There are 4 thoughts on “Not Leaving and Going On to Perfection”.

  1. A minor point on Hebrews 6:1.
    The JST adjusts the King James language appropriately, but the Greek also makes perfect sense.
    Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection…
    principles – Strong’s 746, arche (ar-khay’); from 756; (properly abstract) a commencement, or (concretely) chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank)
    doctrine – Strong’s 3056 logos
    Green’s Interlinear gives “Therefore, leaving the of the beginning of the Christ discourse, on to full growth let us be borne…”
    The NIV says “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity…”
    First principles are mentioned in Hebrews 5:12.
    “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which [be] the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.”
    first – Strong’s 746 arche (same as “principles” above)
    principles – Strong’s 4747 stoicheion (stoy-khi’-on); neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of 4748; something orderly in arrangement, i.e. (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively): KJV– element, principle, rudiment.
    4748 stoicheo (stoy-kheh’-o); from a derivative of steicho (to range in regular line); to march in (military) rank (keep step), i.e. (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety: KJV– walk (orderly).
    The message of Hebrews 5:12-6:3 is that those who should have been teachers needed to be taught the first principles, but we ought to move beyond the first principles to full growth.

    • Thank you, Lynn, for your thoughts. I agree that the Greek makes perfect sense as it stands, but I also think that the prophet Joseph Smith would have objected to idea of those who were to be teachers “moving beyond” the first principles (and ordinances) of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as he understood them, in spite of what the Greek text of Hebrews 5-6 seems to suggest. His point was: you can’t really “leave” or “move beyond” them to “perfection” or “full maturity,” because the first principles and ordinances are perpetually required (cf. the function of the ordinance of the sacrament for all church members) for even the “fully initiated” or “fully mature.” Ultimately, there is no true teleiosis–i.e., salvation in the kingdom of heaven–apart from them. Whether we are considering the Greek text or the KJV, his point is the same.

  2. I found the sentence “In any case, ‘pressing forward’ in faith, hope, and charity is what Nephi meant when he exhorted Laman and Lemuel to ‘hold fast’ to the rod of iron/word of God” interesting since I have never interpreted 2 Nephi 31 in that way. Instead of seeing the pressing forward as being equivalent to the word of God, I’ve always thought Nephi meant that the word of God is the enabling power that allows pressing forward to happen. That is, “if ye shall press forward [with faith, hope, and charity], [by] feasting upon the word of Christ…”

    • John, thank you for your comment! I did not draw an equivalence between “pressing forward” and the “word of God,” but I agree that the “rod of iron” is indeed what enables pressing forwarding. Dan Belnap has insightfully connected the moment when Alma the Younger “caught hold” of the “thought” that “Jesus Christ,” as “Son of God,” would “atone for the sins of the world” (Alma 36:17-18) as a realization of this idea.

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