You are encouraged to test yourself after the
completion of Hebrews and James, using an essay (written)
format. The section for testing is entitled “Questions” and you may 1) answer one or more of the questions in
that section, and 2) send your answers to
If you would like, your
answers will be “graded” and responses given.
are on the internet, where you
can enter words like “Bible Commentaries” for some
really great Bible thoughts from the past, include the
following suggested locations:
Matthew Henry, who wrote about 250 years ago (“Matthew Henry’s
Commentary”), is strongly recommended, along with others of that
time, such as John Calvin, John Wesley, and John Gill. You
will find wonderful material in those writings. Also
recommended is Dr. J. Vernon McGee (but there will be a small charge
for his materials).
The author of
Hebrews presents strong arguments that we all need Christ,
including: He is more wonderful than angels, for they
worship Him. He is superior to Moses, for He created
him. His sacrifice is once for all time, whereas the
Aaronic (Jewish) system required repeated sacrifices.
He is better than the Law, because we can live by Him,
whereas the Law kills those who try to follow it. The
original title of this book is "Pros Ebraious," "To
Hebrews." No authorship is indicated.
By the fourth
century A.D., this book was accepted by the Western branch
of the church as authoritative Scripture. Early
support of the canonicity of Hebrews came from Clement of
Rome. In the fourth century, Jerome and Augustine gave
the book their support and others fell into line. The
Eastern church supported this book from the beginning.
The last few verses of Chapter 13, from verse 18 forward,
strongly suggest that the earliest readers of this book knew
precisely who wrote this book.
The Early Church
was divided over authorship. Some attributed it to
Paul, others Barnabas, while still others preferred Luke or
Clement. Sentence composition within the book is very
much like Paul, and Timothy is mentioned as having been "set
free" from prison in 13:23. The Greek is more refined
than that which is found in Paul's letters, which leads us
back to Luke, but no one seems to be sure. Origin, who
lived in the third century, wrote: "Who was it that wrote
this Epistle, God only knows."
The book of
Hebrews was quoted in 95 A.D. by Clement of Rome, indicating
that the book was written prior to that year. Hebrews
speaks of the Temple in Jerusalem as an existing edifice.
If it had already been destroyed, the author would have
referred to that fact as an example of the less
authoritative nature of the Judaic system. This
epistle was written prior to the destruction of the Temple
in 70 A.D. Timothy was still alive at the time of this
letter (13:23), and the Jewish system was about to be
removed (12:26-27). This book was written between 64
and 68 A.D.
Christ as Prophet, Priest and King, far superior to any
religious system this world might devise. He who is
from everlasting is better than anything or anyone found in this
There are four men
named James in the New Testament and all of them have been
thought by some to be the James who wrote this letter.
There is James the father of Judas (not Iscariot - Luke
6:16), James the son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3, Acts 1:13),
James the son of Zebedee and brother of John (Matthew 4:21),
and James the half-brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:55,
Galatians 1:19). The latter James led the church in
Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, 15:13-21, 21:18, Galatians 2:9, 12).
The Early Church pointed to this James as the author of the
letter of James. This James, the leader of the Jerusalem
Church, wrote a letter that Luke recorded in Acts 15:23-29,
and the language is very similar to that which is contained
within this letter. James the brother of Jesus is the
author of the epistle (letter) of James.
The letter of James is about faith
in action. Faith is expressed in works, faith will
suffer trials, faith will respond to the Word of God, faith
cares about people, controls the tongue, acts wisely,
resists the devil, and enables us to wait patiently for the
return of the Lord.
James wrote specifically to Hebrew
Christians outside of the area of Israel. His letter
is full of Jewish expressions and ideas. Their place
of meeting is called a synagogue in 2:2, rather than
referring to it as a "church."
James was killed in 62 A.D.,
indicating that this letter was written before that date.
The theology of the letter of James is very simple,
revealing a Messianic Judaism in thought, rather than a
church filled with not only Jews, but also Gentile
believers, which would suggest a date of writing as early as
- Hebrews 1 - How has God spoken to us by His Son?
- Describe the Son, as revealed in Hebrews 1.
- What are angels, as revealed in that chapter?
- Hebrews 2 - How does the humanity of Jesus make Him
greater than the angels?
- How are all things "in subjection" to the Lord Jesus,
even though that subjection is not fully seen?
- In what way was the Son "made perfect through
- How does "fear of death" control humanity?
- Hebrews 3 - Who is Moses in relation to Christ?
- Who is the "builder of all things" in the statements
that lead to Hebrews 3:4?
- How are we the "house" of Christ?
- In what way is "hardness of heart" a danger to
- Hebrews 4 - The last verses of Chapter 3 start a
discussion of the "rest" of God. How may we enter into
- How does the "Word of God" discern your heart?
- In what manner does the Word perceive all people?
- Discuss our High Priest and what He does for us.
- Hebrews 5 - Discuss the meaning of "Melchizedek".
- How do we become "dull of hearing?"
- Hebrews 6 - Can a Christian fall from grace? How?
Or, why not?
- Hebrews 7 & 8 - Why did Abraham tithe to Melchidezek?
- Discuss the old covenant in relation to the new.
- Hebrews 9 - Why did God set up a religion in Israel, and
why was the new covenant necessary?
- How are you saved by the sacrifice of Christ?
- Is something like "reincarnation" possible in the light
of Hebrews 9:27?
- Hebrews 10 - Is it possible to be very "religious" and
find favor with God through your religious acts?
Why? Why not?
- In the light of Hebrews 10, to what extent to WE
"endure"? Is "holding fast" done in His strength
- Hebrews 11 - What is faith?
- What do these people of faith have to do with us?
- Hebrews 12 - This "cloud of witnesses" - Who are they?
- In verse 2, who creates and finishes "our" faith?
- Discuss the dangers that are before us.
- Hebrews 13 - How does God regard marriage?
- Verse 8 - Discuss Jesus - How is He the same?
- Verse 15-16 - What is sacrifice? How does this
- James 1 - How can trials be joyful?
- How should we regard ourselves? Others?
- Does God tempt His people? Discuss temptation.
- What is religion?
- James 2 - How should we treat others?
- Discuss verse 10 & context - What does this mean to you?
- Verse 13 -
How does mercy triumph over judgment?
- Verse 14 & forward - Discuss faith and works.
- James 3 - If we are asked to be teachers, should we say
"no?" Why? Why not?
- What should the words from our mouths be like?
- Verse 13 & forward - How does faith produce wisdom?
- James 4 - Where do wars and arguments come from?
- Verse 7 - Can we resist the devil? How?
- In the context of verse 10, what is humility?
- Discuss verse 17 - How does it apply to you?
- James 5 - Discuss our treasures on earth.
- How should our words be?
- Discuss prayer? Does it work for you? Why? Why
- Is Elijah typical of others in Scripture? Is it possible
that people living today could have lives similar to
Your assignment is to
read Hebrews and James with the above
Questions in mind.
Go into the Internet at the places cited, and read the theologians
you can find his excellent writings as “freeware” on the Internet.
The next New
Believers Study will be in the books of I & II Peter, I, II
& III John, and Jude
Write with any questions:
Pastor Ron Beckham