General Epistles

The Epistle to the Hebrews

Jesus is Better

The New Covenant Explained

Jewish Flavor & Focus

James

Matthew

Hebrews

Background:

Rome began the military suppression of Judah - 66AD

Fall of Jerusalem/Temple - 70AD

Attitudes among Jews

Faction of Judaizers: open to Christianity if under Jewish Law

Faction of cultural Jews: maintain distinctives but see grace to all

Author

Author & Readers not identified

Readers knew the writer

Writer knew the readers

  1. 5:11-12; 6:9-12; 10:32-39; 12:4-5; 13:7&17, 18-19

Author & Readers knew Timothy
                -    13:23

Author not an original disciple of Jesus - 2:3

In History

KJV title:  “The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews”

Oldest manuscripts, “To Hebrews”

Clement of Rome quotes without citing the author (95 AD)

Clement of Alexandria 200AD by Paul in Hebrew translated by Luke

Tertullian 200AD Barnabas
Luther: Apollos

Other guesses: Philip, Peter, Aristion, Jude, Priscilla, Silas or Clement of Rome

Papyrus 46 places it between Romans and I Corinthians

Eusebius: (4th Century) - 14 epistles of Paul

Council of Trent (1545 AD) in reaction to Luther – PAUL!

Acceptance

Clement of Rome 96

Justin Martyr 150

Clement of Alexandria 200

Fell into disuse for a time

Jerome (347-420) and Augustine (354-430)

Inspiration/Value was never questioned

Lack of authorship slowed         acceptance in the West

Separate authorship from         authority

Then it was accepted in the canon

Date

65 – 70 AD

Time lapse since conversion - 5:12; 10:32; 13:7

Temple still standing - 12:27

Destination

2nd Generation Jewish Christians

Elegant Greek for Hellenists

Definite place implied - 13:19, 23

Rome? - Italians with the author - 13:24


Authorship & Destination

With a confusing multitude of prospective authors and destinations, and since most of them are purely conjectural (guesses), it is not profitable to devote much time or space to this discussion.

It is a well-considered conclusion that the precision of a name, or a location, would not add significantly to our understanding of the Letter to the Hebrews.

Ultimately, Hebrews stands in the Canon of Scripture, not on the basis of who the human author is, but on the basis of its own proven authority and value.

Origen: “Who the author of the epistle is, only God knows.”

(Get used to disappointment)

Occasion

Renewed persecution

Outbreak of persecution by Nero

Judaism is still “religio licita”

Christians tempted to hide in - return to Judaism

Intent

Prevent back pedaling or denial - Heb. 2:1; 3:12; 5:11

Warnings of loss - Heb. 4:1-9; 10:35; 13:13

Remember that Jewish freedom is only temporary

Exhort to be bold  - 10:35-36

Warn of apostasy - 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 12:14-29

To the Greek - the writer to the Hebrews would have said, did in fact say: “All your lives you have been searching for reality; all your lives you have been trying to get from the shadows to the truth. That is just what this Jesus Christ can enable you to do.”

To the Jew – the writer to the Hebrews said: “All your lives you have been looking for the perfect priest who can bring the perfect sacrifice and give you access to God and take away the barriers and put you for ever into a right relationship with God. That is what you have in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone.”

Purpose

To remind Jewish (ALL) Christians of their responsibility
in light of the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Key verse

Hebrews 10:39 - But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.

“shrinker-backers”

Characteristics

It is not as much a letter as it is a         tract or essay.

Main arguments seem to be sermons or one sermon - 13:22 – word of exhortation

Elegant Greek

86 direct references to OT using the LXX

           The central motif of the book is the formula “better,” with the cluster of words “better,”    
                “more,” and “greater” appearing a combined total of 25 times.

Better Messenger - 1:1 – 2:18

Better Apostle - 3:1 – 4:13

Better Priest - 4:14 – 7:28

Better Covenant - 8:1 – 9:28

Better Sacrifice - 10:1 – 31

Better Way - 10:32 – 12:29

Better practice of faith - 13:1 – 25

Arguments are suspended for five serious warnings:

2:1-4 – Don’t Neglect Salvation

3:7- 4:13 – Don’t Harden Hearts

5:11- 6:20 – Press on to Maturity

10:26-39 – No other sacrifice

12:12-29 – Root of bitterness

Characteristics

“Let us…” = 13 times in 12 verses:

4:1 – Let us fear if,…any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

4:11 – Let us be diligent to enter that rest

4:14 – Let us hold fast our confession

4:16 – Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace

6:1 – Let us press on to maturity

10:22 – Let us draw near with a sincere heart

10:23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope

10:24 – Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love & good deeds

12:1 – Let us also lay aside…and let us run with endurance

13:13 – Let us go out to Him

13:15 – Let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God

Beware of…

10:26

6:1

Neglecting

so great a

Salvation 2:3

                                                                

6:6

12:15

3:12

                    

4:1

Content - Benware, 244

Jesus Christ: The Incarnate Son of God

The Climax of Revelation - 1:1-3

Superior to the Angels - 1:4-14

Danger of Neglect - 2:1-4

Jesus Christ: The Son of Man

Promised Ruler-ship Fulfilled - 2:5-9

Promised Ruler-ship Based on Incarnation - 2:10-18

Prominence Over House of God - 3:1-6

Danger of Missing God’s Rest - 3:7-4:13

Jesus Christ: The Great High Priest

(Largest Section)

His Availability- 4:14-16

His Qualifications - 5:1-10

Danger of Lethargy & Immaturity - 5:11-6:20

Melchizedekian Priesthood - 7:1-28

His Work as High Priest – 8:1-10:18

Notes re: Melchizedek:

        Christ as High Priest Introduced gradually – 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-16; 6:20

Melchizedek (the type) gains his significance through Christ as the fulfillment

        Melchizedek’s is different from Aaron’s (Levi’s) Priesthood

  1. Superior – predates the Levitical System
  2. Superior - resting on a different qualification = an indestructible life
  3. Superior - timeless, enduring - forever
  4. Superior – royal = King of Salem (Peace)
  5. Superior – changeless, not needing a new one every few years

Practical Exhortations

Hold Fast - 10:19-25

Warning vs. Turning Away - 10:26-39

Be A Person of Faith - 11:1-40

Endure Suffering & Discipline - 12:1-29

Christian Duty – 13:1-17

Personal Matters – 13:18-25

Highlights

1:1-3 – The Final Word

2:14-18 – Made Like His Brethren

3:12-13 – Encourage One Another

4:12-13 – The Word of God is…

4:14-16 – Let Us Draw Near

10:19-25 – 3 X = “Let Us”

10:39 – Not “shrinker-backers”

11:6 – w/o faith it is impossible to please Him