HEB 01: Why Jesus’ Way Is Best

Christianity 101 Podcast - Hebrews 1:1-4

Why Jesus' Way Is Best

In this awesome episode we’re beginning a new series through Hebrews! Based on your feedback (thanks for connecting!) the format is changing just a little. Rather than providing a commentary like I did through Romans, the series through Hebrews will be based on my sermon series at Hillside Community Church.  So, lets jump into this new season beginning with Hebrews 1:1-4, “Why Jesus’ Way Is Best.”


Show Notes:

• The big deal behind Hebrews [08:10]
• The author’s response [09:51]
• Why Jesus’ Way is the best way intro [11:34]
• Jesus speaks best [13:25]
• Ghost Busters audio clip [22:28]
• Jesus acts best [25:36]
• How to embrace Jesus’ way [33:51]
• Summary Statement [37:19]


Links Mentioned:

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Why Jesus’ Way Is Best

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6 thoughts on “HEB 01: Why Jesus’ Way Is Best

  1. I don’t believe that the author of Hebrews is in any way a mystery. Within the early church, the author of Hebrews has been know from the very beginning, and so well known that Anthanasius is apprehensive that he might be risking tedium to catalog them yet once again; because everyone already knew all this stuff.

    From Post Nicene Fathers, Series II, Vol IV, p. 551:

    Letters of Athanasius (A.D. 298-373)

    FROM LETTER XXXIX. (For A.D. 367)

    Of the particular books and their number, which are accepted by the Church. From the thirty-ninth Letter of Holy Athanasius, Bishop of Alexandria, on the Paschal festival; wherein he defines canonically what are the divine books which are accepted by the Church.

    5. “Again it is not tedious to speak of the [books] of the New Testament. These are, the four Gospels, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Afterwards, the Acts of the Apostles and Epistles (called Catholic), seven, viz. of James, one; of Peter, two; of John, three; after these, one of Jude. In addition, there are fourteen Epistles of Paul, written in this order. The first, to the Romans; then two to the Corinthians; after these, to the Galatians; next, to the Ephesians; then to the Philippians; then to the Colossians; after these, two to the Thessalonians, and that to the Hebrews; and again, two to Timothy; one to Titus; and lastly, that to Philemon. And besides, the Revelation of John.”

    • I like some of Athanasius’s stuff, particularly as he writes about the incarnation. However, the early church had a problem, and failing to recognize the problem and the offered solution becomes a problem while we discern who the author is. Originally, for a letter to be included in the cannon, it needed to be written by an eye-witness of Jesus, like an Apostle. Hebrews almost didn’t make it because no one knew. So, a concession was made and it was presumed that Paul had to have written it. However, after it was included within the cannon, it was later determined that it couldn’t have been Paul.

      It contains none of Paul’s typical content (like Law, faith, works, Spirit’s role in salvation, gifts of the Spirit), and it contains content that Paul had never touched on (like Jesus as the Great High Priest, and the use of nautical illustrations).

      Paul was called to the Gentiles and lamented that his own people were rejecting the Gospel. He was also adamant about having a face-to-face, eye witness account of Jesus, and writes to us that his content comes directly from Jesus. If Paul had written this letter, that would be an awfully difficult back-paddle for Paul to make. And, considering his ministry lies with the Gentiles (to which God had personally called him), writing Hebrews is out alignment for Paul.

      “God only knows” (Origen) who the author is. But, we can confidently conclude that it is absolutely not Paul.

    • RG>>“God only knows” (Origen) who the author is. But, we can confidently conclude that it is absolutely not Paul.

      Okay . . Origen!! Like . . hardly the one to quote as an authority on anything!! I never studied the works of Origen. Just reading his stuff was bad enough. This guy was a really weird weirdo! It has been 20 years since I read Origen, and my only memory of it was that he never had anything useful to say, and to refrain from wasting time with his stuff in the future.

      On the other hand, amongst the Church Fathers, I probably respect Athanasius almost the most, although perhaps second to Tertullian.

      Now when Athanasius provided details of the New Testament Canon, including Paul being named as the author of Hebrews, he was following a long standing church Tradition: “I also, having been urged by true brethren and having investigated the matter FROM THE BEGINNING, have decided to set forth in order the writings that have been put in the canon, that have been handed down and confirmed as divine . . ”

      He wasn’t just spouting off. He was laying out church Tradition from the BEGINNING!!!

