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Warning against Falling Away

11 About this we have much to say that is hard to explain, since you have become dull in understanding.

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11. He therefore makes a preface by saying that he had many things to say, but that they were to prepare themselves lest these things should be said in vain. He reminds them that they were hard or difficult things; not indeed to repel them, but to stimulate them to greater attention. For as things that are easily understood render us slothful, so we become more keenly bent on hearing when anything obscure is set before us. He however states that the cause of the difficulty was not in the subject but in themselves. And indeed the Lord speaks to us so clearly and without any obscurity, that his word is rightly called our light; but its brightness become dim through our darkness. 9191     The literal rendering is “Of whom we have many a word to say, and hardly explainable,” or hard to be explained. This hardness of explanation was however owing to their dullness of comprehension, as Calvin justly observes. “Hard to be uttered” of our version is not correct; nor is “hard to be understood” of Doddridge right. Macknight gives the true meaning, “difficult to be explained.” Beza’s is the same. The reason is added “Since dull (or sluggish) ye are become in ears,” or in hearings. To be dull in ears is to be inattentive; but to be sluggish in ears seems to mean stupidity, slowness of comprehension. The latter is evidently meant here; that is, a tardiness or slowness in understanding. To hear with the ear is in the language of Scripture to understand. (Matthew 11:15; John 8:43; 1 Corinthians 14:2.) Hence to be sluggish in ears is to be slow or tardy in understanding the Word of God. Stuart therefore gives the sense, “Since ye are dull of apprehension.” — Ed. This happens partly through our dullness and partly through our sloth; for though we are very dull to understand the truth of God, yet there is to be added to this vice the depravity of our affections, for we apply our minds to vanity rather than to God’s truth. We are also continually impeded either by our perverseness, or by the cares of the world, or by the lusts of our flesh. Of whom does not refer to Christ, but to Melchisedec; yet he is not referred to as a private man, but as the type of Christ, and in a manner personating him.