Some Tips on How to Read the book of Hebrews
Reading Hebrews is like using the magnifying glass. It brings into focus what truly matters, enlarging and helping us to see things in perspective while the rest recedes into the background. Here as you read the Letter to Hebrews, the author’s intent and focus is inescapable – the Lord Jesus Christ.
In order to appreciate the letter, we must put ourselves in the shoes of the Jewish congregation. They are probably Greek-speaking-Jews who have accepted Jesus as the Messiah. Now they are facing the greatest challenge of their lives. Among their numbers, some are beginning to waver in their faith and wandering if the religious life of Judaism they had left behind was a mistake after all. Is Jesus really the Son of God or just among the many messengers of God? After years of ritual and sacrifices, is it wise to discard all and put the full weight of trust in Jesus?
These are questions that the author took time to answer. As he unfolds his argument, a picture of the majestic Christ emerged, that not only is he sufficient and much superior above everything and everyone, he is the perfect revelation of God.
Perhaps a simple outline here will helps us in our reading.
Hebrews is divided in 2 main parts:
Chapter 1 – 10:- Jesus is superior
|1.||Greatest Messengers of old: Prophets and angels||1 – 4|
|2.||Greatest Deliverer of old: Moses||3 – 4|
|3.||Reverend Religious Order of Old: Priesthood and Sacrificial System||4: 14 – 10:18|
Chapter 10:19 – 13:25:- Those who persevere in faith
|1.||Call to persevere||10:19 – 39|
|2.||Examples of those who persevered||11|
|3.||Conclusion and encouragement to persevere||12 – 13|
As you read, may you see God’s final and perfect expression and revelation in Jesus Christ. Then, respond in worship.
The author is someone close to Timothy (13:23) and has been practicing Jewish low for a long time. But now he begins to understand that what he learnt has been fulfilled in Christ. He is writing to his own people who believe in Christ but were confused by their own culture and practices.
But why are the readers confused?
- They didn’t really understand what they have been practicing all these while and what has Christ got to do with all this.
- They are under persecution.
When they are exposed to public insult, confiscation of their property and loss of support from the community, they soon lost their confidence in Christ (10:32-34).
- They are not focused.
They are under the influence of Greek culture which compromised with regards to sexual immorality (Heb 13:4-10) and are exposed to many strange teachings. The author had to deal with many practical issues that were happening among them.
- Not sure of what is ahead of them.
Author showed them there is reward and harvest of righteousness and peace for those who endure hardship as discipline. And that God see them as His children (12:5-11) (It is mind blowing for Jews to see God as their Father).
So, we need to ask ourselves after we read Hebrews.
- Am I confused with what I believe in?
- Am I losing confidence while going through difficult circumstances?
- Am I distracted by things around me?
- Am I not sure of what is ahead of me?
We need to be clear of what we believe in and hold on to that hope. Always move forward and never give up!
Rest assured that God has and will be working through my life and the lives of others.