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Studies in Hebrews

Check out these two studies in chapters 10-11.

Hebrews 10:19-39

The four steps in the I.D.E.A. Bible study method is designed to show what is a truly good idea and what is not. This is counseling, and in Heb. 10:19-39 the inspired author counseled the Hebrews against turning from the Messiah because of persecution (10:32). He showed that apostasy was a very bad idea for many reasons, one of which is that they would not really be able to avoid trouble by doing turning back (10:28-30). Continuing to live by faith was the way to go (10:38-39).

Hebrews 11 (and the Bible Top 55)

Continuing on from chapter ten, the author of Hebrews shows in chapter 11 what well-known people in the Bible who lived by faith believed and did. Ten of the Bible Top 55 are shown to be active, by-faith people in this chapter. The two most prominent of these are Abraham (11:8-12, 17-19) and Moses (11:23-29). Like the eight, by faith they both did as the Lord willed rather than turn back in any way. They went forward by faith rather than quit despite persecution and the lack of full assurance up front (11:8, 17-18, 24, 38).

Moreover, Abraham and Moses followed the Lord personally rather than remaining with the unbelievers around them in Ur (11:8) and Egypt (11:27). Noah (11:7) and Rehab (11:31) also clearly left unbelievers behind. There is a strong emphasis on personal faith in chapters ten and eleven. So chapter 11 lends support to the personal, anti-apostasy counseling in chapter ten. -- Of course, there is also a new fellowship of believers (10:23-25, 33-34, 11:20-21, 25, 12:1) which replaces the old connections with the lost.

© 2020 by Jon F. Mahar, Hakusan City, Japan

Hebrews 13 (a quickstop devotional)

The key terms and phrases on remembering and not forgetting appear four times in Hebrews chapter 13, more than in any other passage in the New Testament.

Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels.

The author commanded his Hebrew readers to not forget to entertain strangers and reminded them that some in the past, such as Abraham and Sarah in Gen. 18:1-3, had entertained angels (13:2). In this, he may have called for remembering a specific command in Scripture (perhaps Deut. 10:19 in the Old Testament and / or Rom. 12:13 in the New Testament) with the memory of a hospitality story or stories. Linking all these biblical memories make the command stronger.

The command to remember prisoners in 13:3 may be based on what the Lord Jesus taught in Mat. 25:36, or the command may simply mean to not forget to help believers who are prisoners. The reference to being in the body (and subject to pain) in 13:3b supports this view. So the remembering in 13:3 seems to have more to do with continuing to do good in the present than with remember the past. The same is true in 13:7 and 13:16 as well.

Hebrews 13:3 Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also. . . . 13:7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. . . . . 13:16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. 

The second half of 13:16 implies that temple sacrifices and the temple itself would soon be gone, but the first half of the verse shows that doing good and supporting the Lord's work in material ways will continue to please God (13:15-16). Things were about to change greatly (13:14). What had not changed and would not change was God's will for his people to do good and support his work, though the giving would cease to be at the temple.

Moreover, the goodness of the Lord Jesus was and is the same forever (13:8). In line with this, the God 101 list shows that God did good in creation and that ALL his works, past, present, and future are good. Therefore we also, who have been saved by grace, should not forget to continue to do good (13:16) even though some things in life change greatly. Though we all fail in doing so, HE will still complete his good work in us (13:21).


February 11, 2021