New Defender's Study Bible Notes
3:1 Apostle. This is the only time Christ is called an Apostle (meaning literally “one who is sent”). He was sent by the Father as the Apostle of our profession (John 17:18; 20:21).
3:1 High Priest. As an Apostle, Christ represents God to man; as our High Priest, He represents man to God.
3:4 For every house. By the universal scientific law of cause and effect, it is obvious that a house must have been “caused” by a builder of the house. But that builder must have been “caused” by his parents and his education, etc. And so on. Every effect must have a cause. But ultimately there must either be an infinite string of secondary causes (and what caused that?) or an uncaused First Cause. The latter is far more reasonable. Thus, the “Builder” of “all things is God!”
3:4 built all things. From Hebrews 3:3, it is evident that Christ is the builder of the cosmic house; from this verse, therefore, it follows that Christ is God. He is the one who created and made all things (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3).
3:6 if we hold fast. The Word of God provides adequate assurance of eternal salvation for every genuine believer, but no warrant for arrogant presumption. See notes on Matthew 24:13 and II Peter 1:10.
3:7 Holy Ghost saith. Psalm 95:7-11 is under discussion in the section from Hebrews 3:7–4:10, with the author (possibly Paul) drawing an analogy between the rebellious Israelites in the wilderness under Moses and the professing Jewish believers of his own day, who were being tempted back into Jewish legalism. Specifically he is quoting this passage here (Hebrews 3:7-11) as an assertion of the Holy Spirit Himself. In Hebrews 4:7, he indicates that the author of the words was David, even though Psalm 95 carries no superscript of authorship (the same situation occurs when Psalm 2:1-2 is quoted in Acts 4:25-26 as written by David). It is thus a significant characteristic of divine inspiration that a section of Scripture is attributed both to David and the Holy Spirit, even when the section seems officially anonymous.
3:9 forty years. It possibly was no coincidence that God gave Israel forty years to repent after Christ’s crucifixion, before He sent the Roman army under Titus in A.D. 70 to destroy Jerusalem and its temple.
3:11 So I sware. See Psalm 95:11 and Numbers 14:28-32.
3:12 evil heart. Note that an “evil heart of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:12) is also an erring heart (Hebrews 3:10) and a hardened heart (Hebrews 3:8).
3:13 one another. There are many “one another” passages in Scripture, and it is important to practice them daily. Not only should we “exhort one another daily,” but also “edify one another” (I Thessalonians 5:11), “pray one for another” (James 5:16), “comfort one another” (I Thessalonians 4:18), “be kind one to another” (Ephesians 4:32), and especially “love one another” (John 13:34). There are many other such admonitions in Scripture.
3:14 partakers. The word “partakers” in this verse is used in the sense of “fellows” or “partners.” Those who hold their confidence in Christ until the end demonstrate that they were true believers in Christ from the beginning, rather than shallow professors of faith without real understanding or commitment. Note I John 2:19.
3:15 To day. The writer makes it clear that the use of “today” in Psalm 95:7 was applicable to any time, not just to David’s time. “Now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (II Corinthians 6:2).
3:15 provocation. “The provocation” refers to the rebellion of the Israelites at the waters of Meribah (Exodus 17:5-7; Numbers 20:7-13), when the Lord provided water out of the rock for them. The word for “provocation” in Psalm 95:8, from which this is quoted, is the Hebrew Meribah.
3:17 carcases. One of the difficulties posed by skeptics is that, if a million or more Israelites perished in the wilderness during their forty years in the desert, why have none of their graves been found by archaeologists? This verse suggests that the bodies may not have been buried at all, but simply left to decay and return to dust under the desert sun. These all died “because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:19), without seeing the promised land.