Whenever we are endeavoring to discover the source of a document from antiquity, it is the actual document that we must examine first. In the style of the writer we can detect a great deal about his personage. In the case of Hebrews, this task is quite simple.
In the first century there were two preeminent Hebrew scholars in Israel, Gamaliel, and Paul.
Akiva ben Joseph, was leading contributor to the writing of the Mishnah and Midrash Halakha. Akiva is referred to in the Talmud as “Rosh la-Chachamim” (The Head of all Sages). Rabbi Akiva was instrumental as one of the architects for the canon of the Tanakh. Akiva became a devoted follower and friend of Rabbi Gamaliel, who was Paul’s chief teacher in the Hebrew Scriptures.
As Paul received his training in the scriptures from Gamaliel, we expect that he also is an expert in the Hebrew texts that concern the Messiah
Paul’s Description of Himself:
“I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.” ~Acts 22:3
The term, at the feet of Gamaliel, was a common phrase of that day in referring to a long tradition of those who were carefully trained in the scriptures. These students sat on chairs that were close to the ground; while the rabbis who taught them sat on higher chairs, signifying their authority in the scriptures.
Rabban Gamaliel was a Pharisee and expert in the scriptures. During this period of history, these teachers of the scriptures were referred to as Doctors of the Law. Today we would say that he had a Doctorate in Law. Gamaliel was referred to as the “thirty-fifth receiver of the traditions.” Gamaliel, having received the “Cabala” (Kabbalah) that came from Moses at Mount Sinai, is described as dying 18 years before Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D.
It is clear from the instruction Paul received from Gamaliel that he was also an expert scholar in the Old Testament scriptures. Paul was perhaps more familiar with the Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah than any other person who was alive at that time.
Paul was convinced that Jesus was the fulfillment of the 400 Messianic Prophecies, including Psalms 45:6. When Paul penned the words, in Hebrews Chapter 1:8—But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom,”—he was pointing to the fact that not only was Jesus the Messiah but He was and is the Living God.
This is Our First Piece of Evidence to Prove Paul’s Authorship of Hebrews
The level of scholarship required to construct the book of Hebrews, could not be accomplished by any other writer from the first century. The idea that Luke was capable of this feat of Hebrew scholarship is preposterous. Luke was “a historian of the first rank,” according to noted archeologist, Sir William Ramsay,” but the beloved Physician did not possess the skills necessary to construct the Hebrew texts into a letter proving that Jesus was the fulfillment of these 400 prophecies.
In the earliest reference to the authorship of Hebrews, Clement of Alexandria (150–215 AD), states that Paul wrote Hebrews in Hebrew and Luke translated his words into Greek.
The audience to whom Hebrews is written, is uniquely Jewish, to whom Paul was indelibly linked in his heart and desire for the whole nation to be saved.
We know that Paul also spoke Greek (Acts 21:37) and he likely had the capacity to write in Greek, although it seems his eyesight prevented this. I find nothing wrong with Paul as the author and Luke as the scribe for Hebrews. It still means the words are Paul’s, reflected in the Hebrew scholarship.
There is also some assertion that the words and style of framing sentences is different in Hebrews from some of Paul’s other letters. This is a naturally occurring phenomenon amongst all writers. When I began to write decades ago, my vocabulary, style of writing, and manner of framing a sentence, was much different from what it is now. Every person who loves Jesus, grows, changes, and learns new things. This is reflected in Paul’s incredible letter to the Hebrew Christians.
The fact that Paul’s name is not at the top of this letter, is not evidence he did not write it. In the process of copying the early autographs of the New Testament, the names were often added later, and in some cases, they were excluded in later copies.
Paul’s Skill In Giving Messianic Attribution To Jesus
In the letter to the Hebrews, Paul’s skill as a scholar, allows us to understand that in Psalms 45:6, God intended, from the foundation of the world, that the Messiah would be God, and Jesus was the person for whom this prophecy was written.
Throughout the entire book of Hebrews, we see this continual citation of Hebrew prophecies concerning the Messiah, and attribution of them to Jesus. I submit, no other person at that time had the ability to accomplish such a feat of literary genius.
Paul was one of the most highly respected Hebrew scholars of that day, and It was Paul’s judgment that Jesus was the object of every Hebrew prophecy of the Messiah.
Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them at Thessalonica, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Messiah.” ~Acts 17:2-3
Paul was the singular scholar of the first century who was capable of laying the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah, alongside the Gospel narratives of the men who saw and heard Jesus, and link these together in proving Jesus is the true Messiah.
