Continuing Your Study of the Letter to the Hebrews

AT SUCH A TIME AS THIS . . . it is important to be filled with the Word of God. This is because God’s Word opens the door of the Holy of Holies, and allows us to make our home in the presence of the Lord. God desires us to allow His Word to fill up every space in our lives, as He says in Colossians 3:16. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

 

2 REASONS FOR CONTINUING TO STUDY HEBREWS

An important part of Bible study is to make a record of the content of what you have studied. By doing this, you will not forget the message of the book. This will help you as you continue your own study.

1) We are blessed by hearing another person share his or her understanding of a book of the Bible. But we are more greatly blessed when we allow God to speak to us personally as we continue to read and study.

2) But there is another reason we should not stop after hearing someone teach the Bible, or joining in a group study. We also must share the Word of God with others. Today the church throughout the world is in great need of godly, reverent teachers of the Bible. You may teach just one person; or you may teach hundreds of people. Or you may just share in a small group with others – and let them share with you; in this way your small group studies will be more satisfying and fruitful.

 

Isaiah 50:4-5 shows us how to become biblical teachers. Read these verses.

  1. God wakes us up each morning. Greet the Lord as you wake up. Thank Him for this new day.
  2. God “wakes up our ear,” to listen as a disciple, as one who is being taught.
  3. He speaks to us as we meditate and listen to Him in His Word.
  4. God tells us to “sustain those who are weary” by sharing a word – that is, the word God has shared with us during our time of meditation,            reading and personal study.

 

2 RESULTS OF YOUR CONTINUING TO STUDY HEBREWS

  1. You will continue to have a deeper understanding of the letter, and you will be enriched; your relationship with the Lord will deepen.
  2. You will want your personal blessings to overflow to others. Now you will feel confident to share with others, either informally with one or more persons; or more formally in teaching a group or class.

 

HOW SHOULD WE DO THIS?

  1. Meditate. Continue to meditate on this letter. A good way would be to choose key verses in each chapter, and spend 5 or 10 minutes meditating on each verse. After you have finished meditating on the whole book, read over your meditations. God will speak to you in a new way. Your most intimate time with the Lord is your time of meditation and your prayer that flows out of your meditation.

 

  1. Observe. Continue to observe. Observation is one of the most basic tools of any study, whether it be science, astronomy, mathematics, all kinds of literature – but especially the Bible. Remember: “who, what, where, when, how, why” are the key questions to ask in observation. Observation is not the same as interpreting the Bible. Observation is simply searching for and writing down what the Bible says. Interpreting comes only after you have carefully observed what the author is saying; then you will share your ideas and thoughts about what the author is saying.

 

  1. Read. Continue to read through the whole Letter to the Hebrews. Reading is the most basic and important method of Bible study. Be sure to read it with the attitude of expecting God to speak to you as you read.

 

  1. Make titles for each paragraph. Most Bibles have a way of indicating a new paragraph, either by a paragraph mark, or by indenting. You will easily find the paragraphs. How should we make a title?
    • Ignore the titles that your Bible already has inserted. They may be good, but they are not yours. You will not remember them.
    • Read through the paragraph to get the main idea.
    • A paragraph title should include no more than 4 or 5 words.
    • IMPORTANT: ALL words of your title must be words directly found in the Bible paragraph.

Examples:

Hebrews 1:1-4 God spoke by His Son

                        아들을 통하여 말씀하셨으니

Hebrews 4:16 with confidence draw near

                        보좌 앞에 담대히 나아갈

    • The paragraph title you make will be the correct one. You are doing this for yourself, not for someone else. Ask the Lord to lead you, and you will discover that you can do it. You do not need to rely on another person to help you.
    • I find it helpful to write down all of the paragraph titles.

 

When you finish making paragraph titles for each paragraph of the Letter to the Hebrews, you will have a list of 35-40 paragraph titles. Congratulations! Your paragraph titles will help you understand the whole Letter to the Hebrews! Read through your titles. You will discover that you have a new understanding both of the message of this letter, and also of the way the author develops his theme.

 

  1. Make a title for the Letter to the Hebrews. Pray and make a title for the whole book. The title should give some understanding of the meaning of the letter. Your title will give another person an understanding of what this book is all about. Don’t use other people’s titles, although they may help you. Some examples of a title are:

The Superiority of Jesus Christ

            Growing into Maturity

Consider what the main emphasis of this letter is; then try to express it in your own, unique way as the title.

