The book of Hebrews is a fascinating extended sermon that has guided and nurtured the church through many significant controversies throughout its history not only as a solution to a problem but also as a problem that still seeks a solution. The counsel to hold fast to the confession we received and the willingness to move forward onto that which we have not received is as relevant today as it was nearly two-thousand years ago. Noted theologian D. Stephen Long explores this captivating book and its invitation into a robust world beyond the assumption of today's scientific worldviews. Integrating doctrine, ethics, and politics, Hebrews aids the faithful of all generations to negotiate through troubled times.
The volumes in Belief: A Theological Commentary on the Bible from Westminster John Knox Press offer a fresh and invigorating approach to all the books of the Bible. Building on a wide range of sources from biblical studies and the Christian tradition, noted scholars focus less on traditional historical and literary angles in favor of a theologically focused commentary that considers the contemporary relevance of the texts. This series is an invaluable resource for those who want to probe beyond the backgrounds and words of biblical texts to their deep theological meanings for the church today.
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Customer Reviews for Hebrews: Belief Theological Commentary on the Bible [BTCB]
Review 1 for Hebrews: Belief Theological Commentary on the Bible [BTCB]
Stephen Long has made a valuable contribution to the Belief series of theological commentaries on the Bible. In it, he argues that the letter to the Hebrews is particularly important for contemporary readers because of the way it integrates doctrine, ethics and politics, and because of its metaphysical sophistication. We live in a world that has been flattened and disenchanted by the forces of secularism, but Hebrews reminds us of the world’s complexity. It also teaches us to read Scripture in light of Christ’s strange victory.
The commentary works through the text of the letter in a verse by verse manner. While not as detailed as some commentaries that focus on every nuance of the Greek text, Long surveys the major theological themes of the letter and examines them in some detail. The themes he focuses on are neatly summarized by his fivefold division of the letter: God Speaks (1:1–2:18); Christ: Faithful and Merciful High Priest (3:1–6:20); Priesthood and Sanctuaries (7:1–10:39); Finding Yourself among the Saved: Faith and Endurance (11:1–12:12); and, Concluding Paraklēsis and Theophanic Vision: Pursue Peace and Holiness (12:14–13:21).
There is a tremendous amount of helpful material in his commentary on the text. But I was particularly impressed by his ‘Further Reflections’ sections. These are two- or three-page asides in which he deals with the relevance of sections of the letter to particular contemporary theological issues. So, for example, he offers a very useful study of Protestant gnosticism and modernity. Other topics covered include infant baptism, canonicity, ‘Judaizing’, perfection and deification, the politics of the priest-king (a particularly interesting section in which he proposes Hebrews as a biblical alternative to Plato’s philosopher-kings), and apocalyptic.
Long’s commentary is not a substitute for a careful analysis of the text, but it does serve as a valuable theological complement to such an analysis. This will be a valuable addition to the library of every serious student of the New Testament.