by Justin Leslein
The epistle to the Hebrews has often been a source of mystery and disagreement in regards to authorship and intended audience. Since the first days of circulation, author and audience have been disputed, but early church father Jerome succinctly states the value and validity of Hebrews in AD 414, when he says that the epistle is, “the work of a church-writer and is constantly read in the Churches.” Therefore, even though speculations have been broad and contested there has always been general acceptance that Hebrews is an inspired work of God and useful for training and edifying the saints. Though no one can identify the original author and readers with full certainty it is possible to rule out candidates, establish needed criteria for candidacy, and make educated recommendations for authorship and destination. Below are some thoughts on the epistle’s destination and author. Also below is a detailed work exploring the possibilities for audience and author of Hebrews followed by recommendations based on the internal and external evidence of the epistle.
Some thoughts on the Destination of Hebrews…
Some of the proposed geographic destinations for the epistle include Asia Minor, Antioch, Alexandria, Palestine, and Rome with the final three receiving the most support. William Barclay also adds that there are certain characteristics of the destination of which we can be certain. He lists that the destination cannot be one of the great churches of the first century, it must be a long established church (5:12) that suffered persecution of some sort (10:32-34), it must a church with tremendous leadership (13:7), and it must have been prosperous (6:10).
Some thoughts on the Author of Hebrews…
The author of Hebrews would have to first and foremost be a Hellenistic Jew who is well educated (likely educated in Alexandria) and skilled in writing Greek. Further the author must also be a man very familiar with the Old Testament scriptures, the sacrificial system, and Jewish traditions. He must also be a second generation believer with gifts of teaching and insight. Lastly he must have been acquainted with Timothy, the audience, and other churches around the Mediterranean Sea.
For more information, click here.