Last night was the first real night of our Hebrews study. Our study group actually met last Wednesday, but it was more of a meet-and-greet. One of the themes that kept emerging throughout the discussion of Hebrews 1 was the author's set up of his (or her) theme or thesis or argument. It is similar to how a lawyer would present a case. I don't know why this didn't occur to me during the days and weeks leading up the study, and only right in the midst (I might have developed the idea a little more being a lawyer and all), but it will end up being a good starting point, I think.
The opening four verses (a single sentence in the Greek) are powerful. Already, the author has grabbed the audience's attention contending that (1) God has spoken to the fathers through the prophets and (2) God has spoken in His Son, who (3) upholds all things through the word of His power and (4) has a much better name than the angels. The importance of these conclusions to a Hebrew audience cannot be overstated.
The author then, in proving the superiority to the angels, immediately invokes Messianic Psalms. Again, the significance is clear. This Son is the one to whom the scriptures have been pointing. Everything that has come before has been to try and illustrate this.
In Chapter 2, the author cuts right to it, "if the word spoken through the angels proved unalterable," then how much more is this true since He said it and God confirmed it through sings, wonders and miracles.
The audience is presented with the inescapable conclusion before the identity of the Son is revealed. Quite a stroke of persuasive genius, especially considering the intended audience.
And then the really good news, the devil is rendered powerless (Genesis 3:15), the slaves are set free, and He is there to help us because He gets it. He became one of us, and He gets it.
This is obviously a very shorthand version of an hour-and-a-half Bible study. I don't know if my study/discussion notes will be of any help, but I have included them as separate posts, and you are certainly free to use and abuse them as you feel the need:
At the end of the semester I will probably make a master post with links to everything, but for now it's one week at a time.