Hebrews and Authorship

A couple of years ago I tried to offer a case for a Pauline authorship of Hebrews. I think I was somewhat successful. I will be preaching through Hebrews 1 on Christmas Day, which drew my attention once more to some research on Hebrews. In an introductory article for the Review and Expositor’s, Gerald L. Borchert offers an irenic look at the debate over authorship. He posits various theories. He speaks of the historical position of the Reformers: of Luther’s hatred of the theology of Hebrews in 6:4ff. and the idea of “the impossibility of repentance.” This, led Luther to relegate Hebrews (along with James and others) to a lesser authoritative section of the canon. Interestingly the Eastern Church “viewed the book as distinctly Pauline.” It was not only until after the Reformation that the Council of Trent “declared Paul’s authorship of Hebrews fixed.” Though I argue for Pauline authorship, Luther’s “Apollos theory” is relatively appealing since “Apollos’ reported eloquence suits the magnificent style in Hebrews.” Yet, there is little support before the Reformation for this theory. In the end, we could all take Origen’s conclusion as legitimate when he said: “Who wrote Hebrews, God knows for sure.” I’d like to think God made it clear.

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