Hebrews 13:22–25

“I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. Grace be with all of you.”

Like most of the other New Testament Epistles, the book of Hebrews ends with a closing greeting to the work’s original audience. Today we will look at this greeting as we finish our study of Hebrews.

First, let us consider the mention of Timothy and the greetings from “those who come from Italy” (vv. 23–24). Timothy is most likely the well-known coworker of Paul’s who traveled with the Apostle on many of his missionary journeys and to whom Paul wrote two epistles that are part of the New Testament canon (Acts 16:1–5; Rom. 16:21; 1 and 2 Timothy). Timothy’s inclusion in this section and the note that he would be traveling with the author (Heb. 13:23) is one reason why many people have believed that Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, but the case for Pauline authorship remains undecided. Regarding “those who come from Italy” (v. 24), the author refers to Christians who are of Italian origin and who may or may not have been residing in Italy when Hebrews was written. We do not know the identity of these Italian Christians, but their inclusion may signify that the original audience of Hebrews may have lived in Italy and particularly in Rome. We cannot be sure of this; all we know for certain is that the audience knew these Italian believers personally.

In this closing greeting, the author of Hebrews refers to his letter as a brief “word of exhortation.” This may cause us to smile, for while Hebrews is certainly not the longest book of the New Testament, the depth of its theology can by no means be explored briefly. In fact, we have only scratched the surface of this book that is devoted to the superiority of Christ. As we have seen, Christ is superior to the angels and to Moses (1:1–3:6). His priesthood after the order of Melchizedek, by which He ushered in the new covenant through His final, effectual sacrifice for sin, is superior to the priesthood of Levi (7:1–10:18). He brings the eternal kingdom of God, for which the old covenant saints hoped but never received (ch. 11). In light of all this, we must cling to Jesus and never abandon the faith, for eternal condemnation will fall on us if we do (3:7–4:13; 5:11–6:12; 12:18–29). As we hold on to Jesus, His work makes us confident that we can enter God’s presence, for He is a High Priest who can sympathize with us. As we look to Him, He will give us the strength to persevere (4:14–5:10; 10:19–39; 12:1–17:13:1–21). By the grace of God in Christ (13:22–25), let us heed the exhortation of Hebrews and cling to Jesus.

Coram Deo

John Owen comments that grace consists of “the whole goodwill of God through Jesus Christ, and all blessings that flow from this.” The Lord dispenses this grace liberally to His people, so we never need fear that He will not give it to us when we ask. Today, let us pray that the Lord will give us the grace to cling to Jesus, and let us think on how His perfect work gives us every motive to do so.

For Further Study