Wednesday, September 5, 2012

2012-2013 TBC Men's Bible Study - Lesson 02 - “The Better Messenger: Superiority to the Prophets” - Hebrews 1:1-4

Lesson 02        “The Better Messenger: Superiority to the Prophets”       Hebrews 1:1-4
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”) 
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.) 
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
1.      Read chapter one and then reread verses 1-4 several times (in a more dynamic version like the NIV9, NET Bible, or Living and in a more literal translation like the NASB9, NKJV, or ESV9.).  (Note that Hebrews 1:1-4 form one skillfully composed sentence in Greek even though most English translations break it up to make it more readable.)
2.      (CR)  Some commentators see a reference to Psalm 110.1 in verse three.  Since Hebrews 1:14 specifically refers to the same verse in Psalm 110, take a few minutes to carefully read Psalm 110 and make special note of verse one.
3.      (WS)  (1) Some versions say God spoke in various “times” and others translate polymerōs with words like “portions” or “parts.”  Look up the Greek word and look at the context.  What do you think?  Compare and contrast the God’s revelation through the prophets with His revelation through a Son.
4.      (CR)  (2) What is meant by the expression “in these last days?” (Joel 2.28-29; Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy3:1; 2 Peter 3:3)
5.      (ID)  (2b-3) List the things that these verses say about Christ.  Do you see any divisions or progression in the list (See page two of this lesson for an example.)?
6.      (ID)  (1-3) Indentify references to Christ’s role as Prophet, Priest, and King in 1:1-4.
7.       (ID)  (4) Verse four is a transition verse.  What is the main idea in verse four that verses 5-15 develop and expand on? 
The WALK: What should I do?
1.      If God has now spoken to us by His Son, why should we bother reading the Old Testament?
2.      How do these statements about Christ (2b-3) relate to our lives today? How do they impact our mindset and everyday decisions, words, and actions? 
3.      The word translated “image” or “representation” in verse 3 is the same Greek word that is the root for our English word character.  How well does your character represent Christ
4.      Thomas Constable writes that, “Some students of Hebrews have concluded that the writer did not identify himself or his readers because he wanted to make Jesus Christ primary in the readers’ thinking throughout this epistle.”  What are distractions that keep the Lord Jesus Christ from being front and center in our lives and in our Christian testimony?
Going Beyond with Scripture memory:  Memorize the 7 truths about Christ in verses 1:2b-3

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chi·as·mus  [kahy-az-muhs]  [-mahy]noun, plural chi·as·mi 
a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases, as in “He went to the country, to the town went she.”

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms by Chris Baldick provides a more complete description:
chiasmus [ky-AZ-mus] (plural -mi), a figure of speech by which the order of the terms in the first of two parallel clauses is reversed in the second. This may involve a repetition of the same words ("Pleasure's a sin, and sometimes sin's a pleasure" —Byron) or just a reversed parallel between two corresponding pairs of ideas … . The figure is especially common in 18th century English poetry, but is also found in prose of all periods. It is named after the Greek letter chi (x), indicating a "criss-cross" arrangement of terms. Adjective: chiastic.

An example is Matthew 23: 11-12.
A.    "Whoever exalts himself 
B.    will be humbled,
B'.    and whoever humbles himself 
A'.    will be exalted."

 Another good example comes from Genesis 9:6:
A.    Whoever sheds
B.   the blood
C.   of man
C'.   by man shall
B'.   his blood
A'.   be shed


Chiasmus in Hebrews 1:2b-3
George Guthrie, in The NIV Application Commentary on Hebrew, points out an example of a chiasmus in this week’s passage in Hebrews 1:2-3.  It helps give order and focus to a string of statement that, at first glance, can appear to be somewhat random.

A  Whom He has appointed heir of all things                                   enthronement
            B  through Whom also He made the worlds                         cosmic action
                        C  being the brightness of His glory                             relation to the Father
                        C’  the express image of His person                             relation to the Father
            B’  upholding all things by the word of His power             cosmic action
                 (when He had by Himself purged our sins)                        (descriptive - incarnation)
A’  [He] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High      enthronement

When you look at this pattern and think about the arrangement, it not only makes it easier to remember, but also helps add focus to the idea of who Christ is in relation to the Father.

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