The book of Hebrews is an incredible book. “There is no portion of Scripture whose authorship is more disputed, nor any of which the inspiration is more indisputable” [Kay Arthur, Precept Ministries, on Hebrews 1:1].
Another author has written, “The main theme of Hebrews may be stated this way: The knowledge and assurance of how great this High Priest Jesus is, should lift the drifting believer from spiritual lethargy to vital Christian maturity. Stated another way: The antidote for backsliding is a growing personal knowledge of Jesus.”
R C Sproul once said that “If I were cast into prison and allowed but one book, it would be the Bible. If I were allowed only one book of the Bible, it would be the Epistle to the Hebrews… because it contains our most comprehensive discussion of the redemption wrought for us in the sacrifice of Jesus.”
Ray Stedman writes, “The epistle to the Hebrews begins as dramatically as a rocket shot to the moon. In one paragraph, the writer breathtakingly transports his readers from the familiar ground of Old Testament prophetic writings, through the incarnation of the Son (who is at once creator, heir and sustainer of all things and the fullest possible manifestation of deity), past the purifying sacrifice of the cross to the exaltation of Jesus on the ultimate seat of power in the universe. It is a paragraph daring in its claims and clearly designed to arrest the reader’s attention and compel a further hearing” [Hebrews 1:1-3 Greater Than the Prophets].
Who wrote Hebrews?
Commentators have made cases for the writer being Paul, Apollos, Barnabas, Luke, Peter, Jude, Stephen, Silvanus (Silas), Epaphras (Epaphroditus), Philip the Evangelist, Priscilla, Mary the mother of Jesus, Clement of Rome, Aristion, and others. However, the masculine participle diegoumenon (“to tell”), which refers to the writer in 11:32, would seem to rule out a female writer.
“Ancient testimony mentioned only four possibilities: Paul, Luke, Barnabas, and Clement. None of these suggestions has found enthusiastic general reception for various reasons. Probably we should be content to share Origen’s agnosticism on this question—and look forward to getting the answer in heaven.” [Thomas Constable, Plano Bible Chapel].
In the first blog, we mentioned five warning passages in the Book of Hebrews. But notice that there are also five positive, encouragement passages. The writer balanced his negative warnings with positive words of encouragement.
- Hebrews 2:1-4 encourages us with a reminder of how God confirmed His promises with signs, wonders, and miracles in the apostolic age (2:3b-4), and gifts of the Holy Spirit to us today.
- Hebrews 3:7-19 encourages us by reminding us of Jesus’ example of faithfulness (3:1-6) and our resources as believers (4:12-16).
- Hebrews 5:11—6:12 encourages us with a reminder of the readers’ past faithfulness (6:9-12) and God’s firm promises (6:13-20).
- Hebrews 10:19-39 also encourages us with a reminder of the readers’ past perseverance (10:32-39), “…while you endured a great conflict of suffering.” [v. 32]
- Hebrews 12:14-29 encourages us by reminding us of Jesus’ example of perseverance (12:1-2) and the reason for divine discipline (12:3-11).
As Barna says, only six percent of all American adults, or 15 million people, actually have a biblical worldview. Let’s make sure we are in that group! We have a wonderful Savior, who is interceding [praying] for us in heaven. Let’s respond with faithful Christian living, and diligent service in these troublesome times.