The Book of Hebrews

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Why was it written?

The book of Hebrews was written to encourage believers to mature in their walk with Christ, to prevent the pitfall of lapsing back into their old ways, and to worship God. Verses 2:1-4 warn us to listen to what has been spoken through the Son, Jesus Christ, so that we will not “drift away” from the faith. We indeed need to listen to what the Son has spoken. To hear may mean merely to perceive sounds that do not necessarily require or create action. To listen means to pay thoughtful attention to sounds that enter the ear and then evoke positive results.[1] Verses 12:1-2 more directly tell us to avoid the entanglement of sin and fix our eyes on Jesus. Through our spiritual maturity, we can offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe as told in verse 12:28. The purpose of Hebrews is to recognize that God clearly spoke to us through His Son, the One who is the exact representation of God, our ultimate High Priest, and we are to obey His Word so that we do not fall away from the faith but rather sanctify our hearts and worship God. This purpose will be supported by the exposition of the Scriptures from the book of Hebrews and their relation to this purpose.

Who wrote it?

The answer to who wrote the book of Hebrews will be unfulfilling for some. The answer is an unknown author. Due to its unquestioned addition to the canon, we can be certain that the believer who wrote it was guided by the Holy Spirit as with any book in the canon. Suggestions have been Apollos, Barnabus, Peter, Timothy or some other disciple of Paul. None, however, can be researched with enough depth to reach a positive conclusion. Many will suggest Paul, but the style of writing is far different from his other writings. Origen, an author and theologian only two hundred years removed from the time of Christ, has suggested that those who hold to Pauline authorship should be commended, but only God knows who truly wrote it. The theological differences with other Pauline writings are a convincing argument against him as author, notably the lack of principle concern with the priesthood of Christ.[2] The uncertainty of the author is trumped by its placement in the canon and therefore should not deter us from realizing the truth of this Scripture and its application to our lives.

When was it written?

In verse 2:3, the author of Hebrews tells us that he was among those who heard of the Gospel through those who heard it from the Lord. Some would interpret this as second-generation Christians but it could very well have meant that he simply never met Christ but was alive at the same time. Verses 10:32-33 speak about persecution in “former days” which may very well have been under the Roman leaders such as Nero in the 60’s A.D. Clement of Rome referred to Hebrews in his epistle to the Corinthians in A.D. 95.[3] This provides our later date possibility. There is no mention of the temple destruction in A.D. 70 so some suggest it must have been written before that. It is not entirely impossible though for the author to speak so much of priesthood without speaking of the existing temple. Timothy is mentioned in verse 10:23 but we do not know at what stage of his life this is. Although we cannot place any certainty on a date, a conservative estimate would be between A.D. 60 – 95.

Who was it written for?

The all-encompassing answer is believers. The title defines them as Jewish believers. This is supported by the overwhelming theme of priesthood as would have been familiar to Jews. Some make a strong argument that the many warning passages are written for unbelievers such as 10:29. John MacArthur states that, “These messages speak directly to unbelievers, not to Christians and not to those who are already convinced of the gospel intellectually. They are given to those who first need to know who Christ really is.”[4] One can paint a broad stroke and suggest that all Scripture is for believers and unbelievers, Jews and Gentiles, even at the time it is written. Verse 1:2 says the Son has spoken to us. “Us” is the broad audience for the book of Hebrews. It is written to Hebrews, both saved and unsaved, but like an open letter for all to read and hear, in the first century and today.


  1. The supremacy of the Son 1:1 to 4:13
    1. The Son is God 1:1 to 1:14
      1. The Son is greater than prophets 1:1 to 1:4

God speaks to us in many ways and in days long ago He spoke through the prophets in many portions and many ways. Reading through the Old Testament we see a recurring theme from the prophets of how disobedience brings wrath and obedience brings blessing. The prophets had their place but they are now replaced with God’s Son, Jesus Christ, who has spoken to us in the last days. The last days are the current dispensation where we have knowledge of the work of Christ on the cross and salvation is found in faith in Him alone. He is heir of all things, meaning that He is the receiver of all things from the Father from eternity, past and future. The Son is also the agent through which the world was made.[5] These two points tell us of his supreme nature and why He is deserving of all the glory and worship we can bring Him. This is supported in verse 3 by the statements that the Son is the exact representation of His nature, has the ability to purify sin, and has the right to sit at the right hand of God. His name, the Son of God, is greater than that of angels.

