Summary of Hebrews
Unlike many of the letters of the New Testament, Hebrews author is unidentified. The date for when this letter was written is most likely later than A.D. 60, but earlier than 70.
The theme of Hebrews seems to be Jesus Christ as our High Priest. Jesus Christ came to earth perfect, Holy, and without sin. Yet, He was lifted up on the cross to die as a sacrifice for our sins, once for all. The Jews no longer need to have a flawed high priest go into the tabernacle to offer up sacrifices daily for the people’s sins. Jesus Christ is our High Priest and he has offered Himself up as the sacrifice for our sins. The author also continues to warn us against falling away from the truth because of unbelief.
A. What is the author telling me in Hebrews 1:1-2:18?
The author of Hebrews did not begin with a greeting, but moved right into what he wanted to tell His audience. The author tells us that God has revealed Himself to us through His Son. He then describes in short the greatness of Christ. His glory is bright, He upholds all by the Word of His power, He purged our sin, and sits at the right hand of God on High. He is so much better then the angels, for God did not call any of the angels His Son, but He did call Jesus His Son. He tells the angels to worship Him, but He Glorifies His Son. Therefore, the author warns us not to neglect our salvation, lest we fall away. The author goes on to say that the Son of man was made lower than the angels and tasted death, so that He would be glorified and bring many to salvation.
B. How should I respond to Hebrews 1:1-2:18?
Even though Christ is far greater then us or angels, Christ still humbled Himself and became lower than the angels so we could have salvation. Because Christ has lived on this earth and has been tempted, he is able to help us when we are tempted. I should not neglect or take for granted my salvation, lest I fall away.
A. Hebrews 3:1-4:13
Just as Moses was faithful, Christ was even more so, for he who builds the house is greater than the house itself. The author warns us against being rebellious and hardening our hearts like the Israelites who wandered in the wilderness for forty years. The author then reminds us of what happened to the Israelites who rebelled, hardened their hearts with unbelief and disobeyed. Their corpses fell in the wilderness, and they could not enter into the land which God had promised them because of their unbelief. The promise of entering God’s rest remains for us today, but the author continues to exhort us not to harden our hearts lest we be unable to enter that rest. We are then told of the power of God’s Word which is sharper than a two-edged sword and able to pierce our souls.
One of the characteristics of Christ is faithfulness, and because I should follow in His footsteps I also should be faithful. Christ is my High priest and He is faithful and took my sins upon Himself. The Israelites are a good example to me of what I should not be. I should not harden my heart in unbelief and rebellion, but believe today and enter into God’s rest. I need to be diligent not to fall away, but I need God’s help. God gives me His Word which is able to pierce my soul and guide me in the right way.
A. Hebrews 4:14-6:20
The author reminds us that although Christ was tempted, he did not sin. We can, therefore, come boldly to the throne of grace and seek His help. A high priest is described as one who would offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. This job was a very special job because no one could have it except those who were appointed by God. Christ became our High Priest for he was obedient even to death on the cross. He offered Himself up to be the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. The author then rebukes them for their lack of knowledge, for they were like babies needing only milk when they should have been eating solid food by then. The people are exhorted to not fall away from what they have learned, lest they are forever lost without hope. Instead they should do that which accompanies salvation, doing what is good.
Christ is my High Priest. He has taken away my sins by offering Himself up on the cross to die. Even though Christ was tempted, he died a perfect man. Therefore, I can boldly come to the throne of His grace. I am not to be sluggish, but to work in love, doing what is good. God cannot lie, and because He has sworn by Himself who is the greatest of all, he will keep the promises He has made, therefore I can confidence in His faithfulness.
A. Hebrews 7:1-10:18
Abraham gave a tenth of his tithe to Melchizedek, who was the king of Righteousness. The priesthood of Melchizedek was higher than that of the Levites, and as prophesied in the Psalms, Jesus came from the order of Melchizedek. The Israelites had high priests, but they were flawed just like the people. They need to offer up sacrifices daily not just for the people but for themselves, as well. Jesus, who was holy, undefiled, sinless, and harmless, became our high priest by offering up Himself as the sacrifice once for all. God has made a New Covenant, one without fault, with His people. The shedding of blood is necessary for the cleansing of sins. We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ and His blood that He shed for our sins.
We no longer have to have a flawed high priest offer up sacrifices for our sins, because Christ offered up Himself once for all. Christ was a flawless sacrifice, yet He took all my sins upon Himself and shed His Blood for me. I could not be redeemed if Christ had not shed His blood for me, because it takes the shedding of blood to have forgiveness of sins.
A. Hebrews 10:19-12:29
The author exhorts us to live a holy life, encouraging one another in love. We are told to endure any suffering and not turn away from what is true. We are encouraged to live by faith, which are the things we hope for yet have not seen. The author then goes on to give many examples of those who lived by faith in the Old Testament. By faith Noah built an ark to save his household when divinely warned of things not seen. By faith Moses was hidden for three months by his parents because he was beautiful and they did not fear the king’s command. By faith the walls of
fell after they had circled it for seven days and by faith Rahab did not perish with the rest because she received the spies in peace. The Lord chastens us as sons because He loves us. Jericho
I must live by faith, like all the people in the Old Testament that I am told about. There are many trials that I must go through and at the moment I may not understand, but the only way I can get through is by faith. I must believe in that which I can not see. I must run the race set before me and have faith in the prize at the end. I must have faith in God that he will work it out for my good. My faith in God will help me to do the hard things that come into my path and give me grace to bear any persecution from others. Although the chastening of the Lord is painful it is because he loves me that I must endure it.
A. Hebrews 13:1-25
The author exhorts us to live in brotherly love, and to be hospitable to strangers. We are to be pure and live without covetousness. We should not be carried away with various doctrines, but be established in grace. Just as the animals, whose blood was brought into the sanctuary for the peoples sins, was burned outside the camp, so Jesus Christ was crucified outside the gates so He could sanctify His people. The author entreats them to pray for him. He prays for them that God would make them complete in every good work for His glory. He closes with greetings and grace.
I am to live with fellow believers in love. I am to show hospitality even to strangers, for in so doing, I might be entertaining angels. I need to be grounded in the doctrine of grace, so that I am not carried away with various false teachings. I should be praying for other believers, that they would stand strong and not waver in the truth.
I think that Hebrews can summaries this book pretty well. It says, “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” In short, Christ (who is the ‘He’ spoken of in this verse) took on flesh, was faithful even unto death, and mercifully saved us through the blood that He shed for us, thus, making a propitiation for our sins and becoming our Great High Priest.
Note: The outline scriptural break up from Introducing the New Testament (a short guide to its history and message) by D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, edited by Andrew David Naselli.