Heb. 13:1 ¶ Let brotherly love continue.

In reading through this chapter several times in preparation to try and better understand it, I got the impression that the writer is now emphasizing the things in which the people should be investing their energy in lieu of being tempted to again embrace the works of the law.  These are actions that should be reflected in the lives of those who by faith embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior.  They aren’t necessary to attaining salvation; they do, however, give evidence to the faith one professes.

 

First on the list is the encouragement to continue in brotherly love.  This does not surprise me since Jesus declared that this love for one another would identify us as His disciples.

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

The use of the word continue indicates that this body of believers already has a testimony of doing just this.

 

Heb. 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

This is a very interesting verse.  The implication is that there are angels among us, and that it is possible that we will interact with them at times.  It also seems to be implied that there is a blessing associated with extending hospitality to these angels.  Cognizant of the fact that angels have been assigned as messengers from God to man and ministering spirits to the body of believers, it makes me think that there would be significance to these encounters.  As I think about the different times that angels revealed themselves to humans, it was always associated with blessing to the individual. 

 

The question remains as to why they would not reveal themselves.  It also implies to me that it is more the norm for the angels to be unidentified in their ministry to believers during the church age.  In fact, the appearances of angels to men as recorded in the scriptures were unusual events.  I think the reason for anonymity is probably connected to our propensity to be tempted to worship them.  Our attention is to be focused on our relationship to God, and His angels would not want to be the cause of us falling into idolatry.

 

I think this is also an extra encouragement to be hospitable towards others.  Scripture is clear in stating that those who profess Christ should practice hospitality.

Romans 12:1-2 & 13 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God…. Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”

 

1Peter 4:9-10 “Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

 

I couldn’t help but think of the Lord’s words as recorded by Matthew.

Matthew 25:37-40 “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

In God’s eyes, when we minister to His children, we are ministering to Him.

 

Heb. 13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

It seems to me that in context the reference would be to fellow believers who are in prison because of their faith.  That seems to be the reference to the phrase “as being yourselves also in the body.”  Scripture is clear that the body of believers is one in the body of Christ.

Romans 12:4-5 “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

In looking at all the words in the Greek, it is definitely a reference to those who are being mistreated.

 

I am not belittling the benefit of prison ministry to the lost.  I believe it is a wonderful way to show the love of God to others.  It just seems to me that this particular reference pertains to the body of believers.

 

Heb. 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Scripture is clear in stating God’s purpose for marriage to be between one man and one woman.

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Jesus made sure there was no misunderstanding regarding God’s will in the matter.

Matthew 19:4-6 “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

In that relationship there is no shame associated with the acts of love engaged in between husband and wife.

 

The scripture is clear and gives greater emphasis throughout that fornication and adultery are forbidden and place one under God’s judgment.

            Exodus 20:14 “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”

 

Proverbs 6:32 “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.”

 

Mark 10:19 “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.”

 

Romans 1:28-29 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,”

 

1Corinthians 6:18 “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

 

Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,”

 

Ephesians 5:3 “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;”

 

1Thessalonians 4:3 “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”

And these are just a few of the many statements of this truth.

 

Heb. 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Heb. 13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

“So that” = therefore

This ties the two verses together.

 

Your conversation is a reference to the way you live, your lifestyle.  “Without covetousness” in the Greek states “not greedy of filthy lucre.”  [“lucre” = money, profit or riches.]  The child of God is to be content/satisfied with what the Lord chooses to allow him/her to have.  We can rest in the truth that He is sufficient for our every need, and He has promised never to desert us and leave us destitute.  We can confidently count on His help, His provision according to His will for us.  We have no need to fear the actions any human might take against us (3/10) or fear what flesh can do to us.

Psa. 56:4 In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.

 

I believe these verses go hand-in-hand with Romans 8:28:  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

 

This is a powerful and comforting truth in the economic times confronting us today.  Though we may experience testing through material loss and may have to adjust to a different standard of living, the believer can be assured that God will supply all he/she truly needs.

              

Heb. 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.

In context, the reference is to those in spiritual authority over you, those “who have spoken unto you the word of God.”  This would seem to apply to the pastors of the churches and/or the apostles.  I liked the CJB translation of this verse:

Remember your leaders, those who spoke God’s message to you. Reflect on the results of their way of life, and imitate their trust —

There is an implication here that each person in spiritual leadership should consider.  Those in spiritual leadership should take great care to set an example that others can be encouraged to follow.

