STUDY Hebrews 8:7-13 (click here for notes)

For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:

"The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord.

"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear. (NIV)


In With the New

In this chapter the author of Hebrews is comparing the Levitical high priests with the High Priest of the New Covenant. The comparisons result in declaring that the New Covenant is superior to the old one, and to demonstrate this superiority, he quotes the prophecy of the New Covenant from Jeremiah 31:31-34.

1. "For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another." (v. 7) What was wrong with the Old Covenant? (see Hebrews 7:11,18-19; 10:1; Romans 8:1-3)


2. The word translated "words" in Ex. 20:1 is the technical term for "(covenant) stipulations" (NIV Study Bible text notes). What was the basic code of Israel's covenant with God? (Exodus 20:1-17)


2. God spoke through Jeremiah, an Old Covenant prophet, and foretold the establishment of the New Covenant "founded on better promises." What is the basis for and the heart of this covenant? (see verse 6; 9:15; Luke 22:20; Romans 11:26b-27; 2 Corinthians 3:6)


Characteristics of the New Covenant

The New Covenant would be different from the old in administration and in effect.

1. What is the difference in the administration of the law between the New Covenant and the Old? (see Exodus 24:12; 31:18; 32:15-16; Hebrews 8:10b; 10:16; Ezekiel 36:26; 2 Corinthians 3:3, 7)


2. What difference does the New Covenant make regarding pleasing God and obedience that the Old does not make? (see Ezekiel 11:20a; Romans 8:2-4; 7:25; Hebrews 7:18; Hebrews 10:1-4, 10; Gal. 3:21; 5:16)


3. How are people's relationships with God different under the New Covenant than under the old? (see v. 10b; Ezekiel 11:20 b; Hebrews 7:19; 9:19-22; 10:22; James 4:8a)


More New Covenant Realities

1. "No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest." (v. 11) How is this reality different from the Old Covenant, and what makes the difference? (see Isaiah 54:13; Micah 4:1, 2; John 6:45; 1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Thes. 4:9; Hebrews 10:16; 1 John 2:27)


2. How does God relate differently to our sins in the New Covenant than in the Old? (see Hebrews 10:17; Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 38:17; Micah 7:19; 2 Cor. 5:18-19)


3. How is our relationship to sin different in the New Covenant than in the Old? (see Romans 2:12; 6:2; 11-14; Romans 8:9-11)


New Makes Old Obsolete

1. How did the New Covenant get its name? (see Luke 22:20)


2. What makes the Old Covenant obsolete? (see 2 Cor. 5:17; Rev. 21:4,5; John 1:16-17; 2 Cor. 3:4-6, 15-18)



1. In what ways has your understanding of the Old and New Covenants changed over the past few months or years?


2. What aspect(s) of the New Covenant has (have) made the biggest impact on you?


3. What questions or uncertainties do you still have about the application or practice of the Covenants?


4. What realities of the New Covenant do you want to experience more fully?



1. How has your relationship with Jesus changed since you understood the New Covenant?


2. How is your understanding of or experience with sin different since you are in the New Covenant?


3. What is in your life which you have not opened to the permanent cleansing of the New Covenant?


4. What in your life God been bringing to your mind, nudging you to face it and to bring it before him honestly so he can make you whole and heal your heart?


5. Ask God to reveal what he wants to do in your life, and ask him to give you his wisdom and courage to accept what he shows you and to allow him to lead you to the cleansing he desires for you.


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