ONE PRIEST FOR MANY: THEOLOGICAL THEMES IN THE BOOK OF HEBREWS

LECTURE TITLES

 

Day 1:

Introduction: authorship and readers; the status of Hebrews research; first century contexts of Hebrews (Greco-Roman, Hellenistic Judaism, emergent first century Christianity); rhetorical conventions and vocabulary of Hebrews; structure of Hebrews; Hebrews’ use of the OT; a Christological hermeneutic; connections with the Stephen tradition, Pauline Christianity, First Peter. Survey of Hebrews’ Theology. 

Day 2:

Hebrews 1:1-4: the Priest supreme in revelation on behalf of God: the theology of God’s speech or revelation in the Son – the finality of the Christian revelation because supreme.
Hebrews 1:1-14: the Priest supreme as deity: the theology of the ‘Son’ who is fully God, as foundational for mediation. 

Day 3:

Hebrews 2:1-4: theology behind hortatory warnings introduced – in light of ‘great salvation’ (warnings relate to the superior and supreme nature of the new covenant under which the supreme Priest ratified)
Hebrews 2:5-18: the Priest supreme as fully human: the theology of the representative nature of the Son ‘Jesus’, the theology of the incarnation and the ascension of the One for the many.  Christ as liberator: theology of liberation.

Day 4:

Hebrews 3-4:16: the Priest supreme in his ability to bring rest:  the theology of the rest of God; his superiority to Moses and Joshua
Hebrews 5:1-10: the Priest supreme as suffering Man, as designated as such by God in exaltation. The theology of the human qualification of Jesus to be Priest through suffering. The theology of the human nature of Jesus.  

 

Day 5:

Hebrews 5:11-6:20: the theology behind hortatory warnings developed – in light of great priesthood. Defining Christian maturity.

 

Days 6:

Hebrews 7:1-28: The Priest supreme through a superior order of priesthood (Melchisedecan). The theology of Melchisedecan priesthood.

Days 7:

Hebrews 8:1-13: the Priest supreme under a superior covenant. The theology of the new covenant and its contemporary implications.
Hebrews 9:1-28:the Priest supreme in a superior heavenly sanctuary. The theology of ‘sacred space’.     

 

Day 8:

Hebrews 9:13-10:18: the Priest supreme because he has offered a superior sacrifice.  Theology of the atonement in light of the OT cultus and the light it sheds on current atonement debates. Theology of justification/perfection and sanctification and assurance,

 

Day 9:

Hebrews 10:19-13:25 Implications of the Supreme Priest and His Priesthood for the many priests: 
Hebrews 10:19-25: Summation and gospel exhortations flowing from the supreme Priest and his priesthood:  
Hebrews 10:26-31: the theology behind hortatory warnings more fully developed
Hebrews 10:32-39: the value of past experience  

Days 10:

Hebrews 11:1-40:  The nature of faith
Hebrews 12:1-3: Summation and exhortation in light of the Priest supreme. Theology of transformation through contemplation.    
Hebrews 12:4-11: The value of discipline: theology of Christian suffering in light of the Priest supreme
Hebrews 12:14-28: The final warning: the theology behind hortatory warnings most fully developed
Hebrews 13:1-25: Concluding advice: theology of mission outside the gate. 

 

Required Readings:

  1. Guthrie, Donald. The Letter to the Hebrews: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale NT Commentaries (Leicester: IVP, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983).  

  2. Lane, William L. Hebrews 1-8, WBC 47A (Dallas: Word, 1991); Hebrews 9-13, WBC 47B (Dallas: Word, 1991).

  3. Lindars, Barnabas. The Theology of the Letter to the Hebrews, New Testament Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). 

  4. Schenk, Kenneth. Understanding the Book of Hebrews: The Story Behind The Sermon (Louisville/London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003).