Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews

 Terrence L. Szink, “Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews” in How the New Testament Came to Be: The Thirty-fifth Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium, ed. Kent P. Jackson and Frank F. Judd Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006), 243–259.

Authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews

Terrence L. Szink

 

Terrence L. Szink was an assistant professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this was published.

 

Upon opening the Latter-day Saint edition of the King James Version of the Bible to the book of Hebrews, one reads the title, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.” What is the evidence that Paul was in fact the author of the epistle to the Hebrews? This chapter addresses that question by examining the text itself, early Christian traditions, and the statements of modern scholars and Latter-day Saint prophets.

Evidence from the Text

The author of Hebrews never identified himself as Paul or as any other person. In every other epistle attributed to him, however, Paul not only identified himself but did so in the first word. [1] In light of this, some have argued that if Paul in fact wrote Hebrews, he would have identified himself as he did in the other epistles. Clement of Alexandria (AD 160–215) explained that Paul did not attach his name to Hebrews because he was not liked or respected among the Jews, so “he wisely did not offend them at the start by adding his name.” [2] Clement also argued that since Jesus was sent to the Hebrews and Paul was an Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul did not use his name because of modesty and deference to the Lord. [3] It is not certain, however, that the intended audience for the epistle to the Hebrews was Jewish. Bart Ehrman suggests that based on the content of the epistle, the audience may have been Gentile Christians who were contemplating conversion to Judaism. [4] Furthermore, Romans, an epistle in which Paul did identify himself, was addressed to an audience that was at least partly Jewish. For example, Paul addresses those like himself who had Abraham as their father, “as pertaining to the flesh” (Romans 4:1) and “them that know the law” (Romans 7:1), meaning the law of Moses. If Paul did not hesitate to identify himself in Romans to an audience which was at least partially Jewish, either because of modesty or desire to avoid offence, why would he have done so in Hebrews?

Some scholars have pointed out significant differences between Hebrews and the other epistles of Paul, including diction (vocabulary choice) and themes. These differences were not just noted with the rise of modern biblical criticism; scholars in the early church recognized them. Thus Eusebius (AD 260–339) reported the conclusion of Origen (AD 185–251): “The diction in Hebrews does not have the rough quality the apostle himself admitted having [2 Cor. 11:6], and its syntax is better Greek. The content of the epistle is excellent, however, and not inferior to the authentic writings of the apostle.” [5] Many modern scholars agree with Origen’s assessment. Regarding diction, Craig Koester notes that the epistle to the Hebrews contains 154 hapax legomena, or words that appear only once in a corpus text—a number much higher than in the rest of the Pauline epistles combined. Furthermore, he and others have provided large lists of words that appear in Paul’s letters which do not appear in Hebrews, or that conversely are found in Hebrews but not in the other Pauline epistles. [6] For example, Bruce Metzger notes that Paul used the phrase “Christ Jesus” around ninety times, but that phrase does not occur in the text of Hebrews. [7] The fact that the author of Hebrews uses so many hapax legomena when compared to the rest of the Pauline epistles and that his vocabulary choices are so different can be used to argue that Paul did not write Hebrews. On the other hand, Eric D. Huntsman has explained that establishing a Pauline vocabulary is a difficult task; there are as many differences in the vocabulary of Romans as there are in Hebrews when compared to the other Pauline epistles. [8]

Eusebius also summarized Clement of Alexandria’s opinion regarding these problems: “The epistle to the Hebrews he [Clement] attributes to Paul but says that it was written in Hebrew for Hebrews and then carefully translated by Luke for the Greeks. Therefore the translation has the same style and color as Acts.” [9] F. F. Bruce points out one problem with this proposal. Not only are the Old Testament passages quoted in Hebrews all from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament (abbreviated “LXX”), but furthermore “the author argues on the basis of a LXX deviation from the Hebrew text” in at least two passages. [10] This would be equivalent to drawing conclusions about Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon not on the basis of the English text, but on a Spanish translation of the Book of Mormon and using a passage in which the Spanish differed from the English text. Had Paul originally written the epistle to the Hebrews in Hebrew, it is not likely that he would have made an argument based on a passage in a Greek translation of the text that was different from the original Hebrew. This argues strongly against the possibility of the text of Hebrews being a Greek translation of an original Hebrew text.