How Could A Leading Pharisee, Become The Chief Architect Of The New Testament?
While still a member of the Pharisees, Saul was highly respected as a teacher of Hebrew law, and possessed great power and wealth in Jerusalem. Paul’s knowledge of the Old Testament scriptures were surpassed by no other, except his teacher Gamaliel. Paul cites his teacher and training in the Hebrew scriptures from Gamaliel. Gamaliel was referred to as the “Thirty-fifth receiver of the traditions.” Gamaliel, having received the “Kabbalah”
It is clear from these specific details written by Paul in the New Testament, that he was also an expert in the Old Testament scriptures. Paul was perhaps more familiar with the Hebrew prophecies concerning the coming Messiah than any other person during that time. It was because of his intimate knowledge in what had been written about the Messiah that Paul was so well prepared, as a Hebrew scholar, to determine if any man had met the requirements of the Messiah’s office.
Very often as we go through the hundreds of Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, and then see them cited in the New Testament, it is by Paul that we learn these facts in several of his letters.
The book of Hebrews is the most masterful of these Messianic letters which prove that Jesus is the object of all the prophets scriptures. Very often we see commentary by Paul in which he confirms that what Jesus had just said or done was a fulfillment of a particular prophecy from the Hebrew scriptures.
As Paul spoke to the leaders of the Synagogue of Antioch, he uses the same term in Acts 13:34, “the sure mercies of David,” to describe the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which Isaiah also uses in his prophecy (Isaiah 53:3,35) when he spoke of the Messiah. By this example, we have confirmation that both Paul and Luke believed that Jesus is the object of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Messiah.
Paul, in speaking to these men, testified that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the Hebrew scriptures.
And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” (Psalm 2:7, 34) And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: “I will give you the sure mercies of David.” (Isaiah 55:3, 35) Therefore He also says in another Psalm: “You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” (Psalm 16:10) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. ~Acts 13:32-39
In the process of proving, from the scriptures, that Jesus is the fulfillment of three prophecies he is quoting from, Paul confirms for us the reason we have set about to study these prophecies: to accurately identify Jesus of Nazareth as the only one who has perfectly identified Himself as the One God sent to save the world.
Notice, in Acts 13:32, that Paul attributes the resurrection of Jesus from the dead as a confirmation that He is the subject of the prophecy from Isaiah 53:3, which David describes as the sure mercies of David.
By this affirmation that David was describing a Resurrection of his future descendant, the Messiah, this prophecy confirms that the Old Testament predicted both the Messiah’s death and His resurrection 1,000 years before Jesus arrived.
Verse 34: He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies of David.
We know that this prophecy describing the resurrection was not written for David because Paul states that David died, and his body decayed and remained in the grave.
Verse 36: For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption.
Jesus is the object of this prophecy because only He was raised from the dead after being placed in the grave for three days, yet His body had not decayed.
Verse 37: He (Jesus) whom God raised up saw no corruption…
How could Saul believe that the crucified Jesus was the true Messiah, since he knew that anyone “hanged on a tree” was cursed by God?
…he who is hanged is accursed of God. ~Deuteronomy 21:23
It is certain that Saul would ask why God would take a man who was clearly cursed, a false prophet no less, and make Him the Messiah. This would have been an impossible barrier for Saul to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, unless something spectacular had taken place that instantly altered Saul’s view of Jesus.
We read the account of this sudden conversion in Acts Chapter 9:
Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”~Acts 9:1-6
Jesus personally met Saul on the road to Damascus and abruptly altered his view of who Jesus is. From that moment on, we see a completely different man.
In Paul’s testimony to the believers at Corinth, he states that he saw the risen Jesus with his own eyes:
“Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes?” ~1 Corinthians 9:1
It is interesting that the Koine-Greek word used here to describe this event is “opaw,” to see with the eyes. There are eight places in the New Testament where Paul states that he saw Jesus; two additional places where Ananias and Barnabas state that Jesus appeared to Paul:
- Paul’s statement (above): 1 Corinthians 9:1
- On the road to Damascus: Acts 9:3-6
- Ananias said that Paul saw Jesus: Acts 9:17
- Barnabas said that Paul saw Jesus: Acts 9:27
- At Corinth: 1 Corinthians 15:8
- At Corinth: Acts 18:9-10
- At Jerusalem: Acts 22:6-10
- While praying at the Temple: Acts 22:12-21
- At the Roman barracks: Acts 23:11
- Before King Agrippa: Acts 26:12-18
See The Essay: Paul Saw The Risen Jesus With His Own Eyes
The personal visitation Paul had with Jesus in Acts 9, he later recounts in Acts 26:12-18 (above), as a part of his legal defense before king Agrippa. There is no ambiguity in what Paul recounts; Jesus personally appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, and Paul saw Him with His own eyes.
