For some reason, the author of the book of Hebrews decided to remain anonymous. Some have argued that the writer was Paul, some have said Apollos, but either way, we are not sure. Perhaps the author wanted to speak simple truths into the life of the church without gaining a reputation or human fame because he now had a letter in circulation as well.
One of the things most astonishing about the contents of this book, as well as most other early scriptures and epistles that address problems in the early established church, is how rapidly the Christians seem to have stopped taking their life of faith seriously.
Today, we might find it easy to be judgmental concerning such people who were only, relatively speaking, a few years away from Jesus’ actual presence on earth. It is entirely possible that some of those hearing the reading of this book (as would have been the custom) may have even witnessed Jesus’ miracles with their own eyes. Presumably, several of the apostles were still alive during the writing of this book, which could cause us to wonder why people so close to the source were being warned not to stray from it by the author.
One might argue, however, that we are not so very different today.
We have unparalleled access to the word of God. Most of us have several paper copies of it in our home and walk around with access to every possible translation of it since it was written in the phone in our pockets.
Yet, like our earliest brothers and sisters, we come to find that proximity does not necessitate devotion. For the audience to which the author writes, one of the issues addressed is that they have begun forsaking community.
It may be that one of the reasons so many people struggle with the consistent reading of God’s word is that the activity of devotions has been called “personal devotions” and removed from the venue of community.
In his book, One to One Bible Reading, David Helm suggests a simple corrective and help for God’s people today – the practice of reading with another person. The book is a short 75-page work that explains the idea, benefit, and plan of how to embark on such an adventure.
Nothing empowers growth in our life as much as knowing God and spending time with his people. The author of Hebrews tells us not to forsake being together with each other but so much the more as we wait for the return of Jesus so that we can stir each other up to love and good works.
This year, maybe consider finding someone to read God’s word with one-to-one.
One to One Bible Reading, a Simple Guide for Every Christian by David Helm
~ Pastor Nicolas Rich