The book of the New Testament
routinely known as Hebrews is a difficult nut to crack. It is in many
ways an enigma, but it is also in many ways the clearest teaching in
the whole NT about the value of Christ and his ministry on our behalf
before God. By setting forth basic information that we do know about
the book, we will begin our study by providing a foundation on which to
genre of a biblical book is important to know as this helps us have a
context in which to interpret what we read. Unfortunately, with Hebrews
there is debate about what the genre actually is.
A. There are three main choices:
The sermonic/exhortation and expository elements are both quite strong,
but I lean towards the sermonic as having preference: The author wants
his readers to understand the truth and ultimately act differently as a
C. Recognition of the nature of this as a sermon is crucial for interpreting many of the exhortations. The author will use terms in a way that are used not for theological precision but for rhetorical effect.
The author weds these two together to provide a basis for firm
exhortation of his audience to not draw back from Christ even though
circumstances may be difficult.
C. Central Idea: Jesus’ exalted place as God’s Son and his people’s High Priest acquired through his suffering, death, and resurrection demands growing devotion to him from those related to him even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
D. Two central verses: 3:6, 14
A. The Prologue: The Son as God’s final revelation (1:1–4)
B. The Son as superior to angels (1:5–2:18)
C. The Son as merciful and faithful High Priest (3:1–5:10)
D. Central Exposition: The Son’s Melchizedekan Priesthood (5:11–10:39)