Writer Of The Letter To The Hebrews
The author is unknown. Origen of Alexandria, who lived from about A.D. 182-250, wrote, Who wrote the epistle only God truly knows.
The author did not name himself in the letter. The early church held no clear, consistent tradition regarding the authorship of the letter either. The early church in the East thought Paul wrote it. The Synod of Hyppo in A.D. 393 and the Synods of Carthage in A.D. 399 and 419 placed the letter in the canon and attributed its authorship to Paul. The Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent decreed the letter was written by Paul. The early church in the West did not attribute the letter to Paul's authorship, however. Tertullian of Carthage, who lived from around A.D. 160-230, thought Barnabas was its author. In Rome the letter was considered anonymous.
The reference to Timothy in Hebrews 13:23 led some to think that Paul wrote the Letter to the Hebrews. Paul could not have written it, however. The author stated in Hebrews 2:3 that he and his readers had received the word of salvation second hand from those who had heard it from the Lord Jesus himself. Paul, on the other hand, declared that he had seen the Lord and had received the word he preached directly from the Lord himself and not from other men (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1; 11:23; 15:8; Galatians 1:11,12).
Who, then, wrote the Letter to the Hebrews? The internal evidence within the letter holds out some clues. The author's theology and familiarity with Timothy suggest the author was associated with Paul's close friends and fellow workers. The characteristics of the letter indicate its author was a Jewish Christian who was knowledgeable in the Greek Old Testament translation. He was well versed in the Old Testament religion of the Jews and their forms of worship. He was also capable of writing the most polished literary style of Greek of any book in the New Testament.
Given these clues, some have thought Barnabas wrote the Letter to the Hebrews. Barnabas was a Jewish Levite from Cyprus (cf. Acts 4:36). Being a Levite, he would have been knowledgeable of the priesthood and of the forms of worship in the temple. These facts would give the suggestion that he wrote the letter some credibility.
Martin Luther suggested a more plausible writer in a sermon on the party divisions in the Corinthian congregation that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. Luther suggested Apollos. Apollos is a likely candidate. He was associated with Paul. Luke wrote that Apollos was in Ephesus and Corinth (cf. Acts 18:24-19:1). Paul urged Titus to render assistance to Apollos when Apollos passed through Crete (cf. Titus 3:13). In Acts 18:24f Luke wrote that Apollos was a Jew. He was born in Alexandria, which was an ancient center of scholarship and learning. He was an eloquent, learned man, who was mighty in his knowledge of the Old Testament Scriptures. He was a Christian convert who had been instructed in the gospel of the Lord Jesus by others. He possessed a fervent spirit. He powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating from the Old Testament Scriptures that Jesus was the promised Messiah and Christ. All these characteristics are mirrored in the Letter to the Hebrews.
Recipients Of The Letter To The Hebrews
The title To the Hebrews designates Jews in distinction from Gentiles. This title was not originally a part of the letter. It may have been added in the second century, when the letters of the New Testament were assembled into a collection. It has been suggested that the title To The Hebrews was written on the outside of the script rolls to identify the document as the letter we know as the Letter to the Hebrews.
Since there is no greeting at the outset of the letter which identifies the original recipients, who they were can only be inferred from the internal evidence within the letter itself. The entire letter indicates the original recipients were a group of Jewish Christians who had endured persecution and who were therefore considering giving up their Christian faith to return to Judaism. They had suffered a severe persecution in which they had been made a public spectacle (cf. Hebrews 10:32-36). Their persecutors had publicly insulted and troubled them for sympathizing with other Christians who were being mistreated and imprisoned. The Jewish Christians themselves had not been imprisoned, but they did have their homes and property seized and confiscated. None of their number had been martyred for their faith in resisting sin, though they faced this possibility in the future (cf. Hebrews 12:4). To escape such persecution, they were considering abandoning the Christian faith and returning to Judaism. For this reason the author urged them not to throw away the confidence of their faith but to endure and stand fast. Then they would not be destroyed by God on the coming day of judgment but receive the fulfillment of God's promise of salvation (cf. Hebrews 10:35-39). The letter clarifies that the recipients were known to the author, who had spent some time with them (cf. Hebrews 13:18,19), and who was intending to return to them soon with Timothy (cf. Hebrews 13:23). The letter also indicates that this group of Jewish Christians had had some of their pastors and spiritual leaders die in the past (cf. Hebrews 13:7). The author reminded them to respect their former leaders for the Word of God that those leaders had taught them (cf. Hebrews 13:7). At the time the author wrote the letter, its recipients had other spiritual leaders to lead them. The author urged them to obey those leaders (cf. Hebrews 13:17), and he sent his greeting to those leaders (cf. Hebrews 13:24).
