Sermons & Sunday Schools

Introduction to the Book of Hebrews

Full Transcript:

I’m going to be introducing this book this morning. There are some important things that I need to bring up before you even dive into this great book of the Bible, probably a book that people do not know too much about. But I believe that we are about to embark on a journey that will bring us to a place in which we all will have the opportunity to fall in love with our Lord Jesus Christ and come to worship Him more consistently and more deeply, which is what we all need.

I pray that through this study, you who really do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, will be lead to repentance and faith and you will follow Him for the rest of your days. To those who do know Him, that you would discover afresh the supremacy of Christ in all things, because that is what this book is about.

Do you ever wonder why the Bible really never goes out of its way to give us the five steps of having a great family, or the five steps of having a great marriage, or the five steps of having victory over this or that addiction? If you love christ, you will have a good family, you will overcome your sin and addiction, and you will know the power of Christ in your life to live in this world the way you and I ought to live and have the joy in our hearts maintained by God’s spirit. There are no rules in the Christian life! If we would have one rule, it would be to love Christ and obey Him. And you will do well if you do this.

Hebrews remains one of the most timely and relevant books of the Bible. Some 300 years ago John Owen, an English puritan, appropriately marked without a doubt that the epistle next to importance to Romans is Hebrews.

Now this book builds a compelling case for the superiority of Christianity, and for the superiority of the Christ of Christianity. Hebrews urges those who have experienced God’s ultimate work of grace in their heart by Christ Jesus, to hold fast to the final word of revelation in His Son that God has given. Look at Hebrews 1:1-2:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Wow what a dynamic opening to a book! He is quickly establishing for us that the Father spoke in many ways in the past but His ultimate, His full, His final revelation is found in the person of Jesus Christ. We are going to discover who He is in the book of Hebrews.

If you turn to Hebrews 13:22, it says:

But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.

That phrase, “word of exhortation,” suggest to us that this book takes on more than the sense of a letter. But actually this book was more like a sermon and follows the pattern of the Hebrew homily, which is a Hebrew sermon. In fact, it also has the earmarks of being a letter if you look at the rest of the passage. Take notice of Hebrews 13:23-25:

Take notice that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom, if he comes soon, I will see you. 24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

25 Grace be with you all.

That is the ending of a letter. It informs us that the author, whoever he may be, has cast the homiletical word of exhortation into letter form and put it in print to be circulated to the churches. It was what needed to be written and communicated to his friends because of some urgent need within the church. The common practice for all who want to take on a new book of study, whatever book of the Bible it may be, it has to start with asking some basic questions.

The only problem is that when we come to the book of Hebrews, it is hard to answer those questions. We can only take guesses at them, which is what we will do this morning. We are going to have a little bit of fun this morning in asking these questions and looking at Hebrews. This is giving you a sense of how much of a struggle this book has had in history.

Before we do that, let us bow for a quick word of prayer. Lord, we humble ourselves before You this morning as we come to a book of this caliber and nature. Help us, Lord, each week to be growing in what it is presenting about You. Help us to be convinced without a shadow of a doubt before we are done that You are God’s final revelation for all mankind.

And I pray, Lord, that we would be strengthened in our faith, and that we would have the confidence to live by faith as those in Hebrews 11 like we have never lived before. That we would be able to hold up the shield of faith and ward off all the fiery missiles of Satan and stand strong with the shields of Christ and the armor of Christ. Enable us to do that Lord, so we can live as lights in this world and glorify our Father who is in Heaven. And I pray this in Your Name, Amen.

So some of the common questions that one would have when they come to a book is, who wrote it? When was it written? Why was it written? In other words, what is the historical occasion that provoked this writing? To whom was it written? Who are the recipients of this book?

Here is a great mystery because the identity of its author, the time of its writing, the people and place to which it was sent are all locked up by the Holy Spirit. We do not know.

In past history when the Word of God was coming together and all the books of the Bible were being written, Hebrews was surrounded by great controversy because these questions were not able to be answered.

