What does Backsliding mean in the Bible?

Greek / Hebrew Translation Occurance
מְשֻׁבָ֣ה turning away 3
הַשּֽׁוֹבֵבָ֑ה backturning 2
לִמְשֽׁוּבָתִ֑י turning away 1
מְשׁ֣וּבָתָ֔ם turning away 1
מְשֻׁבָ֤ה turning away 1
؟ מְשֻׁבָ֣ה turning away 1
שׁוֹבָ֖ב backsliding 1
שׁוֹבָבִים֙ backsliding 1
שׁוֹבָבִ֔ים backsliding 1

Definitions Related to Backsliding

H4878


   1 turning away, turning back, apostasy, Backsliding.
   

H7728


   1 backturning, apostate, Backsliding.
   

H7726


   1 Backsliding, backturning, apostate, recusant.
   

Frequency of Backsliding (original languages)

Frequency of Backsliding (English)

Dictionary

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Backsliding
The act of turning from the path of duty. It may be considered as partial when applied to true believers, who do not backslide with the whole bent of their will; as voluntary, when applied to those who, after professing to know the truth, wilfully turn from it, and live in the practice of sin; as final, when the mind is given up to judicial hardness, as in the case of Judas. Partial backsliding must be distinguished from hypocrisy, as the former may exist where there are gracious intentions on the whole; but the latter is a studied profession of appearing to be what we are not.
The causes of backsliding are the cares of the world; improper connections; inattention to secret or closet duties; self-conceit, and dependence; indulgence; listening to and parleying with temptations. A backsliding state is manifested by indifference to prayer and self-examination; trifling or unprofitable conversation; neglect of public ordinances; shunning the people of God; associating with the world; thinking lightly of sin; neglect of the Bible; and often by gross immorality.
The consequences of this awful state are loss of character; loss of comfort; loss of usefulness; and, as long as any remain in this state, a loss of a well-grounded hope of future happiness. To avoid this state or recover from it, we should beware of the first appearance of sin; be much in prayer; attend the ordinances; and unite with the people of God. We should consider the awful instances of apostacy, as Saul, Judas, Demas, &c; the many warnings we have of it, Matthew 24:13 . Hebrews 10:38 . Luke 9:62 .; how it grieves the Holy Spirit; and how wretched it makes us; above all things, our dependence should be on God, that we may always be directed by his Spirit, and kept by his power.
See APOSTASY.
Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Backsliding
Condition that results from spiritual apathy or disregard for the things of God, whether on the part of an individual or a group bound by a prior covenantal pledge of commitment to uphold the doctrine and commandments of the Lord. Backsliding includes departure from a good confession of faith and from the ethical standards prescribed for God's people in the Scriptures. To varying degrees, depending on the extent of neglect of God and his commandments, the spiritually wayward experience a season of estrangement and abandonment from God and his people. In instances of apostasy when one spurns the grace of God by renouncing the blessings of the covenant, there is no possibility of repentance for sin, only a divine sealing unto the day of judgment (Hebrews 6:4-6 ; 10:26-31 ).
The sin of backsliding raises the important theological question concerning the relation between faith and perseverance. In cases of temporary backsliding, how do we understand the spiritual condition of the true son or daughter of God? Can one who is united to Christ (i.e., one who is regenerated by God and justified by grace through faith) fall again under the dominion of sin? Reformed theologians have maintained that the sinner redeemed by grace has been delivered once-for-all from bondage to sin. For such (elect) individuals, consequently, backsliding does not entail a fall from grace, whereby one is placed once more under sin's dominion. When a former disciple renounces Christian faith and conduct, however, that person is not a true son or daughter of God, and thus is not numbered among God's elect. Genuine development in the life history of everyone born into the world reveals the unfolding of God's decretive purpose in the salvation of the elect and the condemnation of the reprobate who remain under the wrath of God (John 3:18-21,36 ; 5:24-29 ). History is the process of differentiation between the two seeds: the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15 ).
