Troublesome Topic: Contributors to the Book of Hebrews

BARNABAS

He was from Cyprus and was of the priestly tribe of Levi (Acts 4:36);

It appears that Paul and Barnabas met Timothy on the first missionary journey and that is when Timothy was converted, so Barnabas knew Timothy; 

Barnabas was a recognized leader in the early church;

Barnabas knew Paul well. Barnabas was the one that went and brought Paul and convinced the brothers to receive Paul. Then they were sent out together on a missionary journey. During this journey it appears that Paul took the leadership role.

Some people think Barnabas was the sole author of Hebrews. However, I personally doubt that Barnabas could write with the high level of Greek found in Hebrews. Also, Barnabas is traditionally thought to have been martyred in Salamis (Greece) in AD 61. This would mean that he was not alive when the temple was destroyed in AD 70, unless he died a decade or so later than has been assumed.

I think Barnabas’ contribution to the book of Hebrews was his influence on Paul. I think they talked about writing a letter to the Hebrew congregations and that Barnabas suggested that it focus on a comparison of Jesus and the Levitical priesthood.

APOLLOS

He was an intellectual from Alexandria, Egypt, the center of intellectual Jewish thought together with Greek culture.

He is described in Acts 18:24 as being “learned/eloquent” – the word means both well-studied and having a special ability to communicate in speech and in writing.

He had made the effort to study the Old Testament carefully (Acts 18:24)

He was associated with Paul through Priscilla and Aquila;

Did he know Timothy?  Not sure, but it is likely that he did. A number of well-educated people from Alexandria became followers of Jesus in the early days but how many of them would have known Timothy? It is likely that Apollos was the only educated believer from Alexandria to have known Timothy.

In my opinion, Apollos was the only person mentioned by name in the New Testament who could have been the final author of the letter to the Hebrews because of its intellectual style of Greek writing.

PAUL

He was well educated in Hebrew thought and history but not considered an intellectual Greek writer;

He was known in Jerusalem by such people as Peter and James the brother of Jesus;

He was considered a key leader in the early church more so than Barnabas;

His writing style was conversational, not like Hebrews which is a well-planned dissertation;

He knew the Old Testament well, but he never explained things in his other letters the way Hebrews explains things.

He knew Timothy well.

AQUILLA AND PRICSILLA

They were connected to Paul, Apollos and Timothy;

This couple was originally from Pontus; they had moved from Rome to Corinth. When Paul left Corinth for Syria they sailed with him (acts 18:18), then he left them behind at Ephesus (Acts 18:19). When Paul wrote to the Romans, he asked that A & P be greeted, so they must have returned to Rome prior to his writing to the Romans. II Timothy was Paul’s last letter; in II Tim 4:19 he asks that A & P be greeted, and we think Timothy was in Ephesus at the time, so they had moved back to Ephesus. The point is that this couple was connected to Rome, where Hebrews was penned, and was connected to Ephesus, where Timothy served for a long time.

They had been influenced by Paul and they had a thorough understanding of the Scriptures.

Then they influenced Apollos.

The final lesson is I Think the Epistle to the Hebrews Was Written during the Siege of Jerusalem