  1. The Son is greater than angels 1:5 to 1:14

The Son’s divine adoption is evident in numerous Old Testament passages speaking to his supremacy over angels. Since the Old Testament is heavily quoted in the book of Hebrews, most likely from the Septuagint, the book affirms and supports the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and surely must have provided a compelling argument for the Jewish reader.[6] The quotations recognize Christ as the Son of God. The angels are to bow down and worship the Son. The Son’s throne is reign forever. Because the Son loved righteousness, He has been anointed by the Father. Verse 10, quoting Psalm 102:25 is crediting Jesus Christ with the foundation and creation of the earth and heavens, further supporting the statement of verse 1:2. Christ stays the same, with no thought of perishing because He is eternal. The angels are called to minister to those who will inherit salvation whereas Christ is the provider of salvation. Crucial to the understanding of the purpose of Hebrews, is the acknowledgment of Christ as the Son of God, equal in power, glory, and nature.

  1. His example 2 :1 to 3:6
    1. Spoken through signs and wonders 2:1-4

One wonders if the believers at the time this book was written were not in tune with what was being proclaimed. The writer of Hebrews warns the reader to pay closer attention to what they are hearing. If they do not, they could drift away from the faith. Indeed, chapter 1 tells us that since Christ, the Author and the new dispensation, is so far exalted above the prophets, and even the angels, we ought to give the more earnest attention to all that has been spoken.[7] If the Word spoken through prophets and angels was binding, how much more is the truth of salvation as spoken through Christ? To neglect the confirmation of the Word from Christ is to neglect salvation. The humanity of Christ shows the miraculous way in which God showed His supremacy. Verse 4 further confirms that He uses various signs and wonders to display His supremacy. God spoke to us when He bore His apostles’ witness by giving them the ability to do the same things that Jesus had done, signs, Wonders, and miracles.[8]

  1. Spoken through suffering 2:5-18

Angels were created to be free from this world. Christ was created to bear life on this earth for a limited time. Verse 2:6 reiterates the point that Jesus was made, for a time, a little lower than angels to experience earthly pains due to the fall. This does not mean He was made to be less significant for a time but rather through His temporary humanity, God could speak through Him directly to us. Christ did however maintain His crowning glory and rule over all things, making Him the exact representation of God. Christ did have to taste suffering and death though and therefore can identify Himself with the needs of every man. This perfected His sacrifice and made Him the Author of our salvation.[9] God spoke to us through the suffering and death of His Son. As part of our sanctification, we enjoy a unique unity with Christ and members of this holy family. That the 22nd Psalm is quoted here by the Messiah is well known because of Jesus’ words spoken on the cross, but also in the last part of the psalm. This Scripture is fulfilled by the Christ, who rejoices in the midst of His people, the church, of which He is the head.[10] Verses 14 to 18 summarize the example of the Son. Since Christ overcame death He voided the power of the devil and thereby freed others who feared freedom. This is similar to 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 which states “the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.“ Ray Stedman comments that, “The devil’s lie is to convince many that they can avoid such experiences by amassing wealth, maintaining youth by strenuous exercise or expensive treatments, searching for adventure, falling in and out of love, gaining the marks of success, indulging in widespread travel, satisfying every whim, and so forth.”[11] When God spoke through His Son, He gave us the ultimate message that we have victory over death.

