"Hebrews is a book of exhortation. Within these wonderful words of exhortation, however, are embedded very important instructions and equally severe warnings."

The New Testament book, Hebrews, is an important, inspiring text. Though its authorship is a mystery, its salience consists in its messages of the necessity of holding firmly to God’s love and his revelations as delivered by Jesus. No one prior to the advent of Jesus had his power or dominion—not the angels, Adam, nor even Moses. Yet Jesus would do His work in human form, as a “brother.” Hebrews delivers warnings, reminding its readers, Stewart says, to “take the Word of God very seriously.” Stewart believes Hebrew’s target readers were Ebionites, an early Christianized Jewish sect that took Jesus as the Messiah but not as divine. To Stewart, this group resembles those who, professing Christianity, drift away when the going gets too tough. Perseverance in faith is the central focus of the book of Hebrews. “It’s how you finish” that counts.

Stewart, an enthusiastic explorer of the Bible, has structured her book as a learning tool. She harks back to Old Testament prophecies and events to underscore the essential change in religious vision that came to distinguish Christianity from older beliefs and that gave Hebrews its prophetic quality. Her chapters scan the Biblical book from beginning to end, with a simple outline of the text as an appendix. For her readers, she poses various questions in each chapter, leaving blank spaces for their answers, but she does not always include the answers in her text, making her readers think for themselves. A reader from another faith or even a Christian seeking factual information regarding the Biblical narrative will be challenged by this open-ended methodology. One can envision from this design that Stewart’s book will best be utilized with the Bible at hand as a source and in a group study setting where participants could answer and discuss the questions raised.

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