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Reading Guide

  1. What is meant by “self-definition,” and how did early Christians, in general, define themselves?

  2. Who wrote the book of Hebrews and to whom did he write?

  3. How is Christ portrayed as superior to the Jewish religion in Hebrews? What are the two ways that the author uses the Jewish Scriptures to show Jesus’ superiority? Why does the author want to stress Jesus’ superiority to his readers?

  4. Why were some early Christians persecuted? Try to look at Christians from the Roman point of view. Why, from that perspective, would Christians deserve to be punished?

  5. How does the context of persecution help to explain the message of 1 Peter?

  6. What are the overarching themes of 1 Peter?

  7. Does it seem Peter wrote 1 Peter? Why or why not?

  8. In your opinion, should either Hebrews or Barnabas be thought of as anti-Semitic? How, when, and why did strong anti-Jewish sentiments arise in early Christianity?

  9. Why might early Christians be accused of disrupting the family?

  10. Does it seem Paul wrote Hebrews? Why? Why not?

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