The theme of the epistle of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ and the new covenant. This epistle is full of dire warnings as well as promises. It was written for the Jews who had embraced faith in Christ but now wavering in their trust in Christ. They were in danger of slipping away from their initial commitment to Christ because of persecution. So the writer encourages the readers to remain faithful to Christ. They are warned against the danger of drifting. It is possible that we can drift away from Christ if we ignore the warnings in the Word of God. Christians should hold fast to their faith in Christ to go on to perfection. This epistle was written to show the preeminence of Christ over Judaism (13:22). Jewish Christians were persecuted by Romans and as well as by fellow Jews for their faith in Jesus Christ (10:32-34). So the author shows in this epistle that Christ is superior in His person, purpose, priesthood, and principle. In this epistle many Old Testament references are quoted to assure the Jewish Christians of their spiritual heritage. Also by contrasting the old covenant with the new convent, the author shows the superiority of Christ. The central theme of Hebrews is the high-priestly ministry of Jesus Christ. The perfect sacrifice of Christ is all sufficient to forgive our sins.
The author of this epistle remains anonymous. Most scholars assume the authorship of the Apostle Paul. It seems the author was a Jew and had knowledge of Jewish traditions and customs. The language and the personal reference to Timothy may attribute the authorship to Paul (Hebrews 13:23). Others consider that Barnabas or Apollos or Luke might have written this epistle. As Origen of Alexandria wrote, "Who the author of the Hebrews is, only God truly knows”. But scholars suggest that there is abundance of evidence from the early church history that Hebrews was a part of the biblical canon and quoted widely by the early church fathers. There has been little question throughout the centuries about the canonicity of the epistle of Hebrews. The epistle of Hebrews was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Throughout the epistle, it is evident that the Jewish sacrificial system was still going on (Hebrews 8:4; 10:8,11). This epistle was written to second-generation Christians (2:3). They were severely persecuted under Nero for their faith (Hebrews 12:4). There is a mention of Timothy's recent release from the prison (Hebrews 13:23). Many Bible scholars think that this epistle was written between AD 67- 69.
The earliest manuscript shows that this epistle was written "To Hebrews". They were first century Jewish Christians who were in danger of returning to Judaism to escape persecution. Judaism was a legal religion and Christianity was not. These readers were second generation Christians who heard the gospel from those who heard and saw Jesus (Heb 2:3). They were not poor (Hebrews 10:34). So it seems they were not located in Palestine. The author closes the epistle by stating that "Those from Italy greet you"(Hebrews 13:24). It implies that Italians outside of Italy were sending greetings back home. So we conclude that Rome was the destination of this epistle. Another possibility is that Hebrews was written from Rome to scattered Jewish believers in the Roman Empire.
The theme of Hebrews is the superiority of Jesus Christ over Judaism. The word, superior or better, appears thirteen times in this letter. Jesus is superior in His person, priesthood and principle of faith. He is the perfect High Priest to represent us before God. He is greater than prophets, angels, Moses and Aaron. He is the author of eternal salvation. He is our great high priest and eternal mediator. He is superior in His priestly ministry. Christ is superior in His covenant and power. His kingdom is unshakable. He is our great Shepherd. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews shows the finality of God's revelation. He is the author and finisher of our faith. Do you know this great Savior? As we continue this study, may the Holy Spirit strengthen us to run the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1).