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Highlights from Hebrews (21 Of 32)
Through the Bible Survey
Dr. Stan Coffey
October 13, 1991
AUTHORSHIP: Much debate surrounds the possible authorship of the letter to the Hebrews. Traditionally the apostle Paul has been regarded as its author. However, the church in earlier times was divided over the authorship of the book. Luke, Barnabas, Clement of Rome, Apollos, and the apostle Paul have all been suggested. The arguments for a Pauline authorship are convincing despite the objections made. It is claimed that Paul could not be the author of Hebrews because the language, style, and arguments are not typical of Paul. Moreover, the epistle is anonymous whereas Paul's other epistles all bear his signature. Against this it can be argued that whatever differences in style and language Hebrews may contain as compared with the known Pauline epistles, the thoughts and reasonings are very much like Paul's. In addition, while Paul's other epistles are addressed to Gentiles Hebrews was written for Jews and Paul did describe himself as "a Hebrew of the Hebrews"- (Phil. 3:5). The epistle to the Hebrews and the epistle to the Romans have similarities as well. It is possible that 2 Peter 3:15-16 is a reference to the epistle of Hebrews. Also, Hebrews 13:23 mentions Timothy, who was the companion of Paul. We must also remember that though Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles he still had a great burden for the Jewish people, especially when Paul had been grieved over Hebrew Christians forsaking the church to return to Judaism.
RECIPIENTS: Most commentators agree that the recipients of this letter were Jewish Christians who were being drawn back into Judaism from their new found faith in Jesus Christ. The book has a distinctively Jewish flavor. There are numerous references to the Old Testament scripture, much of the letter is concerned with seeing Christ as the great fulfillment of Jewish ritual and the sacrificial system. Jesus is declared to be both high priest and sac ...
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