Imagine you were a Jew during the first century and still on the fence about whether you should put your faith in Jesus who is being proclaimed as the Messiah. What may have been some of the questions going through your mind? I believe most of the questions would have been about the ability to reconcile what they had been taught and known for most of their lives from the Torah with the reality of what they were experiencing that was not at all like what they had expected to see in a Messiah.
The book of Hebrews was written primarily with this group of people in mind.
The exact authorship of the book of Hebrews is unknown. The possibility that apostle Paul wrote this book has not been ruled out even though it is highly unlikely given the lack of similarity with other letters penned by him. So it is possible that that the writer may have been one of the apostles or someone very familiar with the apostles or a close follower of Jesus.
The writer is very familiar with the Jewish scripture or Torah or what we know as Old Testament. The writer also assumes that the audience is very familiar with the same subject matter. This is why the book as been aptly named as “Hebrews” denoting the general Hebraic audience.
Some quick highlights:
- There are lots and lots of references to Old Testament verses, imageries and concepts. From angels to promised land to priestly functions.
- Every reference from the past is compared to Jesus. It is as if the author is presenting a a very strong case for the audience to put their faith in Jesus by comparing Him to their familiar references of the scriptures.
- At the very core this book expertly shines light on the nature and divinity of Jesus laying a very solid foundation for the gospel and serves as a strong advocate for the Christian faith.
- Brings to light the truth about the sabbath rest.
- Lays out in great detail on why Jesus is the chief high priest.
- Lists many of the heroes of faith in new light as those who were looking forward to the heavenly city.
And some of the oft quoted verses can be found here:
- Hebrews 4:12. For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (NIV)
- Hebrews 11:1. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (NIV).
- Hebrews 12: 1-3. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)
Hope this is enough to wet our appetites to dig into this book this week and savor the wonders of it.
The writer of Hebrews lays out a very strong and compelling foundation for Jesus Christ as the divine savior, chief high priest and the author and finisher of our faith.
Weekly Reading Plan
And now here is the weekly plan for you to read through the book of Hebrews
Don’t forget to use the template I shared previously to help you on this journey. Also, check out my resources page where I explain this template a little more.
If you want to dig deeper here are some of my suggestions:
- Use the above schedule to read through all of the text
- Look up the various Old Testament references and re-read them in the light of what is mentioned in Hebrews
- Optional (if you want to really read through the Bible in a year): Read Psalm 135-137.
And that is it for week 46!
Happy Bible Learning!
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