Hebrews 10:1-24 Inductive Bible Study Notes and Discussion Questions
I. Jesus’ sacrifice is complete and perfect (1-10)
II. Christ perfects the sanctified (11-18)
III. Application: Draw near to God in faith and a sincere heart (19-25)
I. Verses 1-10
In what way is the law a shadow of the good things to come? For example, in the law what is the shadow of Jesus’ sacrifice?
What can the law not do?
So what could the law do?
How does verse 2 prove the conclusion in verse 1 that the law cannot make perfect those who draw near?
What does verse 3 say is a reason for those continual sacrifices?
Why does God not desire sacrifices? What did He desire then?
What do you think God did (and does) take pleasure in?
What could be a similar thing in the modern church that we think God is pleased in, but He might not be depending on our heart?
What does the phrase mean “He takes away the first in order to establish the second?”
Verse 10: By what will?
On God being pleased with a right heart:
1. Verses 1-4 – Basically these verses a review of the previous chapters. In those chapters we learned that the priests had to continually offer sacrifices. They had to do it daily on and on with no sign of ending. The reason is that the law could not perfect anyone or solve our problem of sin. The law was given as a shadow of “good things to come.” Specifically the sacrifices were a shadow of Christ’s death which would once and for all atone for our sins. In verse 3 we see another purpose of the law, that is to be a continual reminder of sin. The daily sacrifices were a visible and gruesome reminder about the cost of sin and the necessity of its being punished.
2. The writer does introduce one new logical argument for why the law (and with it the sacrifices) is not enough. His argument is that they were made year by year, probably a reference to the yearly day of atonement. IF the atonement was good enough to solve the problem of sin, it wouldn’t need to be made again, but every year it had to be made anew. This in itself shows its inadequacy.
3. Verses 5-6 – These verses show us that God does not delight in sacrifices. Then why did He command us to do it? The sacrifices are a means to an end. They act as an object lesson to teach us the seriousness of sin and instill in us an attitude of repentance and appropriate fear about the results of sin. Yet throughout Israelite history the sacrifices became the “end” or the goal themselves. People disobeyed God. They rebelled against His teachings and against His prophets. They harbored all types of sins in their hearts. And they thought that all they needed to do was offer a sacrifice to God and everything would be OK. However, sacrifices were external. This externalritual was supposed to show a person’s internal attitude of remorse over sin. Whenever the person offers the sacrifice without the right heart attitude it is unacceptable in God’s sight and He takes no pleasure in it. In the modern church, there could be parallels:
A. Giving as a ritual. Perhaps some people give because they think it will take away their sin or somehow earn them absolution. In the Bible Saul said the people saved the best of the sheep to give to God, but He didn’t want them because He had told them to destroy them. Judas gave back the 30 pieces of silver that he received for his betrayal of Jesus. In the 1800s in a church George Mueller went to, people donated to the church and received a better or worse seat depending on how much they donated (apparently this was a common practice all over England), leading many people to give for the sake of a better seat.
B. Attending church as a ritual because “it’s Sunday” or because “my friends are there” or because “they will blame me for not going” if I don’t show up.
Verse 5 shows that God didn’t want the sacrifice. Then what did He want?
4. Verses 7-9 – God did not delight in their sacrifices. This isn’t what He really wanted. He wanted their obedience. He wanted them to follow His will just as Jesus said He came to do the will of the Father. Matthew 26:39, 42. These verses could be taken as a prophecy about Jesus. In Verse 7 the “I” would refer to the Messiah. Therefore Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant (of obeying God’s will from the heart) where all of His kinsmen had failed. In other places we read that Jesus came to fulfill the law and not to abolish it. He gives us the perfect model to follow. Application: We should always evaluate our heart and make sure we are serving God from our heart for the right reasons. Ask yourself, “Why am I going to church today?” “Why am I reading the Bible?” “Why should I pray before a meal?” Before going to church pray and ask God to prepare your heart for learning. Do the same before a quiet time or before attending a Bible study.
5. Verse 10 – We have been sanctified. His once for all sacrifice has made us holy positionally before God. Jesus did for us what the law never could. Although we are sanctified before God already positionally, there is still the ongoing process of becoming more like Christ in our every day practice which we must pursue.
II. Verses 11-18
What is the significance that Christ sat down at the right hand of God after His sacrifice?
What is He waiting for? Why is He waiting? Why not subject all enemies to Himself now? What does He want to accomplish first?
Explain the importance of the phrase “perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
How can we better allow God’s law to be on our minds and heart? Is there anything we can do to make this process easier?
Can God literally forget our sins?
Psalm 110:1 – The Lord says to my Lord: ‘ Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
2 Timothy 2:21 – Cleansing himself from what is dishonorable.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 – May God sanctify you completely.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ…
1 Thessalonians 4:3 – This is the will of God, that you abstain from sexual immorality.
1. Verses 11-12 – What is the contrast between verses 11 and 12? Jesus has sat down at the right hand of God. Notice the contrast with verse 11. Those priests are…? Standing! What is the difference. They are standing because their work isn’t finished. They need to keep doing it over and over. You sit down after you are done with your work. Jesus’ sacrificial work for us is finished. He NEVER has to repeat it again.
