Hebrews 2 Inductive Bible Study Notes and Discussion Questions
I. The salvation we have in Christ (1-4)
II. Christ subjected Himself, but will be exalted (5-9)
III. Christ came to bring us into His family (10-18)
I. Verses 1-4
Verse 1: For what reason? What is the connection between this passage and chapter 1?
What is the things that “we have heard” that the writer is referring to?
What word was spoken by the angels? What role did they have in bringing God’s message to His people?
What “spiritual law” is referred to in verse 2 (sin comes with a consequence)?
What is the main message for us (application point) from verse 3?
Who was it that confirmed the gospel message to them?
What other ways was it confirmed?
1 Timothy 1:19 – So that you do not shipwreck your faith.
2 Corinthians 11:14, Galatians 1:8 – Do not listen to those who preach a different gospel
Deuteronomy 33:1-2, Psalm 68:17 – Angels were involved in the passing of the law to the Jews at Mt. Sinai.
1 Timothy 2:5-7, 1 Corinthians 15:5-7, 2 Timothy 2:2 – The apostles received the gospel from Christ and preached it to further generations who in turn passed it on.
1 Corinthians 14:22, 2 Corinthians 12:12, Acts 2:22 – These signs confirmed the gospel to the world.
1. For this reason – We need to realize that Christ is pre-eminent over everything else. Because of this, the salvation He offers is of utmost importance that requires all of our attention. Last week we discussed the fact that God has given us divine revelation about Himself. This is information about His character and plan that we could not possibly deduce or comprehend on our own. Because the Supreme Creator has given us a message, we should pay attention to it and study it closely as well as obey it. This here is the same idea. Because Christ is supreme, everything He has done for us and teaches us is of maximum importance that we should pay attention to and not deviate from in the slightest.
2. Drift away from it – Notice the word “drift.” Why use this word? Drift has the meaning of a slow change in direction. This change in direction is not even on purpose. Boats will slowly drift off course if the captain is not paying careful attention to maintain his heading. A married couple will slowly drift apart in their relationship. A student may slowly drift off to sleep in class. None of these things are intentional. They happen subtly without warning. They are hard to notice unless one is observing very closely. This is often the same things that happens with churches drifting away from sound doctrine and individuals drifting away from God in their relationship with Him. Do solid believers who are following God one day just wake up the next day and decide to leave church and never come back? No! It is incremental. First it is a decision to sleep a bit later and have a quiet time at night which doesn’t end up happening. Then it is a sin that is not quickly confessed. Then he perhaps lets some resentment build up in his heart about something that God allowed to happen in his life. Next it is a decision to skip church one time for a concert. This happens more and more often until he is not going anymore, not reading the Bible anymore, and not even praying anymore. Does a believer in a strong and loving marriage one day wake up the next day and suddenly decide he wants a divorce? No! First it is an unresolved conflict. Then it is a wandering eye. Then he allows his mind to dwell on unhealthy fantasies. Then it is a lapse in judgment (half intentional) by which he allows himself into a tempting situation with a female co-worker. This one time mistake is repeated until his entire marriage is wrecked. The point is that sin creeps in on us gradually. This is Satan’s method. He wins little battle at a time until he has won the war. How can we prevent this gradual drift away from God and His truth?
3. I believe this “word” in verse 2 is referring to Scripture. This is the greater/less than argument. If the lesser is true (the words from angels are true and do not change and can’t be altered) then certainly Jesus’ words are true (verse 3) and the consequences of rejecting His words are serious. Angels were instrumental in bringing the Scripture to God’s people. Many times they came with messages for prophets or individuals like Abraham, Daniel, Mary and Joseph and the wise men. It is likely that God used angels as His messengers in some visions and dreams as well. Their words to God’s people are unalterable. Those who disobey (or doubt like in the case of Zachariah) would receive the appropriate punishment.
4. Verse 2 implies the spiritual law that “sin must be punished.” If this was not true, Christ would not have to die for us. But because sin must be punished it is either we face the punishment or Christ face it for us.
5. Verse 3 – If even disobeying the angels comes with a very costly punishment, how about if we reject the great salvation that Christ has made possible for us?
6. This great salvation was offered by Christ. For that reason alone we should not ignore it, take it for granted, reject it, or drift away from it. After Christ preached it to us, his apostles and disciples passed it on to the next generation who then kept passing it on.
7. God used a variety of signs and wonders and miracles to verify this gospel. When the early church was just growing this was a new belief. Many greeted it with doubt. How could people know if this was true or if it was just a passing fad? How could people know if it was true? God confirmed the truth of what the disciples were preaching by using them to perform miracles. People weren’t sure if the words they spoke were true, but when they saw the miracles the elect knew this was only possible by the power of God and believed. A question has come up recently about whether these types of gifts such as healing and tongues, the so-called sign gifts are still alive today. Discuss.
II. Verses 5-9
Who was this world subjected to (verses 5 and 9)?
What attitude did Christ show in becoming lower than the angels? When did this happen?
What “reward” would He get after He humbled himself? What principle does this teach?
Why did Christ take not of man and lower Himself to save us (verse 6 asks a rhetorical question on this topic)?
How does that make you feel? How should we respond to Christ’s sacrifice for us?
What is not under Christ’s rule/dominion? What impact does that have on us knowing that everything is controled by Christ?
What does it mean that He might “taste death for everyone”?
Psalm 8:4-6 – Hebrews 2:6-8 is quoted from there.
