Why Study This Book
The book of Hebrews testifies of the superiority of Jesus Christ. He is greater than the angels and has a more excellent name and a higher calling. Angels are servants of God, but Jesus Christ is His Son. This book also teaches that Jesus is greater than Moses and that His ministry brought a new covenant superior to the old covenant under the law of Moses. As the Great High Priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood, His priesthood is greater than that of the high priests under the law of Moses.
While the scriptures are filled with references to Jesus Christâs atoning sacrifice, His Resurrection, and His Ascension into heaven, Hebrews emphasizes the ongoing work of the Redeemer in the lives of all who turn to Him in obedience and faith. Studying the book of Hebrews can help students to better understand the doctrine of the Atonement and inspire them to live with faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
Do Christians Believe In The Old Testament
The Christian Bible has two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is the original Hebrew Bible, the sacred scriptures of the Jewish faith, written at different times between about 1200 and 165 BC. The New Testament books were written by Christians in the first century AD.
A Simple Review Of Some Evidence
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Archaeological And Literary Evidence
Archaeological research suggests that someone named Priscilla held a position of tremendous honor in the early church. Her name was found inscribed on Roman monuments, churches, and on an ancient Roman burial site called the Coemeterium Priscillae. One of the earliest churches in Rome was known as the Titulus of St. Priscilla. Moreover, a woman named Priscilla was said to have been burned to death in the Ostia Way, and was buried in what was later discovered as the Church of St. Prisca. This story was compiled in a 10th century work known as the Acts of St. Prisca.1 These ancient remembrances indicate that someone named Priscilla had an impressive impact on the early church.
Introduction To Hebrews: Who Is The Author
Introduction to Hebrews
Recently, I was given the task of introducing the book of Hebrews at Randolph Street Baptist Church in Charleston, West Virginia. Over the next few posts, Id like to explore introductory matters related to this important book. I believe knowing the background, that is, the historical setting, the literary design, and the major theological themes, of a given book of Scripture can greatly help us interpret it correctly.
Lately, my family and I have developed a fascination with the famous sleuths of history. Often, after a hard days work, our reward is to gather in front of a screen and to watch an episode of Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown, or some other well-known detective. One aspect of watching famous sleuths in action that we enjoy is that we believe, or at least hope, that doing so will sharpen our own powers of observation. As we watch, we try to pick up subtle clues to the identity of the villain. Now I submit to you that being a serious student of the Bible and being a master detective have more in common than you might realize. Both the seasoned interpreter and the expert sleuth look for clues and draw inferences from the evidence they discover. Interpreting the book of Hebrews is certainly no exception, as we will see.
Who Is the Author?
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Why Apollos Might Have Been The Author Of Hebrews
Heres what we know about Apollos from the Bible:
- He was from Alexandria and traveled in the Apostle Pauls orbit .
- He was taught by Pauls companions, Priscilla and Aquila ,
- Paul knew Apollos personally, and encouraged him in his ministry .
- He was a highly educated Alexandrian who would have been schooled in the literary style exemplified by Hebrews.
- Moreover, as a Jewish believer , he had the thorough knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures in their Greek version that the book of Hebrews exclusively uses.
- Apollos was a great defender of the Christian faith, vigorously refuting the opposing Jews in public debate and proving from the Old Testament that Jesus was the Messiah .
- He eventually became as influential as the apostles Paul and Peter .
We also know from the very early history of the church that Apollos would also fit the memory handed down to both Clement of Alexandria and to Origen , who claimed a Pauline association. Origin also recognized that Paul himself probably did not write Hebrews.
For these reasons, Apollos of Alexandria has been a leading contender for the authorship of Hebrews at least as far back as the great Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, but he has not been the only contender.
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.
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Is The Hebrew Bible The Same As The Old Testament
The sacred books that make up the anthology modern scholars call the Hebrew Bible and Christians call the Old Testament developed over roughly a millennium the oldest texts appear to come from the eleventh or tenth centuries BCE. However, most of the other biblical texts are somewhat later.
The Canonicity Of The Book Of Hebrews
What is the Bible canon, and how did this term come about? What are some of the aspects that are used to determine a books canonicity?
The English word canon goes back to the Greek word kanon and then to the Hebrew qaneh. Its basic meaning is reed, our English word cane being derived from it. Since a reed was sometimes used as a measuring rod, the word kanon came to mean a standard or rule. It was also used to refer to a list or index and when so applied to the Bible denotes the list of books which are received as Holy Scripture. Thus if one speaks of canonical writings, one is speaking of those books which are regarded as having divine authority and which comprise our Bible.
