VI. FINAL EXHORTATION, BLESSING, GREETINGS
1#After recommendations on social and moral matters (Heb 13:1–6), the letter turns to doctrinal issues. The fact that the original leaders are dead should not cause the recipients of this letter to lose their faith (Heb 13:7), for Christ still lives and he remains always the same (Heb 13:8). They must not rely for their personal sanctification on regulations concerning foods (Heb 13:9), nor should they entertain the notion that Judaism and Christianity can be intermingled (Heb 13:10; cf. notes on Gal 2:11–14; 2:15–21). As Jesus died separated from his own people, so must the Christian community remain apart from the religious doctrines of Judaism (Heb 13:11–14). Christ must be the heart and center of the community (Heb 13:15–16). Let mutual love continue. 2Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.#a. [13:2] Gn 18:3; 19:2–3; Jgs 6:11–22; Tb 5:4. 3Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.#b. [13:3] Mt 25:36. 4Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.#c. [13:4] 1 Cor 5:13; Eph 5:5. 5Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”#d. [13:5] Dt 31:6, 8; Jos 1:5. 6Thus we may say with confidence:
“The Lord is my helper,
[and] I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?”#e. [13:6] Ps 27:1–3; 118:6.
7Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.#f. [13:8] 1:12; 7:24; Rev 1:17.
9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teaching.#Strange teaching: this doctrine about foods probably refers to the Jewish food laws; in view of Heb 13:10, however, the author may be thinking of the Mosaic sacrificial banquets. It is good to have our hearts strengthened by grace and not by foods, which do not benefit those who live by them.#g. [13:9] Rom 14:17; 1 Cor 8:8; Eph 4:14; Col 2:16. 10We have an altar#We have an altar: this does not refer to the Eucharist, which is never clearly mentioned in Hebrews, but to the sacrifice of Christ. from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11The bodies of the animals whose blood the high priest brings into the sanctuary as a sin offering are burned outside the camp.#h. [13:11] Ex 29:14; Lv 16:27. 12Therefore, Jesus also suffered outside the gate, to consecrate the people by his own blood.#i. [13:12] Mt 21:39; Mk 12:8; Lk 20:15; Jn 19:17. 13Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the reproach that he bore. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the one that is to come.#j. [13:14] 11:10, 14. 15Through him [then] let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.#k. [13:15] Hos 14:3. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have; God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.#l. [13:16] Phil 4:18.
17#Recommending obedience to the leaders of the community, the author asks for prayers (Heb 13:17–19). The letter concludes with a blessing (Heb 13:20–21), a final request for the acceptance of its message (Heb 13:22), information regarding Timothy (Heb 13:23), and general greetings (Heb 13:24–25). Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be of no advantage to you.
18Pray for us, for we are confident that we have a clear conscience, wishing to act rightly in every respect. 19I especially ask for your prayers that I may be restored to you very soon.
20#These verses constitute one of the most beautiful blessings in the New Testament. The resurrection of Jesus is presupposed throughout Hebrews, since it is included in the author’s frequently expressed idea of his exaltation, but this is the only place where it is explicitly mentioned. May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep by the blood of the eternal covenant, Jesus our Lord,#m. [13:20] Is 63:11; Zec 9:11; Jn 10:11; Acts 2:24; Rom 15:33. 21furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will. May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever [and ever]. Amen.
22Brothers, I ask you to bear with this message of encouragement, for I have written to you rather briefly. 23I must let you know that our brother Timothy has been set free. If he comes soon, I shall see you together with him.#n. [13:23] Acts 16:1. 24Greetings to all your leaders and to all the holy ones. Those from Italy send you greetings. 25Grace be with all of you.#o. [13:25] Ti 3:15.