Pioneer and Priest: Jesus Christ in the Epistle to the Hebrews

By R.J. McKelvey

An exploration of the Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews, emphasising the complementary nature of the key images of ‘pioneer’ and ‘priest’.

ISBN: 9780718895068


The interest that the Epistle to the Hebrews arouses today is testimony to its enduring message, with its focus on what Jesus Christ did and continues to do for his people. McKelvey provides new insight on Hebrews by demonstrating that two of its chief images, pioneer and priest, function not just independently, but in tandem. Christ is not pioneer without also being priest, and his priesthood is only properly understood in terms of the pioneer figure. This double analogy conveys the meaning of the Christian faith, because only one who is both pioneer and priest can provide the church with the help it needs. Pioneer and Priest will appeal to those who want to know more about Hebrews as well as those who believe that the emerging church must follow Christ ‘outside the camp’.

Additional information

Dimensions229 × 153 mm


Trade InformationLPOD

About the Author

Dr R.J. McKelvey holds a PhD in New Testament from the University of Oxford. He trained ordinands in South Africa from 1959 to 1979, when he became Principal of Northern College in Manchester and Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Manchester. He has authored several books on the New Testament. In retirement, he is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester and undertakes duties in the United Reformed Church.



1. Why Hebrews?
2. Hebrews Today
3. Pioneer and Priest in Hebrews
4. To the Heavenly Sanctuary
5. A Priest like Melchizedek
6. The True Sanctuary
7. The Greater and More Perfect Tent
8. He Lives to Make Intercession
9. Confidence to Enter the Sanctuary
10. You Have Come to Mount Zion
11. Outside the Camp
12. Conclusion

Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D

Ancient Document Index
Index of Authors
Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

This book makes an original and insightful contribution to scholarly discussion on the Christology of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and it is an essential reading for all scholars of the epistle. It is an invaluable resource for theology students with its clear, measured, and stimulating analysis of the major issues of the epistle, and also for hard-pressed, modern-day Christians with its meticulously researched insights into the author of Hebrews’ pastoral strategies.
J.C. McCullough, Professor Emeritus, Union Theological College, Belfast

In this highly accessible study, Hebrews is read as a response to the needs of a community in crisis. Written with a sense of urgency and with contemporary Christian communities in mind, this book makes a substantial contribution to the recent resurgence of interest in Hebrews and is in itself pioneering in several ways.
George J. Brooke, Rylands Professor, University of Manchester