God Has Spoken – Hebrews 1:1-4
As Christians, we give high importance to the fact that God has revealed Himself to us. He created man for fellowship but when Adam & Eve sinned, God had to banish them from the Garden and they were no longer able to enjoy daily fellowship with their Creator. God however would not give up on His creation. He continued to reveal Himself to man, first through the beauties of creation, then through various types of special revelation where He led men to write His inspired words in documents that became the written word of God. God had a special message for man about salvation from sin that would be provided by His promised Redeemer.
Then to complete His revelation, God sent His Son to be that Redeemer, the promised Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God, the complete and perfect expression of the One True God. He revealed God to man in a living person, and our understanding of Who God is and how to have a relationship with Him was completed.
The book of Hebrews is written to establish the Superiority and Majesty Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest. There is great truth to learn, and very important life lessons to heed. It will be a privilege to pursue this study together.
As we study, ask God to strengthen you in the study of His Word, and to deepen your roots in His life. Please take the time to read the article “A Heart for God’s Word” in the “Living the Word” section of this site.
Who are these Hebrews who are being addressed in this great letter? Think about the Jew’s history and heritage, starting 2000 (or so) years earlier with Abraham. Going to the Promised Land, receiving the Promise of God, – Egypt, 400 years, Wilderness, the Law. The Jews of the First Century AD knew that legacy as their only way living.
The claims of Jesus Christ shook them at their roots. After His resurrection, thousands of Jews placed their faith in Him as their Savior and Messiah. Then in 64 AD, the wild Emperor Nero burned Rome to the ground, blamed the Christians and thus began a terrible persecution which caused widespread dispersion of Jews & Christians forced from their homes and livelihoods to survive in foreign lands.
Hebrews is written to Christians, mostly Jewish, who are living difficult lives in unfamiliar places. They are struggling with their relatively new faith in Jesus Christ, sometimes harassed by unbelieving Jews to abandon and return to the Jewish traditions. While we don’t know who the writer is, we do know that he is a Jewish theologian, a skilled orator and writer, and writing with a compassionate pastor’s heart.
Faith & Faithfulness
Look up Hebrews 10:32-36 and get a good sense of the challenge these believers experienced. Hebrews is written to challenge, encourage and strengthen these suffering Jewish Christians to be faithful to the faith they committed to in Christ. One way of summarizing this: “Continuance in faith is Evidence of the Reality of faith.” Verse 36 states it this way: “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”
In 2:4, they are challenged not to “drift away”; in 3:6, to “hold fast”; in 10:38, reminded that we shouldn’t “shrink back”, and in 12:25, not to “refuse Christ”. These challenges are embedded in a letter that is rich in doctrinal truth which has one clear goal: demonstrating the superiority of Christ to the old ways of the Law of Moses.
May I Introduce You?
Hebrews opens with four of the greatest verses in the Bible, a major passage expounding the nature and character of Jesus Christ. The writer takes the approach of seeing how God has revealed Himself to man, and how Christ was the final and perfect manifestation of that revelation. He is the Word of God in Living form, and we also have the Written form of God’s Word, the Bible which provides a completed record of God’s revelation. The next study will take a close look at this great introductory passage of Hebrews.
be sure to have your study journal open for taking notes!
- A book of contrasts – Christ is Superior to… everything! Look at these passages and see what contrasts the writer refers to.
- 1:1-4, revelation through prophets contrasted to…
- 3:1-6, Moses contrasted with…
- 4:14-5:10, Aaron’s priesthood contrasted with…
- 9:11-28, Temple sacrifices contrasted with…
2. What is the writer trying to accomplish with these contrasts?
3. Use these references to note some ways God has spoken to us in “former days” – Gen. 28:10-15; Exo. 3:1-6; 2 Sam. 12:1-7; Dan. 9:20-27; 2 Pet. 1:21. Can you think of any more examples?
4. List some ways that Col. 1:15-20 might relate to Heb. 1:1-4.
5. Write a one-sentence “cliff note” summary of Heb. 1:1-4.
6. Read Hebrews 1:1-14 s l o w l y … do that three times, then write out three things that catch your attention.