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Online Study (Hebrews)

We delve into the Word of God to pursue genuine growth, anchored in understanding Truth. John 17:17 underscores this pursuit, affirming the sanctification of individuals in Truth, with God's Word serving as the epitome of Truth. As men, we commit to a profound exploration of Scripture, recognizing it as God's declaration to humanity. Through this intentional engagement, we aim to grasp the profound wisdom, guidance, and transformative power embedded within its pages. Just as a document cannot be printed if the paper output tray remains closed, our spiritual journey remains incomplete if we fail to open ourselves to the illuminating insights and divine truths found within the Word of God.

The Epistle To The Hebrews

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This weeks Study Questions

Chapter 7 - May 28

  1. What are the main points of this chapter?

  2. Where in the Old Testament can we read about Melchizedek? (1)

  3. What do Melchizedek and the Son of God appear to have in common? (3)

  4. Why is Melchizedek greater than both Abraham and Levi? (4-10)

  5. Why was there a need for a change in the priesthood? (11)

  6. What was required for there to be a change in the priesthood? (12,18)

  7. What evidence is there that the Law has been changed? (13-17)

  8. List some of the qualities of Jesus' priesthood. (20-28)

Chapter 6 - MAY 21

  1. What are the main points of this chapter?

  2. What six things are mentioned as elementary principles of Christ? (1-2)

  3. What five blessings were experienced by some who had fallen away? (4-5)

  4. As those once blessed persist in their sin, what is their condition? Why? (6)

  5. What confidence did the author have for his original recipients? Why? (9-10)

  6. Even so, what qualities did he desire of them? (11-12)

  7. Upon what two immutable things does our hope lie? (13-18)

  8. As what does our hope serve? To where does it reach? (19-20

Chapter 5 - MAY 14

  1. What are the main points of this chapter?

  2. What qualifications are necessary to serve as high priest? (1,4)

  3. What duties are performed by the high priest? (1-3)

  4. Who chose Jesus Christ to become High Priest? (5-6,10)

  5. In the flesh, what did Jesus experience? What did He learn? (7-8)

  6. What did Jesus become through such suffering? For whom? (9)

  7. What made the author's subject difficult to continue and explain? (11)

  8. What should his readers been capable of at that time? (12)

  9. What did they need instead? Why? (12-13)

  10. Who is capable of handling the "meat" of the Word? (14)

 

 

Introduction

The epistle to the Hebrews is a unique book in the New Testament. It begins as an essay (He 1:1-2), progresses as a sermon (He 2:1-4), and ends as a letter (He 13:23-25). Its contents are deep and challenging. Many Christians find it difficult; some equate its difficulty with the book of Revelation.

But for Christians willing to take the time to read and reflect upon it, they will be:

  • Reminded of how blessed they are to have trusted in Christ

  • Impressed with the superiority of Christ and His New Covenant over Moses and the Old Covenant

  • Warned of the danger of apostasy and the need for steadfastness in their faith Author

    The author does not identify himself. Many believe it to be the apostle Paul (e.g., Clement of Alexandria) and have offered arguments in his favor (cf. Commentary on Hebrews, Robert Milligan, p. 5-19). Yet it seems unlikely when you consider the author’s statement, “...was confirmed to us by those who heard Him” (He 2:3). This suggests the author received the gospel message second-hand, while Paul declared that he had not received the gospel from or through men (Ga 1:11-12).

    Other names have been proposed over the years: Barnabas (suggested by Tertullian), Apollos (suggested by Luther), even Priscilla (suggested by Harnack). Perhaps Origen says it best, “But who wrote the epistle, to be sure, only God knows.”

    Recipients

    The general consensus is that this letter was written to Jewish Christians. There is uncertainty as to where they and the author were at the time of composition. Many believe the recipients were in Palestine, and the author in Rome. Others suggest the readers were in Rome and the author elsewhere, based upon a possible implication in He 13:24. In any case, they were Jewish Christians whom the author knew personally (He 10:34; 13:19).

    Date

    We know the epistle was written prior to 96 A.D., because Clement of Rome quotes from Hebrews in his letter that was written at that time. There are certainly strong indications that it was written prior to 70 A.D....

  • There is no mention of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple

  • The author writes as though priests were still offering sacrifices - He 8:4; 10:11 If the Jewish Christians were in Palestine, it was likely before or at the beginning of the

    Jewish Wars (ca. 66-70 A.D.; cf. He 12:4).
    The time frame of 63-65 A.D. is often suggested.

