Hebrews 10:25 – Sin of excess?

In Hebrews 10:24-25, the writer commands his readers to encourage one another, prompting each other to grow in love and good works. From a negative standpoint, he forbids the neglecting of meeting with each other. Note the wording from a few translations:

     …not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some… (NKJV)

     …not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some… (NASB)

     …not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some… (ESV)

     …not staying away from our meetings, as some habitually do… (HCSB)

First notice what is forbidden in this language. The NKJV and NASB call it “forsaking,” the ESV calls it “neglecting,” and the HCSB calls it “staying away.” By looking only at these words, it’s difficult to tell just what the writer would constitute a violation. Is it a complete abandonment of assembling – choosing to never do it again – that is under consideration? Is it opting to forgo assembling over half the time? Or is it simply deciding to make some other activity a priority over assembling with the brethren, even just once?

I believe a conclusive answer lies in plain sight within the verse itself. Notice that the writer says that some had already made a habit of what he is condemning. Notice that he doesn’t urge his readers to avoid forming the habit; rather he says not to do at all what others had already made a habit of. He does not condemn the habit but rather the habit-forming action itself.

Let’s look at this from a few different standpoints to help us clearly see what the author is saying.

First, suppose we had the following wording:

     …not lying, as is the habit of some…

     …not stealing, as is the habit of some…

     …not murdering, as is the habit of some…

Would anyone argue that it’s fine to lie as long as you are not a pathological liar, that you can steal as long as you’re no kleptomaniac, and that murder is tolerable as long as you keep it to a minimum? Noting that some have formed a habit of an action does not negate the condemning of the action itself. What it does is emphasize the danger of this particular sin, demonstrating by the actions of others just how easy it is to fall into a permanent habit of sinning. What solution does the Hebrew writer propose to keep from falling into this dangerous habit of forsaking? Don’t ever do it – not even once.

Second, if we wanted to condemn gluttony, laziness, and poor stewardship, would we word it like this?

     …not eating too much, as is the habit of some…

     …not taking a break from work, as is the habit of some…

     …not buying something expensive, as is the habit of some…

Language like this is no way to condemn the habitual practice of an action. Using such wording would lead the reader to believe that one too many nachos, one day of vacation, and one nice necklace for the wife are all condemned. Yet this is exactly how the Hebrew writer worded his warning. That’s because his task was not to condemn something in excess but rather the thing itself.

Third, consider how the writer would have worded this sentence if only the habit was to be avoided:

     …not habitually forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as do some…

     …not routinely forsaking our own assembling together, as do some…

     …not regularly neglecting to meet together, as do some…

     …not consistently staying away from our meetings, as some do…

Although many interpret this verse in this way, this is simply not what the writer said. The writer did not include the idea of habit in the clause of prohibition but rather in the subsequent clause which notes the extent to which this sin was already prevalent among his readers. He told them not that their habit was a sin but rather that they were making a habit of sinning. Doing it less frequently would not solve the problem, for the problem was not excess. Stopping altogether was the prescribed solution.

Based on the precise wording the Hebrew writer uses, I am convinced that he expected his readers to assemble with the saints at every opportunity. When faced with the choice to assemble or do something else of their own choosing, these saints were to always choose the means by which they would have opportunity to encourage and stimulate their brethren. While this letter was written to Jewish Christians almost 2,000 years ago, I see no reason that God expects any less of His saints today. May we all place as much importance on serving our brethren in this way as the Hebrew writer did!
  • tntitan
    And as for the Hebrew writer including himself by saying "us" and "ourselves", how is that strange? As you said, he is apparently (I would say obviously) not there with them, so "us" cannot mean the author and the audience. "Us" must mean individual Christians and "ourselves" are the Christians who are together in a location - the ones who congregate together, who form the synagogue that should not be forsaken.
    by tntitan at 07/30/09 1:04AM
  • tntitan
    Let me ask you guys this: What legitimate reasons do you see for skipping an assembly of the church? Your own personal feelings, not binding it on anyone else...
    by tntitan at 07/30/09 1:05AM
  • tntitan
    By the way, I love you, brothers.
    by tntitan at 07/30/09 1:06AM
  • tntitan
    Had to get out of bed for this one... Ethan, you said "Finally, if it were truly 'all-inclusive,' the only time you really have a true assembly is if everyone is there." Now, that's as true as saying the same thing about the "whole church" in 1 Corinthians 14:23. Do you think Paul's instructions about tongue speaking didn't apply unless every single member was present. Of course not.
    by tntitan at 07/30/09 1:45AM
  • ed
    I do not believe it is my place to judge 'legitimate reasons' in others. I've written above what my personal decision was on this matter.

