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  Written Assignment 2: Outline Study of a Bible Passage  Hebrews 13:9-16 (NRSV) 9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings; for it is well for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by regulations about food, which have not benefited those who observe them. 10 We have an altar from which those who officiate in the tent have no right to eat. 11 For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood. 13 Let us then go to him outside the camp and bear the abuse he endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.   1. Introduction Many parts of Hebrews at first seem difficult to understand and even more difficult to apply to our lives. However the book of Hebrews is a book that is just as relevant to the srcinal biblical audience as it is to us today. We are going to take Hebrews 13:9-16 and follow a process, looking at the situation back then, discovering the timeless theological principle, and apply it to us today. We will look at the significance of the sin sacrifice and make conclusions in regard to the command “do not be carried away by strange teachings”.     2. ‘The Text in Their Town’ What is the meaning of the passage for the Hebrews?   Summary The Hebrews are commanded to not be carried away by strange teachings. The sin-offering burned “outside the camp” is compared to Jesus’ suffering “outside the city gate”, and the Hebrews are exhorted to “bear the abuse he endured”. They are reminded that doing good and sharing what they had, are “sacrifices pleasing to God”.  Observation of text and its context Verse 9. The command to not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings, probably refers to the Judaizing teachers, and to their various doctrines regarding ceremonial observances and traditions. 1  The “heart” refers to the spiritual life. It is by divine grace, and not by rules about food, that the   heart, or the spiritual life, is nourished. 2  Verse 10. Only Priests (descendents of Aaron) could offer animal sacrifices upon the altar and eat a portion of what was sacrificed. However for a sin-offering, if the blood was brought into the sanctuary the priest was forbidden to eat any part of it. The author applies this rule with reference to Christ. We have an altar, but it is not one from which we can derive material food; it is a figurative altar in the heavenly sanctuary 3  “that those who officiate in the tent (or tabernacle) have no right to eat.” 1  Barnes, “notes on the Bible”, Biblos.com, http://bible.cc/hebrews/13-9.htm (accessed 23.4.12) 2  F.F Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews (London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott Ltd, 1964), 397-398. 3   F.F Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, ( footnote 63), 399  Verse 11-13. The shedding of blood in the tabernacle sin-offering, which foreshadowed Christ, was burned “outside the camp”. This is compared to Jesus who shed his blood as the ultimate sin-offering and who also suffered “outside the camp” (outside the Jerusalem gate), in order to sanctify the people. The Hebrews are encouraged to go to him there, the one who was rejected the one who endured abuse outside of Jerusalem. This was an encouragement to the Hebrews to also endure persecution, looking to the “city that is to come”, and not to be tempted to go back “inside the camp” because salvation was not found there. Verse 15-16. Pleasing God was not achieved through observing food regulations or the sacrifices of animals. These things have now been put away. The sacrifices that please God were “praising God”, “doing good” and “sharing what you had”. “Fruit of lips” was a Hebrew expression meaning what the lips produce; that is, words. 4   3. ‘Measuring the Width of the River’ What are the differences between the biblical audience and us?   The biblical audience were probably Greek speaking 5  Jewish (or perhaps Gentile 6 ) Christians who were familiar with the Septuagint (Greek Translation of the Old Testament), and the levitical sacrificial system. They lived in the first century AD (within 60 years of Christ’s Resurrection) and were liable to prosecution by Roman law on several different charges, including unlawful assembly and atheism for failure 4   Barnes, “notes on the Bible”, http://bible.cc/hebrews/13-9.htm 5   Kenneth L. Schenck, Understanding the Book of Hebrews, (Westminster John Knox Press 2003), 89 6   Schenck, Understanding the Book of Hebrews, 104  to participate in the state religion. They faced hardship and persecution, seizure of property, exile, and perhaps even potential martyrdom. 7  Today Christians here in New Zealand, mostly speak English, have no experience of the levitical sacrificial system and are not liable to prosecution by state law for faith in Christ. Our persecution more comes in the form of ridicule and mocking from those who don’t share our faith.  4. ‘Crossing the Principlizing Bridge’ What is the theological principle in this text?   Teaching that is based on regulations for the body rather than on grace is of no benefit to us. We are sanctified by the blood of Christ alone. We are set free from sin and death by faith in Christ, not by our own effort or work which can never make atonement for us. Jesus Christ who was sacrificed outside the Jerusalem gate, is our sin-offering; a one time offering for all. He was rejected by those who live by religious regulations- the Pharisees and Teachers of the law. If you try to live by keeping religious rules rather than by faith in Christ, you are in essence rejecting Christ and entering back into Jerusalem, back into the camp, where those who follow such things are. Do not be tempted to think that the answers to sanctification and spiritual growth are to be found inside the camp. Our Altar is in Heaven, not Jerusalem, our sacrifices are in good works, sharing what we have and praising God. Pleasing God comes from living out our faith in Christ, and bearing up under persecution as we look forward to heaven- the city that is to come. 7  Schenck, Understanding the Book of Hebrews, 104

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Jul 23, 2017
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