The frequent occurrence and gravity of backsliding among the people of God is vividly portrayed in the corporate life of Israel during the Mosaic epoch of redemptive history. The house of Israel was guilty of committing the sin of backsliding on numerous occasions. In the speech of Hezekiah, the Chronicler highlights Israel's history as a lengthy period of disobedience. "Our fathers were unfaithful; they did evil in the eyes of the Lord our God and forsook him. They turned their faces away from the Lord's dwelling place and turned their backs on him" (2 Chronicles 29:6 ; 36:14 ). The cause of Israel's backslidings was her stubbornness of heart. Repeatedly the prophets addressed Israel's waywardness and unfaithfulness. As agents of God's covenant lawsuit against the obstinate and stiff-necked people, the prophets pleaded with Israel to repent of her sins and return to God in true faith and holiness. Failing to heed the warning, Israel suffered the full displeasure and abandonment of God in the Babylonian deportation and exile. Hosea describes Israel in particularly graphic terms as an adulterous people (2:5; 4:12; 5:7; 9:1). Her sins of prostitution and sexual immorality, indicative of her spiritual condition, drove her away from God, causing her to apostasize from the faith. Rather than consecrating their life and temporal blessings to the glory of God, the Israelites profaned the name and works of God. "Like Adam, they have broken the covenant—they were unfaithful to me there" (Hosea 6:7 ).
Israel's backsliding was both a divine chastisement and a rebuke for sin (Jeremiah 2:19 ). Only the mercy and compassion of Yahweh could restore Israel to favor (Jeremiah 3:22 ; 14:7 ). The restoration of Israel from exile, however, required the making of a new and better covenant, one that could not be broken (Jeremiah 31:22-34 ). Through divine cleansing Israel would once again become the people of God (Hosea 2:23 ). "They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God" (Ezekiel 37:23 ).
Israel serves as an example to us. In the teachings of Christ and his apostles the people of God are exhorted to persevere in righteousness and holiness, so as not to fall under divine condemnation. The sin of apostasy is real for covenant confessors. Accordingly, the angel of the church in Ephesus warns those who have forsaken their first love: "Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first" (Revelation 2:5 ). The saints are to persevere in doing the will of God, remembering the covenant he has made with us in his Son, Jesus Christ. The grace of perseverance is one of the benefits of Christ's atoning sacrifice for our sins. Thus our Lord instructs: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love" (John 15:5,10 ). The cure for backsliding is found in the abiding love and mercy of God who remains faithful to his promise of grace in Christ Jesus, whose righteousness and salvation is apprehended through true faith and repentance.
Mark W. Karlberg
See also Apostasy ; Denial ; Sanctification
Bibliography . A. A. Hoekema, Saved by Grace ; J. Murray, Redemption: Accomplished and Applied ; B. B. Warfield, The Plan of Salvation .
Webster's Dictionary - Backsliding
(1):
(n.) The act of one who backslides; abandonment of faith or duty.
(2):
(a.) Slipping back; falling back into sin or error; sinning.
(3):
(p. pr. & vb. n.) of Backslide
Holman Bible Dictionary - Backsliding
Term used by the prophets to describe Israel's faithlessness to God (Isaiah 57:17 RSV; Jeremiah 3:14 ,Jeremiah 3:14,3:22 ; Jeremiah 8:5 ; Jeremiah 31:22 ; Jeremiah 49:4 ; Hosea 11:7 ; Hosea 14:4 ). In these passages it is clear that Israel had broken faith with God by serving other gods and by living immoral lives. See Apostasy .
King James Dictionary - Backsliding
BACKSLI'DING, n. The act of apostatizing from faith or practice a falling insensibly from religion into sin or idolatry. Jeremiah 5:6
The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Backsliding
