An outline

Bible books contents
background       chapter outline      key words/phrases       five warnings  

There has been much argument  and debate over the years as to the (human) authorship of this epistle; although tradition ascribes it to the apostle Paul such discussion is irrelevant, because the opening of the book tells us the real author and message.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds;

God is  the author  and He has Spoken to us in Jesus

1. Background

This letter was written  to encourage the Jewish Christians, who at the time of writing were undergoing persecution, and as a result  were in danger of going back to their old Jewish ways.  This letter  was written to warn, encourage and show, as its central message, the superiority of the  New Covenant; this is done, not by slighting the old but rather, by showing that the new is the FULFILMENT  of the old.

2. Chapter Outline

Although there are many ways to outline this book, it is so rich in its teaching,  the main  theme has to be the superiority of Jesus to everyone and everything else. The following outline reflects this.


The Prophets
See I  Pet.1:10-12.  All the prophets spoke of the coming of Christ.
See also Lk.24:25-27;44
The Angels
A more excellent name than they:
That name is JESUS ( Heb. Joshua)
cmp. Josh.5:13-15  & Heb. 2:9-10;
and  Zech. 3 & Heb.2:17
1:5; 14
A Son and not a servant
1:6 Worshipped, unlike the angels
The Father calls him God and Lord
Jesus did not take on the nature of angels

Moses a faithful servant, Jesus  the Son in His house
Jesus gives us the true  sabbath rest, we are to cease from our own works  as God did His on the seventh day of creation week
5 - 8
Taken from among men

To offer sacrifices
To have compassion
No one takes this honour to himself
Jesus after the order of Melchisedec ie. a  new order of priesthood.

The Tabernacle/Temple
The Holy Ghost signifying , we see that the tabernacle was a symbol of something God  wanted us to note. It was a figure v8 & 24
Jesus entered the true Tabernacle with His own blood
The earthly tabernacle was patterned on the true heavenly things,  see Ex.25:8-9 & Heb.8:4-5
9:24 -27
Jesus only needed to offer  a sacrifice ONCE  for sin. The greek means  ONCE FOR ALL

The animal sacrifices
The law was a shadow (=image/outline) of what was to come.
Animals could never take away sin
Jesus came to take away the first and establish the second
We are sanctified by the sacrifice of Jesus
We can enter the holiest bodly by His death

The riches of this world
This chapter on Faith  has as  its theme: those who  were  looking for a city, not of this world, a heavenly country.
The heros of faith
In the greek:  looking unto reads  looking off, unto ; meaning : we need to get our eyes off the heros and get them  onto  JESUS
Any other shepherd
Same greek word as great high priest 10:21( literal translation)            In scripture we read of Jesus as: our shepherd Ps23:1  the good shepherd Jn.10:11 and here the great shepherd,  and also the chief shepherd  I Pet 5:4

3. Key words/ phrases

| betterLet us | Perfect | once |


1.  better

Heb. 1:4 
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Heb. 6:9  
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
Heb. 7:7     
And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.
Heb. 7:19  
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Heb. 7:22 7:22 
By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
Heb. 8:6  
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which     was established upon better   promises.
Heb. 9:23   
It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things  themselves with better sacrifices than these.
For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an  enduring substance.
Heb. 11:16 
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he  hath prepared for them a city.
Heb. 11:35
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
Heb 11:40
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Heb. 12:24
And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

2. let us

Heb. 4:1
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
Heb 4:11    Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
Heb. 4:14
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Heb. 4:16 4:16   
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need
Heb. 6:1
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of  repentance from dead works,  and of faith toward God,
Heb. 10:22 
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure  water.
Heb. 10:23 
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
Heb. 10:24   And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Heb. 12:1  
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the   sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Heb. 12:28 
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably    with reverence and godly fear:
Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
Heb. 13:15
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his     name.

3. perfect

Heb. 2:10 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the  captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
Heb. 5:9
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Heb. 7:19
For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
Heb. 9:9
Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
Heb. 9:11
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
Heb. 10:1
For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
Heb. 11:40
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Heb. 12:23 12:23 
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Heb. 13:21
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen

4. once 

Heb.   6:4 6:4
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb.  7:27 
Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.
Heb.   9:7 
But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
Heb.  9:12
Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Heb.  9:26 
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Heb.  9:27 
And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Heb.  9:28 
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Heb.  10:2 
 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
Heb. 10:10 10:10 
By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Heb.  12:26 
Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
Heb.  12:27 
And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.


4. Five Warnings

No part of Hebrews has caused as much debate as to the nature of the  warnings given by the writer. It will  be helpful to remember that this epistle was written to Jewish Christians who were in danger of going back into the Jewish religion and taking  part once more in the Old Covenant  rituals, that is becoming apostates, rather than backsliders.

After the proof of Christ being greater than the Angels.
Not to neglect  so great salvation  Heb.2:1-4
After the proof of being greater than Moses.
Not to be like Israel in the wilderness and come short of the promised rest. Heb.3:7 - 4:13
After the proof of being greater than Aaron.
Against the danger of standing still, being slothful aand falling away. Heb. 5:11 - 6:21
Ater the call to enter the Holiest of all
Against sinning wilfully, and drawing back into perdition Heb.10: 26-39
After the exhortation to be patient
Against falling short of the grace of God, refusing Him who speaks Heb.12:15 - 29


A final word

The above is only a glimpse into this  precious epistle. It is hoped that  it will encourage the reader to study it and to let its priceless message sink into the heart.