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Q: #604. What are some similarities between Hebrews and Paul's Epistles?

     A: Since the author of Hebrews in the New Testament is not mentioned by name, there is an ongoing debate as to who wrote it. Traditionally, a majority have believed that Paul was the author (the heading for Hebrews in the KJV Bible is: “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews”). However, some have argued for possible authors such as: Barnabas, Luke, Silas, Apollos, Philip, and even Priscilla and Aquila.

     The number of studies written on this subject is HUGE, and I am not wanting to dive into that debate here. (I do touch on this in a bit more depth in my “New Testament Survey: Hebrews” if you are interested.) However, as I was reworking my NTS: Hebrews study, I came across a lot of similarities between what is written in Hebrews, and what Paul wrote in his Epistles. I thought it was “interesting,” so I decided to write this study showing the similarities I found. (Whether these similarities bolster the argument that Paul wrote Hebrews, I will leave for the reader to decide.)

#1. (Heb 12:1) likens our life to a “race,” as does Paul in (1 Cor 9:24,26).

#2. (Heb 13:20) uses the term “God of peace.” This term is used nowhere else in the New Testament except (Rom 15:33)(Rom 16:20)(2 Cor 13:11)(Phil 4:9)(1 Th 5:23).

#3. (Heb 13:23): The author singles out “Timothy” in his salutation. Paul mentions Timothy 17 times in 10 of his 13 Epistles.

#4. (Heb 13:25) closes with the salutation: “Grace be with you all. Amen.” This is found in some form in all of Paul’s Epistles: (Rom 16:24)(1 Cor 16:23)(2 Cor 13:14)(Gal 6:18)(Eph 6:24)(Phil 4:23)(Col 4:18)(1 Th 5:28)(2 Th 3:18)(1 Tim 6:21)(2 Tim 4:22)(Titus 3:15)(Phile 1:25).

#5. (Heb 10:34): The author says he is “in bonds (“chains”). No one else in the New Testament says they are “in bonds” except Paul (Eph 6:20)(Phil 1:13,14,16)(Col 4:3,18)(2 Tim 2:9)(Phile 1:10,13).

#6. (Heb 8:6)(Heb 9:15)(Heb 12:24) call Jesus the “Mediator” (Gr: “mesites“). Only Paul uses this word elsewhere in the New Testament (Gal 3:19-20)(1 Tim 2:5).

#7. (Heb 2:14) uses the term “flesh and blood.” Paul uses this term in (1 Cor 15:50)(Gal 1:16)(Eph 6:12). No one else in the New Testament uses this term but Jesus in (Mt 16:17).

#8. (Heb 5:12) contrasts a lack of spiritual maturity with “milk,” and spiritual maturity with “solid food.” Paul does the same in (1 Cor 3:2).

#9. (Heb 10:1) uses the term “a shadow of things to come.” Only Paul uses this phrase elsewhere in the New Testament in (Col 2:17).

     Secondly, it is interesting to note how many Greek words are used “only” by the author of Hebrews, and also by Paul in “one” of his Epistles (that Greek word being used nowhere else in the New Testament). Here is a list of these ( ***number in parenthesis = listing in Strong’s Concordance***):

Greek Word / MeaningVerses Found In
Gr: “philoxenia” (5381) = “hospitality”(Heb 13:2)(Rom 12:13)
Gr: “teleiotes” (5047) = “perfect”(Heb 6:1)(Col 3:14)
Gr: “memphomai” (3201) = “find fault”(Heb 8:8)(Rom 9:19)
Gr: “hilasterion” (2435) = “propitiation”(Heb 9:5)(Rom 3:25)
Gr: “sugkerannumi” (4786) = “mix together” (Heb 4:2)(1 Cor 12:24)
Gr: “stephanoo” (4737) = “to crown”(Heb 2:7,9)(2 Tim 2:5)
Gr: “kosmikos” (2886) = “worldly”(Heb 9:1)(Titus 2:12)
Gr: “hupenantios” (5227) = “adversary”(Heb 10:27)(Col 2:14)
Gr: “apolausis” (619) = “enjoy”(Heb 11:25)(1 Tim 6:17)
Gr: “dunamoo” (1412) = “to make strong”(Heb 11:34)(Col 1:11)
Gr: “paideutes” (3810) = “one who disciplines”(Heb 12:9)(Rom 2:20)
Gr: “orego” (3713) = “to yearn for”(Heb 11:16)(1 Tim 3:1)(1 Tim 6:10)
Gr: “hypostasis” (5287) = “confidence, substance, assurance”(Heb 1:3)(Heb 3:14)(Heb 11:1)(2 Cor 9:4)(2 Cor 11:17)
Gr: “tharrheo” (2293) = “confident, bold”(Heb 13:6)(2 Cor 5:6,8)(2 Cor 7:16)(2 Cor 10:1,2)

     Finally, here is a list of Greek words used “only” by the author of Hebrews, and also by Paul in “several” of his Epistles:

Greek Word / MeaningEpistles Found in
Gr: “plerophoria” (4136) = “full assurance”(Heb 6:11)(Heb 10:22)(Col 2:2)(1 Th 1:5)
Gr: “diakrisis” (1253) = “to discern, judge”(Heb 5:14)(Rom 14:1)(1 Cor 12:10)
Gr: “enistemi” (1764) = “to be present”(Heb 9:9)(Rom 8:38)(1 Cor 3:22)(1 Cor 7:26)(Gal 1:4)(2 Th 2:2)(2 Tim 3:1)
Gr: “adokimos” (96) = “castaway, rejected, reprobate”(Heb 6:8)(Rom 1:28)(1 Cor 9:27)(2 Cor 13:5,6,7)(2 Tim 3:8)(Titus 1:16)
Gr: “dokime” (1382) = “proof, trial, proven character”(Heb 3:9)(Rom 5:4)(2 Cor 2:9)(2 Cor 8:2)(2 Cor 9:13)(2 Cor 13:3)(Phil 2:22)
Gr: “anupotaktos” (506) = “rebellious, disobedient”(Heb 2:8)(1 Tim 1:9)(Titus 1:6,10)
Gr: “‘apeitheia” (543) = “disobedience, unbelief”(Heb 4:6,11)(Rom 11:30,32)(Eph 2:2)(Eph 5:6)(Col 3:6)
Gr: “parabasis” (3847) = “transgression” (Heb 2:2)(Heb 9:15)(Rom 2:23)(Rom 4:15)(Rom 5:14)(Gal 3:19)(1 Tim 2:14)
Gr: “nekroo” (3499) = “put to death”(Heb 11:12)(Rom 4:19)(Col 3:5)
Gr: “oiktirmos” (3628) = “mercy, compassion”(Heb 10:28)(Rom 12:1)(2 Cor 1:3)(Phil 2:1)(Col 3:12)
Gr: “oneidismos” (3680) = “reproach”(Heb 10:33)(Heb 11:26)(Heb 13:13)(Rom 15:3)(1 Tim 3:7)

     Keeping in mind the title of this study, this is “some” of the similarities between Hebrews, and Paul’s Epistles. While I spent several days going through an interlinear Bible, writing down any Greek words I thought “might” be unique to both Hebrews and Paul, and then looking up those words up one by one to actually find which were common to both, I certainly missed a lot. However, there is enough here to give the reader something to think about.

     In the process of putting together this study, I also ended up with a list of Greek words that are found ONLY in Hebrews, and nowhere else in the New Testament. That is the next question answered.

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