I humbly conceive that this word, and which we often meet with in Scripture, is not so well understood, by the generality of readers, as it were to be wished. The common received opinion concerning backsliding is, that it is turning back, or going away, from the Lord. Whereas the very word itself implies sliding backward, and not turning round, and going away. The Lord himself, by his servant the prophet Hosea, makes use of a simile, which seems to explain the meaning, "Israel (saith the Lord) slideth back as a backsliding heifer." (Hosea 4:16) Now, how doth an heifer slide back? I apprehend not by turning back, and going another path; but like one on slippery ground, whose steps, so far from gaining ground, rather lose ground. But all the while the heifer is still with her face and feet the same way, only sliding back, and not getting forward. And what follows, in the same verse, seems to confirm this sense of backsliding. "Now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place." So that the Lord undertakes to preserve Israel from sliding back, by putting his people in a roomy place, where the ground shall not be slippery.
I do not presume to suppose, that I am right in this my conjecture concerning backsliding. I only venture to give my opinion upon it, as it strikes me. The Lord pardon me if I err. One thing, however, is certain, the recovery of all backsliding is of the Lord; and his promise to his people, on this subject, is most blessed. "I will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely." (Hosea 14:4; Jeremiah 3:22)
Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Backsliding
a falling off, or defection in matters of religion; an apostasy, Acts 21:21 ; 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ; 1 Timothy 4:1 . This may be either partial or complete: partial, when it is in the heart, as Proverbs 14:14 ; complete, as that described in Hebrews 6:4 , &c; Hebrews 10:6 , &c. On the latter passage Chrysostom observes, "When a house has a strong foundation, suppose an arch fall, some of the beams break, or a wall decline, while the foundation is good, these breaches may be repaired; so in religion, whilst a person maintains the true doctrines, and remains on the firm rock, though he fall, true repentance may restore him to the favour and image of God: but as in a house, when the foundation is bad, nothing can save the building from ruin; so when heretical doctrines are admitted for a foundation, nothing can save the professor from destruction." It is important in interpreting these passages to keep it steadfastly in mind, that the apostasy they speak of is not only moral but doctrinal.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Backsliding
According to the word’s common usage, backsliders are Christians who have, through obvious sin or some other lapse, failed to persist in their Christian commitment. If such people are genuine believers, their failure will not be permanent, for God deals with his children by bringing them to repentance. Absence of such divine discipline is an indication that they were never really God’s children (Hebrews 12:6-8; 2 Peter 2:9).
People may have failures, but if their faith is genuine any lapse will be only temporary. True believers demonstrate the genuineness of their faith by continuing in it to the end (John 8:31; Colossians 1:21-23; James 5:19-20; 1 Peter 1:5). Perseverance is not a condition for salvation; but it is an evidence of salvation (Matthew 24:13; see PERSEVERANCE).
In certain cases, what people call backsliding may be something far more serious. It may not be a temporary failure, but a settled attitude of rejection of what a person formerly believed. This is the sort of backsliding that Old Testament Israel was often guilty of, and is more correctly called apostacy (Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 8:5; Jeremiah 15:6; Hosea 11:7; cf. Hebrews 10:26-31; 1 John 2:19). The difference between backsliding as a temporary failure and backsliding as apostacy is seen in the actions of the two disciples, Peter and Judas. Peter was restored, but Judas was lost (Luke 22:31-32; Luke 22:47-62; John 17:12; Acts 1:15-16; cf. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; see APOSTACY).

