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 4:11-16 Online Bible Study Lesson

Outline

I. Be diligent to enter the rest (11)
II. We are accountable to follow God’s Word (12-13)
III. Christ is our perfect High Priest (14-16)

I. Be diligent to enter the rest (11)

Discussion Questions

  • What is the author’s conclusion about how we can apply all the information in the previous passage? What should we do?
  • What can we do to make sure we enter that rest?
  • So is it works oriented?
  • If it is not works oriented (we can’t save ourselves) what role do works have anyway?

Cross-References

1 Corinthians 10:5-13 – This passage contains a summary of the sins committed by the Israelites in the wilderness.

2 Timothy 4:7 – For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Philippians 3:13-14 – Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Teaching Points

1. Verse 11 contains the key application for us on the theme of entering God’s rest, which started back in Hebrews 3:7. We have learned that the good news was preached to the Israelites in the wilderness and they hardened their hearts and provoked God. This same good news was preached to us and we have seen that we have this same opportunity to enter into God’s rest and receive eternal life. God’s grace was not only extended to the Jews of Old Testament times, but is also extended to us. In fact, His promises to us are even greater than His promises to them.

So, what we should do? Verse 11 has the answer.

Application: We should be diligent to enter into the rest and not fall short. As we learned in the last lesson, we must regularly evaluate our spiritual position. We must hold fast to God’s Word in faith. We must not allow ourselves to drift away or fall away from God, but instead learn from the example of those who rebelled in the wilderness and not make the same mistakes that they did.

II. We are accountable to follow God’s Word (12-13)

Discussion Questions

  • If someone asked you to tell them why you believe the Bible (and why Christians follow such an old book), what would you tell them?
  • What does it mean that God’s Word is living? Active?
  • In what way is His Word like a sword?
  • Are there any other passages which compare the Word to a sword?
  • How can we use it like a weapon?
  • What insights can we gain about this verse from the surrounding context?
  • What does the second part of verse 12 mean?
  • What applications can we make from verse 12?
  • What is the relationship between verse 12 and 13? How about 13 and the rest of the passage?
  • What character quality of God’s is revealed in verse 13?
  • How does this effect us?

Cross-References

Isaiah 55:11- So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Colossians 3:16 – Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

Proverbs 4:20-22 – My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.

John 6:63-The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

John 12:48 – There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.

Teaching Points

1. Verse 12 is often quoted. It is one of the most famous verses about the Word of God. Normally, however, it is removed from the context and some of the power is lost. The context of this verse shows us that we have a responsibility to take God’s Word to heart and obey it (unlike those who disobeyed Him and couldn’t enter into the rest). From this verse we see the power of God’s Word and its ability to change our lives. Because it penetrates people’s hearts and because it has the power to transform lives for eternity, a response is demanded. When we hear it, we must act. We must obey. The point of the verse is not so that we will say, “Wow, Scripture is awesome.” The point is that we will say, “It can change my life and I need to obey it.”

2. The Bible comes directly from the Holy Spirit, from the very throne room of God. It is infinite in wisdom, infinite in power. The Word contains every moral principle we need. It contains all that is required for life and godliness. In chapter one we learned what a privilege it is that the God of the universe has condescended to communicate with us. So we should treasure His words. Never lose sight of the fact that it is indeed a great privilege that He loves us so much that He has given us the perfect guidebook for how to live in this world.

3. This is a great verse to share with people who want to know why Christians care so much about the Bible. They think it is “just an old book.” After all, times have changed. We now have modern technology. People have advanced and the Bible is ancient. This verse shows that the Bible is alive. It is not a dead book of facts. The fact that it is alive means that it brings life to those who obey it. It changes our lives and transforms us. It causes us to grow (1 Peter 2:1-3). More copies of the Bible are sold than any other book. It has dramatically changed hundreds of millions of peoples’ lives. It is because of these qualities of the Bible that I chose it as a major. What better subject to study than one which effects every part of one’s life everyday?

