The question of ,”who authored the Bible book of Hebrews”, has been a subject of debate for almost two thousand years.
If you are a student of the Word of God and doctrine this is an important issue for one primary reason.
The author of Hebrews gives an ALMOST contradictory set of statements regarding Salvation by Christ alone. One is one of the most assuring and the other is very disconcerting. It is known as a paradox. They only APPEAR to cancel each other. There is another truth that the simple explanation of makes sense of both.
So it really matters that we know and understand all we can about this author.
Tertullian, the third century Christian theologian, believed that Barnabas wrote the book of Hebrews.
I was glad to hear that because I had already come to the same conclusion before reading about Tertullian.
Here’s my reasoning.
1. Most researchers agree that the book of Hebrews reads similar to the books that we are sure Paul wrote.
But a closer look by literary experts seems to conclude that it is somewhat like Paul’s style but not enough that it really could be him, given certain differences that stand out.
I think that Paul is the one who has a similar style of the author of Hebrews.
Take a look at the early days of Paul to see what I mean.
Barnabas and Paul had a traveling ministry to the Gentiles for a while.
Both spoke to the crowds regularly, and would have influence each other’s speaking and therefore writing styles.
If I’m right,the correct way to state the similarities is to say that Paul and Barnabas influenced each other and have similar styles of delivering a message.
2. Theological non- negotiable differences between Paul and Barnabas ,namely that of Grace and its rightful emphasis.
Paul never would have put things as ambiguous as the author of Hebrews in regards to salvation and the fullness of the meaning of grace. Nor did he endure it well when he and Barnabas where missionaries.
Here is an example of where Paul stood in regards to his grasp of God’s Grace through Christ as compared to Barnabas’ grasp of God’s Grace through Christ.
“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.” Galatians 2:12-13
It is also revealing to know that Galatians was written by Paul to Christians who wandered off the path in regards to the purity of salvation by faith in Christ alone and sanctification by Christ alone more than any other books of the New Testament.
That is true of Galatians in both clarity and content.
Paul’s appreciation for God’s grace ,and his understanding of it, served to save the purity of the message of Grace Alone for salvation, earned by Christ Alone.
The good deeds a Christian does are then the result of Christ’s working in the heart and desires of the true believer.
The scripture records that Paul and Barnabas split over a dispute regarding Barnabas’ nephew ,John Mark , who abandoned them while the two of them spread the Gospel to the gentiles.
I propose that John Mark was not enough reason for the parting of these two, and that this incident was only the straw that broke the proverbial camels back.”
I think Paul would have stayed with Barnabas if he thought the Gospel was going out in its fullness to the gentiles. He cared more about Christ and the Gospel than he cared about his own life.
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”
And that was Paul’s last letter before execution.
Paul’s grasp of God’s grace was completely resting on Christ’s finished work on the cross.
On the cross, Jesus Christ paid for the sins of all people who ever did and ever would live.
Only Jesus was the only perfect human to ever live, so only Jesus was worthy to pay for our sins with His life.
He died for us.
On the cross, Jesus said, “it is finished”.
And if we believe, we can choose to respond as Paul did,
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”