God is repeatedly presented as the God who speaks in the New Testament book of Hebrews. Speaking verbs permeate this NT letter. From the opening of the book to the end, the world is presented as dependent on God’s word. Old Testament Scripture is not treated as an ancient text, but as the voice of God himself – a voice that actively and urgently addresses God’s people centuries after originally written.
Quotations of Old Testament Scriptures (37 of them) are not introduced with the common “It is written” formula, but with verbs of speaking, treated as God speaking to those who have ears to hear (although written by prophets long ago). There is no distinction between God’s voice and His written word.
- God speaks (λαλέω) 1:1-2;2:2-3; 3:5; 4:8; 5:5; 11:18; 12:25.
- God says (λέγω) 1:6,7,13; 3:7, 15; 4:3,4,7; 5:6; 6:14; 7:13,21; 8:8,9,10,13; 10:5,7,8,9,15,30; 12:26; 13:5.
- God testifies (μαρτυρέω) 2:4,; 7:17; 10:15; 11:4,5,39.
- God promises (ἐπαγγέλλομαι) 6:13; 10:23; 11:11; 12:26.
- God warns (χρηματίζω) 8:5; 11:7; 12:25.
- God proclaims (εὐαγγελίζω) 4:2,6.
- God declares (δηλόω) 9:8; 12:27.
- God swears (ὀμνύω) 3:11, 18; 4:3; 6:13; 7:28.
- God reproves (ἐλέγχω) 12:5.
- Hebrews 1:1-3 – “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”
- Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
- Hebrews 12:25-26 – “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.”
- Deuteronomy 8:2-3 – “You shall remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.”
- II Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
Further reflection and discussion
Luke 16:27-31 – “…I beg you, father,’ he said, ‘send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also end up in this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let your brothers listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone is sent to them from the dead, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ ”
See also – Hearing God’s voice among the voices….