Readings – Week of May 22

Covenantide Readings

SunOf Saving Faith
WCF 14, WSC 86, WLC 72-73
MonOT: Deuteronomy 25
NT: Hebrews 1
Psalm 126
TuesOT: Deuteronomy 26
NT: Hebrews 2
Psalm 127
WedOT: Deuteronomy 27
NT: Hebrews 3
Psalm 128
ThursOT: Deuteronomy 28:1-34
NT: Hebrews 4-5
Psalm 129
FriOT: Deuteronomy 28:35-68
NT: Hebrews 6
Psalm 130
SatOT: Deuteronomy 29
NT: Hebrews 7
Psalm 131

The Old Testament and Psalm readings this week continue through Deuteronomy and the Psalms of Ascents respectively, but the New Testament readings will begin with the letter to the Hebrews. We do not know much about the background of the letter in terms of who wrote it, who the recipients were and when it was written. Historically, the Christian church associated it with the Apostle Paul, since many of the themes within it are typical of Paul’s concerns and emphases, although stylistically it is notably different from the rest of Paul’s writings. Many modern scholars, following Martin Luther’s lead, claim that the Alexandrian Jew Apollos (mentioned in Acts 18:24-28) wrote it, but this is purely hypothetical as there are not extant writings from Apollos in the early church and no evidence to tie Apollos to the letter to the Hebrews. A stronger case can be made that the Evangelist Luke wrote it, given that he was a close associate of Paul’s and that the Greek of Hebrews is stylistically extremely polished, comparable to Luke’s writing in Acts and the Gospel under his own name.

Since the letter mentions the supremacy of Christ over the Levitical sacrificial system but does not talk about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, it probably was written in the late 60s AD. This would fit the context of the time. By the late 60s AD, it was becoming clear to the Romans that there was a difference between Christians and the Jews and that the Christians were not simply some sect of the Jews. The religious toleration that the Romans granted the Jews–which benefited Christians early on when the Romans could not tell the two apart–was eroding. Hebrews was written to encourage a people who were wrestling with the question, “Is Christ worth the sufferings we are facing?” The author’s answer is an emphatic “Yes!” and he expends much of the letter expounding on the supremacy of Christ over all things. Christians today may wrestle with the same question, given the darkening society we live in, but the answer is still the same: Christ is superior to all things!

Arch of the Gate of Mazeus and Mithridates, Ephesus

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