Hebrews 8 Study Sheet

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.

OUTLINE

I. New Priest, New Law (8:1-7)

A. The new priest (1-3).

B. The new law (4-7).

II. Prophecy Fulfilled (8:8-13)

A. Jeremiah predicted the coming of the new covenant (8-12).

B. When the prophecy was made, the Mosaic covenant became “old” (13)

QUESTIONS

  1. What is the main point that the writer had been emphasizing (8:1)?
  2. Where is our High Priest (8:1)?
  3. What is the primary responsibility of a High Priest (8:3)?
  4. Could Jesus have been a priest on earth under the Levitical system (8:4; 7:14)?
  5. How does Christ’s ministry to compare to that of the Levitical priests (8:6)?
  6. How does the new covenant compare to the old (8:6)?
  7. Why was the new covenant given (8:7)?
  8. Hebrews 8:8-12 is a quotation of what Old Testament passage?
  9. What did the announcement of a coming “new” covenant make the Law of Moses (8:13)?
  10. What are “old” things destined to do (8:13)?

APPLICATION

It is not often that a writer of one of the New Testament documents identifies his main point for you. The Hebrews writer does that for us in 8:1. His main point is to emphasize that we Christians are not without representation before God. We have a High Priest and he is seated at the right hand of God in heaven. He offered himself as our sacrifice, serves in a better ministry than the Levitical priests, and has mediated a better covenant based on better promises (8:6-7). And all of that is in harmony with what God had said since the days of Jeremiah (8:8-12). We are blessed indeed to have God’s own Son as our representative in heaven!

Hebrews 7 Study Sheet

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.

OUTLINE

I. The Superiority of Melchizadek (7:1-10)

A. He has a “perpetual” priesthood (1-3).

B. He has an impeccable character (4-10).

II. The Change in the Priesthood (7:11-22)

A. To change the priesthood is to change the law (11-14).

B. With the change in priesthood there comes a better hope (15-22).

III. The Improvement of the Priesthood (7:23-28)

A. The permanence of Christ’s priesthood (23-24)

B. The permanence of Christ’s sacrifice (25-28)

 QUESTIONS

  1. What two offices did Melchizadek hold (7:1)?
  2. What did Melchizadek’s name and offices mean (7:2)?
  3. When Melchizadek and Abraham met, what two things happened indicating that Melchizadek was superior to Abraham (7:4-7, note esp. verse 6)?
  4. What did the appointment of Jesus as High Priest imply about the Levitical priesthood (7:11)?
  5. The change in priesthood necessitated in change in what else (7:12)?
  6. From what Jewish tribe did Jesus come (7:13-14)?
  7. The priesthood of Jesus is based on the power of what (7:16)?
  8. What terms does the writer use to describe the Law of Moses in 7:18?
  9. With the bringing in of a better priesthood and better law came a better what (7:19)?
  10. Jesus is the personal guarantee of a better what (7:22)?
  11. What does Jesus live to do (7:25)?
  12. How is Jesus described in 7:26?
  13. How does the sacrifice of Jesus differ from those offered by the Levitical priests (7:27)?
  14. What is the difference between the Levitical priests and Jesus, according to 7:28?

APPLICATION

Just a casual reading of Hebrews 7 confirms what the writer said in 5:11 – there are things about Melchizadek that are hard to understand. While we may not be able to reach firm conclusions on every question that we may have about this ancient personality, the study itself is fascinating. It should compel us to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). It’s a study that ought to lead us to examine the scriptures daily (Acts 17:11).

Hebrews 6 Study Sheet

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.

OUTLINE

I. The Danger of Apostasy (6:1-8)

A. It is necessary to deepen our spiritual understanding (1-3).

B. Falling away places our souls in jeopardy (4-8).

II. Optimism for the Future (6:9-20)

A. There are reasons to be confident that Christians can remain faithful (9-10).

B. Encouragement to be faithful (11-12)

C. God’s promise to Abraham and the oath that undergirded it are two immutable things that support our hope for the future (13-20).

QUESTIONS

  1. What is the primary statement of encouragement in 6:1 (hint: “let us…”)?
  2. List the “elementary teaching” that the writer says we should move past (6:1-2).
  3. In 6:4-5, the writer lists five characteristics of those who could fall away. What are they?
  4. According to 6:6, is it possible for a person to pass a point of no return?
  5. What characteristic of God in 6:10 should encourage us to be faithful?
  6. What characteristics should we maintain all the way to the end (6:11)?
  7. What two characteristics will help us to inherit the promises (6:12)?
  8. How did God reinforce his promise to Abraham (6:13, 17)?
  9. What are the two “unchangeable things” that give us hope (6:18)?
  10. How does the writer describe our hope (6:19)?

APPLICATION

One of the beauties of Bible study is how it reveals the nature of God. Right in the middle of a frightening warning about the possibility of apostasy, the writer reminds us of several of God’s qualities that should ease our fears. Among them are these:

  • God blesses those who bear good fruit (6:7).
  • We are God’s beloved (6:9).
  • God has confidence in us (6:9).
  • God will not forget our loving ministry to others (6:10).
  • God will keep his promises (6:18).

