Hebrews Review Questions
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Realize it or not, every day we see amazing evidence of the wise and powerful Creator. Even the smallest living cell is far too complex for the smartest of us to fathom. Ungrateful, we commit evil against one another and against God’s world. Perverted people polluting His planet! Yet He continues to give us life, breath, and all good things. Most of us refuse to seek the true God. Many are content with gods they made, gods like them¬selves. Many simply live as though there were no God, as though they made it all. Many of our scientists try to understand and explain creation apart from the Creator. They devote their pin-sized brains to analyzing their own min-uscule aspects of this complexity. Then they pronounce that it all just happened.
How unbelievably patient God is! Instead of obliterating us, He is preparing salvation for those that accept Him. He is Spirit, normally invisible and inaudible; yet, He has spoken on many occasions and in various ways. For those who care to listen, He has revealed His character, standards, and plans. Mostly He did this through a segment of mankind that He chose long ago, the nation He created by mul¬tiplying Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The nation of Israel, also known as Jews or Hebrews, they are the representatives for us all. Their story fills the Bible.
God let Israel see behind the scenes. Through ministering angels He displayed His power. Through Moses His servant He rescued them from bondage in Egypt, gave them His law, made them His kingdom. Through Aaron He created a family of priests who could maintain the neces-sary conditions for His active presence. If Israel would obey Him, they would be holy like Him. To correct them—and remind them of the better world He will bring—He sent His spokesmen called the prophets.
God saw to it that Israel, even though rebellious, would always exist, will never disappear. They would keep the record of His revelation and be the channel of His blessing to the world. Yet, for centuries they kept failing and being punished. Even God’s gracious kingdom over them was suspended. Yet, as reported in the four Gospels, God finally sent the promised King and spoke His greatest revelation. They rejected and crucified the King, unaware that they were offering the one adequate sacrifice for sins. But when He rose from the dead, a remnant of them bucked tradition and acknowledged Him as King. To such people God sent the Book of Hebrews.
The following review contains over thirty questions and sets of questions on important things in Hebrews. Before you start them, read that book aloud, which you can do in less than an hour. (The outline on p. 8 can help.) Then, if possible, print this review and write your answers in the spaces provided. Check them against the suggested answers at the end.
Hebrews 1:1-4 In what way different from before has God spoken in these last days?
1:4 to 10:18 Hebrews shows in detail how the Son is superior to what three Old Testament persons or groups?
Chs. 1-2 __________________ 3-4 _________________ 5-10 _________________
1:4-14 Beginning and ending with the question “to which?” these verses quote seven Old Tes-tament passages and add a summary. List at least four ways they show that the Son is superior to the angels.
1:14 to 2:5 The writer identifies the “great salvation” spoken about by the Son. What is it?
2:1-4 This is the first warning section of five in Hebrews. What danger does this one warn about?
2:3-4 What indicates that the writer and these Hebrews were not eyewitnesses of Gospel events?
2:5-10 What words from what psalm does the writer use to show that the Son’s work is greater than that of angels?
2:10-18 Verses 5-10 have defined man’s “great salvation” as rulership in “the world to come.” The Son’s work preparing them for that rulership is summarized in His title “author of their sal-vation” (2:10). To accomplish that salvation, He had to (a) share in their humanity and (b) suffer until He was “perfected” (fully qualified). This enabled Him to accomplish what two things?
Notice that 2:12 quotes a prophecy of the church (Greek ekklesia, NIV congregation) from Psalm 22:22. The church was no unrevealed secret—but Messiah in His fullness (which involves the church as His body) was.
3:1-6 Verse 1 introduces comparisons of the Son to Moses (chs. 3-4) and Aaron (4:14 to 10:18). Find at least three ways He is greater than Moses in His person.
3:6, 14 What evidence will show that we are truly the Son’s house and partners?
3:7-19 This is the second warning section of five in the book. It shows concern lest we disbelieve the living God and depart from Him. What did God refuse to Israel when they departed from Him in the desert?
4:1-13 These verses show that the Son is greater than Moses in His work.
a. What will the Son accomplish that Moses and Joshua could not?
b. Verses 4-7 quote Genesis 2:2 and equate the available “rest” with what earlier rest?