In fact, when they came to whether Hebrews should be part of the canon of Scripture, now I know that the word canon can be a new word for you so let me just explain it. It is a word that notes a reed, or the sense that the reed that was used like a measuring stick, like a tape measure, was used for measuring purposes. So this word, canon, that came to mean measuring rod or a standard of measuring something.

The books of the canon then are those writings that have been measured by a certain standard to determine whether they are indeed God’s Holy Word. And if they pass the test, they enter the canon. And if they do not, they do not.

But fortunately in saying that, it is not a man who is credited with God’s Word, but God Himself! God Himself has credited His Word. But nonetheless, man has set up a standard to determine what writings belong in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The 66 books that compile our Bible are said to be canonical, or part of the canon that God has given to us, protect for us and now we have it in our hands as the final revelation of God.

Some of the criteria that men would use in determining whether a book would be part of the canon included the source of the writing. For example, does it have a sense of divine source?

The second question would be, what is the purpose of the writing? The third question would be, is it clear that the work was given by immediate inspiration of God. In other words, was it written by an apostle? And if it was not written by an apostle, then what kind of apostolic authority was connected to that book?

Those are some things that they asked when determining whether a book was part of the canon of Scripture. Now, you can see by just some of these things there were some problems in history as to when this book was actually accepted by some churches and groups.

As a matter of fact, because no one knew who wrote the book, or the historical occasion for its writing, it was not until the 4th century that it was finally determined to be apostolic and canonical. In the year AD 367, the bishop of Alexandria Athanasius put the eastern church’s final stamp of approval upon the 27 books and now that is known of course today as the New Testament. It was also confirmed by who they call the Synod of Carthage in AD 397. And of course the last church that accepted the authenticity of Hebrews was the church at Rome. Luther had problems with this book at the beginning, but at the end of his life he gave all that up and said that this is definitely the work of God.

But the fact is that this is divinely inspired and could hardly be called into question in view of its agreement with all the rest of Scripture. And also, its revelation of Jesus Christ’s deity, His grace, His sacrificial death, like in Hebrews 9. His mediatorial work is found right here in the book of Hebrews.

You will see that the contents of this book will surely be proved by itself. It is indeed the Word of God and no theologian will deny that fact in our present age and through most of history after this time. We cannot forget though, that the author of Scripture is the Holy Spirit.

Those who have put pen to parchment and set down the message were merely writers. We must keep in mind that what the writers set down was by the Holy Spirit, just like 2 Peter 1:21 so clearly communicates:

For no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

In any study of a book like this, you are going to find a mass amount of information on of all the background context, before you even get to the text. I just wanted to give it to you in a nutshell so that you can get the sense that there is no longer a problem.

Let us look for a while and ask some questions, like who wrote the book of Hebrews? I will tell you what some have said in the past, and then maybe you can make your own conclusion about what I have to say. I am not going to go through the whole list of people that are candidates, but I want to highlight some of the higher range possibilities.

In the end, we cannot make a conclusion on any of them. But here is the first one, and in fact it was the reason why some of the major theologians accepted the book of Hebrews into the canon, because they finally determined that the apostle Paul wrote it.

That was the conviction of the early church, and that was the main reason why it was accepted as Holy Scripture. Origen, once bishop of Alexandria, determined that the apostle Paul wrote Hebrews and because of his influence, many followed suit. Clement of Alexandria also said that Paul wrote Hebrews, as well as that he wrote it in the Hebrew language.

Then, the Hebrew version was translated by Luke the Physician, who wrote the Gospel of Luke and Acts, into Greek. Luke, we know, has a very highly polished Greek. It is very difficult for Greek students to interpret Greek; Acts and Luke contain the hardest Greek in the Bible. Thus, he was a very smart man, and had very eloquent Greek. Therefore this became the conclusion of the early church.

Jerome followed that conclusion, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and many others followed suit. But by the time of the Reformation, when Luther came on the scene, and even John Hus before that, when the Renaissance schools began to have freedom to do more study and scholarly work, they began to look more closely at the literary structures of Biblical books.

