| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 36 - Page 101 of 243 Index | Zoom | |
the reader will find a satisfactory explanation in the series referred to. Our way is now
clear to approach the epistles of Paul, and this we hope to do in our next article.
Evidences for the Pauline authorship of Hebrews.
pp. 188 - 191
Having considered the historic portions of the New Testament, namely the four
Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, the next subject, if we continue in the canonical
order of the books is the epistle to the Romans. This epistle, as our readers know, is a
mighty system of theology in itself, but, even so, it belongs to a distinct group of writings
and can only be fully appreciated after its relation to the whole has been perceived. That
whole is the fourteen epistles written by Paul.
Eusebius, an ecclesiastical historian born 270A.D., confirms this for he wrote
"fourteen epistles are clearly and certainly Paul's". The one epistle concerning which
there has been difficulty in accepting Paul as the author is the epistle to the Hebrews. For
purposes that will be evident when the epistle is studied, neither the name of Paul nor his
apostolic office is mentioned, and this has opened the door for doubts and speculations.
Origen, born 185A.D., is often quoted as saying of the authorship of the epistle to the
Hebrews "what is the very truth of the matter, God only knows", but a fuller quotation
shows that he was not referring to authorship or substance:
"If I were to give my opinion, I should say, the phraseology and the texture belong to
some one relating the apostle's sentiments, and, as it were commenting on the words of
his master. If any church therefore hold this to be an epistle of Paul, let it receive
commendation on account of this; for it is not without reason that the ancients have
handed it down as being of Paul. Who wrote the epistle (graphes, penned it, or
committed it to writing) God (only) knows with certainty; but the report which has
reached us is, that some affirm it to be written by Clement, bishop of Rome; and some,
by Luke, who wrote the Gospel and the Acts."
Other writings of Origen can be quoted to show that he was not in a doubtful state of
mind regarding this epistle, he says, quoting Heb. 5: 12 "according to this, the apostle
says", and again "in the epistle to the Hebrews, the same Paul says", and in a homily
preserved in a Latin translation, he says "Paul himself, the greatest of the apostles,
writing to the Hebrews, says" and then quotes Heb. 12: 18, 23. Origen refers to the
opinion held "in ancient times". Who can these of "ancient time" be? He himself being
born in 185A.D. was only a little over a hundred years removed from apostolic times,
consequently as Hallet remarks:
"It is very certain, then, that the churches and writers who were ancient with respect to
Origen, had one common tradition, that St. Paul was the author of the epistle to the
Hebrews. And their testimony to this matter of fact cannot but be of great weight, since
those Christians who were ancients with respect to Origen, must have conversed with the
apostles, and at least with their immediate successors."