We know who wrote most of the book in the New Testament. Matthew wrote Matthew, Mark wrote Mark, and Luke wrote both Luke and Acts.
John wrote John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation. Paul wrote Romans and Philemon and all of the books in between. Peter wrote 1 Peter and 2 Peter.
And James wrote James and Jude wrote Jude.
That leaves one book: Hebrews. Who wrote Hebrews? Several suggestions have been made.
First, there is the suggestion that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews. In fact, in the old King James Version, the book of Hebrews has the title, “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews.”
However, as Hugo McCord wrote, “The caption in the KJV, ‘The Epistle of Paul the Apostles to the Hebrews,’ cannot be accurate, for Paul put his name on every letter than he wrote: ‘The salutation of Paul, with my hand, which is the sign in every letter’ (2 Th 3:17) “–and Paul’s name does not appear in Hebrews.”
McCord further stated, “The author of the book of Hebrews received his inspiration, not by a ‘revelation of Jesus Christ’ (as did Paul, Ga 1:12), but second-hand from those who had ‘heard’ Jesus (He 2:3).”
Second, it’s been suggested that Barnabas wrote Hebrews. About 200 AD, a document suggested that Barnabas was the author of Hebrews. In support of this suggestion, it is observed that Barnabas was the “Son of exhortation [Greek: paraklesis]” (Acts 4:36 ASV), and that Hebrews was “the word of exhortation [Greek: paraklesis]” (Hebrews 13:22 ASV).
It is also observed that Barnabas was from the tribe of Levi (Acts 4:36), a tribe of which Hebrews has much to say (e.g., Hebrews 7:5-9).
A third suggestion is that Apollos is the author of Hebrews. Martin Luther (after whom the Lutheran Church is named) thought Apollos was the author. To support this suggestion, it has been observed that Apollos was native to Alexandria (Acts 18:24), and the Old Testament quotations in Hebrews come from the Septuagint, which was made in Alexandria.
Other characteristics of Apollos also fit the author of Hebrews: “eloquent,” “competent in the Scriptures,” “fervent in spirit,” and he “powerfully refuted the Jews” (Acts 18:24-28 ESV).
Fourth, Priscilla has also been suggested as the author. However, when the writer of Hebrews says, “I do not have time to tell about Gideon” and others (Hebrews 11:32 TNIV) the expression to tell, “Translates the masculine form of a Greek verb, indicating that the author of Hebrews was a man” (TNIV Study Bible).
In conclusion, as James Thompson wrote, “One must conclude with Origen (early third century) that, regarding the authorship of Hebrews, ‘only God knows.’ The authority and significance of the book is derived from its contents, not from knowing who was the author.”
Ultimately, whatever human was involved in writing Hebrews, we can say that God Himself is the author.
“All Scripture is inspired by God” (2 Timothy 3:16).
(Jake King is the preacher at Seneca Church of Christ. He can be reached at (417) 776-3077.)