4. What is our responsibility towards God’s Word? It is to obey it. To unite the knowledge we have of it with faith which will bring action. God sees everything we do. There is no secret that we can keep from God. Can you give examples of anyone in the Bible whose secret was found out? See Psalms 139:7-10. God is everywhere. He is omniscient and omnipresent. How should this effect us? What should we do knowing that God sees everything we do?

III. Christ is our perfect High Priest (14-16)

Discussion Questions

  • What can help us to “hold fast?”
  • What is Jesus referred to as in this section of Scripture?
  • How would you explain the phrase that he can “sympathize with our weaknesses?” Does this mean he “understands” or tolerates our sin?
  • How does the fact that He faced the same temptations help us? What can we learn from His example?
  • What does the author say we should do with this information (verses 14-15)?
  • Does God give us the mercy and grace we need in time of need? Do you have any examples from your own lives? What forms will this mercy and grace take?

Cross-References

Matthew 4:1-11 – This passage details Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness.

Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

Ephesians 2:7 – In order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Teaching Points

1. Christ our high priest – As we see in the later chapters of Hebrews, one of the major themes of the book is Christ as our high priest. Our high priest is the very Son of God, Jesus. This verse shows His human nature with the name “Jesus” and His divine nature through the title “Son of God.” His example, power, and sacrifice should motivate us to “hold fast.” Once again we see this exhortation to stand firm. The first several chapters of Hebrews contain many exhortations such as this one, and are an important reminder of the responsibility we have as believers to follow God faithfully and never give up our faith in Him.

2. Verse 15-16 are also both popular verses to memorize. Have you memorized them before? Why did you choose these verses? What can you learn from them? The concept is fairly simple. Christ has experienced the same temptations that we do, only He didn’t sin. His response to temptation should motivate us do what is right. Sometimes in the heat of the temptation we might have the idea that “God just doesn’t understand what I am facing” or “no one could bear up under this temptation” or “it’s easy for God to tell us not to do it when He is not a human and hasn’t been tempted like we are.”

This verse destroys all of these arguments. Christ was a human. He does understand what we are facing. He knows how hard it is to live in victory in this world. These verses do not mean it is acceptable to sin because He understands. In fact, it shows us that Christ had victory over the temptations. His example should in turn motivate us to not give in to temptation. His example also gives us a model about how to respond to temptation.

3. What else does verse 15 mean for us? The answer is found in verse 16. It means that we should turn to Christ for help when we face temptations. He knows how difficult it is and He sincerely wants to help us. He wants to give us grace so that we can get through the temptation in victory. Many times the way out promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13 starts with turning to God in prayer. If we don’t do that, we will miss the way out that He has prepared for us. He also extends mercy to us. When we sin, He does forgive and restore us if we confess. Next time you are tempted remember to approach the throne of grace to receive help from the only one who ever got through this life unscathed by sin.

Illustration: There once was a boy who was playing in a sandbox behind his house. He discovered a large rock in the sandbox and didn’t want it there. Summoning up all of his strength, he pushed it as hard as he could. His father was standing at the back door watching him the whole time. When it didn’t move the boy changed tactics. The next time he backed up and got a running start. Still it didn’t budge. The boy’s father then watched him get a stick and use it as a lever to try to move the rock. It was a clever idea, but still didn’t work. The father watched as his boy became increasingly upset and failed time and time again. Eventually the boy came back in a huff and complained bitterly about his inability to move the rock. He told his father, “I tried everything, and nothing worked!” The father simply said, “You didn’t try everything yet. You didn’t ask me for help.”

4. We also thank God that we can approach His throne. In this world, it is not possible for common people to approach the throne of emperors or kings. Guards and soldiers block the way. If you remember the story, even Queen Esther risked her life to enter the presence of the king.
But the King of Kings gives free access. You have a free lifetime pass into His presence to offer your requests (remember that even the Queen Esther was in danger of losing her life for entering the throne room of . Don’t waste it!

Application: What do you think God would have you to do in the coming week based on what we have learned today?

Study Hebrews 5:1-6

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