These small group Bible studies of Hebrews contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.


Hebrews | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4:1-10 | 4:11-16 | 5:1-6 | 5:7-14 | 6:1-8 | 6:9-20 | 7:1-10 | 7:11-22 | 7:23-28 | 8-13 | PDF |


Hebrews 1 Bible Study Guide With Discussion Questions

Outline

I. Christ is God’s revelation to the world (1-4)
II. Christ is exalted above the angels (5-14)

I. Verses 1-4

Background of the Book

1. This is the only New Testament book which we don’t know the author of. There have many attempts to deduce the author of this book, yet nothing definitive has been concluded. Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Peter, Apollos, and others have been proposed. The early church fathers didn’t know who wrote this book and at the end of the day we have to admit as well that we just don’t know. In reality, it doesn’t matter so much because the Holy Spirit is the ultimate author.

2 Peter 1:21 – For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

2. The book was written to the Hebrews. The Gentiles are not mentioned, nor is the conflict between Gentiles and Jews, which occurred so often in many of the early churches. The book includes many references to the Old Testament which Jews would have been familiar with as well as many references to priesthood, ceremonial laws, and the Levitical Priesthood (see, there is a reason to study Leviticus because it also helps us understand Hebrews!)

3. The chief underlying theme is the superiority and pre-eminence of Christ. It is rather fitting that the author is anonymous because the book is all about how Christ is above everything else and everyone else in glory and power. While there are many deep doctrines in the book, recognizing Christ’s supreme position is of vital importance. It also will have a deep impact on our lives if we live our life with Christ on His throne and submit our will to Him.

Discussion Questions

• Who is the author of Hebrews? Why do you think he chose to remain anonymous?
• Who was it written to?
• What are the major themes in the book?
• Why would God choose to speak to people differently in different ways?
• In what different ways has God chosen to communicate to people? How does God primarily speak to us today? What are the benefits of this method?
• What should we do knowing that God communicates to us in this way?
• What does it mean that Christ is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature?
• What does it mean that He upholds all things?
• What impact should it have on our lives knowing that Jesus actually upholds everything by His power?
• Where is He now and what is He doing there?
• What does it mean that He has “become” better than the angels? Was He ever ranked lower than the angels?

Cross References

2 Peter 1:21 – For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 1:10-12 – Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

1 Peter 1:20 – He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

1 Corinthians 10:11 – These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.

John 1:3 – Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Colossians 1:15-20 – The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

1 Peter 3:22 – Who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

Romans 8:34 – Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. The author starts right in on his main point that will be repeated over and over throughout the book: the superiority of Christ. In this chapter we will see several ways that Christ is superior and exalt Him for this.

2. God has spoken in many times and in many ways. In the Old Testament, He primarily spoke through prophets. Christ is supreme because these prophets were sent by God to prepare the way for Christ. John the Baptist, as the last of the Old Testament era prophets, came to prepare the way for the Messiah. All the others did as well. They prepared the way by showing people their lost state and need for help from God. They prepared the way by showing that people can’t get to God by their own effort. In addition, they prepared the way with prophecies (hundreds of them) about the future Messiah.

This is really the key of the entire Old Testament. The Old Testament shows us God’s grace and man’s sin. It shows us that we have no hope on our own and need God to send a Savior to us. While Jesus’ name is only mentioned in the New Testament, to truly understand His supremacy we need to recognize that the entire Old Testament is preparing people for Christ’s coming as the culmination of God’s plan for the world.

3. God has spoken in many ways. This includes visions, dreams, angelic messengers, “out of body” experiences, prophets, Scripture (by way of inspired human authors) and His Son, Jesus. God created people with a spirit and a need to have a relationship to Him. By nature, we are spiritual and God created us to be this way. People seek to fill the void in their hearts by trying to understand the supernatural aspect of the universe. The problem is that since we are the created beings, we cannot by ourselves understand who God is, what His character is like, or what His plan is for the world and for our own lives.