  1. Greater than Moses 3:1-6

Verse 3:1 contains a very interesting word, “consider.” It does not have the connotation of a commandment but rather an argument to consider. The writer of Hebrews is arguing that we consider Jesus, the apostle’s Apostle and High Priest, as the greatest human to walk the earth, rather than somewhat like Moses, who is chosen because the whole Mosaic system is under consideration.[12] This does not deter from what Moses did, but any of us are far less worthy than Jesus.  Although we can understand the standing of Moses in the Christian community today, we have to ponder what a first-century Jew and Gentile thought. If God spoke through a Son, how was this section of Hebrews received? We can assume that the Jew thought highly of Moses and would have acknowledged that if someone were worthy of more glory than Moses, this would be the One to hope in. The Gentile may not have even heard of Moses so the concept of the worth of any human might be strange. We know now that when the writer of Hebrews states in 1:2 that God spoke to us in His Son, this is One far greater than even the great Moses. Verse six contains an “if” condition that although Christ is over His house, who we are, we must remain confident and boast of hope firm until the end if we are to be that house. Just as one who was a true Levite by birth could withdraw from participation in the tabernacle of Moses’ day, so too one who is truly a Christian by new birth may withdraw from his priestly role within the functioning household.[13]

  1. 3:7 to 4:13
    1. Consequences of unbelief 3:7-19

In this section of Scripture, the writer shows that Christ fulfills the promise of eternal rest, rather than anything in the Old Testament. Indeed, Christ is God’s final word to humankind.[14] This is a warning passage that we should not harden our hearts in unbelief as the Israelites did in the wilderness. God’s works were revealed for forty years and time and time again many would ignore them and continue to test God. Because of this unbelief, God was angry with that generation and He declared that many would not enter into His rest. The rest comes from the wondrous satisfaction of achievement, the peace that is the result of the assurance that we have continual, open access to God.[15] Likewise, we must be careful to not be in a condition of unbelief, also described as evil that will cause us to fall away from God. Believers should encourage one another to not be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. This is suggested as an ongoing everyday encouragement to one another. No doubt we are all tempted daily but as partakers of Christ we are given the Holy Spirit to help us remain firm to the end, to the time of our eternal rest. The illustration, invitation, and instruction are worthless apart from belief in that to which they all point. God wants to pour His blessings on us, not only in this life but in eternal life. The only requirement is belief, which is faith.[16]

  1. Consequences of belief 4:1-13

Preaching on deaf ears is not profitable to the hearer, but with faith it is profitable. For those of us who have placed our faith in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, we have a promise of eternal rest. Psalm 95 is heavily quoted in chapter 3 with the promise to those with hardened hearts that they will not enter the eternal rest. The contrast to enter or not enter is repeated many times as to reiterate the warning. In the wilderness, the rest was thought to be the rest in the promised land but this warning is an excellent term to apply to Jews who fail to hold to a confession of faith in Christ and revert back to Judaism because verse 4:3 is present tense.[17] Exodus 20:11 is quoted in verse 4:4 that God, after the creation of the earth and the heavens rested on the seventh day, calling it a Sabbath rest. In context, this means that the rest we are to enter due to our faithful belief in Christ will be much like this Sabbath rest. God calls this my rest. This means not only does he give it, but he himself also enjoys it. He experienced rest when he ceased the work of creation, as recounted in Genesis 2:2-3 when he blessed and sanctified the finished work.[18] Similar to Acts 17 when Paul preached to the Areopagus where some sneered, some wanted to hear again and some believed, verse 4:6 describes a recurring theme that when the Gospel is preached, some will believe but some will not due to the hardening of their hearts and their disobedience. For those Jews who believed that the Promised Land was their final Sabbath rest, the writer states that Joshua did not give them the rest, but there is another day fixed for that. This passage progresses to a more positive tone that we must remain diligent to enter the rest. We can rely on the Word of God because it is living and active, meaning the Words are God-breathed through the Holy Spirit and apply to our lives today. Like a sword, it pierces our soul and spirit. The sword imagery is timeless, but imagine the first-century reader who is well acquainted with the personal weapon of choice much like a gun is today. This is paralleled by Paul’s use of the armor of God in Ephesians 6. The theme that the Word of God reaches to our joints, marrow, and innermost thoughts affects, in a most comprehensive manner, the whole man.[19] Those who suggest the Bible does not apply to them are corrected by verse 4:13 which emphatically states that it applies to every creature.

