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Hebrews 1

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Hebrews 1:1

Book Comments:



The 21 New Testament epistles are generally divided into two groups.

1) The Pauline Epistles (13) Romans - Philemon

2) The General Epistles (8) Hebrews - Jude

The book of Hebrews is the riddle book of the New Testament. It contains the most perfect Greek of the Bible, yet it stands without telling us who the author is. It is as much a sermon as it is an epistle. In fact in the words of the author it is called a "word of exhortation" (or encouragement) in Hebrews 13:22, which is what a sermon is called in Acts 13:15 [Barnabas was called "the son of exhortation" or son of encouragement.]

There are those who believe that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews and would classify it with his epistles.


Why was the letter written? We see several things the author apparently wanted to accomplish. First, he wanted to encourage faltering Jewish Christians not to drift away from the message which they have heard (Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 5:12-14; Hebrews 12:1-2). Some seemed about to forsake Christ and the Gospel and go back to the Law of Moses.

And second, he wanted to encourage them to grow in their faith and not become stagnant (Hebrews 5:12- Hebrews 6:1).

Third, they should be prepared to endure persecution.

Fourth, the author endeavors to show the absurdity of forsaking Christianity and returning to the Law system (Hebrews 8:6 -23; Hebrews 9:13-15; Hebrews 10:1-4; Galatians 4:21).


The recipients of this letter were in a situation of extreme danger (Hebrews 10:32-34). Persecution was causing some to "forsake the assembly" (Hebrews 10:25). The recipients were making spiritual progress as they should but were still infants in the Lord (Hebrews 5:12 -6:3). They appear vulnerable to "diverse and strange teachings" (Hebrews 13:9) concerning food laws (Hebrews 9:10); and a tendency to view Christ as an angel (ch. 1, 2).


There are five great "exhortation" passages in the book where the writer exhorts them to hold to the Word that God has spoken through His Son (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2). In turning away from Christ and the Gospel there were in danger of:

Drifting from the Word -- 2:1-4

Doubting the Word -- 3:7 - 4:13

Dullness toward the Word -- 5:11 - 6:20

Despising the Word -- 10:26-39

Defying the Word -- 12:14-29

Key Word: "Better"

The book of Hebrews can be called the "BETTER" Book of the New Testament. The word "better" occurs some 13 times and apply describes the New Covenant in relation to the Old. The Dupont company had a slogan, "Building better things through chemistry." The slogan of Hebrews could well be, "Building better things through the blood of Jesus."

1. Heb. 1:4 made so much better than the angels Better Revelation

(a more excellent name) Better Name

2. Heb. 6:9 we are persuaded better things of you Better End

3. Heb. 7:7 the less is blessed of the better Better Priesthood

4. Heb. 7:19 the bringing in of a better hope Better Hope

5. Heb. 7:22 made a surety of a better covenant Better Covenant

6. Heb. 8:6 the mediator of a better covenant Better Mediator

7. Heb. 8:6 was established upon better promises Better Promises

8. Heb. 9:23 with better sacrifices than these Better Sacrifices

9. Heb. 10:34 in heaven a better and enduring substance Better Future

10. Heb. 11:16 but now they desire a better country Better Country

11. Heb. 11:35 they might obtain a better resurrection Better Resurrection

12. Heb. 11:40 provided some better thing for us Better Thing

13. Heb. 12:24 blood speaks better things than Abel’s Better Blood

(Abel’s blood cried vengeance, Gen. 4:10

(Christ’s blood speaks redemption)

Superior To The Prophets

The epistle exalts the person and the word of Christ. The first three verses sets forth this high and holy theme which is maintained throughout the entire book. Immediately it is demonstrated that Jesus Christ is superior to the prophets, men who were held in the highest esteem by the Jewish people and who had ministered in giving Israel God’s Word.

Christ was superior to the prophets in his person because he was the very son of God, and the "express image" of the Father (1:3). This carried the idea of "the exact imprint." It means that Jesus Christ is "the exact representation of the very substance of God" (See Colossians 2:9 and John 14:9).

Christ was superior to the prophets in his work. To begin with He is the Creator of the universe; for by Him, God "made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:2). Not only did Christ create all things by His Word (John 1:1-5), but He also upholds all things by that same powerful Word (Hebrews 1:3). "And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist hold together" (Colossians 1:17).

The word "upholding" (Hebrews 1:3) does not mean "holding up," as though the universe is a burden on the back of Jesus like Atlas is pictured holding up the world. But it means He is the God of Creation and providence who guides the universe on its course.