  

Purpose And Theme

The author wrote this epistle to prevent his readers from abandoning their faith in Christ (He 2:1-4). To encourage his Jewish brethren not to go back to the Old Law, he endeavored to show the superiority of Christ and His Covenant (He 8:1-2,6). A key word found throughout the epistle is “better”:

  • Christ is “better than the angels” - He 1:4

  • We enjoy “the bringing in of a better hope” - He 7:19

  • Jesus has become “the surety of a better covenant” - He 7:22

  • He is also “the Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” - He 8:6

  • The heavenly things benefit from “better sacrifices” - He 9:23
    Indeed, the purpose of this epistle was to exhort his readers to remain faithful to the much

    better things they have in Christ (He 13:22). As for its theme, I suggest the following: The Superiority Of Christ and The New Covenant

 

 

Outline

Here is a simple outline of the book, with its main divisions...

  1. The superiority of Christ - He 1:1-8:6

    1. Better than the prophets, as a much better Spokesman - He 1:1-3

    2. Better than the angels, by virtue of His Deity and humanity - He 1:4-2:18

    3. Better than Moses, for He is the Son who provides a heavenly rest - He 3:1-4:13

    4. Better than Aaron, as His priesthood is a superior one - He 4:16-8:6

  2. The superiority of the New Covenant - He 8:7-10:18

    1. For it is based upon better promises - He 8:7-13

    2. For it is based upon a better sanctuary - He 9:1-28

    3. For it is based upon a better sacrifice - He 10:1-18

  3. Exhortations drawn from this superiority - He 10:19-13:25

    1. Draw near to God and hold fast - He 10:19-39

    2. Run the race of faith with endurance - He 11:1-12:29

    3. Miscellaneous exhortations - He 13:1-25

Key Warnings

A unique feature of the epistle to the Hebrews are the warnings throughout the book. As we conclude this introduction, perhaps it may be profitable to summarize them.

The warning against drifting - He 2:1-4

Through neglect we can easily drift away

The solution is to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard

The warning against departing - He 3:12-15

Through sin’s deceitfulness we can become hardened and develop a lack of faith by which we can depart from the living God

The solution is exhort one another daily and remain steadfast

 

The warning against disobedience - He 4:11-13

Like Israel in the wilderness, we can fail to enter our rest through disobedience

The solution is diligence and heeding the Word of God

The warning against dullness - He 5:11-6:6

Dullness of hearing can make it difficult for us to appreciate the extent of our blessings in Christ, and even falling away to the point of crucifying the Son of God afresh!

The solution is grasping the first principles of the oracles of God, and then pressing on to spiritual maturity and perfection

The warning against despising - He 10:26-39

It is possible to so despise God’s grace as to no longer have a sacrifice for sins, but only a certain fearful expectation of judgment

The solution is to hold unto our confidence in Christ, and believe with endurance

The warning against defying - He 12:25-29

It is possible to refuse to listen to the One who now speaks from heaven!

The solution is to look diligently to the grace of God, receiving it in such a way so we

may serve Him acceptably with reverence and godly fear

With such warnings, this book is indeed a “word of exhortation” (He 13:22)!

Review Questions

1)  Who is author of the book of Hebrews?

- Only God knows

2)  Who were the original recipients of this epistle?

- Jewish Christians, possibly in Palestine or Italy

3)  When was it written?

- Likely between 63-65 A.D.

4)  What has been suggested as its purpose? Its theme?

- An exhortation to remain faithful to Christ
- The superiority of Christ and the New Covenant

5)  What are the three main divisions of this epistle?
- The superiority of Christ - He 1:1-8:6
- The superiority of the New Covenant - He 8:7-10:18
- Exhortations drawn from this superiority - He 10:19-13:25

6)  List the six warnings found in this epistle.
- The warning against drifting - He 2:1-4
- The warning against departing - He 3:12-15
- The warning against disobedience - He 4:11-13 - The warning against dullness - He 5:11-6:6

- The warning against despising - He 10:26-39 - The warning against defying - He 12:25-29

Chapter One

Dispensing with greetings and salutations typical of letters at that time, the epistle to the Hebrews begins like a sermon, with the author immediately declaring the superiority of Jesus. While God spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, He now speaks to us through His Son (1-3). Jesus is also demonstrated to be much better than angels (4-14).

Points To Ponder

  • How Jesus is superior to OT prophets

  • How Jesus is superior to angels

    Review Questions

 

1)  What are the main points of this chapter?

