UNDERSTANDING PAUL

It is true that the author of the letter to the Hebrews has never been identified.

Some feel that Paul wrote the letter, some feel that another person wrote the letter, however, some are adamant that Paul absolutely did not write the letter.  About the only factors currently aiding any belief that the letter was written by Paul is the fact that the earliest church fathers felt so, and therefore they included Hebrews in, and amongst, all of Paul’s letters in your Bible.  Well, quite honestly, this is a weak argument.

You can find all of this easily on the Internet, and most conclusions against Paul will come from the fact that the Greek used, in Hebrews, is much more refined that Paul’s normal Greek found in his other letters.  While it is true that the letter to the Hebrews is quite elegant (both in Greek and English), this is the weakest argument any person could ever put forth.

Of course, every reader here is entitled to decide this, on their own.  Indeed, every reader should absolutely do a bit of research and decide this for their self.  But, quite honestly, the answer matters not, because:

If Paul did write the letter to the Hebrews, then it merely reinforces the fact that his missionary-type letters should never be taught in today’s churches.  (Unless we are talking about churches located in China, Mongolia, various tribesmen of Brazil, etc.)

If Paul did not write the letter to the Hebrews, then it remains Scripturally proved (by John, James, and Christ, Himself, in Revelation) that in his missionary-type letters, Paul either lied, spoke half-truths, withheld certain truths, or granted a temporary leeway regarding God’s laws in those teachings; but in either case, his missionary-type letters should not be taught in today’s churches.

GIVEN THIS . . .

this author, below, shall give much common-sense evidence that Paul did, indeed, write the letter to the Hebrews and then this author will illustrate perhaps a dozen Bible verses that strongly indicate Paul’s authorship of the letter to the Hebrews.

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COMMON SENSE EVIDENCE

Paul built (and instructed) a great many new churches in this world:  many more than his “surviving” letters would indicate.  Paul worked for Christ about thirty-years, before Nero finally ordered Paul killed.  “Worked” means spreading the Word of God by way of traveling, writing letters, and spending a great deal of time living amongst the churches he was building.

You will learn below that Paul’s hand did not actually write many, if any, of his letters.  Paul’s scribes wrote his letters.  Paul dictated the letters, proof-read the letters, and signed the letters.  This shall be proved below.  We, today, know nothing about any of Paul’s scribes.  Paul worked and wrote for about thirty-years.  Undoubtedly, Paul’s scribes came and went, throughout those thirty-years.  Perhaps one retired here, one died there, one was martyred over here, and one found other work over there.  But Paul clearly taught that he was not the person who actually put the pen to his papers.  Indeed, the letter to the Hebrews was one of Paul’s last letters and it was written while he was in Spain.  It is quite likely that no scribe, in Jerusalem, cared to move with Paul, all the way to Spain!

Now, the letter to the Hebrews is the only letter found in the New Testament where the authorship is unknown.  As mentioned, the earliest church leaders felt it was Paul’s, so they placed it amongst Paul’s other letters, there in the New Testament.  And as mentioned, many Bible scholars, today, feel that Paul was absolutely incapable of producing the fine Greek diction found in the letter to the Hebrews.  Well, these Bible scholars fail to realize a great many things!  (And we are only talking about the letter to the Hebrews here.)

The letter to the Hebrews was a very late letter.  If one cares to give credit to Paul, then this would have been one of the last letters ever written by Paul.  Since we know that Paul worked for Christ for about thirty-years, do Bible scholars, today, not think that Paul’s Greek skills might not have improved over a thirty-year period?

This author, jpw, has been writing for nearly thirty-years now.  I have many writings from nearly thirty-years ago posted here on this website.  I can see great differences between my writings as a thirty-year old, and my writings of today.  Great differences!  And this author would challenge any of today’s Bible scholars to return to their earliest writings and compare them to current work.  Indeed, this author would challenge any Christian Pastor to compare this week’s sermon to one of their sermons from about thirty-years ago.  Paul undoubtedly learned a LOT from his prior mistakes made while he was just a “rookie” missionary.  The entire point here is that people grow over the course of thirty-years.  We, today, need to afford Paul this same truth.

So now, let us say that Paul’s scribes wrote the letter to the Hebrews.  This would be nearly thirty-years after Paul had begun teaching the Word of God.  Scribes come and go.  Scribes also get better over the years.  Maybe Paul used a new scribe for his letter to the Hebrews.

