Summary: An intorduction to the book of Hebrews. This outline serves as a beginning point for a preaching series on the book of Hebrews.
October 13, 2002
First Church of the Brethren
H. Kevin Derr
“Exploring the Book of Hebrews”
1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God’s
glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
I am convinced that we as those who profess the Bible, and especially the NT to be our only guide to faith and practice, should know it well. We should not only be able to place the various books in their order, but we should also know the content. I’m of the increasing opinion that we should be actively working to memorize large portions of scripture. In whole we should be much more sophisticated in our knowledge and understanding of scripture than what we are.
I speak for myself in this, as well as every other person who is part of the body of Christ.
The Bible is our story, it is the source of our knowledge of God, and of God’s saving
action in Jesus Christ. It is the story of our family of faith, it is the source of the values that we
hold and the foundation of our faith. Because it is in the scriptures that we find our experience of the living God. Yes, it is possible to have a vibrant faith without being able to read the scriptures, just as it is possible to go to the top of a 75 story building without an elevator. But why would you want to do it that way?
As believers we should be spending some time each day in study of the scriptures. We should be reading, we should be exploring, we should also be asking questions. I would be glad to suggest some good tools for the study of scripture and you will find a few books on the book table in the Narthex. Feel free to pick up on that interests you. This is by no means an exhaustive collection of books appropriate to the study of Hebrews. It is a beginning point. If you would like some more, let me know and I’ll be glad to suggest others. If you would like a more technical commentary, we can do that, if you would like background studies, we can do that... just let me know and we will find what you need to inform your study.
As we approach the Epistle to the Hebrews, I would ask that you read through this at least once a week. Pick up a commentary on Hebrews and spend some time reading background and contextual information. Expand your understanding not only of this book but of all the New Testament with a concentrated effort here and work to extend yourself not only in biblical
knowledge but also in the application of what we learn in scriptures. I warn you that this will be
a transforming process. As we study the scriptures, we will find our lives changed, our minds renewed and our sensitivities awakened to the overwhelming presence of the Living God.
I. The Epistle to Hebrews
A. There are a few things that it is good for us
to establish at the outset of this study.
1. Hebrews is not really a letter. It does not have the regular traits of a first
century letter, so while it is named the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is more likely
A. I have to admit I thought about reciting the whole of Hebrews as a
sermon, but I chose not to, for two reasons,
1. I have not finished memorizing the whole of the text
2. Secondly, as a sermon, there are elements that do not fit nicely
into our modern understandings, so they need some explanation
B. It is an elegant, highly polished work of a first century author who was
well educated and trained in some specific forms of rhetoric
C. It was not the first time that this author put pen to paper.
2. Some early Christian traditions hold that it was first written in Hebrew or
Aramaic and then translated to Greek by Luke. It is for this reason that you
will find some stylistic and grammatical consistencies between Luke-Acts and
Hebrews, or so said the 4th century church historian Eusebius.
A. What is actually the case is hard to say, we have no textual evidence