It is important in any discussion of diction and writing style to acknowledge that Paul used scribes to help write his epistles. The best evidence that Paul did not personally handwrite his epistles is his special mention of writing the final greeting with his own hand in 2 Thessalonians 3:17. The use of different scribes may have affected vocabulary choices and writing style of the epistles.

Some modern scholars have also pointed out some thematic differences between Hebrews and the other Pauline epistles. For example, Bruce Metzger notes that “Paul mentions the resurrection of Christ many times in his letters; here it is referred to only once.” [11] However, this particular thematic difference may not be as strong as Metzger concludes. In addition to the reference to the Resurrection of Christ cited by Metzger (Hebrews 13:20), there are two additional passages which refer to the resurrection in general (Hebrews 6:2 and 11:35). While the number of references to the resurrection in general in Hebrews pales in comparison to the number found in Romans, and there is no extended theological explanation of the resurrection such as is in 1 Corinthians 15, the three references in Hebrews exceed the number found in Galatians (1), Ephesians (2), Philippians (1), Colossians (2), 1 Thessalonians (2), 2 Thessalonians (0); 1 Timothy (0), 2 Timothy (2), Titus (0), and Philemon (0).

Bart Ehrman notes that “the way this author [of Hebrews] understands such critical terms as ‘faith’ (11:1) differs markedly from what you find in the writings of the apostle [Paul].” [12] Metzger explains this difference: “For Paul it is personal commitment to Christ, who makes the believer one with him; here [in Hebrews] it is confident assurance of God’s providential care, which undergirds the Christian’s certainty of spiritual realities.” [13] L. David Hurst, examining the ideas of faith in Hebrews and the other epistles, concluded that the differences are not as great as some scholars claim.

In both Paul and Hebrews there seems to be a similar intermingling of terms and ideas connected with the notion of faith. A certain overlapping may be found in other NT writers. But at least Hebrews and Paul are closer at this point than has been generally acknowledged. Many have attempted to “pin down” Paul and Auctor to one particular idea of faith and then contrast them. Such a method ignores that any given situation will inevitably bring to the fore certain nuances of an idea, nuances which, when given the same situation in Paul’s letters, appear there as well. Nowhere in the two writers’ treatment of faith does there appear to be enough closeness to indicate literary borrowing; but at least it can be said that the two writers reflect a similar, if not the same, intellectual milieu. [14]

For Latter-day Saints, these two ideas of faith are two sides of the same coin, and certainly not exclusive of one another. Thus our “personal commitment to Christ” brings with it a “confident assurance of God’s providential care.” [15]

Perhaps too much is made of these thematic differences. Certainly authors need not always write on the same topics. In 1 Corinthians 11:23–34, for example, Paul wrote of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In no other place does he mention this important doctrine. Should we conclude that 1 Corinthians was not written by the same person who wrote 2 Corinthians or Romans, or any of the other epistles because they do not mention the sacrament? If such conclusions should not be made regarding 1 Corinthians, care should be taken to not draw similar conclusions about Hebrews based on thematic differences.

Those who argue against Pauline authorship often cite another passage: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:3). Here the writer claimed that he had learned from others who had heard Jesus directly. In other epistles Paul adamantly claims that he had received the gospel directly from Jesus Christ, through revelation and not from any other person. In the epistle to the Galatians, he wrote, “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11–12; see Ephesians 3:3). Homer Kent responds, “This would not appear conclusive, however, for all will readily admit that Paul had not been an eyewitness of the miracles or of the preaching of Jesus, and thus had not the confirming testimony of others for these things. The statement does not speak of initial impartation of the message but of confirmation.” [16] Sidney Sperry adds that the “statements (Hebrews 2:3 and 13:7) simply exhibit a natural deference to those who were acquainted with and associated with the Savior during His ministry.” [17]

