Translations: Chinese GB Big5

Hebrews 13:1-25 (web)

Conclusion

Applications of Faith

Love other Christians

13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
13:2 Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so,
some have entertained angels without knowing it.
13:3 Remember those who are in bonds, as bound with them;
and those who are ill-treated, since you are also in the body.

Abstain from Covetousness

13:4 Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled:
but God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers.
13:5 Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said,
"I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you." (Deut 31:6)
13:6 So that with good courage we say,
"The Lord is my helper. I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Ps 118:6)

Imitate your leaders
and focus on right teachings

13:7 Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God,
and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith.
13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
13:9 Don't be carried away by various and strange teachings,
for it is good that the heart be established by grace, not by food,
through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

Endure through persecutions

13:10 We have an altar from which those who serve the holy tabernacle have no right to eat.
13:11 For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place
by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned outside of the camp.
13:12 Therefore Jesus also,
that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate.
13:13 Let us therefore go forth to him outside of the camp, bearing his reproach.
13:14 For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come.
13:15 Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually
, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name.

Share and Submit

13:16 But don't forget to be doing good and sharing,
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch on behalf of your souls,
as those who will give account, that they may do this with joy,
and not with groaning, for that would be unprofitable for you.

Pray

13:18 Pray for us, for we are persuaded that we have a good conscience,
desiring to live honorably in all things.
13:19 I strongly urge you to do this, that I may be restored to you sooner.
13:20 Now may the God of peace,
who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep
with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus,
13:21 make you complete in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ,
to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Final Instructions

13:22 But I exhort you, brothers, endure the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words.
13:23 Know that our brother Timothy has been freed, with whom, if he comes shortly, I will see you.
13:24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. The Italians greet you.
13:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.


Discussion Questions

vs 1-3 What hinders you from experiencing a close, empathetic relationship with other Christians, whom you may only consider as strangers now?

vs 4 What steps do you recommend to avoid inappropriate relationships with the opposite sex?

vs 5 How might you measure a person's contentment?
Greed is a common motivation to be ambitious in life,
but how might it have it's real root in "fear"?
Should a Christian give up all his secular ambitions
and learn to be content with what he has rather than striving for more?

vs 7 What does it mean "to consider the outcome of their lives"?
For example, Jesus was shamefully tortured to death and his followers deserted him.
Paul suffered a great deal in life and had his head cut off at the end.
What else about their lives is important to consider?
Name an example of faith in the Bible that you would like to imitate.

vs 9 What may constitute a "strange teaching"?

vs 13 What does it mean "to go outside the camp"?
How might this be particularly significant if you were a Jew living in Israel?

vs 16 What kinds of things do we have available to share?

vs 17 Do you have any over you that you would consider a leader?
What are the limits to his realm of authority?
What are some things that your leaders have told you to do?

vs 18-21 How would you categorize Paul's prayer requests?
Are these the kind of things you would ask people to pray for?


Comments

vs 1-3 Brotherly love, hospitality and empathy. Loving other Christians is the primary mark of a true believer.

vs 4-6 The most blatant violation of honoring marriage in the Christian community is the adulterous practice of remarriage after divorce. But there are also subtle ways in which marriage is not honored. Inappropriate relationships can develop between the sexes outside of the context of marriage like in the name of "counseling". And with more women in the workplace, affairs on the job can be common. But these grow only if one hold's a contemptuous attitude towards their spouse.

Covetousness is wanted what someone else has. Adultery is a product of covetousness. Christians must learn to be content, whether it's with one's marriage partner or one's finances. Paul writes:

vs 7 There seem to be few leaders today worth following. But this fact makes the Biblical leaders - Jesus and the apostles - to be the shining examples to follow. The idea of imitating Christ or even Paul, for that matter, is sometimes discouraged in the Christian community, as surprising as that may sound. For often Christians are treated as capable in only doing menial tasks as a cog in the big machine we call the church. Individuals with their spiritual gifts are often treated contemptuously in this way, while the institution is glorified. Often this attitude is instigated by institutional leaders, who seemingly make themselves out to be the institution simply because of their position, while treating people under them with contempt, not allowing them to speak or practice their spiritual gifts. Strangely enough it seems to have evaded them that this was the same mentality of the religious leaders who were the enemies of Christ.

What would the Christian community look like if, instead of simply being satisfied with attending a church service, each Christian actually tried to live like Christ or like the apostle Paul?

vs 8 The God of the Old Testament is the same as the God of the New. The Santa Claus figure that many modern Christians call "Jesus" is not the Jesus of the Bible. It is the Jesus of the Bible that hasn't changed. The Jesus of popular Christianty has changed.

vs 9 "Strange Teachings" in this case had to do with developing weird applications concerning ceremonial foods which were not consistent with the principles of the Bible.


Love as Brothers

Heb 13:1 Keep on loving each other as brothers.

