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Review of Application Bible study on Hebrews

December 20, 2008

When I was asked if I was interested in reviewing this book I was a little dubious as to whether I should, but knowing that the writer of Hebrews made copious use of the Psalms in his argument, I was interested to see how the Psalms were dealt with in this study from Tyndale. In this review of the Life Application Study Bible notes on Hebrews I wish to look at the structure of the book in general and then focus briefly on how it treats the Psalms.

The book is divided into two parts:

Part one contains the text of Hebrews from the New Living Translation and easy-to-understand notes explaining the text. Included in this is an introduction to the epistle of Hebrews where the purpose of the epistle is stated as are the original audience, the date of composition, the historical setting in which the epistle was written and authorship is briefly mentioned. The blueprint of the epistle is drawn and the “megathemes” (‘Christ is Superior’, ‘High Priest’, ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Maturity’, ‘Faith’ and ‘Endurance’) are explained and their importance discussed. There are also some brief studies on ‘Christ and the Angels’, ‘Lessons from Christ’s Humanity’, ‘The Choices of Maturity’, ‘Abraham in the New Testament’, and ‘The Old and New Covenants’.

Part two consists of thirteen lessons which are designed to stimulate the thinking through of the meaning of the text and how it can be applied practically to your life now. As such they would suit both private study as well as group study. The lessons are as follows:

Lesson 1. God’s Best!
Lesson 2. No Escape
Lesson 3. Man Alive!
Lesson 4. Hardening of the Hearts
Lesson 5. Rest Stop
Lesson 6. Get Growing!
Lesson 7. A Priest Forever
Lesson 8. Direct Line
Lesson 9. Real Forgiveness
Lesson 10. Hold On!
Lesson 11. Faithfully His
Lesson 12. Get in the Race!
Lesson 13. Don’t Forget!

So what about the Psalms? Well a table is provided where the passages in Hebrews 1 that quote Psalms to prove that Christ is superior to the angels are set out. Furthermore, the relevant Psalms are also mentioned briefly in the study notes on 1:10-12; 2:11-13; 3:7-15; 5:4-6 and 7:3-10. Now whilst the Psalms are not discussed in any depth (wait for Futato’s forthcoming commentary for that) their being mentioned in the notes draws the reader’s attention to the importance of the Psalms to the writer’s argument and, I would hope, encourages the reader to read the Psalm in full and consider how they have been fulfilled in Jesus.

If you are looking for an exposition of the Psalms used by the writer of Hebrews then this is not the book you need, however the claim of the publisher is that “this study guide gives you everything you need for understanding God’s word and applying it for your life.” Does it live up to the claim? In my opinion it does and as such it is highly suitable for new Christians and older Christians who are in need of encouragement in their walk with Jesus.

The Church I attend has just finished studying Hebrews and I must confess it’s a shame we didn’t use this study.

Is this review helpful? How could it be improved?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 20, 2008 7:56 pm

    Richard, nice review.

    Yep, Hebrews got a lot of Psalms.

  2. December 20, 2008 8:02 pm

    Thanks TC!

  3. December 21, 2008 12:11 am

    Two things I remember about Hebrews –

    1 is the study of Albert Vanhoye from the 50s – I diagrammed that study and discovered that five repeated words throughout: forever, approach, enter, better, perfect. And 3 great themes: community, eschaton, and sacrifice.

    2 is the dialogue between the Father and the Son (It was in one of the many papers at Hebrws 2006 in St Andrews – I wish I could remember which paper pointed it out.) – the dialogue is entirely expressed with psalm verses + a couple of verses from Samuel and Isaiah. The book gives us a remarkable insight into a first century reading of psalms. Hebrews scores 25 references to the psalms in my list here

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