4:14-16 is a wonderful passage to memorize. It is a majestic introduction to the longest section in Hebrews, which shows that the Son is superior to Aaron, the high priest.
a. Where is our high priest seated?
b. Why is He able to sympathize with us?
After the section introduction, chapter 5 begins comparing the priests. As in the cases of the angels and of Moses, they are contrasted first in person (5:1 to 7:28), then in work (8:1 to 10:18).
5:1-10 These verses refer to the appointment of priests and how Jesus qualified. Tell the two prerequisites that He fulfilled.
a. ___________________________________ b. __________________________________
5:11 to 6:20 This is the third warning section of five and interrupts the comparison of priestly per¬sons. We can call it The Danger of Degeneracy. It was triggered because the Hebrews were sluggish (dull) in learning and responding (5:11; 6:12). What three illustrations does the writer use to describe them?
6:4-9 This passage first describes the experience of some religious people who cannot be saved. They have fully tasted Christian evidences yet fallen away. (There is no “if” here for falling away; the grammar is the same as for the previous items.) The first readers of Hebrews were not like those described here.
a. List three things these doomed people have tasted before they have fallen away.
b. To what does the writer compare such people and contrast the readers?
6:13-20 During an incident in Abraham’s life (Gen. 22), God showed the certainty of the hope of believers.
a. What two things did God, for our sake, guarantee to Abraham on that occasion?
b. How did He guarantee them?
7:1-10 resumes the contrast of Jesus and Aaron as priests, in regard to their persons. Jesus is superior because He is like Melchizedek.
a. Where in the Bible (book and chapter) is the original story of Melchizedek?
b. According to 7:1-3, what is the main advantage of Melchizedek’s priestly ministry?
c. In 7:4-10 how was Melchizedek shown to be greater than Aaron’s forefather Levi?
7:11-28 shows some advantages of having another priest like Melchizedek. Find and list at least two. (Melchizedek was not Jesus but was “made like” Him.)
NOTE: In 7:22 the Greek word diatheke is used for the first time in Hebrews. In the Bible it always means, as here, “covenant,” a solemn agreement and contract between two parties. The English word “testament” used to have that meaning but now usually means ”will.”
8:1-13 presents the first two (of three) aspects of the Son’s priestly work.
a. Where is our priest performing His ministry?
b. What covenant does He administer?
c. To whom was this covenant promised?
d. Tell two ways in which this covenant is better than the old covenant:
9:1-10 Here begins the third aspect of the Son’s priestly work: His better sacrifice (9:1 to 10:18). How did the tabernacle arrangement show that old covenant sacrifices could not give access to God?
NOTE: In 9:16-17 the NASB correctly translates diatheke as “covenant.” (Some other versions wrongly switch—only here—to “testament” or “will.”) Verses 15-20 are comparing the old cov-enant and the new covenant, both of which had to be inaugurated with death.
9:11-28 starts contrasting Messiah’s sacrifice to old covenant sacrifices, and refers particularly to the annual Day of Atonement. Only on that day was the high priest allowed to enter God’s earthly presence. He went in with sacrificial blood—and later came out to bless the people. For each of the following, answer for the high priest for each covenant.
a. 9:11, 12, 23-24 How far he could go toward God.
b. 9:12-14 What sacrifice(s) he offered.
c. 9:15 What his covenant could not or will accomplish.
d. 9:25-28 How often he had to make Day of Atonement sacrifices.
NOTE: Summarizing so far: Messiah’s sacrifice of Himself gives access to God (9:11-14), inaugurates the new, eternal covenant (9:15-24), and never needs to be repeated (9:25-28).
NOTE ALSO that 10:2, 11 imply that the temple and the Levitical priesthood were still operating (see also 7:28). If so, this epistle was written before A.D. 70, when the temple was destroyed.
