Mystery:Did Jesus Write the Epistle to the Hebrews?

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The Epistle to the Hebrews is perfectly written at the highest intellectual level, and yet its authorship is a complete mystery. Not even modern, sophisticated analysis of authorship can suggest a plausible writer for this great work. Whoever wrote this apparently wrote virtually nothing else. Scholars agree that Paul certainly did not write this.

It was written after the Passion of Christ, as made clear by its references in the past tense to Jesus's work, yet before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

In contrast with all other epistles and letters in the New Testament, it is misnomer to call this the "Epistle" to the Hebrews. It is not a letter; there is no introduction, and it reads like a sermon. Nor was it formally addressed to the "Hebrews"; its teachings are for all.

Evidence that Jesus wrote it

Reasons to think so include:

  • the author quotes Jesus in the first person: "Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”[1]
  • this sermon appears identical to the sermon given by Jesus on the road to Emmaus, referring to Jesus in the third person. Given that Jesus said this sermon for two travelers, it makes sense that He would write his sermon down for the benefit of all.
  • by describing Hebrew culture in perfect Greek, this has Jesus' trademark intellectual style of overcoming ostensibly insurmountable barriers, analogous to His walking on water and turning water into wine.
  • the tone of authority is greater than in any other letter in the Bible, as in Hebrews 9:27: "It is reserved for men to die once, and then be judged."
  • this Epistle was written before any physical persecution of the disciples: "In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood." (12:4[2]) Stephen was martyred around A.D. 37, merely a few years after the Crucifixion of Jesus, so this Epistle was written before then. But there is indication to some afflictions having had occurred prior to this Epistle.[3] It is quite possible this Epistle was written prior to the Ascension, during Jesus's time here.
  • this Epistle uses the same distinctive phrase once used by Jesus as quoted in the Gospel of John, which reinforces the likelihood of his authorship.
  • the writing has a "striking purity of language and elegance of Greek style," and "is a treasure-house of expressions characteristic of the individuality of the writer," using "168 terms ... which appear in no other part of the New Testament, among them ten words found neither in Biblical or classical Greek."[4] There is not a single grammatical flaw in the entire work, despite its complexity.
  • it is a playful enigma: a message to Hebrews written in perfect Greek, a miracle of an intellectual nature. Why isn't this message to Hebrews in the Hebrew language? It shows that God does have a sense of humor, and a highly intellectual one, like the encounter on the road to Emmaus.
  • the substance of this work is a firsthand account of Jesus becoming man, subsequently crying out to God to save Jesus from real death, which God then did by intervening; only Jesus could have described this;[5] the work quotes Jesus' thought process, which only Jesus would know.
  • Jesus occasionally visited the Apostles during this time, but spent most of this time doing something else - perhaps writing this Epistle?
  • the Epistle was directed at the Hebrew population, which was Jesus's first priority in His ministry.
  • Jesus was surely capable of writing a great work, and there is no other known written work by Him.
  • It is fitting that Jesus would make one last attempt -- post-Resurrection -- to persuade the Hebrew people for whom His ministry was originally intended.
  • In light of the rejection of Jesus by some Hebrew leaders, it makes sense that Jesus would write a post-Resurrection letter to the Hebrew people anonymously.
  • The Epistle to the Hebrews is unique in its attempt to explain the concept of faith -- something that Jesus emphasized in His ministry, and perhaps only He could explain as this Epistle does.
  • Jesus spent 40 days on Earth between the Resurrection and the Ascension, and it is implausible that He did not continue His ministry in an effective way. Writing (or distributing) an Epistle is most plausible activity, given what had transpired.
  • Many have attributed the Epistle of James to a brother of Jesus, and if His brother wrote a letter, then why wouldn't Jesus?
  • Hebrews 5:5 quotes something that God said directly to Jesus, which no one else would know.
  • the sermon/writing was likely intended for an audience in Jerusalem,[4] which is where Jesus was most focused.
  • Hebrews 13:19 apparently refers to the return of Jesus in the first person: "But I beseech you, please do this, that I may be restored to you more quickly."
  • Unlike most other writings in the New Testament after the Gospels, there is no reference to post-Ascension events.
  • ancient manuscripts refer in Hebrews 13:21 to God working among "you", not "us", which is what Jesus (rather than a disciple) would say.
  • "Amen" was typically added later at the end of New Testament letters (and the Book of Revelation), which means that the ending following Hebrews 13:21 is almost certainly not part of the original. Someone probably thought this letter was by Paul (since disproven) and copied the the endings from his letters (see, e.g., Titus).
  • the father-son analogy to explain the nature of God (Hebrews 7:4) was a personal favorite of Jesus in explaining life.
  • in Hebrews 12:4, the distinction between the speaker and the audience with respect to shedding blood in resistance to sin would have likely been only by Jesus: "You have not yet shed blood in resistance and striving against sin."
  • any writing by Jesus would intentionally be anonymous, so that it does not eclipse the other valuable writings by disciples.
  • the Epistle to the Hebrews contains more warnings against apostasy than any other book in the Bible, as one might expect Jesus to emphasize. See Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-31, 12:15-29.

