FALL BIBLE STUDY RESOURCES:
Cockerill, Gareth Lee. The Epistle to the Hebrews. Part of the New International Commentary on the New Testament edited by Ned B. Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon D. Fee. (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2012).
Harrington, Daniel J., S.J. Jude and 2 Peter. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).
Elliott, John H.. 1 Peter: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible Commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 2000).
Harten, Patrick J. James. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).
Koester, Craig R. Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Part of the Anchor Bible commentary series edited by William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. (Doubleday, New York, 2001).
Long, Thomas G. Hebrews. Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1997).
Mitchell, Alan C. Hebrews. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2007).
Perkins, Pheme. First and Second Peter, James, and Jude. Part of the Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching series edited by James Luther Mays. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 1995).
Senior, Donald P., C.P. 1 Peter. Part of the Sacra Pagina commentary series edited by Daniel J. Harrington S. J.. (Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2003).
Wright, N. T. Hebrews for Everyone. Part of the New Testament for Everyone series edited by N. T. Wright. (Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, 2003).
Hebrews 1:1-5 God’s One and Only Son
In the past God spoke through creation and the natural order, through the prophets, and through the Law / Moses. Our church has always insisted that it would be possible to know God and God’s will through this revelation – so that living a good life and being rewarded with salvation is possible for those of other faiths, and no faith. BUT, out of love for us, God then chose to send the Son to actually embody in HIS very being, life and words, what it means to be human and what God’s will for us is.
When the Son’s mission on earth was completed He was lifted up in resurrection, ascended to glory in the Kingdom, to sit at the right hand of the Father.
Note that even at this relatively late date (for the NT) the church is still struggling to understand Jesus and do theology about him. While far superior to the angels – is he equal to God the Father? We will not have a full formal doctrine of the Trinity for another 200 years.
At about this same time the Gospel of John was being finalized. “In the beginning was the Word … all creation came to be through the Word …” Jesus as the Word made flesh.
Refulgence of his glory: shining out, shining brightly from the Latin
v. 3: “the very imprint of his being” N T Wright suggests that the Greek usage is of the emperor having an engraver carve his image into a stamp for the coins of the realm, says then on p. 2: “(comes from)… the accurate impression left by the stamp on the coin. … It is as though the exact imprint of the father’s very nature and glory has been precisely reproduced in the soft metal of the son’s human nature. Now it is there for all the world to see.”
Wright p. 3: “With this idea, written as a grand and rather formal opening to the letter, the writer invites us to look at the whole sweep of biblical history and see it coming to a climax in Jesus.” (Until now we had partial glimpses, now we have an exact imprint) Again and again in Hebrews the OT will be referenced and shown to be pointing to its fulfillment or climax in Jesus
Wright p. 4: “Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14 both speak of the Messiah, the ultimate son of David, as God’s own special son. Like all the early Christians, the writer of this letter begins his thinking with the belief that Jesus was and is the Messiah, Israel’s true king. Everything else follows from that.”
Psalms 2: 6-8 (a royal psalm)
“I myself have installed my king
on Zion, my holy mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD,
he said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask it of me,
and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
and, as your possession, the ends of the earth.
2 Samuel 7:13-15 (regarding David, this is the promise of rule forever)
He it is who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. If he does wrong, I will reprove him with a human rod and with human punishments; but I will not withdraw my favor from him as I withdrew it from Saul who was before you.
Hebrews 1:6-14 The Messiah is Superior to Angels
Wright p. 6: Jewish tradition held that the Law was given to Moses through the angels. Angels / messengers appeared frequently in the OT, as it developed over centuries, as faith leaders grew more and more uncomfortable with the idea of the Transcendent LORD and creator of the universe speaking directly or being seen directly by human beings.
So, Wright goes on p. 7: “… begins with a demonstration, from the Jewish scriptures themselves, that the Messiah was always intended by God to be superior to the angels, and hence (as we discover in the next two chapters) superior to the law that they brought.”
As uncomfortable as these Jewish Christians may be with leaving behind the Judaism they grew up with – they must. Or they are missing the very point of what they are clinging to which is itself pointing to the new, pointing to the Messiah, pointing to Jesus. Wright uses an analogy of wrapping paper for a present and the present – don’t be tempted to ignore the gift by getting distracted by the paper!
Psalm 45: 6-8 (speaking of the new king of Israel)
Your arrows are sharp;
peoples will cower at your feet;
the king’s enemies will lose heart.
Your throne, O God, stands forever;
your royal scepter is a scepter for justice.
You love justice and hate wrongdoing;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness above your fellow kings.
A psalm of David.
The LORD says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
while I make your enemies your footstool.”
The scepter of your might:
the LORD extends your strong scepter from Zion.
Have dominion over your enemies!
Yours is princely power from the day of your birth.
In holy splendor before the daystar,
like dew I begot you.
The LORD has sworn and will not waver:
“You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.”
At your right hand is the Lord,
who crushes kings on the day of his wrath,
Who judges nations, heaps up corpses,
crushes heads across the wide earth,
Who drinks from the brook by the wayside
and thus holds high his head.
Hebrews 2:1-4 Don’t Neglect God’s Salvation!
The Law rewards the obedient and punishes transgressors – how much more so is in store for those who accept the Messiah / gift or reject it!
Just as the OT records the great deeds / events that God did there, so to Jesus did great deeds through the Holy Spirit, and the new church community as well. Hence it is all part of the same tradition. (all if properly interpreted / seen with the eyes of faith)
With regard to the very real objection of the Jews at the time of Jesus – he doesn’t look like the Messiah we expected – Wright says p. 10: “And (the point Hebrews wants to get across in this passage) we will look very stupid if we ignore the very thing God is doing for us on the grounds that it isn’t what we had expected or perhaps wanted.”
Hebrews 2:5-9 Jesus as the Truly Human Being
Wright p. 14ff:
- God had always intended his unique son to be above the angels (future role)
- Wright p. 15: “…humans seem at the moment to be lower than the angels, a lesser order of beings, but God intends that they should become the world’s true governors.”
- Verse 6 “man” is singular and with “son of man” we get some exploration of these ideas that have roots in a Jewish idea of “someone” but in Christian interpretation become Jesus (over time)
- Wright p. 15: “…to speak both of the future role of Jesus in God’s new creation and of his present position, already exalted as Lord.”
- Jesus has gone ahead of us, occupies the role we will inherit or share in the coming kingdom
- Jesus is the representative of us all. In death (hence forgiveness of our sins), in resurrection (in future kingdom), in exaltation (in the future kingdom)
Hebrews 2:10-18 The Messiah and His Brothers and Sisters
Wright p. 19 speaks of Jesus as an older brother of ours who comes to our rescue. “… the kind of older brother who, without a trace of patronizing or looking down his nose at us, comes to find us where we are, out of sheer love and goodness of heart, and to help us out of the mess.”
The High Priest in the temple offered sacrifice there on behalf of all the people, so too Jesus – but more completely and permanently