    You have not answered my question, and Ethan's as well, I think. How far do you take this? Where does it lead you? Do you, or the elders makeup a list of legitimate reasons and then police people's habits? Would you withdraw from anyone with under 70% attendance?

    Ultimately, you and I agree that all Christians should worship with their congregations whenever possible. I don't think we even needed Hebrews 10:25 to tell us that, did we? We certainly don't need to debate whether it's a binding law or a suggestion. None of that changes what it is we are called to do. We are called to love God with all that we are, and put others before ourselves. We are called to the path of Christ. Where does making a law about church attendance fit into that?
    by ed at 07/30/09 9:40AM
  • ed
    I hope the above came across right....bc it doesn't feel like it did when I read it.

    Let me put it another way. You love the church there and the members of it. You want to spend as much time as possible with them, and you want the other members to feel the same way. Obviously, not all of your brothers and sisters feel exactly the same way as you. So the goal is to get them to feel what you feel, and have a desire to be with the family. How does making Heb. 10:25 a binding law get you closer to the goal?

    btw, I love you too...and hope my questions/comments don't come across combative. I don't mean them to be so!
    by ed at 07/30/09 9:46AM
  • aaronw
    I appreciate your humility and gentleness.

    What I meant was, this passage is stressing the importance of being together and sharing. With that importance in mind, shouldn't the church attempt to meet more often? According to what you have said (as I understand), someone who doesn't attend a service is not considering its importance, and is therefore sinning. According to that same logic, if the church doesn't try to meet more often, aren't they guilty of the same thing? Or am I misunderstanding?

    If it's only forsaking when "it's happening," then wouldn't the "best" option be to limit assembly to once a week, so that it isn't happening as often? :)

    IMO, you're looking at this passage as an instruction to each individual to not forsake the assembling of everyone else. I think it can also be applied to the church as a whole, to consider how much they need to assemble. That is why I think you're not considering everything in reference to this passage. To me, it's not "don't forsake an assembly," but it's more of, "don't forsake assembling," which are two different concepts.
    by aaronw at 07/30/09 5:31PM
  • deusvitae
    The reason I asked those questions, Garland, was based in your statement. Your statement that I quoted above could be read to mean that, according to Hebrews 10:25, we must always be assembling at every opportunity with only our local congregation if taken to its logical conclusion.

    I think we are in agreement that such is not the case. Travel is legitimate, and Christians should seek to assemble with brethren when traveling when given the opportunity.

    I would argue that the "us" does include the Hebrew author, because the Hebrew author is talking about the individual's responsibility in his or her own congregation: "we" are not to forsake "our coming together," even if you are "coming together" in TN and I in OH and Ed in Australia.

    I guess my issue was this interpretation that the Hebrew author is only referring to gatherings of the "whole assembly." In the NT, assemblies are assemblies, regardless of the proportion of members present. If "the assembly" only exists when every constituent local member is present, I can probably count on one hand the number of "true assemblies" I've participated in here, and not need all my fingers. "The assembly" exists when you have half the members of the congregation as much as when you have a full number. And if 25 members are present, say, in the building on Sunday night, and then 25 are present at a brother's or sister's house for a Bible study and refreshments, I have a hard time saying that Hebrews 10:24-25 applies to one but not the other. Granted, those assemblies have different purposes, but the point of both should involve stirring up one another to love and good works.

    Thus, while I believe Hebrews 10:24-25 certainly applies to the regular assemblies of the local congregation, it does not exclude other opportunities for brethren to "come together" and encourage one another. And that's another reason why I have trouble binding proportions or percentages of attendance.

