The first rays of morning gradually illumined the volcanic mountains before me, and the cobblestone streets of Antigua glowed softly beneath my feet. It was August 2007, and I was in this picturesque Guatemalan village on professional retreat with my employer, the Lanier Law Firm of Houston, Texas. During this early morning walk, I was asking God for a new assignment — something he would enable me to do to bless others and to bring him honor.
Within hours, I began to sense an answer. I was to encourage some of God’s people by writing a new commentary on Hebrews. Like the Book of Hebrews itself, this book would focus entirely on Jesus Christ — the Son of God who became a man to bring fallen human beings to their intended glorious destiny.
Over the following months, the details unfolded step by step, and the assignment seemed to gain a life of its own. Specifically, this book would tell the Jesus story, as Hebrews does, based on four Old Testament Psalms. I would work from the original Greek text, but my book would contain no Greek words. This commentary would present the cream of scholarly research — stated in non-technical language. It would explain Hebrews verse-by-verse, using the narrative style of a regular book. God would also embolden me to ask Haddon W. Robinson, President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and author of Biblical Preaching, to contribute a foreword, which he would generously do.
Fulfilling that assignment has been my preoccupation for the past 19 months — months containing many joyful 14-hour days. At age 29, I had published a commentary on Hebrews titled Our Man in Heaven. F.F. Bruce contributed its foreword and God graciously used that book to encourage and strengthen many readers around the world. Now, as I approach my 65th birthday, Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today, harvests the fruit of 35 more years of maturing, studying and preaching from this wonderful, mysterious, Jesus-centered, New Testament book.
From that sunrise prayer walk in Guatemala two years ago until now, I have keenly felt God’s blessing on this assignment. That blessing has been evident in the valuable assistance of many friends, in the warm-hearted sponsorship of my friend and employer Mark Lanier, and in the skillful craftsmanship of my friend and publisher Leonard Allen, director of Leafwood Publishers/ACU Press.
Along the way, we invited nearly 100 Bible scholars and church leaders to read the manuscript and to give us their impressions. From the USA, Canada, India, Australia and New Zealand, 36 responded — and they were enthusiastic in their affirmations. There is not space to share their remarks here, but please look at the thoughtful comments of reviewers such as Will Willimon, Simon Kistemaker, David Fleer, Sarah Sumner, Rubel Shelly, and Brian McLaren by clicking here. The endorsements include a link to my bookshelf, where you can order this book.
I praise God for giving me this assignment and for enabling its fulfillment. I invite you to join me now in asking him to use Hebrews: Ancient Encouragement for Believers Today to encourage many and to bring him glory.