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by Gerald A. Larue

Scholars [ who? James and Paul represent the moderates of each faction, respectively, and Peter served as moderator. It sets before the Jew the claims of Christianity — to bring the Jew to the full realization of the relation of Judaism to Christianity, to make clear that Christ has fulfilled those temporary and provisional institutions, and has thus abolished them. Those to whom Hebrews is written seem to have begun to doubt whether Jesus could really be the Messiah for whom they were waiting, because they believed the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Scriptures was to come as a militant king and destroy the enemies of his people.

Jesus, however, came as a mere man who was arrested by the Jewish leaders and who suffered and was crucified by the Romans. And although he was seen resurrected , he still left the earth and his people, who now face persecution rather than victory. The Book of Hebrews solves this problem by arguing that the Hebrew Scriptures also foretold that the Messiah would be a priest although of a different sort than the traditional Levitical priests and Jesus came to fulfill this role, as a sacrificial offering to God, to atone for sins.

His role of a king is yet to come , and so those who follow him should be patient and not be surprised that they suffer for now. Some scholars today believe the document was written to prevent apostasy. Some have seen apostasy as a move from the Christian assembly to pagan ritual.

In light of a possibly Jewish-Christian audience, the apostasy in this sense may be in regard to Jewish-Christians leaving the Christian assembly to return to the Jewish synagogue. The author writes, "Let us hold fast to our confession". The book could be argued to affirm special creation. Hebrews is a very consciously "literary" document. This letter consists of two strands: an expositional or doctrinal strand, [—14] [—18] [—14] [—] [—25] and a hortatory or strongly urging [35] strand which punctuates the exposition parenthetically at key points as warnings to the readers.

  • The Book of Hebrews.
  • Epistle to the Hebrews - Wikipedia;
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Hebrews does not fit the form of a traditional Hellenistic epistle , lacking a proper prescript. Modern scholars generally believe this book was originally a sermon or homily , although possibly modified after it was delivered to include the travel plans, greetings and closing.


Hebrews contains many references to the Old Testament — specifically to its Septuagint text. The Epistle to the Hebrews is notable for the manner in which it expresses the divine nature of Christ. Purdy summarized for The Interpreter's Bible :. Positively, our author presents Christ as divine in nature, and solves any possible objection to a divine being who participates in human experience, especially in the experience of death, by the priestly analogy.

Hebrews 12 | Online Bible | New World Translation

He seems quite unconscious of the logical difficulties of his position proceeding from the assumption that Christ is both divine and human, at least human in experience although hardly in nature. The first chapter of Hebrews stresses the superiority of the Son to the angels.

This exaltation theme, in which the Son is contrasted with the angels , is expanded in the following string of OT quotations The overall structure of the catena seems to point to exaltation as the underlying motif The first passage to be considered is Hebrews While the comparison between Jesus and the angels is based on a number of OT citations, the comparison of Jesus and Moses turns on a single verse, Nu. Like the angels , Moses was a servant who witnessed, as it were, to the Son. The Son is once again exalted.

The exaltation theme finds expression in a more opaque way at The portrait of Moses drawn here is that of a martyr, and a Christian martyr at that. In effect, Moses joins that great cloud of witnesses who looked to Jesus as pioneer and perfecter of faith. In summary, the writer [of Hebrews] stressed the Sonship of Jesus and expressed it in a three-stage Christology of pre-existence, humanity, and exaltation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series of articles on Paul in the Bible Pauline literature.

I Corinthians II Corinthians. Galatians Ephesians. Philippians Colossians. I Thessalonians II Thessalonians. Pastoral epistles. Philemon Hebrews. Paul the Apostle. Related literature. Lost epistles Apocalypse of Paul. Coptic Apocalypse of Paul. Corinthians to Paul Acts of Paul. Paul and Thecla Peter and Paul. Prayer of Paul. See also.

Who wrote the book?

Apostle Christian Pauline Christianity. Matthew Mark Luke John. Main article: Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews. See also: Dating the Bible. See also: Reader-response criticism.

Further Reading

See also: Narrative criticism. See also: Form criticism.

Martini, Bruce M. Mitchell, Hebrews Liturgical Press, p. Dennis Introducing the New Testament: a historical, literary, and theological survey. Baker Academic, Eschatology and Exhortation in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Oct , Vol. Louth ed. Williamson trans. Retrieved 19 November Christian Resource Institute. The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company, Web: 30 Dec. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Retrieved Hermeneia; Philadelphia: Fortress, , pp. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. Eardmans Publishing Co. Preuschen, Berlin: Forschungen und Fortschritte, , — Zarephath, N. Lost Coast Press, Priscilla's Letter. The ancient Greek philosopher Philo used the word apaugasma to describe the Logos, the being or intelligent mind who ordered the universe.

The writer of Hebrews explained Jesus in terms that made sense to both first-century Jews and those familiar with Greek philosophy. The express image of His person : The idea is of an exact likeness as made by a stamp. Jesus exactly represents God to us. In His earthly ministry Jesus constantly demonstrated the power of His word.

Here we see that His word is so powerful that it can uphold all things. Himself purged our sins : From the previous description, we know that the Son of God is a being of great power and wisdom. Now we know He is also a being of great love, who purged the guilt and shame of our sins. He did this Himself , showing that no one else could do it for us and we could not do it for ourselves.

Sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high : This is a position of majesty, of honor, of glory, and of finished work. This position of Jesus sets Him far above all creation. Having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Having become so much better than the angels : This description of Jesus in previous verses shows us that He is far superior than any angelic being. We could say that He is eternally better than the angels, but He also became better than the angels.

Jesus became better in the sense that He was made perfect complete as our redeemer through sufferings Hebrews — something no angel ever did. Griffith Thomas linked together the descriptions of Jesus given in these first few verses, culminating in Hebrews There are many reasons why it is important to understand the surpassing excellence of Jesus, setting Him far above every angelic being.

First century Jews might think that the gospel came at the hands of mere men — the apostles. But in truth, the gospel came by Jesus, who is superior to the angels. In this sense, the purpose of Hebrews is like the purpose of the Transfiguration of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels.

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Hear Him! For to which of the angels did He ever say : The author of Hebrews proved that Jesus is superior to any angelic being because God the Father says things to God the Son that He never said to angels. Lesser things, if allowed more focus, take a bigger place than the greater and more important things. Did He ever say : The writer to the Hebrews clearly thought that God spoke through the human authors of the Old Testament.

This shows that Jesus is greater than the angels, because no angel was ever given this great name. The word begotten speaks of the equality of substance and essential nature between the Father and Son. It means that the Father and the Son share the same being. This statement is a good example of an Old Testament prophecy that had two fulfillments in mind.

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