(add to list)

Objections -- and Rebuttals to the Objections

But of course there are many reasons which shed doubt on such an idea:

  • Jesus didn't leave any writings while he walked the earth. Therefore a note from the grave would have been doubly surprising for his pupils.
But this rebuttal is circular, assuming what it attempts to prove.
No, it just stresses the point how surprising this idea of Jesus's authorship is.
No, it would be more surprising if Jesus, as intelligent as He was, never ever ever wrote anything.
Pythagoras never ever ever wrote anything.
But scripts were plentiful in Jesus's time, and the importance of writing was widely recognized. The Old Testament relied on it.
  • Traditionally we expect God's word to be carved in stone, not scribbled on parchment...
But humor is no substitute for logical argument ...
Humor comes into place when there isn't any logical argument in the first place: your reasons are at best circumstantial, and the question "what did Jesus do during the forty days" is amusing - perhaps he had 39 days of a writer's block, and then started scribbling?
  • In light of the rejection of Jesus by some Hebrew leaders, it makes sense that Jesus would write a post-Resurrection letter to the Hebrew people not anonymously, as this would persuade them more easily.
No, it's clear that people who rejected Jesus when He was alive would not be persuaded by something attributed to him after the Passion for Christ.
So, why writing then at all?
Because Jesus would not have simply given up.
  • The idea of the authorship Jesu doesn't fit the first verses of the letter, where the author takes the position of one to whom God spoke in his Son:
But in these the Last Days He has spoken to us through His Son, whom He determined to be the inheritor of everthing, the Son, by whom He made the worlds, Hebrews 1:2
  • The idea that this letter was written before the Ascension is ridiculous and stems from ignorance: the last verses include greetings from "those in Italy"...
The last verses could have been added later. By Martians. I mean, if youe're going to make wild suppositions and treat them as serious claims, why hedge your bets?
See the explanation above. The final verses that mention Italy were added after the final "Amen", which itself was an addition to several letters and the Book of Revelation, signifying "The End."--Andy Schlafly 12:24, 5 November 2012 (EST)
Even if we suppose that the words "those in Italy" were part of the original, who's to say they weren't authored by Jesus? Jesus is The Word made in flesh, there's nothing to prevent him from going to Italy and than quickly coming back to the Galilee during the 40 days before his Ascension. Sending an epistle from Italy would have also symbolized the universal message of Christianity - an epistle to the Hebrew is sent in Greek from Italy, the center of Latin culture. - Markman 14:55, 18 August 2013 (EDT)
  • There is zero archeological or documentary evidence to support such a claim.
No such evidence would be expected for a one-time sermon or epistle.