It cannot be stated with certainty where this group of persecuted Jewish Christians lived. The greeting in Hebrews 13:24, “Those from Italy greet you,” suggests that they lived in Italy, quite possibly within Rome itself. Apparently some members from the Jewish Christian congregation there in Italy and Rome were present with the author when he wrote the letter. Those members present with him sent their greeting back to their home congregation. The Jewish Christians who received the letter did have their own assembly and place of worship where they gathered (cf. Hebrews 10:25). It is possible, therefore, that the recipients were one of the house churches in Rome, whom Paul greeted in Romans 16:5,14,15.
Some have thought the Letter to the Hebrews was written to Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, for the letter speaks of the temple and its rituals with which Jewish Christians in Jerusalem would have been most familiar. The author of the letter, however, did not write about the temple (Greek naos) but about the tabernacle (Greek skene), the sacred tent that accompanied Moses and the Israelites through the wilderness. It seems the author wrote about the tabernacle and not the temple, for in describing the interior furnishings of the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place in which the ark of the covenant had been kept, he stated, “With regard to these things we cannot now speak in detail,” (Hebrews 9:5). He, nor anyone else, could discuss those details of the interior furnishings because they no longer existed. They could not be known from the existent temple in Jerusalem, with which the Jewish priests and people were most familiar. But Jewish Christians, even those who had never seen the temple in Jerusalem, would have been knowledgeable of the tabernacle with its priesthood and sacrifices from their Old Testament Scriptures. The recipients of the letter, therefore, need not have been in Jerusalem near the temple to understand by personal experience the significance of what the author wrote in his letter or to picture the priestly rituals and sacrifices described in the letter.
Another argument made in favor of Jerusalem as the place where the recipients of the letter lived is the persecution of Jewish Christians that took place there. It has been argued that the Jews' persecution of other Jews who had embraced Christ and Christianity was most severe there in Jerusalem. There the temptation for Jewish Christians to revert to Judaism was the strongest.
It is true that the ruling council of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, did initiate a terrible persecution of Jewish Christians. It began with the stoning of Stephen and turned against the whole church in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 7:54-8:3), scattering the Jewish Christians throughout Judea and Samaria. Saul, before his conversion and ministry as the apostle Paul, was the chief agent in carrying out the persecution of those Jewish Christians (cf. Acts 8:3; 9:1,2). But one only need be familiar with the persecutions that Paul himself and his co-workers suffered to know that the unbelieving Jews throughout the areas of Galatia and Macedonia were just as fanatical when it came to persecuting both Jews and Gentiles who had embraced Christianity and spread the gospel of Christ (cf. Acts 13:44-50; 14:1-6; 14:19; 17:1-14). While in Corinth Paul was extremely concerned about the faith of the Jewish and Gentile Christians in Thessalonica, who were being persecuted by the Jews there. Paul was fearful that because of their being persecuted the Christians in Thessalonica would be tempted to give up their faith (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5). Thus the persecution of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem is not an argument that requires the Letter to the Hebrews must have been written to Jewish Christians in Jerusalem. Jewish Christians were being persecuted in other places of the Roman empire as well.