On the other hand, some items in the epistle may support Pauline authorship. Variations of the phrase “grace be with you all” conclude Hebrews and all of Paul’s epistles but are not found in any other New Testament epistle. The reference to Paul’s close associate Timothy in Hebrews 13:23 could be used to support Paul’s authorship. However, Timothy was a common name at the time of the composition of Hebrews, and there is no way to know if the Timothy mentioned is the one who worked with Paul. [18] Some have concluded that the reference to the author’s “bonds” in 10:34 and 13:3, along with the salutation from “they of Italy” (Hebrews 13:24), would make sense if Paul were writing while imprisoned in Rome. But again, these details may fit other authors as well. There are other similarities. [19] Other scholars have noted that there are “fifteen impressive convergences,” that show “a large amount of common ground to exist between Paul and Hebrews.” [20]

Modern non-LDS scholars are almost unanimous in rejecting Pauline authorship: Bart Ehrman explains that “modern scholars . . . are unified in recognizing that” Paul did not write Hebrews. [21] Raymond Brown writes: “The evidence against Paul’s writing Heb is overwhelming.” [22] After examining some of the evidence already cited, R. McLean Wilson concludes: “From this brief survey some conclusions may immediately be drawn: first, whoever the author was, he certainly was not Paul.” [23] Even the introduction to the epistle to the Hebrews in the relatively conservative New International Version Study Bible states that “since the Reformation it has been widely recognized that Paul could not have been the writer.” [24] Those few who have continued to maintain Pauline authorship for Hebrews are, certainly, a small minority. [25]

Early Traditions

The early Christian traditions about the authorship of Hebrews can be divided geographically into east and west. This section will briefly survey some of the opinions expressed in the early church regarding Paul and the epistle to the Hebrews. [26] The evidence will show that there has been no unanimous opinion regarding authorship. Some scholars have suggested that early Christians based their acceptance of Pauline authorship and canonicity of Hebrews on whether or not they agreed with the doctrines contained in it. [27]

East. Generally the Eastern Church, with its theological center in Alexandria, accepted Pauline authorship earlier than the church in the west, centered in Rome. [28] The earliest Christian writer to mention the issue was Clement of Alexandria, who argued that the stylistic differences are because Paul wrote in Hebrew and Luke translated those words into Greek.

The Chester Beatty Papyrus (P46) from Egypt is the oldest-known preserved text of the Pauline epistles and dates to approximately AD 200. [29] Generally, in canonical lists, the epistles of Paul are arranged roughly by size. [30] P46 reflects the Alexandrian tradition by placing Hebrews immediately following Romans, exactly where one would expect it if Paul had written it.

Eusebius believed that Paul was the author of Hebrews but acknowledged that this opinion was not universal. [31] However, not all in the East were in agreement. As noted above, the stylistic differences influenced Origen, Clement’s student, to such a degree that he finally concluded: “Who wrote the epistle only God knows. Traditions reaching us claim it was either Clement, Bishop of Rome, or Luke, who wrote the Gospel and the Acts.” [32]

West. The earliest reference to Hebrews could be in 1 Clement, an early letter (c. AD 96) traditionally ascribed to Clement, the third bishop of Rome, and addressed to the Christians in Corinth. [33] Many scholars have noted similarities between 1 Clement and a series of passages in Hebrews. Koester, for example has concluded that “1 Clement drew elements from several parts of Hebrews.” [34] The probability that 1 Clement knew and used Hebrews indicates, at the very least, that the author of 1 Clement considered Hebrews to be authoritative, yet it would not decisively prove Pauline authorship. [35] For example, because of the similarities between 1 Clement and Hebrews, Origen reports the suggestion that Clement of Rome and not Paul was the author of Hebrews. [36]