Rebuttals in detail

  • "the teaching is virtually identical in style and substance to the one made by Jesus on the road to Emmaus as described in the Gospel of Luke (Translated), which He likewise did while appearing to be someone else, and while speaking about Himself in the third person."
Contra: This statement is not only counterfactual - it doesn't fit into Aschlafly's line of reasoning, neither: Aschlafly himself states the epistle is very much different in style from the other parts of the New Testament. As for the substance of the teachings: "The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and His Divine mediatorial office." (from the source used by Aschlafly). Needless to say that e.g., the Jesus's status as a high-priest isn't mentioned on the road to Emmaus.
Pro: Why wouldn't Jesus mention his status as a high priest, when addressing a Hebrew audience???
Contra: You are missing the point: you claim that the "teaching is virtually identical in [...] substance to the one made by Jesus on the road to Emmaus" - but you are not able to show that!
Pro: It was the same sort of explanation -- the same style -- as the Epistle to the Hebrews, as inferred from the account of the discussion on the road to Emmaus in the Gospel of Luke.
Contra: You write Hebrews 5:5 quotes something that God said directly to Jesus, which no one else would know. . But if Hebrews is virtually identical in substance to the teaching on the road to Emmaus, the author of the epistle could have taken those somethings from reports of the encounter.
  • the writing has a "striking purity of language and elegance of Greek style," and "is a treasure-house of expressions characteristic of the individuality of the writer," using "168 terms ... which appear in no other part of the New Testament, among them ten words found neither in Biblical or classical Greek."[4] There is not a :Contra: God isn't the only one with decent grammar! This shows only that great intellects were attracted by Christianity even in the early years (as later was Augustinus). BTW: As the German language, Greek allows for an easy creation of new words. See e.g., ἀνασταυρόω : this word is uniquely used in the epistle and means "to crucify again" - its just a merge of ἀνα and σταυρόω. A German could speak of a "Zweitkreuzigung" in a similar manner.
Pro: Not the very early years, when this Epistle was written. Jesus's work was not yet made available and known to intellectuals at this early time.
Contra: An extraordinary statement! Do you think that not one gifted, well educated man heard (and was touched) by the teachings of Jesus in the early years?
  • it is a playful enigma: a message to Hebrews written in perfect Greek, a miracle of an intellectual nature. Why isn't this message to Hebrews in the Hebrew language? It shows that God does have a sense of humor, and a highly intellectual one, like the encounter on the road to Emmaus.
Contra: The author could choose between Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew. Why shouldn't he write in Greek? Obviously he mastered the language very well (perhaps better than Aramaic and Hebrew), and Greek was spoken throughout the whole Roman empire.
Pro: The reason why it surprising to be in Greek is because the audience primarily spoke Hebrew.
Contra: Did his audience "primarily spoke Hebrew"? Are you sure? Did the author address the priests - or perhaps traders, scholars, even carpenters, etc.? To quote you: "For teaching purposes, the powerful Greek language would have been useful. Greek was in common use by Jewish people in Palestine, thanks in part to the conquest by Alexander the Great. Greek was even widely used in Jewish ossuaries to bury the dead. Commerce took place often in Greek, and Jesus had been in business as a carpenter. He surely knew the language. Several of the key terms, such as Jesus' criticism of the Pharisees as "hypocrites", is derived directly from Greek without any comparable term in Aramaic or Hebrew."
Pro: The Epistle is obviously directed to those well-versed in the Hebrew scriptures, which means Hebrew was their first language. Why would anyone other than Jesus quote Hebrew scriptures for a Hebrew audience in perfect Greek???--Andy Schlafly 21:58, 10 December 2012 (EST)
Contra: As you said: For teaching purposes, the powerful Greek language would have been useful.
  • ...speaking about Himself in the third person'
Contra: The use of the third person for the author can be found often in classical literature. E.g., when we read
Caesar saw the horse.
it could well be that Caesar was the author of this sentence. But what's about
Caesar saw me.
Here it is obvious that Caesar is not the author, as we have an instance of the first person (me). The same holds true for the Epistle to the Hebrews. One example is Hebrews 3:6
Χριστὸς δὲ ὡς υἱὸς ἐπὶ τὸν οἶκον αὐτοῦ· οὗ οἶκός ἐσμεν ἡμεῖς ἐάνπερ τὴν παρρησίαν καὶ τὸ καύχημα τῆς ἐλπίδος μέχρι τέλους βεβαίαν κατάσχωμεν
Reading this, one sees that Christ is set over the house, while we (including the author!) are the house. A diligent study of the epistle reveals a couple of such examples.
  • ...the work quotes Jesus' thought process, which only Jesus would know.
Contra: If this logic were to hold true, it would mean that God was the author of Genesis. Along with every other event that is described in the Bible that no mortal man could have been witness to.