They, including a man such as Erasmus, found out in studying the book of Hebrews that the literary differences were so opposite to the way Paul wrote, and to the way Paul laid things out that they concluded in the end that Paul did not write the book of Hebrews. In fact, modern day scholar F. F. Bruce evaluates the authorship of Hebrews as follows. He says, and I quote, “we may say with certainty that the thought of the epistle is not Paul’s, the language is not Paul’s, the technique of the Old Testament quotation is not Paul’s.”

But at the same time, not many would deny that when you read through the book of Hebrews there is a Pauline influence there. There is a Pauline theology behind it. Paul had something to do with it, but not directly.

The second candidate is of course Luke, because of his rich Greek found in the book of Hebrews. Luke becomes a candidate because of his Greek and because of his writing of the Gospel of Luke and Acts. It has that kind of a quality to it and so he becomes a strong candidate for it. But it had a such a strong Jewish flavor to it, that it becomes very difficult to place Luke as the writer of Hebrews.

Some have also considered Barnabas, from the book of Acts. Do you remember that he was the kind of a person who was a close companion with Paul? Barnabas was also called the “son of encouragement.”

Early Christian tradition suggested that Barnabas may have written Hebrews. According to Tertullian in AD 220, many early authorities believe that Barnabas was responsible for the letter because he was educated, he had a pastoral mannerism about him, he gave many Jewish exhortations, consultations, admonition, and calls to repentance. Furthermore, Barnabas was a Levite and would have been familiar with the Jewish sacrificial system which is so prominent in the letter. So he becomes a valid candidate for the writing of the book.

But again we must say it is inconclusive, we do not know. Some have also suggested Clement of Rome, or even that it was done by a husband and wife team, Priscilla and Aquila. Some have said that it is a second generation Christian who wrote the book of Hebrews who had a mastery of the classical Greek, who knew the Bible in its Septuagint form, that is the Greek translation of the Old Testament. They were also conversant very much in Alexandrian philosophy and they were an apologist to the Christian faith. So it could have been a second generation Jewish Christian who wrote this book.

The last one I want to suggest to you is Apollos. The Bible does not say much about Apollos, but what it does say is very interesting. I want you to take your Bibles and turn to Acts 18. Remember not long ago, that I was in the book of Acts. In Acts 18 that gives us several things about Apollos because he was a man of such great ability.

It was Martin Luther actually, that suggested first that Apollos is a great candidate to be included in the list of people who might have written Hebrews. In Acts 18:24, it says:

Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures.

This shows that he was raised outside of Israel, yet grew up and was nurtured in the Jewish faith and culture. It also says he was Alexandrian by birth, and Alexandria was located in Egypt near the mouth of the Nile and had a large Jewish population.

In fact, they had a great university and library there and it was the main seat of Jewish, Hellenistic learning. Remember from our study of the New Testament survey that Hellenism is when a culture is influenced by the Greek culture and the Greek language. Here are Jews who have been influenced by the Greek culture and the Greek language, meaning that they would know, Hebrews being written in Greek, the Greek.

He also learned the Old Testament under Philo, and we know that in Alexandria the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew into Koine Greek called the Septuagint. If you are ever reading through a book and it has LXX, that means seventy, and it refers to the marking for the Septuagint.

Now look at verse 24, it says that Apollos is an eloquent man. This term eloquent is actually a word that means “learned.” It appears only here in the New Testament, and it could mean “a man of words” literally, or “a man of ideas.” Nonetheless it means that he was a studied well-educated person. And we know that anybody who wrote Hebrews had to be well-educated in this background.

Apollos was trained in the finest institutions of learning in his time. What is most important about him is that even though he had a fine education, it looked like it was all subservient to the education he received in the Hebrew Bible. The next two verses indicate this, look at the last part of verse 24 and verse 25:

And he was mighty in the Scriptures. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord.

Remember in 1 Corinthians 1:12 where Paul starts out the following argument:

Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.”

