Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Hebrews on Short Notice

Posted by BrianJ on November 2, 2007

A few weeks ago, I decided at the last minute to switch around the Gospel Doctrine lesson schedule. My reason: I was planning to split Romans into a two-part lesson, but, as my wife pointed out, the calendar would have placed General Conference and Stake Conference in between the Romans lessons. I didn’t want three weeks to separate the two Romans lessons. If I decided to postpone my Romans lesson until after the conferences, then I would have to come up with another lesson on short notice. So, what could I do?I went ahead and switched the lessons around, quickly preparing a Hebrews lesson. (It probably goes without saying, but I don’t mean for this post to be an instruction on how to procrastinate.) Hebrews is a big book and I wasn’t going to have time to really become familiar with it. What verses should I focus on in my preparation? I looked up Hebrews in the LDS General Conference Scripture Citation Index, selecting the verses most commonly cited in General Conference. I thought it would be fun to see what our leaders quote, and with General Conference just a week away, I thought it would be a timely approach and a good way to introduce my class to this wonderful online resource.

Here are the verses, with some brief notes, that we discussed in class:

Hebrews 1:1-4 Jesus is the ultimate manifestation of God. We read a quote from Gordon Hinckley: “None so great has ever walked the earth…. I love Him. I speak His name in reverence and wonder. I worship Him as I worship His Father, in spirit and in truth” (First Presidency Message, Liahona, March 1998).

Hebrews 4:14-16 This one actually needed some lead-in, starting in verse 1.

1-3:  The people traveling in Sinai who did not believe, did not enter into the Lord’s rest (the promised land)

4-10: The Sabbath day is a reminder/taste of God’s rest

11-13: We should make every effort to enter into that rest (i.e. the future rest that awaits the faithful, not merely the rest of weekly Sabbath observance)

14-16: The importance of having Jesus as a high priest (it’s not just a title—it actually means something). “Therefore….” Verse 16 is the rational conclusion of the previous verses on faith, rest, high priest, etc. And what is the rational conclusion? That we should “come boldly unto the throne of grace.” We talked in class about how our tendency is to want to hide our sins, not admit them even to God—fearing that we, as “unclean things” should not enter into or even approach heaven—but that Hebrews 4 gives us every reason to march boldly—audaciously—right up to the throne God, covered in sin as we may be. (I was really touched by these verses; I hope you’ll have some thoughts on them.)

Hebrews 11:1 Of course this was on the most-cited list!

10:33-39: We suffer but we do not lose confidence in the promised reward. “Confidence” is the key word here.

11:1: Faith is “assurance of what we hope for”—think “confidence”—which is not the same as saying that faith is an “assurance that something unseen exists.” Unfortunately, I think we mostly see Hebrews being used to support the later.

11:2-5: Examples of faith (confidence-faith, not belief-in-unseen-faith)

11:6: This verse is the clincher: Faith pleases God because he wants us to “believe that he is” (believe in something unseen),”and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (have confidence in him).

Hebrews 12:1-3 Jesus is the Archegos (author, pioneer, prince, captain, leader) and Teleiotes (perfector, finisher) of our faith. We talked about what these different translations teach us.

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