Hebrews Inductive Study (chapter 1)

Inductive questions on Hebrews 1

As Jessica is tackling an inductive study of Galatians at her group blog, let me invite you to join me in a study of Hebrews over here.  Our church family will be in this book for the next three months on Wednesday nights, 6:30 pm – covering a chapter a week.  Join us in person.  Or join us through internet.  Look at chapter one and think through these questions and notes.

Observations in your inductive study

  1.  With either different colors or markings, distinguish in your Bible text between the Father and the Son (names and corresponding pronouns) in chapter 1.
  2. What does chapter 1 reveal to you about the relationship between God and His Son?
  3. The Son (verse 2) is contrasted with what group of people in verse 1?
  4. The Son is contrasted with what beings in verse 4?
  5. How many O.T. passages does the author use in chapter 1 to support that the Son is better than angels?  What are those passages? (Look up and read your cross-references)
  6. The angels of God in verse 6 are named what in Psalm 97:7?
  7. Notice the Hebrews 13:8 commentary on Hebrews 1:12.
  8. Notice the Hebrews 10:11-13 commentary on Hebrews 1:13.
  9. What is one of the purposes of angels in verse 14?
  10. How would you summarize the theme of chapter 1?

Interpretive questions in your inductive study

  1. Acts 13:33 and Hebrews 1:5 quote Psalm 2:7.  What does “begotten” (v. 5) mean in light of what Paul says in Acts 13:33?
  2.  Did the Hebrews recognize other gods (elohim – the Hebrew word in Psalm 97:7 for gods) besides the LORD (Yahweh)?  So how important were angelic beings to the Hebrew people?
  3. As the author of Hebrews quotes Old Testament addresses to the LORD (Yahweh), who is the author unmistakably identifying as LORD (Yahweh) in Hebrews 1?
  4. So what is the relationship of all other heavenly angels (O.T. elohim) to Yahweh? (see Hebrews 1:6)
  5. So does not this opening chapter catapult the Son as the One incomparably supreme over all others?

Applications in your inductive study

  1. Using Hebrews 1, how would you share with your neighbor or coworker that Jesus is God?
  2. When has it been the last time that you have worshipped the Son?  What was it about Jesus’ person or work that caused you to worship Him?
  3. Why would you be more excited about Him than your most respected, religious scholars and experts?  Or even your favorite Bible teachers? 
  4.  Who are the biggest people in your life that you listen to and rely upon?  Could there be any temptation of allowing them to eclipse the glory of Jesus Christ in your life?  Can anyone else outshine Jesus?
  5. How do the truths of Hebrews 1 comfort you when watching the evening news and the events in American politics?

7 comments

  1. “Hebrews: To Ascend the Holy Mount

    M. Catherine Thomas

    Reprinted by permission from Donald W. Parry, ed., Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1994), 479—91.

    Hebrews is, to use Paul’s words, “strong meat” (Hebrews 5:14). Paul wants to preach strong meat, but he addresses members who will not digest it (see Hebrews 5:12). Nevertheless, he broaches doctrines that deal with the upper reaches of spiritual experience and Melchizedek Priesthood temple ordinances. My purpose will be to identify several passages that have relevance to temple ordinances. Paul’s letter might be divided into two main ideas: the promise of the temple and the price exacted to obtain the promise. At several points I will add the Prophet Joseph Smith’s commentary, without which much of the temple significance of the apostle’s remarks in Hebrews would elude us.”

  2. 2. The relationship between the Father and the Son is eternal, proceeding the creation of ALL things.

    3. Prophets

    4. Angels

    5. 2:7; 2 Sam. 7:14; (Psalm 89:26, 27) (Heb 1:5), Deut 32:43 (Psalm 97:7) (Heb 1:6), Psalm 104:4 (Heb 1:7), Psalm 45:6, 7 (Heb 1:8), Isa 61:1, 3 (Heb1:9), Psalm 102:25–27 (Heb 1:10, 11 & 12), and Psalm 110:1 (Heb 1:13).