2. Verse 13 – Waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. Jesus is waiting for the right time to come again and establish His earthly kingdom when all of His enemies will be forced to bow their knee and confess that He IS the Messiah. Although His sacrificial work is completed, He is not done. Jesus still has a lot ot say and do about world history. Our history books tell us about many of the great empires and civilizations in world history and their rise and fall. We learn of the power of ancient Rome, the splendor of Babylon, the wisdom of the Greeks, the influence of Egypt, the creativity of the Chinese, etc. Do you know that there is one empire coming that is going to put all of the rest to shame in power, splendor, wisdom, peace, and might? That is Jesus’ kingdom. We haven’t heard the last of Jesus. What is He waiting for? See 2 Peter 3:9.
3. Verses 14-16 – He has perfected us! What is the application? Live like it! God wants to put His law on our hearts and minds. How can we enable this? He does this. At the same time we have a responsibility to respond to Him. We should read and study and memorize His Words so that they are in our hearts and He can bring them to mind whenever He wishes. We should routinely confess sin so that there is no barrier in our relationship with Him. We should sharpen our minds spiritually by meditating on His Words and delving deeper into them.
4. Verses 17-18 – He remembers our sins no more. This is the result of believing the gospel in a nutshell. In this world when someone commits a crime, it goes on a record. That record will show his crime as long as he lives. In only a few very rare cases a judge may decide to purge a person’s record. That’s what God has done for us. He purges our record and He will never hold those sins against us. He removes them as far as the East is from the West. Psalm 103:12.
III. Verses 19-25
Summarize the writer’s conclusion from this passage in your own words.
What does it mean that we can enter the holy place?
What should we do based on all of these spiritual truths we have learned in the past few chapters?
How can we better hold fast our hope without waivering? What is the reason given in this passage for why we should do this (because He is faithful)?
Did you spend time considering how to help other believers grow? What can you do to help them?
What is the danger in NOT meeting with other believers? What are the benefits of meeting with other believers? How often should we meet? Where should we meet? Should we work on Sundays and skip church?
What does this verse say we should be doing when we meet? Does this mean we cannot have “fun” get togethers?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Encourage one another just as you are doing.
Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpens iron.
Galatians 6:2 – Bear each others’ burdens.
Acts 2:44-47 – The early church’s model of close fellowship.
1 Timothy 4:12
1. Verses 19-21 – These verses give us a concise summary of the main points that have been taught in the last several chapters. What are the main points?
a) We can enter the holy place (God’s presence) by the blood of Christ.
b) He has given us a new covenant
c) He tore down the veil through the sacrifice of His own body
d) We have a great high priest!
2. What are we supposed to do based on all the things we have learned in the past few chapters? That is what the next few verses tell us. These verses get to the application of what we have been learning. Remember the goal of studying the Word is life change so pay attention and consider how you can do these things in specific ways in the coming days/weeks.
a) Draw near with a sincere heart – We have a great high priest. He offers us grace and love and mercy and compassion. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. Do it with a sincere heart. Remember that God cares about our heart attitude more than our external appearances.
b) In full assurance of faith – Do not waiver. Do not doubt. We can have confidence in Him.
c) Our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience… and bodies washed with pure water – If we belong to Christ the above words are true about us. Do not go back to your former way of life. Do not love the world. Put on the new and toss off the old. Be quick to repent of sins and do not allow them to gain a foothold. Also, be grateful to God for the forgiveness which He offers. Be a true worshiper of Him.
d) Hold fast the confession of our hope without waivering – Stand firm. Do not allow suffering or persecution or the temptations of this world to weaken your relationship with Christ. Remember that Satan often attacks little by little. He seeks to defeat us through small compromises and little defeats. I remember the words of Gandalf in LOTR. He was encouraging a small group of soldiers when the enemy was about to break through the gates. “Stand firm! You are soldiers of Gondor! No matter what comes through those gates, hold your ground!” Then two enormous giants broke through. For us, stand firm. We are soldiers of Christ. We can stand firm not because of our own power but because He is faithful. He will fulfill every single one of the promises He has made to us.
e) Consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds – This is one of the most famous verses in the Bible on Christian fellowship. Notice the active voice. Don’t wait for other Christians to befriend you. Don’t wait for them to invite you to their house or to a meal. Don’t wait for them to introduce themselves. Take the initiative to reach out. Meet new Christians. Develop new relationships. Offer hospitality. During those times, seek out ways to encourage and help each other spiritually.
f) Not forsaking meeting together – Don’t live your Christian life in isolation. That is a recipe for failure. God made us as social beings. Following Christ is hard enough even with help from other believer, without them it could be said to be impossible (since if you are trying by yourself you are already in sin and disobeying this command). Meet with other believes. Meet with them not only in church, but also throughout the week. In church we often times will not have real opportunities for in-depth discussion or encouragement. Smaller meetings can be more personal and help us really get to know each other so that we will feel comfortable to feed into each others’ lives.
Application: Which principle will you apply in the coming week? How?
E-book: If this study is helpful for you, get the whole Hebrews study in one convenient e-book.
“By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”