Book of Hebrews Bible Study

Judaism was not second-rate or easy. Divinely designed, it was the best religion, expressing true worship and devotion to God. The commandments, the rituals and the prophets described God's fulfilling the Law and the Prophets, conquering sin, shattering all barriers to God, freely providing eternal life.

This message was difficult for Jews to accept. Although they had sought the Messiah for centuries, they were entrenched in thinking and worshiping in traditional forms. Following Jesus seemed to repudiate their marvelous heritage and Scriptures. With caution and questions they listened to the gospel, but many rejected it and sought to eliminate this "heresy." Those who did accept Jesus as the Messiah often found themselves slipping back into familiar routines, trying to live a hybrid faith.

Hebrews is a masterful document written to Jews who were evaluating Jesus or struggling with this new faith. The message of Hebrews is that Jesus is better, Christianity is superior, Christ is supreme and completely sufficient for salvation.

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Hebrews begins by emphasizing that the old (Judaism) and the new (Christianity) are both religions revealed by God (Hebrews 1:1 - 3). In the doctrinal section that follows (1:4 - 10:18), the writer shows how Jesus is superior to angels (1:4, 4:14, & 7:28). Christianity surpasses Judaism because it has a better covenant (8:1 - 13), a better sanctuary (9:1 - 10), and a more sufficient sacrifice for sins (9:11 - 10:18).

Having established the superiority of Christianity, the writer moves on to the practical implications of following Christ. The readers are exhorted to hold on to their new faith, encourage each other, and look forward to Christ's return (10:19 - 25). They are warned about the consequences of rejecting Christ's sacrifice (10:26 - 31) and reminded of the rewards for faithfulness (10:32 - 39). Then the author explains how to live by faith, giving illustrations of the faithful men and women in Israel's history (11:1 - 40) and giving encouragement and exhortation for daily living (12:1 - 17). This section ends by comparing the old covenant with the new (12:18 - 29). The writer concludes with moral exhortations (13:1 - 17), a request for prayer (13: 18 - 19), and a benediction and greetings (13:20 - 25).

Whatever you are considering as the focus of life, Christ is better, He is the perfect revelation of God, the final and complete sacrifice for sin, the compassionate and understanding mediator, and the only way to external life. Read Hebrews and begin to see history and life from God's perspective. Then give yourself unreservedly and completely to Christ.

Additional Information about the Book of Hebrews

PURPOSE

  • To Present sufficiency and superiority of Christ

AUTHOR

  • Paul, Luke, Barnabas, Apollos, Silas, Philip, Priscilla and others have been suggested because the name of the author is not given in the biblical text itself.

  • Whoever it was speaks of Timothy as "brother" (13:23)

ORIGINAL AUDIENCE

  • Hebrew Christians (perhaps second-generation Christians, see 2:3) who may have been considering a return to Judaism, perhaps because of immaturity, stemming from a lack of understanding of Biblical truths.

DATE WRITTEN

  • Probably before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 because the religious sacrifices and ceremonies referred to in the book, but no mention is made of the Temple's destruction.

SETTING

  • These Jewish Christians were probably undergoing fierce persecution, socially and physically, both from Jews and from Romans. Christ had not returned to establish his Kingdom, and the people needed to be reassured that Christianity was true and that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

KEY VERSES

  • "The 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."

KEY PEOPLE

  • Old Testament men and women of faith (Chapter 11).

REFERENCE: LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE

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