    6. gods

    7. Heb 13:8 ties the superiority of His work and His eternal nature into our appropriate response to this knowledge.

    8. There is no Kingdom without a King and Christ Jesus is our King at the right hand of the Father.

    9. Minister and serve those who will inherit salvation.

    10. The eternal supremacy and deity of Christ.

  3. 1. Heb 1:5 begotten and Psalm 2:7, 2 Sam 7:14, are tied to divine sonship, messianic prophesy and fulfillment, the Kingship of Christ and ultimately in this context His superiority.

    2. No. As I understand it angels were increasingly important in Jewish culture and religion post-Exile, but I have also read that Hebrews follows a typical Rabbinic argument, from lesser to greater. The argument would go like this Prophets are important receiving revelation from God Christ is greater He is the revelation of God. Angels are important, they minister to God’s people, Christ is greater He is God ministering. This lesser to greater argument style helped me understand the comparisons in Hebrews and becomes critical latter as the theology becomes more complex.

    3. Christ is LORD.

    4. Heb 1:6 is quoting the Song of Moses an important passage in Judaism and the early Church Ex 32 proceeds Israel’s entry into the Promised Land so it points to latter comparisons between Moses the prophet, priest, and king of national Israel in the Wilderness and Jesus as the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King (Heb 3). While setting up this future comparison this passage the author is claiming prophetic fulfillment of Ex32 in the Person of Christ, proving the superiority of Jesus to angels all while using a popular passage that his readers would have been familiar with.

    5. Yes it does show the supremacy of Christ but I think that Heb 3:1-6 drives this point home with the comparison to Moses, opening up the rest of the book for similar comparisons of lesser to greater arguments concerning the accomplished work of Christ.

  4. Rob, do you think Paul wrote Hebrews? And I will be very curious to read what you discover what the author of Hebrews taught on the temple and Melchizedek.

    Gundek, thanks for jumping in the discussion, too:

    (1) I love the golden string of pearls in Acts 7. I concluded with 7 main pearl passages. But like you, I could not help but notice Isa. 61:1-3. The O.T. text is the theme passage for our Wood family. We are elon – oaks – under the King.

    (2) My 17 year old, inductive NASB did not pick up on Deut. 32:43. But an ESV or NLT makes the connection clear. Certainly, angels were very important in god-like status in the Qumran community. I easily see the lesser to great argumentation, Gundeck; but also, I can’t escape the fact that angels brought (mediated) the law of God to Moses. They were one step closer to the revelation than Moses- these winds and flame of fire. And yet again as chapter 2 declares, God did not subject to angels the world to come.

    (3) When I think of “Today I have begotten Thee!”, the book of Acts also makes me consider the triumphant, glorious, bodily resurrection of Jesus.

  5. Interesting note from The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible:

    Deuteronomy 32:42 is an unusual verse in view of its contents. As the list of variant readings shows, 4QDeut(q)–supported by the Septuagint–differs markedly from the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch. For example, in the Qumran scroll it is “the heavens” which rejoice, not the nations; and God will avenge the blood of “his sons,” not “his servants.” Moreover, the mention of gods “bowing down to God” and “recompensing those who hate him” is absent from the Masoretic Text and the Samaritan Pentateuch. This verse provides a striking example of the very different readings that sometimes appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    – “Rejoice, O heavens, together with him [170]; and bow down to him all you gods [171], for he will avenge the blood of his sons [172], and will render vengeance to his enemies, and will recompense those who hate him [173], and will atone [174] for the land of his people [175].”

    170. 4QDeut(q) LXX. O nations, with his people MT SP.

    171. 4QDeut(q) LXX (. . . you sons of God). Not in MT SP.

    172. 4QDeut(q) LXX. his servants MT SP.

    173. 4QDeut(q) LXX. Not in MT SP.

    174. Imperfect verb 4QDeut(q). Perfect consecutive verb MT SP.

    175. 4QDeut(q) SP LXX. his land, for his people MT.

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