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N.T. Wright for Everyone Bible Study: Hebrews
About this Series
The widely respected pastor and New Testament scholar, N. T. Wright, walks you book by book through the entire New Testament in this series. Perfect for group use or daily personal reflection, these studies use the popular inductive method combined with Wright's thoughtful insights to bring contemporary application of Scripture to life.
About this Volume
For many Jewish Christians of the first century, living in the light of the gospel was challenging. Having accepted Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, they were regarded by still-skeptical family, friends and neighbors as dangerous, misguided and even disloyal to all that God had said earlier on. The letter to the Hebrews was written to show that you can't go back to an earlier stage of God's purposes but must press on eagerly to the one that is yet to come. In these studies, we find encouragement and assurance that pressing on, even in the face of such close and constant pressure to fall back, is its own reward.
This volume also available as part of a money-saving bundle.
- Includes suggestions for individual and group study (with leader's guide)
- Features the popular inductive Bible study method with notes and comments from a world-renowned New Testament scholar
- Designed specifically for lay people to facilitate contemporary application of Scripture
From the Preface
Half the fun of Christmas morning, especially for young children, is the exciting packages in glittering wrapping, with ribbons and bows, all telling you something about how wonderful the present itself will be. Many small children are so excited by the wrapping and the beautiful boxes that they almost ignore the present itself.
The writer of the letter of Hebrews is anxious that the people it is written to should not make that same mistake. The wrapping of the old covenant and its sacrificial system had come off the present; and the present was Jesus himself, God's own, unique son, sent to fulfill everything the law and the prophets had spoken of. They could move on from the earlier stages of God's purpose and gladly live out the new one which had dawned. Hebrews is written to urge its readers to not go back to their old ways.
We don't know who wrote the letter of Hebrews, but we do know it was written to Jewish Christians (who of course formed the nucleus of the earliest church). In the very last chapter, Heb 13, we have small indications of the situation of the writer and the readers. Verse 19, which sounds similar to what Paul says in Phlm 22, may indicate that the writer is in prison, though nothing elsewhere in the letter leads us to suspect that. Maybe he is simply engaged in difficult work which prevents him from coming to them at the moment.
The sudden mention of Timothy in 13:23, and of his being released, links this letter to Paul's world, but frustratingly doesn't help us get much further with identifying its writer or place of origin. The mention of those from Italy in 13:24 doesn't necessarily mean that the writer was in Italy at the time; it might easily indicate that there was a small community, wherever he was, who had come from Italy--consisting perhaps of those, like the people mentioned in Ac 18:2, who had been expelled from Rome by Claudius. Saying "Italy" instead of "Rome" may well be a note of caution, so as not to put Christians there in jeopardy should the letter fall into the wrong hands.
This letter seems to be written not in the very earliest period of the church, but perhaps some time between A.D. 50 and A.D. 70, possibly even after that. For many Jewish Christians things were not easy. Lots of their family members and friends and neighbors had not accepted Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, and they regarded them as dangerous, misguided and disloyal to all that God had said earlier on. All sorts of pressure would have been put on them to try and make them go back to where they had been before, to abandon this new-found movement with its strange claims and to take up again a position of living under God's law, the law given through Moses.
We know from chapter 10 (verses 32-34) that persecution was a problem for the recipients of this letter. And the writer seeks to further encourage his readers in chapter 11 with examples of those who held to their faith, often in the midst of very difficult circumstances.Thus, Hebrews was written to show that you can't go back to an earlier stage of God's purposes, but must instead go forward, must press on eagerly from within the new stage to the one that is yet to come. The letter is a call to not play with the wrapping instead of with the brilliant present itself.
About the Author(s)
N. T. Wright, formerly bishop of Durham in England, is research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He was formerly canon theologian of Westminster Abbey and dean of Lichfield Cathedral. He also taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. Wright's full-scale works The New Testament and the People of God, Jesus and the Victory of God and The Resurrection of the Son of God are part of a projected six-volume series titled Christian Origins and the Question of God. Among his many other published works are Surprised by Hope and Simply Christian.
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The Fine Print
Copyright © 2010-2017 by Laridian, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Laridian, PocketBible, and MyBible are registered trademarks of Laridian, Inc. DailyReader, Memorize!, PrayerPartner, eTract, BookBuilder, VerseLinker, iPocketBible, DocAnalyzer, Change the way you look at the Bible, and The Bible. Anywhere. are trademarks of Laridian, Inc. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.
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