How did Apollos get in this list? Maybe because he was this kind of man; he was mighty in the Scriptures. When we look at Acts 18:27 it says:

And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace.

He assisted the believers in their spiritual growth through his powerful preaching. All that faith is a gift of grace and in verse 28, we see:

For he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Here’s Apollos, an overwhelming debtor who is able to crush his opponents by disproving their points with Scripture. Brethren, I cannot say but you are going to have to decide who wrote Hebrews. We have to leave it there, because I do not know.

I know what the Holy Spirit did, and that He wanted this book in the canon, but I do not know who. I do have a favorite, and you may get a sense of who it is but nonetheless I do not know.

But that is alright, let us just say this that as to the identity of the author, we can affirm no more than Origen in the 3rd century. He said this, “but as to who actually wrote the letter, God only knows.” I am alright with that, and you need to be as well.

Here is a second question that is important to the book of Hebrews. To whom was the book written? Again, we run into a real problem even though we do know that it was written to Hebrews. But we do not know which group. It was not a particular church, but it could be Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, or Jewish Christians from the diaspora in the Greek speaking communities.

Or it could be written to Christians with the instruction that they need to oppose Alexandrian Judaism which was trying to push its way back into the church, and push these Jewish Christians back into the old system. We see these trends in the book of Hebrews, but we cannot be conclusive on any one of them.

They could be a Jewish colony in Rome, just as many Jews in Rome received heavy persecution, especially under Nero. This becomes a favorite for Scholars, that the book was written to a Jewish colony in Rome.

They give several reasons, which include that the letter was first known in Rome no later than AD 96. A second reason comes from Romans 11:13-18 which suggests that the church at Rome consisted of a Jewish Christian minority. A third reason would be a reference to persecution and suffering; look at Hebrews 10:32-33:

But remember the former days, when, after being enlightened, you endured a great conflict of sufferings, 33 partly by being made a public spectacle through reproaches and tribulations, and partly by becoming sharers with those who were so treated.

Somewhere down the line, these Christians being written to were persecuted. It could have been in Palestine too, which is a second favorite for some believing that the tradition was that there were Hebrews, Jewish Christians, living in Palestine and being under persecution and Judaism pounding against the church for them to go back to the old way.

Or to those that were on the edge of becoming believers, were afraid to go the next step and believe in Christ because of this persecution and opposition. This provides a real tension in the book of Hebrews and it becomes a very important one for you and I because this helps us to understand that these believers, whoever they were and whether they were in Palestine or Rome, were definitely under attention. They were brought to the place where they either believed in Jesus and then went back in denial of the faith, or they were not coming to believe in Jesus at all out of fear, and they would therefore lose their lives.

We are going to see this in Hebrews just like in chapter 6 and 10, which are very important chapters that give us the indication that something serious was going on in the book.

Next week I will be getting into the first couple of verses of chapter one, and will start to unpack the things that the book says about Jesus Christ.

Let me ask one last question though, before I close this morning. Why was the book of Hebrews written? What was the purpose?

I have mentioned some of it, and there are three good suggestions as the purpose of the writing of Hebrews. The first one would be Roman persecution. Remember, this is a word of exhortation, and it is the final revelation that God is going to give to the Christian community.

We do know that there was some kind of crisis that threatened the purity of the early church, but we do not know specifically what it was. The first one is a good indicator, which is Roman persecution. Remember Rome was also an influence in Palestine, so it could have been Rome or Palestine or both.

Martyrdom and the treat of martyrdom hit a group of Christians either in Rome or Palestine. Instead of dying for their faith however, they were denouncing their faith in the early church. But we really do not know what was connected to that, even though it would be a common human reaction.

If I pray someday that if I am called upon to denounce my faith, I would not by God’s grace. But what if you have seen some of your Christian brothers and sisters martyred right in front of your eyes simply for being believers? That would wear on you, and that is a good possibility of what was happening here.

In fact, R. C. Sproul says here that some of these people are called “lapsies,” which were people that denied their faith under persecution and afterward wandered back into the church. The big ordeal with this was whether or not to let them back in.