Most early church writers in the west did not accept Pauline authorship. [37] Tertullian (AD 160–225) felt that Barnabas had written Hebrews. [38] Eusebius reported that Gaius, a priest at Rome, “mentions only thirteen epistles of the holy apostle [Paul], not including that to the Hebrews with the rest, for even to this day some at Rome do not consider it the apostle’s.” [39] Although Eusebius believed that Paul was the author of Hebrews, he acknowledged that this opinion was not generally held in the West: “Paul was obviously the author of the fourteen letters, but some dispute the epistle to the Hebrews in view of the Roman church’s denial that it is the work of Paul.” [40]

Indeed, the Muratorian Fragment (c. AD 170–90), which contains a list of books considered canonical by the Western church at that time, does not mention Hebrews. [41] Other western writers knew of an epistle to the Hebrews, whoever they thought was the author, so it is likely that the author of the Muratorian Fragment also knew of the existence of Hebrews. Had the author of the Muratorian Fragment considered Paul the author, it is likely that he would have included it in his canon based on Paul’s apostleship.

F. F. Bruce suggests that Athanasius of Alexandria (AD 300–373) may have influenced how the Western church viewed Hebrews during his stay at Rome after his exile in AD 340: “It is probable that he persuaded the Roman Christians to fall into line with their eastern brethren in admitting the canonicity, if not the Pauline authorship, of Hebrews.” [42] Koester notes that the prestige of Hebrews increased as western theologians used it to fight the ideas of Arianism. As a result, ultimately Pauline authorship gained more acceptance in the West. [43]

Jerome (AD 342–420), who produced the Latin Vulgate, wrote concerning Hebrews: “We must admit that the epistle written to the Hebrews is regarded as Paul’s, not only by the churches of the east, but by all church writers who have from the beginning written in Greek.” Yet he also recognized that others attributed it to Barnabas or Clement. [44]

Augustine (AD 354–430) seems to have undergone a change in his opinion regarding Pauline authorship. A. Souter, citing the work of O. Rottmanner, explains: “In his earliest writings (down to 406) [Augustine] cites the Epistle as Paul’s; in the middle period he wavers between Pauline authorship and anonymity; in his old age (409–30) he refers to it always as anonymous.” [45]

As noted above, the Chester Beatty Papyrus (P46), an eastern manuscript, places Hebrews immediately following Romans, while the Muratorian Fragment, a western manuscript, does not include it. Later, as western Christians more generally accepted Hebrews they included it in their canon, although they placed it in a variety of positions. [46] The current canon places Hebrews after Philemon, based on the western tradition, and may reflect an attempt to separate it from the Pauline epistles of which there was no question of authorship. On the other hand, the late date at which Hebrews was generally accepted as authoritative may be the reason for its placement after Philemon. [47]

This brief survey of early Christian traditions surrounding the authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews illustrates the diversity of opinion expressed on the subject. Certainly it is difficult to conclude decisively that Paul wrote Hebrews solely by citing early Christian traditions.

Evidence from Joseph Smith

The Prophet Joseph Smith never made any direct statement regarding the complex issue of the authorship of Hebrews. He did, however, quote passages of scripture from the epistle to the Hebrews and attribute them to Paul. For example, he attributed a passage from Hebrews 6:17: “Paul said to his Hebrew brethren that God b[e]ing more abundantly willing to show unto the heirs of his promises the immutability of his council [‘]confirmed it by an oath.’” [48] I feel that this type of statement, however, is not by itself sufficiently strong to definitively answer the question. In my view, Joseph was simply following the view of Pauline authorship as he read it in the title, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews,” rather than making an overt statement about the authorship of Hebrews. On one occasion, Willard Richards recorded the Prophet saying, “St Paul exhorts us to make our Calling & Election shure.” [49] We know, however, that these teachings appear in 2 Peter 1:10 and not in any of Paul’s writings. Certainly no one should use this statement as evidence that Joseph Smith considered Paul the author of 2 Peter. Thus the phrase “Paul said,” followed by a quote from Hebrews, does not necessarily mean that the Prophet was weighing in on the question of the authorship of Hebrews.