Christ is also the superior Prophet who declares God’s Word. The contrast between Christ "The Prophet" the other prophets of the Old Covenant are easy to see:


Of course, both the Old Testament and the Gospel revelation came from God; but Jesus Christ was God’s "last word" as far as revelation is concerned. Christ is the source, center, and the end of everything that God has to say.

Superior To The Angels

Hebrews 1:4-14 affirms that Christ is not only superior to the prophets, but also to the angels of heaven. Jesus wore a name no angel could wear, "son". As God and Creator He was to be worshiped (Hebrews 1:6), but no angel was to be. ("Firstborn" in the Bible does not always mean "born first." It speaks of rank and honor. God made Solomon the firstborn (Psalms 89:27) even though Solomon is listed tenth in the official genealogy of David, 1 Chronicles 3:1-5.)

Christ’s superiority to angels is seen in that he was served by them (Hebrews 1:7), and that He is Creator (Hebrews 1:10-12). Christ stands sovereign with the angels as servants even to us (Hebrews 1:13-14).

Superior Prophet, Priest, and King

Not only does Hebrews present Christ as superior to the Old Testament prophets (with Christ God’s Prophet today); but the Lord has a ministry as Priest. He "purged our sins" and this aspect of his ministry is detailed in chapters 7-10.

And also Christ reigns as King. He has sat down at the place of honor "on the right hand of the majesty on high." This too proves his Deity, for no mere created being could ever sit on God’s throne at His right hand!


- - - - - - -

Full Sermon Outline


Hebrews 2:1

1. Hebrews 2:1 KJV See also the ASV on this verse.

Two key words are prosechein and pararrein.

[See Barclay in the Daily Bible Study HEBREWS, p. 13]

a. A dead fish can drift drown stream but it takes a live one to go up stream.

b. Song: "throw Out the Lifeline." [read words]

2. Too often Christians and churches drift with the tide.

a. It is easy to be carried away by the forces of evil around us.

b. Like a rabbit on a drift in the river-- floating along-- taking it easy. 5:7)

(Rev_:5; Matthew 24:12; Ga

What Is Evidence That One May Be Drifting With the Tide?


One is beginning to drift if he is neglecting the assembly of the saints.

a. Hebrews 10:25 If you are a ’oncer’ "Give more earnest heed"

b Revelation 2:4 If you lose ’love’ it will be burden to attend.

(1) 41A-At C-5 "Not by Constraint"

(2) If you are habitually late, it is showing disrespect to God. If you intend to come, make up your mind good, and be here on time. Would you go late to catch a train!


a. Where is your desire? 1 Peter 2:2 "As newborn babes... that you may grow thereby."

b. If your’ve lost that desire, you’re drifting! Remember when you were first converted.


a. Word should always be abounding. 1 Corinthians 15:58 Doing more and more.

b. Work out your own salvation. Philippians 2:12. Minister can’t work for you.


a. We must give our whole self. Romans 12:1 We are not thinking of Christian dedication as we should.

b. We try to serve the Lord without it costing us anything. 2 Samuel 24:24.

c. We are not putting our treasure in the right place. Matthew 6:19-21.

d. Proverbs 3:9-10 We will be blessed as we give.

e. 88C-St C-7 xx When the Lord Pays Back. Proverbs 19:17 "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again." (Proverbs 19:17)

We shovel out, He shouvels in,...He uses bigger shovel.


a. I earnestly believe this is a great downfall. The more we will pray, the more spiritual we will be.

b. James 5:16 b. Effectual prayer availeth much.

(1) Don’t pray because they aren’t answered! Praying for wrong things perhaps. 88-Pra C-10 "Asking Properly"


a. Personal growth. Must hunger. Matthew 5:6. "Bless are they..."

b. Church growth. We haven’t been thinking of growing.


a. Not concerned personall.

Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."


a. Increasing interest in money and worldly posssession.

(1) Not being content with what we have. 1 Timothy 6:5-9. v.6 "But godliness with contentment is great gain." Hebrews 13:5 "Let your conversation be without coveteousness, and be content with such things as ye have."

(2) 87-At-Cnt C-2

b. Faling more in love with worldly pleasures.

Moses; Hebrews 11:25; (Luke 8:14) 2 Timothy 3:4 "...lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God."


a. Calls for faith in God. We know all things work for good, Romans 8:28.

b. Starinting on job without seeing end when you start.

(1) Our project..

