The General Letters of James, Jude, Peter & John
The remaining letters in the New Testament are known as ‘general letters’ because they were written (with the possible exception of John’s second and third letters) to believers in general – not to any one specific church or group of believers.
They were written by the apostles Peter and John – two of Jesus’s first group of twelve disciples, by James – the brother of Jesus – who was the leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem, and by Jude, another brother of Jesus.
The General Letters
The Letter of James is a letter written by James, the brother of Jesus, and leader of the early Christian church in Jerusalem. It’s the oldest letter in the New Testament, written to Jewish believers who were scattered throughout Judaea and Samaria during the persecution following the stoning of Stephen in 35AD. It stresses the need for practical deeds to accompany a living faith in Jesus Christ.
The Letter of Jude, another brother of Jesus, was written in c.65AD. In this letter, Jude writes to Jewish Christians to discredit false teachings that have led some believers into immoral behaviour.
The First and Second Letters of Peter were written from Rome shortly before Peter’s death in c.67AD. Peter writes to encourage Jewish Christian believers who’ve been scattered across Asia Minor following persecution by Nero and after the outbreak of war in Judaea in 66AD. Peter urges the believers to hold onto the hope of eternal life that has been promised to them through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and he encourages them to look forward to the second coming of Christ.
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