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).
Getting Ready to go to Worship Hebrews 10:19-25
If, as many scholars suggest, Hebrews is a long sermon, Long suggests on page 103 that this section is the “so what?” portion where the preacher responds to that implicit question in the hearer. “What are we to do then?” The answer is “get ready for worship”.
Not just the high priest any longer – all can enter the Holy of Holies in the new and eternal temple.
- We go together as a community, as “brothers and sisters”, as a family
- We go “baptized and forgiven”
- We go “reliant on the promises made by God”
- We go praising God not only with words but with deeds of compassion and mercy
- We go now whenever we gather together here on earth in prayer and worship. (Our church teaching – every mass is a joining in with the heavenly choir and heavenly worship.)
Warnings and Encouragement Hebrews 10:26-39
Long p. 108: “Somewhat startlingly, the Preacher’s mood now becomes stern. After nearly four chapters lyrically describing how the high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ cleanses us from sin and brings us, free and forgiven, into the joyful presence of God, thunderclouds now gather in the sermon and the lightning bolts of judgment begin to flash.”
On pages 109-110 Long makes the following points:
- The sin referred to is not the sort of sin that all Christians, all people, still find as part of themselves and their lives. It is specifically apostasy – willful rejection of the gospel by someone who has experienced it as a full member of the community.
- Apostasy is not some theoretical problem in the community at this time but an existentially real threat to the life and future of the community.
- The goal is not to scare people but to encourage them to faithfulness. (You endured trials before, you know you can do so now.)
Long points out that he concludes with a sports analogy – something that preachers today are taught to avoid.
Faith Hebrews 11:1-3
11:1 is most famous: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” This is not a complete “definition” suitable for submission on a theology exam. It is, rather, the part of the reality of faith that this particular sermon wishes to emphasize at this point.
In faith our confidence in the promises of God make the future reality of them present in our current reality. Long p. 114: “Inwardly, faith moves hearts; outwardly, faith moves mountains.”
Long p. 114: “To the eye of faith, however, through the toil and trouble another reality can be perceived: in the last words of the priest at the end of Georges Bernano’s The Diary of a Country Priest, “Grace is everywhere.””
Faith’s Hall of Heroes 11:4-40
The list is not so much chronological (though that is there) but by clusters of virtues: righteous; obedient; tested by suffering.
- Those who were righteous (11:4-7) Abel, Enoch, Noah
- Long p. 116: “Without sifting the implications too fine, the Preacher thinks of Abel as more than a memory; he imagines Abel still talking to God. According to the tradition, Abel’s blood cried out from the ground to god, calling for justice, appealing to God to set things right and to avenge his murder. The Preacher thinks of this tragic cry for vengeance being voiced by Abel for all human suffering down through the ages.” In chapter 12 – Jesus’ blood better than Abel’s.
- Enoch, in Jewish tradition, did not die but was lifted directly into heaven.
- Noah – trusted in God, in things not seen (yet), and obeyed
- Those who were obedient (11:8-16) Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob
- Abraham and Sarah called from Ur to set out on a journey to a new place when already old
- Those who were tested by suffering (11:17-28) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses
- Long p. 120: “It is significant to the Preacher that this was a drastic test of Abraham’s faith. It was not a minor trial, a little gray cloud on an otherwise brilliant blue sky; it was, rather, a test that ran all the way down to the bottom, that appeared to spell the end of everything – the end of Isaac, the end of god’s promise.”
- A host of other witnesses (11:29-38)