Hebrews – Intro


Written approximately three decades after Christ’s resurrection, the book of Hebrews is most probably a letter addressed to a Jewish audience who had accepted the gospel of Christ but were now questioning their decision. Neither the author nor the audience of the letter is known but scholars believe that the destination of the letter could have been either Rome or Jerusalem. The author assumes his readers to be well-versed with the Old Testament writings as well as the message of Jesus, as they bounce back and forth between them with each reference.


The book was known as the Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews for more than a thousand years but now there seems to be a consensus that even though this book doesn’t negate any of Paul’s letters, it also does not match his writing style. What we know is that the author was a Jewish convert and well-versed in the Greek translation of the Old Testament. That narrows the list down further with the names of Apollos and Barnabas being proposed, men of Jewish descent who had a commanding grasp of the Old Testament writings. It could have also been written by Priscilla, the wife of Aquila and the mentor of Apollos. Or it could have been a person unbeknownst to us and not mentioned in the Bible but who was inspired by the teachings of the aforementioned and wrote this letter.


The goal of the letter is to remind its readers about Christ’s supreme authority over any of God’s messengers that He had spoken through in the past (Hebrews 1:1). The author depicts Christ in all his glory as the ultimate provider of God’s new convent to all His children. There are quotes from the scriptures in quick succession throughout this letter that proves the superiority of Jesus. Superiority over angels, the forefathers, the prophets and even the high priests of Israel who were the descendants of Aaron. The only person the author does not claim Jesus to be superior to, is the Old Testament Priestly King of Salem, Melchizedek.

This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever.

Hebrews 7:1-3 (NIV)


At that time the followers of the way were mercilessly persecuted with many of them either killed or thrown into prisons all across Europe and West Asia. The author sends this letter to the fellowship of believers in either Jerusalem or Rome to remind them of the salvation that they had received and to hold on to their faith. For us reading this letter nearly two millennia later, the contents of which still hold value as we live in a world that tries to constantly pull us apart from our Christ. Our faith is constantly being tested by the circumstances around us and we have the urge to leave our faith and give in to the schemes of the prince of this world. The author warns his audience to not return to the old ways and forgo the salvation that has been freely given to them by the all-conquering supreme being known to us as Jesus.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe

Hebrews 12:28 (NIV)


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