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.
Expository Outline of Hebrews
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).