How to Study Hebrews (NASB)
Before you begin your study of Hebrews, read Hebrews 13:22 to discover the author's purpose for writing. Record this one on the Structure of Hebrews chart.
In order to grasp the awesome truths of this book and properly interpret its difficult passages, you need to understand to whom the book is written. As you read Hebrews chapter by chapter:
Mark every reference to the recipients in a specific color. Obviously the words you, beloved, and brethren refer to the recipients. (NASB). However, when the author addresses the recipients he often includes himself, using the pronouns we and us. When this happens, mark these as you would other references to the recipients.
Also, mark every reference to the author (s) in another distinctive color.
When you finish, list everything you learn about the author and about the recipients in the appropriate columns on the Observations Chart.
As you saw in 13:22, Hebrews is a letter of exhortation. Watch for these exhortations. They are often introduced with the phrase let us. Therefore, mark every let us in a distinctive way. List the exhortations on the Observations Cart.
Throughout the book you will come across occasional warnings. In Hebrews 2:1, in the first of the warnings, the author includes himself and writes, "We must pay much closer attentions to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it."
Mark each warning in a distinctive way and record that warning in the appropriate column on the Observation Chart.
When you note each warning, record the consequences of not heeding it. As you note the consequence, remember to whom the book is addressed. Let the text simply speak for itself. Don't read it through your theological glasses; rather, let the text say what it says.
As you study each chapter, do the following:
Write the key words (including their synonyms and pronouns) on an index card: Jesus (Son), God, angels, sin (sinners), priest (priests, priesthood), therefore, faith (faithful), greater, better (better than), let us, perfect, mark the reference to the devil, covenant. (NASB). Mark each word (and its synonyms and pronouns) in a distinctive way in the text exactly as you marked it on the card. Beginning at chapter 7, mark every occurrence of the word covenant. You will also discover other key words (not on your list) that occur frequently in a chapter or segment of Hebrews. Mark these in a distinctive way.
As you finish reading a chapter, review what you learned from marking key words. Then determine the theme or subject of that chapter. Record it on Structure of Hebrews.
To truly appreciate and understand the book of Hebrews, you need to do the following:
Look back through your work and note all the times you marked Jesus and the pronouns referring to Him. Also look for the phrase better. Then, using the Observations Chart, list what you learn from Hebrews about our Lord.
There is much in Hebrews about the priesthood and about Jesus as our High Priest. Mark a chart entitled The Priesthood and Jesus and list you information in three columns: "Insights into Priests and the Priesthood," "Insights into Jesus, Our Great High Priest," and "How This Applies to Me." Record your insights on this chart.
Review what you learn from marking the word covenant and note what the text says on a chart you might want to title A Comparison of the two Covenants: Law and Grace as Taught in Hebrews.
Complete Structure of Hebrews by doing the following:
Look at each of your chapter themes in order to determine the theme of Hebrews and record it on the chart.
Fill in the section titled "Segment Divisions"
Segment divisions indicate a change in the trust or topic of the book. One change in emphasis occurs at Hebrews 10:19, where the author stops dealing with the doctrinal aspects of the truth he is sharing and begins to address the practical aspects. Record this segment division on the chart in the appropriate space.
Look again at the chapter themes. Are there any other divisions? If so, record them. This will help you find where a specific truth is covered in Hebrews.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in Hebrews
The New Covenant - all believers now have direct access to God and may approach God's throne without fear (4:16; 6:19, 20; 9:8; 10:19-22; Deut 4:7; Ps 65:4; John 10:7, 9; 14:6; Rom 5:2; Pph 2:18; 3:12; Col 1:21, 22; 1 Pet 3:18)
Christ as High Priest - (3:1, 2; 4:14; 5:5-11; 6:20; 7:15-17, 26; 9:11; Zech 6:13; Ps 110:4)