Historical considerations: Critical analysis

See Historical-critical method (Higher criticism)

The LETTER TO THE HEBREWS. The Book of Hebrews is a perfect supporting conclusion to the list of texts of OLD TESTAMENT Bible proofs that the long-expected Christ is Jesus.

This outstanding exposition of scripture, which also stands as one of the finest pieces of world literature, is best read within the context of the interpretation of everything written about Jesus in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms, as presented in Luke 24:44-48, and as apologetical literature written during the time setting between Acts 18 and 19, and as an encouragement to remain faithful in the context of the discouraging persecution being inflicted on the believers by the Jews John 15:20.
Andy Schlafly is persuaded that Jesus himself wrote this work during the 40 days he appeared to the apostles he had chosen, while he was with them and spoke of the kingdom of God, and that he left it with them—just as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel also entrusted their writings to their disciples, copies to be kept in earthen jars. See Isaiah 8:16; Jeremiah 36 and 51:59-60; Daniel 12:4, 9. This is fully in accord with the practical and material secondary meaning of 2 Corinthians 4:5-7, "We have this treasure in earthen vessels". See Dead Sea scrolls.
Hebrews is written to the whole church as an encouragement to every follower of Christ to remain faithful during the persecutions they were already facing from the Jews and in the coming persecutions from the pagan nations which were certain to occur in centuries to come (Matthew 5:11-12; John 15:18-20). The same message of encouragement to persevere and remain faithful in the face of terrible persecution of Christianity is presented in the Book of Revelation.
The claim that Hebrews is from Jesus himself who is the perfection of God (Hebrews 1:3; 6:26; Colossians 1:19), is a highly controversial claim never advanced before the 21st century, based on the critically attested grammatically perfect Greek of the text. This claim was met with universal rejection by biblical scholars and theologians the moment it was publicly proposed. No mention of Jesus composing or dictating any writing is found in any early Christian writings or commentaries on scripture from the second century onward, other than the apocryphal Letters of Christ and Abgarus.
Everything in the Book of Hebrews and the Gospels that could only have been known to Jesus he disclosed to his disciples during the forty days after his resurrection when he appeared to them, and spoke of the kingdom of God. They in turn shared this knowledge with their disciples in word and in writing. Matthew 10:27; Mark 4:22; Luke 12:2-3; John 16:12.
Among the various authors of Hebrews historically proposed since the second century are Paul, Priscilla, Barnabas, Apollos, Timothy, Epaphras, Silas, Philip, Clement of Rome (Philippians 4:3), and others.
See multiple commentaries on Hebrews (biblehub.com).
See the following five articles:

"but in these days he has spoken to us by a Son" Hebrews 1:2. Third person reference to Jesus.

