Hebrews 4:11-16 Inductive Bible Study Notes and Discussion Questions
I. Be diligent to enter the rest (11)
II. We are accountable to follow God’s Word (12-13)
III. Christ is our perfect High Priest (14-16)
I. Verse 11
What is the author’s conclusion about how we can apply all the information in the previous passage? What should we do?
What can we do to make sure we enter that rest? So it it works oriented? If it is not works oriented (we can’t save ourselves) what role do works have anyway?
1 Corinthians 10:5-13 – A summary of the sins committed by the Israelites in the wilderness.
2 Timothy 4:7 – Fighting the good fight.
Philippians 3:13-14 – I do not consider myself as yet having taken hold of it…
1. Verse 11 contains the key application for us from this entire passage about entering into God’s rest which started back in chapter 3, verse 7. We have learned that the good news was preached to the Israelites in the wilderness and they hardened their hearts and provoked God. We have seen that this same good news was preached to us. We have seen that we have this same opportunity to enter into God’s rest and receive eternal life. God’s grace was not only extended to the Jews of Old Testament times, but is also extended to us. In fact, His promises to us are even greater than His promises to them. So, what we should do? Verse 11 has the answer. We should be diligent to enter into the rest and not fall short. As we learned last week, we must regularly evaluate our spiritual position. We must hold fast to God’s Words in faith. We must not allow ourselves to drift away or fall away from God. We must learn from the example of those who rebelled in the wilderness and not make the same mistakes that they did.
II. Verses 12-13
If someone asked you to tell them why you believe the Bible (and why Christians follow such an old book), what would you tell them?
What does it mean that God’s Word is living? Active?
In what way is His Word like a sword?
Are there any other passages which compare the Word to a sword?
How can we use it like a weapon?
What insights can we gain about this verse from the surrounding context?
What does the second part of the verse mean?
What applications can we make from verse 12?
What is the relationship between verse 12 and 13? How about 13 and the rest of the passage?
What character quality of God’s is revealed in verse 13?
How does this effect us?
Isaiah 55:11- His Word will not return void.
Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Proverbs 4:20-22 – Be attentive to my words…
John 6:63 － The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
John 12:48 – If we reject His words, He will judge us.
1. This verse is often quoted. It is one of the most famous verses about the Word of God. Normally, however, it is removed from the context and some of the power is lost. The context of this verse shows us that we have a responsibility to take God’s Word to heart and obey it (unlike those who disobeyed Him and couldn’t enter into the rest). So this verse is not just a passive description of God’s Word showing how powerful it is. Rather it is showing us that because God’s Word is alive. Because it is powerful. Because it can change our lives. Because it penetrates into the depths of people’s hearts. Because it is greater than any other weapon. Because of these things we must not ignore God’s Word. When we hear it, we must act. We must obey it.
2. The Bible comes from the very heart (and mouth) of the Holy Spirit, from the very throne room of God. It is infinite in wisdom, infinite in power. The Word contains every moral principle. It contains all that is required for life and godliness. We discussed back in chapter one what a privilege it is that the God of the universe has condescended to communicate with us. We should treasure His words and never lose sight of the fact that it is indeed a great privilege that He loves us so much He has given us thousands of pages of instructions about how to live, and how to know and follow Him.
3. This is a great verse to share with people who want to know why Christians care so much about the Bible. They think it is “just an old book.” After all, times have changed. We now have modern technology. People have advanced and the Bible is ancient. This verse shows that the Bible is alive. It is not a dead book of facts. The fact that it is alive means that it brings life to those who obey it. It changes our lives and transforms us. It causes us to grow (1 Peter 2:1-3). More copies of the Bible are sold than any other book. It has dramatically changed hundreds of millions of peoples’ lives. It is because of these qualities of the Bible that I chose it as a major. It can have a real impact on my life, unlike some topics such as high math. It also penetrates into our hearts and convicts us of sin and the need to change.
4. What is our responsibility towards God’s Word? It is to obey it. To unite the knowledge we have of it with faith which will bring action. God does see everything we do. There is no secret that we can keep from God. Can you give examples of anyone in the Bible whose secret was found out? See Psalms 139:7-10. God is everywhere. He is omniscient and omnipresent. How should this effect us? What should do knowing that God sees everything we do?
III. Verses 14-16
What else can help us to “hold fast?”
What is Jesus referred to as in this section of Scripture?
How would you explain the phrase that he can “symphathize with our weaknesses?” Does this mean he “understands” or tolerates our sin?
How does the fact that He faced the same temptations help us? What can we learn from His example?
What does the author say we should do with this information (verses 14-15)?
Does God give us the mercy and grace we need in time of need? Do you have any examples from your own lives? What forms will this mercy and grace take?-+
Matthew 4:1-11 – Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness.
Ephesians 1:7, 2:7 – God’s grace extended to us.
1. Christ our high priest – As we see in the later chapters of Hebrews, one of the major themes of the book is Christ as our high priest. Our high priest is the very Son of God, Jesus. This verse shows His human nature with the name Jesus and His divine nature through the title “Son of God.” His example, power, and sacrifice should motivate us to “hold fast.” Once again we see this exhortation to stand firm. The first several chapters of Hebrews contain many exhortations such as this one, and are an important reminder of the responsibility we have as believers to follow God faithfully and never give up our faith in Him.
2. Verse 15-16 are also both popular verses to memorize. Have you memorized them before? Why did you choose these verses? What can you learn from them? The concept is fairly simple. Christ has experienced the same temptations that we do, only He didn’t sin. His response to temptation should motivate us do what is right. Sometimes in the heat of the temptation we might have the idea that “God just doesn’t understand what I am facing” or “no one could bear up under this temptation” or “it’s easy for God to tell us not to do it when He is not a human and hasn’t been tempted like we are.” This verse destroys all of these arguments. Christ was a human. He does understand what we are facing. He knows how hard it is to live in victory in this world. These verses do not mean it is acceptable to sin because He understands. In fact, it shows us that Christ had victory over the temptations. His example should in turn motivate us to not give in to temptation. His example also gives us a model about how to respond to temptation.
3. What else does verse 15 mean for us? See verse 16. It means that we should turn to Christ for help when we face temptations. He knows how difficult it easy. He wants to help us. He wants to give us grace so that we can get through the temptation in victory. Many times the way out promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13 starts with turning to God in prayer. If we don’t do that, we will miss the way out that He has prepared for us. He also extends mercy to us. When we sin, He does forgive and restore us if we confess. Next time you are tempted remember to approach the throne of grace to receive help from the only one who ever got through this life unscathed by sin.
4. We also thank God that we can approach His throne. In this world, it is not possible for common people to approach the throne of emperors or kings. Guards and soldiers block the way. But gives us free access. You have a free lifetime pass into His presence to offer your requests (remember that even the Queen Esther was in danger of losing her life for entering the throne room of the king). Don’t waste it!
Application: What do you think God would have you to do in the coming week based on what we have learned today?
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”