A Word About the Author of Hebrews

I’m sure that you have noticed that as we continue through the book of Hebrews, I haven’t mentioned the name of the author, instead, I’ve just said “the author.”  This is because his name is never mentioned in the text. Obviously, whoever it was knew an awful lot of Old Testament details, so many scholars believe that it must have been Paul. Others have suggested Barnabas, while still others have suggested different possibilities.

Some suggest that it couldn’t have been Paul, since Paul’s other letters have a greeting that includes his name, and this has no greeting of any kind.  The complete lack of any greeting at the beginning has led some to theorize that Hebrews isn’t a letter at all, but a sermon that has been transcribed, and there is some merit to this thought since it follows an outline that is more like that of a sermon than any other of the epistles in the New Testament.

As for me, if I were a betting man, I would probably bet that Paul wrote it, but I am not a betting man.  He is my guess, but since there is no evidence that directly supports the guess, I will simply continue to refer to him as “the author.”

I hope that you will consider this as an interpretational principle when you read the Bible.  If the text doesn’t actually say something, we should use caution about asserting it as a fact. Yes, of course there are things we can infer, and many times this inference is so clear as to make it a necessary inference. Yet more often, these inferences are only possible, and not necessary.  Very often these possible inferences, taken as fact without adequate evidence become the basis of unnecessary arguments, and even division within the church. Thus I would conclude that since some things aren’t completely certain, we should leave others to draw their own conclusions in those areas without debate, for while many things are left open to interpretation and opinion, one thing is very clear in Scripture: Dissention, endless arguments and divisions within the church are frowned upon!

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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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20 Responses to A Word About the Author of Hebrews

  1. paulfg says:

    “Dissention, endless arguments and divisions within the church are frowned upon!” Spoilsport!! 🙂

  2. Jnana Hodson says:

    Points well taken. Another way to look at these questions is to apply them as lenses, like the ones used in an eye exam. How does it look from Paul’s perspective? What we know of Barnabas? How are our interpretations filtered through Augustine or Luther or Calvin? What do we see starkly without those later perspectives? And then there’s the approach we take individually, whether we see Scripture as law to be obeyed or else, or as records of individual experiences with the Divine.

  3. Pingback: A Word About the Author of Hebrews — The Life Project | Talmidimblogging

  4. Well, these NT letters weren’t written on stone. Pieces tear away, especially at the top and bottom.

    I read a novel once about Priscilla and Aquila. Guess who the author of the novel thought wrote Hebrews? Interesting thought.

  5. Mel Wild says:

    I agree. It’s really a fruitless waste of time to argue over authors. Paul wrote it when he wrote the King James Bible. 🙂

  6. Russ P. says:

    Your insight is very good. You are a great teacher. I am learning a lot.

  7. BJ says:

    I did a fair bit of research on it way back when I was memorizing the book and as a result my opinion comes down quite hard that Paul was not the author. I don’t remember the details now but the main points against him imo are these. The discursive style is different than in his epistles. There are phrases used in Greek here that are different from normal Pauline usage. The author uses different OT quotes in different ways than normal Paul. Finally, the author of Hebrews refers to Timothy as “our brother”. Paul always only calls him “my son”.

  8. Hi, a theological student (a friend of mine) was given the task of reviewing the current literature on the topic. Once he had done so, he read John Owen — 17th century writer — who dealt with everyone of the modern objections to Paul’s authorship of Hebrews. Owen’s conclusion was to the effect that, if it wasn’t written by Paul, there is no other person known to history who could have done it.

  9. Pingback: A Word About the Author of Hebrews | A disciple's study

  10. I Have always heard Paul, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if Paul’s teacher, Gamaliel was the author. He fits. Perfect in language. Perfect in historical facts and law. Just an idea.

  11. khushijhon says:

    nice write up,nice photo

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