This verse poses a difficulty for those who claim that this epistle was written by Jesus Christ Himself: He (God) has spoken to us (men, including the writer) through His Son (Jesus Christ) - which implies that His Son and the writer are different entities.
But upon closer investigation one realizes that many early Apostles, in imitation of Jesus, spoke about themselves in this modest style of using the third person, as when John referenced himself as the "One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23, ESV) and Mark referenced himself as "but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked." (Mark 14:52, ESV) Jesus himself, of course, frequently referred to himself in the third person as in the phrase Son of Man.
On the other hand, there is no other example where Jesus or an Apostle spoke about himself using both the first and the third person in the same sentence!
The strongest internal textual evidence against Jesus being the author of the Letter to the Hebrews during the forty days he appeared to the disciples and spoke of the kingdom of God is in Hebrews 1:3, which says (past tense), "When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high...". (RSV) Conservative Bible scholars carefully consider the following facts in assessing the claim that Jesus is the author of Hebrews. On the day Jesus ascended into heaven and the disciples stood gazing into heaven as he went, "two men stood by them in white robes, and said, 'This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.' " (Acts 1:11 RSV). Peter later testified to the Jews that Jesus is "...the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets...". (Acts 3:20-21 RSV). There is no evidence in scripture that Jesus after having ascended into heaven "and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" descended to earth in a second coming to write this document. The writer explicitly refers to the fact that Jesus "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high" as being an already accomplished fact before Hebrews was written. Compare Acts 1:11 (already cited) and the following supportive texts:
  • "But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God". Acts 7:55.
  • "...their Master and yours is in heaven..." Ephesians 6:9.
  • "...our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." Philippians 3:20.
  • "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:4.
  • "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." Colossians 4:1.
  • "...wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come." 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
  • "For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God." 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
  • "...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire" 2 Thessalonians 1:7.
  • "But when Christ appeared as a high priest...he entered once for all into the Holy Place...thus securing an eternal redemption.'" Hebrews 9:11a, 12.
  • "For Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf...so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him." Hebrews 9:24 and 28.
  • "But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, then to wait until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet." Hebrews 10:12-13.
  • "For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death." 1 Corinthians 15:25-26.
  • "...Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him." 1 Peter 3:21b-22.
  • "...whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old" Acts 3:21.
  • "he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:31.
In answer to the objection that the ascension of Christ into heaven is presented in Hebrews as a past event, supporters of the claim that Jesus is author of Hebrews can point to the Bible pattern of prophetic writing which includes the Semitic manner of referring to a divinely guaranteed future fulfillment as having already been accomplished, because it is an absolute certainty. The divine guarantee of the future is written in the past tense. Thus, Jesus as author of Hebrews is argued as having written in the past tense of his own future ascension to the glorious throne of God the Father as an already accomplished reality. See the following article:
Against the authorship of Jesus there are also those passages all through the Letter to the Hebrews, emphasized in boldface here, that Jesus cannot be saying of himself, even in referring to himself in the second and third person. The words "we, us, our" include the speaker and would need to be changed to "you" and "your":
  • "spoken to us by his Son" Hebrews 1:2
    (spoken to you by his Son)
  • "purified us of our sins" Hebrews 1:3
    (purified you of your sins)
  • "we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away" Hebrews 2:1
    (you ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps you drift away)
  • "how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation...confirmed to us by those who heard" Hebrews 2:3
    (how will you escape if you neglect so great a salvation...confirmed to you by those who heard0
  • "whose house we are, if we hold fast" Hebrews 3:6
    (whose house you are if you hold fast)
  • "Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy" Hebrews 4:16
    (Let us together therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that you may receive mercy)
  • "where as a forerunner Jesus entered for us" Hebrews 6:20
    (where as a forerunner Jesus entered for you)
  • "For Christ has not entered into holy places made with hands, which are representations of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" Hebrews 9:24
    (...now to appear in the presence of God for you)
  • "Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us...let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience" Hebrews 10:19-22
    (Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for you...let us together draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having your hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience)
  • "let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus" Hebrews 12:1-2a
    (let us together also, seeing you are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles you, and let us together run with patience the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus)
  • "Through him, then, let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually" Hebrews 13:15
    (Through him, then, offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually)
  • "Pray for us" Hebrews 13:18
    (Pray for the brothers)
Probably the best scriptural response to the above objection is found in the words of Jesus in the Lord's Prayer and his word to Saul on the road to Damascus:
  • "Our Father...give us this day...forgive us our debts...lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" Matthew 6:9-13, also Luke 11:3-4.
  • "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me" Acts 9:4.
In support of the argument that Jesus is the author of Hebrews by dictation to his chosen amanuensis (just as Tertius wrote Paul's letter to the Romans, 16:22), is the fact that Jesus after having ascended into heaven appeared to chosen individuals on earth, including John, who at Jesus' command wrote the Book of Revelation. See the following texts:
  • "...he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ..." Acts 9:4.
  • "Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision..." Acts 9:10-17.
  • "...I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and bear witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you...". Acts 26:16.
  • "Now write what you see, what is and what is to take place hereafter." Revelation 1:19.
  • "And he who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this...' " Revelation 21:5.
A reasonable counter-argument to this response is the fact that every extant manuscript witness of the text of Hebrews, unlike the witness of the text of Revelation and the accounts of Jesus' appearances in Acts, lacks witness to any appearance of the Lord Jesus for the purpose of commanding the writing of this sacred text.
This leaves the Holy Spirit as the author of Hebrews, testifying to Jesus, and revealing things no man could have known, in accordance with the promises Jesus made on the night he was betrayed:
  • when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me" John 15:26.
  • I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." John 16:12-14.
This might account for the lack of an opening greeting with an identification of the author. However, the Book of Revelation does include an opening greeting "from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne". The appended comments at the end (Hebrews 13) would thus be the personal words of the writer of the message, which of themselves can stand alone as "my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly."
"Briefly"! The body of the Letter to the Hebrews is not "brief", even by the ancient standards of public oratory or any public address at any time in history. It is about the same length as 1 Corinthians and longer than 2 Corinthians. Only Romans and Revelation are longer than Hebrews. Its length is more than double any one of the lengthy speeches in the works of Josephus, Antiquities and Wars. The whole Book of Hebrews, thirteen chapters, takes about a half hour to read aloud. In contrast, the First Letter of Peter, which is "written briefly to you" (5:12), is only five chapters, fewer than 2,340 words (the RSV text of 1 Peter is exactly 2,338 words). And Hebrews is more than two and a half times the length of 1 Peter "written briefly to you". This internal textual evidence gives substance to the suggestion that the end of Hebrews, possibly all of chapter 13, is a brief addition to the work by another writer. The style of writing in chapter 13 is similar to Paul's admonitions to believers in other letters. The suggestion that Paul took Hebrews and forwarded it to another assembly with his apostolic approbation and approval, and that he added comments of his own by attachment, is purely speculative, lacking any textual support. This might, however, explain why Hebrews was traditionally attributed to Paul, apart from the fact that it was usually included with collections of his writings.

