Author: Ron Graham
This outline of the epistle to the Hebrews follows the Hebrew writer's thoughts in the exact order that he presents them.
PART A. The Hebrew Writer’s Introduction
1 A New Message from a New Messenger
Heb 1:1 to 2:5
- The authority of the Son through whom God now speaks (Heb 1:1-3).
- Argument from scripture showing the Son’s superiority to angels (Heb 1:1-14).
- Exhortation to heed and obey the Son’s message (Heb 2:1-3).
- Steps by which the Son’s message has been communicated to us (Heb 2:3-5).
2 A New Priesthood
Heb 2:5 to 3:6
- Explanation of why the Son had to become like us and suffer death - "that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest... to make atonement" (Heb 2:5-18).
- How the new High Priest compares with Moses (Heb 3:1-6).
3 A New Hope
Heb 3:7 to 4:13
- The curse of times past - "they shall not enter my rest" - upon the generation that died in the wilderness and did not enter Canaan (Heb 3:7-19).
- The new hope for today - "a promise remains of entering God’s rest" - for those who follow Christ into heaven (Heb 4:1-10).
- Exhortation to strive for that heavenly Sabbath rest (Heb 4:12-13).
PART B. Understanding Christ’s Priesthood
4 Profile of Our High Priest
Heb 4:14 to 5:10
We have a great High Priest who is...
- sympathetic(Heb 4:14-16).
- divinely appointed (Heb 5:1-6).
- obedient unto death (Heb 5:7-8).
- the author of salvation (Heb 5:9).
- of the order of Melchizedek (Heb 5:10).
5 Dull Minds Make the High Priesthood Hard to Explain
Heb 5:11 to 6:12
- A stern rebuke ~ you are not growing (Heb 5:11 to 6:3).
- A solemn warning ~ you could fall away (Heb 6:4-8).
- Loving encouragement ~ I am confident you will improve (Heb 6:9-12).
6 The Nature of Christ’s Priesthood
Heb 6:13 to 8:6
- Based on an oath made by God (Heb 6:13-20).
- Like the priesthood of Melchizedek [key argument in the letter] (Heb 6:20 to 7:17).
- Summary of the above two points, with the conclusion that a new covenant is in force (Heb 7:18-22).
- A permanent priesthood ~ this High Priest does not die (Heb 7:23-25).
- A perfect priesthood ~ this High Priest does not sin, and therefore could offer himself as a sacrifice (Heb 7:26-28).
- A heavenly priesthood ~ Christ is a priest in heaven, not on earth (Heb 8:1-6).
7 New Priest, New Covenant
Heb 8:7 to 9:11
Arguments in support of the conclusion that a new covenant is in force...
- There were faults in the old (Heb 8:7-13).
- The old was a symbolic shadow of the new (Heb 9:1-11).
- A comparison of the blood offered (see below) (Heb 9:12 to 10:18).
8 Christ Offered His Own Blood
Heb 9:12 to 10:18
- Christ offered his own blood, not the blood of animals (Heb 9:12-15).
- Animal blood was merely a copy or symbol of Christ’s blood (Heb 9:16-24).
- Animal blood had to be offered repeatedly, but Christ’s only once (Heb 9:25 to 10:4).
- Argument from Psalm 40:6-8 supporting the point above (Heb 10:5-18).
PART C. Believing Christ’s Message
9 Unswerving Faith
- What we should do after conversion (Heb 10:19-25).
- What will happen to us if we don't (Heb 10:26-31).
- The need for longtime Christians to heed this warning (Heb 10:32-39).
10 A Cloud of Witnesses
Heb 11:1 to 12:1
- The nature of the faith we live by (Heb 11:1-3).
- Old Testament examples of faithfulness (Heb 11:4-38).
- Exhortation to follow their example (Heb 11:39 to 12:1).
11 Endurance Under Discipline
- Running the race (Heb 12:1).
- Looking unto Jesus (Heb 12:2-4).
- Disciplined as sons (Heb 12:5-11).
- Be strong (Heb 12:12-13).
12 Faith in Action
Heb 12:14 to 13:25
- Exhortation to resist temptation (Heb 12:14-17).
- Comparing our opportunity to live faithfully with the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness (Heb 12:18-28).
- Practise love, hospitality, sympathy, sexual purity, contentment, confidence in Christ, submission to leadership, rejection of false teachings (Heb 13:1-9).
- Summing up and closing greetings (Heb 13:10-25).