THE LETTER TO THE HEBREWSAs early as the second century A. If, at that date, they knew any more about it—who was its author, why it was written—they have not told us. Indeed, even the title tells us nothing we could not have inferred for ourselves. Whoever was originally intended to read this letter must have been thoroughly familiar, not only with the Jewish religion, but with current Jewish techniques of interpreting the Old Testament: without a thoroughly "Hebrew" background, no one could possibly have followed the argument. It would seem to follow that the first readers were therefore "Hebrews"— that is, Jews or proselytes—who had been converted to Christianity. This conclusion is by no means certain: they could equally well have been Gentiles who had spent many years attending a Jewish synagogue before they became Christians like the recipients of Paul's letter to the Galatians: see above, pp. But, so far as it goes, it represents a reasonable guess.
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Paul’s Use of Old Testament Scripture
The letter was composed sometime during the latter half of the 1st century. To judge from its contents, the letter was addressed to a Christian community whose faith was faltering because of strong Jewish influences. The office of the Jewish high priest, by contrast, was filled by a temporary appointee whose imperfect sacrifice had to be repeated over and over. The author concludes that Christianity is consequently superior to Judaism. They are urged to persevere in their faith following the heroic example of others well known to them.
The Letter to the Hebrews is one of the more important letters of the New Testament, for it speaks to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ , and his one Sacrifice which redeemed mankind and established God's New Covenant. The Letter emphasizes the everlasting priesthood of Christ as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy , and that he sacrificed himself once for our sins , , Melchizedek, whose name is found only twice in Hebrew Scripture, was the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, who brought out bread and wine and blessed Abram Genesis In Psalm , a Psalm of David, David announced to his successor - "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" Psalm God declared his son Jesus Christ high priest according to the order of Melchizedek Hebrews Passages that are often quoted from Hebrews include , the three elements that were in the Ark of the Covenant: the two tablets of the Ten Commandments Exodus , the gold jar with the manna Exodus , and the staff of Aaron Numbers
The Letter to the Hebrews is preceded by the Letter of Paul to Philemon and " You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" (Psalm ). The following Scripture is from the Douay-Rheims Bible, now in the public domain.
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Traditionally, Paul the Apostle was thought to be the author. However, since the third century this has been questioned, and the consensus among most modern scholars is that the author is unknown. The Epistle to the Hebrews was included in the collected writings of Paul from a very early date. While the assumption of Pauline authorship readily allowed its acceptance in the Eastern Church , doubts persisted in the West. Eusebius does not list Epistle to the Hebrews among the antilegomena or disputed books though he included the unrelated Gospel of the Hebrews. Doubts about Pauline authorship were raised around the end of the second century, predominantly in the West.