Date Of The Letter To The Hebrews
The letter was quoted by Clement of Rome in his Letter to the Corinthians, which he wrote in A.D. 96. Thus the Letter to the Hebrews must have been written prior to A.D. 96.
The recipients of the letter were brought to faith by the teaching of the disciples who had personally been with and had heard the Word of God taught by the Lord Jesus himself (cf. Hebrews 2:3). The years of Jesus' public ministry were about A.D. 27-30. The letter was obviously written some years later.
From the time the recipients were brought to faith by the disciples to the time the letter was written a substantial amount of time must have passed. For they had had the time to grow spiritually in their knowledge of the Word of God but had not. Thus the writer admonished those Jewish Christians for their failing to have progressed to the point where they could teach others instead of their still needing to be taught the basic teachings of God's Word themselves (cf. Hebrews 5:12,13). A sufficient amount of time had also passed since they were gathered as a Christian congregation for some of their initial pastors and leaders to have died (cf. Hebrews 13:7). This passage of time suggests the letter may have been written to the Jewish Christians in Rome after A.D. 50.
The recipients had already endured a severe persecution. One of the reasons they had been persecuted was for sympathizing with other Christians who had been imprisoned (cf. Hebrews 10:32-36), some of whom may have been put to death (cf. Hebrews 12:4). The Jewish Christians in Rome who received the letter were subject to further persecution and possibly their own martyrdom as well (cf. Hebrews 10:36; 12:4). Such open persecution, imprisonment, and killing of Christians in Rome was started by the Roman Emperor Nero in A.D. 64. He blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome. This information suggests a date for the letter of some time after A.D. 64.
In the letter the author wrote at some length about the Jewish priesthood, bloody sacrifices, and the tabernacle. The Jewish temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. With its destruction the Jewish priesthood and bloody sacrifices were brought to an end permanently. Yet the author made no mention of this historic end to these Jewish forms of worship which had been practiced throughout the Old Testament era up to that time. His failure to speak of this suggests the author wrote the Letter to the Hebrews prior to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and before A.D. 70.
Taking into account all of the preceding information, it seems very probable that the Letter to the Hebrews was written after A.D. 64 and before A.D. 70. This would make the date of the letter sometime between A.D. 65 and 69.
Occasion For The Writing Of The Letter To The Hebrews
The Jewish Christians to whom the letter was sent had endured a severe persecution and were subject to additional persecutions (cf. Hebrews 10:32-36). Having been subjected to public ridicule and insults, having had their homes and personal property seized and confiscated, having to bear the same reproach and disgrace from their fellow Jews that Christ himself had heaped upon him (cf. Hebrews 13:12,13), and having to face the possibility of their martyrdom (cf. Hebrews 12:4)--they were growing weak and dispirited (cf. Hebrews 12:12) and their faith was wavering (cf. Hebrews 10:23).
Thus they were tempted to abandon their Christian faith and throw it overboard (cf. Hebrews 10:35; 3:12) in favor of reverting to Judaism (cf. Hebrews 13:9-14), in which they would be spared from further persecutions. Some of their number had already fallen away, repudiated Christ Jesus the Son of God, and had become apostate (cf. Hebrews 6:4-8). The possibility that they all may give up their faith prompted the author to write the letter to encourage them to remain faithful and to assure them their Christianity was superior to Judaism.
There were additional spiritual problems among the Jewish Christian recipients that also needed to be addressed. As far as the Word of God and the gospel of Christ were concerned, they had become dull of hearing and slow to learn. They had failed to progress to the point where they could teach others (cf. Hebrews 5:11-6:3). They were also forsaking their public worship services in which they could hear the Word of God and encourage one another in the faith (cf. Hebrews 10:25).
Purpose Of The Letter To The Hebrews
To exhort and encourage the Jewish Christians to remain faithful to Christ Jesus and not to turn back to their former Judaism.
Theme Of The Letter To The Hebrews
A Word Of Exhortation (cf. Hebrews 13:22) To Hold Fast To The Christian Hope Without Wavering (cf. Hebrews 3:12-14; 10:23; 10:35-39).
