Contributor: Alex Alajiki
The letter was written to the Hebrew or Jewish Christians. King James credited Apostle with authorship of this epistle, but historian and theologians disputed this fact because of notable theological variations, and a lack of Paul’s customary signature (2 Cor. 1:1; Gal. 1:1; Eph.1:1)
The author had extensive knowledge of Jewish traditions, which he references frequently throughout the book and did not personally witness Christ’s ministry (Hebrews 2:3).
The Main Theme
This book is the bridge that connects the Old Testament and the New. The words “better” and “superior” in their Greek forms are scattered throughout the book fifteen times, clearly demonstrating that, as the Messiah, Jesus Christ is the only priest, sacrifice, and covenant the Jews need. The main purpose was to encourage Jewish Christians to hold to their faith in the face of persecution and not return to the Law. The entire book is about Jesus and how He is the guarantee of a new and better covenant. It is essential for every Christian to understand this book.
1) Chapter 1 - God’s Supreme Revelation
Hebrews 1 is about the supremacy of Christ Jesus vs 1-4. It paints a wonderful picture of how He is superior to the angels because of His redemptive work on the cross. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father and was sent to communicate to us the true nature of God. By understanding who Jesus is and what He said, we can know the fullness of God's nature and character.
2) Chapter 2 - The Role of Christ in Salvation
Hebrews 2 talks about the role of Christ in salvation. Jesus was briefly humbled and took on human form so he could taste death for everyone. It was fitting that Jesus, through whom everything exists, was the author of salvation. He shared in humanity so that through His death he might destroy him who holds the power of death. We must pay close attention to this so we do not ignore such a great salvation.
3) Chapter 3 - Jesus is Greater than Moses
Hebrews 3 conveys the fact that Jesus is our faithful high priest who eternally resides over the house of God as a son. It shows His superiority to Moses and the covenant of the law. This chapter also serves as a warning, quoting Psalm 95, we are admonished not to go astray and harden our hearts, as the wilderness generation did. We are to encourage each other daily and stand strong until the end with confidence in Christ.
4) Chapter 4 - The Believer's Rest
Hebrews 4 offers true Sabbath rest for the people of God through faith in Christ. This rest for God's people is what was promised throughout the entire Old Testament. True Sabbath rest does not come from adhering to the law or taking a break from work one day of the week. The believer’s rest comes to fulfilment in our lives by fellowshipping with Christ.
5) Chapter 5 - Jesus is the Perfect High Priest
Hebrews 5 shows Jesus as God's appointed High priest who became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who believes. He was subjected to the weakness of the flesh yet without sin. He learned
obedience through what he suffered so in the same way he is able to help those who will inherit salvation. Jesus was designed by God to be our high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
6) Chapter 6 -Warning Against Falling Away
Hebrews 6 serves as a warning against walking away from the truth and becoming reprobate (damned). Falling away makes it impossible to come back to repentance because it subjects Christ once again to open shame. However, there are better things accompanying salvation for us who continue on with Christ. We can proceed toward that steadfast hope entering through the veil which Christ has opened to us
7) Chapter 7 - Melchizedek's Priesthood like Christ's
Hebrews 7 compares Jesus and Melchizedek, a priest forever without lineage. Abraham paid honour and tithes to Melchizedek and by doing so the Levitical priesthood was blessed by him as Levi was still inside of Abraham. In this fashion, Jesus is also a priest forever like Melchizedek. However, He is not of the tribe of Levi. With a change in priesthood there must also be a change in the law. Jesus has proven His priesthood by his indestructible life. Because of this He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to intercede for them.
8) Chapters 8 & 9- Superiority of the New Covenant
Hebrews 8 shows that Jesus is the mediator of a new and better covenant which has been enacted on better promises. Jesus is ministering in the heavenly tabernacle at the right hand of God not in an earthly one (which was a copy and shadow of heavenly things). The New Covenant is written on our hearts and enables us to know the Lord in an intimate way. Jesus has promised to forgive our sins and remember them no more. The New Covenant has made the Old one obsolete.
Hebrews 9 shows how worship in the Old Testament could not perfect the worshipper because it related only to food, drink, various washings and regulations for the body. However, when Christ appeared He entered into the heavenly tabernacle and poured out His own blood on the mercy seat.
9) Chapters 10 & 11 - Christ's Sacrifice Once for All and The Faith Hall of Fame
Hebrews 10 shows that the Law was never able to make perfect those who draw near because it was a shadow of the good things to come and not a reality in itself. Otherwise the sacrifices would have ceased to be offered. Instead they served as an annual reminder of sin. But when Jesus came He offered one sacrifice for sin for all time and then sat down at the right hand of the Father. Now we can draw near to God through the veil of Christ's body, having our hearts sprinkled clean and our conscience clear.
Hebrews 11 paints a wonderful picture of the men and women who triumphed by faith; people who believed God and pursued His promises even though many didn't see them come to pass in their lifetime. This chapter defines faith and shows that it pleases God.
10) Chapters 12 & 13 - Jesus is Our Example
Hebrews 12 is a call to persevere looking to Christ as our example. He endured the shame of the cross to bring us into fellowship with God, in the same way we should keep our eyes on him as we run the race of life.
Hebrews 13 is a mixture of warnings, requests and final exhortations. It is a reminder to the fellowship of Christ, to let love remain, show hospitality and honour each other. As well as remembering to pray for leaders in the church. This book ends on a wonderful note by reminding us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.