The Epistle to the Hebrews
We Christians have certainty in a time of great uncertainty and social unrest. We are people of hope—not wishful thinking but confidence and assurance that who God said He is, He is indeed; and that all God has promised He will do, He will surely do. The author of The Epistle to the Hebrews says it like this: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters” into the presence of God! (Hebrews 6:19-20 NASB)
Most people are able to find rest from busy activities, but few are finding rest for their souls and minds. Corrie ten Boom said it best: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”
There is a rest for the world, but even Christians sometimes miss it. “Rest” is one of the main themes of The Epistle to the Hebrews, and this seems to be an appropriate time for us to study together this beautiful and important book of the Bible. We welcome you to our study. We will post one lesson each week and cover the entire book. Please read the Bible chapter for each lesson; think (that is, study) but also meditate on these precious words. Share them with others, and I welcome all responses, reflections, etc., either through responses on the blog, or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Kakao.
We will include both an English and a Korean version each week. We will post each lesson in English first, and then in Korean. Pastor Kim Seongbo will translate each lesson.
Please read through The Epistle to the Hebrews one or two times. The purpose is for you to understand the general idea of the letter and its main themes. After reading it through, you may want to quickly read it backwards, beginning with chapter 13 and glancing back to chapter 1 – this may help you understand the structure of the letter. It is beautifully written, although no one knows who the author was; consider it a letter to you.
The purpose of this letter is to encourage Christians who were undergoing persecution to not give up on their faith in Jesus Christ, but rather to reaffirm their faith and go deeper into their relationship with Him. The author encouraged them in Hebrews 10:39—”But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
Christians are always moving forward; there is no standing still. Do you remember what happened when the people of Israel escaped Egypt and got as far as the Red Sea? Faced with an impossible situation, they lost their hope. The people said, “Let’s go back to Egypt (back to slavery); Moses said, “Stand still and see what God will do.” God said, “Why are you standing still? Go forward!” Go forward in faith!
Important! Focus on Christ, not on the coronavirus. Be diligent, practice sanitation, wash your hands, avoid large crowds; be sensible and responsible. But focus on Christ, and what He is doing today.
Question: Do you see yourself to be going forward, closer to God these days?
As we begin our study, and while you are “browsing through” the book and reading it, think of the importance of MOBILITY. One key to Hebrews, and to the Christian life as a whole, is mobility. There is no status quo in the Christian life. To stand still is to go backward.
For this reason, The Epistle to the Hebrews can be compared to the Old Testament book of Exodus. Exodus is a book of movement—from slavery to freedom, from limited, man-controlled existence to free, God-controlled life. Total dependence on God is the key that will carry us through all crises.
The Christian life is a WAY. It is THE Way, as it was called in the Book of Acts. Israel failed to receive God’s Word in faith and move with it. Rather they chose to settle down in their man-controlled system of law. Three keys to moving in God’s way are: LISTENING to God, OBEYING His will and TRUSTING Him completely.
Mobility is a major theme of Hebrews. As we study Hebrews together, we will follow God in Christ from slavery to sin and Satan, into new life in Him. Mobility is the key.
Traveling, sojourning, is the motif. In Exodus, God’s people wandered in the wilderness, often aimlessly because of their sins. In Hebrews, God’s people are pilgrims with a goal, heading to the City that has foundations, the City of God, the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Look for this motif of mobility as you read through Hebrews.
- Running with endurance the race before us (12:1)
- Strengthening weak knees and making straight paths (12:12)
- Seeking our true home, in heaven, by acknowledging that we are strangers and exiles on earth
- Not shrinking back (10:39) but pressing forward to fullness of salvation
- Entering the Holy Place—the Presence of God (10:19)
Jesus is the new and living WAY (10:20). Faith always results in action that moves us forward in the Christian life. As we study together this book, let’s allow God’s Word to lead us into greater fullness of life.
Spend some time this week reading and meditating on The Epistle to the Hebrews. Practice OBSERVING what God actually says, not what you are expecting Him to say. Just as observation is the beginning of scientific study as well as social and international happenings, so also observation is the beginning and basis of all Bible study. Who? What? Where? How? Ask questions like this as you observe.
- Am I a pilgrim? Or am I a wanderer?
- How am I dealing with this worldwide pandemic crisis? Am I looking to Jesus? Or am I looking to the world?
Let’s pray that The Epistle to the Hebrews—God’s Word—will lead us into fullness of life.