John’s second letter is much less complicated than his first—perhaps because it’s a personal and private letter. In it John mentioned “truth” five times and “love” four times. And both are key to understanding 2 John. John’s desire was for “the chosen lady” who received this letter to maintain a balanced perspective on life: love and truth…practice and doctrine…walking and standing…accepting and rejecting. A balance we need to maintain today.
In this study, we will look at a five-chapter letter appearing simple and uncomplicated yet, in reality, is both profound and complex. In the epistle of 1 John, he emphasized the nature of that life as possessed by God’s children.
In 2 Peter, the Apostle dealt with the internal enemies—false prophets and other subtle adversaries—who twisted the truth. Of special interest to Peter were false teachings regarding the return of the Lord as well as our life of service and purity prior to the event. The tone of 2 Peter is that of an urgent warning, urging all readers to beware…to be ready.
A quick glance at the first few verses of 1 Peter is enough to give us an understanding of Peter’s message to his readers: hope for the hurting. According to verse 1, the hurting were those residing as aliens, scattered throughout vast regions of the Roman Empire. These Christians were objects of social ostracism, slander, mistreatment, and threats. They needed encouragement.
Don’t be fooled by its size. The letter of James may be small, but it’s strong. It refuses to let the reader hide behind the walls of theological theory or intellectual faith. True faith produces authenticity. “No authenticity…no faith”—that’s James’s conclusion on the matter. James’s letter may make us squirm, but it also makes us tear down our facades.
Profound, mysterious, deep, and sometimes difficult to understand, this book deserves our time and attention. Rich in Jewish history and filled with quotations from and allusions to the Old Testament, the study of Hebrews requires concentration plus a fairly firm grasp of how God revealed Himself to His people in ancient times.
This, the shortest of the Apostle’s writings, is one of the grandest illustrations of grace and forgiveness in all of Scripture. It is a warm, passionate appeal to a slave owner to accept back, forgive, and reinstate his runaway slave Onesimus. Because of the obvious analogy with our being accepted by God and forgiven through His grace, this little letter has become one of the most treasured in the New Testament.
Titus brings a word of caution, a reminder that good works must accompany our proclamation of the truth and our defence of the Gospel. The two letters to Timothy encourage him to protect and to preach, while the letter to Titus instructs him to practice those things. While good works in no way lead to salvation, they are the irrefutable evidence of true salvation.
It’s doubtful that we could find a more nostalgic, emotional letter written by the Apostle Paul. Facing death alone in a dungeon, surrounded by memories, and exposed to the elements, this grand old man wrote by candlelight a letter to his dear friend, Timothy. Paul had no assurance it would ever reach him but, nevertheless, he wrote it. And we are so grateful he did!
First Timothy addresses the role of the shepherd and his responsibility for the life of the flock. The shepherd must know and teach sound doctrine, live a godly life, and maintain order in the church. This letter highlights the importance of choosing godly leaders according to God’s design.