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Journal > Volumes > 34 (2003) / 1 (Spring)
John Owen's Interpretation of Hebrews 6:4-6: Eternal Perseverance of the Saints in Puritan Exegesis
Henry M. Knapp
Beaver, Pennsylvania

Modern studies of the development of Reformed doctrine of the saints' eternal per severance frequently ignore the exegetical debate from which it arose. The exegesis of Heb. 6:4?6 provides the background for examining the interpretive strategy and methodology of the Reformed exegete John Owen. Owen rejects the interpretation of the English Arminian John Goodwin because of Goodwin's failure to appreciate the author's intent, his neglect of the wider context, and his faulty reasoning. Owen's own exegesis demonstrates his commitment to, and mastery of, the interpretive techniques of his time. Through the use of these exegetical techniques, Owen is able to uncover the true meaning of Heb. 6:4?6, demonstrating its basic compatibility with the Reformed doctrine of perseverance: the text speaks of those who are mere professors of the faith and who are not yet fully united with Christ, demonstrating the extent one may go in the Christian religion while yet not possessing salvific faith

Pages: 29 - 52