May God be kind to you
Show some love1Love each other like family. 2Welcome strangers. Some folks who did this welcomed angels without realizing it. 3Remember your fellow believers in prison as if you were cellmates. Remember those who are physically abused as though you’re getting beat up, too.
Love your spouse, not money4Honor your marriage vows. Don’t sleep around. God will pass judgment on people who commit adultery and other sex sins. 5Don’t fall in love with money. Be content with what you have. Remember what God said,
“I’ll never leave you. I’ll never quit on you.”6So say it with confidence,
“God has got my back.
No way am I afraid.
What could anyone do to me?”
Hang onto what you’ve believed7Remember your church leaders who passed along to you God’s message. Consider the good things they’ve done with their lives. Then do good things with your lives, too. 8Jesus never changes. He is and was and always will be Jesus Christ. 9Don’t get conned into believing any of those wild ideas about religion. God’s kindness is what nourishes us. We don’t get any help by obeying kosher food laws, which never helped anyone who obeyed them, anyhow.
10From our altar we serve precious food. It’s something those ministering in the Jewish worship center don’t have the right to eat. 11In the past, the high priest brought the blood of sacrificed animals into the Most Holy Place, to atone for sins. The bodies of those animals were burned outside the camp. 12Today, though, we have Jesus. He, too, suffered outside the city. He used his blood to wash away the sins of people and make them holy. 13So, let’s join Jesus outside the comfort zone and suffer alongside him. 14This city is where I am now. But there’s another city waiting for me.
Help your ministers15So let’s do this. Because of what Jesus did, let’s praise God right out loud, by name. 16And let’s not do this. Let’s not give up on others. Help people. Share what we have with others. God loves to see that.
17Do what your church leaders say. They’ve got a big job, guarding your souls. They’ll be held accountable for that. Make it a happy job for them. It doesn’t help anyone to do otherwise. 18Pray for us. Our conscience is clear. We want to conduct ourselves honorably all the time. 19Please pray especially that God will allow me to come back to you soon.
May God equip you20Here’s my prayer for you.
May the God of peace,
who raised our great shepherd from the dead
and gave us the Eternal Agreement
through the blood of the Lord Jesus,
May God use each one of us to do anything he wants us to do
through the strength Jesus gives us.
God gets the credit and the glory
for all he has done.
And that’s the truth.
This is serious stuff22Please, dear family, take seriously what I’ve written in this short letter. 23Listen, our friend Timothy has been released. If he reaches me soon, the two of us will visit you. 24Greetings to all your leaders and all God’s people in the faith. Believers here in Italy send their greetings to you. 25May every one of you get to experience the kindness of God.
Abraham welcomed travelers who turned out to be messengers from God (Genesis 18:1-15).
The writer doesn’t say “fellow believers,” but the many scholars say the context at the time suggests he was talking about Christians who were imprisoned because of their religion.
Usually translated “Amen.”
Literally “those from Italy send greetings.” This is phrased in such a way that the writer could be sending greetings abroad, from Italy. Or the writer could be sending greetings from Italy natives abroad to the folks back home in Italy. From people in Italy or to people in Italy, that’s the question. Flip a coin.
More literally, “Grace to all of you.”
The writer of Hebrews starts to wrap up his letter by urging his readers to “Love each other like family. Welcome strangers… Remember your fellow believers in prison” (13:1-3). Which of those do you think the Christian church has the hardest time doing?
The writer makes a remarkable statement that seems to sum up his reason for writing. The reason is to stop Jewish Christians from leaving the church because of the persecution they are facing. In an effort to stop them from leaving, the writer compares the sacrifice of Jesus to the sacrifice of animals burned every year at the national day of repentance, Yom Kippur. The bodies of the sacrificed animals “were burned outside the camp” (13:11). Jesus also “suffered outside the city… So, let’s join Jesus outside the comfort zone and suffer alongside him” (13:12-13). Do you think that would have motivated anyone to stay with the church instead of going back to the safety and comfort of the traditional Jewish religion?
LIFE APPLICATION. The writer recognizes that some people worry about money. He urges them, instead, to work on being content with what they have. Then he quotes a couple Bible passages in 13:5-6. Which of those do you think would be most helpful in encouraging Christians today?
LIFE APPLICATION. The writer urged his readers to join Jesus “outside the comfort zone” (13:13. What kind of Christian ministry would be outside your comfort zone, but you could do in a pinch if no one else was available to do it?
LIFE APPLICATION. The writer of Hebrews prays that God will give the readers “everything you need to do whatever he asks of you” (13:21). When did God do this for you?
LIFE APPLICATION. Casual English Bible usually paraphrases the word “grace” with a word such as “kindness.” The last line of the letter of Hebrews reads most literally, “Grace be with all of you.” But the Casual English Bible paraphrases that as, “May every one of you get to experience the kindness of God” (13:25). “Grace” is a word that means more than kindness. But it’s hard to translate because it means different things to different people. What does “grace” mean to you?