The book of Hebrews is a General Epistle (Apostolic Letter). It was written mainly to the Hebrew believers. The author is anonymous, although either Paul or Barnabas was traditionally accepted as the author. It was written approximately 67 A.D. Its purpose was to present the Lord Jesus Christ as perfect and superior in comparison to anything Judaism and the old covenant had to offer. The author was writing to a group of Christians who were under intense persecution and some were contemplating a return to Judaism. He admonished them not to turn away from their only hope of salvation.
• In chapters 1-10:18, the author repeatedly demonstrates Jesus Christ as preeminent over the angels, “let all the angels of God worship Him” (1:6); over Moses, “He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses” (3:3); over the Old Testament priesthood, “being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (5:10). The writer explains that the New Covenant is greater than the Old Covenant because Jesus was the perfect, permanent sacrifice, rather than the Old Testament sacrifices. The author also presents the power and authority of the Word of God, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (4:12).
• In chapters 10:19-13, the writer explains that Faith is superior to the work of the Old Covenant. He writes, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1). Chapter 11 is Faith’s Hall of Fame where all of the faithful individual’s from the Old Testament are highlighted in this chapter. Faith in Jesus Christ is our source of salvation because He is “the author and perfecter of faith” (12:2).
All are able to trust in Jesus Christ knowing that He is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (13:8).
Hebrews 12 NIV
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
God Disciplines His Children
4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
5And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” a
7Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
8If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate,
not true sons and daughters at all.
9Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!
10They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.
11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
13“Make level paths for your feet,” b so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Warning and Encouragement
14Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
15See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
16See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
17Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
a 6 Prov. 3:11,12 (see Septuagint)
b 13 Prov. 4:26