By Jeff Arnette
Most people have favorites when it comes to the Bible. For me personally, Hebrew’s has always been near the top. Perhaps it is because the book helped me conceptualize the end of the old Covenant and the start of the New.
A key word or idea that stands out through the book is the word “better”. The author is presenting the case that Christianity is better than Judaism. These believers are facing hardships some of which have to do with turning away from the faith of their families and community. As such they are outcasts, the outcasts who have turned to a new way of life. A part of me can totally relate to this and that is another reason the book resonates so deeply for me.
One thing to note is the book is anonymous meaning it does not tell us who wrote the letter. A lot of potential people are proposed but for me, personally, it feels and sounds very Pauline.
The early church was also convinced it was Paul. Several testimonies as early as 180 AD attribute it to Paul, with Luke writing it in Greek. While that is not absolute it does help us decide authorship. The most convincing for me is the argument’s used in Hebrew’s is typical of Paul. Take for example, Heb. 1:2 and compare that to Colossians 1:16. It is the same basic point. I could give you more but let me challenge you to read it and get a feel for the book yourself.
Hebrew’s is also a riddle when it comes to deciding the form or genre of the letter. It ends (Heb. 13:22-25) like a letter, but it does not have the typical Introduction and greetings of a letter.
Another part of this riddle is that the letter feels like a sermon especially considering some of the quotes he uses. At Hebrew’s 2:6 he even says, “it has been testified somewhere…” which sounds just like a preacher who cannot remember exactly where the quote came from. In fact, in Hebrew’s 11:32 he uses two phases that sound even more compelling, “what more can I say?” and “time would fail me.”
In every page of the letter, Pauls’ point is clearly, Jesus is better. He is our prophet, better than the angels, better than Moses, and his covenant is better.
Do not give up your faith and do not let go of Jesus. He is always worth it!
Sunday, October 16, 2022
An Introduction to Hebrews
By Jeff Arnette