The Truthfulness And Perennial Relevance Of God’s Word In The Letter To The Hebrews -- By: Gareth Lee Cockerill

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 172:686 (Apr 2015)
Article: The Truthfulness And Perennial Relevance Of God’s Word In The Letter To The Hebrews
Author: Gareth Lee Cockerill


The Truthfulness And Perennial Relevance Of God’s Word In The Letter To The Hebrews

Gareth Lee Cockerill

Gareth Lee Cockerill is Academic Dean and Professor of Biblical Interpretation and Theology at Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.

Abstract

Two distinguishing characteristics of Hebrews combine to convey the author’s confidence in the truthfulness and perennial relevance of Scripture. Hebrews affirms that God speaks today through the Old Testament Scriptures, and that the exalted Son at God’s right hand is the all-sufficient Savior who is now available for the people of God. God’s speaking through the Old Testament is accurate and continues to be relevant because it is fulfilled in the always-contemporary reality of the exalted Son. This insight gives confidence for proclamation, it clarifies the relationship between Scripture’s truthfulness and effectiveness, and it hinders diluting the Scripture’s message through cultural reductionism.

Introduction

Τhere can be no doubt that the author of Hebrews believed in the truthfulness of the Old Testament. More than any other New Testament book, Hebrews is sustained interpretation of quoted Scripture, supported by a host of scriptural allusions. This dedication to exposition of the Old Testament is a feature that has led some to call Hebrews a sermon.1 Its author makes

no direct claim to apostolic authority, nor does he allege that he has special illumination from the Spirit that enables him to give Scripture a new meaning.2 He argues his case on the basis of the Old Testament Scripture and a gospel that asserts that all previous revelation has been fulfilled in Christ (Heb. 1:1-2).3 He pays attention to the details of the Old Testament texts he uses and, when helpful to his argument, refers to their Old Testament context. In short, if the Old Testament text were not true, his entire argument would become invalid. Susan Docherty thinks that this reverence for the Old Testament is shown by the author’s reluctance to alter the LXX text that he uses.4 Some paraphrase, however, is no indication of doubt concerning truthfulness, for such paraphrase was common in contemporary sources that held Scripture in the highest regard.5 The writer of Hebrews would have no difficulty affirming biblical inerrancy.

While...

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