Ephesians 1:22 – All things put under Christ’s feet.
Philippians 2:2-11 – Christ lowered Himself and was then exalted.
Romans 5:6-12 – Christ died for us, the ungodly.
1. Verse 5 – Here is another point which reinforces the author’s point from the last chapter, namely that Christ is superior to the angels. The world was put under Christ’s control. He is ruler over all things.
2. 6-8 Christ for a little while become a man. His position during that time was lower than the angels. Right now the angels’ position is higher than people. They are in heaven. They are more powerful. They are holy, etc. For a short period of time, Christ became a man. This was a major sacrifice on His part. He lowered Himself FAR below what was rightfully His. He left paradise in heaven to come to this sin-cursed earth. He didn’t choose the top palaces to live in, but was even born in a manger. He didn’t come to become king of this earth (the first time), but came as a servant to give His life as a ransom for many. He is our ultimate example of humility. If Christ humbled Himself so radically, surely we can humble ourselves. In the everyday grind of life. We can humble ourselves to empty the trash, to clean the restroom, to get up for the baby in the middle of the night, to not have to have the last word in every discussion/argument, to forgive others’ mistakes even if they keep repeating them, to do the tasks that no one else wants to do, to serve in the background without thought of reward.
3. God has established a principle of exalting those who humble themselves (1 Peter 5:6). Jesus I the ultimate example of that. He humbled Himself more than any person has ever humbled Himself before in all of history. He will be exalted higher than any person will ever be exalted in all of history. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. In Philippians it says He will be given the name above every other name. This passage is yet another reminder that Christ is Supreme and pre-eminent. This can remind us that if we humble ourselves, God sees and will reward us at the proper time.
4. Why did Jesus do this? Verse 9. He did it to die for us so that we would not have to. Will we make sacrifices for other people? Will we humble ourselves to serve them even when it is difficult or when we don’t feel like it? Will we do this for people who don’t like us and don’t deserve it?
III. Verses 10-18
What theological truth can we get about the purpose God created this world for from verse 10 (It was created for Him. He created it to bring glory to Himself.)
How could Christ be perfected through sufferings if He was already perfect (verse 10)?
What does “brethren” mean? How can we be brethren of Christ?
What do we learn about Jesus’ incarnation from this passage? What characteristics did He take on as a human?
How did He render Satan powerless? What does that mean for us?
What is the meaning of verse 16?
Why did He become a man?
What does propitiation mean?
How is it beneficial for us that Christ was tempted like we are? What lessons can we learn from Him about how to respond to temptation?
Psalm 22:22 – Hebrews 2:12 is quoted from there.
1 Corinthians 15:20-28, 1 Corinthians 15:54 – Jesus conquered death.
Verses on sanctification –
2 Timothy 2:21
1 Thess 5:23
Verses on the incarnation
1. Verse 10 – Everything was made by Him and for Him. This gives a simple answer as to why He created the world. He created it for Himself because it gives Him pleasure and glory. Yet He desires to bring joy and salvation to many others so that we can experience the full joy of knowing and serving God. This shows the harmonious doctrine of why we exist. We exist to glorify God. And as we glorify God we have the most joy possible, hence the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him fully.
2. To perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings – Since Christ’s divine nature was perfect already, it cannot be referring to this. MacArthur says, “His human nature was perfected through obedience, including suffering in orer that He might be an understanding High Priest, an example for believers, and establish perfect righteousness.”
3. Verses 11-13 – We are brothers of Christ. We have the same Father. In the Old Testament iot says that the Messiah would preach to His brethren. Jesus Himself said that those who obeyed God would be called his brothers and mother (Matthew 12:50, Luke 8:21). This reinforces the truth that everyone who comes to Christ is adopted into God’s family. This is why we call other believers brothers and sisters. How does God adopting us impact us? What does it mean to you that Christ is our brother? Is there anything we need to do because of this truth? Any application we can make?
4. Verses 14-15 – Here we see the doctrine of the incarnation. Jesus became a man. He took on the nature of a human. Why would He do this? He did it so that He could die once for all bringing all men to Himself. Death is the scariest thing awaiting every man. Death always has the last word. Satan’s seeming victory at the Fall ensured that all people would die. Satan thought his greatest victory would be killing Jesus, killing the Son of God. Yet his glee was turned to bitter defeat when Jesus arose from the dead and defeated death once and for all. Because of that, believers do not need to fear death. It is not the end. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:54, “death is swallowed up in victory.” How does knowing that death is not the end, but Christ defeated death effect us here and now before we die?
5. 16-17 – These verses show Christ’s identification with humanity. He became one of us to represent us and to help us. He did not identify in this way with angels.
6. He became like his “brethren.” He became a man. This allowed Him to become our High Priest, our mediator. As a man He could represent us before God. The first man, Adam, brought sin to the whole human race. In a similar way, one man, Christ, would bring salvation to the world (see Romans 5). He could only substitute Himself for us if He was one of us.
7. At the same time, becoming a man also brought with it the temptations that all people face. As God, He certainly knew about these temptations already. But by becoming a man, He could experience them firsthand. As we saw earlier in the chapter, this “perfected” His human side. He could identify with what we were going through. He could give us the perfect example of how to respond to it in action, not just with words. He can empathize with us in a deeper way and intercede for us more personally. So whenever you are tempted, you can look to the example of Christ to see how He responded.
Application: What do you need to apply what you learned today? What changes do you need to make in your life? What do you need to obey?
“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”