Have some in the congregation actually drifted away to the point of apostasy? Chapter 6 and chapter 10 both have strong words of warning against apostasy. It is possible that some have, but the writer’s intention may be to drive the point home well enough that the readers do not recant their faith when the difficult persecution comes. This is a rhetorical strategy, to describe the worst case imaginable, then show how the reader has not gone quite that far yet.
For example, I might tell my students, “you will fail Greek if you do not study for the exam!” to encourage them to study, although I know that none of them will fail the exam because I have fully equipped them for success. Some might struggle more than others, but I have given them the necessary tools to pass the exam.
Does the text say that it…
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