Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 1

How to understand the Old Testament

Hebrews 1:5

With this verse, the author of Hebrews begins his great work. His task is to show us Jesus in the Old Testament. The Old Testament means the 39 Bible books that already existed before Jesusí life on this earth. The New Testament means the 27 Bible books that the first Christians wrote.

For some Old Testament passages, the author of Hebrews shows us meanings that we do not expect. Christians believe that both the Old and New Testaments are Godís word (2 Peter 3:15-16). So, Godís Holy Spirit showed the authors of the New Testament what they should write. And when the author of Hebrews explains these Old Testament passages, he is not writing from his own imagination. Instead, the Holy Spirit is explaining the real meaning of Old Testament passages that originally came from him (the Holy Spirit). God, who wrote the Bible, is able to explain it.

So we use the Book of Hebrews when we want to understand the Old Testament. We use the Bible to explain the Bible. We do not use our own imagination. And we do not consider other peopleís ideas to be better than they really are. When we use the Bible properly, God himself is our teacher (Psalm 119:99-100; Psalm 119:33-34).

For these reasons, it will not surprise us if these first two passages seem not to be about Jesus. In fact, the author of Hebrews does not says that they are about Jesus. Instead, he asks us to think about a problem. These two passages are certainly not about angels (Godís servants). And we should think about the person whom the passages describe.

We will find those passages in Psalm 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14. And they seem to be about kings of Israel, from Davidís family. God had promised that he would have a special relationship with those kings. He would be like a father to them. He would defend their nation. He would defeat their enemies.

But there is more in these passages, because they describe something greater than the rule of Davidís family. In fact, 40 years after Davidís death, his family only ruled a small part of Israel. 400 years later, his familyís rule ended completely. But Psalm 2:8 says that Godís Son would rule the whole world. And 2 Samuel 7:16 says that his rule would never end. So these passages were not just about Davidís family. They are about Jesus, Godís Son, and his future rule.

That happens when we allow God to teach us his own word. We understand it better than we could ever imagine.

Next part: The angels worship Godís Son (Hebrews 1:6)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.