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 Sunday Morning
(The Meaning of Hebrews 10:25)

The Sunday morning meeting is the centerpiece of what we call church.  Lack of attendance in this meeting is sometimes countered with a reminder of Hebrews 10:25.  It reads, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching".  It's my opinion that such a reminder is a misappropriation of this verse.  Let's take a close look at the Greek grammatical structure of Hebrews 10:25 to see what it does say and to see what it doesn't say.    


The words "meeting together" are translated from the Greek word "episynagoge", meaning, to "bring together".  It's a generic Greek word that the Bible has incorporated into a religious setting.  Traditional Evangelical thinking understands this "bringing together" in terms of coming together in meetings.  I'm not discounting meetings if they are Biblically based.  What I am saying is that the coming together spoken of in Hebrews 10:25 has little to do with regularly scheduled meetings in a building we have unscripturally called church.      


The words "not give up" are translated from the Greek word "agkataleipo", meaning to "not leave behind"; thus "not give up".  This word is a "present active participle" in Greek grammar and is in reference to the coming together of believers.  "Present" means that the coming together spoken of here should be right now in real time.   "Active" means that those coming together are actively participating in effective ministry with each other.  This verse isn't talking about passively sitting back and watching what's going on in a meeting.  A "participle" emphasizes the action a thing does, not the thing itself.  Therefore, this verse emphasizes the action of coming together and the actions of ministry associated with those who come together.  This verse does not emphasize when we gather, where we gather, or even the gathering itself.   


The Greek word "parakaleo" that is translated as "encourage" means "to come alongside of another".  This Greek word is also a "present active participle".  "Present" means the "coming alongside" is something we're doing right now.  "Active" means that we are actively participating in ministry with those we've come alongside.  "Participle" emphasizes the actions of ministry performed as a result of our coming alongside others in the Body of Christ.  We're not talking about a mere pat on the back or an encouraging Sunday morning hand shake.  The encouragement spoken of here has little to do with meetings and more to do with coming alongside others in effective ministry.       


Apparently back when this verse was penned some people were giving up meeting together.  We should know that from our dissection of this verse, these people did not just stop attending meetings.  They had withdrawn themselves from effective functional relationships in the Body of Christ.   


If you understand the grammatical structure of this verse you'll know that it has little to do with attending meetings.  It has everything to do with being properly joined, fitted together for fellowship and service in the Body of Christ.  Our being joined to others is more than a matter of the fun of fellowship.  It's a matter of functioning in ministry with those to whom Jesus has called us.  I call this "functional relationships".  


Meetings are just one of many avenues in which we can function together with those we've come alongside.  It's sad to say that we've emphasized meetings to the degree that we've neglected other means of ministry.  Besides that, many of our meetings aren't Scripturally based. 


With the insertion of the words "as the Day approaches" in Hebrews 10:25, we understand that functional relationships in the Body of Christ are more important now than ever before.  This is for good reason.  As the time of the end draws closer, Christians will experience a good measure of trouble and stress from an anti-Christ culture.  As the early church lived, being relationally fitted into the community of Christ will be a necessity for survival.  


So, when reading Hebrews 10:25 please understand what it really means.  Don't confuse attendance in a Sunday morning service with properly being fitted into functional relationships in the Body of Christ.  


I suggest that this verse is not relevant for those who miss Sunday services but are properly fitted into functional relationships in the community of Christ.  I know some may wonder how this is possible, but it is.  I also suggest that this verse can easily be applied to those who routinely attend Sunday meetings but aren't fitted into functional relationships with those they occupy the room with. 


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