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The Catholic Epistles

The Catholic, or general, epistles are the terms sometimes used for the letters written by James, Peter, John, and Jude. They are so called because they are addressed to Christians in general, not to any church or person in particular such as the epistles to the Corinthians, Thessalonians etc. The word "catholic" originated from Greek and then Latin words which simply meant throughout the whole. The catholic epistles were not written by, or to, those who became known as Roman Catholics, a church organization (see also The Politics Of The Papacy) that began long after James, Peter, John, and Jude, all of whom were Jews, wrote their "catholic" epistles.

The General or "Catholic" Epistles

Scroll The general epistles are not addressed to anyone in particular, but rather to Christians overall. Of these, three were written by the Apostle John (who, like John the Baptist, was a cousin of Jesus Christ - see Cousins John), two by Peter, and one each by James (not the apostle James who was the first martyr among the twelve apostles, having been "put to death with the sword" by King Herod Agrippa I about 44 A.D as recorded in Acts 12:2, but Jesus' brother James - see Mary's Other Children) and Jude (another actual brother of Jesus - see Brother Jude).

  • James - 5 chapters, written by James
  • 1 Peter - 5 chapters, written by Peter
  • 2 Peter - 3 chapters, written by Peter
  • 1 John - 5 chapters, written by John
  • 2 John - 1 chapter, written by John
  • 3 John - 1 chapter, written by John
  • Jude - 1 chapter, written by Jude

Paul's Epistles

Much of the New Testament involves the ministry of Paul (see On The Road To Damascus, Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey, Paul's Third Missionary Journey, Paul In Athens, Paul's Journey To Rome and Paul In Rome), one of the greatest Christians that has ever lived.

Paul's epistles are arranged in the Bible according to the location of their recipients (see Bible Places) rather than the order in which they were written. They were generally dictated by Paul to someone else who did the actual writing, with Paul adding a few words himself at the end. Paul is thought to have had poor eyesight (but no problem what-so-ever in seeing the truth of the Gospel).

There is some controversy as to whether Paul was the author of Hebrews, however he may well have been, as numerous scholars believe, and for that reason Hebrews is included here among Paul's epistles. If Paul was not the author, my apology to whoever it actually was.

Fact Finder: In what languages were the Old and New Testaments (see also Covenant and Testament) originally written?
See The Hebrew Alphabet and The Greek Alphabet


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