There is another example of someone who referred to Paul as the author of Hebrews and yet did not believe that he wrote it. Koester has pointed out that Origen, who, as we have seen, did not believe that Paul wrote Hebrews, “commonly referred to Paul as the author.” [50] Thus, the fact that a writer or speaker casually mentions Paul when quoting Hebrews does not necessarily imply that he or she believes that Paul actually wrote it.

A number of Latter-day Saint General Authorities, scholars, and writers, in citing passages from Hebrews, attribute them to “the writer of Hebrews” rather than to “Paul.” For example, the First Presidency, under the direction of President Joseph F. Smith, in the document “The Father and The Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by The First Presidency and the Twelve,” taught, “The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews affirms the status of Jesus Christ.” [51] Significantly, this statement appears between quotes from Colossians and Romans in which Paul is explicitly identified as the author. Other leaders of the Church have used the phrase “the writer of Hebrews” when citing passages from Hebrews, including Hugh B. Brown, [52] James E. Talmage, [53] Charles W. Penrose, [54] Milton R. Hunter, [55] B. H. Roberts, [56] Thomas S. Monson, [57] Howard W. Hunter, [58] John H. Vandenberg, [59] and Spencer W. Kimball. [60] Interestingly, the phrase “the writer of . . .” is not commonly used when referring to passages from any other epistle. [61] It is important to note that just because writers or speakers use this phrase does not necessarily mean that they reject Pauline authorship. For example, Joseph Fielding Smith, who on occasion used the phrase “the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews,” [62] also referred to Paul when citing Hebrews. [63]

The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible sheds little light on this issue. In New Testament Manuscript 2 of the JST, the Prophet renders the title of Hebrews, “The Epistle to the Hebrews,” [64] rather than “The Epistle of Paul, the Apostle, to the Hebrews,” which is the title in the 1828 Phinney edition of the King James Bible which Joseph used to produce his translation. But in the JST manuscripts, none of the titles of the epistles of Paul contain his name. Thus, Romans is titled “The Epistle to the Romans,” rather than “The Epistle of Paul, the Apostle, to the Romans.”

The strongest evidence that Joseph Smith thought Paul wrote Hebrews is found in his discussion of Hebrews 11:4. The verse reads, “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh” (Hebrews 11:4). Joseph does not merely attribute a passage from Hebrews to Paul, but he explains exactly how Paul acquired this particular piece of knowledge that would appear in Hebrews.

How doth ye yet speak? Why he magnified the Priesthood which was confired upon him and died a righteous man, and therefore has become an angel of God by receiving his body from the dead, therefore holding still the keys of his dispensation and was sent down from heaven unto Paul to minister consoling words & to commit unto him a knowledge of the mysteries of Godliness and if this was not the case I would ask how did Paul know so much about Abel and why should he talk about his speaking after he was dead. How that he spoke after he was dead must be, by being sent down out of heaven, to administer. [65]

The Prophet said that Paul knew this specific bit of information because Abel appeared to him and instructed him, showing Joseph’s belief that at least one specific idea expressed in Hebrews, the knowledge of Abel’s sacrifice, came from Paul.

How can we fit together the ideas that a specific bit of information expressed in Hebrews came from Paul, with the rather strong indications discussed above that Paul was not the author of Hebrews? Eric Huntsman has concluded: “Another resolution to the question of who wrote Hebrews may lie in the ancient idea of authorship, which was somewhat different than either the modern conception or expectation. In the Classical world, the auctor was the originator of a work or the person whose authority or ideas lay behind it.” [66] Thus, while someone associated with Paul and familiar with his ideas may have been responsible for the vocabulary, organization, and the writing of Hebrews, Paul may ultimately have been the source of the ideas (certainly at least one idea) expressed in Hebrews. [67] This is very much in line with what Origen believed anciently: “If I were to venture my own opinion, I would say that the thoughts are the apostle’s but the style and construction reflect someone who recalled the apostle’s teachings and interpreted them. If any church, then, regards this epistle as Paul’s, it should be commended, since men of old had good reason to hand it down as his.” [68]

