Summary: Introduction To Hebrews

HEBREWS - Better

INTRODUCTION: Hebrews was the 13th Epistle written by Paul. It was written between Paul’s two Roman imprisonments, as he traveled on his 4th Missionary Journey. After stopping in Ephesus, Paul traveled on to Philippi; but requested Timothy to stay in Ephesus for further instruction to the Church.

I. The Author of the Book -

A. Anonymous:

1. Maybe the author was so well known to his readers that no name was necessary.

2. May have been omitted to place emphasis on the message rather than the messenger.

B. Paul - Although his name never appears in the Book, the following reasons are presented as strongly suggesting his authorship:

1. The doctrinal presentation is similar to Paul’s other writings;

2. The writer had been imprisoned for his faith (10:34);

3. The writer was a close associate of Timothy (13:23);

4. The use of the term “grace” in the closing remarks is uniquely Paul’s (13:25);

5. Peter, writing a General Epistle to Hebrew Christians, mentioned that Paul had also written to them (1 Pet 1:1; 2 Pet 3:15). This seems to be the only NT document that fits that scenario.

C. Other possible authors that have been suggested include: Timothy, Barnabas, Apollos, Luke, & Silas

II. The Recipient of the Book

A. No formal address as found in most NT Epistles.

B. Obviously written to Hebrew Christians:

1. OT people are referred to repeatedly as illustrations, suggesting that the readers were familiar with the OT;

2. Hebrew history is chronicled with great detail;

3. Fulfillment of Jewish rituals & worship is presented in convincing fashion.

C. The Letter reveals the following information about the recipients:

1. They had professed faith in Christ (3:1);

2. They had heard the Gospel from eyewitnesses of Christ’s ministry (2:3);

3. They had been believers for many years (5:12);

4. They had endured hardship for their faith in Christ (10:32-34);

5. They were in danger of drifting away from their commitment to Christ (2:3; 3:12; 10:35-38);

6. They were under threat of severe persecution (12:1-4).

III. The Date & Place of Writing

A. Date: Probably in the year 63 - 68 AD. It was evidently written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, since several passages indicate that Temple worship was still in progress (8:4; 9:6; 10:11; 13:10).

B. Place: The place of the writing is unknown.

IV. The Purpose of the Book

A. To present the superiority Jesus Christ and the Christian Gospel (1:1:3-4). Jesus is “better” than:

1. The Prophets (1:1-3);

2. The Angels (1:4-14);

3. Moses (3:1-6);

4. Joshua (4:1-11);

5. Aaron (4:14- 5:10);

6. The OT Sacrifices (8:1 - 10:18);

B. To warn about the danger of slipping in our level of commitment to Christ: use of the word “lest” {KJV} (2:1);

1. Don’t Drift (Heb 2:1)

2. Don’t Depart (Heb 3:12)

3. Don’t Delay (Heb 3:13)

4. Don’t Doubt (Heb 4:1

5. Don’t Disbelieve (Heb 4:11)

6. Don’t be Destroyed (Heb 11:28)

7. Don’t Despise (Heb 12:3)

8. Don’t Discourage (Heb 12:13)

9. Don’t Descend (Heb 12:15a)

10. Don’t Defile (Heb 12:15b)

11. Don’t Desecrate (Heb 12:16)

C. To assure Believers of the “rest” available to us in Christ. His use of the word “rest” is found only in Chapters 3 & 4, but in those chapters he speaks of 5 different “rests”:

1. The Creation rest (Heb 4:4)

2. The Cannan rest (Heb 4:8)

3. The Conversion rest (Heb 4:10)

4. The Consecration rest (Heb 4:11)

5. The Coming rest (Heb 4:9)

D. To challenge us to full maturity in our walk with Christ (6:1);

E. To encourage faithful living and living by faith (11:1 - 12:2);

V. The Keys to the Book

A. The key thought = Jesus is BETTER!

B. The key phrase = “Let us” (12:1)

C. The key verses = 4:14-16

D. Key Words =

1. Better - 13 times

2. Lest - 11 times

3. Let us - 13 times

4. Perfect - 11 times

5. Faith - 38 times

6. Rest - 11 times

VI. The Outline to the Book {Taken from J. Sidlow Baxter’s book, EXPLORE THE BOOK}

A. Jesus - The New And Better Deliverer - Ch. 1-7

1. Jesus the God-Man - better than angels - (Ch. 1-2)

2. Jesus the new Apostle - better than Moses - (Ch. 3)

3. Jesus the new Leader - better than Joshua - (Ch. 4:1-13)

4. Jesus the new Priest - better than Aaron - (Ch. 4:14- 7)

B. Calvary - The New And Better Covenant - Ch. 8 - 10:18)

1. New covenant has better promises - (8:6-13)

2. And it has a better sanctuary- (9:1-14)

3. And it has a better sacrifice - (9:15-18)

4. And it achieves far better results - (10:1-18)

C. Faith - The True And Better Principle - (10:19 - 13)

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