Friday, March 2, 2012


Many commentators think the book of Hebrews is written to believing Jews but I do not think that is true. During the last century there were only about four great respected Greek scholars, including the scholar Kenneth Wuest. He thinks the book was handed over to the Christian community for an apologetic but that the thrust of the book is aimed at unbelieving Jews, who heard the gospel but rejected it and fell into apostasy, refusing to embrace the salvation offered in their Messiah.

I'm in good company! I believe Wuest is correct. By the way, how many teachers do you know who have translated the entire book of Hebrews? I have but there are not many more. The language of the book of Hebrews is very difficult but it is worth the effort of translation if one knows Greek!

There are too many sections in Hebrews that tell me the book is written to unbelieving Jews not believing Jews. Why does the book begin describing the deity of Christ if the book is written to believing Jews? The early church held to the deity of Christ, which is mentioned in almost every New Testament letter? Also, how would we take this "apostasy" section: 3:7-4:7 (the falling away, 3:12). The apostasy is always about those who have fallen away from the faith and the truth and have never held to the gospel.

Using the lack of faith of the OT saints the author speaks of the "disobedient" or "those without faith" (3:18). They were those of "unbelief" (v. 19). What they heard did not profit them because "it was not united by faith in those who heard" (4:2). With lack of faith they could not enter in God's rest (4:3). They failed "to enter into God's rest because of disobedience (to be without faith)" (4:6). Many commentators dance around the bush trying to make the above passages apply to believing Jews but it just will not fly!

The author of Hebrews concludes this section with: "Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience (being without faith)" (4:11).

Finally from the Greek text: "Be looking brothers (Jewish brothers) that not anyone of you have an unbelieving evil heart in apostatizing (falling away) from the living God" (3:12). (aphistami=to fall away from, to depart, to withdraw from, to become faithless, to keep oneself away from.)

--Dr. Mal Couch (3/12)