As Paul recounts this event to king Agrippa in Acts 26, he quotes the words that Jesus said to him at that time:
Paul told Agrippa, Jesus said the following: “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as my servant and witness. Tell people that you have seen me, and tell them what I will show you in the future. ~Acts 26:16
Jesus called Paul for the express purpose of being an eyewitness, who saw the risen Jesus with his eyes, and a minister to tell people about Jesus.
If Paul Did Not See The Risen Jesus, He Could Not Be An Apostle
Paul was accepted as a valid Apostle by the other 11 whom Jesus chose personally. If Paul had not seen the risen Jesus, he could not have been an Apostle, for this was the first and most important qualification of the 12 Apostles:
Acts 1:21: Acts 1:21-22 “So now we must choose a replacement for Judas from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus—from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us. Whoever is chosen will join us as a witness of Jesus’ resurrection.”
Acts 4:33: “The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.“
Jesus also told Paul that He would give him more knowledge in the future, a continuing revelation. Paul knew more about Jesus than any of the other Apostles. There are 18 mysteries Jesus gave to Paul that are described as previously hidden from the foundation of the world.
Paul later wrote that these revelations of God that were not known before Jesus arrived, came at a great cost to Paul. Along with this tremendous knowledge about Jesus and events of the future, Paul was also given an infirmity in his body to keep him humble.
This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about revelations from the Lord…That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it…even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, to keep me from becoming proud. ~2 Corinthians 12:1-7
Paul’s Abandonment Of His Status As A Respected Pharisee Makes No Sense, If He Did Not See The Risen Jesus
Paul was one of the leading Pharisees in Israel during this period, second only to Gamaliel. At the time Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), he was carrying letters given to him by the leaders of Israel, granting him authority to arrest Christians who declared that Jesus is the risen Messiah. Prior to this moment, Paul didn’t believe Jesus had risen or that He was the Messiah.
After Jesus appeared to Paul, everything changed. There was no hesitation by Paul. He immediately began telling people that he had seen Jesus and he believed Him to be the risen Messiah:
Immediately Paul preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. ~Acts 9:20
If this meeting with Jesus was nothing more than a vision or hallucination, how is it that right after this happened, Paul began to declare that Jesus was alive and He is the true Messiah?
This story makes no sense, unless Paul had actually seen Jesus with his own eyes.
Would Paul have gone from staunch persecutor of Christians to chief architect of the New Testament, declaring the risen Jesus by writing 13 books, if he really didn’t see Jesus alive on the road to Damascus?
From that day forward, Paul became a hated Christian and lost everything he had formerly held as valuable. Paul was no longer a respected Pharisee. He lost his wealth, home, and was marked for death by his former colleagues. Paul was beheaded in 68 A.D. and maintained that he had seen the risen Jesus with his own eyes, right up until his final breath.
Forensic Evidence Of Truthful Narrative
This internal evidence of Saul’s sudden change is a profound proof for the trustworthiness of the accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Beginning with Paul, and continuing with each man whom Jesus chose to follow Him, we see profound changes take place in the lives of these men. No myth, no literary contrivance, could possibly contain the depth of thoroughness that we see in the New Testament scriptures. Only a genuine account could incorporate so much detail. These are the attributes of honest accounts written by men who are simply reporting what they saw and heard.
The men who penned the narrative of Jesus’ life and ministry are one of the strongest pieces of evidence for the reliability of the entire story. As we continue to examine each of the men who recorded the details of the New Testament, it becomes abundantly clear that these are sincere men who are reliable witnesses.
Examination Of The Text From Hebrews
If we examine just the first chapter of Hebrews, we see the skill of Paul as a scholar—an ability that no other writer could accomplish. Notice how many citations Paul makes to the Old Testament scriptures in proving Jesus is the Messiah. This attribute is repeated throughout Hebrews—evidence of Paul’s authorship.
Hebrews Chapter One: Jesus Is God’s Son
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. 2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names.
The Son Is Greater Than the Angels
5 For God never said to any angel what he said to Jesus:
“You are my Son. (Paul Cites Psalms 2:7)
Today I have become your Father.”
God also said,
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son.” (Paul Cites 2 Samuel 7:14)
6 And when he brought his supreme Son into the world, God said,
“Let all of God’s angels worship him.” (Paul Cites Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalms 8:4)
7 Regarding the angels, he says,
“He sends his angels like the winds,
his servants like flames of fire.” (Paul Cites Psalms 104:4)
8 But to the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever.
You rule with a scepter of justice.
