In the Introduction to his Commentary on Hebrews, Tom Schreiner casts the vision for this inaugural volume of the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation commentary series. He states:
The words of Jesus on the cross, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), capture the theology of Hebrews. My aim in this commentary is to focus on the letter’s biblical theology. The emphasis on biblical theology shows up especially in the introduction and conclusion of this commentary where I consider theological structures and themes.
In the introduction I will examine four different structures that are woven into the entire letter: (1) promise/fulfillment; (2) eschatology; (3) typology; and (4) spatial orientation (which can also be described as the relationship between heaven and earth in the letter). The commentary will conclude, after presenting an exegesis of each chapter, with a discussion of some major theological themes in Hebrews.
Most modern commentaries begin with significant introductions and then conduct an intensive exegesis of the text, chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse. By way of contrast, this introduction and the commentary are relatively brief and nontechnical. With the proliferation of commentaries today, a new commentary should have a distinctive approach. We now have many excellent commentaries on Hebrews that examine the letter in some detail. Many of these commentaries provide a useful function in that they draw on other parallels from both Jewish and Hellenistic literature to illuminate Hebrews. The advantage of such an approach is that the reader is plunged into the cultural world of the author.
On the other hand, the careful sifting of various traditions may cause the reader to lose track of the letter’s argument. At the same time, the author’s theology may be muted, not because it isn’t recognized but because it may be difficult to follow in the welter of information given to readers.
I hope a commentary that probes the theology of Hebrews will prove to be helpful. I have been helped by many scholars in preparing this commentary, especially those who have written in-depth commentaries and those who have written monographs on the letter. No one writes from an objective standpoint, and hence I should state up front that I write as an evangelical Christian who believes that the Scriptures are the living and authoritative Word of God.
About the Author:
Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Professor of Biblical Theology and Associate Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.
See our interview with Tom Schreiner about the Hebrews commentary here.