Sentence search

Recidivation - ) A falling back; a Backsliding
Backslider - There are four Hebrew words applied to Backsliding. shobeb 'rebellious, Backsliding. The last three words are all used of Backsliding Israel
Backsliding - The common received opinion concerning Backsliding is, that it is turning back, or going away, from the Lord. The Lord himself, by his servant the prophet Hosea, makes use of a simile, which seems to explain the meaning, "Israel (saith the Lord) slideth back as a Backsliding heifer. And what follows, in the same verse, seems to confirm this sense of Backsliding. ...
I do not presume to suppose, that I am right in this my conjecture concerning Backsliding. One thing, however, is certain, the recovery of all Backsliding is of the Lord; and his promise to his people, on this subject, is most blessed. "I will heal their Backslidings, I will love them freely
Defection - ) Act of abandoning a person or cause to which one is bound by allegiance or duty, or to which one has attached himself; desertion; failure in duty; a falling away; apostasy; Backsliding
Backsliding - ...
In certain cases, what people call Backsliding may be something far more serious. This is the sort of Backsliding that Old Testament Israel was often guilty of, and is more correctly called apostacy (Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 8:5; Jeremiah 15:6; Hosea 11:7; cf. The difference between Backsliding as a temporary failure and Backsliding as apostacy is seen in the actions of the two disciples, Peter and Judas
Bethlehem - Ruth 1:1 (c) From Bethlehem to Moab represents the Backsliding of a child of GOD who leaves the "House of Bread" (which is the meaning of the word), the place where GOD blesses, and travels back into the world to enjoy the things that strangers have to offer
Heifer - (Hosea 10:11 ) but see Judges 14:18 When it ran about without any headstall, (26:4) hence the expression an "unbroken heifer," ( Hosea 4:16 ) Authorized Version "backsliding" to which Israel is compared
Backsliding - Partial Backsliding must be distinguished from hypocrisy, as the former may exist where there are gracious intentions on the whole; but the latter is a studied profession of appearing to be what we are not. ...
The causes of Backsliding are the cares of the world; improper connections; inattention to secret or closet duties; self-conceit, and dependence; indulgence; listening to and parleying with temptations. A Backsliding state is manifested by indifference to prayer and self-examination; trifling or unprofitable conversation; neglect of public ordinances; shunning the people of God; associating with the world; thinking lightly of sin; neglect of the Bible; and often by gross immorality
Backsliding - Backsliding includes departure from a good confession of faith and from the ethical standards prescribed for God's people in the Scriptures. ...
The sin of Backsliding raises the important theological question concerning the relation between faith and perseverance. In cases of temporary Backsliding, how do we understand the spiritual condition of the true son or daughter of God? Can one who is united to Christ (i. For such (elect) individuals, consequently, Backsliding does not entail a fall from grace, whereby one is placed once more under sin's dominion. ...
The frequent occurrence and gravity of Backsliding among the people of God is vividly portrayed in the corporate life of Israel during the Mosaic epoch of redemptive history. The house of Israel was guilty of committing the sin of Backsliding on numerous occasions. The cause of Israel's Backslidings was her stubbornness of heart. ...
Israel's Backsliding was both a divine chastisement and a rebuke for sin (Jeremiah 2:19 ). "They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful Backsliding, and I will cleanse them. The cure for Backsliding is found in the abiding love and mercy of God who remains faithful to his promise of grace in Christ Jesus, whose righteousness and salvation is apprehended through true faith and repentance
Apostacy - ...
Apostacy is not Backsliding in the sense of a temporary lapse in Christian practice. John 21:15-19; see Backsliding; DENIAL; TEMPTATION)
Relapse - ) A sliding or falling back, especially into a former bad state, either of body or morals; Backsliding; the state of having fallen back
Heifer - Egypt was like a 'very fair heifer;' and Israel was a 'backsliding or untractable heifer,' though it had been taught and loved to tread out the corn
Apostasy - See Backsliding
Whoring, To Go; Harlot, To Be - ”...
Zânâh became, then, the common term for spiritual Backsliding. This theme of religious harlotry looms large in the prophets who denounce this Backsliding in no uncertain terms. Ezekiel minces no words as he openly calls both Judah and Israel “harlots” and vividly describes their Backsliding in sexual terms ( Heal - I will heal their Backsliding
Marry - Turn, O Backsliding children, saith Jehovah, for I am married to you
Israel - ...
Some types which represent Israel in various aspects:...
Adulterers, Hosea 7:4 (a)...
Bride, Isaiah 62:5 (a)...
Brood, Luke 13:34 (b)...
Cake not turned, Hosea 7:8 (a)...
Caldron, Ezekiel 11:3 (a)...
Calves of the stall, Malachi 4:2 (a)...
Cedar Trees, Numbers 24:6 (b)...
Chickens, Matthew 23:37 (a)...
Dust, Genesis 13:16 (a)...
Fig Tree, Matthew 24:32 (b)...
Great Lion, Numbers 23:24 (b)...
Heifer (backsliding)
Book of Life - They are assured of eternal life in its fulness (Exodus 32:32-33; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 21:22-25; see APOSTACY; Backsliding)
Return - ” This noun occurs 12 times, and it refers to “backsliding” in Backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him
