There was dispute as to the authorship of the book of Hebrews among the early Christians. While many attributed the book to Paul, others thought Barnabas, Apollos, Clement, or Luke to be the author. This dispute continued till the 4th century when most Christians accepted it as the work of Paul.
Today, some modern critics still raise the question. The evidences against Paul being the author of Hebrews is taken from the literary style and content of the book. Although it is possible for a writer’s vocabulary and style to vary with subject matter, these variances are due to the different subjects about which he writes.
When compared with the generally accepted epistles of Paul, Hebrews differs in the small, common connective words with which its author ties his clauses. Another distinctive difference is found in the quotations from the OT. Also, the epistles show that the apostle was relatively free in his use of OT materials.
The general literary style of Hebrews is clearly different from any of the epistles that bear the name of Paul. The style of the latter is distinguished by enthusiastic passages that show the rising flow of the author’s thoughts. Hebrews, on the other hand, presents a more organized argument in comparison to any NT book.
Although there are arguments against the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, those arguments are not valid enough to defeat the traditional belief that Paul is the author. Much of the difference in tone and style of Hebrews compared with the known Pauline epistles may be reasonably explained by the fact that these other epistles are addressed to particular church groups, or to individuals, to meet particular problems.
It is generally agreed that Hebrews was written before the fall of Jerusalem. At that time, the number of church leaders was very limited before a.d. 70. So, which of those leaders might have presented the argument of the book of Hebrews? The most likely person is Paul. It is simply impossible for the one that produced such theological knowledge to be anonymous during a time when church leaders were few and well known.
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