 

Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

At this point the writer feels the need to emphasize that Jesus Christ, One with His Father in Heaven, never changes.

            Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not….”

 

Psalms 33:11 “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”

 

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

His faithfulness now is just as sure as was His faithfulness to the fathers of old.  I think this truth is meant to emphasize the truth that follows.  His word is true and we should not accept any attempt on the part of men to modify what it says to suit their own agenda. 

Psalms 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”

 

Isaiah 40:8 “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”

The phrase “yesterday, and to day, and for ever” makes reference to the eternal nature of His character. 

 

Heb. 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

This verse brings back thoughts of past studies in Romans and Corinthians.  Those who would be tempting these believers to follow the system of works embraced by Judaism would no doubt try to attack their conscience because the laws concerning clean and unclean foods were so ingrained in their culture.  I couldn’t help but think of Jesus words to the Pharisees.

Matthew 23:24-25 “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.”

This is always the focus of false teachers.  Their emphasis is on works rather than on the spiritual development of the individual and their relationship to God. 

 

The introduction to this verse seems to indicate that the false teachers were coming up with new ways of pressuring the people to embrace a system of works instead of salvation by faith alone.  It reminds me that Satan and his forces are ever at work trying to utilize “new” methods or ways to destroy the church.  I think in retrospect we will be able to see that these methods were just a repackaging of old lies.  It all goes back to the seed of doubt that he used against Eve—“has God really said.”

 

The child of God is to stand firm and stedfast in the grace of God.  This takes us back to the truth stated earlier in this letter.

Hebrews 6:18-19 “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul….”

The words of Peter also come to mind.

1Peter 5:8-10 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

 

Heb. 13:10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

Heb. 13:11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

Heb. 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Heb. 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

Heb. 13:14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

In these verses the writer is making a distinction between the altar of sacrifice for the practicing Jew and the Christian.  The altar at which the believer eats is the heavenly one upon which the once for all sacrifice of Jesus for our sin was accepted by the Father.  In contrast, the high priest in the temple presided over a yearly animal sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people in which the body of the animal was burned outside the gate of the city.  Just as typified by that animal sacrifice, Jesus was crucified outside the gates of the city.  Jesus suffered our judgment in reproach and shame in payment for our sin, and we should be willing to boldly identify ourselves with Him in spite of how men may try to shame us for that stand.  In context, this is making a direct statement regarding the distinction between Christianity and Judaism.  Salvation is by grace through faith as established by the new covenant, and the works of the old covenant have no place in it.

 

Our hope isn’t rooted in possession of an earthly home; our hope is focused on our heavenly home yet to come.  This hope goes hand-in-hand with that of men of faith of old as stated in chapter 11.

Hebrews 11:8-10 “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”

 

Hebrews 11:13 “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”

 

Hebrews 11:16 “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”

 

Heb. 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

“By Him” = Jesus Christ

 

Our ability to praise God is rooted in the provision of Jesus Christ as our Redeemer.  I remember when the truth of this verse really jumped out to me.  It was amazing that God considers our words of praise and thanks to Him to be a sacrificial offering.  Anything we do to show our gratitude to, worship of and submission to God is a sacrifice; it is something we freely offer.   The word sacrifice implies that something is being given up for something else.  When we take the time to truly praise God with “the fruit of our lips” and express our gratitude for His love, mercy, grace and forgiveness—not to mention our many material blessings—we are “sacrificing” or freely giving of our time, energy and thought to focus on Him over anything and everything else.

 

Heb. 13:16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

The Greek for the word communicate makes reference to fellowship and sharing.  In other words, God is pleased when His family (the body of believers) interact as a family should with love and concern for one another.  Again, it is interesting to me that the Lord considers it a “sacrifice” when we are doing what should normally be expected.  (3/10) As I read this again, my thoughts connected to our fellowship with the Lord just as surely as with others in the family of faith.  In fact, fellowship with Him should be the priority.

 

Heb. 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

In context, the teaching is concerning obedience to those in spiritual leadership over you.  I am particularly reminded at this point that the writer is communicating with a group of people with whom he is personally familiar (cf vs 19); he is well aware of who their spiritual leaders are.  I do not believe one can take this verse and apply it broadly to those who occupy positions of spiritual leadership in the church today.  Paul applauded the Bereans who did not take what he said as gospel without checking the scripture to determine the truth of his teaching.

