Page 6 - November 2023 - Truth & Tidings
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n this series of articles, we will con-  and vice versa. For example, the writer
            sider five warnings and selected   asks the recipients to “pray for us” (13:18).
        Iexhortations in the letter to the He-  Specifically, he urges them earnestly to
        brews. The series is not intended to be a   pray that he might “be restored” to them
        thorough exposition of the letter, and so   speedily (v19). This may indicate that he
        some precious truths will be left aside or   was once one of their members or had
        handled in an introductory way. To the   enjoyed close fellowship with them. From
        end that we appreciate the purpose of   13:23, we learn that the writer had a com-
        the warnings, the series will begin with   mon fellowship with “brother Timothy,”
        a two-part introduction that reviews the   who he announces has just been released
        circumstances of the people to whom the   from prison, and with whom he hopes
        letter was written and the evident reasons   to visit them very soon. In his closing
        for writing to them. Recognising there   salutations, the writer sends them greet-
        are differing views on these warnings,   ings from believers “of Italy” (v24). A
        we trust that whatever view one takes,   similar expression with the preposition
        this series will invoke prayerful study,   apo (“of” or, lit. “away from”) in Acts
        personal application and a closer walk   18:2 may indicate the writer was among
        with the Lord Jesus Christ.           Italian believers, not living in Italy, who
        The Penman of God                     also knew them. Recognising that most
          Great effort has been given to identify-  OT quotations are from the Septuagint,
                                              it is plausible the recipients were Jews
        ing the unnamed writer of the letter to the   who had settled in a Greek-speaking (or
        Hebrews. Tradition, speculation and opin-  Hellenist) country.
        ion down through the centuries have led
        to a lengthy list of candidates. However,   Earlier in the letter, the writer assures
        we do not have sufficient evidence to fix   them of his confidence in their salvation,
        with any certainty who the writer was. At   despite having to warn them so solemnly.
        best, pursuing it is a matter of conjecture.   His confidence is based on his knowledge
        For this reason, we are content to ascribe   of their “work and labour of love” which
        authorship to God, as the opening verses   they showed toward “his [God’s] name”
        in the letter affirm. Our contentment is   in serving “the saints” and were continu-
        strengthened by the fact that all Old Testa-  ing to do so (6:9,10). The writer appears
        ment quotations are cited without refer-  to have knowledge of the time they were
        encing the book or its writer. That both the   saved (i.e., “illuminated,”  10:32), and
                                              potentially heard the message of salva-
        writer of the letter and its OT quotations   tion through the same band of witnesses
        are anonymous simply emphasise that   (i.e., “us” and “them,” 2:3) who heard
        God is speaking (cf. 12:25). Accordingly,   the Lord Jesus, and through whom God
        may we be content and willing to hear “his   confirmed His word by “signs and won-
        voice” – today (3:7,15; 4:7).         ders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of
        The People in Mind                    the Holy Ghost” (2:4).  The writer is also
          As with the writer, the location and   aware of their endurance in the face of
        identity of the recipients of the letter can-  great persecution, affliction and suffering
        not be determined. However, it is evident   ¹ Bible quotations in this article are from the
        the recipients were known to the writer   KJV.

        326 TRUTH kTidings   November  2023
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