General Epistles
Azusa Pacific University
Mr. Matt Hauge
January 22, 2004
"Introduction to Hebrews"

I.   Genre
A.   Normally it is labeled a letter
Heb. 1:1 Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. 3 He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
1.   There is no address or author in the beginning of the letter
2.   No epistolary prescript (opening prayer, thanksgiving, etc &)
B.   The end of the book indicates that the book is written to a body of people
Heb. 13:18 Pray for us; we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you all the more to do this, so that I may be restored to you very soon.
Heb. 13:20 Now may the God of peace, who brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 make you complete in everything good so that you may do his will, working among us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Heb. 13:22 I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23 I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been set free; and if he comes in time, he will be with me when I see you. 24 Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy send you greetings. 25 Grace be with all of you.
1.   The interesting thing is that the book ends with "Amen" but yet keeps going (as if P.S.)
2.   There is also a switch to first person
3.   The receivers of this letter are familiar with the church of Rome
4.   The writer knows a "Timothy" that could very well be Paul's buddy "Timothy" (although don't assume that)
1.   Author describes it as a "word of the exhortation" (13:22)
2.   Epistolary closing was added when circulated (13:18-25)
II.   Author
A.   Author is not identified explicitly
B.   Later church attributed to Paul, but now abandoned
1.   Writing style is not Pauline
2.   Topics are not Pauline (i.e. priesthood & sacrificial system)
3.   Different understanding of key terms (i.e. "faith" in 11:1)
Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
III.   Audience
A.   Addressees are not identified explicitly
B.   Some think it was written to Jewish Christians
1.   Traditional designation ("to the Hebrews")
2.   Why instruct a Jewish audience in Judaism - Hebrews spends a ton of time talking about Judaism
C.   Gentile converts to Christianity who have become very attracted to Judaism
IV.   Date
A.   Early church father, Clement, quotes from Hebrews in 1 Clement (90's AD)
B.   Written sometime before 70 AD
1.   He talks about the temple in present terms which was destroyed in 70 AD
2.   Why would he not mention the destruction of the temple - it would have helped his argument
C.   Hebrews were written during the trial period of the church because of a large amount of persecution because people are beginning to doubt
V.   What is Hebrews all about: Persuasion to not give up due to doubt