Acts 17:10-11 “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

That is one reason that the choice of a church fellowship is so important.  You need to be able to have confidence in the leadership.  When you have made a choice to become part of a fellowship that teaches from a biblical foundation of truth, you should be obedient and submissive to the instruction of the leaders.  A godly pastor knows that he is accountable to the Lord for his shepherding of the flock.   Common sense dictates that it would be a joy to serve an obedient, submissive congregation; on the other hand, it would be an unhappy task to serve a congregation who doesn’t embrace the truth you teach.  When the pastor is unhappy or stressed with having to deal with disobedient sheep, it affects his ministry to the whole flock.

 

I found a quote by Chuck Smith that expresses an important guideline in connection with this verse and is important to be understood by the church today:  “A teacher should teach us to submit to God, not to himself.”  Any teaching that puts the focus on anything—be it acts of compassion or the music we sing or service opportunities or tithing etc.—apart from motivation to bring glory to God in the process is false teaching.  God will never be glorified through anything we do that causes us to compromise the truth of His word by one iota.

 

Heb. 13:18 ¶ Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

Heb. 13:19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

These verses testify to the personal connection of the writer to his audience.  In fact, he is begging them to pray because he is eager for restoration.  He is in a situation that is forcing him to depend on written communication to share his heart of concern.  The restoration he speaks of allows quite a bit of leeway in understanding.  Is it a reference to personal presence? To broken fellowship?  To physical healing?  (all possibilities from the Greek)

 

I don’t think you would make a request for prayer from those with whom spiritual fellowship was at question.  The reference to having a “good conscience” and “honest living” might allude to circumstances resulting from unjust accusation.  It seems most likely to me that the reference is more akin to the desire of one to be with loved ones.

 

It is obvious that the writer has great faith in the power of prayer as declared by the apostle James.

James 5:16 “….The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

 

Heb. 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

Heb. 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

These are two very beautifully worded verses expressing even more beautiful truth.  This reference to the “God of peace” is used four times by Paul in his letters to the Romans, Philippians and Thessalonians.  The closest I could find to it in the Old Testament was the reference in Isaiah 9 where Jesus is called the “Prince of peace.”  It is God’s will for man to live at peace with Him and with each other, and I believe the writer’s use of this title is giving emphasis to that truth.

 

Point is made that it is God who resurrected Jesus to new life.  This is another emphasis to me of how completely Jesus emptied Himself to become a man toprovide our salvation.  Paul makes this clear in his letter to the Philippians, and a partial excerpt from that journal applies here.

Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

….Jesus was God in flesh.  The Son, the very equal of God the Father, chose to become a servant in the likeness of men.  He chose to lay aside His divine attributes to live in flesh as a man filled with the Spirit—the way Adam was created and meant to live—sinless and in perfect fellowship with God.  He didn’t live as “God” on planet earth; He lived as the “man” Jesus….

 

made himself of no reputation” and “He humbled Himself” – These phrases emphasize that Jesus came willingly in obedience to the Father to provide the sacrifice needed to redeem man.  He affirmed that truth to His disciples during His time of ministry as told us by the Apostle John in one of my favorite chapters in scripture.

John 10:17-18 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

The Greek for no reputation emphasizes the truth that He emptied Himself; He lived in the flesh as a man; He lived in dependence upon the Spirit—just as we are supposed to.  He didn’t cease being God; He just chose to live with the limitations of a man, albeit a sinless man indwelt by the Spirit—just as Adam was created and intended to live….

I hadn’t thought about it this way before, but the death of the man Jesus required the intervention of the Father through the Holy Spirit to restore Him to life.  He didn’t “refill” Himself, so to speak, with His Divinity until His purpose for coming as a man had been fulfilled. 

 

through the blood of the everlasting covenant” – The resurrection was evidence of God’s acceptance of the sacrifice of His Son to atone once for all for the sins of mankind through the New Covenant, the everlasting covenant of grace.  Jesus spoke of this at the last supper with His disciples.