That is a complicated situation. I do not know if that would be me, but I pray that I would die for the faith if given the chance. I know where I am going, I know where I am heading, I know what Christ has done for me. Therefore, I would just bow my head and let them do what they have to do. And if God intervenes and I do not die, that would be God’s will! He would have more work for me to do. But if not, I am will be in His presence. The persecutors do not know that, they think they are winning not in the case of believers who have followed Christ.

The writer in the book of Hebrews commends his readers of the need to be patient when enduring persecution and suffering. He also reminded them that they were the heir of salvation and therefore could trust Jesus Christ. Look at Hebrews 12:12:

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble.

And in Hebrews 12:28 it says:

Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.

The writer is giving them hope here, telling them that they have a kingdom that cannot be shaken or overcome, and for them not to give in. And in Hebrews 12 it continues to let the reader know that we have not endured as much as Christ has endured. What did our Lord endure? He endured suffering unto death!

Why would we, as His followers, at any context in human history expect less than that someday? It may come to that quickly and things may change. I always keep this in mind. There is a great possibility that things may change on a dime. The atmosphere of our country could move rapidly in a direction that we never knew before. It happened to nations before us and it could happen to us.

The book of Hebrews becomes violence strengthening our faith to let us know where we stand with Christ. Where are we going to go when we die and are we sure of these things? This becomes vitally important.

The author of Hebrews proclaims to his readers the fearful judgment that awaits those who repudiate Jesus Christ. Look at Hebrews 12:29 where he says:

For our God is a consuming fire.

Back in Hebrews 10:26-31 the author reminds the audience of the tragic consequences of renouncing the Son. It says:

For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

This is prodding those people not to repudiate Christ in any circumstance and not to be threatened by any group that says, “if you leave this Jewish faith and come over fully to trust in Christ you will be put to death.” He is challenging them to trust in Christ and if it means death, then so be it.

It does take hard and strong language for us to be convinced of that because if people do not come to Christ, and this is the key for everyone, they will not escape God’s judgment. That is where he starts out.

Look back in Hebrews 2:3 at the question he asks:

How will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard.

He is saying here, “Listen what makes you think that we can escape the judgment of God if we are indifferent to this great salvation, or if we neglect or lay it aside as if it is nothing?” The answer to this question is, you will not escape. There is no escape without Christ.

There are not many different ways, but only one way through Jesus Christ. He is the way of escape and the One in which we are set free.

You see that this Roman persecution was a real threat to the people that the writer of Hebrews writes to and wants to inform.

A second thing that can be interjected here as far as why the book of Hebrews was written, was the attack of the Judaizers which I already mentioned. The Judaizers wanted the Hebrew Christians to have all the trappings of the old system in their new faith, so the author of Hebrews tells them about strange new teachings of certain Judaizers who sought to draw them back to their former religion.

Look at Hebrews 13:9:

Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were so occupied were not benefited.

This was also going on in Colossians, with the food issue. This was written to these wavering believers so they would not neglect what they ought to pay attention to. And that is why there is the admonition in Hebrews 10:25:

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

They were giving up even assembling together. In Romans 13, they lost confidence in their spiritual leaders because they thought their leaders were moving them and teaching them wrong when they were instead teaching them rightly.

So here is the main issue that the writer of Hebrews is trying to get at to strengthen the church and to rescue these Hebrew Christians from a demise that could be eternal.

I believe that is why it is more packaged like a sermon and then put in a letter as an exhortation for people to read. You can feel the heart of the preacher coming through to the people and at the same time encouraging them, pointing them to their hope in Jesus Christ.

So we see that the author under the attack of the Judaizers, affirms the heavenly, eternal character of salvation secured by Christ. And he lets them know that the legal sacrificial system was powerless to affect the remission of sins. And Christ of course is the eternal high priest, that is why it says in Hebrews 7:25:

Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

In other words, come to the God who has provided everything for you and draw near to Him because He is able to save you to the uttermost eternally. Do not hesitate or step back, but come all the way over and believe in Christ. Let go of your fear and trust in the One who always lives to make intercession for the saints; in God Himself who is the mediator and the intercessor for all those who believe in Him.