    The humble servant of God who has the right priorities and the right heart will seek to encourage his brethren at every opportunity. When a Christian does not seek to encourage his brethren at every opportunity, there's some other problem there, and the problem deserves to be dealt with, not the symptom. I go back to the fact that "forsaking the assembly" is in no "sin list" nor is it in a list of reasons for disassociation. Disassociation seems to be reserved for sins of commission-- doing evil-- rather than failing to do the good. I am confident that if you dig more deeply into the situation of any assembly forsaker, you'll find a much more substantive reason that would justify disassociation if there were no repentance.
    by deusvitae at 07/30/09 9:23PM
  • deusvitae
    Legitimate reasons for not assembling with the saints in a given assembly:

    1. Being compelled to work during the time of a given assembly without recourse (1 Timothy 5:8 vs. Hebrews 10:25).

    2. Assisting someone in a moment of need (Luke 10:25-37 vs. Hebrews 10:25).

    3. Attending to the emergency need/crisis, especially of a brother (James 1:27 vs. Hebrews 10:25).

    4. Having a communicable illness or being physically incapable of assembling.
    by deusvitae at 07/30/09 9:26PM
  • tntitan
    Thanks for all the comments. I appreciate your patience.

    Aaron, I understand what you are saying. Yet the writer is not complaining about what they do collectively. He is talking about what they are failing to do individually ("the habit of some") in regard to what they are doing collectively (congregating). It's as though he is saying "You are having plenty enough meetings to encourage one another and stir one another up, but it doesn't do any good if you don't bother to go. And some of you are in the habit of not going. Stop not going."

    I am not sure why you guys are focusing on disassociation. I have not said a word about such. I am examining what is actually said in Hebrews 10 and trying to determine whether it tells us to always attend church meetings. It seems like it does, and it seems like you all agree. It amazes me that we all agree that we should assemble with the saints at every opportunity, yet you're all challenging the fact that the only passage that hints at such actually requires it. Without this command, the frequency with which I choose to assemble seems entirely subjective. Ethan's list is a fairly common one, but why stop there? I could probably find a dozen passages that would justify various other activities just as much as 1 Timothy 5:8 justifies choosing to work rather than assemble (I don't believe it does, BTW).

    The Hebrew writer commanded his readers not to do something. What exactly is it? Is "forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" entirely subjective? How did the writer know that some in his audience were already making a habit of doing so (and apparently expect his readers to recognize it too)?

    And why the mention again of the "list of sins"? Are all sins included in a list with others? Does telling us NOT to do it not make it a sin?
    by tntitan at 07/30/09 10:37PM
  • aaronw
    My point is that the passage, in my opinion, is about the importance of Christians assembling, period. For the individual, it is important, and for the church, it is important. Wouldn't you say that it's better for a church to meet more often than it does? If Christians were just supposed to assemble, then it wouldn't matter how often. Once would be enough, except that this passage explains the vital role that togetherness plays. And the Hebrew writer places this emphasis so that each person and the church as a whole will understand this importance. Who decides how often the church assembles? We do! So, what I'm trying to say is that this passage speaks to assembly on a more profound level, not just an individual who doesn't want to get out of bed. Thus, drawing such specific lines as you have doesn't quite fit what the passage seems to communicate.

    Another problem I'm having here is that you are limiting the subject of the passage to the three church services a week. That's only one fraction of "assembly". Like I said earlier, if I have a Bible study at my apartment and invite everyone, that's an assembly of Christians exhorting each other and stirring up love and good works. That still qualifies under what the Hebrew writer is addressing. So if someone doesn't come to the study, you are saying that it is a sin. If that is true, we must now analyze every instance of what may or may not be an assembly and make sure we attend. I can't imagine that the Hebrew writer would want us to carry that out.

    It seems like you're saying that one must never forsake (or as you interpret it, never miss an assembly), according to the plain scripture. Not even once, and no explanations needed. Well, that passage doesn't address any of those conditions that Ethan mentioned as acceptable reasons to miss a service. So if you're saying that the passage condemns this outright, then that includes missing because of illness, etc. That is absolutely not what the Hebrew writer was getting at. Surely you're not saying that, but I can't help but reach that conclusion based on your reasoning.

    Heb. 10:25 is in the middle of a long explanation of sacrifice, and what Christ's sacrifice means. If that sacrifice means everything to us, then we will have that closeness with each other and with God. If that sacrifice means nothing to us, then it isn't for us. When you teach someone that Heb. 10:25 means that he sins if he misses an assembly, you place significance on the wrong thing. A Christian can go to an assembly without having any hope in God (vs.23), refusing to stir up or be stirred (vs.24). In fact, a Christian can sin willfully (vs.26) all the while keeping perfect attendance.

