Hebrews: A Guide to the Old Covenant

Hebrews: A Guide to the Old Covenant

by Chassidy Rogers

The epistle of Hebrews is easily my most studied book of the Bible. Each time I flip through the pages it increases my faith. We can see in all of the themes woven throughout Hebrews, and indeed the whole of Scripture, that everything is in subjection to God; nothing is outside of his control (Hebrews 2:8). 

Hebrews is essentially a commentary on the first five books of the Bible. Specifically, Hebrews helps us rightly understand and interpret the Old Covenant and much of Leviticus. 

It happens every January. We start a new Bible reading plan. We feel encouraged and excited as we read through the familiar stories of Genesis and Exodus. We’re irritated as we see the patriarchs and the people stubbornly disobey God and walk in ingratitude. We’re sobered as we realize we are those people, too.

Then we hit Leviticus around February or March. We feel like Pilgrim in the Slough of Despond or Wesley and Buttercup in the sand of the fire swamp. Things are slow going; our motivation and excitement start to wane; we can’t quite remember where we were headed. I want to encourage you. 

We are nearing the end of 2023. If you’ve joined us in the church-wide reading plan, our two-year journey through the Scriptures is almost done. Thankfully the Bible isn’t a book you read once and put down, or a journey you take once and check off your bucket list. The Scriptures are living and active; in them we have everything needed for life and godliness. With God’s help, we want to meditate on his word day and night- talk about it when we sit and rise and drive and play catch and tuck in for bedtime.

2024 will be here before we know it, and along with the New Year (for most of us) comes a fresh start with our Bible reading. Those challenging portions of the Old Covenant giving of the Law are still there. The Scriptures haven’t changed; we can’t change them, and we shouldn’t ignore them.

Instead of giving up, half heartedly skimming, or just skipping those tough chapters, this time let’s use Hebrews as our commentary. 

Let’s see: 

The word of God spoken through Jesus as better than that of the prophets.

The better salvation that is offered to us and should not be neglected.

Jesus- the better and more faithful Moses- leading his people into the heavenly Promised Land and eternal rest.

Jesus- the perfect high priest- never needing to offer sacrifice for his own sin and always living to make intercession for us.

Jesus- the perfect sacrifice-spotless and given once for all.

The new and better covenant- secured by the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus.

This time, let the creativity of God and the cohesiveness of his Word increase our faith and gratitude for what he’s done. Yes- we feel beaten down when we read all of the rules and laws and specific guidelines for offerings and sacrifices. We should! We can’t keep the law, and they couldn’t either.

But thanks be to God for his Son, Jesus Christ, who perfectly fulfilled the law on our behalf. Let the epistle of Hebrews give us clarity on the “why” of the Old Covenant and stir up wonder and affection in us as we discover how Jesus is so much better.

For an excellent, inductive Bible study on Hebrews, see “Better: A Study of Hebrews” by Jen Wilkin and published by Lifeway.

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