What does Hebrews 7:1 mean?
ESV: For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
NIV: This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him,
NASB: For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
CSB: For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham and blessed him as he returned from defeating the kings,
NLT: This Melchizedek was king of the city of Salem and also a priest of God Most High. When Abraham was returning home after winning a great battle against the kings, Melchizedek met him and blessed him.
KJV: For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
NKJV: For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
Verse Commentary:
The writer of Hebrews has just completed a warning about the danger of faithlessness. Returning to the main theme, this chapter begins a long, connected study of the figure of Melchizedek, whom the author had spoken of earlier. The explanation which starts here will run through the early verses of chapter 10, though it will cover several different topics along the way. The overall point is that Jesus Christ, as High Priest, is superior to the figures of Abraham, or the Old Testament priests.

Melchizedek is a figure who met with Abraham after his rescue of Lot, a story found in Genesis 14:14–24. In that encounter, Melchizedek gave Abraham a blessing along with bread and wine, and Abraham honored Melchizedek with a tithe. Interestingly, also at this meeting was the king of Sodom, with whom Abraham refused to trade. In the context of Abraham's story, this moment proved Abraham's willingness to honor God, and to reject wickedness, whatever the cost.

The writer of Hebrews will use this figure of Melchizedek to explain important aspects of the gospel. To begin with, the author seeks to prove that Melchizedek is "greater" than Abraham, since Abraham paid him a tithe. These verses will also point out that Melchizedek is given no genealogy in Scripture, setting up a useful analogy to both Jesus Christ and to His role as our High Priest.
Verse Context:
Hebrews 7:1–10 introduces the author's central argument about the superiority of Jesus Christ. Melchizedek, a figure from the story of Abraham in the Old Testament, is the main evidence used. In this segment, the author shows how Melchizedek was superior to Abraham, since Abraham paid him tithes. This has implications for the priesthood of Melchizedek, as well as the priesthood of the Old Testament. Next, the author will show how the priesthood of Jesus, symbolized by Melchizedek, is superior to that of the Levitical law.
Chapter Summary:
When Abraham met with Melchizedek in the Old Testament, he honored him with tithes. This shows that Abraham recognized Melchizedek's superiority. Since the Old Covenant was flawed—based on limited priests and limited sacrifices—it is inferior to the priesthood of Melchizedek, which is unending. Jesus Christ fulfills God's promise to establish a priest ''forever'' in a way which perfectly meets our needs.
Chapter Context:
Chapters 5 and 6 detoured from the main theme in order to present a warning about faithlessness and apostasy. Chapter 7 returns to the topic of Melchizedek, who represents a mysterious but important moment in Old Testament history. Here, the author will show how Melchizedek was superior to Abraham, and that Melchizedek's priesthood is superior to the priesthood of Aaron. This leads into the next chapters, which show how Jesus Christ perfectly fulfills our salvation in ways which the Old Covenant cannot.
Book Summary:
The book of Hebrews is meant to challenge, encourage, and empower Christian believers. According to this letter, Jesus Christ is superior to all other prophets and all other claims to truth. Since God has given us Christ, we ought to listen to what He says and not move backwards. The consequences of ignoring God are dire. Hebrews is important for drawing on many portions of the Old Testament in making a case that Christ is the ultimate and perfect expression of God's plan for mankind. This book presents some tough ideas about the Christian faith, a fact the author makes specific note of.
Accessed 6/22/2024 6:25:20 PM
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