Introduction to Hebrews
This next week I, Kyle McClain, will be accompanying you in reading the first six chapters of Hebrews, and the beloved Sarah Blanchard will close out the book of Hebrews the following week. I am currently attending the Atlanta Bible College, and I will be graduating with my bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry this semester. I hope you enjoy this week’s study of Hebrews, and I hope it positively impacts your life.
The book of Hebrews is found in the non-Pauline epistles section (Hebrews-Jude). Many consider the book of Hebrews to be an epistle/letter. However, it lacks all the normal marks of a New Testament letter. If you look at the other letters/epistles from the New Testament, they identify the author and recipients, contain a formal greeting, and offer a prayer or thanksgiving. However, Hebrews does not include any of these. It could better be termed as an exhortation or sermon than a letter. You can perceive Hebrews as one big sermon series; the chapters all flow together as one. It is a stream of consciousness; it’s one flowing word of encouragement.
There are many discussions and debates as to who the author of Hebrews is. There’s a plethora of different theories of who it could be: Paul, Apollos, Priscilla, a random follower of Paul, etc., and there’s a reason for that. It’s because there is no clear indication in the book or church history as to who the author of Hebrews is. It is ok not to know who wrote the book of Hebrews. What’s important is that whatever was written was inspired by YHWH. With that said, we do know that the author was Jewish, very well schooled in the Old Testament and Jewish philosophy, and knew Timothy. There also seems to be a specific audience that the author wrote this for. The audience is a group of wavering Jewish Christians. These Jewish Christians were not confident in their faith and at times doubted the need for Christ.
Now let’s take a minute and step in the shoes of these Jewish Christians. Ever since the time of Abraham, the Jews were looking forward for their Messiah. For 2,000 years many came and professed to be the Messiah, but they all died and their followers soon died thereafter. Then after 2,000 years of waiting another man by the name of “Jesus” claims to be the Messiah. His story was different, as we all know, from the other false messiahs. Hindsight, it is very clear to us that Jesus is the Messiah. However, it was a very hotly debated topic back then as to if Jesus was the true Messiah. It was not a popular belief among the Jewish population to believe Jesus was the true Messiah. However, those Jews who did were scrutinized from their Jewish families, friends, and community. All the people that these Jewish Christians knew, loved, and cared for despised and judged them. Their lives were turned upside down.
It’s easy to point our fingers at these Jewish Christians and discredit them for their lack of faith in Jesus at times, but they were truly going through a lot. The writer of Hebrews had a select group of Jewish Christians in mind who were wavering, and the author wrote Hebrews to encourage them and reassure them of the need for Jesus. I hope that as we go along through the book of Hebrews that you too may be encouraged and reassured of the need for Jesus.
In Christian Love,