Family Notes 10/02/2016


HEBREWS TREASURY — It might come as a surprise to many Christians today, but there is no book of the Bible more full of Jesus, more attuned to daily life in the 21st century, and more relevant as a word of encouragement than the book of Hebrews. For the next few weeks, our gracEmail family notes will include two items related to Hebrews. First, a piece of a conversation with me about the book itself (see “A Neglected Book” below). Second, excerpts from a review of Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, which is probably one of the two or three most significant books the Lord has ever given me to write.


Q: Hebrews is not a book we hear discussed very often. Why do you suppose that is the case?

EDWARD: You are right about that, and this neglect is most unfortunate. Hebrews is one of the most Jesus-focused, gospel-packed books in the New Testament. You will see the evidence for that on almost every page of Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today. What a shame that this wonderful New Testament book that faithfully shines the spotlight on the Son of God our Savior, so often ends up going unnoticed, unstudied, and unread.

Q: Why do most people miss this focus?

EDWARD: It comes from a lack of careful study of Hebrews. Folks go away from it without ever seeing and appreciating the book’s real message. They assume it is just an old book about even older Jewish rituals, sacrifices and priests, with no meaning or value for them.

For full details about Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, go to:

LINDA KING (Christian Chronicle)

In Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, Edward Fudge attempts to bridge three gaps. First is the gap between academic specialists and lay readers. This commentary relies on the Greek text of Hebrews although containing no Greek. Second are the gaps among different versions of the English Bible. The commentary supplies its own unique translation based upon the commonalities of other standard translations. Third is the gap between various theological interpretations of Hebrews. The commentary presents various views and elucidates what they have in common.

For Fudge, Hebrews is a book that illustrates “how the early church could always be talking and thinking and preaching and studying about Jesus — with no ‘Bible’ except the books we call the Old Testament.” Following that view, he considers Hebrews as a message of encouragement built around the framework of Psalms 8, 95, 40 and 110. Most readers will find this meditative, homiletic approach to be satisfying and personally edifying.

Although Fudge’s commentary targets Sunday school teachers and devotional readers as much as seminarians, it is not “Hebrews Light.” That is, while the author’s style is conversational and his comments are pastoral and practical, he does not ignore the complex theological issues raised or the serious warnings contained in the book.

Fudge laments the neglect and disuse that have befallen the book of Hebrews in recent decades. He counsels that Christians are missing a great source of intellectual nourishment and spiritual encouragement from this mysterious and magnificent treasure: the book of Hebrews.

As Christian communities who need encouragement and who desire to grow in our capacity for theological reflection, we now have in our hands some excellent new tools.

For full review texts and much more, go to:

TWO NOTABLE PREACHERS — My highly-respected friend and gracEmail subscriber Bobby Valentine [ ] has taken a special interest in the stories of faithful women within the RM who have served God as preachers and evangelists. In his current blog, Bobby introduces not one but two such Christian women from the mid-to-late 1800s as follows. (I have edited for length).

“The year 1888 was an interesting year for women in the Stone-Campbell Movement,” Bobby writes. hat year Selina Holman defended the notion that women could teach and it was the year that Clara Babcock became the RM’s first ‘full time’ female preacher. Both women were small-town gals. Both were socially and theologically conservative. Both believed in the absolute authority of Scripture. Neither was a feminist. Babcock would have a thirty-six year ministry, baptizing over 1,500 people with her own hands. For the most part she has been ignored and forgotten. We should know about this wife and mother of six–a remarkable Huldah of a woman, a Stone-Campbell Anna.”

For more, go to: