Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honour beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands. And since every high priest is required to offer gifts and sacrifices, our High Priest must make an offering, too. If he were here on earth, he would not even be a priest, since there already are priests who offer the gifts required by the law. They serve in a system of worship that is only a copy, a shadow of the real one in heaven. For when Moses was getting ready to build the Tabernacle, God gave him this warning: “Be sure that you make everything according to the pattern I have shown you here on the mountain.” But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it. But when God found fault with the people, he said: “The day is coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. They did not remain faithful to my covenant, so I turned my back on them, says the LORD. But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And they will not need to teach their neighbours, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already. And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” When God speaks of a “new” covenant, it means he has made the first one obsolete. It is now out of date and will soon disappear.Hebrews 8:1-13
We have now come to the another block of text which requires our attention. This one is important as the writer has told us; it contains the main point. The best way to find the main point is to divide the block of text into its sections to find the gold. You will have some formatting to do. I figured you will know what I mean when you start reading it. At least I left you with the punctuation marks and didn’t give you the text run together without word breaks and no punctuation.
I decided this was such a short chapter so it was a good one to give you as an exercise in dividing the text and finding the main point for yourselves. It’s a good block of text to practise rightly dividing the text. Notice too, there are some quotes. It would be helpful to format those as quotes and then you will have a good chance to practice dividing the text in order to find out what the main point of the author actually is.
For those of you who have long ago decided you can’t or won’t do this for yourself, because it too hard or takes too much time, let me encourage you to give it a go. Learn to become someone capable of dividing the text in such a way that helps you to understand it better. This passage needs your attention before you will understand it well. If you still hesitate to do it for yourself, wait for the next Gem when I will do it for you and prepare it in such a way that will help you to sort out ‘the wood from the trees’.
Give it a try; you can do it. I have given you this challenge before:-
- Gem 1921 – Rightly Dividing the Text Can Make a World of Difference
- Gem 1953 – Punctuation Helps Our Understanding
- Gem 1960 – Adding Section Titles
- Gem 2054 – Crossing Chapter Boundaries – Time to Divide and Label the Text
When you do the exercise for yourself it gives you a much better feel for what the writer is saying. When we realise the divisions of the text and the pericope titles are not sacrosanct it helps us to see how a block of text has been arranged by the author. The passage just requires a few little adjustments. Give it a go; follow your own intuition or gut feeling. Divide this short text for yourself.
Is your problem really your problem or is it your attitude towards the problem that’s your problem?Joyce Myer
I have learned over the years that there is often treasure buried in a Bible verse with which I conclude I am familiar and consider nothing else could be mined from it.Ian
Punctuation and text division is very important.Ian
To do good Bible study you need to follow the author’s thread or point they are making. Don’t stop too soon.Ian