- Jesus’ superiority over prophets as spokesman - He 1:1-3
- Jesus’ superiority over angels by virtue of His deity - He 1:4-14

 

2)  How did God speak in time past? How does He speak today? (1-2)

- By the prophets at various times and in various ways; by His Son

3)  List seven things that describe the Son. (2-3)

- He is the appointed heir of all things
- Through Him God made the worlds
- He is the brightness of God’s glory
- He is the express image of God’s person
- He upholds all things by the word of His power - He purged our sins

- He is now seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high

4)  List five ways that Jesus is superior to the angels. (4-14)

- He is the “Son”, angels are not
- He is “the firstborn” who receives worship from angels
- He is “God” enthroned and anointed, angels are merely servants
- He is “LORD” (Yahweh) who is the eternal Creator
- He is “sovereign” seated at the right hand of God, angels are ministering spirits

5)  For whom have the angels been sent forth to minister? (14)

- Those who will inherit salvation

6)  List the Old Testament passages that are referenced to in this chapter. (5-13)

- Ps 2:7 and 2Sa 7:14 in verse 5
- Deut 32:43 (Septuagint) in verse 6 - Ps 104:4 in verse 7

- Ps 45:6-7 in verses 8-9
- Ps 102:25-27 in verses 10-12 - Ps 110:1 in verse 13

  

The Epistle To The Hebrews

Chapter Two

The author interrupts his comparison of Christ with angels with his first of six warnings in this epistle: a warning against drifting by neglecting our great salvation (1-4). He then illustrates Jesus’ superiority to angels by being made lower than the angels, whereby He became the perfect captain of our salvation and a merciful and faithful High Priest (5-18).

Points To Ponder

  • The very real danger of drifting and neglecting our salvation

  • Man’s fall from his exalted position over creation

  • Jesus’ humanity and its impact on His role as Savior and High Priest

    Review Questions

 

1)  What are the main points of this chapter?

- A warning against drifting through neglect - He 2:1-4
- Jesus’ superiority over the angels by virtue of His humanity - He 2:5-18

2)  How can we avoid drifting away? (1)

- By giving earnest heed to the things we have heard

3)  What proves we cannot escape judgment if we neglect our great salvation? (2-3)

- Disobedience to angels was punished, much more so if we neglect the Lord Himself

4)  How was this great salvation revealed and confirmed to us? (3-4)

- Spoken by the Lord Himself at first
- Confirmed by those who heard Him (i.e., the apostles)
- God bearing witness through signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit

5)  What does Psalms 8:4-6 reveal about the creation of man? (6-8)

- He was made lower than angels, but placed over all God’s works

6)  Has man maintained his authority over all things? (8)

- No, now we do not see all things put under him

7)  List eight reasons Jesus was made lower than angels (became flesh). (9-18)

- To taste death for every one
- To bring many sons to glory
- To be made perfect through sufferings
- To destroy the devil who had the power of death
- To release those subject to bondage through fear of death
- To give aid to the seed of Abraham
- To be a merciful and faithful High Priest
- To aid those who are tempted, having suffered temptation Himself

  

The Epistle To The Hebrews

Chapter Three

Having demonstrated Jesus’ superiority to prophets and angels, the author now compares Jesus to Moses (1-6). The comparison is followed with a reference to Israel’s unfaithfulness in wilderness which leads to the second of six warnings in this epistle: a warning against departing from the living God by developing an evil heart of unbelief (7-19).

Points To Ponder

  • How Jesus compares to Moses

  • The very real danger of departing from the living God 

 

 

 

Review Questions 

1)  What are the main points of this chapter? - Jesus’ superiority over Moses - He 3:1-6

- A warning against departing - He 3:7-19

2)  How are the original recipients of this epistle described? And Jesus? (1)

- Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling; Apostle and High Priest

3)  How are Moses and Jesus compared in this chapter? (3-6)

- Moses: faithful as a servant in the house of God
- Jesus: faithful as a Son over and builder of the house of God (worthy of more glory)

4)  Whose house are we? Under what conditions? (6)

- The Son’s house; if we hold fast the confidence and joy of hope firm to the end

5)  What period of Israel’s history is referred to in Psalms 95? (7-11)

- 40 years of wilderness wanderings

6)  What three things can lead the Christian to fall away? (12-13)

- Developing an evil heart of unbelief
- Departing from the living God
- Becoming hardened through the deceitfulness of sin

7)  What three things can serve as an antidote preventing apostasy? (12-14)

- Beware of unbelief
- Exhort one another daily
- Hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end

8)  Who rebelled in the wilderness and did not enter the Promised Land? (16-18)

- Those led by Moses out of Egypt, who did not obey

9)  Why were they not permitted to enter? (19)

- Because of unbelief

  

Chapter Four

Since many Israelites failed to enter their Canaan rest because of unbelief, the author says we should fear lest we come short of our promised rest: heaven (1-10). Diligence is also required, and the third of six warnings is given: a warning against disobedience in view of God’s living and powerful Word (11-13). A positive motivation is then given: our great High Priest, Jesus, who enables us to obtain mercy and grace as needed (14-16).

