Book of the Week 58: Hebrews

Greek Name: PROS ‘EBRAIOUS

Human Author: Unknown (Possibly Paul or Luke)

OT or NT: New Testament

Number of Chapters: 13

Basic Facts

  1. The book of Hebrews is the fifty-eighth book of the Bible.

  2. In terms of literary genre, the book of Hebrews is classified as an epistle, or letter.

  3. The Greek name for the book of Hebrews is PROS ‘EBRAIOUS, which means, “to the Hebrews” or “for the benefit of the Hebrews.”

  4. Hebrews uses the most sophisticated Greek of any book in the New Testament.

  5. Hebrews is addressed to the Hebrew people generally. 

Story of the Book

The author is writing to the Hebrew people, proclaiming among them that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the Son of God.  The letter begins with arguments from Scripture that the Son of God is superior to the angels of God (Hebrews 1:1-14). Next, the author urges the Hebrews to pay close attention to the message of salvation which God made available through the Son of God who became human (Hebrews 2:1-18). Then, Jesus is compared and contrasted with Moses, and Jesus is counted to be greater than Moses (Hebrews 3:1-6). The author warns the Hebrew people not to harden their hearts against God and His message of salvation in Jesus (Hebrews 3:7-19). The author then calls his Hebrew audience to repent and believe in order to enter into the Sabbath rest of God (Hebrews 4:1-13). The author then goes into a lengthy and complex narrative identifying Jesus the Son of God as the great high priest in the order of Melchizedek who makes atonement for sin once and for all. Jesus is also the one through whom God inaugurates and establishes the New Covenant (Hebrews 4:14-10:39). The author asserts that salvation has always been a matter of faith since the time of Abraham, even before the Law of Moses had been given (Hebrews 11:1-39). Jesus is proclaimed as the one who is the founder and perfecter of Hebrew faith who brought salvation and a kingdom which cannot be shaken, and the author urges the Hebrews not to reject Him (Hebrews 12:1-29). The letter is concluded as the author calls his Hebrew audience toward brotherly love and affection for one another as they follow the resurrected Jesus (Hebrews 13:1-21). At the very close of the letter the author proclaims that Timothy was released from prison, and that the author intends to visit his Hebrew audience soon (Hebrews 13:22-25).

Jesus Revealed in Hebrews

Jesus is revealed in Hebrews in many ways, and there are too many to mention them all here. Jesus is revealed as the Son of God who is superior to the angels (Hebrews 1:1-14), as the great high priest in the order of Melchizedek in whom the perfect sacrifice for sin has been given once and for all (Hebrews 4:14-10:39), as the one through whom the New Covenant is established (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:1-9:28), as the one through whom God the Father has provided atonement for sin once and for all (Hebrews 10:1-39), and as the author and perfector of faith (Hebrews 12:1-12). Through the finished work of Jesus, salvation has once and for all been secured and is offered to Hebrews and gentiles alike. It is through faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Savior of the world that salvation is exclusively made available to all who receive Him. The author of Hebrews urges the Hebrew people not to reject Jesus as the Messiah, for if they do they will face the wrath of God and their own destruction (Hebrews 12:25-29).