 

  1. Look for the main division of the book. Read through your paragraph titles once again. Try to discover the main division of the book. Ask yourself questions, such as:
    • Is there a teaching section, followed by an application section?
    • Look for words like “therefore.” (그러므로) This may give you a hint that the author is beginning to speak in a different way.

 

  1. Decide how you want to remember your material. Once you have found the main division, you must decide how to retain it. There are two basic ways:
    • One way is to make an outline of the Letter to the Hebrews.
    • The other way is to make a chart of the letter.

Neither way is better than the other; some people prefer charts, others prefer outlines. What may be best for someone else may not be best for you. Use the method that is best for you. Be sure to include the chapter and verses as you make your division.

 

  1. Make sub-divisions. You have discovered that the Letter to the Hebrews can be divided into two major divisions. After you have made this major division, begin to look for a sub-division in each of the two main divisions.

Then you can record this in your outline or chart.

 

Just as an example, I will share with you the sub-divisions I made in my own study:

1:1-7:28       Jesus Our Savior

8:1-10:18    Calvary Our Salvation

10:19-13:25 Faith Our Victory

You can now decide where they should fit into the main division of the letter.

 

  1. Make smaller sub-divisions. If you like, you can continue to make smaller sub-divisions.

1st step – You have made the main division. (Not every book of the Bible can be easily divided into 2 parts. Some cannot divided; others may have more than 2 main divisions.)

2nd step – Now, divide each main division into sub-divisions. Then you will see how they all fit together.

3rd step – If this is a good way for you to study, you can continue to make more sub-divisions.

 

IS ALL THIS REALLY NECESSARY?

Good question! The answer is, no. If you enjoy, and receive benefit, just from reading and meditating on the Scriptures, that can be good. Some of the best Bible scholars, as well as people who just want to “eat the Word” and meet God in it, do not make outlines or charts. Also, if you have a photographic memory, you will not need to do it. 🙂 But if you would like to retain what you have learned – whether for your own enrichment or for sharing with others — then this is one effective way to do it.

 

SOLITUDE IS MOST IMPORTANT.

Solitude simply means to be alone with God. Christians can never be entirely alone, for Jesus promised that He will always be with us. There are periods in our lives when we simply want to read and read more of the Bible, and meditate more and more. Just to “soak ourselves” in the Word of God, without thinking of how to share it or how to “make a record” of what we study. To do this, we need times of solitude and silence before the Lord.

At times we are tempted to share for the wrong reasons, such as the desire to be “relevant.” or to be known as a good Bible teacher.  Henri Nouwen said that there are some “enemies of solitude:” the desire to be relevant; the desire to be popular; or the desire to be spiritually powerful. We must guard our solitude and make it the top priority of our lives.

We prefer to live a life in the Word, in intimacy with the Lord, so that the same things that the Pharisees and Sadducees said about Peter and John can be said about me: “They recognized that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)

 

BUT . . . SOLITUDE FLOWS OUTWARD, NOT INWARD.

Solitude with His Father was the core of Jesus’ life. All ministry begins with solitude – living in the presence of the Lord. But Jesus did not end His ministry by only having times of solitude, or times alone, with His Father. He shared everything His Father shared with Him, with His community of disciples; and then sent them out to teach and preach.

Solitude means to be alone with God. But remember: Solitude does not stop after we have had a time alone with God. Every moment of every day must be lived in the presence of our Lord. The psalmist said, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, that I shall not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8 ESV) This means that we never leave solitude; that is, we never leave the presence of the Lord! We may be sitting at His feet, or we may witnessing to someone about Jesus. We may be running a marathon, or working out physically. We may be composing music to reveal God’s glory, or creating a work of art. We may be working in a factory or an office. We may be driving a truck for a construction project. Wherever we go, and whatever we do, we go and do in the presence of the Lord who never leaves our side.

This means that your time alone with God is priority; it is very precious. But we must let the Word of God flow from our lives, from our personal study and meditation, into other people’s lives.

 

Note: If you would like to share some of your ways of study, such as an outline you make, or a chart, of the Letter to the Hebrews, I would be happy and honored to see what you are doing. I would like to learn more, and we members of the Body of Christ should encourage one another. If you would like to share, e-mail is the best way. davidross35@gmail.com

 

God bless you! May His Word dwell richly in you, and use you to bless the world.

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