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  • Jackie Raderstorf

General Epistles

This is the General Epistles.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

The General Epistles (Letters) are the next 7 Books (James’ 1 and 2 Peter’ 1,2,an 3 John and Jude). They are referred to as The General Epistles (Letters). This was a term used by Eusebius, a historian of the early church. These 7 Epistles were referred to as Catholic Letters, with the word catholic to mean ‘universal’. These Letters were mostly addressed to the people in general instead of individuals or groups.

Second and Third John appear to be appendages of 1 John. Another unusual fact regarding these General Epistles is that 5 of them (James, 2 Peter, 2 and 3 John and Jude) were among the disputed books of the N.T. These books were questioned and scrutinized intensively before approved to be admitted to the canon of scriptures.

Hebrews is neither included in the Pauline Letters nor the General Epistles.

The General Epistle of James is the first of the General Epistles of the N.T. This Epistle was written by James, as pastor to his people, to instruct and encourage his flock.

James was a brother of Jesus, the oldest of the 4 younger brothers. They weren’t believers until after the crucifixion and resurrection. The 3 youngest brothers became missionary workers. James became leader of the Jerusalem church. He was prominent in the Council of Jerusalem, making Christianity a universal religion, allowing Gentiles and non-Jewish into Christian fellowship.

The General Epistle of James is addressed ‘to the 12 tribes which are scattered abroad’ – Jewish Christians of all nations. The emphasis of his message is to live obediently in accordance with the true intent of God’s laws. Genuineness of faith is doing right in ones everyday affairs. A faith that does not affect ones life is not a saving faith. It is just  an intellectual acknowledgment.

The book of James is sometimes called the survival guide for the Christian.

The author, according to scripture  of the 1st Epistle General of Peter, 1:1, is Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. And according to scripture 1:1 of 2nd Epistle General is Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. (they are one and the same.)

 Symeon or Simon, is the son of Jonah (not the Ninevah Jonah) and a brother of Andrew. They were fishermen, along with James and John. All 4 men were apostles of Jesus and part of the Twelve. Peter, James and John were the 3 apostles making up the inner circle with Jesus. Peter was the spokesman and leader of the Twelve. He led in making decisions as: letting Gentiles become believers without becoming Jews; preaching salvation to Gentiles; establishing the early church and the Council of Jerusalem. Simon continued ministering after stepping out of leadership.

Tradition is that Simon Peter died in Rome.

The 1st  Epistle General of Peter was written by Simon Peter and assisted by Silas, using fine Greek. Peter had worked with Paul.

The messages include:   >God’s special people should live a life holy and blameless because of an inheritance reserved in heaven for them;   >A Christian life-style can and should be a testimony to non-believers by bearing and suffering humiliation as Christ bore His;   >A Christian must be good stewards of the manifold grace of God, rejoicing in our sufferings as Christ did;   >Church elders must follow the example of Jesus, to establish, build, and strengthen ‘the flock’ in their pastoral duties.

1:25 …but the word of the Lord stands forever.

The 2nd Epistle General of Peter was written without any assistance. The Epistle is less refined and a shorter letter.

To the believers of Jesus Christ, chosen by God to develop into noble characters. For the condemning of false teachers and prophets. The Lord’s Day is coming – like a thief in the night. It is coming in God’s

time and delayed for his reason.

3:9  …God is patient with us….  (why?)

The author of 1, 2, and 3 Epistles of John is John the apostle and the author of the Gospel of John. His father was Zebedee and his mother was Salome. Salome was a sister of Mary, the mother of Jesus. So, John and Jesus were first cousins. (See author of the Gospel of John.)

The 1st Epistle General of John was a circular letter sent to Christians in various places. In John’s tough and authoritative manner of an apostle, he gives warnings and cautions of false teachings from inside the church. A reminder that Christian love is an active love. It sent God’s Son to the cross to pay our debts, and we must love one another. We need to follow God’s example and commandments.

God is righteous and believers are to live righteous lives.

The 2nd Epistle of John, the author refers to himself as ‘the elder’. It is addressed to ‘the chosen lady and her children’, referring to the church and believers. This letter is to remind believers to walk in truth and love. To give hospitality to all traveling evangelist, teachers and missionaries in their home, with discernment for support to those with true teachings.

The 3rd Epistle of John is written by the apostle John and referred to as ‘the elder’. He commends Gaius for supporting teachers sent to the church. And an indirect warning to the dictatorial church leader who rejected the teachers and excommunicated church members who gave hospitality to them.

The General Epistle of Jude  was written by Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ. Also, Jude is a brother of James and Jesus. He was not a believer until after the resurrection. This letter was written to al Christian Jews and Gentile Christians to convey warning of false teachers in their midst with perverted teachings. To be aware of worldliness and immoral blasphemies to enter the church, bringing severe consequences. Standing firm in the apostles teachings.

Jude 24-25


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