Winner of Christianity Today’s 1993 Critic’s Choice Award, this commentary provides an interpretation of the book of Hebrews in conversation with the rapidly growing body of scholarly literature. Acknowledging that many issues such as authorship and provenance remain open, William Lane examines the evidence available and makes a compelling case for his reading of the book and its historical background.
The Word Biblical Commentary delivers the best in biblical scholarship, from the leading scholars of our day who share a commitment to Scripture as divine revelation. This series emphasizes a thorough analysis of textual, linguistic, structural, and theological evidence. The result is judicious and balanced insight into the meanings of the text in the framework of biblical theology. These widely acclaimed commentaries serve as exceptional resources for the professional theologian and instructor, the seminary or university student, the working minister, and everyone concerned with building theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship.
“The cumulative weight of the evidence points to men and women who participate in a small house fellowship, loosely related to other house churches in an urban setting, whose theological vocabulary and conceptions were informed by the rich legacy of hellenistic Judaism.” (Page lv)
“The social and religious roots of this community are almost certainly to be traced to the Jewish quarters and to participation in the life of a hellenistic synagogue.” (Page liv)
“The force of the expression in Hebrews is to characterize the Son as the one through whom God spoke his final and decisive word.” (Page 11)
“The purpose of Hebrews is to strengthen, encourage, and exhort the tired and weary members of a house church to respond with courage and vitality to the prospect of renewed suffering in view of the gifts and resources God has lavished upon them. The writer’s intention is to address the sagging faith of men and women within the group and to remind them of their responsibility to live actively in response to God’s absolute claim upon their lives through the gospel. He urges his listeners to hold loyally to their confession of Jesus Christ as the sole mediator of salvation in a time of crisis and warns them of the judgment of God they would incur if they should renounce their Christian commitment.” (Page c)
“The allusions to Num 14 are significant because they indicate that unbelief is not a lack of faith or trust. It is the refusal to believe God. It leads inevitably to a turning away from God in a deliberate act of rejection.” (Page 86)
William L. Lane (1931–1999) was Paul T. Walls Chair in Wesleyan and Biblical Studies at Seattle Pacific University. He served as a translation team for the NASB and NIV translations of the Bible. He is the author of The New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Gospel of Mark.