| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 34 - Page 47 of 261 Index | Zoom | |
Comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
(A series of comparisons between the epistles to the Hebrews and
to the Ephesians in relation to their respective spheres and callings.)
#1. The presence and absence of the name "Paul" in the two epistles.
pp. 77 - 80
In the course of our witness, the two great epistles Ephesians and Hebrews have been
given a fairly comprehensive exposition. Readers who desire positive teaching
concerning them are therefore referred to "The Berean Expositor", Volume II/III - XIV
for Ephesians and Volumes VIII - XX for Hebrews. Our object now, however, is not of
the nature of what is positive but comparative. We desire to institute a comparison
between the two epistles in order to demonstrate thereby the peculiar character of their
separate callings, and so by this method allow them to speak for themselves. As the
matter of authorship does not enter the present controversy, we could assume that
Hebrews was written by the apostle Paul, but the very fact that such a matter is at all
controversial causes us to halt, for here is a feature that, in itself, demands examination
and challenges comparison. In the circumstances we shall make it a first point of
It is agreed by both sides in this controversy that Paul is the author of fourteen of the
N.T. epistles, and in thirteen of them his name is found in the first verse of the first
chapter. In nine the title "apostle" is found accompanying the name Paul, those which
omit the title being Philippians, I and II Thessalonians and Philemon. The omission of
the title from these four latter epistles is accounted for by the circumstance that they do
not come from Paul alone, but bear the names of others with him, "Paul and Timotheus"
(Phil. 1: 1), "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus" (I and II Thess. 1: 1). Philemon is a
private letter, consequently Paul omits his official title, calling himself "A prisoner of
Jesus Christ" and "such an one as Paul the aged", for he is pleading for compassion
rather than commanding obedience as an apostle. Nevertheless, despite the absence of
the title, it would be easy to demonstrate from these four epistles that Paul was
nevertheless an apostle.
When we turn to the epistle to the Hebrews, no reference to Paul, by name, is found
either in the salutation or in the body of the epistle, but that the Hebrews to whom the
epistle was written knew the identity of the writer is evident, for, toward the close of the
epistle, he said: "Pray for us . . . . . that I may be restored to you the sooner"
(Heb. 13: 18, 19). "Timothy" is also closely associated with the writer (Heb. 13: 23),
and the epistle ends with the words "Grace be with you all. Amen.", a salutation which
constituted the token of Paul's authorship in each of his epistles, as he states in
II Thess. 3: 17, 18.
We can but conjecture the reasons that made Paul omit his name, but we have more
positive ground to stand on when we consider the omission of the title "apostle".