G Hebrews And The Land Of Milk And Honey
Empires rose and empires fell. The Babylonians, the Assyrians, and the Persians accumulated immense wealth and power that allowed them to build capital cities of striking beauty.
But their cities and palaces eventually fell into decay and were covered by thousands of years of sand and dust.
One of their relatively powerless contemporary groups outlived those great empires. These people were the Hebrews, known also as Israelites or, later, Jews.
Their early contribution to humankind was not wealthy empires or groundbreaking technology. Rather, it was the revolutionary idea that there was only one god, a belief known as monotheism. This one Hebrew god was called Yahweh. To the Hebrews, Yahweh was all powerful and all knowing, yet beyond human understanding. The religion based around this god influenced the founding of Christianity and Islam.
Why Does This Matter
Why should we care about the differences in our Bibles? And why do we have to know about the Tanakh?
First, we have to understand where our audience comes from before we can tell them about the gospel. When Stephen preaches to a Jewish audience, he begins by citing several items from the Hebrew Bible that they wouldve studied and known . He does so before shifting the conversation to Jesus.
In the same way, we have to understand why we cant start immediately with the New Testament when talking with a Jewish audience. They dont see the New Testament as Gods word or part of the biblical canon.
Seeing this, we can start with whats familiar. We can talk about the similarities between our version of the Old Testament and their Tanakh and use that as a diving-in point for dialogue.
We can move from similarities to talking about the Messianic prophecies and ask them who they think the Scripture is referring to.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on Davids throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this .
But we cannot get there without finding common ground.
Epistle To The Hebrews
|Part of a series of articles on|
|Paul in the Bible|
The Epistle to the Hebrews, or Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Greek manuscripts, simply To the Hebrews is one of the books of the New Testament.
The text does not mention the name of its author, but was traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle. However, doubt on Pauline authorship in the Roman Church is reported by Eusebius. Modern biblical scholarship considers its authorship unknown, perhaps written in deliberate imitation of the style of Paul.
Scholars of Greek consider its writing to be more polished and eloquent than any other book of the New Testament, and “the very carefully composed and studied Greek of Hebrews is not Paul’s spontaneous, volatile contextual Greek”. The book has earned the reputation of being a masterpiece. It has also been described as an intricate New Testament book. Some scholars believe it was written for Jewish Christians who lived in Jerusalem. Its essential purpose was to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. At this time, certain believers were considering turning back to Judaism to escape being persecuted for accepting Christ as their saviour, now following this system of grace . The theme of the epistle is the doctrine of the person of Christ and his role as mediator between God and humanity.
Recommended Reading: Follow Your Heart Bible Verse
Jesus Is The Fulfillment Of The Hebrew Scriptures
The book of Hebrews compares and contrasts Jesus to key historical people and events from the Hebrew Bible. Through these comparisons, we see his superiority. He is greater than the angels, the Torah, Moses, the promised land, earthly priests, sacrifices, and the covenant. He is the hope for a new creation, our eternal priest, and the perfect sacrifice.
Referencesisbn Links Support Nwe Through Referral Fees
- Boadt, Lawrence, Helga B. Croner, and Leon Klenicki. Biblical Studies, Meeting Ground of Jews and Christians. Studies in Judaism and Christianity. New York: Paulist Press, 1980. ISBN 9780809123445
- Collins, John Joseph. Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2004. ISBN 9780800629915
- Rabin, Elliott. Understanding the Hebrew Bible: A Reader’s Guide. Jersey City, N.J.: KTAV, 2006. ISBN 9780881258714
- Toorn, K. van der. Scribal Culture and the Making of the Hebrew Bible. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2007.
Don’t Miss: Does The Bible Say Anything About Masterbation
How Old Is Hebrews And Who Wrote It
In short, not exactly. We can present a few possible authors that scholars have suggested throughout all of church history.
The first, and one many seem to attribute the authorship to, is Paul. Church history until the past few centuries had attributed the authorship to him as well.
After all, many of the examples he uses, such as running the race of faith , and a great deal of the language appears to reflect the style of Paul. However, the book also seems to miss some of the hallmarks of this author that we see in other books.
For instance, it misses the salutation we often see in Pauls writings , and the book uses the of the Old Testament instead of the Masoretic, which Paul often used. Although perhaps Paul had written the book, perhaps someone who had followed him closely in ministry, and heard his sermons and the examples he used compiled this book.
Second, that leaves us with a close companion of Paul who accompanied him on his journeys, Luke. Got Questions explains that Luke, given his Greek and Gentile background, may have favored the Septuagint translation over the Masoretic translation and compiled the book, after having heard Pauls preaching and examples he used in sermons.
Others have suggested a number of Pauls companions such as Barnabas or Apollos , among others.