    When I read the context, I see the Hebrew writer offering encouragement to Christians to understand who they have in Jesus and to have confidence in this. Sadly, this chapter of Hebrews is probably discussed less than this one verse. Your explanations, in my opinion, don't consider the context, nor do they offer a complete solution for the Christian trying to make an application. This may explain why you have this confusion regarding subjectivism. You're being too objective. You say that without this one verse, you see chaos. That's because you're only looking at the one verse as if it is a command that needs no further explanation. The Hebrew writer wouldn't have written all those chapters if he only intended to lay down such a law.
    by aaronw at 07/31/09 6:46PM
  • ed
    Garland, I must say, I'm now getting a little confused. We all agree, in fact most any Christian would agree that it's good for us to come together. It seemed to me that the purpose of your article was to establisth that Heb. 10:25 is a command that we must obey. Was that the purpose? If not, what is the purpose?

    From your latest comment, it seems you are uncomfortable with the idea of attendance being 'subjective'? Why would that concern you? It worries me that few Christians realize that most of what we do is subjective? How do we quantify or legislate kindness, humility, faith? For that matter, how do we quantify more 'concrete' sins like lust, gluttony, faithfulness to a spouse, pride? Can we make 'singing with our hearts' and 'praying without ceasing' objective truths?

    Not to go on a rant, but this to me is the primary problem with traditional coC thinking. We focus on what we can legislate and police. I believe strongly that this is unhealthy and contrary to the will and purposes of God. I won't go into that more here, bc it doesn't contribute much to the discussion at hand, but if you have questions about what I mean, or want to discuss it more, I'd be happy to do that via email, or Skype, or whatever. I believe this is hugely important to this, and many other issues in the church!

    Do you need Heb. 10:25 to be a hard and fast command to know that it is good for Christians to spend time together, encouraging, exhorting, stirring each other up? I ask that , bc it seems that this is what you were trying to establish with your post.

    Finally, you say that this has nothing to do with disassociation. So what does it have to do with? That's what I've asked in my last two comments, but you haven't answered me. If you believe that you have established Heb1025 as a hard and fast command, where are you wanting to go from there?

    Love you brother! Though I'm a bit confused, and this is a poor medium to discuss such issues, it's important we keep talking. The issues we are touching on go way beyond attendance! We continue to pray for the family of God there in Appleton! please, continue your prayers for us.
    by ed at 07/31/09 9:21PM
  • deusvitae
    Garland, is there not a level of subjectivity inherent in accomplishing "the good"?

    As I said earlier-- avoiding the evil is rather black and white, even if Satan and other forces would make it seem gray. But when it comes to doing the good, there are different levels of good, and thus different priorities to consider, and it's a lot more complicated.

    It would seem, Garland, that you would argue that Christians should choose to be at the assembly even if their employer demands their work service. Since both are considered good in Scripture (Hebrews 10:25, 1 Timothy 5:8/Ephesians 6:5-9), on what basis do you decide that Hebrews 10:25 represents a "greater good" than 1 Timothy 5:8/Ephesians 6:5-9? Since all three involve commands/exhortation, on what Biblical basis do you make that decision?

    And if a man is going to the assembly and sees his fellow man needing assistance on the road, which is the greater good, according to Luke 10? Or can we now justify the Levite or the priest by saying that they had a synagogue meeting to go to?

    I say the last line rather tongue-in-cheek, but the point remains. There is subjectivity. There's no way around it. Even if you place Hebrews 10:25 at the pinnacle, and all other spiritual priorities beneath it, that's a subjective judgment, since God never spoke regarding the assembly in superlative terms.
    by deusvitae at 08/02/09 10:34PM
  • tntitan
    None of you have answered the simple question: what is the author condemning when he says NOT TO DO SOMETHING? It's all well and good to talk about the positive things he commanded, but the fact remains that the Hebrew author was condemning some Christians for doing something. It was something they were doing often. He told them to stop doing whatever it was that they were doing often. What was it? He didn't leave it at "do good." He added "stop doing bad." What is the bad? Did he say to stop feeling a certain way? No. Did he say to stop thinking something? No. Did he say to stop doing something? Yes.
    by tntitan at 08/03/09 8:42PM
  • tntitan

    "Wouldn't you say that it's better for a church to meet more often than it does?" - No. As Christians we have lots of work to be doing, so we can't spend all our time meeting together. The writer says nothing about the frequency of their meetings, but he DOES complain about them not taking part in them. As a church we need to decide how often we can meet while still meeting our other responsibilities, and then we need to be there when we have decided to meet.