Philosophers sit around their tables or under a willow tree or under the stars contemplating the meaning of the universe, but in the end can only speculate upon these issues. Every now and then a person will come along who seeks to bridge this gap and understand the supernatural by creating a new religion. But this is only a guess, one’s manmade system for understanding the world.

The problem is that a created being can never understand the infinite Creator unless the Creator reveals Himself to the creation. The good news is that God has done exactly that! He didn’t create the world and then leave and allow us to fend for ourselves and guess about the meaning of life (which is what deists believe about God). He HAS revealed Himself to us. Parents want to educate their children and God also wants to teach us truths about Himself. He does not want us to walk in the darkness. Instead, He reveals Himself, His purposes, and His plans to us in a way that we can understand.

It is an amazing privilege and blessing that God has condescended to reveal Himself to us. What application should we get from this?

Application: We must do everything in our power to learn this revelation (by studying the Word) and obey it.

4. These last days – We are in the last days of the world. God’s revelation and plan is progressive and we are in the last phases of it. This too is a great blessing for us since we can understand the whole picture much more clearly than the people who came before. For whatever reason God did not choose to reveal His entire plan all at once. He chose to do it step by step. Everything He has revealed is 100% true, but it is not 100% complete.

He has progressed from promise to fulfillment. But even now, not everything has been fulfilled and not everything is understood. Sometimes we will come upon a difficult question for which there seems to be no answer (for example: what is the star that the wise men followed?) and just file it away content to understand when we can ask Christ face to face. For our own lives too, often God does not always reveal to us what we should do far ahead of time. It is enough to know the next step. His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. It is a light to our feet. Though He shows us the next step we need to take, He may not show us the next ten steps into the future. He tells us what we need to know when we need to know it.

5. He has spoken to us through His Son. Jesus is the very mouthpiece of God. Even as a 12-year-old boy in the temple, He was able to answer the tough questions of Scripture that no one else could understand. Once I saw a movie where a young man was doing business with a partner for his family. The partner wanted to talk to his parents to make the deal. The man said, “I speak for my family.”

Jesus speaks for the Father. He is His representative. Jesus not only spoke the words of God, He lived as God. He showed us a perfect example of how to respond in numerous situations. His actions were 100% perfect and wise every time. The common phrase “WWJD” is a good one. When we face a problem and we don’t know what to do just ask: “What would Jesus do?” Then do that. Many times, we can know what He would do because He already did it. Jesus is the Greatest Messenger.

6. Verses 2-4 go on about the supremacy of Christ. This is the main theme of the book of Hebrews and the author doesn’t waste any time to lay out his “thesis.” There are several proofs mentioned just in these verses for why Christ is supreme (see cross-references and discuss one by one):

a) He is the heir of all things.
b) He made the world. John 1:3.
c) He is the radiance of His glory.
d) He is the exact representation of His nature.
e) He upholds all things by the word of His power.
f) He made purification for sins.
g) He sat down at the right hand of God.
h) He is better than the angels.

II. Verses 5-14

Discussion Questions

• What is the main point or points of verses 5-14?
• Why do you think the author spends so much time showing that Jesus is superior than the angels?
• What proofs does the author use to show that Jesus is indeed superior to the angels?
• What was Jesus’ attitude toward sin? How about yours?
• How does the Old Testament testify of the Messiah’s deity?
• What should our attitude be toward Christ?
• How will our actions and lives change if we truly recognize and live by the fact that Jesus is Supreme over all things?

Cross References

Psalms 2:7 – I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father.”

2 Samuel 7:14 – I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with a rod wielded by men, with floggings inflicted by human hands.

Psalm 97:7 – All who worship images are put to shame, those who boast in idols — worship him, all you gods!

Psalm 45:6-7 – Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. (Quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9.)

2 Peter 3:10-12 – But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and spee