is uniquely Jewish (hence the name). It is clearly to Christians,
but specifically to Jewish Christians. It is filled with teaching
about how Jesus is so much greater than anyone or anything known
in the Old Testament era, and it has many exhortations and warnings
against going back to the old ways. Remember most of the earliest
Christians were Jewish. Why should Gentile Christians read
it? Because it is packed with insights and understanding, that
reveal Jesus so gloriously, that we must surely be moved by the
wonder of it.
the first century, while there were still many tensions in belief,
especially among the Jewish Christians, constantly having to fend
off pressures on them from the Jewish culture, the writer to the
Hebrews goes to length to show Jesus, the Son of God, is greater
that the angels (ch.1), Moses (ch.3), and Aaron and the Levitical
priesthood (ch.5), introducing a new covenant that is greater
than the old (v.8). He concludes by bringing challenges to faith
and endurance in later chapters.
1: The Wonder & Superiority of Jesus
Jesus superior to angels
2: A Wonderful Gospel to be held onto
Jesus, the bringer of salvation
3: Gospel greater than Law
Jesus superior to Moses
4: Sabbath Rest
the goal to be worked for, overcoming
5: Jesus our High Priest
the role of high priest that Jesus
6: Exhortations, Warnings & Assurances
exhortation not to fall away,
warning of what could happen, assurances by God's promises
7: Melchizedek and Jesus
how Jesus fulfils the Psa 110
8: Jesus, High Priest of a New Covenant
how Jesus ushers in a new covenant
replacing the ineffectual old covenant
9: Earthly Worship & the use of Blood
how old worship used blood and
how Jesus' death replaced that
10: Encouragements & Warnings to Persevere
Jesus' sacrifice and it acting
as a means of encouraging us to persevere
11: The Gallery of Faith
the testimonies of the saints
of old to encourage us to persevere today
12: Exhortation, Discipline, Warnings, today's reality – not Law
but Holy Community
further call to persevere, teaching
about discipline, living holy lives
13: Concluding Exhortations
a miscellaneous bunch of further
directions for living out the faith.
found in Hebrews
book (letter) has large amounts of pure teaching doctrine
(6 chapters) but there are also many warnings
and exhortations (7 chapters). The truth is that
even chapters with warnings and exhortations are interspersed
with teaching. The following are examples of those exhortations
which tend to increase the further through the letter he goes.
An additional study would be to go through picking out specific
warnings but we will leave the reader to do that!
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we
have heard, so that we do not drift away.
fix your thoughts on Jesus
See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful,
unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.
But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,”
so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.
since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be
careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that
no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time
let us move beyond the elementary
teachings about Christ
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end,
so that what you hope for may be fully realized.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through
faith and patience inherit what has been promised.
we comment elsewhere, although the book has a distinctly Jewish
flavour, all of these exhortations could apply to any of us in
the church today.
to CHAPTER 1)