The book is written to Jews who were thinking about leaving their new faith. So the Holy Spirit encourages them to “hold on” to their faith in Jesus. He tells them that Jesus is better than anything and anyone including the angels, Moses, Aaron, and any high priest. There is no other book like Hebrews. It will open your eyes to Jesus as our Great High Priest.
The book is also very practical and helps us to know how well we are “running the Christian race.” Here are just a few questions to be answered: “Am I a mature Christian?” “Can I lose my salvation?” “Does the Law still apply today?” “How do I live by faith?” What are the dark, warning sections in Hebrews about? What are the keys to becoming a mature, spirit-filled saint in the Lord?
The book of Hebrews was written by two authors. The Holy Spirit was the primary author, and the other author was human (2 Peter 1:20-21). We are not sure who the human author was. Many have speculated as to who he was but we do not know. Hebrews 2:3-4 seems to imply that the writer was not an apostle.
After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. Hebrews 2:3-4 (NASB)
In this verse, the author says, ” . . . it was confirmed to us by those who heard . . .” and he then refers to the miracles, signs and wonders performed by the apostles. This would seem to imply that the author is not an apostle. He is not Paul. So who could he be? There are many opinions but no agreement. John Calvin summarizes it well with, “I can adduce no reason to show that Paul was its author.” Origen says, “But who wrote the epistle, in truth God knows!” All that really matters is that the Holy Spirit wrote it. The opening two verses of the book clearly reveal that God wrote it.
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. Hebrews 1:1-2 (NASB)
Hebrews was written around the time of the apostles (Hebrews 2:3-4) and during the life of Timothy, Paul’s friend. Hebrews 13:23 says that Timothy was released from prison. This places the epistle in the first century. Clement of Rome quotes from Hebrews (A.D. 96). This means Hebrews already existed by A.D. 96. We know from history that Rome persecuted the Christians under Nero during A.D. 65-68 and Jerusalem, along with the temple, was destroyed in A.D. 70. The epistle implies the sacrifices were still going on and speaks of persecution and suffering (Hebrews 10:32-34). This means the book of Hebrews was written before Jerusalem was destroyed and during the persecution. So it safe to say that Hebrews was written about A.D. 65-69.
Hebrews has several themes. You may also want to use the outline of the book and the PDF of the study. The primary one is that Jesus is our faithful and merciful high priest, but the reason the epistle was written was to encourage the Jewish readers to endure in their faith: to hang on, endure, “hold fast” to Jesus. They were in danger of going back to Judaism. So the Holy Spirit writes a stunning book to call them and us to faithfulness to our Lord Jesus, to understand Jesus in a unique way, to mature in the faith, and to fix our eyes on Jesus!
For years, the deepest desire of my heart has been to know Jesus more and more. I have found that the most meaningful times in my life are not sporting events, nor money, nor a movie; but when I can see Jesus in new ways in the pages of scripture, when He comes alive, or when I see Him in majesty. That is what Hebrews is all about. Jesus IS our majestic high priest. This reminds me of Luke 24:27, 31-32.
And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures . . . And their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:27, 31-32 (NASB)
As you study Hebrews, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and put passion in your heart for Him as you seek to experience Him, as you seek to know Him as your faithful and merciful high priest.