pud. 20, who saw the verb referring to mortal sin and not apostasy.

[53]Ed. J. P. Louw, E. A. Nida, Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, 2nd ed. (New York, United Bible Societies, 1988) in BibleWorks, v5.0 [CD-ROM] (Big Fork, MT: Hermeneutika, 2001) s.v. parapiptō.

[54] TDNT 6:171.

[55] BDAG 626.

[56] A good example is Romans 5:13 compared with 5:20, where paraptōma parallels hamartia.  See TDNT 6:172.

[57] ABD 6:41.  See also IDB 4:371.  Although agreeing on paraptōma, DeVries renders parapiptein as “to apostatize from God.” 

[58] Daniel Doriani, “Sin,” Baker Theological Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Walter A. Elwell (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996) 737.

[59] 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:12.

[60] Matthew 24:10; 26:31, 33; Mark 4:17; 14:27, 29; Luke 8:13.

[61] John V. Dahms, "The First Readers Of Hebrews," JETS 20 (December 1976): 371.

[62] Interestingly, the Peshitta has nichatûn ("sin") in Heb 6:6.

[63] Dahms, "The First Readers Of Hebrews," 371.

[64] Hodges, “Hebrews” 795-6.  See also Randall C. Gleason, “The Old Testament Background of the Warning in Hebrews 6:4-8,” BSac 155 (January-March 1998): 86-90.  Significantly, a few years after Hebrews was written, the Temple was destroyed and the sacrificial system ended.  The field was burned to make way for new growth.

[65] Gary W. Derickson, “Viticulture and John 15:1-6” BSac 153 (January-March 1996): 34-52.  See also 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.

[66] Wallace, Greek Grammar 622-23.

[67] The NASB, ESV, NKJV, NJB, NAB, and RSV all add "since."  The NIV, BBE, and the NLT all add "because."

[68] Robertson, Word Pictures 5:375.