  1. The Son is High Priest 4:14 to 10:39
    1. Characteristics of Christ 4:14 to 6:20
      1. Christ in the flesh 5:1-10

Jesus, the Great High Priest, has passed through the heavens, suggesting something beyond the Holy of the Holies. The Aaronic high priest, by entering the Most Holy Place once a year, stood in the presence of God, but Jesus transcended that since He appeared before the Father in heaven. [20] Not only has Christ seen the Father, He has walked among us, experiencing everything we have including separation from the Father. We are to hold fast our confession in the Son because He is the High Priest. We can be confident in our faith and approach the throne of grace. The High Priest is worthy of all of our worship. The Levitical high priest offered gifts and sacrifices on behalf of men for their sins. They did not, however, try to assume they were the provider of forgiveness. Appointed by God, they had to be sympathetic to those they ministered to. He needed to live among men as a man, to feel with them in their highs and in their lows, so in the same way, our High Priest lived among us.[21] He did not seek glory in Himself. He told the Jewish leaders in John 8:54 that, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’” His authority and honor were more in accordance with the Order of Melchizedek.[22] Christ’s experience in the garden of Gethsemane showed His earthly, temporary nature and His piety. In His position as God’s Son, He was and is an obedient Son. Through being made perfect, He became the one and only source of eternal salvation.

  1. Spiritual maturity 5:11 to 6:20

Verse 11 begins with an accusatory tone that the readers are assumed to be hard of hearing, but the implication is that there is so much more to be said about Jesus the High Priest, so pay attention. After all of this, you should be teaching others, but unfortunately, you need to go back to grammar school or earlier. An analogy is presented between that of milk and solid food. Milk is the only thing a baby can handle and babies need much time to wean off of that to solid food. Similarly, the “word of righteousness” cannot necessarily be understood by the immature. We are called to wean off of spiritual immaturity so that we can train our senses to discern good and evil. We are to press on to maturity exhibited by learning the teachings of Christ in things such as the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. These teachings entered into the very nature of Christianity. They were its first principles and were indispensable.[23] Is it possible for someone to taste the heavenly gifts (salvation) and partake of the Holy Spirit and then never partake again? Verses 6:4-6 imply that they certainly can but if they do, they will never have another chance if they fall away. Although many views of this passage exist, the one suggesting it applies to believers lapsing back into Judaism seems the most plausible.[24] The core meaning is that we are under constant threat of becoming dull of hearing and lapsing back into our old ways of sin or false religion. We are called to stand firm in the faith and press on to spiritual maturity and devotion to God. In contrast to falling away, we should be like ground that brings forth vegetation. We should absorb the Word of God as the ground absorbs the rain. We should weed out the things that hinder our spiritual growth like the gardener that tills the ground. We should bring forth spiritual fruit just as the ground that is tilled, cultivated, and watered brings forth vegetation beneficial to others. On the other hand, the field that is not watered, not cultivated, not tilled, will produce thorns and thistles and be useless. So it is with us if we fail to stay in the Word and press on toward spiritual maturity. We can have confidence that because of God’s justice and because of our works, He will remember what we have done until the end. In our Christian service, our love for the saints goes far beyond earning credit; it shows that these actions show that God’s grace is still active among us.[25] God promised to bless Abraham and multiply through him because of his faith, which was credited to him as righteousness. We can enjoy that same promise with our faith and desire to grow mature in Him. Verses 6:16-20 declare that God, in his eagerness to convey to men and women of faith the total trustworthiness of his Word, condescended to the human practice of adding a solemn oath to the promise he had given.[26] Because God never changes, we can know His Word is true. The promise of a high priest forever is Jesus Christ.

