Study of Hebrews

Sermons

The authorship of Hebrews has been debated for centuries. In some passages the language of Hebrews resembles that of Paul (for example, the reference to Timothy in 13:23), and as a result some believe Paul to be the author. Due to other features of the epistle, however, many have suggested other authors. Conclusive proof is lacking for any of them. At the same time, it is clear that the readers were well acquainted with the writer and knew who he was even though his name does not appear in the letter. See Hebrews 13:18-19; 10:34. It is also clear that he was well acquainted with them. See Hebrews 6:9-12; 10:32-34, 39.

Mid to late 60's. The epistle is difficult to date with accuracy, yet it seems certain that it would have been written prior to the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. Such would appear evident from passages such as Hebrews 10:11. If Paul wrote it, it would have to be before his death in A.D. 67.

Its exact destination is also unknown. Some have thought that it was written to Hebrew Christians in Rome. Others believe it was written to Jewish Christians in Palestine.

The occasion of Hebrews was the need to exhort Jews who had professed belief in Jesus as the Messiah to hold fast their profession in difficult times. Apparently, some were in danger of abandoning Christianity and returning to Judaism. It is the author’s purpose to demonstrate that Christianity is better than and has taken the place of Judaism, i.e. God’s revelation in Christ is superior to the revelation that came through the Law and superseded it.

Better. Hebrews contains a series of contrasts between the good things of Judaism and the better things of Christ. Christ is better than angels, than Moses, than Joshua, than Aaron; and the New Covenant is better than the Mosaic Covenant.

The book consists of a series of comparisons each of which is followed by a warning and an exhortation as a sort of parenthesis.

The following outline is taken from Walter M. Dunnett’s New Testament Survey:

 

    I.    The Superiority of Christ, 1:1 - 10:18

           A.  Above the prophets, 1:1-3

           K.  Above the angels, 1:4-14; 2:5-18

First warning: Neglect, 2: 1-4

           C.  Above Moses, 3:1-6

Second warning: Unbelief, 3:7-19

                                           D.  Above Joshua, 4:2-10

Third warning: Unbelief, 4:1, 11-13

                                           E.  Above Aaron, 4:14 - 5:10

Fourth warning: Immaturity, 5:11 - 6:20

                                           F.  Above the Levitical Priesthood, 7:1-28

                                           G.  Above the Old Covenant, 8:1-13

                                           H.  Above the Ordinances and Sacrifices, 9:1 - 10:18

 

                                  II.    The Superiority of Faith, 10:19 - 13:21

                                           A.  The way of access to God, 10:19-25

Fifth warning: willful sin, 10:26-31

                                           B.  The way of life in the world, 10:32 - 11:40

                                           C.  The way of training as sons of God, 12:1-13

Sixth warning: apostasy, 12:14-17

                                           D.  The way of heavenly privilege, 12:18-24

Seventh warning: refusal, 12:25-29

                                           E.  The way of duty among men, 13:1-21

 

                                 III.    Conclusion and Greetings, 13:22-25

The following outline is from Dr. James Qurollo’s commentary on Hebrews.

INTRODUCTION - 1:1-3

 

                                              A.  God spoke formerly to the fathers by the prophets - 1:1

                                                     1.   He spoke at many times - 1:1

                                                     2.   He spoke in many ways - 1:1

                                              B.  God has spoken in these last days by His Son - 1:2-3

                                                     1.   Christ has been appointed heir of all things - 1:2

                                                     2.   Through Christ God made the worlds - 1:2

                                                     3.   Christ is the brightness of God’s glory - 1:3

                                                     4.   Christ is the express image of God’s person - 1:3

                                                     5.   Christ upholds all things by the word of His power - 1:3

                                                     6.   Christ purged believers’ sins - 1:3

                                                     7.   Christ sat down on the right hand of God - 1:3

 

