The author of the letter to the Hebrews has not added his name to the text. This has led many to believe that the apostle Paul was not the writer, since Paul always includes his name in his letters. The work may have been offered anonymously by Paul due to the fact that he was held in suspicion and contempt by the unsaved Jews and legalistic Christians. These would have automatically rejected any letter written by Paul.
The letter to the Hebrews does hold certain clues to the identity of the author, as well as there being a “feel” about it that reminds us of the apostle Paul.
a. Being a “Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee” (Philippians 3:5), Paul was well qualified to write this letter.
b. There are various statements in the letter that correspond to the life of Paul, these are:
1……..“For ye had compassion of me in my bonds.” (10:34). We know from the book of Acts and his letters that Paul spend time in prison for the sake of the Gospel. This expression is not used by the authors of the other letters of the New Testament.
2……..“That I may be restored to you the sooner” (13:19). This same sentiment is found in 2 Corinthians and Philippians.
3…….“Know that our brother Timothy is set at liberty.” (13:23). No other author (except Luke in Acts) makes mention of Timothy. In 1 Thessalonians 3:2 Paul says, “Timotheus our brother”.
4…….“Salute them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you. Grace be with you all. Amen.” (13:24-25). This final blessing is very similar to how Paul ends his letters to the churches. Hebrews was probably written during Paul’s house arrest in Rome (Acts 28:30).
5…….Peter was ordained to take the Gospel to the Jews while Paul went to the Gentiles, “The Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the Gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter.” (Galatians 2:7). There is no evidence that Paul wrote any other letter to the Jews. Peter says, “Our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you.” (2 Peter 3:15). It is highly likely that Hebrews is that letter.
6…….There is no other person in the New Testament qualified enough to write about the various laws and practices of Judaism. Hebrews is written from the point of view of someone who “has been there” and has a practical knowledge of Jewish religion.
7…….The person writing the Hebrews is someone who did not know Jesus Christ personally when He was on earth; “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.” (2:3).
Main thesis of author
The letter to the Hebrews was written especially for Jewish Christians who were being persecuted by legalists for their faith in Christ. It was Paul’s desire to encourage the faith and commitment of these believers. It appears that doubts were setting in regarding the Gospel, and some were returning to Judaism. He challenges the believers not to compromise, to hold fast their confession of faith, to go on to spiritual maturity, and not to even think about returning to the old way.
Paul carefully explains that the Lord Jesus Christ is greater and far superior to Prophets, Angels, Moses, the Law, the Temple, the Priesthood, and Jewish religion. Jesus Christ is the Son of God and is actually equal with God, because He is God. In fact, Jesus is God’s final word to the human race. He wants them to understand that if they turn back they are throwing away salvation and denouncing Christ.
The requirements of the Old Covenant have been totally fulfilled in Christ. Therefore there is no merit in following the legalistic and ceremonial laws. The New Covenant in the blood of Christ made the Old Covenant obsolete. The blood of Christ was the final sacrifice for the sins of man, it can never be repeated or substituted by animals blood.
He acknowledges that it is not easy to be a Christian living under severe persecution. He reveals how others stood firm in their faith to the end because they knew that God had a greater blessing for them. These Jewish believers must keep the faith to receive the reward in Christ. Losers go back, true Christians keep their eyes on Jesus, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (12:2).