There is one last thing, which can come out in the first chapter of Hebrews. Some say it is the false teaching of a group called the Essenes. We know of two groups in Scripture, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. But there was another group that is not necessarily mentioned in Scripture but who are mentioned by Josephus and Philo as being a very antagonistic group to the true faith of believers.

A lot of the information about this was found when they found the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. They suspected some of these things by other extra biblical writings, but now they confirmed it a bit more, saying that this could be part of the problem on what the writer of Hebrews was addressing.

This group of Essenes had several characteristics to them. The first one of which was that they were ascetic. They separated themselves from everyone else and they were very concerned about future events that became a major part of their theology. But the main thing was that they taught that God would send two messiahs. One would be priestly and one would be kingly, and above those two messiahs would be the archangel Michael who would rule over them.

You might think that this is odd, but look at Hebrews 1:4-5:

Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

5 For to which of the angels did He ever say,



And again,



Look also at Hebrews 1:13-14:

But to which of the angels has He ever said,




14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?

There was definitely a problem here, with people thinking there was some kind of angelic hierarchy of worship. Therefore, the writer is refuting this too.

Several of these things can be all in one lump and can be possible in this book, with the tension we see in this book. But I must say that this kind of teaching would definitely overturn the portrait of Jesus Christ that is presented in the New Testament.

The book of Hebrews is written to expose and turn upside down those teachings that would steer away from Christ being completely supreme in all things, and supreme over angels, kings, priests, and prophets.

The author sought to inform his despondent, vacillating readers that Christ, the object of God’s final revelation, is vastly superior to the greatest of Judaism’s patriarchs, to Judaism’s religious system, and to all spiritual angelic beings that could ever be presented. So we may not know the answers to all these basic questions, but we can be sure of this one thing and I know you will be convinced of it as we go through the book. That the main theme, focus, and passion of this Biblically authoritative book without any qualms is the supremacy of Jesus Christ. That is the theme of this book. And you will find it in every single chapter right to the end.

If you do not come to Christ after studying a book like Hebrews, you will never come. If your faith is not strengthened by studying a book like Hebrews, your faith will never be strengthened. If you do not come finally to a place that if you had to die for Christ, after studying a book like Hebrews, that will never happen.

Maybe you say, “well I never want that to happen.” No one wants that to happen, but there is always a possibility. I think we all have to be ready for that.

I am not just talking about dying for your faith, I am talking about going on your job and living for your faith, going into school classrooms as a teenager and living for Christ. Addressing your sins as you ought to and living for Christ right now in your life. Being the husband you ought to be, being the wife you ought to be, and being obedient children are all things that prod us when we study a book like this.

To live by faith, to be able to see further than anyone else, to be able to endure longer than anyone else, to be able to run the marathon race because we are believers and because we know things that other people do not know. You know what a privilege it is for you to be able to get into a book like this, what the author is going to bring to us, and what it is to actually know these things.

I hope you see it like that because I know that if you do and you give yourself to the study of this book, you will get all the benefits that God has for you. Live every day as if Christ is supreme in your life and in all things. You will live differently, in an eternal perspective. Eternity is going to be stamped on your eyeballs.

And all God’s people said, “let’s pray.”

Lord, thank You this morning for having this book in the canon of Scripture. Thank you Holy Spirit for preserving it and protecting it, and Lord as we get into it, as we see what it says about You, use it to break us down. Use it, Lord, to convict us of sin. Use it, Lord, to bring those who do not know You to conversion. Use it in the lives of those who do know You, to grow deeper in their faith and their love for You. And Lord, use it ultimately to exalt Your great Name to the place it ought to be, and I pray Lord as we do that, we would worship You with a depth and an understanding that only the Spirit of God could give. And I pray this or us, use it Lord as You see fit. And I ask this all in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord, my Savior, Amen.