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- 1 Summary
- 2 Historical setting
- 3 Discussion
- 4 Points to ponder
- 5 I have a question
- 6 Relation to other scriptures
- 7 Complete outline and page map
- 8 Resources
- 9 Notes
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Story. The book of Hebrews consists of six major sections:
- Chapters 1-2: Christ, as a son and thus an heir of God, is higher than the angels, who are merely ministering spirits. But he became like man, lower than the angels, in order to deliver his brethren mankind from death, and to make reconciliation for sins as a merciful and faithful high priest.
- Chapters 3-4: Christ the Son is also greater than Moses the faithful servant. Moses's people in the desert hardened their hearts and did not enter into rest in the promised land. But we may receive the promise of rest if we do not harden our hearts. Christ's heart is also soft to be touched with our infirmities.
- Chapters 5-7: Christ was called of God to be a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, an order greater than the Levitical Priesthood of Aaron. With a change of priesthood comes a change of law. And if perfection were by the Law of Moses that pertains to the Levitical Priesthood, then the scriptures would not speak of another high priest after the greater order of Melchizedek and the law pertaining to it.
- Verses 8:1-2: “Now of the things we have spoken, this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man.”
- Chapters 8-10: If the Sinai Covenant of Moses were faultless, then the scriptures would not speak of a better covenant yet to come. Christ is the mediator of a better covenant with a more excellent offering and better promises than the Mosaic. The Levitical sacrifices are made annually with the blood of animals in an earthly sanctuary. But Christ offered his own blood once for all and enters into the heavenly sanctuary.
- Chapters 11: Mankind must have faith, an assurance without seeing, in order to please God and be made perfect, as did Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses and others. Those faithful patriarchs enter into their heavenly promised land.
- Chapters 12-13: Endure chastisement from God. It marks you as a son and heir of God rather than a mere servant.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Hebrews include:
Relationship to New Testament. The relationship of Hebrews to the New Testament as a whole is discussed at New Testament: Organization.
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This heading is for more detailed discussions of all or part of a passage. Discussion may include the meaning of a particular word, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout the passage, insights to be developed in the future, and other items. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
The Epistle to the Hebrews was ascribed to Paul by an early Christian tradition, although not one that was anything like contemporary with its writing. The text itself does not claim Pauline authorship.
Hebrews is striking for a number of reasons. It contains perhaps the longest sustained argument in the scriptures. In this case, "argument" is used in the sense of a set of reasons offered as evidence for a conclusion that they are meant to logically imply. Normally the scriptures speak in narrative, poetic, or declaratory terms. Hebrews, however, speaks in terms of arguments.
Its central argument is the superiority of the Christian message to the Law of Moses. It does this in large part by arguing for the superiority of Christ's Melchizedek priesthood to the Aaronic priesthood of the Jewish temple. In making this argument, however, it provides a complex discussion of Christ's atonement set in the context of priesthood authority and temple ritual.
Because of this priesthood- and temple-centric discussion, Hebrews is a key text for understanding the Restoration. It contains the most elaborate non-Restoration-scripture discussion of the two priesthoods, as well as their relationship to the temple. For this reason, it is a key text that Latter-day Saints seem to have -- unfortunately -- largely neglected.
Points to ponder
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I have a question
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Relation to other scriptures
This heading is for notes about the relationship of this book to other sections and passages. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- The relationship of Hebrews to the rest of the New Testament in general is addressed at New Testament: Organization.
Joseph Smith Translation
The Joseph Smith Translation made changes to the following verses in Hebrews. This list is complete:
- Heb 1:7
- Heb 2:16
- Heb 3:3
- Heb 4:2-3, 5, 12
- Heb 5:7-8
- Heb 6:1-4, 6-10
- Heb 7:3, 19-22, 26-27
- Heb 8:4-5
- Heb 9:8-10, 15-18, 20, 26, 28
- Heb 10:1, 10, 13, 21
- Heb 11:1, 12, 21, 23-24, 32, 35, 39-40
- Heb 12:12, 28
- Heb 13:3, 5
Complete outline and page map
This heading contains an outline for the entire book. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
Here is a possible outline:
Here is another possible outline following Raymond Brown's in An Introduction to the New Testament (New York, NY: Doubleday, Inc. 1997) pg 684.
II. Superiority of Jesus as God’s Son
V. Faith and Endurance: availing oneself of Jesus’ priestly work
- a. Exhortation to profit from the sacrifice of Jesus (Heb 10:19-Heb 10:39)
- b. Old Testament examples of faith (Heb 11:1-Heb 11:40)
- c. The example of Jesus’ suffering and the Lord’s discipline (Heb 12:1-Heb 12:13)
- d. Warning against disobedience through Old Testament examples (Heb 12:14-Heb 12:29)
This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
These are still pointed at Matthew
- Amplified • The Amplified Bible, 1987 update
- NASB • New American Standard Bible, 1995 update
- NIV • New International Version
- NRSV • New Revised Standard Version
- RSV • Revised Standard Version
- Wayment, Thomas A., ed. The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2005. (ISBN 1590384393) BX8630 .A2 2005.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.
- Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the New Testament, p. 294-300.