Matthew 26:27-28 “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

The Greek for the word “testament” in Matthew and the word “covenant” in this verse is the same.  That God declared acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice through the resurrection is alluded to by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:17-20 “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”

God would never have place Christ at “His own right hand” of authority in the heavens had His sacrifice been unacceptable.

 

our Lord Jesus” – This is a beautiful statement of oneness with the body of believers in the person of Jesus whom we serve as Lord.  The writer is identifying himself as just another member of the body.

 

that great Shepherd of the sheep” – There are many references to the Lord as our Shepherd in scripture, but Jesus specifically described Himself as our Shepherd.

John 10:11 “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”

John 10:14 “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”

There are many beautiful truths connected to that designation.  In the verses Jesus quoted is included the willingness to give His own life to ensure the life of His sheep and the precious truth that He knows His sheep personally and individually.  Another beautiful truth that is less often emphasized is the fact that the sheep “know” their shepherd through intimate continual time spent in His presence.

 

After words of praise to Father and Son, the writer prays again for this body of believers.  He is praying that they be completely equipped, lacking nothing needed to accomplish every act of service and obedience in submission to God’s will.  The next part of his prayer seems to be emphasizing the need of the believer to be yielded in submission to Jesus as Lord, because Jesus declares in scripture that “without Him” we can do nothing that pleases God, and the only way to access His power is by faith, without which it is impossible to please God.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

 

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

 

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him:”

 

The writer closes his prayer with acknowledgement that all glory belongs to the Lord.  As stated above, there is nothing we can do in true service to Him that He has not empowered us to do.  Scripture declares this truth throughout.

1Chronicles 29:11 “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.”

 

Heb. 13:22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.

This verse expresses the desire of the writer that this body of believers hear his heart.  Interesting to me is that he feels he has expressed himself “in few words.”  His purpose is to encourage and comfort them as they continue to live in obedience through the grace of God—in whole, not in part.

 

Heb. 13:23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

It is obvious that the writer is hoping to shortly be accompanied by Timothy who is detained somewhere for some unspecified reason.  This is one of many references that can’t help but make one want to identify the writer as Paul since scripture makes clear that they ministered so much together.  Timothy is identified by Paul as his “own son in the faith” (1Timothy 1:2) and his “dearly beloved son” (2Timothy 1:2).  He is also prominently identified as serving closely with Paul.

2Corinthians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia….”           

 

Philemon 1:1 “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer….”

 

Acts 17:15 “And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.”

 

Acts 18:5 “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”

 

Acts 19:22 “So he [Paul] sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.”

 

Acts 20:4 “And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus….”

 

Romans 16:21 “Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.”

 

1Corinthians 4:17 “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.”

 

Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons….”

 

Colossians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother….”

 

1Thessalonians 1:1 “Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians….”

 

As referenced throughout this study, there are many similarities to wording used and specific emphasis in truth presented when compared to the writings of the Apostle Paul.  There is one scripture, however, that makes me hesitant in identifying the writer as Paul; it is found in the closing on one of his letters.

2Thessalonians 3:17 “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.”

I guess it is possible that this letter, like 1Thessalonians, was written prior to his decision to authenticate each letter with his own handwriting.

 

Another problem verse is found in chapter 2.

Hebrews 2:3 “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him….”

Paul boldly declares in his writings that he was taught by God through personal revelation.

Galatians 1:11-12 “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

 

Heb. 13:24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

Heb. 13:25 Grace be with you all. Amen.

As he closes, the writer sends greetings to everyone in the church with separate address to the leaders.  This indicates that the letter was written to some specific members of the church that were not in leadership.  He then identifies his location as Italy and adds that those serving with him send their greetings also.  The fact that these greetings are sent without specific identification of those sending them indicates to me that the ones receiving the letter were well acquainted with who they were.

 

The writer’s final words are words of blessing that they all experience God’s grace.  This is most appropriate since the thrust of his letter throughout has been yielding in obedience and submission to God by grace through faith in Jesus alone.

 

Written to the Hebrews from Italy, by Timothy.

I think verse 23 negates the validity of this addendum, unless it is a statement to the fact that Timothy did come and translated the letter before delivering it.  Some commentators hold that it was written in Hebrew and translated to Greek.

 

Frankly, I am never concerned that much with the human author of a given scripture.  I know that all scripture is God-breathed.

            2Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God….”

 

2Peter 1:20-21 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”