The following is a simple study sheet that contains a brief outline of the chapter and a few questions that focus on the text. One of the first and most important parts of good Bible study is observation. What does the text say? Until we know what the text says, it is fruitless to try to discover what it means and how it applies. Most of the questions are designed to do little more than help the reader observe the text. There may be an occasional question that asks for deeper meaning or application.
I. Trust is Crucial (4:1-2)
A. We must be careful not to fall short of our reward (1).
B. To do that, we must combine the hearing of God’s word with complete trust in it (2).
II. The Rest that Remains for the Christian (4:3-10)
A. God has rested from his creative work (3-5).
B. It remains that some are yet to enter his rest (6-10).
III. Warning and Motivation (4:11-16)
A. Be diligent to enter God’s rest (11).
B. Four incentives (12-16)
1. The powerful word of God (12)
2. The all-seeing eye of God (13)
3. Our great high priest (14-15)
4. The power of prayer (16)
1. What is the significance of “therefore” in 4:1?
2. Who should fear falling short of God’s rest (4:1)?
3. Why did the good news not profit the Israelites of old (4:2)?
4. Who will enter God’s rest (4:3)?
5. What is the rest that yet remains for God’s people (4:9-10)?
6. Does our entering God’s rest rely, to some extent, on our works? (4:11)?
7. What characteristics does the writer attribute to the word of God (4:12)?
8. Because Jesus is our high priest, what should we do (4:14)?
9. Why is Jesus able to sympathize with us (4:15)?
10. Because Jesus is our high priest, how may we approach God’s throne of grace (4:16)?
The writer made it clear that even though the ancient Hebrews heard the good news about the Promised Land, it didn’t make any difference because they did not really believe, or trust, in what they heard. Read the following passages: Ezekiel 33:30-33 and James 1:21-25. How do these passages harmonize with Hebrews 4:1-2? What are some concrete ways that you can make sure that you are combining faith with the hearing of the word?
Write down in your own words the significance of the four incentives in Hebrews 4:12-16. How can these things motivate you to greater service?