Hebrews 2:3
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,

King James Bible
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

Darby Bible Translation
how shall we escape if we have been negligent of so great salvation, which, having had its commencement in being spoken of by the Lord, has been confirmed to us by those who have heard;

World English Bible
how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation--which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard;

Young's Literal Translation
how shall we escape, having neglected so great salvation? which a beginning receiving -- to be spoken through the Lord -- by those having heard was confirmed to us,

Hebrews 2:3 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

How shall we escape - How shall we escape the just recompense due to transgressors? What way is there of being saved from punishment, if we suffer the great salvation to be neglected, and do not embrace its offers? The sense is, that there is no other way of salvation, and the neglect of this will be followed by certain destruction. why it will, the apostle proceeds to show, by stating that this plan of salvation was proclaimed first by the Lord himself, and had been confirmed by the most decided and amazing miracles.

If we neglect - It is not merely if we commit great sins. Not, if we are murderers, adulterers, thieves, infidels, atheists, scoffers. It is, if we merely "neglect" this salvation - if we do not embrace it - if we suffer it to pass unimproved. "Neglect" is enough to ruin a man. A man who is in business need not commit forgery or robbery to ruin himself; he has only to "neglect" his business, and his ruin is certain. A man who is lying on a bed of sickness, need not cut his throat to destroy himself; he has only to "neglect" the means of restoration, and he will be ruined. A man floating in a skiff above Niagara, need not move an oar or make an effort to destroy himself; he has only to "neglect" using the oar at the proper time, and he will certainly be carried over the cataract. Most of the calamities of life are caused by simple "neglect." By neglect of education children grow up in ignorance; by neglect a farm grows up to weeds and briars; by neglect a house goes to decay; by neglect of sowing, a man will have no harvest; by neglect of reaping, the harvest would rot in the fields. No worldly interest can prosper where there is neglect; and why may it not be so in religion? There is nothing in earthly affairs that is valuable that will not be ruined if it is not attended to - and why may it not be so with the concerns of the soul? Let no one infer, therefore, that because he is not a drunkard, or an adulterer, or a murderer, that, therefore, he will be saved. Such an inference would be as irrational as it would be for a man to infer that because he is not a murderer his farm will produce a harvest, or that because he is not an adulterer therefore his merchandise will take care of itself. Salvation would be worth nothing if it cost no effort - and there will be no salvation where no effort is put forth.

So great salvation - . Salvation from sin and from hell. It is called "great" because:

(1) Its author is great. This is perhaps the main idea in this passage. It "began to be spoken by the Lord;" it had for its author the Son of God, who is so much superior to the angels; whom the angels were required to worship Hebrews 1:6; who is expressly called God Hebrews 1:8; who made all things, and who is eternal; Hebrews 1:10-12. A system of salvation promulgated by him "must" be of infinite importance, and have a claim to the attention of man.

(2) it is "great" because it saves from great sins. It is adapted to deliver from all sins, no matter how aggravated. No one is saved who feels that his sins are small, or that they are of no consequence. Each one sees his sins to be black and aggravated, and each one who enters heaven, will go there feeling and confessing that it is a great salvation which has brought such a sinner there. Besides, this salvation delivers from all sin - no matter how gross and aggravated. The adulterer, the murderer, the blasphemer, may come and be saved, and the salvation which redeems such sinners from eternal ruin is "great."

(3) it is great because it saves from great dangers. The danger of an eternal hell besets the path of each one. All do not see it; and all will not believe it when told of it. But this danger hovers over the path of every mortal. The danger of an eternal hell! Salvation from everlasting burnings! Deliverance from unending ruin! Surely that salvation must be great which shall save from such a doom! If that salvation is neglected, that danger still hangs over each and every man. The gospel did not create that danger - it came to deliver from it. Whether the gospel be true or false, each man is by nature exposed to eternal death - just as each one is exposed to temporal death whether the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and of the resurrection be true or false. The gospel comes to provide a remedy for dangers and woes - it does not create them; it comes to deliver people from great dangers - not to plunge them into them. "Back of the gospel," and before it was preached at all, people were in danger of everlasting punishment, and that system which came to proclaim deliverance from such a danger, is great.