Apostleship, Authority, and Authorship

How important is the issue of authorship and the authority of the text? As noted above, some scholars have suggested that early Christians based their view of Pauline authorship of Hebrews on whether or not they agreed with the doctrines it contained. This demonstrates the importance of apostolic authorship to early Christians. Early Christians attributed two of the Gospels to the Apostles Matthew and John, even though the texts themselves do not mention who wrote them. They attributed the other two gospels to Luke and Mark, whom they traditionally associated with the Apostles Paul and Peter, respectively. [69]

Thus, apostolic authorship was certainly an important element in the canonization process. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we rightly tend to give more credence to the writings of Apostles. If a text is not written by an Apostle, does that lessen the value of any truths it might contain? Modern revelation teaches, “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4). The critical issue is not necessarily who said or wrote it, but whether the speaker or writer was inspired by the Holy Ghost and spoke or wrote the truth. The value of a text is not entirely dependent on authorship. President J. Reuben Clark explained: “I am not really concerned, and no man of faith should be, about the exact authorship of the books of the Bible. More than one Prophet may well have written parts of books now collected under one heading. I do not know. There may have been ‘ghost writers’ in those days, as now. The Lord gave Aaron to Moses in an equivalent capacity, and spoke to Israel through Moses by the mouth of Aaron. He may have done the same in other cases. If so, what of it?” [70] Applying President Clark’s statement to Hebrews, this epistle would not be diminished if some other inspired Christian other than Paul, such as Barnabas, Apollos, or Luke, wrote it. As R. McLean Wilson has written, “Even if it was not written by Paul, it remains an important document in its own right, both as coming from the earliest days of Christianity and as the work of an author of great skill and capacity.” [71]

Thus, the importance of the doctrine and truth contained in Hebrews outweighs any questions regarding its authorship. This idea is not new. Jerome, writing in AD 414 in an epistle to Dardanus, said, “It is of no great moment who the author is, since it is the work of a churchman and receives recognition day by day in the public reading of the churches.” [72]

Even Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who strongly believed that Paul was the author of Hebrews, nevertheless felt that the doctrine and ideas expressed in it were ultimately more important than the issue of authorship. After strongly affirming that Paul was the author, he wrote: “However, the principles set forth in the Epistle are more important than the personage who recorded them; an understanding of the doctrines taught is of greater worth than a knowledge of their earthly authorship.” [73]

This study has demonstrated that (1) at the very least, according to Joseph Smith one specific idea in the epistle to the Hebrews came from Paul; (2) the differences in vocabulary, style, and organization from Paul’s other epistles do not preclude him from being the auctor; (3) even some General Authorities have used language that suggests their uncertainty about the authorship of Hebrews; and (4) the fact that modern prophets have often quoted and continue to teach the ideas expressed in Hebrews is ample support that the author was inspired by the Holy Ghost, and therefore the book is scripture, the “will of the Lord, the mind of the Lord, the word of the Lord, the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation” (D&C 68:4).

Notes

[1] Paul’s authorship of some of these epistles has been questioned by many modern scholars. Second Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, and the pastoral epistles of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus are most often mentioned in this regard. The authorship of these epistles is beyond the scope of this chapter. See Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 3d ed. rev. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 376–93; and Lincoln H. Blumell, “Ancient Letters and Scribes: Implications for the Composition of the Pauline Epistles,” in this volume.

[2] Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.14, in Eusebius: The Church History, trans. Paul L. Maier (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1999). All Eusebius quotations are from Maier’s translation.

[3] Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.14.

[4] Ehrman, The New Testament, 411–12.

[5] Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.25.

[6] Craig R. Koester, Hebrews, volume 36 in the Anchor Bible Series (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 2001), 43n. Koester lists thirty-two terms as well as eight “rhetorical formulas” that appear in the other Pauline epistles but are not found in Hebrews.

[7] Bruce M. Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, and Content, 3d ed. (Nashville: Abingdon, 2003), 284.

[8] Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, Eric D. Huntsman, and Thomas A. Wayment, Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament: An Illustrated Reference for Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, forthcoming).

[9] Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.14.

