When We Don’t Get Credit for What We Do
As a child someone told me that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews. This has stuck with me, and I still consider Paul as the book’s most likely author. But as I look for confirmation of this early lesson, I find little support.
Though initially attributed to Paul, that assumption fell out of favor centuries ago. Some Bible scholars suggest that Barnabas or Apollo wrote Hebrews. They had the religious pedigree to address the letter’s deeper Jewish topics.
Less likely candidates include Luke, Priscilla, or Clement of Rome. Frankly, I have trouble warming up to any of these five candidates. I don’t see any of them as more likely than Paul.
But it would thrill me if Dr. Luke, one of my favorite Bible characters, wrote the book of Hebrews. Even more appealing would be if Priscilla wrote it. Since all the books in the Bible come from men, having Priscilla as the author of Hebrews would stand as a delightful bonus.
In truth, the book of Hebrews does not indicate who wrote it. And nonbiblical sources give us no clarity.
Why Paul Could Have Wrote the Book of Hebrews
Paul certainly had the credentials to write a book of such depth. In addition, the book’s concluding text is similar to what Paul writes in his other books. Writing in first person, the letter’s audience knows who wrote it.
The author talks about restoration, implying he is in jail. He writes from Italy, likely Rome. And he talks about a partnership with Timothy. These things are all consistent with what we know about Paul.
But the fact remains that this is only speculation, and we don’t know who wrote the book of Hebrews. Why does this matter? It doesn’t, not really.
Sometimes we receive credit for the things we do for Jesus, and other times we don’t. Though this may matter to us, I doubt it’s that important to God. What matters to him is that we do our part to advance his kingdom. The credit rightly belongs to him, not us.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.