                                       I.     CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO ANGELS - 1:4 - 2:18

                                              A.  Christ has a more excellent name than angels - 1:4-5

                                              B.  Christ is worshiped by the angels as the firstborn - 1:6

                                              C.  Christ is God - 1:8-13

                                                     1.   He has an eternal throne - 1:8

                                                     2.   He has a righteous scepter - 1:8

                                                     3.   He is anointed over His companions - 1:9

                                                     4.   He is the eternal creator - 1:10-12

                   5.   He is seated at the right hand of God - 1:13

            D.  Angels are ministering spirits - 1:7, 14

            E.   What Christ has said carries more authority than what angels have said - 2:1-4

            F.   The coming inhabited world has been subjected to Christ - 2:5-18

                   1.   All things have been put in subjection under man’s feet - 2:5-8

                   2.   Christ, the leader of man, has only temporarily been made lower than the angels - 2:9-18

 

   II.     CHRIST IS WORTHY OF MORE GLORY THAN MOSES - 3:1 - 4:13

            A.  Christ is the apostle and high priest of our confession - 3:1

            B.  Moses was faithful as a servant in God’s house; whereas, Christ was faithful as a son over God’s house - 3:2-6

            C.  The unbelief of some Israelites was clearly demonstrated - 3:7-19

            D.  Unbelief prevents one from entering into God’s rest; whereas, belief admits one into God’s rest - 4:1-10

            E.   Believers should labor to enter into God’s rest - 4:11-13

 

  III.     CHRIST HAS A MORE EXCELLENT MINISTRY THAN THE LEVITICAL PRIESTS - 4:14 - 7:28

            A.  Believers should hold fast their confession - 4:14-16

            B.  The office of high priest is described - 5:1-4

            C.  Christ is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek - 5:5-10

            D.  An appeal and warning is given - 5:11 - 6:12

            E.   Christ is the believer’s forerunner within the veil - 6:13-20

            F.   Melchizedek as a type of Christ had a greater priesthood than the Levitical priests - 7:1-28

                   1.   A historical summary of Melchizedek is given - 7:1-3

                   2.   The Levitical priests paid tithes to Melchizedek in Abraham - 7:4-10

                   3.   Perfection did not come by the Levitical priesthood - 7:11-22

                   4.   Levitical priests died and, therefore, changed; whereas, Christ’s priesthood is unchangeable - 7:23-28

 

  IV.     CHRIST IS MEDIATOR OF A BETTER COVENANT - 8:1 - 10:18

            A.  A summary of Hebrews 1-7 is given - 8:1-6

            B.  The new covenant is introduced - 8:7-13

                   1.   The new covenant was promised - 8:7-9

                   2.   The new covenant is described - 8:10-12

                   3.   The new covenant made the old covenant obsolete - 8:13

            C.  The ordinances of divine service of the first covenant were types - 9:1-10

            D.  The types of the first covenant are fulfilled by the offering of Christ’s blood in the heavenly sanctuary - 9:11-28

            E.   The one sacrifice of Christ is all that is necessary - 10:1-18

                   1.   The sacrifices under the law made nothing perfect - 10:1-8

                   2.   The one sacrifice of Christ ended the necessity for the old sacrifices under the law - 10:9-18

 

                                     V.     CHRIST HAS PROVIDED A BETTER WAY OF LIFE: THE LIFE OF FAITH - 10:19 - 13:21

                                              A.  Believers must hold fast their confession - 10:19-25

                                              B.  There is an alternative for those wavering: it is Christ, or it is judgment - 10:26-39

                                              C.  Old Testament examples of faith are cited - 11:1-40

                                              D.  Believers should follow the example of the Old Testament saints and run with patience the race that is set before them - 12:1-17

                                                     1.   Believers should keep their eyes fixed on Jesus - 12:1-4

                                                     2.   The race includes chastisement; therefore, remember its purpose - 12:5-17

                                              E.   God can be approached through Jesus - 12:18-24

                                              F.   Believers should not refuse God, or they will not escape - 12:25-29

                                              G.  Miscellaneous practical exhortations are given - 13:1-21

CONCLUSION - 13:22-25