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The Letter to the Hebrews

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Beginning on Sunday, and for the rest of the Church Year, we are reading together through the Letter to the Hebrews. We don’t know who wrote it (Paul, Priscilla, Barnabas, Luke, Clement, Apollos,…), where, when, why, or for whom (located in Jerusalem, Alexandria, Rome, Antioch, Colossae, Ephesus, Berea, Ravenna,…)…

If you struggle with this letter – that is precisely the value of the lectionary; the lectionary makes us take seriously parts of the Bible people might otherwise avoid…

We don’t know whether the Letter to the Hebrews was written before or after the the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. We do know that Hebrews has some of the best quality Greek in the New Testament – rich with alliteration and assonance (obviously untranslatable). Note: The Bible that Hebrews quotes is the Greek First Testament, the Septuagint, not the Hebrew Bible.

Care needs to be taken in reading, and in preaching, that the supersessionist appearance of what is written does not translate into reinforcing anti-Judaism sentiments.

Ps. For those lectionaryphobes who are always finding fault with the lectionary and note critically the semi-continuous reading of Hebrews Sunday by Sunday, it is not too difficult to divide up the intervening gaps, surely, so that each day your community is engaged with the scriptures. Here’s one example how to do this between this coming Sunday and the next one:

Monday: Hebrews 1:5-14
Tuesday: Hebrews 2:1-4
Wednesday: Hebrews 2:5-18
Thursday: Hebrews 3:1-6
Friday: Hebrews 3:7-19
Saturday: Hebrews 4:1-11

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