Subscribe now

WCS – Hebrews: The Name High over All

By Richard Brooks
November 2017 | Review by David Cooke
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-78397-161-9
  • Pages: 458
  • Price: 15.99
Buy this book »

The letter to the Hebrews is a part of Scripture particularly rich in devotional subject matter. It is fitting, then, that this recent commentary in the Welwyn Commentary Series is warmly devotional in its style. In equal measure, it is reassuringly thorough and scholarly.

The introduction deals with such matters as the authorship of Hebrews (Brooks’ opinion is that the writer remains unknown), date (before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70) and purpose.

Brooks summarises the latter in these terms: ‘The great purpose of the writer in penning Hebrews is to magnify the Lord Jesus Christ in one aspect after another of his person and work, and in doing this to warn the readers of the dangers of wandering away from Jesus and the gospel, lest they end up committing apostasy and are lost after all’ (p.9).

After a helpful synopsis of the layout of Hebrews, the author proceeds with a phrase-by-phrase commentary on the biblical text. It is written in a readable style, with plenty of scriptural cross-referencing. In commenting on Hebrews 4:9 (‘There remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God’), the author’s view is that the ‘sabbatism’ referred to is not the keeping of a weekly Sabbath, but rather looking forward to the eternal, never-ending Sabbath rest of heaven.

His treatment of verses 14-16 in the same chapter is particularly helpful, as he expounds Jesus as our exalted, sympathising and inviting High Priest. He comments: ‘Frankly, we never experience a moment in our lives when we are not in need of divine mercy and grace; and here at the throne, mercy awaits and grace abounds, ever needful by us and ever timely for us’ (pp.138-9).

The difficult passages dealing with apostasy (chapters 6 and 10) are dealt with helpfully. Brooks solemnly notes that ‘tasting “the powers of the age to come” can include an acknowledgement of the truth of eternal things without having ever been transformed by the reality of them’ (p.184). He then unfolds the purpose of these sections: to alert us to danger; to keep the true believer from presumption (though not to rob us of assurance); to encourage self-examination; and to urge us to press on.

The chapter on Hebrews 11, ‘Vistas of faith’, helpfully shows how the faith of Old Testament believers was focused on the coming Christ, and stands as another heart-warming section of the book.

This book will be of greatest interest to pastors and preachers, but every Christian would benefit from reading this Christ-exalting exposition. Highly recommended!

David Cooke


Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Speaking of Women: Interpreting Paul
Andrew Perriman

Andrew Perriman’s book seeks to provide biblical justification for the ordination of women as ministers of the gospel. On the rear cover Dr R. T. France, formerly principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, claims that the volume ‘offers the best hope…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Larry Norman and the perils of Christian rock
Gregory Thornbury

What are we to make of Larry Norman, the controversial pioneer of Christian pop music in the late 1960s and ‘70s? Gregory Alan Thornbury (son of occasional ET contributor John) tells the fascinating story with riveting style and careful accuracy.…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
That Hideous Strength: How the West Was Lost
Melvin Tinker

A book offering to tell us ‘how the West was lost’ has set itself a very ambitious target. Perhaps it needs a few more pages to quite hit that target. But it succeeds admirably in drawing our attention to a…

John Henry Newman: Becoming Rome’s first ecumenical saint
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
John Henry Newman: Becoming Rome’s first ecumenical saint
Richard Bennett and Michael de Semlyen

The German-born Pope Benedict XVI is due to carry out a state visit to the UK from 16-19 September. The climax of this visit is a Mass in Coventry at which the Pope will beatify John Henry Newman (1801-1890). Newman…