Michael Kruger, President and Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, has written the Hebrews volume in The Good Book Company’s For You commentary series, one intended to read, feed, and lead you through books of the Bible.
- Read—you can read the book as you would a normal book. Kruger explains the themes, encouragements, and challenges of Hebrews.
- Feed—You can use this for your personal devotions or for your own study.
- Lead—You can use this to lead a Bible study.
I’ve listened to some lectures from Michael Kruger on the Gospels before, and Kruger has a skill of simplifying the complex. This is an essential skill for a book like Hebrews, a book many pastors think is one of the toughest to preach from. This book is specifically for people who have no understanding of the biblical languages nor a high level of biblical knowledge. People or busy. Not many have time to delve into four different commentaries on Hebrews to understand a passage.
Verse references are marked in bold, and any words used rarely in everyday language outside of the church are marked in gray. Both the letter to the Hebrews Kruger’s volume are thirteen chapters long. Kruger sometimes covers only one chapter of Hebrews, but most of the time he covers a chapter and a half, following the structure and argument of Hebrews.
Hebrews was written to a people who once felt they “had a grip” on Jesus and his magnificence. But they began to face trouble and were slowly drifting away, becoming dull to his glory. This is something many of us can relate to, even if we aren’t being persecuted. We’re disappointed that certain dreams haven’t happened, we’re tired of the daily humdrum. Where is the glory? The beauty? It’s easy to look somewhere else and think, “That looks better.” hebrews was written to remind us of how Jesus is better than everything. That’s right, every single thing.
Kruger notes that we don’t know the author, but that the teachings found in Hebrews come from (and agree with) apostolic teaching. Hebrews has many strange texts that really don’t seem relevant for us today. Animal sacrifices? Who wants to go back to that? What part of the Old Testament law still apply and which parts don’t? Hebrews (and Kruger) help us understand the Bible’s story—the redemptive history. That means the history of how God has redeemed and will save his people.
The study guide for Kruger’s volume comes with 8 studies and a Leader’s Guide. It provides questions for you to “talkabout” in your group, such as “What things make it difficult to trust God and his promises?” It gives you a text to investigate with questions to guide you. If you want you can explore more and see how that passage relates to other sections of the Bible (so Abraham in Hebrews 6:13–18 and in Romans 4:11–12, 16–18). There are a few more questions to help you think through how to apply the text personally, and then a time to pray at the end. The Leader’s Guide at the end guides you through the text to understand it and the questions. Really, I think this guide is great for your personal devotions. Having questions that help you think through your faith are invaluable. Take up and read!
I think these two books would be very helpful to any lay-level Christian trying to understand the letter of Hebrews. Kruger uses good illustrations (such as from The Chronicles of Narnia in relation to Hebrews 6:1–4), he asks good questions, and he keeps Jesus at the center. Jesus is better than everything, and all else is just a shadow compared to him. He is the true substance who gave a better single sacrifice that actually cleanses us from our sins. He is our Savior and our brother who intercedes for us and is our model to follow.
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