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Hebrews study guide

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Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read:
   Hebrews 1: Jesus superior to angels
   Hebrews 3: Jesus superior to Moses
   Hebrews 11: The 'Faith Chapter' lists heroes of faith
Orientation Hebrews is book #19 of 27 in the New Testament, and and is one of the general letters. For more information see the Bible Overview page.

Synopsis Hebrews was written for Jewish Christians - who were a bit unsure Jesus was *THE* Messiah. This book presents evidence that Jesus is the promised one, and the fulfillment of prophecy. There is no introduction. The writer is not identified but may be Apollos or Barnabas. The book extensively quotes the Old Testament and famous characters in Jewish history.

In the past God spoke through the prophets, but most recently by his son Jesus (1:1) who is now at the right hand of God the father (1:3) and is now superior to the angels (1:4). We must be careful not to drift away from the faith (2:1). He came as a human so by his death he could destroy the power of the devil (2:14). He did this for the benefit of the Jews - Abraham's descendants (2:15). Jesus is higher than Moses (3:3) and is now our high priest (4:14). Those who believe and then fall away cannot come back to repentance (6:4) (see Discussion Points). Jesus is compared to Melchizedek (7:11). Jesus, as the new high priest, has replaced the old covenant with a new one (8:13). Jesus will come again (9:28). God has provided a new means of forgiveness. The old system of animal sacrifice is replaced by Jesus dying as the final sacrifice (10:14). The heroes of faith are reviewed (11). Throw off that which hinders you (12:1). Be kind to strangers, for some may be angels of which you are unaware (13:2). Respect and obey the civil authorities (13:17).

Activity Jesus is compared to angels (1), Moses (3), and Melchizedek (7:11). Make 3 columns and note the various differences as they occur.

Throughout Hebrews, the writer describes how the 'old way' is replaced by the 'new way'. Make 2 columns are note the old/new comparisons as they occur.

Discussion points Two passages in Hebrews can be troubling to Christians. 6:4 and 10:26 state Christians who intentionally fall away from fellowship with Christ can not be forgiven. Are these literally true? How can we, as periodic sinners, possibly be saved? What are some possible meanings? Compare these with Matthew 18:21 *

Consider the statement that 'some have entertained angels unawares' (13:2) * Can you think of persons in the Bible who did so? Have you encountered someone who could have been an angel? What is their purpose in not revealing their identity? .

Connections Melchizedek is the priest who blessed Abram (Abraham) in Genesis 14:17.

For source citations see the home page. Revised April 11 2014

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* One possibility, the writer is dramatizing the consequences of deliberate sin, much as a preacher may warn an audience if they walk out the door, they are doomed to hell. Perhaps the intent of these verses is to remind believers of the great cost of Jesus' death, and to take their salvation seriously - and not just put it on when convenient.

** Abraham (Genesis 18), Balaam (Numbers 22:22), Gideon (Judges 6), Manoah (Judges 13), Mary at the empty tomb did not recognize the angel. There may be other examples. Purpose? To test us? To protect us?