Every New Testament letter is written for a purpose; some to encouage, some to persuade, some to warn, but always to influence. Each letter has a rhetorical style, a flow of thought, an argument meant to persuade and win the reader to a new way of thinking and acting in light of the gospel message. Hebrews also, has a progression of thought. Todays post is simply our attempt to provide you with an overview of the letter in an effort to ‘orient’ you as you read and follow along with our sermon series.
Todays podcast also covers this material in a little less detail.
Below is a Chapter-by-Chapter Summary:
Hebrews 1:1-14 Jesus is higher than the angels, and all created things. He is the Creator, more powerful, higher and with much more authority.
Hebrews 2:1-5 Because of Jesus authority and power, we should pay attention to his words, even ‘more’ than the Old Covenant commands. If we fail in this, we may drift from truth.
Hebrews 2:5-18 is the conclusion of the idea from Heb 1:14 Additional reasons and proofs that Jesus is more significant than angels, because he was not a ‘witness’ like angels, he was in fact the “Author” hot a character in the narrative.
Hebrews 3:1-6 is the result of Hebrews 2:18 More detail on Jesus authority, because he built the house, he knows and has ultimate authority over it. The Architect has honor over the ‘tenant’ of the house.
Hebrews 3:7-19 “So” this is a reminder (again) of the fact that just because we ‘make it out of Egypt’ that is not the same thing as entering the promised land. The Israelites under Joshua are proof of this fact.
HEBREWS 4:1-13 “THEREFORE” a challenge to live as God commands, since “his word is living and active”, it is for us as it was for them…
Hebrews 4:14-5:10; The better high priest, Jesus
Hebrews 5:11-6:12 The reminder that we must keep growing and learning new things about God. If we fail to learn and grow, we (again) can drift and wander
Hebrews 6:13-6:20 or 6:19 and then begin the new thought in Hebrews 6:20 instead of Hebrews 7:1; Jesus is a better priest since he as confirmed not only by LINEAGE, like the Aaronic priesthood, but by the oath, the promise of God himself. This promise is unchanging, because God is unchanging.
Hebrews 7:1-10; an explanation of Melchizedek’s greatness; and a comparison of Jesus even “greater greatness”
Hebrews 7:11-28 a somewhat detailed explanation of ‘how’ and ‘why’ the older priesthood needed an update; life is better than lineage, eternal availability is better than human dynasty, the eternal oath of an eternal God gives it its power, and ultimately the sinlessness of Jesus makes him a better priest because he can offer himself!
Hebrews 8:1-13 The “shadow sanctuary” and its limitations, the promise of a new covenant, a better covenant.
Hebrews 9:1-10 an explanation of the earthly tabernacle and its function (tabernacle means ‘tent’ or ‘temporary meeting place’) and its limitations; annual and repetitive, only one priest had access, the external nature of that cleansing ritual.
Hebrews 9:11-28 The Better Blood of Jesus, his eternal, more pure, personal sacrifice is more potent than any (created) animal…he offers himself!
Hebrews 10:1-18 The Shadow and ‘temporary’ nature of the Law
Hebrews 10:19-39 The access we have to the Most Holy Place because of Jesus, and the just punishment if we “Sin in the Holy Place”…sinning ‘near’ the mountain brought death in Ex 20, consider then what happens when we who are “in the Holy Place” when we deliberately sin?
Hebrews 11: Excursus; “what does being faithful look like”? Given all that has just been said, what does it look like to live “by faith?”
Hebrews 12:1-12 “Therefore”…a summary of how to focus on Jesus, be transformed by ‘paidea’, understand the purpose of Gods discipline, and stay on the straight and narrow pathway marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:14-29, a reminder that though the old covenant has expired, Gods call to holy living and the reality of his judgement have no ‘expiration date’!
Hebrews 13: a brief collection of commands and reminders, motivated again by the “passover example” of Jesus, outside the camp, willing to suffer for us, and a final personal note about Timothy and greetings from the Italian disciples.