Chronological Bible 51: Run the Race

This week we’ll consider the books of Hebrews, 1 Peter and 2 Peter.

The two letters to churches from Peter were written shortly before Peter’s execution. Both Peter and Paul were executed during the reign of Roman emperor Nero. Both Peter and Paul ran the race that God had set before them, preaching and contributing to the conversion of thousands during the early decades of the church.

The book of Hebrews is a full theological treatise on the deity and messiahship of Jesus. It was written specifically to encourage Hebrew people to consider closely the authenticity of Jesus. Its authorship, though, is not certain. There are some who feel it was written by Paul (and I lean that way). If Paul wrote it, he did not specify himself as the author, but that would make sense considering Paul’s reputation among non-believing Jews. Perhaps Paul didn’t want to make it apparent that the letter was from him in order for it to be more widely read and accepted among traditional Jews considering the claims regarding Jesus as their messiah. Here is a Wikipedia article which has a pretty good discussion of the various views held over the centuries regarding the Hebrews authorship.

One of my favorite passages in the book of Hebrews follows the well known “Hall of Faith” passage (Chapter 11) which reminds the reader of the many people described in the Old Testament who held on to God’s promise of a messiah but who did not live to see its fulfillment. Yet their testimony, as the rest of the book shows, clearly points to Jesus. The writer then makes the following assertion in Chapter 12:1-4.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

I heard a sermon about 34 years ago which has stuck with me ever since. It was preached at Applewood Baptist Church by Tom Eliff. He preached a very similar one, based on the same text (above).

Click here to watch the “Run the Race” sermon by Tom Eliff

Next week we’ll finish our reading of the Bible with 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, and Revelation.

For Further Investigation

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