Outline Of The Letter To The Hebrews
Part 1: God Has Spoken To Us By His Superior Spokesman--Christ His Son, Hebrews 1:1-4:13
A. A word of instruction about God's superior spokesman, Hebrews 1:1-3
1. Christ his Son is superior to the prophets, Hebrews 1:1-3
a. In the past God spoke to us Jews by the prophets many times in various ways, Hebrews 1:1
b. More recently in these last days God has spoken to us Jews by Christ his Son, 1:2,3
b.1 Who is the heir of all things, Hebrews 1:2
b.2 Who is the Creator of the universe, Hebrews 1:2
b.3 Who is very God of very God, being the very glory and essence of God, Hebrews 1:3
b.4 Who sustains all of God's creation by his powerful word, Hebrews 1:3
b.5 Who purified us from our sins, Hebrews 1:3
b.6 Who now sits at the right hand of God in heaven, Hebrews 1:3
B. A word of instruction about Christ, God's Son, who is superior to the angels, Hebrews 1:4-14
1. Christ is superior to the angels as his name the Son of God is superior to their name angels, Hebrews 1:4
a. God called Christ his Son in the Old Testament Scriptures, Hebrews 1:5
a.1 Whereas God called on his angels to worship Christ his begotten Son, Hebrews 1:6
a.2 Whereas God called his angels winds and servants of fire, Hebrews 1:7
b. But God called Christ by the name of God, who reigns in righteousness and is set over us believers, Hebrews 1:8,9
2. Christ is superior to the angels in his attributes and works, Hebrews 1:10-14
a. He is the eternal, unchanging Lord, who was in the beginning of creation and will remain after the end of the creation, Hebrews 1:10-12
b. He is the Lord himself, who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth and who in the end will destroy them all, Hebrews 1:10-12
c. Whereas God said to no angel to sit at his right hand in the position of authority over the heavens and the earth, for his angels are but ministering spirits to serve us believers who will inherit salvation, Hebrews 1:13,14
3. A word of exhortation to heed the Word that Christ, God's Son, who is superior to the angels, has spoken, Hebrews 2:1-4
a. Since God has spoken to us Jews by Christ his Son, who is superior to the angels, we must pay more careful attention to his Word that we have heard, Hebrews 2:1
b. We must pay such careful attention to the Word of Christ, God's Son,
b.1 Because if God's Word that was spoken by angels was binding and every violation of that Word was justly punished, we can never hope to escape the punishment for ignoring the salvation that was first spoken by the Lord Christ and was then confirmed to us by his apostles, Hebrews 2:2,3
b.2 Because God himself bore witness to this Word of salvation by means of signs, miracles, and gifts of the Spirit, Hebrews 2:4
C. A word of instruction that Christ, God's Son, is superior to the angels, though for a time he was made lower than the angels as our faithful high priest but has since then been exalted to have all things subjected to him, Hebrews 2:5-18
1. God did not subject to angels the world to come, Hebrews 2:5
2. But as the inspired writer of Psalm 8 stated, God did crown with glory and subject all things to Christ, who according to his human nature was made lower than the angels while he was on earth, Hebrews 2:6-8
a. Jesus Christ has been crowned with glory because by God's grace he died for everyone, Hebrews 2:9
b. In bringing many to glory it was fitting according to God's plan to perfect Jesus, the author of mankind's salvation, through suffering, for which reason we are members of God's family with Jesus and his brothers, Hebrews 2:10-13
c. Since the children of God whom Christ came to save are flesh and blood, he was made lower than the angels when he was also made flesh and blood to destroy the devil and the fear of death by his death, Hebrews 2:14,15
c.1 He certainly did not come to save the fallen angels but the human descendants of Abraham, the forefather of us Jews, Hebrews 2:16
c.2 For this reason he was made like his brothers, the children of God, in every way to serve as their high priest who made the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the people, Hebrews 2:17
c.3 Because he himself suffered as the Great High Priest, he is able to help those who are being tempted, Hebrews 2:18
