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  Hebrews 5:1 - 6:20


Before you start reading the Notes, may we recommend the following:

1. You pause and pray and ask for God's help for the Bible to come alive to you.

2. You have your Bible open infront of you and read the passage through completely first.

3. You work your way through the questions looking for answers in your Bible.

4. Then and only then, read through the commentary.

(NB. These notes have been written using the New International Version of the Bible)


Study 16
Study 17
Study 18
Study 19
Study 20
Recap 3



Study No.15 : The Nature of the High Priest  : Heb 5:1-6


A. Find Out:


1. What was the role of the high priest? v.1

2. Why was he a sympathetic person? v.2

3. What did he have to do for himself? v.3

4. How did he become that? v.4

5. How was Christ qualified? v.5

6. What was he to become? v.6


B. Think:

1. What are we told about the high priest in this passage?

2. How does this flow on from the previous verses?

3. So how do these verses encourage us?

C. Comment:

     The writer keeps intermixing themes. He is constantly referring back to Jesus who is the central focus, but he's also warning about our possible failures to believe, to respond and to receive all that is supposed to be ours. Having just referred to Jesus as our High Priest he now fills out the analogy, perhaps to remind us that we do have one who can deal with our sins and our failures.

     The high priest (in the Old Testament), he says, was a man chosen by God to represent men before God. His role was to offer sacrifices before God on behalf of the nation. Yet he was very human and had to offer sacrifices for himself as well, because of his own failures. Because of this he did not stand aloof from the rest of those for whom he offered sacrifices, but instead identified with them and felt for them, a clear echo of what the writer said in 4:15 referring to Jesus.

     The writer is clearly building a picture of the nature of the work of Jesus on our behalf. He not only brings warnings but he also seeks to win our hearts by showing us the wonder of Jesus and the wonder of the salvation he has brought. Jesus was also God's Son (begotten not created) and therefore had the best position to intercede on our behalf in the manner of a priest. (see tomorrow for Melchizedek)


D. Application:

1. Jesus fully understands us and brings us to his Father in heaven.

2. Jesus role is to reconcile us to God.




Study No.16 : The Obedient Son  : Heb 5:6-10


A. Find Out:

1. What did the Scriptures say Jesus would be? v.6

2. What did Jesus do on earth? v.7

3. What was he and yet what did he learn how? v.8

4. What did he become and what did he achieve for who? v.9

5. And so what had he been designated? v.10


B. Think:

1. Read Psa 110 What sort of Psalm is that?

2. Read Gen 14:18-20 Who was Melchizedek?

3. Read Zech 6:13 How does that give us a clue about Jesus?

C. Comment:

     Twice in these verses and then in 6;20 and 7:17 the writer declares that Jesus is a priest in the same way as Melchizedek was. Now we'll see much more reference to Melchizedek in chapter 7 so for now we'll just take in the basics about this man. First he was a king, second he was a priest, third he brought greater revelation of God to Abram (see his description of God in Gen 14:19 and Abram's subsequent description of God he had not used before in 14:22), and fourth e blessed Abram. Now the writer is going to work a lot of this out later on so for now we'll simply note he was both a priest and a king. In Psa 110, a Messianic Psalm, God is talking all about the coming one who will be a mighty ruler, yet in the midst of it is the reference we've read yesterday and today, of Jesus being like Melchizedek, a priest.

     Packed between the two references to Melchizedek in today's reading is a description of this priest-king, Jesus, showing how he acted like a priest to become a king. He prayed in anguish like a priest, yet submitted himself to God's will and suffered death. In that way he earned the right (he already had it as the Son of God from heaven) to be able to rule over men from his Father's right hand in heaven. Suffering with us, interceding for us, revealing God to us, providing salvation for us, he has earned the right the rule now. (see Rev 5:9)


D. Application:

1. Our high priest earned the right to rule today.

2. He is a priest-king who brings blessing on our lives.




Study No.17 : Immaturity  : Heb 5:11-14


A. Find Out:

1. Why was it hard to explain these things? v.11

2. What ought they to have been by now? v.12a

3. Yet what did they show they needed? v.12b

4. What does he say is the state of an “infant”? v.13

5. Who are the mature? v.14


B. Think:

1. What does he say is a sign of maturity?

2. What are the signs of immaturity?

3. What does he consider to be the nature of what he's been saying?

C. Comment:

     The writer speaks plainly about his readers. He considers them immature, still infants in Christ, who have not learnt much, who still need teaching the basics of the faith. In this it seems that this letter must be coming to a clearly distinguishable group of people because he would not say that if this was a general letter going round all the churches. He seems to be addressing a particular group of Jewish Christians that he knows. Who they are we aren't told.

     He indicates that he thinks that by now they should have grown up and he gives us some indication of what he things signs of maturity are. A mature Christian is someone who has learnt the basics of the Christian faith, who understands the word, and by regular use and application of that word have trained themselves to distinguish between good and evil and (by implication) to abstain from evil. In other words they know about righteousness in their minds AND they live righteous lives. Not only that, they should no longer be merely receivers of the word but they should now be teaching others that word.


D. Application:

1. Maturity is knowing and doing the word of God. We should go on from

    being hearers to doers of the word. Are we?

2. If the church was mature then we would be seeing people regularly

    added and those of us who have been around longer would be teaching

    and training those who have just become Christians.




Study No.18 : Going On : Heb 6:1-6


A. Find Out:


1. What does the writer say he will do? v.1a

2. What 6 things come into the former category? v.1b,2

3. What descriptions are given of the person he next speaks about? v.4,5

4. What does he say is impossible? v.4a,6a

5. Why? v.6b


B. Think:

1. List again the things the writer consider elementary teaching?

2. List again the things that have happened to the backslider?

3. Read 2 Peter 2:19-21 & Heb 10:26

C. Comment:

     Having just spoken about their immaturity and need for maturity, the writer says he'll move on from the basics. He then lists what he considers to be basics: repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgement. I wonder how many Christians today are well taught in each of these “basics” so that they could explain them?