Within the Old Testament, we see that the books were written by persons that were known to all of Israel: such as Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezra and Nehemiah. In the New Testament as well as the Old, the determining factor in whether a book was canonical was its propheticity. If we read Deuteronomy 13:1-8, where Moses sets out the criteria of a prophet, we see that he was a man of signs and wonders, as well as a proclaimer of Gods Word. Whether the people of God were the Israelites or the first-century Christian congregation, they accepted the proclamations from men who possessed supernatural gifts as the inspired Word of God
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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.
Why Paul Is Not The Author Of Hebrews
Pauline authorship should be rejected despite the attempts, both ancient and modern, to mount a defense.
First, in Pauls 13 letters he identifies himself by name, thus the absence of a name in Hebrews renders it doubtful that Paul wrote the letter.15
Second, stylistic arguments should not be relied on too heavily since the Pauline corpus is so limited. Still, the polished Greek style of Hebrews doesnt accord with what we find in the Pauline letters.
Third, the writer separates himself from the original eyewitnesses in Heb 2:3. Paul, by way of contrast, emphasizes repeatedly his authority as an apostle of Jesus Christ and refuses to put himself in a subordinate position to the apostles and eyewitnesses. This last reason, in particular, rules out the notion that Paul was the author.
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Old Testament: The Single Author Theory
The Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, narrates the history of the people of Israel over about a millennium, beginning with Gods creation of the world and humankind, and contains the stories, laws and moral lessons that form the basis of religious life for both Jews and Christians. For at least 1,000 years, both Jewish and Christian tradition held that a single author wrote the first five books of the BibleGenesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomywhich together are known as the Torah and the Pentateuch . That single author was believed to be Moses, the Hebrew prophet who led the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt and guided them across the Red Sea toward the Promised Land.
Yet nearly from the beginning, readers of the Bible observed that there were things in the so-called Five Books of Moses that Moses himself could not possibly have witnessed: His own death, for example, occurs near the end of Deuteronomy. A volume of the Talmud, the collection of Jewish laws recorded between the 3rd and 5th centuries A.D., dealt with this inconsistency by explaining that Joshua likely wrote the verses about Moses death.
Rembrandt van Rijn, painting of Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law, 1659.
That’s one opinion among many, says Joel Baden, a professor at Yale Divinity School and author of The Composition of the Pentateuch: Renewing the Documentary Hypothesis. But they’re already asking the questionwas it possible or not possible for to have written them?
Arguments For Pauline Authorship
The arguments for the Pauline authorship of Hebrews are admittedly weak. The main argument for Pauline authorship rests in its acceptance by early church fathers as Pauline, but, as has just been shown, this is shaky evidence at best. Many, early church fathers did not agree with the idea of Pauline authorship, and those who did were not always wholehearted in their agreement.
The only other real argument comes from the ideological content of Hebrews. It very obviously has Pauline theology within it. However, this does not mean that Paul actually wrote the book, only that his teachings were instrumental in its writing. There is a massive difference between the two.
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Who Wrote The Bible
Scholars have investigated the issue for centuries, but many questions persist.
Over centuries, billions of people have read the Bible. Scholars have spent their lives studying it, while rabbis, ministers and priests have focused on interpreting, teaching and preaching from its pages.
As the sacred text for two of the worlds leading religions, Judaism and Christianity, as well as other faiths, the Bible has also had an unmatched influence on literatureparticularly in the Western world. It has been translated into nearly 700 languages, and while exact sales figures are hard to come by, its widely considered to be the worlds best-selling book.
But despite the Bibles undeniable influence, mysteries continue to linger over its origins. Even after nearly 2,000 years of its existence, and centuries of investigation by biblical scholars, we still dont know with certainty who wrote its various texts, when they were written or under what circumstances.
Differences Between Paul And Hebrews
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Scholarship And The Epistle To The Hebrews
Biblical scholars argue that Hebrews was written by a highly educated teacher, one who was well acquainted with the various philosophical debates of the day. As evidence of Priscillas skill, Luke did not hesitate to record her capabilities as a teacher of the great orator Apollos. Moreover, because Priscilla had ministered in three great Roman centers as an apologete and church planter, she was likely skilled in leading to Christ those who had been deceived by the popular religious competitors to Christianity. Having lived and worked among these churches as a leader and patron, Priscilla had a burden for their safety and success. What better way to ensure the advantage of these churches than to pen an Epistle for the guidance and exhortation of her leaders?
Reasons Paul Did Not Write Hebrews
In spite of all this evidence for Pauline authorship, few New Testament scholars today believe Paul wrote it.
Both John Calvin and Martin Luther shared this judgment as far as the sixteenth century.
Even centuries earlier in the fourth century, the church of Rome did not believe Paul wrote Hebrews, possibly retaining a latent memory of the actual author .
In other words, the rejection of Pauline authorship of Hebrews is a long-standing position in the church.
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