STUDY Hebrews 13:1-14
(click here for notes)
Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"
Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat.
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. (NIV)
Love, Entertain, and Remember
The author of Hebrews ends his letter with a summary of exhortations. His readers were Christ-followers who had been bound in the legalism of Judaism, but they had been released by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Their greatest temptations were not pagan traditions but self-righteousness and Old Covenant rituals. The writer concludes his explanation of Christ's superiority by giving practical reminders of how to live as Christ-followers.
1. Who are those we are to love as brothers? (see 1 Peter 2:17; 1 Timothy 6:2; Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22)
2.Why is it important to entertain strangers? (see Job 31:32; Matthew 25:35; Romans 12:13; Genesis 18:1-33; Judges 6; Judges 13; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:9-10; Titus 1:7-8; Romans 12:13; 1 Peter 4:8-9; 3 John :5-8)
3. How does one "remember" those in prison and those being mistreated as though the suffering were happening to himself, and why should one remember them this way? (see Hebrews 10:32-34; 1 Corinthians 12:26; Matthew 25:36, 40; Colossians 4:18)
Honor Marriage and Be Content
4. What are the implications of honoring marriage and keeping it pure? (see Malachi 2:15; 1 Corinthians 7:36-38; 1 Timothy 4:2-3)
5. Why will God judge the adulterers and the sexually immoral? (see Deuteronomy 22:22; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 13-20; Revelation 22:14-15)
6. Why does the author caution the Hebrews to keep themselves free from the love of money? (see 1 Timothy 3:3; Luke 12:15,21; Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19)
7. How can one "be content" when "what you have" is inadequate? (see Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:8)
8. If contentment is not about simply having enough money, how does one achieve it? (see v.5; Deut. 31:6b; Psalm 37:4; John 14:1-3; Romans 15:13; Philippians 1:21; 3:1; 4:4-7; 13, 19; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
9. How is Jesus Christ's changelessness (v.8) related to remembering and imitating the leaders who "spoke the word of God" to the Hebrews? (v.7)? (see v.17, 24; Hebrews 6:12; 1 Corinthians 4:15-16; Ephesians 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16; 3 John 11)
10. What kinds of strange teachings might carry the Hebrews away? (see Ephesians 4:14; Galatians 1:6-9; 5:1-6; Colossians 2:7, 13-23; 1 Corinthians 3:18-23)
11. What is the altar we have from which the Aaronic priests who minister in the temple may not eat? (see Acts 2:23; Romans 3:25; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 8:3-6; 9:7, 11-12; 10:11-12; 19-20)
12. The Aaronic high priests were not to eat of the Day of Atonement sacrifices (see Leviticus 17). How do we partake of the altar that we have, and how do we celebrate atonement now? (John 6:48-58; Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
13. The writer of Hebrews is writing to Jewish Christians who were intimately acquainted with Jewish traditions and ceremonies. What was the city outside of which Jesus suffered? (see Matthew 21:10)
14. When the writer says, "Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore," to what is that a call? (see Luke 9:23-26; Hebrews 11:24-26)
15. The Jewish recipients of this letter would have recognized the words "we do not have an enduring city" as a reference to Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life, pride, and culture. What do Christ-followers understand "the city that is to come" to be? (Revelations 21:2-4)
16. In the context of this letter to Hebrew Christians in which the writer explains in detail how Jesus is superior to every detail of their Jewish old covenant heritage, to what is he calling them when he urges them to leave the city and bear the disgrace of Christ, keeping their eyes focussed on a city to come?
17. Who is God nudging you to "remember" and support?
18. In what area(s) of your life are you not content?
19. In what ways are you tempted to revert to "right doing" and special knowledge instead of being "strengthened by grace"?
20. What is God calling you unequivocally to give up to him, following him "outside the camp" in willingness to bear his disgrace?
21. What attachment continues to cause you confusion and uncertainty?
22. What is God bringing to your attention, making it clear to you that he wants to have sovereignty over it?
23. Ask God to show you the things in your heart that he wants you to
see and to change the things he wants to change. Praise him for the circumstances
that you face, and ask him to strengthen, comfort, and renew you with the
presence and power of His Spirit. Let the grace and righteousness of Jesus
fill you and redeem your shame and pain.
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Studio, Redlands, CA USA. All rights reserved. Revised December 8, 2001.