New Testament Commentary - Hebrews

prepared by Don R. Hender

Hebrews — Chapters:   1,   2,   3,   4,   5,   6,   7,   8,   9,   10,   11,   12,   13

PAUL was call by Jesus Christ to be an Apostle unto the Gentiles. And Paul taught the Gentiles the gospel of Jesus Christ as is evident in his various epistles to his Gentile congregations and individuals that he wrote to. But no where does Paul put forth as concise a statement of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, its message to the world, than that which is written in Paul's epistle of address to the Hebrews of Israel considered in Paul's day to be to the Jewish Christian congregations being centered in Jerusalem. It was Jerusalem which for a time seemed to be the center of the Church as perhaps the fact that the temple of the Lord was located there. But by about 70 A.D. And that concept would fit for most put Paul's death about 65 A.D. Jerusalem and that center was destroyed and where it may have been thus spread forth is truly unknown.

Thus Pauls espitle to the Hebrews was written before the 70 A.D. date, and it may have been to the Hebrew saints at Jerusalem. Or Paul's Gospel statement may have been to all of Israel, the Hebrews, as to what the Gospel was. And it was the same gospel of Jesus Christ as Paul would have taught to his congregations and saints of the Gentiles as well. Thus as a study of just what the Gospel of Jesus Christ entails, Hebrews is perhaps the place to go to in order to experience the fulness of the Gospel message according to Paul.

Now in the Christian as well as secular world scholars put forth the question as to who the author of the book of Hebrews is. This is not the case in the LDS Church as we know that it was Paul. But because of this question, the 'epistle' of Hebrews is not ordered as to its size as are all the other epistles so 'writen' by Paul. But in truth, where the other epistles were atributed to Paul, he in fact had them written by his scribe in Greek, the language of the Roman Empire, as they were epistles to the 'Gentiles' or the 'Gentile Churches'. But the epistle of Hebrews was not written to the 'Gentiles'. It was written in Hebrew by Paul according to Eusebius of Caesarea as taught by Clement of Alexandria, to the Hebrews, the 'Jews' of the Church, and it is perhaps the only epistle of Paul that was not dictated by way of a scribe from Paul, but actually written by the hand of Paul in the manner and language of the Jews, as Paul was or had been one among the Pharisees of the Jews. And Hebrews is written after the manner of the Jews to the Jews in Hebrew by the hand of Paul. This is what makes the difference in the 'style' or 'manner' of the language and order of those things spoken of in the Epistle of Hebrews from Paul to the Jews. Further, Paul from the 'Jewish perspective' was most scholarly trained being a pupil of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). And while this would not be so impressive to a Gentile audience so steeped in philosophy, it would be exactly such Jewish scholarship which would have allowed Paul to excel in his epistle to the Jews, the Hebrews according to the doctrines of the Jews in testament of Jesus Christ. One might will consider that Greek was not Paul's native language, though Paul was a Roman citizen. And this could have been Paul's weakness in speech to the Gentiles, his thorn in his side that he was not as well trained in the language of manner of the Gentil as he was in the manner, doctrine and language of the Jews, which his masterful epistle to the Hebrews so presents him to be. Even the authors of the Book of Mormon did complain that their record would have been better if it had been written in the Hebrew lamguage rather that its reformed Egyptian (Mormon 9:33).

Now as to there being no salutation, many circumstances may have occastioned this, including that it may have been lost or disgarded. And as to the fact that the book of Hebrews quotes extensively from the Old Testament, this would be part and partcile of Paul writing after the manner of the Jews to the Jews who were so totally and traditionally founded and so based in and influenced by the Old Testament, Moses and the God thereof. As to Paul having been taught by 'an apostle', Paul himself was not likely an apostle himself until his third mission to the Gentiles, and thus he would have so developed and been subject to the instructions of the apostles of the church as any would have been who did recognize that line of authority, despite his visionary conversion of the Lord. Peter himself does confirm that Pual did so write an epistle to the Hebrews/Jews (2 Peter 3:15).

Many do consider that Hebrews is actually Paul at his best, at least at his best in terms of traditional Hebrew doctrinal application, which would have been entirely Paul's direct intentent in so addressing the Jews. That is conviencing them of Christ by the use of the Hebrew Old Testament records of Moses and the prophets similar to that intent of Matthew's gospel which was also addressed particularly to the Jews.

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