  1. Comparison to Melchizedek 7:1 to 8:13
    1. Why Melchizedek 7:1-28

Melchizedek is meant to be a Christ-type due to numerous attributes such as being a king, a priest, blessed, without father or mother, without genealogy, and without beginning of days or end of life. This typology presents Melchizedek to be like the Son of God.[27] The key aspect is found at the end of verse 7:3 that Melchizedek remains a priest perpetually. Christ, like Melchizedek, is a priest for as long as they live, of course Melchizedek’s priesthood ended at his death, whereas the priesthood of Christ lives on for eternity. Melchizedek, although never said to be a deity, was so great that Abraham gave him a tenth of his spoils. The Levitical priesthood, set apart by God, even appeared lesser than that of Melchizedek. This order of priesthood came before Levi was even born. Jesus is both Priest and King, while Aaron and his heirs could be only priests. The Levitical priesthood is based on the law while that of Melchizedek is a spiritual priesthood, fulfilled in Jesus Christ and settled in Heaven.[28] Interestingly, the writer of Hebrews points out that Moses never spoke of a priesthood in the tribe of Judah, from which Jesus came. Christ, from the priesthood of Melchizedek, arose, not by the law, but from an indestructible life. No verse is clearer about the priesthood of Christ than when emphatically stated in verse 7:17. The setting aside of the former commandments of the law due to their weakness and uselessness does not mean they were weak and useless at the time, but rather under Christ, they are weaker and useless. The law never made anyone perfect and no one was ever saved by the law. We have a better hope now in Jesus Christ. The Levitical priest became a priest through genealogy whereas Jesus became a priest through an oath, and the oath was returned with the promise from the Father that the Son would be a priest forever. Similarly, the Israelites were God’s chosen people by birth, but through Christ we have a better oath of promise from the Father. The Levitical priests were prevented from a permanent priesthood by death, but Jesus, because He is eternal, maintains His priesthood permanently. The result of the permanence of Christ’s priesthood is the continuous ability to save. It would be wholly different if His priestly office had been temporary. Indeed the whole force of argument in this epistle rests on the continuity of the office of Jesus.[29] He lives to make intercession and those that the Holy Spirit draws near will be saved until the end. Our High Priest is described as holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens as opposed to a Levitical priest who is not holy, guilty, defiled and among sinners. They are weak and He is strong. He needs no symbol to show his affection and strength as did the Levitical priest, for He has true affection and true salvation. He perfectly loves us and He can perfectly save us. He is able.[30]

  1. The main point 8:1-13

Verse 8:1 says that the main point in what has been said is that our High Priest sits at the right hand of God in Heaven. The earthly priest gave gifts and sacrifices in an earthly tabernacle, but the true tabernacle is in the heavens. Jesus could not offer sacrifices in the temple because he was from the line of Judah. God directed Moses to erect the tabernacle as a shadow of heavenly things. All that is put aside, because Christ has built a more excellent ministry and is the mediator of a better covenant. The first covenant was never meant to be a perfect and permanent covenant. The Messiah would have to fulfill that. The Old Testament covenant did not fail because God’s plan was faulty, but rather the people did not keep the conditions stipulated in the covenant.[31] The writer of Hebrews describes the fault found with them by God, citing the Old Testament scriptures. They were told a new covenant would be coming with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It would not be like the old covenant because they failed to adhere to that covenant and He did not turn His face toward them. The shift toward a new covenant promises that God will be their God and they will be His people. He will write the law on their hearts and will forgive their sin. This is an internal change as opposed to an external change. God’s demands were written tablets of stone but the new covenant makes it possible for God’s Word to be written in the believer’s heart.[32] The new covenant has made the first one obsolete.

