Unger's Bible Dictionary: Hebrews



HEBREWS, EPISTLE TO. This magnificent epistle, from the standpoint of doctrinal contribution and literary excellence, is in many ways without peer among NT books. This book is of unparalleled importance in expounding the transition from the old Levitical economy to Christianity. It eloquently sets forth the foundation Judaism furnished Christianity in messianic type, symbolized in prophecy.


Attestation and Authorship. External evidence unmistakably attests the early existence of the epistle. Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Dionysius of Alexandria, and Theophilus of Antioch quote from it. However, Marcion and the Muratorian Fragment do not recognize it. Eusebius, Origen, Athanasius, and others held that it was written by Paul, but the authorship has remained uncertain. The writer of the epistle does not mention his name, which is contrary to the custom of the apostle. Moreover, the writer to the Hebrews uses the LXX throughout except possibly at Heb 10:30, whereas Paul employs both the Heb. text and the LXX. The style and vocabulary are not particularly Pauline.


Occasion and Date. It seems clear that the Temple was still in existence and the ritual still continued. The present tense is repeatedly used in this connection (Heb 8:4,13; 9:4-9; 10:1-10; 13:10-11). The readers had evidently been Christians for a long time and had suffered severely. A date A.D. 67 AD - 69 AD would seem to fit the internal evidence.


Purpose. The writer aims to establish the supremacy of Christ and Christianity (Heb 1:1-10:18) and to warn those who accepted Christ of the dangers of apostasy (6:4-8; 10:26-31; 13:14-17). In view of the outmoded nature of Judaism the writer also exhorts his readers to make a complete break with it (12:18-13:17). To accomplish this purpose the writer in closely knit argument establishes the superiority of Christ over angels, over Moses and Joshua, and over OT priesthood and ritual.



BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. F. Westcott, The Epistle to the Hebrews (n.d.); J. Moffatt, The Epistle to the Hebrews, International Critical Commentary (1924); W. R. Newell, Hebrews, Verse by Verse (1947); W. H. G. Thomas, Hebrews: A Devotional Commentary (1962); F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, New International Commentary on the New Testament (1964); A. Murray, The Holiest of All (1965); P. E. Hughes, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (1977); R. Anderson, Types in Hebrews (1978); F. J. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, 2 vols. (1978); W. Milligan, The Theology of the Epistle to the Hebrews (1978); A. B. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews (1980); W. Goudge, Commentary on Hebrews (1980); T. C. Edwards, Epistle to the Hebrews (1982); D. Guthrie, Letter to the Hebrews (1983); J. F. MacArthur, Jr., Hebrews, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (1983); L. L. Morris, Hebrews (1983); A. Saphir, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 2 vols. in 1 (1984).

(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

New Testament Books and Authors

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The New Testament Books and Their Authors

New Testament Books and Authors The Book of Matthew The Book of Mark The Book of Luke The Book of John The Book of Acts The Book of Romans The Book of 1 Corinthians The Book of 2 Corinthians The Book of Galatians The Book of Ephesians The Book of Philippians The Book of Colossians The Book of 1 Thessalonians The Book of 2 Thessalonians The Book of 1 Timothy The Book of 2 Timothy The Book of Titus The Book of Philemon The Book of Hebrews The Book of James The Book of 1 Peter The Book of 2 Peter The Book of 1 John The Book of 2 John The Book of 3 John The Book of Jude The Book of Revelation Books of the New Testament The New Testament

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Heb. 8:6 (The Book of Hebrews)


image\bible_persp9.gif The New Testament is the most wonderful book. It reveals how God has kept every promise that He made to the nation Israel and ultimately fulfilled His covenant with them in One Man, Jesus Christ. It contains an accurate account of the gospel of Jesus Christ, His life, His history on earth, His Words, and His plan for all nations including Israel. It reveals how God used a single man, a Jew, who courageously went out to the farthest parts of the known world, to preach the gospel, and would eventually die for his faith in Jesus Christ. It reveals the end of the world, and how Jesus Christ would receive the kingdom that God had promised Him from the beginning.


The New Covenant - A Heart Message



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List of New Testament Books


Matthew Mark Luke
John Acts Romans
1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians
Ephesians Philippians Colossians
1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy
2 Timothy Titus Philemon
Hebrews James 1 Peter
2 Peter 1 John 2 John
3 John Jude Revelation


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