Hebrews: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition

Article excerpt

Hebrews: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition. By Gareth L. Cockerill. Indianapolis: Wesleyan, 1999, 316 pp., n.p.

Cockerill has provided a well-thought-through commentary on the book of Hebrews. In the introduction, he takes a sharp stand against the current thinking of the day by declaring Hebrews a book that emphasizes holiness and that "we can no longer do our own thing" (p. 11). In that sense, he points out the practicality of the book that has a vital message for today's "pluralistic age who believe in the relativity of truth and morality" (p. 11).

In this introduction, Cockerill also takes up the usual concerns with the book, such as its characteristics, its authorship (which he feels is unknowable after examining the usual possibilities), and the recipients (who he affirms are a congregation in Rome that had numerous Jewish believers in it, but were more associated with speaking Greek rather than the Hebrew of Judea). In treating the OT in Hebrews, he points out that the book is almost totally Biblical exposition, using five major pictures to present its concerns: Mount Sinai (1:1-2:4), pilgrimage journey on the way to the promised land, the heavenly homeland (2:5-4:13; 10:32-12:13), High Priest (4:14-10:31), and the Sinai picture again (12:14-29). The writer has numerous diagrams to help the reader to see the cinematographic flow of thought of these pictures and their relation to one another (p. 24).

Any reader can gain valuable information from Cockerill's explanations of the Son's position (his radiance and glory) and work (1:2-4), the urgency of obedience by believers in that "we must pay the most careful attention" (2:1; p. 49), and the warnings, especially 6:4-8 (which, while serious, does not describe some people who have left the fold of faith because of God's commendation of their service; p. …