9 You love justice and hate evil.
Therefore, O God, your God has anointed you,
pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.” (Psalms 45:6-7)
10 He also says to the Son,
“In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
11 They will perish, but you remain forever.
They will wear out like old clothing.
12 You will fold them up like a cloak
and discard them like old clothing.
But you are always the same;
you will live forever.” (Paul Cites Psalms 102:25-27)
13 And God never said to any of the angels,
“Sit in the place of honor at my right hand
until I humble your enemies,
making them a footstool under your feet.” (Paul Cites Psalms 110:1)
14 Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.
This precision continues throughout the letter to the Hebrews
This ability to cite hundreds of the Old Testament scriptures that define the work and ministry of the Messiah—attributing these to Jesus—prove that Paul is the true author of Hebrews.
Peter Cites Hebrews 6:11-15, And Paul As The Author
In Peter’s description of God’s patience in waiting for people to repent and believe the Gospel, he describes Paul’s description of patience in reference to Abraham in Genesis.
These verses of scripture are forever linked together as Peter cites the words of Paul found in the book of Hebrews, and attributes Paul as the writer of these texts.
2 Peter 3:15: And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him.
Hebrews 6:13-15 For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
This citation of Paul by Peter in his own letters, is a pattern that is often repeated. In 2 Peter 3:9-14, he describes this continuing theme of Paul in both Romans and Hebrews, of God’s great patience with the people of earth, giving us time to repent and turn to Jesus for salvation.
2 Peter 3:9-15 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.
Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along. On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.
Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Peter often uses the letters of Paul from both Romans and Hebrews, to enforce his own statements about Jesus and the patience of God in giving us time to come to our senses, turn from this world that will soon pass away, and trust in Jesus as our Savior. Peter knew that Paul was the man who wrote the letter to the Hebrew believers.
Paul’s Attribution of Timothy, Customary In many of His Other Letters
In his benediction of Hebrews, Paul makes his customer exit, citing his fellow worker and faithful servant, Timothy:
And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. Grace be with you all. Amen. ~Hebrews 13:22-25
We See Timothy Described By Paul In Eleven Of His Letters
Romans 16:20-21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you.
1 Corinthians 4:17 For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
1 Corinthians 16:10-11 And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.
2 Corinthians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.
Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.
Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother.
1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith.
2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Philemon 1:1-3 Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 13:23-25 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. Grace be with you all. Amen.
It is my opinion, based upon the evidence of the New Testament texts, and the skill required to construct such a magnificent treatise proving the identity of Jesus as the Messiah, that only Paul was capable of writing Hebrews.
 Louis Finkelstein, “Akiba: Scholar, Saint, and Martyr.” New York: Covici, Friede, 1936.
 Tosef., Ber. iv. 12.
 Kabbalah: A very short introduction, Joseph Dan, Oxford University Press, Chapter 1 “The term and its uses”
18 Mysteries Revealed To Paul In The New Testament:
- The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God (Mt. 13:11; Mk. 4:11; Lk. 8:10)
- Israel’s blindness (Rom. 11:25)
- Salvation in Christ (Rom. 16:25)
- The wisdom of God (1Cor. 2:7)
- The doctrines of God (1Cor. 4:1; Col. 2:2; 1Tim. 3:16)
- The gospel (Eph. 6:19)
- Gift of knowledge (1Cor. 13:2)
- Speaking in tongues (1Cor. 14:2)
- The rapture of the church (1Cor. 15:23,51-58 Jn. 14:1-3 1Th. 4:13-16)
- God’s will (Eph. 1:9)
- The church (Eph. 3:1-9; 5:32)
- Christ in people (Col. 1:26-27)
- Doctrines of Christ (Col. 4:3)
- Spirit of lawlessness (2Th. 2:7)
- Faith of the gospel (1Tim. 3:9)
- Seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:20)
- God’s delay in casting out of Satan (Rev. 10:7; 12:7-17)
- Mystery Babylon (Rev. 17:5,7)
List from Dake’s Commentary On The Bible
 EUSEBIUS, Hist, Eccles. lib. ii. cap. 25
 1. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 6.14.2 2. The early Alexandrian exegetes Pantaenus and Clement accepted Pauline authorship, though Clement suggested that the stylistic differences in Hebrews are due to Luke translating Paul’s letter from the original Hebrew to Greek, a tradition that was incorporated into the glossa ordinaria and became the traditional opinion of the medieval Western church.
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