The most substantive argument against the claim that Jesus wrote Hebrews is the historical evidence from silence.

This is not, however, an example of the logical fallacy of an "argument from silence".
A writing by Jesus himself would surely rank among the most important pieces of literature in the history of writing, and would certainly have been highly revered and preserved by the Apostles and their successors as one of the greatest treasures of Christianity. Hebrews would have been the primary Handbook of the Apostles. They would have given it first place, even before the Gospels themselves, as being authored by the Lord Himself, just as the Bible is treasured and revered by Christians today as the word of God, in first place above all other books ever written.
None of the writings of the New Testament refers directly to Hebrews as the writing of Jesus; yet Peter refers by name to the letters of Paul, and Jude refers in general to the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints and by name he quotes Enoch. Moreover, Hebrews was not one of the protocanonical books of the New Testament, but was long disputed as one of the deuterocanonicals.
In all of the centuries of Christianity prior to the 21st century, no discussion of the possibility of the authorship of Jesus is mentioned, discussed, debated, denounced, supported or insisted upon, by any writer, Bible commentator, apologist or controversialist, Christian, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Independent, heretic, non-Christian, pagan, agnostic, or atheist, at any time from the First Century through the Twentieth Century.
In matters of dispute over Christian doctrine, when analytical appeal to the whole of the scriptures of the Bible is inconclusive on the basis of sola scriptura, evidence of the constant and consistent tradition of Christian thought and teaching has usually been determinative. But there is no suggestion in Christian tradition that Jesus wrote Hebrews. The total lack of any discursive historical evidence that anyone has ever suggested that Jesus is the real author of Hebrews, appears as a compelling argument against the proposition that Jesus wrote Hebrews.
However, an intuitive perception that Jesus himself is speaking and admonishing us to remain faithful to our calling as Christians throughout the book of Hebrews is just as equally compelling to the believer.

In conclusion, we have the following undeniable facts:

  • The author of Hebrews is historically unknown to us.
  • The message of Hebrews is not changed. Jesus is the Son of God, greater than angels, and whoever refuses to hear him and departs from him will be condemned to terrible punishment for having crucified him again by rejecting his sacrifice. Faithfulness to him in persecution even to death will have abundant compensation. Obedience to the leaders of his church is both a duty and an assurance of salvation. (See Hebrews 13:17 and commentary)

Links

References

  1. Hebrews 10:7 (ESV).
  2. ESV.
  3. Compare Hebrews 10:32-34 and 13:3 which testifies to their sufferings and physical abuse (Strong's numbers 3804 and 2347 and 2558: KJV "afflictions" hardship or pain, and "afflictions" pressure, anguish, burden, persecution, tribulation, and "adversity" maltreat, torment).
    See text analysis: Hebrews 10:32, 33, 34 and 13:3
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Catholic Encyclopedia
  5. Jesus "offered up prayers and heartfelt stirrings with loud cries and tears to Him having the power to save Him from death, and He was heard, for he feared God."