    "Another problem I'm having here is that you are limiting the subject of the passage to the three church services a week." - I have already explained why I believe this passage is taking about the church assembling itself together. Not random Christians, but their synagogue (James 2:2) coming together.

    "So if you're saying that the passage condemns this outright, then that includes missing because of illness, etc." - No, that is not necessary. There are plenty of things we are told to do that are not possible due to circumstances beyond our control. Every one of them is not qualified with "as long as it's possible," so it's no big surprise to me that the writer does not give such a caveat.

    "When you teach someone that Heb. 10:25 means that he sins if he misses an assembly, you place significance on the wrong thing." - Sorry, but wrong again. If one were to only teach what you propose and nothing else about the message of Hebrews 10, then that would be one thing. But to suggest that the writer tells us to stop doing something hardly minimizes the rest of his teaching.

    "Your explanations, in my opinion, don't consider the context, nor do they offer a complete solution for the Christian trying to make an application." - What is hard about making an application: don't miss the assemblies of the church if it's within your control to be there?

    "You're being too objective." - You're being too subjective.
    by tntitan at 08/03/09 9:31PM
  • tntitan

    "It seemed to me that the purpose of your article was to establish that Heb. 10:25 is a command that we must obey." - The purpose of the article is to show what the thing forbidden in Hebrews 10:25 is and is not. I assumed that everyone would agree that it's a command when he says NOT TO DO something. I assumed the question would be whether he is condemning complete abandonment of all assembling, choosing to miss one assembly, or something in between.

    "Not to go on a rant, but this to me is the primary problem with traditional coC thinking." - This comment really makes me sad.

    "We focus on what we can legislate and police." - Speak for yourself, brother. I see the Hebrew writer telling us not to do something. I want to know what that is.

    "Do you need Heb. 10:25 to be a hard and fast command to know that it is good for Christians to spend time together, encouraging, exhorting, stirring each other up?" - I don't NEED it to be anything. The writer told people to stop doing something. I want to make sure I am not doing it. And if others are doing it, I want to encourage them to stop.

    "Finally, you say that this has nothing to do with disassociation. So what does it have to do with?" - It has to do with encouraging people to stop doing what the Hebrew author told people to stop doing.
    by tntitan at 08/03/09 9:46PM
  • tntitan

    "Garland, is there not a level of subjectivity inherent in accomplishing 'the good'?" - You yourself have said there is no subjectivity with not doing evil. The writer commanded his readers to stop doing something. Does that not make it evil? You are acting like he said "Encourage one another." But he also included a command not to miss opportunities to do so. You act like it has to be listed in the same verse as murder and adultery to be an evil that must be avoided.

    "Since both are considered good in Scripture, on what basis do you decide that Hebrews 10:25 represents a 'greater good' than 1 Timothy 5:8/Ephesians 6:5-9?" - First of all, there is evil to be avoided as I have already said. Actually, 1 Tim 5 is the same. It's not a command to do good. It is a prohibition against choosing not to. But assuming it were just a matter of good vs. good, there seems to be a big difference to me. There is one church who meets together at fixed times for 2-3% of the time during the week. There are millions of jobs that can be done during the other 97-98% of the week. If we have to choose between working a particular job and meeting with the church, which one is easier to change so as to be able to accomplish both "goods"? For those who choose working over assembling, is it unreasonable for them to take another job that pays less while still far exceeding their basic needs or to accept help from brethren while they look for a job that allows them to assemble. Folks act like they are entitled to a standard of living and to provide any less than that for their family is a shame worthy of trading our assembling together so at to avoid it. The scripture condemns the lazy person who refuses to provide for his family. Do you think a person who refuses to work a job that prevents him from assembling fits the bill? Ed has already said he would not do so. I would not do so. If we can't find other work, are we required to take the job according to 1 Timothy 5?

    "And if a man is going to the assembly and sees his fellow man needing assistance on the road, which is the greater good, according to Luke 10?" - I certainly grant such a scenario as an exception to the rule because Jesus said it was. I would take this exception to mean this: if there is an urgent need that involves the life and death of another and cannot be satisfied by someone else or at some other time (all true in this story), we should offer the assistance required without being concerned that we have sinned in doing so.
    by tntitan at 08/03/09 10:11PM
  • aaronw
    "I see the Hebrew writer telling us not to do something. I want to know what that is."