[10] F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990), 15n. The two passages are Hebrews 10:5, which quotes Psalm 40:6, and Hebrews 9:15–20.

[11] Metzger, The New Testament, 284. See also Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Doubleday, 1997), 694. Resurrection is referred to in Paul’s epistles in Romans 1:4; 4:24–25; 6:4–5, 9; 7:4; 8:11; 10:9; 14:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15; 2 Corinthians 1:9; 4:14; 5:14; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:20; 5:14; Philippians 3:10–11; Colossians 1:18; 2:12–13; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 4:16; 2 Timothy 2:8, 18. It is mentioned twice in Hebrews 6:2 and 11:35 and referred to in 13:20.

[12] Ehrman, The New Testament, 411.

[13] Metzger, The New Testament, 284.

[14] L. David Hurst, The Epistle to the Hebrews: Its Background of Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 124.

[15] For an explanation of Latter-day Saint understanding of faith and grace, see Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 85–104.

[16] Homer A. Kent, The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1972), 50.

[17] Sidney B. Sperry, Paul’s Life and Letters (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955), 271–72.

[18] Raymond F. Collins offers several reasons why he believes the Timothy of Hebrews 13:23 was not Paul’s friend and colleague (see Raymond F. Collins, Letters That Paul Did Not Write, in Good News Studies [Wilmington, DE: Michael Glazier, 1988], 20).

[19] Brown, Introduction to the New Testament, 694n.

[20] Hurst, Epistle to the Hebrews, 108.

[21] Ehrman, The New Testament, 411.

[22] Brown, Introduction to the New Testament, 694.

[23] R. McLean Wilson, Hebrews, in New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 3.

[24] Kenneth Barker, ed., The NIV Study Bible, 10th ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995), 1856.

[25] For example, Homer A. Kent mentions three contemporary scholars who still view Paul as the author of Hebrews (see Epistle to the Hebrews, 18n).

[26] For a more extensive survey of the opinions regarding authorship, see Koester, Hebrews, 19–46.

[27] Koester, for example, explains, “Theological controversies in the fourth and fifth centuries concluded several centuries of uncertainty about the status of Hebrews and led to the broad acceptance of Hebrews as canonical Scripture” (Hebrews, 19). Wilson writes, “The reservations of the Western Fathers are probably based not only on grounds of authorship, but also on reasons of doctrine” (Hebrews, 4).

[28] See Harold W. Attridge, The Epistle to the Hebrews, in Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1989), 2n.

[29] For a description of this manuscript, see Bruce M. Metzgar and Bart D. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 4th ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 54–55.

[30] Attridge writes, “Placement (of Hebrews) indicates the judgments about the authorship and genre of the work which were current in the Eastern church, or more specifically in Alexandria, by the middle of the second century” (Epistle to the Hebrews, 1). Bruce adds, “A Pauline codex of the same date [as that of P46] emanating from Rome would not have included Hebrews (the Roman church did not recognize Hebrews as Pauline until the fourth century)” (F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1988], 130–31).

[31] Eusebius, History of the Church, 3.3.

[32] Origen, in Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.25.

[33] For a translation of this text, see Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Scripture: Books That Did Not Make It into the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 331–33.

[34] See Koester, Hebrews, 22; Richard L. Anderson, Understanding Paul (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 197–98; The passage in 1 Clement is 36.1–5, which is similar to Hebrews 1:1–14; 2:17–18; 4:14–16.

[35] On the other hand, Richard Anderson believes that 1 Clement’s use of Hebrews is proof of Pauline authorship. He notes that all other quotations in the epistle come from letters attributed to Apostles and that at the time of the composition of 1 Clement, no other Apostle had been considered as the author of Hebrews. Therefore, according to Anderson, Hebrews must have been written by Paul (see Understanding Paul, 97).

[36] Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.25.

[37] Koester writes, “Western readers disputed the Pauline authorship of Hebrews and its authoritative status more vigorously than those in the east” (Hebrews, 23).

[38] Tertullian, De Pudicitia, 20, in Ancient Christian Writers, trans. William P. Le Saint (New York: Newman, 1959), 115.

