– New Testament Bible 120

Bible 120 – New Testament
The Epistle to the Hebrews
Hebrews stands somewhat alone. It was included in Pauline corpus since
4th century, but it doesn’t belong in Paul’s work. Roman church made the
decision in the 4th century.
We don’t know who wrote Hebrews, from where, or at what time. The
people to whom it is written:
I Clement has the first employment of the epistle to the Hebrews. It
alludes to it 13 times. The first known appearance of the title “to the Hebrews” is
in late 2nd century in Pantaenus. P46 is the oldest manuscript containing
Hebrews. It doesn’t appear in Marcion. Clement of Alexandria (ca. 200) saw
that Paul wrote the letter in Hebrew and was translated into Greek. This is not
true. The writer did not use translation Greek. He quotes LXX. Paul’s concept of
“in Christ” is not there. There is no doctrine of holy spirit either. The concept of
Christ as high priest is not Pauline.
Tertullian ascribed it to Barnabas, but we have no writing from Barnabas.
Origen fell that indirectly it was from Paul: Paul through Luke or Paul through
Clement of Rome? We don’t know. In the West the letter wasn’t considered
canonical until the 4th century. It is not in the Muratonian fragment (unless it is
the letter to the Alexandrian); not the African canon. Each said that Paul wrote it.
Luther suggested that Apollos wrote it. Montefiore suggests that Apollos
wrote the letter to the Corinthians who were using him against Paul (the ones
that Paul chided).
Really, the author, time, and place are unknown. He is a masterful Greek
writer; imaginative, independent. He refers to Timothy, so it must be in first
century; speaks of Tabernacle, not of Temple. But there is no mention of the
destruction of the Temple (before 70 AD?). Some commonality with the Gospel
of John in thought: a Passion of Jesus connected with glorification b Preexistence of Christ c Priestly role of Christ d royalty of Christ
It has some affinity with Plato: a phenomenon is the shadowy not the real.
Judaism is shadow, Jesus is reality.
Bible 120 – New Testament
Manson says the unknown author stands in the tradition of Stephen,
pleading that the ones addressed move out of their conservative Jewish
background and move to the liberty of Christ. Don’t get bogged down in Temple
cult, and nationalism. Be a people on pilgrimage-ever moving. Get away from
the shadowy life and get into the real life. This writer and Paul were in the
tradition of Stephen.
Dualism of Shadow and Reality
Montefiore: Apollos is writer, writing from Ephasus (52-54) to the Hebrews at
Corinth (whom Paul chided). Then Jews were tempted to lapse back into
Writer of Hebrews says that in Christ, God is brought to man. God is
present. In Christ God does his final redemption work, rescuing, liberating, and
empowering man. Christ suffered and entered into the Holy of holies, and
through him we are united in the Holy of holies.
1:1-4 God speaks his final word and is present in Jesus. Christ is the
Jesus is superior to the angels and Moses and Aaron.
1:5-14 Christ superior to the angels and over all.
Chapter 2:1-4 warning of the revelation through angels, Moses, etc. was binding,
how much more binding is the revelation in Christ? How much greater is the
2:5-8 quotes Psalm 8 and talks of pioneer of salvation. Play on “man” and
“Son of Man.” Man is higher than creation less than God yet man is not Lord.
Christ fulfills true manhood of Psalm 8. As we are drawn to Christ, we are
brought into the Holy of holies and he fulfills his manhood.
2:9-14, Ch 5, Ch 6:19, Ch 7:24-25, Ch 8, new covenant, bringing man to
the knowledge of God.
Christ brings man to God and thus to fulfillment of manhood. All of life is
pilgrimage and worship. All life moves into the light of the presence of God.
Nothing shadowy or external should deter us.
Bible 120 – New Testament
Liturgical background is evident here. The writer knows the cultic
practices of Israel and urges the people to go beyond the cultus to the presence
of God and his light through Christ.
This is a sermon or homily that was somewhat the form of a letter
especially at the end. Writer immersed in cultic Judaistic religion. But cultic
structure belongs to the shadows; they anticipate something that is fulfilled in
Christ. The danger is of not moving out form the shadows of cultic preoccupation
into the real life of Christ.
Ch. 3 – Jesus is superior to Moses;
Jesus is superior to Moses as a builder
So superior to the house (3:1-4)
3:5 a servant is inferior to a son
3:6-19 a warning
3:12 beware of an evil heart, unbelieving, in a good person  - to
stand away from. Does this mean to stand away or fall away? Both. Be careful
lest you proceed until the impression that you have the heart of faith when you
3:13 don’t be presumptuous. There might be phonies. Exhort one another, lest
you be hardened by sin.
3:14 “partakers of Christ” Christ links up with us and enables us to continue on
pilgrimage on until the end. Validation of faith is to be seen from the end of the
pilgrimage not from the beginning; corrective to boastfulness. We cannot judge
authenticity of faith from its beginning. It may be tested and then not hold up. It
can only be authenticated at the end.
Warning: you may be a phony when you think you aren’t.
Ch. 6 – 6:4-6
A sermon to be: If one falls away, he cannot be restored.
Bible 120 – New Testament
6:7-8 If what God offers us in Christ is not enough for us then he has nothing else
to offer Christ in the final offer. If he isn’t enough for us, then we are out of the
kingdom. One saved and then lost.
Another way of putting it is this: even if a man has tested what God had to
offer, but not committed, and rejected it, then he is lost
This passage is ambiguous, room for more than one interpretation
6:9 I believe that you are an authentic pilgrim, but you might not be. You could
turn back.
6:10 There is no question about God’s fidelity, though there might be questions
about man.
10:26 – If we continue to live in sin after hearing God’s offer he has no other
10:39 Confidence that we don’t shrink back but go on; but then might be
Self criticism is needed.
Hebrews tries to warn against complacency, to frighten against one identifying
with the people of God and not participating in Christ. We are partakers of Christ
if we hold firm to the end with our confidence in the beginning. We are not to
presume on God.
6:4-10 poses the question of “falling away”
We may be phony even though we think we are not. We must be sure that we
are not leading a phony kind of life. (Calvinism and Methodism can be prooftexted from Hebrews)
Christ will not fail us, but we may fail him. (7:25 Christ is able to save completely)
6:9-10 assurance
4:12-16 Warning (12-13) God’s judgment is real and cannot be evaded. He
knows us thoroughly, we stand naked before him. But Jesus also understands
us. He has been through the same trials as we have and can be approached
through the throne of grace. Let us keep coming to the throne of grace.