  1. Christ our Priest 9:1 to 10:39
    1. Christ’s priesthood 9:1-28

The first covenant had many evidences of worship at the tabernacle such as the lampstand, the bread, the table, and the Holy of Holies. The priests were continually entering and performing their duties, but into the Holy of Holies, only the high priests could enter. We could never enter the most holy place with the tabernacle still standing, but our High Priest, Jesus Christ, has made a way for us to enter that place in a spiritual sense. He paid the sacrifice for us one time with eternally lasting effects. He entered through a more perfect tabernacle that was made in Heaven. The earthly tabernacle required the blood of goats and calves but Christ offered His blood and through the Holy Spirit offered himself without blemish. His offering cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Since a central theological theme in Hebrews is the use of covenant with the emphasis on Jesus, the perfect High Priest, we can infer as Christians that this involves perfection, at least on the Heavenly end[33]. That raises the seriousness of the covenant in Hebrews above any earthly covenant that could ever be made. Elevating this seriousness is the core principle outlined in verses 16 and 17 that death is a necessity for a covenant. It is of great significance that the Scripture does not say “this covenant” but rather “a covenant.” This does not necessarily mean any covenant that could ever be conceived, but it does mean that covenant which has eternal implications over men’s souls. The wonderful dichotomy outlined in Romans 5 teaches us that through one man sin entered the world causing death for all who would follow but through the death of one, Jesus Christ, the gift of eternal life became available. The mediator of the covenant, Jesus Christ, was sent to provide that necessary death by the maker of this covenant, God the Father. In Leviticus 17:11 God outlined the principle that blood must be shed before sin can be forgiven.[34] Although we may have difficulty coming to grips with this blood and/or death, it is a requirement of the maker of the covenant, our perfect Father in Heaven. Under God’s perfect plan, Christ only had to suffer and die once to fulfill the new covenant. We are promised that Christ will appear a second time for those that eagerly await Him.

  1. The law 10:1-18

Similar to 8:5, the law is described as a shadow of the good things to come that can make us perfect if we draw near. If the sacrifices under the law were only done once a year, there would be no revelation of sin as Paul describes in Romans 7. Since the sacrifices are done on a regular basis, they remind us of sin but they can never do away with sin as the blood of Jesus under the new covenant can. The quotation used in verses 5-7 is from Psalm 40 where David prayed for God’s deliverance. Animal sacrifices were inadequate and burnt offerings fell short but the will of God must be done. To obey ultimately means to follow Christ as Lord.[35] Our sanctification comes from the bodily sacrifice of Christ, rather than the body of an animal. This section closes, reiterating that there is no longer any need for sacrifices because, under the new covenant, sins are forgiven once and for all. Since the main section of the epistle ends in this way, the perfection of the offering that Christ has made is intended finally to dispose of the continuous performance of the old era. A new era has dawned.[36]

  1. The law fulfilled 10:19-39

We can now, with confidence, and in obedience, enter the Holy of Holies that resides in Heaven the moment we die through the blood of Christ. The veil has come down so there is no longer a need for a high priest to intercede, for there is only one mediator between God and man, and that is Jesus Christ. Since we are forgiven now, we must act now. We should draw near with a sincere heart and full assurance and a clean heart. There is no need to waver because we can confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and God raised Him from the dead. In practice, it is time to encourage one another in love and assemble together for fellowship and worship. How do we fall away and keep from sanctifying our hearts? Continuing in sin and drawing away from the fellowship will lead down that path. Verse 26 is the answer to the hypothetical question Paul raised in Romans 6:1, “Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” If we go on sinning willfully after hearing the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin. Such a deliberate sin, following a grasp of the truth implies a rejection of the truth, the cardinal feature of which is the uniqueness of the sacrifice of Christ. If that is rejected, no other adequate sacrifice remains.[37] The next verse should compel people to turn as it describes a terrifying judgment of fury and fire that will consume. To deny laws put forth by Moses is one thing, but to set aside a holy God will be repaid with His vengeance. To hold fast to your confession of faith during times of tribulation is not easy, but a greater award exists. To shrink back to destruction is not for those in Christ, for the righteous shall live by faith and their soul shall be preserved.

