Principle for Bible Reading
The gospel shines most brightly when Christians rejoice in the midst of really painful, even unjust suffering. In this lab, John Piper looks at Hebrews 10 to understand how we cultivate the kind of joy that can endure anything and that frees us to love and serve radically.
Suffering for the Sake of Christ (00:45–04:08)
- To be “enlightened” (Hebrews 10:32) probably means to be converted (see 2 Corinthians 4:6).
- It was not easy for these believers to become Christians (“you endured a hard struggle with sufferings”). (Hebrews 10:32)
- Some Christians suffered, and others suffered by serving the sufferers (Hebrews 10:33). They were threatened and mistreated because they identified with persecuted Christians.
- One of the ways these Christians suffered was that their possessions were plundered while they went to help their brothers and sisters in Christ (Hebrews 10:34). Amazingly, they responded with joy.
Unexplainable Joy in Jesus (04:08–04:58)
- The “since” in the middle of Hebrews 10:34 explains the psychological dynamic under this unexplainable joy in suffering Christians.
- These Christians knew they had a better and abiding possession than their earthly possessions.
- The possession they have with Christ that is qualitatively better and temporally longer, infinitely longer.
Confidence and Compassion (04:58–07:15)
- Therefore, because you have a better and abiding possession, hold your confidence fast until the end, knowing it will be greatly rewarded beyond your imagination.
- If you want to be a compassionate person, you need confidence in a reward greater than any possession you have in this life.
- If you are indifferent toward your future reward, your joy will be small (Hebrews 10:34) and, therefore, you will not have compassion on others.
- Look at Hebrews 10:32–33. Why are these people being mistreated?
- Explain the “since” in Hebrews 10:34. How does what follows the “since” explain what comes before it?
- Based on Hebrews 10:34–35, explain how our future, eternal reward relates to our compassion toward others today.
Piper: “Joy in the midst of suffering, even persecution, is the kind of Christianity we should all strive for.”