     He then moves on to a sobering warning. Have you noticed how he keeps giving some teaching and then a warning (look back to 2:1-, 3:6-, 3:12-, 4:1, 4:11). This warning is one of the most sobering yet. Very simply, he is saying that if you have enjoyed all of the blessings of knowing Christ and then fall away, it's impossible to come back to repentance while you are still sinning. Several things need explaining. First the expression, “fall away”. This is not an occasional lapse, but a gradual moving right away from Christ, that is apostasy. Next observe the note in the NIV that “because” could be rendered, “while” which takes away something of the difficulty. Obviously while you are still set in rejecting God, you can't at the same time come to repentance. This is a tough subject but the Scripture is clear.


D. Application:

1. Exhortation: study, learn, go on from mere basics.

2. Warning: don't allow yourself to drift away from the truth and from

     Christ for you can't guarantee you'll be able to come back!



Study No.19 : But not you : Heb 6:7-12


A. Find Out:


1. What land receives God's blessing? v.7

2. What land will be burned? v.8

3. Yet what did he fele about his readers? v.9

4. What would God no do? v.10

5. What did he want them to do? v.11

6. What were they to do? v.12


B. Think:

1. How do verses 7 & 8 continue on from the previous ones?

2. How does he encourage them on the basis of the past?

3. How does he spur them on for the future?

C. Comment:

     The writer has just been speaking about those who turn away from God. Now he gives the example of land, two different sorts of land. The first is land that receives the rain and produces a harvest. That is good land. The other land produces only weeds. All that is fit for is for burning. The warning is obvious: lives that are fruitful in righteousness receive God's blessing. Lives that bear only unrighteousness deserve to be burnt up.

     Having given that very strong warning, he then brings encouragement. I'm sure that won't be so with you, is what he says. You've produced a good harvest in the past, so God won't forget that. But the warning is still there; make sure you carry on producing that same harvest of goodness! Don't fall away!

     More than that he encourages them to push on an imitate others who have gone before them, who have held on and through faith and through patience have gone on to receive God's blessing. It seems as if the writer knows that his readers have been struggling and been on the verge of giving up because they have not seen the fruit of their work. The message is hold on! (see also 2 Thess 2:15 / Heb 4:14 / Heb 10:23 / 1 Cor 15:2 / Heb 3:6 / Heb 3;14)


D. Application:

1. The warning is there: be careful you don't drift, hold on!

2. Be positive, seek to move on with God.




Study No.20 : The Surety of our Hope : Heb 6:13-20


A. Find Out:


1. How had God assured Abraham? v.13

2. What was promised and what happened? v.14,15

3. How do men swear and why? v.16

4. So how did God confirm His purposes? v.17

5. Why did God do this? v.18

6. What have we got where? v.19


B. Think:

1. Read Gen 22:15-18 & Rom 4:18

2. How does today's passage flow on from the previous ones?

3. What is the point of today's passage?

C. Comment:

     In 6:11 the writer had said he wants his readers to make their hope sure. Abraham was the classic example of a man who hoped in God. Hope for the Christian means a complete assurance of a future happening. It comes to us because God has said something.

     God came to Abraham and promised him blessing for himself and his offspring and all nations through him. Anyone who has faith in God is to be receiver of that promise. Now when God says He will do something, He WILL do it. It is a fixed and unchangeable thing, a promise we can rely upon. Now when God made this promise to Abraham He doubly emphasised it by swearing an oath.

     Now an oath is simply a device whereby men bind themselves to something. If someone says, “I swear by Almighty God….” they mean that they want God to hold them accountable so that they will keep their promise. On this occasion God swore by Himself because there was no one greater than He. He holds Himself accountable to keep this promise - to bless all nations through Abraham. So, says the writer, there was the promise and the oath, two unchangeable things, that is how sure you can be in the promise of God, and the way is now open for you to go right into the sanctuary to remind God of it, by Jesus.


D. Application:

1. Our hope is of blessing from God. Thank Him.

2. God gave us a double assurance that He will do this. Praise Him.





RECAP No.3  "Jesus, a new type of Priest"  Hebrews 5 & 6




In this third group of 5 studies we have seen :

- an introduction to the subject of the old priesthood

- an assertion that Jesus was called by God to be a priest

- this priesthood is after the order of Melchizedek

- that makes the Messiah both a priest and a king

- a warning to be mature

- a warning that repentance can't come after apostasy

- an exhortation to hold to our hope

- that hope is as sure as Abraham's founded on an oath

- that hope is confirmed by Jesus our new priest



     These two chapters look disjointed at first sight. The writer starts on the theme of Jesus as our high priest but then goes off on a discourse about maturity and falling away. This is simply his tendency to try to get us to take seriously what he is saying, warning us to hold onto the hope that is ours. He assures us that this hope is sure because it starts with Abraham and to show how strong it is, God backed his word with an oath whereby He bound Himself to do it. All that we have in Jesus was promised by God, He bound Himself to these things.



1. Jesus is both our priest and our king.

2. He earned that role by obedience.

3. We need to come to mature understanding.

4. To avoid falling away we need to firmly hold onto our hope.

5. That hope is entirely in Jesus, our priest who identifies with us.



     Thank the Lord that he came and shared our humanity so that he could more ably represent us before his Father in heaven today.


PART 4 : "A Greater Priesthood"

     In this next Part the writer now moves on to show how Jesus' priestly ministry is so much greater than the old Levitical priestly ministry. Follow his detailed arguing carefully, it's worth it!



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