  • Faith in the Son 11:1 to 13:25
    1. Faith 11:1-40
      1. Faith described 11:1-3

Although many suggest that 11:1 is the definition, a better term is that it describes faith.[38] One could argue that they see the hand of God in many things so is that seen or unseen? Certainly, those who had no Scripture in hand and never saw a miracle of Jesus had tremendous faith. How much more should we be held responsible with the evidence that is before us? Our hope in Christ should give us confidence, conviction, and confession. More importantly to the point are the Old Testament saints whose faith credited them with righteousness. Another description is that the men of old gained approval. By the time of Christ, Judaism was no longer the supernatural system God had originally given. It had been twisted into a works system, with all kinds of legalistic requirements.[39] The concept of faith had been replaced by works and maybe faith. Since our works never save us, we should see the creation of the world as the power of God, even though we cannot see Him.[40] It is faith that enables us to recognize that God spoke through His Son and we see in Him the exact representation of God so that in obedience we serve and worship Him.

  1. Faith examples 11:4-40

Numerous examples of faith in obedience to God are given that demonstrate the faith the new covenant believer needs to keep from drifting away. Abel was faithful in giving the best offering, knowing that God would provide for his needs, regardless. Enoch avoided the sting of death due to his faith, the kind of faith that believed in the one and true God. Noah, though ridiculed, built the ark for a flood that certainly was not seen. A definition for Old Testament faith is given when we are told that for Abraham, his faith was credited to him as righteousness. Moses used his faith to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the wilderness. Rahab risked her life to help the Israelite spies but had faith that she would not perish. These acts of faith were done through incredible persecution, hardship, suffering, and threat of death. They were truly men for whom the world was not worthy. Through their faith they did not get to see the promise of the Messiah, nor did they reach perfection. Having read of all of these examples of faith, the chapter closes with the point that there is still something better, Jesus Christ.[41]

  1. Life 12:1-29
    1. Discipline 12:1-11

Similar to 10:21-25, we are to recognize that we have many others who have endured so much and remained faithful. Why then, would we resort to letting the little things hinder our faith? We should be like a runner in a long race, building our endurance to remain faithful to the end. Our faith should be in and pointed to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who tolerated persecution, torture and death to rise in majesty and rest at the right hand of the Father. We should recognize that if we do get off track, the Father will discipline us as a father disciplines his son. He disciplines us for our good. Most of us can probably look back and wonder why God was dealing so harshly with us, but we now recognize it was the loving discipline of our Father in Heaven who knew so much more than us. When we have troubles, problems, and heartaches, we should ask God to show us if this discipline is punishment, education, or prevention. We may not know at the time, but by faith, we know that God knows what is best for us.[42]

  1. Devotion 12:12-29

Although none of us will be perfect at the moment of death, we will be made perfect at death through the blood of Christ. The process toward that begins at the moment of conversion to become sanctified. We should immediately seek to be at peace with all men and help them experience the grace of God as we have. Our drive should be toward a living God and our devotion directed at His holiness. We should be among those things which are unshakable. Allowing encumbrances and the sins that so easily entangle us will cause us to be shaken with the things that do not remain. We though, receive a kingdom, the one ruled by Jesus Christ.[43] Since we are not shaken and since we are righteous in Christ, we should direct our love, devotion, and gratitude toward God.

  1. Love 13:1-25
    1. Charity 13:1-6

Through our devotion and appreciation toward God, we are to direct love to the brethren, to show hospitality to strangers, to remember the prisoners, and to reach out to the ill-treated. We are to honor our spouse by keeping the marriage bed undefiled, to be content with material things, and know that the Lord will provide all we ever need. We can say this with confidence because the Lord is unchangeable.[44]

  1. Worship 13:7-25

We have been led by many of the faithful and have seen their unwavering faith. We know that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We know that we cannot depend on the blood of animals to save us and to be aware of strange teachings. We are called to go out of the camp and continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God and give thanks in His name. We can do this in simple things like sharing with others and obeying our leaders and know our Lord will equip us for every good work.


