Suffering Motif in the Epistle to the Hebrews

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Andresito P. Fernando


The rising popularity of the prosperity gospel in many Christian circles tends to obscure the question of the reality of suffering in the Christian experience. Prosperity theologians claim that those who accept the Gospel will always experience affluent lives. The inconsistency between the prosperity theology and the presence of hardships in the Christian life calls for a reevaluation of the theme of suffering based on a biblical viewpoint. The suffering motif is deeply embedded in the Epsitle to the Hebrews. The book of Hebrews presupposes the reality of suffering and offers key answers on why Christians experience hardships in life, even though they are faithful to God. With this perspective in mind, this paper examines a major issue in the Epistle to the Hebrews: how does the book of Hebrews explain the presence and purpose of suffering in Christian life? Using a synthetic approach, this paper found that the presence of sufferings is an integral part of Christian life and in line with the divine plan. Sufferings function as prophylactic against spiritual laxness and apostasy, motivating believers for further endurance and faithfulness; they escalate anticipation of the promised eschatological reward. Thus, Christians should have a healthy and positive outlook in the midst of their suffering experiences.


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