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Hebrews, a Letter of Paul?

  • October 21, 2020
  • By BVNoort
Hebrews, a Letter of Paul?

The letter to the Hebrews is not accepted in Protestantism as a serious Pauline letter.

The Reformers about the Letter to the Hebrews
This is so drastic because the reformers Luther and Calvin had already rejected it’s Pauline origin. Luther had long taken the book as Pauline but later he also accepted the view that Hebrews 2:3–4 is not representative of the apostle Paul.

Here is said in the medieval translations that the words of Jesus were at first spoken to the hearers and they (the apostles) shared them later to ‘us’ who came to believe. But Paul, in several occasions in his writings, refers to the fact that he came to believe through the revelation of Jesus himself at the road to Damascus and not through the preaching of the apostles. How could he reckon himself among this ’us’ when he wrote this? Let’s look at the verses:

Hebrews 2:3–4
“3How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.” (RSV)

It is clear in this translation that Paul could not reckon himself among ‘us’.

The correct translation (cursive words) of this crown jewel is:
“3How shall we escape if we neglect such great salvation, which began to be spoken by the Lord was established by those who heard him in behalf of us, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his own will.”

The great signs and wonders of God were especially on the work of Jesus.

His Commandments
It is clear that this translation could be written very well by the apostle Paul. He certainly made use of the reports of Jesus (1 Timothy 6:3) arranged in gospel books shortly after Jesus’ departure. Jesus never declared to his disciples that they had to teach their memories about him, but teach his commandments: his declarations documented in writing. So there is absolutely no biblical obstacle for Paul as the author of the letter.

No Apostolic Introduction
Anyway, the mistranslation causing the belief that Hebrews cannot be Pauline has always been accepted by the reformers and the entire Protestantism until the present day. And, in fact, there seemed also to be some support for this view, as there is no apostolic introduction of Paul at the beginning of the letter.
Because of the importance of the letter for the subject of documentation (see the crown jewel upside), we will show in the upcoming blogs how much substantial evidence there is for Paul as the author. The following issues are to be expected:

Coming Blogs
The relation between the author and Timothy (Hebrews 13:23)
The origin of Timothy and the addressees of the letter
The specific relation between the letter to the Galatians and Hebrews
The new covenant in Hebrews and in the rest of the New Testament
The relation between the author and the addressees
The historical position of Hebrews in the eastern church, the mission field of Paul

By BVNoort, October 21, 2020
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