Hebrews 1:1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
Today, I am going to start a new study on the Book of Hebrews. Hebrews is written as a sermon to a group of Christians whose faith was being challenged. It is not an easy book to read. It is helpful to know something about the Old Testament before coming to this book. The book does not claim any authorship. It is not written as a letter. It simply starts abruptly with a prologue. There have been many ideas over the centuries of who wrote it: Paul, Barnabas, Apollos, and others. I like what Origen, an early Church Father wrote, “But who wrote the epistle, truly God knows.” The author knew the Old Testament well. The Greek of this books is advanced, high level, so the author was well educated. The audience has traditionally been claimed to be Jewish Christians who were second generation believers. There were two pressures on the group: external persecution and internal lack of commitment. It lacks most of the elements of a letter and seems more like a speech or sermon. There are many commands that are supported by Old Testament quotations or allusions and examples. The author addressed sagging faith, exhorts to hold firm to confession of Jesus Christ, warns of God’s judgment.
The book begins with a reference to the past. Hebrews, more than any other New Testament book, bridges the Old Testament to Jesus. This verse confirms the inspiration of what is recorded in the Old Testament. Hebrews will have many quotations of the Old Testament. God spoke through the prophets who prophesied about the coming Messiah. The prophets spoke to people of their time, but much of what they said applied also to future generations. It is important for us to read the Old Testament, not simply for the timeless truths present, but the time bound and historical messages because these will prepare for the New Testament. Without the Old Testament, we have no firm foundation or context for the New Testament. Too many Christians do not read the Old Testament. As a result, their faith and understanding are weak. If we do not study the Old Testament well, our thinking will be more mythical than historical. Christianity only becomes moral and not real. Studying Hebrews will help us make this connection.
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