This is perhaps the most significant command in the New Testament. Jesus said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34,35 John writes, "This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another." 1John 3:11 and he writes of such being a measure of one's salvation status saying, "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:10

But what practically is implied by this verse is first of all that one must maintain contact with fellow Christians. That is, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another" Heb 10:25 Do you have as much commitment to the Christian community as to your own family? If not then perhaps you don't really believe the Christian community is your family. In fact Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother." Mt 12:47-50

"Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Gal 6:10


Be Friendly

Heb 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

There are a number of incidents in the Bible where angels appear in human form. For example in Genesis 18 Abraham was visited by angels in human form and served them a meal. We learned previously, "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Heb 1:14  There are those who make too much of alleged visions of angels. "Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions." Col 2:18 Typical among false visions are that of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons. But angels are present and active in serving the elect.

More generally concerning hospitality, even the law of Moses instructs to take care of strangers. Lev 19:34 "The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God." The Christian community is not to be Xenophobic, as many societies are particularly in the East. In fact the word "entertain strangers" here is the Greek word "philoxenia", which is to like strangers. In other words, be friendly. Elsewhere it is written, "Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Rom 12:13


Be Empathetic

Heb 13:3 Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

And these Christians were not strangers to this concept, "Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions." Heb 10:33,34

Both this and the previous verse have to do with empathy - feeling for others who are not in your circumstances. But the Christian life goes beyond mere feelings. Story tells of a woman who watch Les Miserables comes out of a theatre in tears but pays no mind to a beggar who asks for money. A Christians fruitfulness is measured by actions. "What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." Jam 2:14-17

Also with regards to "prison" here, he doesn't really have in mind what normally constitutes "prison ministry" today. He's talking about Christians who have gone to prison because of their faith. When Paul says, "Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again." 2Cor 11:23, he's not saying he went to prison to pay for evil deeds. "If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name." 1Peter 4:14,15 This is the sense in which the author is speaking. There are those who suffer as a result of sin, but then there are those who are mistreated.

Today this is particularly the case for Christians living in non-Christians cultures. In fact in the case of Islamic countries one of the tenets of Islam is to treat Christians as second class citizens. Mistreatment of Christians is the West is minor in comparison. So consider your priorities.


The Marriage Bond to be Honored

Heb 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

The New Testament has a great deal to say about adultery and sexual immorality.

"It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit." 1Thess 4:3-8

"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." 1Cor 6:9,10

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery." Mk 10:11,12

 "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Mt 5:28

 "I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds." Rev 2:20-23


Be Content

Heb 13:5,6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"

A person who loves money is a person who is discontent. Learn contentment. Paul says, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Php 4:11:b "Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1Tim 6:6-10

Discontentment can lead to all kinds of sin, like greed and covetousness, resulting in theft, lying and murder. Thus John the Baptist advised the soldiers, "Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely— be content with your pay." Lk 3:14 And though we may living in a consumer oriented society, consider that all those advertisements that say that you can save 50% by buying their product fail to mention that you can save 100% by not buying it at all. The more you have, the more you have to invest in maintenance. "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Mt 6:19-21


Imitate Good Leadership

Heb 13:7,8 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

For example Paul writes, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ." 1Cor 11:1 And in particular as a point of application the context of which he says this is, "Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." 1Cor 12: 32,33

Ironically the ones who often fail to follow the examples of their leaders are those who end up in leadership themselves. For example after the last supper Jesus washed the disciples feet and said, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." John 13:15 Yet when given the opportunity to serve the neglected widows the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables." Acts 6:2 And rather assigned other men who turned out to be capable of doing both. In his speech the Ephesian elders Paul said, "You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" Acts 20:34,35 Yet few religious Christian leaders have since followed his example despite this potentially hindering the gospel of Christ, as Paul said, "If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ." 1Cor 9:12 What kind of faith does Christian leadership display today? "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you." 2Th 3:7,8

Paul encouraged his disciples to set the example. To Timothy he says, "Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity" 1Tim 4:12 And to Titus, "encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." Titus 2:7,8

Peter says of unjustified suffering, "How is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps." 1Peter 2:20,21


Beware Strange Doctrines

Heb 13:9,10 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.

Strange doctrines often involve some kind of ceremony. Sacramental theology is strange doctrine, such as the Catholic doctrine deifying the eucharist, as are things like "holy laughter" of Charismatism, using the symbol of the cross as a kind of luck charm, and the like.  As for ceremonial foods, "food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do." 1Cor 8:8

Paul instructs Timothy, "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly." 1Tim 4:7 "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth." 1Tim 4:1-3

What does it mean for one's heart to be strengthened by grace in contrast of that by food? The latter is sort of an occultic idea that the food contains some kind of magic in it, and thus the object of one's faith is the food. When Popeye got into difficulty he did not look to God. He looked to his spinach! What do you look to when you face difficultly. How else would you end this sentence:

It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by __________________.

Drugs? Money? Sex? Food? Entertainment?


Bear Disgrace for Christ

Heb 13:11-13 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp.  And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood.  Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.