These are not only characteristics that deserve our gratitude, they are also tremendous motivations for us to maintain our loyalty and commitment to Jesus.

Hebrews 5 Study Sheet

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.

OUTLINE

I. The Qualifications of a High Priest (5:1-4)

A. He offers sacrifices to God on behalf of men (1).

B. He is to deal gently with those he represents (2).

C. He offers sacrifices for himself, too (3).

D. He does not take the honor of service on himself; God appoints him (4).

II. Jesus is Qualified to Be High Priest (5:5-10)

A. God appointed him to this role (5-6).

B. He learned obedience through suffering (7-8).

C. This qualifies him to represent us as a High Priest like Melchizadek (9-10).

III. A Rebuke (5:11-14)

A. More could be said about Melchizadek, but the readers could not understand it (11).

B. Though they should be mature enough by now, they had not mastered the elementary principles of Christianity (12-14).

QUESTIONS

1. From where is a High Priest to be chosen (5:1)?

2. What is the primary duty of a High Priest (5:1)?

3. How is a High Priest to deal with those he represents (5:2)?

4. How does a man get to be a High Priest (5:4)?

5. The one who said to Jesus, “You are a priest” is the same one who said to him, “You are my Son” (5:5). Who is that?

6. The priesthood of Jesus is not after the order of Aaron, but whom (5:6)?

7. Through what experiences did Jesus learn obedience (5:8)?

8. For what group of people is Jesus the source, or author, of eternal salvation (5:9)?

9. Why was the information about Melchizadek hard for the readers to understand (5:11)?

10.What analogy does the writer use to illustrate the spiritual ignorance of the readers (5:12-14)?

APPLICATION

It is in this chapter that the writer begins in earnest to talk about what Jesus is doing for Christians in the present. One of the comforting realities to come out of this chapter is the ability of Jesus to understand us on a deep and personal level. Do you suffer? So did he. Is it sometimes hard to obey God? It was for him, too. Have your trials ever knocked you to your knees and caused you to cry out to God for help? Him, too. The original readers of this letter had a greater High Priest in Jesus than they would ever be able to find in the Levitical system. There is no religion or philosophy that offers mankind what Christianity offers – the Son of God as a compassionate, merciful, and understanding representative before God himself.

Spend some time meditating on that wonderful reality, then thank him for being there for you.

Hebrews 4 Study Sheet

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.

OUTLINE

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)

QUESTIONS

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)?

APPLICATION

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?

A Quick List: “Rest” in Hebrews 4

A “Quick List” is exactly what you might think: a simple list of facts taken from a passage of Scripture. These will not contain long explanations, only unadorned observations.

The word “rest” appears ten times in the NASB95 in the first eleven verses of Hebrews 4. Here is a quick list of what we learn about that rest.

  • It is God’s rest (4:1, 3, 5, 10). He began it after the creation week (4:3-4). It involved the cessation of his creative work (4:10).
  • It is for believers (4:3).
  • It is for God’s people (4:9).
  • It involves the cessation of our work (4:10).
  • It is not for the faithless (4:2) or disobedient (4:11).
  • It is not the land of Canaan (4:8).
  • It is a future blessing (4:1, 6, 9, 11).
  • It is possible to fall short of it (4:1, 11).

Self-Examination and the Lord’s Supper

In the troubled Corinthian church, the Lord’s Supper had not been protected from abuse. This mistreatment of the Supper was so serious that Paul bluntly told them that the way they were handling this memorial was actually a despising of the church (1 Cor. 11:22) that invited God’s judgment on them (11:29). As he corrected their practice, he called their attention back to the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper on the night of the Lord’s betrayal (11:23-25). The apostle affirmed that Christians were to use that solemn observance as an opportunity to remember Jesus (11:24-25) and examine themselves (11:28).

I’d like to share with you one way that I focus my mind during this time of remembrance and reflection. It involves considering the wounds that Jesus endured in the process of his death and using them as a guide for assessing my own life.

  • Think about the nailed-scarred hands of Jesus and ask yourself, “What have my hands done this week?” Have your hands been used to sin? Have they been used to serve?
  • Think about the pierced feet of Jesus. Where have your feet taken you this week? Have they taken you to places that you should not have gone? Have they walked in the counsel of the wicked (Psa. 1:1)? Or have they been guided by the light of God’s word (Psa. 119:105)?
  • Think of how the head of Jesus was pierced with thorns, then think about your own head – or more specifically, your mind. What thoughts have occupied your mind this week? Have you brought your thoughts captive to obey Jesus (2 Cor. 10:5)? Or have your thoughts been corrupted by unholiness and lust?
  • Consider how the side of our Lord was pierced, then think about the things that you have kept close to your own side over the past week. What has been important to you? Have you kept the Lord himself as your closest companion? Or did you allow something or someone else to be closer (Matt. 10:37)?
  • Consider how the back of Jesus was beaten without mercy. What about your back? Have you turned your back on Jesus (John 6:66)?