It is true that Paul’s Greek was a little rough.  (John’s Greek was very smooth flowing and elegant.)  But Paul was not that strong in the Greek language.  Paul had been a pharisee before coming to Christ.  Paul had outstanding knowledge of Jewish customs, temple workings, God’s Laws, and the laws of Moses.  And Paul’s best languages were Hebrew and Aramaic (the language of the average Israelite).  If Paul had written the letter to the Hebrews in Hebrew or Aramaic, then it certainly would be more elegant than his Greek.

If Paul’s scribe rewrote Paul’s letter into its current Greek form, maybe this is why this letter is so elegant and finely composed.  Then again, this brings us back to the possibility of Paul finding a very good scribe to write this Greek letter.  Perhaps Paul’s Greek was better than we suppose, but his first scribes were not strong in the Greek language.  We just do not know!

So, what gives Bible scholars, today, any possible right to claim that Paul did not write the letter to the Hebrews?  Until they can come up with a concrete answer to every possibility detailed above, they are only demonstrating their ignorance.  (IGNORANCE = lack of knowledge, education, or awareness!)  This is a flimsy claim by folks who are two-fold guilty of ignorance in this particular case:  knowledge and awareness!

This concludes the common-sense approach to this subject.  Bible scholars supply one weak possibility with no additional support.  This author has presented many realistic possibilities with no additional support.

So, let’s see if the Bible can supply any support for this author.

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NEW TESTAMENT EVIDENCE . . . FOR PAUL

 

Paul’s first letter, ever, was written to the Galatians.

Paul’s second letter was written to the Thessalonians.

Paul’s third letter was written, again, to the Thessalonians.

And it is this second letter to the Thessalonians that is of interest here.  In “2 Thessalonians” we learn that Paul’s letters were normally written by one of his scribes.  We also learn, for the first time, that he wrote the same (or nearly the same) ending salutation, to his churches:  and he did so with his own hand.  Furthermore, he made this “event” the token of every epistle (letter) that he wrote.

PLEASE NOTE:

No other New Testament writer did this.  No other New Testament writer used Paul’s similar closing salutations either.  Not James, not Peter, not John, nor Jude.  Only Paul!

Paul’s first letter’s closing:

Galatians 6:18  Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.  Amen.

Paul’s second letter’s closing:

1 Thessalonians 5:27  I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.

1 Thessalonians 5:28  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Amen.

Paul’s third letter’s closing (and our lesson here):

2 Thessalonians 3:17  The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle:  so I write.

2 Thessalonians 3:18  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen.

Strong’s G4592 for the word “token” is described as:

“that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and is known.”

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Now, this author promised about a dozen Biblical references here to indicate that Paul, likely was the author of the letters to the Hebrews.  However, to save time here, we shall give just three more of Paul’s known salutations at the end of his letters.  Any reader can easily find the endings to all of Paul’s other letters in their Bible.  (And yes, every reader can skip everything written below and go straight to their own Bible and read the closing salutation of the letter to the Hebrews:  because that is where this author is headed below!)

Three more examples of Paul’s salutations:

Corinthians

1 Corinthians 16:23  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

1 Corinthians 16:24  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.  Amen.

Ephesians

Ephesians 6:23  Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 6:24  Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.  Amen.

Colossians

Colossians 4:18  The salutation by the hand of me Paul.  Remember my bonds.  Grace be with you.  Amen.

AND NOW, THIRTY-YEARS LATER . . . HEBREWS WAS WRITTEN

Hebrews 13:25  Grace be with you all.  Amen.

And here you find “Paul’s token” found in every epistle that he wrote.  In full honesty, this does not guarantee that Paul wrote the letter to the Hebrews.  But it certainly is a strong indicator.  Indeed, it is as strong as any other letter credited to Paul!  This was one of the last letters Paul ever wrote.  Certainly, it was the last major work of his life.

As far as we can determine today, this was his only opportunity to write to his own kindred, his own nation, and perhaps his own family.  It truly was a very special opportunity taken by Paul, near the end of his long life.  The Romans were closing in and becoming much more intolerant of his teachings and leadership in the Christian faith.  Being a Pharisee, Paul truly loved the Jews.  Being a descendant of the man named Israel, Paul (near the end of his days) apparently loved his distant relatives, the Hebrews, very much also.

 

 

 

Copyright (2019) by jpw@wisdomi.org