      Pope Damasus came up with the very same tradition:

      THE DECREE OF POPE DAMASUS (382 A.D., from Jurgens vol 1, p. 406)

      “Likewise, the list of the Scriptures of the New and Eternal Testament,
      which the holy and Catholic Church receives: of the Gospels, one book
      according to Matthew, one book according to Mark, one book according to
      Luke, one book according to John. The Epistles of the Apostle Paul,
      fourteen in number [counting Hebrews]: one to the Romans, two to the
      Corinthians, one to the Ephesians, two to the Thessalonians, one to
      the Galatians, one to the Philippians, one to the Colossians, two to
      Timothy, one to Titus, one to Philemon, one to the Hebrews.

      “Likewise, one book of the Apocalypse [Revelation] of John. And the
      Acts of the Apostles, one book. Likewise, the canonical Epistles,
      seven in number: of the Apostle Peter, two Epistles; of the Apostle
      James, one Epistle; of the Apostle John, one Epistle; of the other
      John a Presbyter, two Epistles; of the Apostle Jude the Zealot, one
      Epistle. Thus concludes the canon of the New Testament.

      Damasus was the one who commissioned Jerome to translate the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures into Latin in A.D. 400.

      As probably the most learned Hebrew and Greek scholar, Jerome had heard this nonsense from petty unlearned hecklers, that Paul couldn’t have written Hebrews, regardless of 400 years of Tradition, merely because the style was different. Jerome responds:

      Jerome Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers Vol III P 363:

      “since Paul was writing in his own language, though to be sure, since Paul was writing to the Hebrews and was in disrepute among them, he may have omitted his name from the salutation on this account. He being a Hebrew wrote Hebrew, that is his own tongue and most fluently while the things which were so eloquently written in Hebrew, were more eloquently turned into Greek and this is the reason why it seems to differ from the other epistles of Paul.”

      1. First of all Paul was writing in a different language than he had used in his other writings;

      2. Does it not make complete sense that he would approach Jews on a completely different basis than he would approach Gentiles? When you discuss theology with Jew, do you not approach them in a completely different manner than a non-Jew? With a Jew, building upon the knowledge they already possess? When talking to a Jew, you talk about the kind of things Paul talked about in Hebrews.

      3. What Paul wrote in Hebrews, was not just directed at Hebrews, but as a model for us when interfacing with Jews, moving from the Old Covenant, to the New Covenant.

      I have no doubt whatsoever, that Paul wrote Hebrews as parting gift to his Jewish brethern; a gift which has survived and continued to give, for 2000 years.

      • Looks like you and I both like Athanasius. That being said, he’s not perfect, and it’s not like there was no guessing involved at the time.

        I’m happy enough that you believe it was written by Paul. Since we really don’t know, you could be right. Although, I really doubt it. The content isn’t Paul’s, the style isn’t Paul’s, this person isn’t writing as a church planter… and, this is a third generation Christian that’s writing it. Paul would absolutely be lying within the letter of Hebrews if he called himself a 3rd generation Believer.

        The early church was making a few guesses as they were putting out fires and trying to establish administration and a systematic way of thinking about theology. They weren’t right about everything, and their work was occasional. Also, I don’t think that your thoughts on the “tradition” of Hebrews is accurate. There were too many who disagreed with “tradition” and had to sell the idea. If there was a clear “tradition” there would have been less controversy around this letter.

        That being said, I truly don’t think it matters too much. It doesn’t really matter if we disagree about this. Regardless of the author, the content seems clear.

  2. Paul did not write his book to the Hebrews to a church, nor to Gentiles. He wrote it to his people, the HEBREWS!

    Whenever Paul wrote to a specific church or individual, it was always prefaced:

    To all who are beloved of God in Rome
    To the church of God which is at Corinth
    To the churches of Galatia
    To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi
    To Timothy, my true child in the faith
    To Timothy, my beloved son
    To Titus, my true child in a common faith
    To Philemon our beloved brother

    But his book to the Hebrews was prefaced in an entirely different manner. Although Paul’s ministry had been focused upon the Gentiles, he had not abandoned his Jewish brethern. And the book of Hebrews was evidently written as a detailed theological apologetic for the Jews. It was Paul’s way of finalizing his ministry as he was being led away to the chopping block.

    • Hi Stan,

      Paul didn’t write this book, so your premise is flawed. The person who wrote this book heard it from someone, who heard it from someone. A person like Apollos fits the Christian-generation profile. Paul, however, makes it clear that what he received comes directly from Jesus.

      While I understand why you would think that this is written purely to the Jews, that is not necessarily the case. Although, I would think that it was a majority Jewish congregation. The OT was the Bible for the first generation of Believers. That being said, it’s very possible that Hebrews was written to a Jewish congregation in danger of returning to Judaism to avoid persecution, who were wishing to return to Christianity following the time of persecution, which could be why we see the author writing “it’s impossible… it’s like crucifying Christ again” (paraphrased).

      So, the author wasn’t Paul, and the congregation wasn’t necessarily entirely Jewish, but it’s certainly a consideration.