Likewise there's the analogy of the scapegoat mentioned in Leviticus 16. For on the day of atonement, now Yom Kippur, the priest would take two goats. One would be sacrificed and the other kept alive but led outside the camp into the desert representing sin being taken away. Just as with Christ, so also the Christian should experience this outcasting. The Hebrew Christians would have particularly been able to relate with this as they had been largely driven out of Israel. But here the author is saying, "That's OK". Consider Moses. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Heb 11:26

To quote a few places in the New Testament which speak along these lines:

"No one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life." Luke 18:29,30

"Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" 2Cor 6:14,15

 "Therefore come out from them and be separate", says the Lord. 2Cor 6:17a


Anticipating the New Jerusalem

Heb 13:14  For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

Again an allusion back to chapter 11, like Abraham, "he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." Heb 11:10 and the others, "they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country— a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Heb 11:13b-16

Or consider the analogy of Sarah versus Hagar. "Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. .. Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now." Gal 4:25-26,28-29

As for the New Jerusalem, Jesus said in Rev 3:12a, "Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God" and John prophecied in Rev 21:1-4 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."


Spiritual Sacrifices

Heb 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise— the fruit of lips that confess his name.

Among other things expressions of thankfulness are a form of praise. Remember the ten lepers of Luke 17. After being cleansed only one returned to. "One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him— and he was a Samaritan." Luke 17:15,16  It's written in Psalm 107 of the redeemed, "They cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy." Ps 107 19-22

"Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me." Ps 50:14,15

What can you thank God for today? Do so.


Do Good and Share

Heb 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Just as giving thanks is a form of sacrifice, there are many other ways in which we offer sacrifices to God today. "I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Rom 12:1-2a

Doing good and sharing with others are examples. For  Christ "gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good." Titus 2:4 and  "I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone." Titus 3:1 For "Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives." Titus 3:14

Now in particular as a practical matter concerning living productive lives, one must have resources in order to share with others. Therefore Paul advised the Ephesian elders, "You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" Acts 20:34,35 Therefore rather than receive payment for his ministry Paul worked for a living so that, among other things, he may practice generosity. And to the Ephesians he says, "He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need." Eph 4:28 And concerning the rich Paul says to Timothy, "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." 1Tim 6:18


Submit to Authority

Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.

This should be the case both with regards to religious and secular authority. "Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good" Titus 3:1 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Rom 13:1 "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men" 1Peter 2:13 Of course all human authority only has a limited realm of authority outside of which it is not legitimate authority. But within it's God-given limits, one must submit.

If you've been in a position of authority you know that it is a joy to have those under you function with a spirit of compliance and cooperation. Those characteristically compliant have an advantage. For they would tend be looked upon with favor if some need arises. Do those in authority over you, be they parents, government officials, your employer, or religious authority have joy in watching over you? How can you improve on that?


Pray for Us

Heb 13:18,19 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way. I particularly urge you to pray so that I may be restored to you soon.

While our conscience is not a perfect guide into what is good, as Paul says, "My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent." 1Cor 4:4, yet it is important to try and maintain a good conscience, "holding on to faith and a good conscience." 1Tim 1:19 "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1Tim 1:5 "Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience." Rom 13:5

And when it comes to questionable areas, let you conscience be your guide. Examples are given in Romans 14 and 1Corinthians chapters 8 and 10 concerning eating meats which may have been sacrificed to idols. The principle being - don't violate your own conscience and avoid violating the conscience of another.

"desire to live honorably" is more literally "will to live well". It's not simply a desire, it's an intention.  "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" Titus 2:11-13

But to some degree this all depends on prayer. This is a mystery, how exactly being prayed for affects one's spiritual life, but it does. So take time to pray for someone else now. Even the apostle Paul says, "Brothers, pray for us." 1Th 5:25 "And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message" Col 4:3 "Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you." 2Thess 3:1


Pray for Equipping

Heb 13:20,21 May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

And "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." Eph 1:3 Part of that blessing is the equipping we obtain from Christian fellowship. For "it was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Eph 4:11-13 Also with regards to material resources Paul says of the generous, "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. ... You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God." 2Cor 9:8,11

Now "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Php 2:12a-13


Coming to See You

Heb 13:22-25 Brothers, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written you only a short letter. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. Greet all your leaders and all God’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. Grace be with you all.

Much as some would characterize Hebrews as a long letter, in fact it is not nearly as long as one intended. For not only are there more subjects which need to be covered, but the author also desires to elaborate upon these. For example he previously said, "we cannot discuss these things in detail now." Heb 9:5b and "We have much to say about this" Heb 5:11 and "I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets" Heb 11:32 and so forth.

Interesting that he mentioned Timothy, Paul's disciple and coworker. One wonders whether the author was in fact Paul, who for example wrote to Philemon, "Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother". Phm 1:1 And often Paul sends Timothy.  "I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon" Php 2:19 And there are a number of other indicators, including the quote of Hab 2:4 quoted in Heb 10:38 of which Paul also quotes in Rom 1:17 and Gal 3:11. Pauline Authorship is the oldest and widest held, (Clement of Alexandria and Origin were of that opinion). Paul is the most likely author. But no one can say for sure.

"Greet your leaders" indicates that the epistle was intended to be read by all and not simply by the institutional leadership. The Bible should be read by all, and not simply filtered through the leadership who may end up putting some dogmatic spin on it without the church realizing it. "All God's people" in that the family of God is not limited to one church, but is composed of all believers. Thus this letter is relevant throughout the Christian community.



The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


Jul 29,2015