3. A word of exhortation to fix your thoughts, O Jewish Christians, on Jesus whom we confess.
D. A word of instruction about Christ, God's Son, who is superior to Moses, Hebrews 3:2-6
1. Christ, God's Son, was faithful to God as Moses was faithful in all of God's house, Hebrews 3:2
2. But Christ is worthy of greater honor than Moses. For Moses was a faithful servant in God's house, but Christ is the builder of God's house and the faithful Son over God's house, Hebrews 3:3-6
E. A word of exhortation to believe in Christ, God's Son, Hebrews 3:7-4:13
1. As the Holy Spirit says in Psalm 95, if you Jewish Christians hear the voice of God in his Word today, believe it. Don't harden your hearts in unbelief like your Israelite forefathers in the wilderness did and forfeited entering into God's eternal rest, Hebrews 3:7-11
2. Take care that none of you Jewish Christians come to have an unbelieving heart that causes you to fall away from the living God, Hebrews 3:12
3. Encourage one another in the faith daily, while God is giving you the day to believe, so that none of you Jewish Christians become hardened in unbelief by sin, Hebrews 3:13
4. We are partakers in Christ, if we hold fast our faith in him to the end while we have the opportunity now to hear God's voice calling us, Hebrews 3:14,15
5. Remember, O Jewish Christians, your Israelite forefathers in the wilderness, who heard and rebelled and lost their chance to enter God's eternal rest because of their unbelief, Hebrews 3:16-19
6. Since the promise of God to enter his rest in heaven still stands, be careful that none of you Jewish Christians lose it. Like your Israelite forefathers in the wilderness, we also have had the gospel of salvation in Christ preached to us. Through faith in that gospel we enter God's eternal rest, which was prepared at the creation of the world, Hebrews 4:1-5
7. Some will enter God's rest at the present time through faith, which time God calls Today. Since there is a Sabbath-rest for the people of God, make every effort to enter it so no one will fall by unbelief as your Israelite forefathers in the wilderness did, Hebrews 4:6-11
8. For the Word of God is living and active, a judge of the heart's thoughts and intentions. Nothing is hidden from the sight of God, by whom we will be judged, Hebrews 4:12,13
Part 2: Christ, God's Son, Is The Superior High Priest, Hebrews 4:14-10-18
A. Jesus Christ, God's Son, is the Great High Priest, Hebrews 4:14-16
1. A word of exhortation for you Jewish Christians who are considering to return to Judaism with its high priesthood: Hold firmly to our faith in Jesus, Hebrews 4:14
a. For we Christians have the one Great High Priest, Jesus, God's Son, who ascended into heaven to intercede for us with God there, Hebrews 4:14
b. For we Christians have the one Great High Priest, who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, because he himself was tempted in every way we are yet he did not sin, Hebrews 4:15
c. Therefore, approach God's throne of grace through Jesus, the Great High Priest, with the confidence that we will receive mercy and grace in our time of need, Hebrews 4:16
2. A word of instruction about how Jesus, God's Son, obtained his position as the Great High Priest, Hebrews 5:1-10
a. Every high priest is appointed from among men to carry out the duties of his office and does not take that honor upon himself, Hebrews 5:1-4
b. Christ Jesus did not take the glory of being the one Great High Priest upon himself either. God conferred this office to him when God said Christ was his Son and a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, Hebrews 5:5,6
c. Christ Jesus, our Great High Priest, though God's Son was the one himself who suffered death as the sacrifice for sin. He was perfect and is the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, Hebrews 5:7-9
d. Christ Jesus was designated by God to be the Great High Priest in the order of Melchizedek, Hebrews 5:10
3. A word of exhortation for you Jewish Christians to grow up spiritually, Hebrews 5:11-6:20
a. I the writer of this letter and my co-workers have so much more we could explain to you Jewish Christians about Christ the Great High Priest, but explaining it is difficult because spiritually you are infants, dull of hearing and slow to learn. You are able to digest only the simplest milk about Christ rather than the solid food of God's Word that would train you to distinguish between what is right and wrong, Hebrews 5:11-14
