Hebrews – Chapter Thirteen XXXVIII

by Ed Urzi

“Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you. Grace be with you all. Amen” (Hebrews 13:24-25).

The author of Hebrews closes his letter with the following salutation: “Those from Italy greet you.” While commentators differ greatly in their interpretation of this passage, it seems reasonable to assume that the members of his original audience must have lived somewhere other than the country of Italy. Of course, this might also imply that the author was in Italy at the time of this letter as well.

Nevertheless, one source counsels us to avoid reading too much into this brief remark in seeking to determine the author of this letter…

“Both Vincent and Expositor’s say that it is wrong to determine the location of the writing of the letter by the words ‘They of Italy salute you.’ Expositor’s quotes Winer as saying  ‘A critical argument as to the place at which the Epistle was written should never have been founded on these words.’ Vincent says the expression, ‘They of Italy’ may mean ‘those who are in Italy send greeting from Italy,’ or, ‘those of Italy (Italian Christians with the writer at the time) send greeting from the place at which the letter was written.’ He says, ‘The phrase affords no reliable indication as to the residence of the persons addressed.'” (1)

Another commentary offers a similar cautionary message regarding the authorship of the epistle…

“The letter closes with the words ‘Grace be with you all’ (Hebrews 13:25), which is the same closing found in each of Paul’s known letters (see Romans 16:20; 1 Corinthians 16:23; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 6:18; Ephesians 6:24; Philippians 4:23; Colossians 4:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:18; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 4:22; Titus 3:15; and Philemon 25). However, it should be noted that Peter (1 Peter 5:14; 2 Peter 3:18) used similar—though not identical—closings. It is also possible that it was simply customary to close letters like this with the words ‘Grace be with you all’ during this time period.” (2)

Thus, we end our look at this great epistle with the following summary…

“The book of Hebrews teaches us that we have a better covenant, a better Mediator, a better hope, better promises, a better homeland, a better priesthood, and better possessions-better than the best that Judaism could offer. It assures us that we have eternal redemption, eternal salvation, an eternal covenant, and an eternal inheritance… The Epistle to the Hebrews encourages true Christians to walk by faith and not by sight because this is the life that pleases Christ. It also encourages us to bear up steadfastly under sufferings, trials, and persecutions in order that we might receive the promised reward.” (3)

(1) Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament [Hebrews 13:24-25] Copyright © 1942-55 by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

(2) GotQuestions.org, Who wrote the Book of Hebrews? Who was the author of Hebrews? Retrieved 24 July, 2023 from https://www.gotquestions.org/author-Hebrews.html

(3) William Macdonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary Edited by Arthur Farstad Thomas Nelson Publishers p.2294