A few primary words may be useful, before we consider the chapter in its details.
Although in our Bibles the title of this wonderful treatise always
appears as, "The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews," yet the author of it
was led by the inspiring Spirit to suppress both his own name and the
name of those to whom he wrote it. Almost every line of it however
bears witness that it was addressed to Hebrew believers, and there are
in it a number of small allusions which make it pretty certain that it
was written by Paul. If so, we have in it that epistle to Jewish
believers which Peter, in his second epistle, mentions as having been
written by "our beloved brother Paul" (2 Pet. 3: 15).
As we go through it we shall see that the occasion of it was that a
certain weariness had come over these saints, their hands were drooping
and their knees feeble in the Christian race, and these disquieting
symptoms raised fears lest this backsliding tendency might mean some of
them falling into open apostasy.
We shall also see that the main burden of it is the immeasurable
superiority of Christianity to Judaism, although the latter appealed to
sight and the former to faith only. Incidentally also it called upon
them to cut their last links with the worn out Jewish system, to which
they had such a tendency to cling, as the Acts of the Apostles shows
us. It must have been written only a few years before the imposing
ritual of Judaism ceased in the destruction of Jerusalem.
The importance of this epistle for the present hour cannot be
exaggerated. Multitudes of believers today, though Gentiles and hence
in no way connected with Judaism, are yet entangled in perverted forms
of Christianity, which consist very largely in forms and ceremonies and
ritual, which in their turn are largely an imitation of that Jewish
ritual, once ordained of God to fill up the time until Christ came. It
may be that most of our readers are, through God's mercy, free of these
systems today, yet most of us have had something to do with them, and
almost insensibly the influence of them clings to us.
If our faith is stirred up as we read it; if our spiritual eyes get
a fresh sight of the immeasurable glories of Christ, and of the reality
of all those spiritual verities which are established in Him, we shall
find ourselves thoroughly braced up to "run with patience the race that
is set before us."