Keep, Oversee - 8:5 in the sense of “enduring”: “Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual Backsliding?”...
Apostasy - Karlberg...
See also Backsliding ; Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit ; Denial ...
Bibliography
Dog - "Beware of the (Greek) dogs," those impure persons of whom I told you often" (Philippians 3:2; Philippians 3:18-19); "the abominable" (Revelation 21:8; compare Revelation 22:15; Matthew 7:6); pagan in spirit (Titus 1:15-16); dogs in filthiness, snarling, and ferocity against the Lord and His people (Psalms 22:16; Psalms 22:20); Backsliding into former carnality, as the dog "is turned to his own vomit again" (2 Peter 2:22)
Denial - Karlberg...
See also Apostasy ; Backsliding ; Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit ...
...
Boar - The sensual professor's Backsliding into "the pollutions of the world," after he has "escaped them through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior," is fitly compared to "the sow that was washed returning to her wallowing in the mire" (2 Peter 2:20-22)
Dove (Turtle) - ...
Hosea 7:11 (a) Ephraim is a name applied to Backsliding Israel
Brier - This word is translated by the Septuagint, παροιστρησουσιν , stung by the aestrus, or gadfly; and they use the like word in Hosea 4:16 , where, what in our version is "a Backsliding heifer," they render "a heifer stung by the oestrus
Endurance - Borchert...
See also Apostasy ; Assurance ; Backsliding ; Denial ; Perseverance ...
Bibliography
Forgiveness - , "I will heal their Backsliding, I will love them freely
Apostasy - Associated ideas, however, include the concept of religious unfaithfulness: “rebellion” (Joshua 22:22 ); “cast away” (2 Chronicles 29:19 ); “trespass” (2 Chronicles 33:19 ); and “backslidings” (Jeremiah 2:19 ; Jeremiah 8:5 ). In freedom God could choose to turn away His anger and heal their “backsliding” (Hosea 14:4 )
Reprobate - He speaks as if a fall from grace were possible even on the part of those who have experienced spiritual enlightenment and renewal, as if there were a point even in the spiritual life where Backsliding becomes apostasy, and the man who crucifies the Son of God afresh and puts Him to an open shame is beyond repentance rejected, reprobate
Ammi - And to such among them in the church, who in the days of the prophet, felt and rejoiced in their relationship to Christ, and their salvation by Christ, by the lively actings of their faith on Him that was to come; they were commanded to plead with their mother (the Ammah) the church, and to call her from her Backsliding, that all her children might enjoy the same privileges
Hebrews, Letter to the - The letter to the Hebrews was written to correct this Backsliding
Leviticus - The first division of the law, the covenant (Exodus 23:20-33), ended with blessings only; for there Israel had not yet betrayed its unfaithfulness: But now (Exodus 32-33) when Israel had shown its Backsliding tendency, the second division of the law ends here with threats as well as promises
King - After the kingdom was set up in Israel the danger was no longer of a literal (but see Jeremiah 42:14) but of a spiritual Backsliding return to Egypt (Hosea 11:5; Isaiah 30:1-2; Isaiah 36:9; Ezekiel 17:15)
Theophilus (2) - seems to see, as the main obstacles to the Faith, not hypocrisies, nor Jewish Backsliding, but the temptations of wealth and social position acting upon half-hearted converts; and his sayings about building the tower, putting the hand to the plough, renouncing all one’s possessions, and hating father and mother, are pathetic indications of what must have been going on in the divided household of many a young Theophilus
Persecution - ...
The Lord, too, in his righteous indignation, raised up adversaries against his Backsliding people, against Abimelech for his murder of his seventy brothers, sons of Gideon (Judges 9:22-25 ); against Solomon for his sin (1 Kings 11:14,23 ); against rebellious Israel (2 Kings 17:7-20 ); and against Judah (Jeremiah 20:4 ) and Babylon for their wicked, ungodly Acts (Jeremiah 25:12-14 )
Bereans - They do not think that they have any power to deliver a Backsliding brother to Satan; that text, and other similar passages, such as, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, " &c
Jeremiah, Book of - It was given in the days of Josiah, when there had been a reformation, but they had not turned to God with the whole heart: Backsliding Israel had justified herself more than treacherous Judah
Time, Meaning of - Because of their vacillating and Backsliding, they lived constantly between the promise and the fulfillment
Jonah - Jonah reflected' Israel's Backsliding and consequent punishment; type of Messiah who bears our imputed guilt and its punishment; compare Psalms 42:7; Psalms 69:1-2; John 11:50
Praise - And in Romans 1:25 he turns from the loathsome subject of heathen immorality to give glory to God, as if to guard himself from contamination, just as he prepares himself for his impassioned argument on Backsliding Israel by an ascription of praise to ‘God blessed for ever’ (Romans 9:5), and passes into another doxology at the end of his argument (Romans 11:35-36)
Jeremiah - Return, thou Backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will give you pastors after mine own heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding
Priest (2) - The situation there described is one in which the Hebrew Christians were in danger of spiritual degeneration (Hebrews 5:12), Backsliding and apostasy (Hebrews 6:9, Hebrews 10:35)
Gregorius Nyssenus, Bishop of Nyssa - This Backsliding caused great pain to his friends and gave occasion to the enemies of religion to suspect his motives and bring unfounded accusations against him