Who wrote the letter to the Hebrews?
info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
As with almost every other Bible book, critics are quick to question the authorship of Hebrews. While the writing of this epistle (letter) has traditionally been attributed to Paul, they claim that the writing style isn’t consistent with his other writings.
Indeed, this letter and its style is quite different from his other letters. For example, Hebrews doesn’t start with the opening greetings, which are traditional to the rest of his epistles.
So did Paul write this book or not?
If you simply look at the closing greetings and salutations, you can see that the letter could only have been written by Paul. For the stated location of the writing, Italy (see Hebrews 13:24), and mention of the safety of Paul’s trustworthy traveling companion Timothy (Hebrews 13:23). This demonstrates that the writer was Paul, ‘the Apostle to the nations,’ who had been taken to Rome and likely stayed in that area until his death as a martyr.
So, why is the writing style different? For two reasons:
1. It was a strong letter (and probably his last) that was written to the congregation of Christian ‘pillars’ in JeruSalem (the home of most of the other Apostles), where the congregation had grown spiritually weak (see 5:11-14).
2. Due to his extremely poor eye sight (see the commentary, Paul’s Letters), Paul used his various traveling companions (Luke, BarNabas, Titus, Sosthenes, Timothy, and others) to actually do the writing. We can see that they were allowed considerable latitude in the word choices and phrasing (it seems that Paul wasn’t a ‘micro-manager’).
No matter who actually wrote Hebrews (under Paul’s direction), it stands out as his most masterful work.