The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus has a superior ministry that establishes a superior covenant that is able to bring to maturity those who have faith. As the author and finisher of the faith, Jesus is the superior model of faith.[45] The book of Hebrews contains a number of warning passages telling us things such as to not drift away from what we have heard, to not neglect so great a salvation, to not be dull of hearing, and not cause others to stumble. We are told to love the brethren and realize Jesus Christ does not change so we can hold firm in our faith. Christ is superior to any other priest. This book is an encouragement for us toward spiritual maturity with the goal of worshiping and glorifying God. The purpose of Hebrews is to recognize the supremacy of Christ so that our focus will be on service to Him.


Allen, Clifton, J., ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary: Volume 12: General Articles Hebrews – Revelation, by Charles A. Trentham. Nashville. Broadman, 1972.

Barker, Kenneth L. and John R. Kohlenberger III. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.

Barnes, Albert. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1972.

Butler, Trent C. Holman Bible Dictionary: Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991.

Guthrie, Donald. The Letter to the Hebrews. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 1998.

Kistemaker, Simon J. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984.

MacArthur, James. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Hebrews. Chicago: Moody, 1983.

Pfeiffer, Charles F. and Everett F. Harrison, eds. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1962.

Stedman, Ray C. The New Testament Commentary Series: Hebrews. Available from, Leicester, England: Intervarsity, 1992. Accessed 12 March, 2007.

Toussaint, Stanley D. “BE107 Hebrews, General Epistles, and Revelation.” Class Notes. Dallas Theological Seminary, 2007.

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: New Testament: Volume 2. Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2001.

Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck, eds. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by Zane C. Hodges. Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 1983.

[1] Simon J. Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: Hebrews. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984), 56-7.

[2] Clifton J. Allen, ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary: Volume 12: General Articles Hebrews – Revelation. (Nashville: Broadman, 1972), 4.

[3] Kistemaker, 14.

[4] John F. MacArthur. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Hebrews. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983), xv.

[5] Donald Guthrie. The Letter to the Hebrews. (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 1998), 64-5.

[6] Warren W. Wiersbe. The Bible Exposition Commentary: New Testament: Volume 2.  (Colorado Springs, CO: Victor, 2001), 281.

[7] Albert Barnes. Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1972), 1234.

[8] MacArthur, 49.

[9] Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrsion, eds. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. (Chicago: Moody, 1962), 1411.

[10] Kistemaker, 72.

[11] Ray C. Stedman. The New Testament Commentary Series: Hebrews (Available from, Leicester, England: Intervarsity, 1992), Accessed 12 March, 2007.

[12] Stanley D. Toussaint. “BE107 Hebrews, General Epistles, and Revelation.” (Class Notes. Dallas Theological Seminary, 2007), 9.

[13] John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, by Zane C. Hodges. (Colorodo Springs, CO: Victor, 1983), 786.

[14] Kenneth L. Barker and John R. Kohlenberger III. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994) , 953.

[15] Allen, 35.

[16] MacArthur, 94.

[17] Toussaint, 13.

[18] Stedman, accessed 18 March, 2007.

[19] Guthrie, 119.

[20] Kistemaker, 127.

[21] MacArthur, 121.

[22] Ibid, 123.

[23] Barnes, 1263.

[24] Toussaint, 17.

[25] Guthrie, 147-48.

[26] Stedman, accessed 18 March, 2007.

[27] Walvoord, 797.

[28] Kistemaker, 199.

[29] Guthrie, 166.

[30] MacArthur, 203.

[31] Kistemaker, 224.

[32] Wiersbe, 307.

[33] Holman., s.v. “Covenant.”

[34] Wiersbe, 311.

[35] Toussaint, 25.

[36] Guthrie, 209.

[37] Ibid, 217.

[38] Toussaint, 29.

[39] MacArthur, 285.

[40] Kistemaker, 313.

[41] Pfeiffer, 1423

[42] MacArthur, 388-89.

[43] Kistemaker, 400.

[44] Guthrie, 270.

[45] Holman Bible Dictionary, 1991 ed., s.v. “Hebrews.”