10:1-18 concludes the contrast of Messiah’s sacrifice to old covenant sacrifices.
a. 10:1-4 Old covenant sacrifices could not cleanse the conscience. How do we know?
b. 10:5-10 What main lesson (negative and positive) is drawn from Psalm 40?
c. 10:11-14 Why could our priest sit down and wait for His rule to begin?
d. 10:15-18 Providing a basis for the new covenant, why can God see believers as perfect?
NOTE: Hebrews 10:19 to 13:19 shows how we should respond to this great Son and His mes-sage, by persevering faith.
10:19-25 states our response in a brief form, with what three exhortations (“let us…let us…let us”)? Every Greek manuscript has the word for “hope” in verse 23, not “faith” as in the KJV.
10:26-39 is the fourth warning section of five, which we can call “The Danger of Despising.” The willful sin it warns about is deliberate sin resulting from rebellion, as in Numbers 15:27-36. There are several indications here that the guilty ones are apostates without hope of salvation (cf. 6:4-6). Consider for now the following:
a. 10:26-27 What punishment should they expect?
b. 10:28-29 Their punishment will be more severe than what?
c. 10:29 What three actions are they guilty of?
1. ______________________ 2. ______________________ 3. _____________________
d. 10:37-39 What will happen to those who “shrink back” without faith?
The last two sections here (10:19-25 and 26-39) were impassioned pleas to live by faith. Each section ended referring to our goal, the Lord’s Second Coming (10:25, “the Day approaching”; 10:37, “He who is coming will come and will not delay”). The last chapters will look at that faith in three aspects:
Chapter 11, faith as the spring of godly action throughout sacred history
Chapter 12, faith as based on hope that gives us courage in trials
Chapter 13, faith that results in love in all aspects of life.
11:1-2 An explanation of faith. Faith is described in terms of what it produces in us—our internal relation to God and His word that will produce action. The word “substance” in KJV should be “assurance.” What are the two parts describing faith?
11:3-40 Examples of faith; extension of faith. Faith results in action, as seen in these patterns. Consider especially what is said about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
a. What was the discrepancy between what they were promised and how they lived (vv. 8-9)?
b. What was lacking (vv. 10, 14-16)?
c. Why did the people in this chapter get God’s approval but not what He promised (vv. 39-40)?
12:1-17 This chapter could be called “The Patience of Hope.” We need patience (the Greek hupomone, also in 10:36, means endurance) because of difficulties. Verses 1-3 compare our life to a race, such as our Lord Jesus has already run. So have many others who gave their witness, such as those listed in chapter 11. “Weights” are unnecessary concerns that take up time and energy. The discipline constantly mentioned in this passage means all aspects of upbringing and training.
a. Looking at Jesus as our example in enduring by hope, what motive made Him finish the race?
b. What good results will it bring if we endure God’s discipline?
12:18-29 The fifth warning section: The Danger of Denying. Verses 18-24 picture two mountain scenes where God made covenants: at Sinai and the heavenly Zion. The first was mainly fearsome; the second gives hope. But we must respond quickly, as the warning in verses 25-29 says.
a. 12:22-24 lists eight things and persons we have now come to. List them yourself.
b. 12:26-29 says God will speak yet once more, in the words of Haggai 2:6 (about God’s final kingdom). At that time
1. what will He shake?
2. what will He remove?
3. what will remain?
13:1-17 Faith Manifested by Love and Fidelity (or, The Labor of Love). Here are various exhortations designed to show and strengthen saving faith. You should list them in your own words and make specific plans to obey them. Verses 7-8 probably refer to the stability provided by Messiah as the basis for the life and ministry of their former leaders. Verses 10-14 refer to the separation of Jewish believers from Judaism. As Jesus suffered outside the camp, so must they.
a. Did you write in your own words the exhortations and how to obey them?
b. What are three kinds of sacrifices believers still make according to verses 15-16?
13:18-25 The Conclusion. The mention of “our brother Timothy” (contrast 1 Thess. 3:2) is another indication of the early date of this epistle. But Paul did not write it; nothing in his known relationship to Timothy fits this occasion. “Those from Italy” (v. 24) probably indicates a group transplanted from Italy and sending greetings back home. What beautiful title does this conclu¬sion say Jesus gained by shedding His “blood of the eternal covenant”?