    That is a great attitude! However, this attitude does not permit just anyone to determine the "proper" application for everyone, as you suggest: "What is hard about making an application: don't miss the assemblies of the church if it's within your control to be there?"

    An example of this is the Pharisees. God told the Jews, "You shall do no work on the Sabbath."

    Well, the Pharisees saw God telling them not to do something. Naturally, they wanted to know what that was. So, they defined "work" in every conceivable context so that they wouldn't break the command. They formed their own law and condemned Jesus for breaking it.

    Recognizing and trying to understand something that God has told us to do or not to do is not the problem. No one in this discussion is denying that the Hebrew writer is telling us not to "forsake the assembling of ourselves."

    "Don't miss the assemblies of the church if it's within your control to be there," is not in Hebrews 10:25. It is certainly a good suggestion for a way to apply the verse, but it is not the verse itself. You're drawing a line here out of your concern to obey the command, as you see it. But your statement is a bit broad.

    What do you mean by "miss"? Miss the entire service? The first five minutes? The last five minutes? What do you mean by "assemblies"? When does the assembly begin? When does it end? After the closing prayer? How much of the congregation has to leave before the assembly is just some "random Christians"? What do you mean by "within your control"? Who determines what is within everyone's control? "Be there"? We just have to "be there"? Do we have to participate? Can we sleep? And many more questions would have to be answered in order to make this interpretation understandable.

    I appreciate your honest look at the scriptures here, but I think there's a real danger to strain and strain at this until you've developed your own code that defines Heb. 10:25 for everyone, just like the Pharisees did with the Sabbath. What the Pharisees did with the law didn't protect the law, it replaced the law. Jesus had a big problem with this.

    I have one final question: You said, "I assumed that everyone would agree that it's a command when he says NOT TO DO something," then later you said, "It has to do with encouraging people to stop doing what the Hebrew author told people to stop doing." Do you think this is a command or an encouragement? Is there a distinction in your eyes?
    by aaronw at 08/03/09 10:49PM
  • deusvitae
    Garland, I can't agree that the Hebrew author is condemning an evil here. The Hebrew author is not really commanding them to stop doing something-- he is commanding them to stop not doing something, akin to what James says in James 4:17. Remember that verse 25 is entirely dependent on verse 24, which is the positive command, and even in verse 25 there is the positive counterweight (exhort one another). Not doing the good and doing that which is evil are to be handled differently. In fact, I cannot think of one example where God calls the absence of doing a given thing evil. Evil always seems to involve some kind of conscious malicious decision. Therefore, no; I cannot call forsaking the assembly an evil, because it is just not handled on the same level as conscious malicious action. It is sin because it is the failure to do the right and good, a failure to accomplish God's positive purposes. And because the need to assemble involves the good, it must be judged in terms of matters of the good.

    I believe that Aaron's point regarding the Sabbath is excellent. I see no reason why Mark 2 cannot be understood in the Christian dispensation-- the assembly was made for man, not man for the assembly. Just as God commanded the Israelites to rest but also demanded a level of subjective judgment to be available, thus it must be for the Christian assembly.

    In a world where choices really do exist regarding jobs, that would be one thing. But there are a lot of people out there who don't really have the flexibility that many others of us appreciate in terms of what jobs we have and when we get to work, and I believe that there should be some good sense used there. And the less paying the job, the more likely that the worker will have to work on Sunday.

    And if there are legitimate "exceptions" to the rule, then it's no longer a matter of objectivity. It requires a judgment call. Hence, subjectivity.
    by deusvitae at 08/04/09 2:06PM
  • tntitan
    I'll reiterate the point I made in the original article and leave it at that. The Hebrew author says not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. He said some had made a habit of it, but he did not tell them to stop making a habit of it. Rather, he told them not to do it at all. The word used for "assembling" is akin to the word used in James 2:2 for the public meetings of the church, so that seems to be the assembling under consideration. He is obviously speaking of choosing not to assemble with brethren, not being prevented against one's will. When we have a choice of whether to join our assembled brethren or forsake the assembling of ourselves together, the Hebrew writer tells us which one to choose in case it wasn't already obvious to us.

    Thanks, guys, for the discussion.
    by tntitan at 08/04/09 8:16PM

Advice on buying a new car?

Hello, faithful readers of my blog!

