If you have ever studied or taught through the book of Hebrews, you know what a challenging book it can be.
In many ways, it stands out as one of the most difficult and most challenging books of the New Testament. Not only are there challenges with how to understand and read this book, but it also contains some of the most difficult Greek and the most difficult theology. For example, Hebrews probably contains the most famous tough text of the Bible: Hebrews 6:4-6.
So I really appreciated Charts on the Book of Hebrews recently put out by Herbert Bateman through Kregel Academic. It contains over 100 charts on most of the difficult problems surrounding the understanding and interpretation of Hebrews. It has charts on the disputed authorship of Hebrews (Charts 1-7), the canonicity of Hebrews (Charts 25-29), and the difficult Greek of Hebrews (Charts 94-104).
For me, the most helpful sections were those which dealt with the Jewish background material in Hebrews. I firmly believe that the main reason the book of Hebrews is so difficult for people today to understand is simply because we are modern Western “Gentile” Christians and the book was written to First Century Middle Eastern Jewish Christians.
If someone does not understand Jewish thinking, Jewish theology, and have an expansive understanding of the Jewish Scriptures (aka the Old Testament), there is almost no hope of understanding the themes and message of the book of Hebrews. This is especially true of the five warning passages in Hebrews which have caused so much trouble in the church during the past 1900 years.
But this book of charts by Bateman helps bridge that gap between our culture and that of the Ancient Middle-Eastern Jewish Christian. Well over 50% of the charts have some sort of connection to Jewish thinking, Jewish theology, Jewish culture, or Old Testament texts. For example, there is a whole section of charts devoted to “Old Testament and Second Temple Influences in Hebrews” and numerous charts later in the book which show the dependence the author of Hebrew had on the Greek Septuagint.
For myself, I also highly appreciated the charts which showed quite clearly that the author of Hebrews viewed his audience as genuine believers (Charts 12 and 84), which I believe is an essential ingredient for properly understanding Hebrews. I also found the charts about the warning passages helpful (Charts 83-87), though I wish he had been more clear on what he meant by words “salvation” (Chart 67) and “rest” (Chart 135) in Hebrews. Some of the charts I did find a little confusing to understand, but there was a helpful section in the back of the book (pp. 239-253) which provided some explanatory notes.
If you are studying, preaching, or teaching through the book of Hebrews, this book of charts on Hebrews by Bateman is an essential book to obtain. It will help and guide you in your quest to understand and apply the book of Hebrews.