Points To Ponder

  • The Sabbath rest, the Canaan rest, and the heavenly rest

  • The living and powerful Word of God

  • The privilege of prayer with Jesus as our High Priest

    Review Questions

1)  What are the main points of this chapter?

- The promised rest - He 4:1-10

- A warning against disobedience - He 4:11-13 - Our great High Priest - He 4:14-16

2)  Since we have a promise of rest, why should we fear? (1)

- Lest we come short of it

3)  Why did the word fail to profit many Israelites? (2)

- Because they did not have faith in what they heard

4)  What three different “rests” are spoken of in this chapter? (4-10)

- Sabbath rest (He 4:4), Canaan rest (He 4:8), Heavenly rest (He 4:9-10)

5)  What “rest” remains for us? What is required of us to enter it? (10-11)

- The heavenly rest; diligence, lest we disobey and fall like many in Israel

6)  How is the word of God described in this chapter? (12)

- Living and powerful

- Sharper than any two-edged sword

- Piercing even to the division of soul and spirit

- A discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart

7)  To whom must we give account? (13)

- The One who sees all

8)  Why should we hold fast our confession? (14-16)

- We have a great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God

- He sympathizes with our weaknesses, because He was tempted (though without sin) - We can approach God’s throne boldly, obtain mercy and grace in time of need

Chapter FIVE

How Jesus is superior to prophets, angels, and Moses has been discussed. Now comes Jesus’ superiority to Aaron as High Priest. Qualities necessary to be high priest are reviewed, ably met by Jesus (1-10). Before proceeding further, the author finds it necessary to extend the fourth warning, this one against dullness due to spiritual immaturity (11-14).

Points To Ponder

  • How Jesus qualifies to be our High Priest

  • Signs of being dull of hearing (spiritually)

    Review Questions

  1. 1)  What are the main points of this chapter?
    - Christ’s qualifications as High Priest - He 5:1-10 - A warning against dullness - He 5:11-14

  2. 2)  What qualifications are necessary to serve as high priest? (1,4)

    - Taken from among men, called by God

  3. 3)  What duties are performed by the high priest? (1-3)

    - To offer sacrifices for sin, to have compassion on the ignorant and straying

  4. 4)  Who chose Jesus Christ to become High Priest? (5-6,10) - God, as was prophesied in Ps 2:7 and Ps 110:4

  5. 5)  In the flesh, what did Jesus experience? What did He learn? (7-8)

    - Vehement cries and tears, godly fear, things which He suffered; obedience

  6. 6)  What did Jesus become through such suffering? For whom? (9)

    - The author of eternal salvation; to all who obey Him

  7. 7)  What made the author’s subject difficult to continue and explain? (11)

    - His readers’ dullness of hearing

  8. 8)  What should his readers been capable of at that time? (12)

    - Able to teach others

  9. 9)  What did they need instead? Why? (12-13)

    - Milk and solid food; they were unskilled in the word of righteousness

10)Who is capable of handling the “meat” of the Word? (14)

- Those of full age
- Who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil

Chapter Six

The interruption of the discussion regarding Jesus as High priest continues with a solemn warning regarding spiritual progress, and the need for diligence, faith and patience in order to inherit the promises (1-12). The certainty of God’s promises upon which our hope is based serves as an anchor of the soul that reaches into heaven itself, where Christ is now our High Priest according the order of Melchizedek (13-20).

Points To Ponder

  • Elementary principles in the doctrine of Christ

  • The very real danger of crucifying again the Son of God

  • The basis of our hope that serves as an anchor of the soul

    Review Questions

  1. 1)  What are the main points of this chapter? - The peril of not progressing - He 6:1-12
    - The certainty of God’s promise - He 6:13-20

  2. 2)  What six things are mentioned as elementary principles of Christ? (1-2)

  1. 3)  What five blessings were experienced by some who had fallen away? (4-5)

    - Once enlightened - Partakers of the Holy Spirit
    - Tasted the heavenly gift - Tasted the good word of God

    - Tasted the powers of the age to come

  2. 4)  As those once blessed persist in their sin, what is their condition? Why? (6)

    - It is impossible (for others) to renew them again to repentance - They crucify again the Son of God and put Him to open shame

  3. 5)  What confidence did the author have for his original recipients? Why? (9-10)

    - Better things that accompany salvation
    - Because of their work and labor of love in ministering to the saints

  4. 6)  Even so, what qualities did he desire of them? (11-12)

    - Diligence, imitation of the faith and patience of those who inherit the promises

  5. 7)  Upon what two immutable things does our hope lie? (13-18)

    - God’s promise and God’s oath, both in which it is impossible for God to lie

  6. 8)  As what does our hope serve? To where does it reach? (19-20)

    - An anchor of the soul; into heaven itself where Jesus is our High Priest

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