Hebrews is a mysterious New Testament book. It is mysterious because its unknowns. The identity of the author is unknown. The location of the church or community to whom this epistle is written is unknown. The date of writing is unknown. The circumstances as to why the letter is written is uncertain. The nature of the crisis to which this letter was in response to is unclear.
It is believed that the letter is addressed to men and women who realized they can be subverted by adversity and that there is a cost of discipleship. Some have called it a pastoral response to people who were tired, run down, and seriously considering abandoning their Christian commitment. The writer seeks to encourage the recipients of this letter to stand firm in their faith in Christ.
As stated already, the author of Hebrews is anonymous. It is believed the author is within the Pauline circle. He mentions in Hebrews 13:23 that he expects to travel with Timothy “our brother”. It is widely believed and accepted that the author is not Paul, but someone who considered himself as one who is among those to whom “the immediate hearers of the Lord had delivered the gospel” It is almost certain that the author was a Hellenist Jewish Christian. This was one who was a Greek speaking Jew and had adopted in many or some ways the Greek culture. It is also quite certain that it was written by an inspired theologian who was well trained and versed in the exposition of the Greek Scriptures.
Hebrews was most likely written to a house church in an undisclosed city. Christians often met in ordinary rooms in various private residences. They were unquestionably a small group, consisting of the members of a household and some of their associates and close friends. According to the World Biblical Commentary on Hebrews, “The cumulative weight of the evidence points to men and women who participate in a small house fellowship, loosely related to other house churches in an urban setting, whose theological vocabulary and conceptions were informed by the rich legacy of Hellenistic Judaism.”
First Theme in Only One Section: Jesus Superior to the Angels (1:5–2:18)
Second Theme in Two Sections: Jesus, Compassionate and Faithful High Priest (3:1–5:10)
1: Jesus, faithful high priest (3:1–4:16)
2: Jesus, compassionate high priest (5:1–10)
Third Theme in Three Sections: Jesus, Source of Eternal Salvation, Perfected Priest, High Priest like Melchizedek (5:11–10:39) Exhortation (5:11–6:20)
1: Jesus, high priest like Melchizedek (7:1–28)
2: Jesus is the perfected priest (8:1–9:28)
3: Jesus is the source of eternal salvation (10:1–39)
Fourth Theme in Two Sections: Perseverance in the Faith (11:1–12:13)
1: Faith (11:1–12:2) O.T. examples of faith
2: Perseverance (12:3–13) Persevere in faith
Fifth Theme in Only One Section: The Need to be Holy (12:14–13:21)
Conclusion: Final Recommendations (13:22–25)
Hebrews 1:1 - 4
Vs 1: Give some examples of some ways God spoke to Biblical prophets and to ancestors?
He is the “Heir of all things,”. This is a title of dignity and shows that Christ has the rightful and supreme place in all the universe. His exaltation to the highest place in heaven when he was finished with his work here on earth, did not mark some new place of respect but his reentry to his rightful place in heaven.
Vs 3: Jesus radiates God’s own glory… What does this mean?
According to theologian N.T. Wright, “The word used for ‘radiates’ is the Greek word character, the origin of our apparently identical English word… The word character in ancient Greek was widely used to mean just that: the accurate impression left by the stamp on the coin… And this is what our writer is saying about Jesus. It is as though the exact imprint of the father’s very nature and glory has been precisely reproduced in the soft metal of the son’s human nature. Now it is there for all the world to see.”
Jesus is also the sustainer of all things. What does it mean to sustain? How does Jesus sustain?
Jesus is actively holding all things together through the power of his word. Just as the universe was created by spoken word so is all of creation sustained by the spoken word of God.
In what way did Jesus cleanse us from our sins?
Once Jesus gave his life on the cross of Calvary, was resurrected, and eventually ascended back to the Father. Once he ascended to the Father, he sat at the right hand of God the Father. The right hand is a position of honor and authority.
Vs 4: How is Jesus greater than the angels?
Hebrews 1:5 - 9
Vs 5: Jesus is superior to the angels because of his inherited excellent name. The author establishes this truth by citing two OT passages.
This Psalm was an established Messianic Psalm. It was understood and believed to be fulfilled in the future by a descendant of David.
Jesus is and always has been the eternal son. It is believed this passage refers to Christ’s exaltation and enthronement as Son post-resurrection.
2 Samuel 7:14
This is another Messianic prophecy given to David in the Davidic covenant. The prophet tells David his son would build the temple (after his death) and he would establish a royal throne that will endure forever. Solomon did build the temple, but he and all proceeding kings failed to fulfill the eternal throne that endured forever. Thus, the prophets sought after one greater than the kings would fulfill this prophecy. It was only fulfilled through Jesus Christ.
Jesus is superior because he is and has been the Son of God proven by OT prophecies.
Vs 6: Jesus is the firstborn. In the Jewish culture the first born is considered prestigious and honoring. The first born receive twice the inheritance than the siblings.
Jesus was not created, so he is not born, but the title first born is a title of honor expressing priority in rank.
Deuteronomy 32:43 – This verse is not in the Hebrew OT, but in the Greek OT. This seems to be a reference to the Nativity. When Jesus was born the angels came and worshiped Him. Angels do not worship angels; they only worship the one who is greater than they.
Jesus was worshiped in the past and will be worshiped in the future… Rev. 5:11 – 13
Vs 7: Quote of Psalm 104:4
Angels are servants and Jesus is sovereign.
Wind and fire – The meaning of this is not all clear but the writer of Hebrews emphasizes that angels sometimes inhabit the wind and fire to do God’s bidding.
Vs 8 – 9: Quote Psalm 45:6 – 7
Points to Jesus’ sovereignty
Hebrews 1:10 - 14
Vs 10 -12: Quote of Psalm 102:25 – 27
Jesus is eternal… The heavens will perish but Jesus remains forever
The heavens will be rolled up like a cloak and it will change, but Jesus remains unchanging for all eternity.
Vs 13 – 14: No angel has ever had the privilege of sitting at the right hand of God.
Angels’ positions are not for ruling or supremacy. Their role is to serve and minister to those who are saved and will inherit eternal salvation.
Jesus’ role is to rule supremely.
Jesus is superior
 Lane, W. L. (1991). Hebrews 1–8 (Vol. 47A, p. xlix). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
 Lane, W. L. (1991). Hebrews 1–8 (Vol. 47A, p. lv). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
 Lane, W. L. (1991). Hebrews 1–8 (Vol. 47A, p. lxxxvi). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
 Leon Morris, “Hebrews,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews through Revelation, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 12 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1981), 13.
 Wright, T. (2004). Hebrews for Everyone (pp. 2–3). London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
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Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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