Hebrews Role In The Bible
Apart from Romans, Hebrews is the most doctrine-heavy book of the New Testament1. This book compellingly preaches and re-preaches Christ to those who know Him even today. No other book of the Bible so thoroughly explores Jesus New Covenant and current priestly ministry like Hebrews.
But thats not really what this book is famous for. Today, Christians immediately associate two things with the book of Hebrews: the mystery of who wrote it, and the Hall of Faith.
We dont know who wrote Hebrews.
It could have been Barnabas, Priscilla, Apollosit could have been almost anyone. Heres what we do know, though: Hebrews was likely written by someone who heard about Jesus after He ascended. The author claims that salvation was first spoken through Jesus, then through those who heard Jesus. Those who heard then performed signs, wonders, and miracles .
The author of Hebrews puts himself in a third category of people who heard about Jesus second-hand. This would exclude Paul, who specifically says he did not receive the gospel from men, but from Jesus Himself . Besides, the feel of Hebrews is quite different from that of the Pauline epistles.
Read Also: Bible Verses On Solitude
B Melchizedek And His Relation To The Aaronic Priesthood
1. What we know of Melchizedek from Genesis 14:18-20.
For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, meaning king of peace, without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
a. Who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings: After Abraham defeated the confederation of kings who took his nephew Lot captive, he met with a mysterious priest named Melchizedek, who was also king over the city of Salem .
i. History shows the danger of combining religious and civic authority. Therefore God did not allow the kings of Israel to be priests and the priests to be kings. Melchizedek, who was the king of Salem and priest of the Most High God was an unique exception.
b. Priest of the Most High God: Melchizedek was not merely a worshipper of the true God. He had the honored title priest of the Most High God. The greatness of God magnified the greatness of Melchizedeks priesthood.
i. Any priesthood is evaluated according to the status of the deity who is served, which means that Melchizedeks must have been of a highly exalted kind.
c. And blessed him: Melchizedek blessed Abraham, and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe, which is a tenth part of all .
A Jesus The Superior Savior
1. Jesus brought a revelation superior to the prophets of old.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son,
a. God: The Book of Hebrews begins with no mention of the author, only of God. The human author of Hebrews remains unknown, but the books inspiration by the Holy Spirit is evident.
i. The earliest statement on the authorship of Hebrews is from Clement of Alexandria, who said that Paul wrote it in Hebrew and Luke translated into Greek . Perhaps the majority of Bible teachers and commentators believe the Apostle Paul wrote the Hebrews without attaching his name to it, though his original readers knew him .
ii. However, many other commentators believe it is unlikely that Paul wrote this book. Dods quotes Farrar: The writer cites differently from St. Paul he writes differently he argues differently he declaims differently he constructs and connects his sentences differently he builds up his paragraphs on a wholly different model His style is the style of a man who thinks as well as writes in Greek whereas St. Paul wrote in Greek but thought in Syriac.
iii. F.F. Bruce quoted Calvin on this point: The manner of teaching and the style sufficiently show that Paul was not the author, and the writer himself confesses in the second chapter that he was one of the disciples of the apostles, which is wholly different from the way in which Paul spoke of himself.
You May Like: Does The Bible Speak Against Cremation
What Were People Feeling
Whatever the date, the recipients of Hebrews were clearly discouraged and disheartened in their faith and needed the message of encouragement that you can find in the book.
Although often called an epistle it is more like a sermon, designed to encourage its hearers to continued faithfulness.
You will notice that it does not open, as most New Testament letters do, with any introduction or reference to personal connection with the audience, and its greetings at the end are cursory in the extreme. But at the end , the author does say I have written to you briefly. This implies a letter maybe it is halfway between a sermon and a letter?
Because of the complex nature of the book, there are many different structures offered for it.
One possible approach is to focus entirely on Christ, like this:1.12.18 Christ is superior to the angels3.14.16 Christ is superior to Moses5.17.28 Christ is superior to Aaron8.110.39 Christ is superior to the old covenant11.112.29 Christ is superior to old covenant believers13.125 Some final encouragements
There will be lots of names you will not know dont worry if you cant place them all. The key ones are given below.
What Is Hebrews About
In this article, we’ll cover questions like how old is Hebrews? And what is Hebrews about. In the case of this section, let’s tackle the latter.
Hebrews, as one may guess from the title, is written to the Hebrews, particularly Jewish people who had converted to Christianity during the first century, prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Because the Jewish audience would have had a rich understanding of Old Testament history, the main purpose of Hebrews is to show how Christ fulfilled prophecies set forth in the Old Testament and to prove the sufficiency of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
There are a few reasons why the author may have written to a Jewish audience in these terms. During the start of the early church, a number of the Jewish converts tried to convince the Gentile converts of Christianity that they needed to be circumcised . Circumcision, a stumbling block for many converts, had been a Jewish practice when a child was weaned, or when a man converted to the Jewish faith.
