Did Luke Write the Book of Hebrews?

Dr. LukeIn the previous blog we discovered there were more dissimilarities in comparing Hebrews to the thirteen Pauline books than similarities; thus it’s difficult, although not impossible, to attribute its authorship to Paul.

Theologians have been all over the map on this subject. Some have said Barnabas wrote it, some Apollos, some even mentioned Mary the mother of Jesus.

When looking for authorship it helps to have other writings from these potential authors to use as comparisons. Unfortunately, there are none. Some of the other speculated authors more far-fetched and no examples of their writing exist either.

Without other works to compare to, only a signature within the book itself would offer us a means of making an educated guess. To bring this to a conclusion, let me throw out the idea that the disciple Luke wrote this powerful book.

Those who say Luke wrote the book of Hebrews can be placed into three camps: 1-Those who believe Luke translated into Greek a Hebrew or Aramaic original written by Paul, 2-Those who say Luke was the co-author of Hebrews with Paul as the mind behind the epistle, and 3-Those who say Luke was the independent author of Hebrews.

It is difficult to totally attribute Hebrews to Luke because Luke was a Gentile by background while the author of Hebrews was obviously Jewish.

Luke has no “High Priestly Christology” written in his other books – Luke and Acts. Also, within those books, Luke has no real “Theology of the Cross.”

However, when comparing the books of Luke and Acts with Hebrews, there are some remarkable similarities. First, Hebrews shares fifty-three words that occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but only in Luke and Acts. Two-thirds of the total vocabulary of Hebrews occurs in Luke and Acts.

Next, Luke had an academic background which compares to the high level of Greek seen in Hebrews. Another similarity, the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, was used for each of the Old Testament references in the book of Hebrews. Luke spoke and wrote in Greek and thus would have read from the Septuagint.

The most accepted theory for the authorship of Hebrews is that Paul was the chief framer, planner, and compiler for the book, yet Luke wrote and edited it. This theory is reinforced with the commonly held belief that Luke was Paul’s amanuensis (scribe) toward the end of Paul’s life.

It is known that Luke was still in Rome by the time of Paul’s death which would have put him in the right place to write for Paul.

Finally, Luke 13:23 states that the author will be bringing Timothy with him when he comes. Paul, Timothy and Luke were well known to the first century Hebrews and would have been well received.

Whether, Paul, Luke, Apollos, Barnabas, Mary, Priscilla or any of the other suggestions out there wrote this book, it does not change the fact that it is God-inspired and powerful in the understanding of Christ.

These types of academic discussions are not mentioned in order to shaking one’s faith but to strengthen it. To understand that the thirteen chapters of Hebrews could have been written by an apostle or someone not even mentioned within the Bible just gives credence to God’s design and ability to use any of us for His work.

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