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The Author of Hebrews

Can we guess who the author was? Many candidates have been put forward. We can only glance at three of the many suggestions.
(1) Tertullian thought that Barnabas wrote it. Barnabas was a native of Cyprus; the people of Cyprus were famous for the excellence of the Greek they spoke; and Hebrews is written in the best Greek in the New Testament. Barnabas was a Levite (Acts 4:36) and, of all people in the New Testament, he would have had the closest knowledge of the priestly and sacrificial system on which the whole thought of the letter is based. He is called a son of encouragement; the Greek word is paraklēsis; and Hebrews calls itself a word of paraklēsis (13:22). He was one of the few people acceptable to both Jews and Greeks and at home in both worlds of thought. It might be that Barnabas wrote this letter; but, if so, it is strange that his name should vanish in connection with it.
(2) Luther was sure that Apollos was the author. Apollos, according to the New Testament mention of him, was a Jew, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and well versed in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24ff.; 1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:4). The person who wrote this letter knew the Scriptures, was eloquent, and thought and argued in the way that a cultured Alexandrian would. The person who wrote Hebrews was certainly someone like Apollos in thought and in background.
(3) The most romantic of all conjectures is that of Adolf von Harnack, the great German scholar. He thought that maybe Aquila and Priscilla wrote it between them. Aquila was a teacher (Acts 18:26). Their house in Rome was a church in itself (Romans 16:5). Harnack thought that that is why the letter begins with no greetings and why the writer’s name has vanished—because the main author of Hebrews was a woman, and a woman was not allowed to teach.
But, when we come to the end of conjecture, we are compelled to say, as Origen said 1,800 years ago, that only God knows who wrote Hebrews. To us, the author must remain a voice and nothing more; but we can be thankful to God for the work of this great nameless individual who wrote with incomparable skill and beauty about the Jesus who is the way to reality and the way to God.
William Barclay, The Letter to the Hebrews, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), 9–11.
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