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2 & 3 John, & Jude
|2 & 3 John, & Jude
|Year of Publication
|Welch, John W., and John F. Hall
|Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
|2 John; 3 John; Epistle of Jude; Study Helps
The following charts give an overview of each of the epistles in the New Testament. These twenty-one letters, among the most important ever written in the history of the world, were sent by Peter, James, John, Paul, and Jude to some of the earliest Christians.
Each chart divides the letter into thematic blocks with subheadings that outline the main contents of each block. By reading through the outline of each letter, readers can get a quick overview of each text. Used as a guide, each chart should help modern readers find their way through these letters, many of which are fairly complicated and sometimes obscure. A main purpose of these charts is to bring the messages of these letters to life by making the dominant purpose and underlying structure of each letter clear.
Most of these letters follow the pattern typically found in ancient letters. First, they begin with an introduction of greetings, salutations, or well-wishes. The New Testament letters, however, are unusually personal and religious. Next, they take time to reinforce the bonds of friendship, familiarity, loyalty, and personal concern. The body of each letter then deals with various topics: some are doctrinal; some are practical; others are filled with information or encouragement. Finally, they each conclude with farewell statements and extended greetings in accordance with standard epistolary practice.
Beyond formal similarities, however, it is important to note that each letter is addressed to a particular audience. Some congregations, such as in Corinth, were struggling with dissension; others, such as the community in Philippi, were thriving; some, like the church in Thessalonica, were new, while others, as at Rome, were well established. Thus, different levels of instruction are found in each of these letter. in addition, Paul knew some of his audiences better than others, and thus his degree of familiarity and friendship is much higher when he wrote to the Saints in Ephesus, for example, than when he expounded more abstract teachings to the Galatians. Likewise, Paul’s close working relationship with his convert Timothy explains the tone of paternal guidance found in his letters to Timothy, in contrast, for example, to the sterner tone of Jude’s letter of warning.
Under the name of each letter is a subtitle profiling and highlighting its dominant point or purpose. Hopefully, these subtitles and outlines will orient readers and students to the key characteristics of each letter. The charts are grouped approximately in chronological order.
The two letters of the chief apostle Peter are treated in charts 14-12 and 14-13. As the leader of the church, Peter focuses his attention on themes that relate to prophets, priesthood, holiness, divine nature, the atonement, loving one another, feeding the sheep, perfecting the Saints, redeeming the dead, and enduring trials that refine faith. His personal testimony, gained on the Mount of Transfiguration, shines brightly in 2 Peter 1:16-18.
Along with Paul’s words on charity in I Corinth¬ians 13 and Peter’s exhortation to love one another, the apostle John adds his powerful witness that God is love, the Christian’s watchword. Charts 14-13 and 14-14 sketch the main subheadings of the three epistles of John, concluding with Jude’s voice of warning against the impending apostasy.
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