[39] Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.20.

[40] Eusebius, History of the Church, 3.3.

[41] Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 165; for a translation of this text, see Bart D. Ehrman, Lost Scripture, 311–12.

[42] Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 221.

[43] Koester, Hebrews, 26. Arianism, named for Arius (AD 256–336), is a doctrine in which Christ the Son was understood as being created by God the Father and therefore not co-eternal with Him. The Council of Nicea (AD 325) condemned Arianism and formulated the Necean Creed, which advanced the doctrine of the trinity. See Dennis E. Groh, “Arius, Arianism,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992).

[44] Jerome, Epistulae, 129.7, in Koester, Hebrews, 27.

[45] O. Rottmanner, in Alexander Souter, Study of Ambrosiaster (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1905), 196n; see also Wilson, Hebrews, 3.

[46] See William H. P. Hatch, “The Position of Hebrews in the Canon of the New Testament,” Harvard Theological Review 29, no. 2 (April 1936): 133–51, for a complete study of the placement of Hebrews within the New Testament.

[47] Hatch writes, “When the epistle was officially recognized it was appended to the end of the Pauline corpus” (“The Position of Hebrews,” 144).

[48] Dean C. Jessee, Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book: 2002), 323.

[49] Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980), 4.

[50] Koester, Hebrews, 21.

[51] James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986), 472.

[52] Hugh B. Brown, in Conference Report, April 1959, 110; Conference Report, October 1969, 105.

[53] James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 127; The Vitality of Mormonism (Boston: Gorham Press, 1919), 356; Conference Report, October 1918, 59–60.

[54] Charles W. Penrose, “Rays of Living Light,” in Handbook of the Restoration: A Selection of Gospel Themes Discussed by Various Authors (Independence, MO: Zion’s Printing and Publishing, 1944), 164.

[55] Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel through the Ages (Salt Lake City: Stevens and Wallis, 1945), 78.

[56] B. H. Roberts, Contributor 10, no. 12 (October 1889): 451–52.

[57] Thomas S. Monson, An Invitation to Exaltation (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 3.

[58] Howard W. Hunter, in Conference Report, April 1970, 8; “Faith: The First Step,” in Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 35.

[59] John H. Vandenberg, in BYU Speeches of the Year, January 7, 1964, 8.

[60] Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1972), 249.

[61] I have used the WordCruncher search engine to examine the use of the phrase “writer of the book of Hebrews” in general conference talks from 1950 to 1970. It appears five times, while no other epistle is referred to using this phrase.

[62] Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Martyrs,” Improvement Era, June, 1944, 6; The Progress of Man (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1964), 236–37; The Restoration of All Things (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1945), 186.

[63] Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992), 1:188; 4:91.

[64] Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 535.

[65] Ehat and Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith, 40, emphasis added.

[66] Holzapfel, Huntsman, and Wayment, Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament.

[67] Hurst, after comparing the theology of Hebrews and that of Paul, writes: “This evidence leads us to draw the following three conclusions: (1) The differences rule out Hebrews as ‘deutero-Pauline’ in the sense of literary borrowing by a Pauline disciple. (2) The similarities indicate an interaction with the same ideas normally identified with Paul himself, and rule out the view of Ménégoz and others that Auctor could not at some point have been a disciple of Paul. (3) If it is recognized that there is a sense in which the apostolic tradition grew in a way in which Paul and his associates may have had a significant part, there may be a basis for claiming Pauline influence in the epistle without recourse to the literary solution. Taken in this highly qualified sense, then, the phrase ‘deutero-Pauline’ might be suitable for Hebrews” (Epistle to the Hebrews, 124).

[68] Eusebius, History of the Church, 6.25.

[69] See Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 161; 124–25.

[70] J. Reuben Clark, On the Way to Immortality and Eternal Life (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1950), 210.

[71] Wilson, Hebrews, 4.

[72] Jerome, Epistle, 129.3, in Bruce, Canon of Scripture, 227.

[73] Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973), 3:133.