I'm typically against buying a new car, but the financial mess and struggling auto market have produced a situation where new car prices are the best they have ever been. We have been looking for a used late-model Honda Odyssey, but we noticed that the prices on new ones at the local dealership here in Appleton WI are down around the price you would normally expect to pay for one that's a year old. I look at that as the recession taking the instant drive-off-the-lot depreciation hit for me, so I am now pretty convinced that buying a new one is the right move to make.

Today we dropped by the local dealership and took one for a test drive. It was the least unpleasant car dealership experience I remember having, with the salesman gladly offering us to take the van for a drive without him tagging along. The salesman in the passenger seat asking questions and trying to close the deal is annoying, so I was happy that he never even suggested coming along. We had to get going right after we drove the van, so I got a business card from the salesman and left without any sort of "what will it take to get you in one of these today?" sales pitch. So test driving the van was step one, and that went as well as it could. This is one sweet family-mobile!

So step two was to request quotes from nearby dealerships via the internet. I went to honda.com and sent requests to all the dealerships in WI (17 in all, I think). Now I plan to leverage them against one another to get the lowest possible price I can. A few years ago I worked on a website called autohaggle.com that tried to automate this basic process. Although the coding was first class, the website never took off, but the strategy for getting the best deal seemed like a good one to me. By using email, I don't have to be pressured by a seasoned salesman and his bag of tricks. I don't have the confidence to do much haggling face to face, but I feel like I can go toe to toe with them from behind this keyboard. I am feeling confident and ready for the hunt.

What I need from you are tips that might help me find the best deal out there. The last time you bought a new car, how did it go? Do you think you got the best deal? If so, what were the keys to doing so? If not, then what do you think you did wrong? I look forward to hearing your thoughts, and I'll let you know how it works out for us when I get home with my shiny new ride.

  • simon_says
    We got a friends and family discount that had the price already preset. So, I don't think I can offer you any advice.
    by simon_says at 04/05/09 8:12AM
  • rolltide12nc
    Here is my last car buying experience ... We scouted out vehicles for a while and finally decided on what we wanted. I checked with my dad who buys and sells all the time for a fair price that he thought the car should go for. The price he gave me was in the range we were willing to spend so I used that as my high number. When we got to the dealership and started talking about cost I kept that price in mind and never wavered. I was willing to go home without the car if they couldn't meet my number. So finally we were within a few hundred dollars and I told them that this is the amount I will spend. If they would meet that amount I would go to the bank and get a check that day and take care of it. Because I was paying in cash and knew my limit I felt I had an easy time making the deal. Another helpful hint would be to buy at the end of the month and the end of the day. Those are the best times to get the deal you want. The salesmen want that extra sale on their ledger before the month ends and want to make a deal before the day ends and you walk away. Don't hesitate to leave if they don't take the price you are comfortable with. I have not done any studying on cars during the current economy but I would still stay away from a new car and the depreciation hit. That one or two year old car price should reflect the economy too if you look in enough places. I have also tried getting quotes online but still managed to have someone calling from the dealership several times. So that might not save you the hassle either. Hope this helps a little. RS
    by rolltide12nc at 04/05/09 5:19PM
  • tntitan
    Thanks, Ross. Nice to hear from you. I think the used car prices will eventually adjust downward based on the new car prices, but I suspect that folks who would normally buy a new car are buying used ones and keeping the prices propped up. That's just a hunch and could be wrong, but I haven't seen any especially good deals on used cars since we've been looking. Used Odysseys are much sought after, so finding one a year or two old is not an easy task.
    by tntitan at 04/05/09 9:05PM
  • jlmanager
    Consumer Reports offers a car service that gives you a good idea of the price that the dealer probably paid for the car and where you should start with the haggling. We did fairly well on our car, but the problem was that we were very particular and the car we were looking at was fairly hard to find (white Honda Civic, 4-door, manual). From what I've heard, the dealers are just desperate to move inventory.
    by jlmanager at 04/06/09 7:14AM
  • jermy
    If you can hold off for a few months, August/September are said to be the best time to buy new, because that is when the next model year (2010) is about to come out, so dealers are more motivated to get the 2009 models off of their lot. You probably don't want to wait that long if you want to buy one in WI, but it's food for thought. I'm still irritated they changed the body style on the 2008s after we got an 07. But the other Odyssey features have proven to be very nice. Power liftgate would be nice too, but I can live w/o it. I've never bought a truly 'new' car, but we got our 2007 from the Honda dealership. One more thing, if you are interested in the extended warranty, keep saying no at first. The guy selling it to you will drop his price multiple times on it to entice you. We got our extended warranty for $999, and the original price was $1,600.
    by jermy at 04/06/09 8:54AM
  • tntitan
    That's a good tip on the extended warranty. We are interested in one, so it's good to know they will come off the price a bit. Actually, I am going to try to get one thrown in to seal the deal, but if that doesn't work, now I know I can get it for under $1K.
    by tntitan at 04/06/09 9:04AM
  • kt80
    LQTM on "faithful readers of my blog."
    by kt80 at 04/06/09 12:16PM
  • shelbysmom
    I don't really have any helpful hints on haggling but I will say that I love our Odyssey. Great choice.
    by shelbysmom at 04/06/09 10:25PM
  • batgyver
    4 ways they can make their money off of you so watch all four 1. purchase price 2 trade in price 3 interest rate if financing from them 4 add-ons like extended warranties-most consumer report people say not to get them. The dealers goal is to hide the profits in one of those areas, so find out where they are hiding it. Obviously if you have no tradein, already have financing or pay cash, and don;t have any add ons, they will be less able or willing to negotiate the sticker price. Beware the feel good effect after negotiating the sticker, that is when they will try to get you to finance thru them and get you to crack by throwing on the addons like warranty rustproofing etc etc
    by batgyver at 04/08/09 12:10AM
  • batgyver
    ^ I see it every day in my job. People are happy I just gave them a "free" rental, but then they are more willing to justify in their own minds the cost of the $150 accessory package I pitch to them which is worth about $30.
    by batgyver at 04/08/09 12:13AM
  • simon_says
    by simon_says at 04/08/09 8:43AM
  • simon_says
    Thought you'd LOVE it!
    by simon_says at 04/09/09 1:38PM
  • nate
    I've read that internet deals typically are the best deal you can get. Mostly I'd just try to be prepared for them to nickel-and-dime you with extra fees and try to make sure you're getting a quote for the actual money required to drive away, and not the base upon which the fees increase stuff.