(2) "Oh, ye of little faith" (Go forward! Back of 88C

c. Personally we cannot see our blessings.

(1) As others ee it 87-At-Ha C-5 If we could exchange eyes!

(2) How richly you are blessed, How would a man in India look at your? or africa?

(3) If you aren’t blessed one of two things:

1) you cannot see them, or

2) the Lord cannot see you from the world.

John 14:1 "Let not your hearts be troubled..."

Ill. "Never fear.... Trust God" The Chinesee who had one horse and one son.


Are you willing to trust your life and soul to God?

­_ _ _ _ _ _ _

- - - - -

Theme: Jesus Christ is worthy of your faith.

1. Jesus Christ is better spokesman than OT prophets, or angels.

2. Jesus Christ is better lawgiver - ch. 3

3. Jesus Christ is better Rest provider - ch 4

4. Jesus Christ is better High Priest - ch. 4-9.

Keyword: Better (13 x)


1. Temple still standing -cf. Hebrews 8:4

2. Recipients persecuted but not unto blood - Hebrews 12:4


1. Not Paul, cf. note Hebrews 2:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 3:17.

2. Unknown ?

See Notes on ASV - loose leaf file notes


1. A Superior Person - Jesus Christ 1:1-6

1) Prophets v.1

2) Angels - v.1-2

3) Moses - 3,4

4) Aaron - 5,6

2. A Superior Priesthood - Melchizedek - 7-10

1) Order - 7

2) Covenant - 8

3) Sanctuary - 9

4) Sacrifice - 10

3. A Superior Principle - Faith

1) Great examples of -- - 11

2) Endurance of -- - 12

3) Power of -- - 13

- - - - - - - - -


vv 1-4 A whole history of revelation.

Man’s understanding of God comes thru revelation.

Verse Comments:

Sundry times -- various, many parts and ways, fragmentary (Inference: Jesus gave the whole truth).

Verse 2

Hebrews 1:2

Last days -- Acts 2:17; 1 Peter 1:20, [Last day singular, - cf. John 6:39] Here, cf. Hebrews 2:5, see note at Acts 2:17.

His son -- Contrast of difference -- servant vs son.

worlds -- ages , Lod of the Universe.

Is v.2b - 4 a hymn?

Verse 3

Hebrews 1:3

Brightness -- shekinah - Exodus 40:34-35 & cf. Moss face.

Image -- "stamp" metaphor of a soul - Colossians 1:15.

Upholding -- Colossians 1:15

The word "upholding" (Hebrews 1:3) does not mean "holding up," as though the universe is a burden on the back of Jesus like Atlas is pictured holding up the world. But it means He is the God of Creation and providence who guides the universe on its course.

Verse 4

Hebrews 1:4

Better -- better revelation

Than the angels -- #1. Hebrews 6:9

A more excellent name -- better name, cf. a son, "Saviour" cf. ch. 4-5

Verse 5

Hebrews 1:5

Hebrews 5:5

** Seven O.T. citations in ch. 1. Five are from Psalms. OT scriptures are seen as having their fulfillment in Christ.

This day -- today, ref to day of his exaltation to right hand, cf v.3-4.

v.5b Ref to David’s adoption by God - Psalms 2:7, 2 Samuel 7:14

Verse 6

Hebrews 1:6

Firstborn -- Pre-eminence, as of a first born.

Verse 7

Hebrews 1:7

Contrast of Son & angels (messengers) Fm LXX, Psalms 97:7, Deuteronomy 32:43

Verse 8

Hebrews 1:8

In contrast the frail, growing old, and passing heaven and earth (v.11) the Son of God will live and reign forever!

Psalms 45:6-7, Daniel 7:13-14

Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:12-13, 1 Corinthians 1:24-25, Acts 2:30-36, Acts 4:14, Acts 8:4

Verse 9

Hebrews 1:9

Anointed -- anointed King - v.8b Hebrews 1:8

Verse 10

Hebrews 1:10

Verse 11

Hebrews 1:11

They shall perish -- ** This earth and heaven will end. 2 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Peter 3:9-12, (see Isaiah 51:6 and note.)

Psalms 104:2-4

The earth is "de-volving, not e-volving".

Verse 12

Hebrews 1:12

Verse 13

Hebrews 1:13

Footstool -- Psalms 110:1, Joshua 10:24.

Verse 14

Hebrews 1:14

To minister -- to serve,


Christ to rule -

Angels to serve -

Son vs Servant -

Difference of authority -

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Hebrews 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/hebrews-1.html. 2021.
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