A New Look

I’ve been thinking, always a scary thing.  What should I do after Galatians?  I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to walk through Hebrews.  To me this is a big deal for a couple of reasons, first because Hebrews is a book that is often quoted, but these days it isn’t often taught. This is due to the fact that it doesn’t really flow with some of the popular theologies of our time. People who don’t want to deal with the issue of covenants avoid it because it really strikes at the differences between the Old and New Covenants, while also showing how they mesh together.  This is difficult to handle from certain doctrinal viewpoints that tend to run counter to what is taught in Hebrews.  Second, Hebrews is written to encourage Jewish Christians in Rome to persevere in their faith during the terrible time of Nero’s persecution of the church.  Much of what is written in the letter is an encouragement to hold on to the faith, lest you lose what you have in Christ, and this is a difficult teaching from the point of view of much that is currently being taught.  Finally, it also requires a little understanding of the Old Testament, and we are pretty weak on that subject these days.

Hebrews is one of those books of the Bible that I used to call a “big boy book.”  If we approach it on the typical “Sunday School” level, we’ll never mine its riches.  That is not to say that it is overly complicated, however. As is usually true with the Bible, when you come right down to cases, it is actually simple, it is simple enough to be sent in a letter, and it doesn’t require an advanced degree to understand, in fact an advanced degree will be more of an impediment to understanding it, because I’ve never seen an advanced degree in Bible or Theology that wasn’t attached to a lot of theological baggage that might actually make this book harder to get right. Oh, and by the way, it’s also my favorite New Testament book!

 

Well, I’m ready to start a new blogging adventure, so I hope you’ll drop by on Monday for our first trip into Hebrews!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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15 Responses to A New Look

  1. Little Monk says:

    I’m looking forward to this for a few reasons. I like your introductory comments here, and I’d offer these thoughts to you as well.

    Elsewhere, we’re in discussion of that whole “Old Testament/New Testament” God, thing. But alongside the wonder of the STRUCTURE of the Bible as inspired… this book, Hebrews… is what was taught me as a “Rosetta Stone” in understanding the Bible as a whole. It was here, in Hebrews, that I was first truly and completely able to see the reality that Jesus fulfilled the Law. I realized that events performed by Christ in restoring, redeeming, repairing all of Creation, back into the will of God, the creation and emergence of the Kingdom of God here and now… these events of His life, His Passion, His Crucifixion, and Resurrection… all these events happen with great “density”. Each minute is rich and dense with the grace of redemption. Rather like watching the speed of a surgeon’s hands, it’s nearly impossible to follow each movement. The Old Testament however, not only “looks forward” in prediction of the grace of Christ… but gives an “exploded view”, a “detailed view” point by point of what is happening. Hebrews’ author is able to look at the atonement on the Cross, both forgiving and taking away sin, and move back in time to the two goats of the Day of Atonement sacrifice.

    Hebrews is a wondrous and rich text, and nothing I know so well describes our roles as priest, our authority, and our office in Kingdom. Nor are those lessons anything but studiously avoided.

    Btw, (*mischievous grin*) you gonna weigh in on authorship? (* sorry, couldn’t resist*)…

    Grace — LM

  2. paulfg says:

    One PDF parked for the time being. Looking forward to the trip.

  3. BA Phillips says:

    We’re currently going through this letter in our fellowship group. Hebrews used to scare me! When I woke up to ‘grace’, I realized how good it is. Like you it’s my favorite book now. In the current climate of Christianity in the USA, it seems a good grasp of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews is essential for the survival of the faith (well, God has that under control, but I mean from a human perspective).
    It amazes me that – perhaps because of theological baggage – so many teach law and works out of Hebrews, since that’s 180 degrees off mark. When we come without a preconceived notion, it has the power to set us free in Christ.

    I look forward to seeing your notes.

  4. Rebekah says:

    It’s hard to choose a favorite book of the Bible, but Hebrews is definitely up there on my list. Such a treasure trove. Looking forward to these posts.

  5. Shelly says:

    Looking forward to journeying through the book of Hebrews with you!

  6. Pam says:

    You are so right about Hebrews! I would love to read your lessons in Hebrews. Did you know that Hebrews is connected to Leviticus? Hebrews takes us to the place of understanding of Leviticus. God is so good. He leads us to what we should write about. I studied Leviticus researching the offerings and sacrifices. I am still studying it. It would be beneficial to my study of this book if you did Hebrews.

  7. scythewieldor says:

    “Theological baggage”! Indeed! Knowledge does puff up, does it not?

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