The book of Hebrews Commentary by Arnold Fruchtenbaum is the best explanation I have read and studied of this Jewish epistle written to Jews living near Jerusalem. In lucid details, Dr. Fruchtenbaum handles the theme and outline with the text rather than trying to fit the text into a theology. He is the first writer, ten years ago, that helped me understand the outline and flow of Hebrews. When Fruchtenbaum helped me understand the Five Warning Passages, 75% of Hebrews became a clear picture. Fruchtenbaum’s Commentary cleared up the other 25%.
The theme of Hebrews is “The Superiority of the Son.” Hebrews was written by an author in the Diaspora to Jews near Jerusalem on how to deal with their persecution. They must not give in and return to the easier mode of living that was found in the ritualistic living of Judaism. Because the new Christians came out of Judaism, they were ostracized by their families and communities, thus making life extremely difficult. They wondered if it was worth it and whether it might be wise to return to the Judaism practiced in the land.
There are five warning passages in Hebrews. The writer of Hebrews warns them five times in Hebrews 2:1-4; 3:7-19; 5:11-6:20; 10:26-31; and 12:25-29. Some impose their theology onto the natural reading of the text and declare that these passages imply a person can either lose their salvation or that the person was never saved in the first place. This erroneous interpretation fails to handle accurately the Word of Truth as Fruchtenbaum declares the Pre-emminence of the Son and the practical application of the Pre-emminence of the Son. The five warning passages declare that like Israel, the inhabitants near Jerusalem can return to Judaism, but if they do, they would physically die. The physical death occurred in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed the temple in Jerusalem.
Fruchtenbaum interprets with a Literal Historico-grammatical hermeneutic (method of interpretation). That means he takes the literal interpretation of the text, except where it is obvious that the text is referring to symbolism. Secondly, he looks at the history of the Jews surrounding Jerusalem WITH the text and wisely extracts the Jewish character of the epistle. And grammatically, he unglues the tremendous exegesis of the original text to enlighten meaning that is not easily seen in the English text.
Fruchtenbaum notes the dispensational differences between the Jewish Age and the Church Age, which is the only way to rightly divide this epistle for new Christians struggling about a decision to return to law-living. Too many authors necessitate present day cultural analogies that distort the authorial intent of the book of Hebrews. Fruchtenbaum pays particular attention to key words like “perfection,” “eternal,” “priesthood,” “forever,” “heavenly,” “better” and “covenant.”
Do not teach the book of Hebrews until you walk through this volume. His inclusion of the text and phrases of the text in explanation make the Commentary most readable!