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Hebrews & James

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New Believers Study
An Overview of the New Testament
Pastor Ron Beckham


Eighth Study:
Hebrews & James

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 Ron@FridayStudy.org If you would like, your answers will be “graded” and responses given.

Excellent websites 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:

bullet Go to Google as a Search Engine.  (Try others but this materials came from Google).  Look up Bible Commentaries (there is no
cost to download or copy much of the material)
 
bullet A suggested address is
 http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries
bullet Another is
http://bible.christiansunite.com/commentary.shtml
bullet And 
http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/comments/
bullet You might try our Bible Studies at www.fridaystudy.org

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).

Hebrews

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.

Hebrews presents 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 world-system.

James

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 45 A.D.


Questions

  1. Hebrews 1 - How has God spoken to us by His Son?
  2. Describe the Son, as revealed in Hebrews 1.
  3. What are angels, as revealed in that chapter?
  4. Hebrews 2 - How does the humanity of Jesus make Him greater than the angels?
  5. How are all things "in subjection" to the Lord Jesus, even though that subjection is not fully seen?
  6. In what way was the Son "made perfect through sufferings?
  7. How does "fear of death" control humanity?
  8. Hebrews 3 - Who is Moses in relation to Christ?
  9. Who is the "builder of all things" in the statements that lead to Hebrews 3:4?
  10. How are we the "house" of Christ?
  11. In what way  is "hardness of heart" a danger to you?
  12. Hebrews 4 - The last verses of Chapter 3 start a discussion of the "rest" of God. How may we enter into that rest?
  13. How does the "Word of God" discern your heart?
  14. In what manner does the Word perceive all people?
  15. Discuss our High Priest and what He does for us.
  16. Hebrews 5 - Discuss the meaning of "Melchizedek".
  17. How do we become "dull of hearing?"
  18. Hebrews 6 - Can a Christian fall from grace?  How?  Or, why not?
  19. Hebrews 7 & 8 - Why did Abraham tithe to Melchidezek?
  20. Discuss the old covenant in relation to the new.
  21. Hebrews 9 - Why did God set up a religion in Israel, and why was the new covenant necessary?
  22. How are you saved by the sacrifice of Christ?
  23. Is something like "reincarnation" possible in the light of Hebrews 9:27?
  24. Hebrews 10 - Is it possible to be very "religious" and find favor with God through your religious acts?  Why?  Why not?
  25. In the light of Hebrews 10, to what extent to WE "endure"?  Is "holding fast" done in His strength or ours?
  26. Hebrews 11 - What is faith?
  27. What do these people of faith have to do with us?
  28. Hebrews 12 - This "cloud of witnesses" - Who are they?
  29. In verse 2, who creates and finishes "our" faith?
  30. Discuss the dangers that are before us.
  31. Hebrews 13 - How does God regard marriage?
  32. Verse 8 - Discuss Jesus - How is He the same?
  33. Verse 15-16 - What is sacrifice?  How does this work?
  34. James 1 - How can trials be joyful?
  35. How should we regard ourselves?  Others?
  36. Does God tempt His people? Discuss temptation.
  37. What is religion?
  38. James 2 - How should we treat others?
  39. Discuss verse 10 & context - What does this mean to you?
  40. Verse 13 - How does mercy triumph over judgment?
  41. Verse 14 & forward - Discuss faith and works.
  42. James 3 - If we are asked to be teachers, should we say "no?"  Why? Why not?
  43. What should the words from our mouths be like?
  44. Verse 13 & forward - How does faith produce wisdom?
  45. James 4 - Where do wars and arguments come from?
  46. Verse 7 - Can we resist the devil? How?
  47. In the context of verse 10, what is humility?
  48. Discuss verse 17 - How does it apply to you?
  49. James 5 - Discuss our treasures on earth.
  50. How should our words be?
  51. Discuss prayer? Does it work for you?  Why? Why not?
  52. Is Elijah typical of others in Scripture? Is it possible that people living today could have lives similar to his?

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 offered, especially Matthew Henry-and 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 
Ron@FridayStudy.org

                      

 

 
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