The Other Letters Series covers Hebrews; Firstand Second Peter; First, Secondand Third John;and, Jude. All the letters written by Paul are in the Paul’s Letters Series, while Jamesis in the James Series and Revelationis in the Revelation Series.
Surprisingly little information is known about the letters in this series. The exact dates of all of them are unknown, and the author of Hebrewsis both unknown and disputed. The target audiences of the letters are broadly described, if described at all.
Based on information from the NIV Archaeological Study Bible, the dates of these letters might be:
Hebrews 60-70 AD
1 Peter 60-64 AD
2 Peter 64-68 AD
Jude 60-68 AD
1 John 85-95 AD
2 John 85-95 AD
3 John 85-95 AD
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The letter known as Hebrews is written anonymously to an undeclared audience. The letter is saturated with references to the Old Testament, so the author was probably highly trained and educated like Luke, Clement of Rome, Barnabas, or Apollos. Although the audience is not declared, it was likely written to Jewish Christians who spoke Greek (note: Jews were also called Hebrews).
It seems likely that some in the target audience were being tempted to revert to Judaism with its magnificent Temple and ceremonies. The author demonstrates repeatedly that Jesus and his teachings are the full completion of Judaism. The author demonstrates that many aspects of Judaism are shadows, destined to disappear. In fact, this is exactly what happens in 70 AD when the Romans destroy the Temple and ravage Jerusalem.
The opening sentence indicates that the letter is written to people with a Jewish background. Hebrews 1:3 is a very powerful declaration that Jesus is the exact representation of God… He is God. This is a point the Jewish leadership continually dispute. By starting with this declaration, all the author’s following points will be obvious.
Jesus is superior to the angels. Angels are merely ministering spirits according to Hebrews 1:14. They are created by God, and worship Him, but are clearly inferior to Christ. The Jews of that time seem to have been fascinated with angels and may have created a significant theology around them, so this was the author’s first attack against false teachings.
Jesus is superior to Moses. Moses was the greatest of all prophets and was the lawgiver to the Jews. No person was greater than Moses. However, the author shows that, not only is Jesus greater than Moses, but He is also greater than the laws of Moses.
Jesus is the Great High Priest. Jesus was from the tribe of Judah, and so did not qualify to be a priest. However, because He is the Son of God, Jesus is the perfect high priest, capable of being the perfect sacrifice for the people.
After showing that Jesus is the better choice for people to make, the author warns against falling away from Jesus. Hebrews 6:4-6 includes some of the harshest warnings in the Bible. However, the author demonstrates that God is just and will fulfill His promises to those who are faithful to Him. The author insists that the hope of Christians is based on God’s unchangeable character.
Apollos – Tim Urban
Barnabas – Bob Hess
Silas – Tony Schneider
John Mark (older) – Wilbur Penn
Mary – Chana Keefer
Gaius – Matthew Clark
Jude – Zachary Leasau