1Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realising it! 3Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. 4Give honour to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. 5Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” 6So we can say with confidence, “The LORD is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” 7Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9So do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which don’t help those who follow them. 10We have an altar from which the priests in the Tabernacle have no right to eat. 11Under the old system, the high priest brought the blood of animals into the Holy Place as a sacrifice for sin, and the bodies of the animals were burned outside the camp. 12So also Jesus suffered and died outside the city gates to make his people holy by means of his own blood. 13So let us go out to him, outside the camp, and bear the disgrace he bore. 14For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. 15Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name. 16And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. 17Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit. 18Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honourably in everything we do. 19And especially pray that I will be able to come back to you soon. 20Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— 21may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. 22I urge you, dear brothers and sisters, to pay attention to what I have written in this brief exhortation.
23I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you. 24Greet all your leaders and all the believers there. The believers from Italy send you their greetings. 25May God’s grace be with you all.Hebrews 13:1-25
You can see at a glance what I have done to you (or for you.) You decide if it’s a curse or a favour. We have arrived at the last chapter boundary of the letter to the Jewish Christians (the Hebrews). Many say the main point of the letter and the peak of the author’s argument is found in Chapter 12 which of course follows on closely from Chapter 11. Is it all downhill from here? Some think the letter closes with the final conclusions of 11 and 12 and coasts downward to a bland ending. Is that true? What do you think?
I have given you this final block of text joined together as it was in the early uncial texts of our New Testament. I have told you many times we need to have our wits about us as we move through Scripture. Most of us are happy to follow the section headings (pericope titles) and allow others to tell us what this letter is all about. We allow the publishers of the Bible versions to decide what each section is about and where it should be divided from what went before it and what comes after it. In so doing they are setting you up to see the Scripture in the same way they do. Determining for you which part goes with which and what the main point is. This is your last chance in the book of Hebrews to take charge for yourself and read it through a number of times in order to determine what you think.
- Pay attention to what the author has written to us in “this brief exhortation”.
- What does he mean by “this brief exhortation”?
- Does the brief exhortation refer to the closing chapter? After all it is exhortatory (urging someone to do something).
- Or is he pointing us to the bigger picture? What bigger picture would that be?
I have to admit I am considering bigger picture concepts at moment in terms of Deeper Bible while restructuring the course as an online programme. I am also on the verge of writing an article for Wycliffe on bigger picture things for a new coffee table book. So it is only natural that I am looking at the end of Hebrews in that way too. But then I would do that naturally anyway because that is how I have learned to approach the Word of God. Always expect surprises. Are there any hidden Gems in this closing passage? Does it indeed coast down to the end of the letter / book in a bland, formal kind of way, delivering us a mixture of Christian platitudes and some hard to understand statements as some have said?
Or is there more on offer than that? You be the judge! Take the time to ponder these questions for yourself before we analyse what the writer has set before us. I think you will agree there have been some surprises in Hebrews. Are there more in store as we run the race to the finish line? You know what to do if you have been following the Gems for any length of time. The ball is in your court once again. If this way of examining Scripture is new to you, send me an email ([email protected]) or comment on this website and ask whatever you want to know for clarification.
Being certain of Scripture’s authority is humility. Being certain that my interpretation is always right is arrogance.Rick Warren
Submission to Christ without submission to the Scriptures is submission to a self-made Christ, not submission to Christ.John Piper
Expect all of the Bible to make sense and to be connected. Not one verse of Scripture was put in there by mistake or without purpose.Dr Basil Brown
The Holy Scriptures are the highway signs; Christ is the way.Soren Kierkegaard
The Scriptures contain, not the spotless biographies of saints, but the soiled resumés of sinners!Rick Godwin
Good morning. I’ve just reread this chapter.
What’s happening with v13 and perhaps 12 and 14. Mainly 13.
I’ve never really understood it.
I like the close of the book. I know Paul didn’t write it but it does sound a lot like him. The end closes it off well.
I personally think this book is amazing and so well written. There is more to come, packed into this last chapter. Hang on to your hat.