    On a side note, I own 2 Odysseys, and you'll be happy with it.
    by nate at 04/09/09 5:20PM
  • nate
    Oh, it just occurred to me, you should probably check sales tax in the areas you're looking. If one dealer is in an area with a half percent less tax, that's a few hundred dollars right there.
    by nate at 04/09/09 5:21PM
  • tntitan
    Yeah, I have been very persistent with the dealers trying to nail them down on specific numbers. Many of them want to say "just come on in and we'll give you a great deal!" without being specific. I keep telling them I needs specifics because I don't want to drive 2 hours to find out that their definition of a great deal and mine are not the same.
    by tntitan at 04/10/09 12:36AM
  • timrosen
    Congrats on the NEW RIDE!!! We'll have to drive around and watch a movie! Or rock .....one or the other. Im still a little upset you didn't make an offer on the beast.....I wold have brushed up the paint for ya.
    by timrosen at 04/14/09 8:47AM
  • ed
    i'm going with 'sound pound'!
    by ed at 04/17/09 9:39AM
  • jermy
    So after years of watching the draft, and waiting/hoping for the Titans to take a receiver early, Kenny Britt is who they give us. Kenny Britt? I have never heard of the guy! His stats looked good, but wow. I hate/love the draft.
    by jermy at 04/27/09 8:26AM
  • kt80
    Kenny Britt would be a good name for a mathlete.
    by kt80 at 04/27/09 12:01PM


  • timrosen
    We'll need to butter up Rockin Randall. Maybe a gift card or something!
    by timrosen at 03/22/09 3:45PM
  • timrosen
    JOKES on the gift card! If we did .....def Robes for Him. Rockin Roger...gotta love it! Iam already feeling my heart pound a bit harder from the massive amounts of grease I will be putting in my body tonight at Victorias. MMMMMM
    by timrosen at 03/26/09 5:26PM
  • timrosen
    Dude.....Plan on Rockin next Thurs 4/9/09.....Per Rockin Randall's email.
    by timrosen at 04/03/09 11:57AM
  • kt80
    Remember you have plans with Tim & Nancy next Thursday. Sorry, Tim!!!
    by kt80 at 04/03/09 12:45PM