(4) the salvation itself is great in heaven. It exalts people to infinite honors, and places on their heads an eternal crown. Heaven with all its glories is offered to us; and such a deliverance, and such an elevation to eternal honors, deserves to be called great. If that is neglected, there is no other salvation; and man must be inevitably destroyed.

(5) it is "great" because it was effected by infinite displays of power, and wisdom, and love. It was procured by the incarnation and humiliation of the Son of God. It was accomplished amidst great sufferings and self-denials. It was attended with great miracles. The tempest was stilled, and the deaf were made to hear, and the blind to see, and the dead were raised, and the sun was darkened, and the rocks were rent. The whole series of wonders connected with the incarnation and death of the Lord Jesus, was such as the world had not seen elsewhere, and such as was suited to hold the race in mute admiration and astonishment. If this be so, then religion is no trifle. It is not a matter of little importance whether we embrace it or not. It is the most momentous of all the concerns that pertain to man; and has a claim on his attention which nothing else can have. Yet the mass of people live in the "neglect" of it. It is not that they are professedly atheists, or deists, or that they are immoral or profane; it is not that they oppose it, and ridicule it, and despise it; it is that they simply "neglect" it. They pass it by. They attend to other things. They are busy with their pleasures, or in their counting-houses, in their workshops, or on their farms; they are engaged in politics, or in bookmaking, and they "neglect" religion now as a thing of small importance - proposing to attend to it hereafter, as if they acted on the principle that everything else was to be attended to before religion.

Which at the first - Greek "Which received the beginning of being spoken." The meaning is correctly expressed in our translation. Christ "began" to preach the gospel; the apostles followed him. John prepared the way; but the Saviour was properly the first preacher of the gospel.

By the Lord - By the Lord Jesus; see notes on Acts 1:24.

And was confirmed unto us ... - They who heard him preach, that is, the apostles, were witnesses of what he said, and certified us of its truth. When the apostle here says "us," he means the church at large. Christians were assured of the truth of what the Lord Jesus spake by the testimony of the apostles; or the apostles communicated it to those who had not heard him in such a manner as to leave no room for doubt.

Hebrews 2:3 Parallel Commentaries

Library
Men Chosen --Fallen Angels Rejected
But now we wish to draw your attention to two instances of God's doing as he pleases in the fashioning of the works of his hands--the case of angels, and in the case of men. Angels were the elder born. God created them, and it pleased him to give unto them a free will to do as they pleased; to choose the good or to prefer the evil, even as he did to man: he gave them this stipulation--that if they should prefer the good, then their station in heaven should be for ever fixed and firm; but if they
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

A God in Pain
(Good Friday.) HEBREWS ii. 9, 50. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. What are we met together to think of this day? God in pain: God sorrowing; God dying for man, as far as God
Charles Kingsley—The Good News of God

The Child Jesus Brought from Egypt to Nazareth.
(Egypt and Nazareth, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 19-23; ^C Luke II. 39. ^a 19 But when Herod was dead [He died in the thirty-seventh year of his reign and the seventieth of his life. A frightful inward burning consumed him, and the stench of his sickness was such that his attendants could not stay near him. So horrible was his condition that he even endeavored to end it by suicide], behold, an angel of the Lord [word did not come by the infant Jesus; he was "made like unto his brethren" (Heb. ii. 17),
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Letter iv. You Reply to the Conclusion of My Letter: "What have we to do with Routiniers?...
My dear friend, You reply to the conclusion of my Letter: "What have we to do with routiniers? Quid mihi cum homunculis putata putide reputantibus? Let nothings count for nothing, and the dead bury the dead! Who but such ever understood the tenet in this sense?" In what sense then, I rejoin, do others understand it? If, with exception of the passages already excepted, namely, the recorded words of God--concerning which no Christian can have doubt or scruple,--the tenet in this sense be inapplicable
Samuel Taylor Coleridge—Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit etc

Cross References
Isaiah 20:6
"So the inhabitants of this coastland will say in that day, 'Behold, such is our hope, where we fled for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria; and we, how shall we escape?'"

Mark 16:20
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed. And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

Luke 1:2
just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,

Romans 11:14
if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them.

1 Corinthians 1:21
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

Hebrews 1:1
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,

Hebrews 1:14
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

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