Philip Allred, Keynote address: “He is able to succor [Boetheo] them that are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, 4:16)
Phil Allred identifies instructively with the pain and suffering of Jesus Christ, through which he learned obedience allowing him to run to the aid of "them that are tempted." The ancient audience to whom Hebrews was written was, like ourselves, in need and in danger. Yet through the sacrifice of all things, the highest forms of education and of eternal life will develop within our souls, as they did within the Savior's.
Del Clark recommends that anyone going through the ups and downs or the transitions of life should take Hebrews as their guide! Life is a risky proposition, but when you begin counting the mercies of God, you really don't know where to stop. That is the renewing message of Hebrews.
Kevin Christensen agrees that the temple was the preeminent background of Hebrews. But what does that mean? Temple-goers reading this book can find answers when they encounter, embedded within this text, the Atonement, the knowledge of the whole creation, Aaron, Melchizedek, faithfulness, the veil, the interception of our transgressions, and the invitation to "be at one" (Hebrews 13:1-3).
Brent J. Schmidt, Understanding Pistis: Trust Becoming Faithfulness (Hebrews 11)
Before reading Hebrews 11, any reader should listen as Brent Schmidt shows how the ancient concept of "faith" (in Greek, pistis; or in Latin, fides) has everything to do with faithfulness, active loyalty, trustworthiness, and covenant keeping. For the early Christians, faith was much more than simply a belief, an emotion, or a state of mind. Hebrews strives to help all people develop stable relationships and friendships, with God, with spouses, and with others, through faithfulness and fidelity.
Julie Smith sees Hebrews chapters 1-10 as "doctrinal," while chapters 11-13 are "devotional." Don't miss the grand finale of Hebrews. It is the "therefore, what" of this epistle. While many witnesses bear testimony of the truthfulness of the glorious promises made by the Firstborn of God, among those witnesses especially were women. Indeed, the primary witnesses of people being raised from the dead were women. One can readily agree that no one can be a Christian without taking the witness of these women seriously.
Matthew Grey puzzles over the question, was Hebrews written before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70, or was it written afterward? Readers today should not jump to conclusions about this, for differences between pre-70 Judaisms and post-70 Judaisms may not have been as immediate or as complete as has often been assumed. From a pre-70 perspective, the author of Hebrews may have been trying to persuade people not to rely on the practices of the Temple of Herod. From a post-70 perspective, Hebrew may be offering Jesus as the new High Priest replacing the old temple system. And indeed, Hebrews can be read from both of these perspectives.
Tom Roberts see forgiveness as the everlasting opportunity to get right with God. Jewish backgrounds of sacrifice, redemption, praise, covenant ratification, curses, ordinances, holy days, and many Jewish practices are referred to in Hebrews. They cumulatively bear witness that while early Christians may well have been in the Gentile world, they were not of that world, and neither should we be.
Avram Shannon, How Hebraic Is Hebrews?
Avram Shannon asks, "How Hebraic is Hebrews?" In reality, Hebrews resists easy categorization. The idea of "Jewish-Christianity" may not be a proper category. Thus Hebrews may be read legitimately from an eternal and dispensational point of view. Its principles cross boundaries. Its doctrines transcend time.
Richard Draper and Michael Rhodes, Panel Discussion
Richard Draper and Michael Rhodes, the authors of the forthcoming New Testament Commentary volume The Epistle to the Hebrews, share personal insights that research for the volume brought them. Rhodes tells how Jesus's sacrifice is "once for all" (hapax), a favorite word in Hebrews 9:27, 27; 10:2; 12:26, 27, meaning once for all time, for all reasons, and for all people. Other presenters at this conference share comments and respond to questions.