James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Let brotherly love continue.Hebrews 13:1-25
Farrar thinks that the exhortations of this chapter being mostly of a general character, probably formed a characteristic feature in all the Christian correspondence of this epoch interesting if true.
BROTHERLY LOVE (Hebrews 13:1-3)
A virtue undreamed of until the time of Christianity, but peculiarly necessary among members of a persecuted sect like these Hebrew Christians. (See also Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:14-18).
Here it was expected to take a very practical turn, made necessary by the absence of places of public entertainment like our hotels and boarding houses (Romans 12:13; Titus 1:8; 1 Timothy 3:2; 1 Peter 4:9). For illustrations of the latter part of Hebrews 13:2, see Genesis 28:2-22; Jdg 13:2-14; also Matthew 25:35-40. If Paul was the writer of this epistle, how particularly touching is the reference in Hebrews 13:3? “Being yourselves also in the body” may be related to what he says to the Colossians (Colossians 1:24; see comment).
CHASTITY (Hebrews 13:4)
Light is thrown on the meaning here by the RV (see Acts 15:20; 1 Thessalonians 4:6). The Gospel of Christ introduced a wholly new conception of the sin of fornication which among the heathen was not regarded as a sin.
CONTENTMENT (Hebrews 13:5-6)
“Conversation” here means “your turn of mind”: let it be “free from the love of money.” The rest of the section gives good reason for such trustfulness.
STEDFASTNESS AND HEAVENLY-MINDEDNESS (Hebrews 13:7-16)
Hebrews 13:7 is rendered in the past tense in the RV “them that had the rule over you,” which is more consistent with the words “whose faith follow.” “The end of their conversation” means “the outcome of their life and testimony.’’ Their “faith” is expressed in the terms of Hebrews 13:8, to which the readers are further exhorted in Hebrews 13:9. The close of Hebrews 13:9 points back again to the Jewish ceremonials they had left and to which some of them were being tempted to return again. Such sacrificial altars they did not require as they had a better one (Hebrews 13:10). Christ Himself is the Christian’s “altar” as well as that which is upon it. On Him the Christian feeds in a heavenly and spiritual sense. Hebrews 13:13 is another of the many exhortations for these Jewish Christians to separate themselves from their past at whatever cost for Jesus’ sake, while Hebrews 13:14 offers the encouragement for them to do it (refer to Php 3:20). The sacrifices we have to offer through Christ are not the bodies of beasts, but thanksgiving and good works (Hebrews 13:16).
SPIRITUAL OBEDIENCE (Hebrews 13:17) PRAYER FOR THE WRITER (Hebrews 13:18-19) BENEDICTION (Hebrews 13:20-21) CONCLUSION (Hebrews 13:22; Hebrews 13:25)
1. What is Farrar’s idea about these exhortations?
2. What two practical applications of brotherly love are indicated in the lesson?
3. How are we to understand Hebrews 13:4?
4. Why may true Christians be content?
5. What summing up of the Christian’s faith is found in Hebrews 13:8?
6. How would you explain Hebrews 13:9-10?
7. What sacrifice has the Christian to offer?
8. Memorize the benediction of Hebrews 13:20-21.