With these questions thoughtfully considered, I will sometimes offer a prayer of confession that ends with praise and worship for the forgiveness that is mine because of what Jesus endured for me. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15)!

Nehemiah: an Unsung Hero

Nehemiah, the ancient wall builder of Jerusalem, often finds himself far down the list of favorite Bible personalities. That’s understandable. There is much to commend the more popular names of Abraham, Paul, David, Peter, or Moses. But Nehemiah deserves to be in the conversation, too. Consider some of his admirable traits.

Compassionate

We are introduced to Nehemiah’s compassion for his people early in the first chapter of the book that bears his name. Though his hands were full being cupbearer to the Persian king (Neh. 1:11), he longed to know the welfare of his kinsman hundreds of miles away. “I asked them concerning the Jews who escaped, who had survived the exile, and concerning Jerusalem” (1:2). When he learned of their poverty and “great trouble” (1:3), his response reveals his heart. “As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven” (1:4). Great servants are moved by the circumstances of their fellow man.

Prayerful

Several times in the book of Nehemiah we find references to his prayers: when he was moved by the news of Jerusalem’s broken wall (1:4); when he stood before the Persian king with an open door to request help with the rebuilding of the wall (2:4); when the workers faced ridicule (4:4); and when they discovered an enemy’s plot to disrupt their work (4:9). Other references to his prayers are found in 5:19; 6:9, 14; 9:6-38; 13:14, 22, 29, 31. In the context of every major decision and activity in the book, Nehemiah prayed about it.

Trusting

What undergirded Nehemiah’s work was an unwavering trust that God would bless him as long as he sought God’s glory and lived with proper respect for his will. Note these expressions of faith: “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build” (2:20). “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes” (4:14). “In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us” (4:20). Great servants do not trust in themselves, but in the God who made them.

Courageous

Nehemiah faced no small amount of opposition to his work. Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 13 attest to that. But Nehemiah did not cower before those who wanted nothing less than the complete destruction of him and his work. One example of his courage in chapter six involved a plot to ruin his reputation and thereby stop the people from following his leadership. His enemies wanted to make him afraid and trick him into entering the temple in violation of the law by having a false prophet convince him that he could only save his life from a murderous plot by hiding in the temple (6:13). Hear his response: “But I said, ‘Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in’” (6:11). A more courageous man would be hard to find. Great servants do not shrink in the presence of difficulty.

Zealous for God’s Glory

This may be Nehemiah’s greatest trait. Three times he encouraged the people to complete the wall of Jerusalem so that their enemies would have no reason to ridicule them as followers of God (2:17; 4:4; 5:9). His desire for success grew out of his desire for upholding the reputation of God. The underlying reason that he wanted Jerusalem to be once more “beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth” (Psa. 48:2) was his desire to see God praised. Great servants are servants who are motivated, not by personal agendas, but by a sincere desire that God be praised, honored, and glorified.

Today’s Christian would do well to emulate the good characteristics of this unsung hero of scripture: compassionate, prayerful, trusting, courageous, and zealous for the glory of God.

Hebrews 3 Study Sheet

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.

OUTLINE

I. Jesus is Superior to Moses (3:1-6)

A. Both Moses and Jesus were faithful (3:1-2).

B. But Jesus is worthy of more honor (3:3-6).

1. Just as a builder has more honor than the house he builds (3:3-4)

2. Just as a son has more honor than a servant (3:5-6)

II. A History Lesson (3:7-11)

A. A quotation from Psalm 95:7-11

B. During the wilderness wanderings, the Hebrews developed hard hearts.

III. A Warning (3:12-19)

A. Be careful that you do not develop a hard heart like they did (3:12).

B. Instead, encourage each other and hold fast to Jesus (3:13-14).

C. To develop a hard heart could excite the anger of God and result in a forfeiture of future blessing (3:15-19).

QUESTIONS

1. How does the writer refer to the recipients in 3:1?

2. How does the writer refer to Jesus in 3:1?

3. What characteristic do Jesus and Moses share (3:2)?

4. How does the writer affirm the deity of Jesus in 3:3-4?

5. How do we maintain our place in God’s house according to 3:6? (Hint: note the “if” statement)

6. How does the writer affirm the inspiration of scripture in 3:7?

7. According to 3:12, is it possible to fall away from God?

8. What can consistent encourage prevent (3:13)?

9. A word is repeated in verses 7, 13, and 15 that emphasizes the urgency of listening to God, encouraging each other, and maintaining a soft heart. What word is it?

10. Why were the Hebrews not able to enter the Promised Land (3:19)?

APPLICATION

Most Christians recognize their need to grow (2 Pet. 3:18). Most Christians understand that it’s possible to drift away from the Lord (Heb. 2:1-2). But I wonder how many of us feel a strong sense of urgency to address our spiritual growth. In this chapter, the writer tries to impress on his readers how important it is to address their wavering faith “today” (3:7, 13, 15).

What can you do today to improve your spiritual health? Make a list. Prioritize it. Then invest the time and energy to deepen your relationship with Jesus.