So, when Jews converted to Christianity, they still had ideas ingrained into their minds from the Old Covenant, such as circumcisions.
Hebrews seeks to show them how Christ fulfilled the law, and that under the New Covenant they would no longer need to practice circumcision or sacrifices.
You May Like: Does Bible Say Anything About Cremation
Who Wrote The Book Of Hebrews
- ZA Blog
When you consider the wide agreement among biblical scholars about who wrote every other book of the New Testament, its a little mysterious that we dont know who wrote Hebrews.
There are a handful of contenders. Lets take a look at the reasons each of them might be the author.
Did Paul write Hebrews?
It is possible Paul wrote the book of Hebrews. There are a couple reasons why this might be the case.
First, in the earliest manuscript editions of the New Testament books, Hebrews is included after Romans among the books written by the apostle Paul. This was taken as evidence that Paul had written it, and some Eastern churches accepted Hebrews as canonical earlier than in the West.
Second, both Clement of Alexandria and Origen claimed a Pauline association for the book but recognized that Paul himself probably did not put pen to paper for this book, even though they did not know the authors name.
Clement of Alexandria suggests that Paul wrote the book originally in Hebrew and that Luke translated it into Greek, though the Greek of Hebrews bears no resemblance to translation Greek .
The King James Version assumes Pauline authorship
The nuanced position on the authorship question by the Alexandrian fathers was obscured by later church tradition that mistook Pauline association for Pauline .
Parallels between Hebrews and Pauls writings
Reasons Paul did not write Hebrews
Learn more about the Bible
Hebrew Grammar And Vocabulary
Grammar and vocabulary form the foundation of language. To interact intelligently with Hebrew language resources, students need at least a basic grasp of each. These resources are highly accessible, and you can move through them at your own pace.
Learning Biblical Hebrew: Reading for Comprehension: An Introductory Grammar
Read Also: Scripture About A Strong Woman
The Letter To The Hebrews
As early as the second century, this treatise, which is of great rhetorical power and force in its admonition to faithful pilgrimage under Christs leadership, bore the title To the Hebrews. It was assumed to be directed to Jewish Christians. Usually Hebrews was attached in Greek manuscripts to the collection of letters by Paul. Although no author is mentioned , a reference to Timothy suggested connections to the circle of Paul and his assistants. Yet the exact audience, the author, and even whether Hebrews is a letter have long been disputed.
The author saw the addressees in danger of apostasy from their Christian faith. This danger was due not to any persecution from outsiders but to a weariness with the demands of Christian life and a growing indifference to their calling . The authors main theme, the priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus , is not developed for its own sake but as a means of restoring their lost fervor and strengthening them in their faith. Another important theme of the letter is that of the pilgrimage of the people of God to the heavenly Jerusalem . This theme is intimately connected with that of Jesus ministry in the heavenly sanctuary .
The letter concludes with specific moral commandments , in the course of which the author recalls again his central theme of the sacrifice of Jesus and the courage needed to associate oneself with it in faith .
The principal divisions of the Letter to the Hebrews are the following:
After More Than Two Decades Of Work A New Hebrew Bible To Rival The King James
The pre-eminent scholar Robert Alter has finally finished his own translation.
Robert Alter in his office at home in Berkeley, California.Credit…Mark Mahaney for The New York Times
One morning this fall, at his home high in the Berkeley hills, the literary critic and translator Robert Alter chatted with me about the dilemmas he faced while translating the Hebrew Bible. Alter, who is 83, sat on a sofa with a long-limbed, feline watchfulness. Behind him, a picture window looked out onto a blooming garden now and then a hummingbird appeared over his left shoulder, punctuating his thoughts with winged flourishes. He occasionally cast a probing eye on his brand-new, complete translation of and commentary on the Hebrew Bible from Genesis to Chronicles which, at more than 3,000 pages, in three volumes, occupied most of an end table. Published this month, it represents the culmination of nearly two and a half decades of work.
Well, Alter said, speaking in the unrushed, amused tone of a veteran footnoter. That Hebrew word, nefesh, can mean many things. It can be breath or life-breath. It can mean throat or neck or gullet. Sometimes it can suggest blood. It can mean person or even a dead person, corpse. Or it can be appetite or something more general: life or even the essential self. But its not quite soul.
Lodged? Alter said to me, his startling blue eyes widening. Like a chicken bone?
Do you identify? I asked Alter.
Recommended Reading: Does The Bible Speak Against Cremation