Housewives everywhere have heard the claims in advertisements for everything from paper towels and diapers to moisturizer, “this product is better than the leading brand.” This is an effective mode of persuasion because the consumer is forced to make a comparison between the old product they have always used and the new product’s claims of superiority. Who doesn’t want something better? Why not compare the old with the new in hopes of making the best decision?
This method of persuasion is used by the writer of the letter to the Hebrews. He shows that Christianity is better! We can see that “The principle aims of the writer are to establish the supremacy of Christ and Christianity…” (Henry Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament p.304). Some of the Hebrew brethren were leaving Christianity and falling back into Judaism.
The word “better” is a keyword in the book of Hebrews and it helps the writer express his purpose. The writer talks about,
- A better revelation (the first two chapters)
- Christ being better than the angels (1:4)
- “Better things” (6:9;11:40)
- “The less is blessed of the better” (7:7)
- Better hope (7:19)
- Jesus as a better high priest (7:26, 8:1)
- Better testament (7:22)
- Better covenant (8:6,22)
- Better tabernacle (9:11)
- Better sacrifices (9:23)
- “in heaven a better and enduring substance” (10:34)
- “But now they desire a better country” (11:16)
- Better resurrection (11:35)
- Better than the blood of Abel (12:24)
We know that the author at the time had a specific purpose for the recipients of this letter and he was writing to Hebrews, but this letter applies to us today as well. We take valuable truths from this letter that help us in our own faith and help us explain to non-Christians why Christ and Christianity are still better than any other religion or so-called god.
In our own faith building endeavor we can learn more about Christ from the Hebrew letter. The writer goes into great detail about Christ’s superiority over angels, Moses, Joshua and the prophets (Ch.1-4).We learn about Christ’s priesthood representing it as of the order of Melchizedek and we get an explanation of His function and relationship to us as our high priest (Ch. 5-7). Knowing how much better Christ is and learning about His sacrifice and function as High Priest should make us more eager to draw near to Him and help us grow in our faith of Him.
Non-Christians need to be convinced that Christ and Christianity are better! Better than Islam, better than atheism, better than fill-in-the-blank. Just as the letter was written to Hebrews to convince them that Christianity is better than Judaism, we can use truths we find in the letter to convince non-Christians today.
- The sacrifice of Christ: He was “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens” and He offered Himself, “once for all” (7:26-27). He was without sin and was God, but he died for us! What can any other religion offer compared to this?
- Christ is better than Angels: Many people choose to believe in Angels even when they do not believe in God. They like to feel the comfort and safety of someone watching over them or being with them without the obligation to follow any commands they have given (as they would have to with God). It may prove effective to study the passages in Hebrews about Angels with non-Christians to try to preach Christ.
These are just a couple of ideas for how to use this method of persuasion found in the Hebrew letter to teach non-Christians that Christ and Christianity are superior to any other religion or worldview.
The Hebrew letter is full of information about how Christ and Christianity are better! Just as when advertisements claim to have a product that is “better than the leading brand,” using comparison as a method of persuasion is effective and valuable. We can see the purpose of the Hebrew letter as it was written to Hebrew brethren, but we must always look to apply these truths to our lives today. We can take valuable truths from the letter to the Hebrews and apply them to our own faith and to our work of preaching Christ to non-Christians. We can be thankful that Christianity has the monopoly and Christ is better!
By Aimee Lemus
Aimee and her husband, Andrew, serve with the Conifer church of Christ in Conifer, CO. Both Aimee and Andrew hold Bachelors degrees from the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Her husband is the minister and evangelist. Aimee is a stay-at-home-mom to Andrew Jr. and Annabella.