b. So let's leave the basic teachings about Christ, the ABC's of Christianity, to press ahead to a spiritual maturity, rather than relaying the foundational teachings all over again about repentance, faith, baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and the eternal judgment, Hebrews 6:1-3
c. Be aware that there have been some of your Jewish Christians who had partaken of all the blessings that come through faith in Jesus Christ, but who then fell away. They repudiated Christ, and while they do so it is impossible for them to be brought back to repentance. They are worthless weeds who are fit for the fires of hell, Hebrews 6:4-8
d. Though we write sternly about those who have repudiated Christ, we here are confident of better things concerning you Jewish Christians and your salvation. We desire you to be diligent in your work and love for God to make your hope of salvation sure. Accordingly, imitate those who through faith and patience under trial inherit what has been promised, Hebrews 6:9-12
e. Based on the promise and oath of God, such as God made to Abraham your forefather, we have the sure hope of what has been promised. This hope is the anchor of our soul that enters God's Most Holy Place, where Jesus himself entered as our Great High Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek, Hebrews 6:13-20
4. A word of instruction about Christ's superior high priesthood which is in the order of Melchizedek, Hebrews 7:1-28
a. Melchizedek was both a priest and a king. Like the Son of God he remains a priest forever, Hebrews 7:1-3
b. Melchizedek was greater than Abraham and Levi, from whom the Levitical priesthood descended, Hebrews 7:4-10
c. The Lord Jesus Christ, who descended not from the tribe of Levi but the non-priestly tribe of Judah, is a superior high priest in the order of Melchizedek. He is not of the imperfect Levitical priesthood in the order of Aaron, Hebrews 7:11-14
d. The Lord Jesus Christ's high priesthood superseded the old Levitical priesthood on the basis of his indestructible life, not on the basis that he descended from the tribe of Levi, Hebrews 7:15-17
e. The former regulation of the law pertaining to the Levitical priesthood, which was weak and imperfect, was set aside by God's oath that made Christ a priest forever, Hebrews 7:18-22
f. Unlike the Levitical priests whose service was only temporary because they died, Jesus has a permanent priesthood because he lives forever. He is able to save us because he always lives to intercede for us, Hebrews 7:23-25
g. Jesus is the high priest who meets our need, not the high priests of the Levitical priesthood. Jesus, being holy and without sin, made the one sacrifice needed for the sins of the people when he offered up himself to God, Hebrews 7:26-28
5. A word of instruction about Christ's being a superior priest in a superior sanctuary and of a superior covenant, Hebrews 8:1-13
a. Christ Jesus serves as high priest in the heavenly sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by God, not in an earthly sanctuary made by men, Hebrews 8:1-5
b. Christ Jesus is the high priest of the new, superior covenant of God's grace that forgives sins, which superseded the old covenant of the law given on Mount Sinai, Hebrews 8:6-13
6. A word of instruction about Christ who made the superior sacrifice for sins, Hebrews 9:1-10:18
a. In the earthly tabernacle the high priest entered the Holy of Holies once a year with blood to make an imperfect sacrifice for sins that did not open the way to God or clear the worshipper's conscience of guilt, Hebrews 9:1-10
b. Christ, however, as the Great High Priest entered once for all God's heavenly tabernacle by means of his own blood that obtained eternal redemption and cleanses the conscience of sin, Hebrews 9:11-14
c. For this reason Christ is the mediator of the new, superior covenant of eternal salvation that he put into effect by the shedding of his blood, Hebrews 9:15-22
d. Christ as the true high priest entered into heaven and the presence of God, to whom he offered himself once as the bearer of sins to bring salvation upon his return to those who are waiting for him, Hebrews 9:23-28
