Today, most scholars admit that we don’t know who wrote Hebrews. However, the church’s opinion about the identity of the author has changed over the centuries. 

Quick history of Church’s Opinion

No evidence from the first century exists today. Support for Paul as the author grew in the eastern church from the 2nd through the 4th century. The western church resisted Pauline authorship until late in the 4th century. Then in A.D. 419, at the Sixth Synod of Carthage, the church officially assigned Hebrews to the list of Paul’s epistles. (Also see “Who Wrote the Bible and Why Does it Matter?” and “8 Tips to Help You Understand the Epistles.“)

During the Reformation in the 16th century, John Calvin and Martin Luther reopened the debate by challenging Pauline authorship. For the last 500 years, scholarly suggestions for author have included Barnabas, Luke, Apollos, and the husband and wife team Aquila and Priscilla. 

Things we do know about who wrote Hebrews

Although the author does not name himself, clues pack the letter. Consider the following details and characteristics:

  • Received the gospel from those who had heard Jesus, not Jesus Himself (2:3)
  • Knew the recipients personally (13:7, 17, 18, 22)
  • Knew Timothy and possibly ministered with him (13:23)
  • Primarily quoted from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures
  • Well-versed in the Septuagint, Jewish customs, and OT Scriptures
  • Highly educated with an excellent command of Greek
  • Different writing style than any other New Testament author
  • Dynamic preacher
  • Demonstrated a pastor’s heart for the spiritual well-being of his flock

Facts against Pauline Authorship

If we don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews, why not Paul? Although a small possibility, the evidence in the letter heavily supports someone other than Paul. Consider these facts:

  • The writing – Scholars readily admit the grammar and phraseology are different than Paul’s. When I read Hebrews, even my ears hear the difference. Additionally, the elegant Greek is unlike any of Paul’s letters.
  • No authentication – Hebrews includes no author identification or signature. But in 2 Thessalonians 3:18, Paul wrote that he signed every letter in his own hand to prove it genuine.
  • No eyewitness claim – The author described himself as a “second-generation” Christian (2:3), which directly conflicts with Paul’s own testimony. Paul saw Jesus face-to-face (1 Corinthians 9:1) and received the gospel straight from Him (Galatians 1:11-12).  

We can surmise that the author of Hebrews was likely a highly educated, Jewish Christian raised outside of Palestine. He was a “second-generation” believer who came to faith in Christ through the testimony of eye-witnesses. This elegant orator and gifted teacher loved God’s people and longed for their spiritual maturity. We may not know his name, but God does.

Two Ways to Study Hebrews

  1. Reading the Bible Together This ongoing, closed Facebook group will begin reading and studying the Book of Hebrews. The introduction will post on Saturday, April 27. The daily readings and discussion questions will begin on Monday, April 29. The study is conducted through written posts in the FB group. Readings and questions post Monday through Friday only. There is no set time frame, simply stop into the group when it works for you. This group is for women only. To join, follow this link, request membership, then answer the 3 questions. The group is free. However, for this study, you may want to purchase the optional book “Deep Rooted: Growing through the Book of Hebrews.”
  2. Deep Rooted: Growing through the Book of Hebrews– Check out my newest book! This 4th volume of the meaty Deep Rooted devotional series takes you through this book of the Bible in 40 days. The book uses a simple inductive study method to help you understand and apply the eternal truths in this beautiful book. Find out more about the book here or see it on Amazon.

Let’s talk! Have you ever read or studied the Book of Hebrews? If so, what did you learn or how did it impact your faith?

Titus Bible Study

Join Kathy's mailing list to receive a free mini Bible study on the book of Titus.

Success! Check your inbox for the download link.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This