e. The endless animal sacrifices made according to the law could never take away sins. When Christ came, he set aside those worthless sacrifices by doing the will of God in sacrificing himself once for all. After he as the Great High Priest had offered up himself for all time as the one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, because his one sacrifice made perfect forever those who are being made holy, Hebrews 10:1-15
f. The Holy Spirit also testifies to the one perfect sacrifice for sins that Christ made. In Jeremiah 31 the Spirit testified to the new covenant of forgiveness. Where sins have already been forgiven, there is no further need of sacrifices for sin, Hebrews 10:15-18
Part 3: Words Of Exhortation, Hebrews 10:19-12:29
A. Since we have the confidence to come into God's presence through the blood of Jesus, our Great High Priest: Hebrews 10:19-21
1. Therefore, O Jewish Christians, draw near to God in full assurance of faith, Hebrews 10:22
2. Therefore, O Jewish Christians, hold unswervingly to the hope we confess, Hebrews 10:23
3. Therefore, O Jewish Christians, spur one another on in love and good deeds, Hebrews 10:24
4. And don't, O Jewish Christians, give up worshipping together as some of your number have done, but encourage one another in the faith, Hebrews 10:25
B. Beware, O Jewish Christians, of falling away and willfully repudiating Christ the Son of God's redemption. For if you do, you have no sacrifice for your sins but only the terrifying judgment of God to look forward to, Hebrews 10:26-31
C. Remember, O Jewish Christians, the earlier days of your faith, when for your faith and for your fellow Christians who were imprisoned, you suffered severe persecution. Don't throw away now the confidence of your faith, but endure the persecution so you may receive the promised salvation as ones who believe and are saved, Hebrews 10:32-39
D. Remember, O Jewish Christians, the heroes of faith, who lived by faith and not by sight in the face of their severe tests and trials, Hebrews 11:1-40
E. Bearing in mind the examples of all these heroes of faith, run the race of faith yourselves, you Jewish Christians. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, who also endured the hostility of sinful men, so you do not grow weary and lose heart, Hebrews 12:1-3
F. In your suffering persecution remember that God exhorts you as sons. Remember that what you suffer is evidence of God's fatherly love to discipline you so you produce a harvest of righteousness. Then strengthen the weak in your midst, Hebrews 12:4-13
G. See to it that you do not miss the grace of God, O Jewish Christians. You have not come to Mount Sinai as your Israelite forefathers did, which was ever so terrifying. Rather, you have come to Mount Zion, which is the heavenly city and church, and to God and to Jesus. So see to it that you do not refuse God who is speaking to you now, lest you become caught in his consuming judgment, Hebrews 12:14-29
Part 4: Practical Words Of Exhortation For The Jewish Christians To Love One Another As Brothers, Hebrews 13:1-17
A. Show hospitality to strangers, Hebrews 13:2
B. Love your imprisoned and persecuted fellow Christians, Hebrews 13:3
C. Let love be shown in honoring marriage and keeping yourselves sexually pure, Hebrews 13:4
D. Don't love money, Hebrews 13:5,6
E. Remember in love your former spiritual leaders who spoke the truthful Word of God to you. Do not be carried away by false teachings that tempt you Jewish Christians to return to Judaism with its ceremonial foods and rituals. For we Christians have an altar, the cross, on which Christ suffered outside the city of Jerusalem so we may have the eternal city which is to come, Hebrews 13:7-17
Part 5: Closing Instructions and Greetings To The Jewish Christians, Hebrews 13:18-25
A. Pray for us fellow workers in the gospel, Hebrews 13:18,19
B. A prayer for the Jewish Christians who received this letter, Hebrews 13:20,21
C. Heed the word of exhortation in this letter, Hebrews 13:22
D. The author's intention to visit the Jewish Christians soon with Timothy, Hebrews 13:23
E. Greeting, Hebrews 13:24
F. Concluding benediction, Hebrews 13:25