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Foreword

The Apostolic letters more commonly known as the Catholic Epistles,


were well known by A.D. 300, according to the early church historian
Eusebius.
Most of them were not addressed to any specific church, hence their
universal appeal. However their acceptance in the Greek and Latin churches
was not until the late 4th Century.
They received their first recognition in a list of books proposed in 367 A.D by
St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria. He listed what he considered divine
books as opposed to Apocraphyl works. He was the first church leader to
declare the twenty seven books of the New Testament as binding on the
whole church.
In 382 A.D Pope Damasus I issued a decree listing the 73 books of the bible.
This list was endorsed by the councils of Hippo (393 A.D) Carthage III, (397
AD) and Carthage IV (in 419 AD) Prior to Carthage IV, Pope Innocent I in 406
A.D agreed on a list of 27 New Testament books including all the Apostolic
letters. Today, Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants all accept the
same canon of 27 New Testament books.
In this study, the author has drawn on the work of Luke Timothy Johnson, for
his essays contained in the Reading Guides found in the Catholic Study Bible,
D.Senior et. Al, Oxford University Press, 2011. The same bible translation has
provided the basis for the commentary.
The apostolic letters of Peter, James, John and Jude are not well known or
studied by ordinary Catholics. It is hoped that this short coverage will serve
to fill the gap of material available on these letters of the early church.

Ross D. Remeeus
Cover design: Michael Ignatius Remeeus

Contents
1.Peter
2.Peter
James
1.John
2.John
3.John

Jude

The First Letter of St.Peter


First Peter bears all the marks of a real letter. it was written to Christians
scattered throughout the provinces of Asia Minor. 1.
It is written in clear and elegant Greek. Some scholars believe that this
precludes Peter the fisherman as the author. Yet a more satisfactory
explanation is that the ideas contained in it are Peters, while the Greek is
from the pen of Silvanus, a companion of both Paul and Peter and staying in
Rome.
There is good reason for dating 1 Peter just before Peters death, which took
place probably in A.D 65 in the persecution of Nero. 2.
An outline of the letter is as follows:1. Opening address. (1:1-2)
2. Dignity of the Christian Vocation (1:3-2:10)
a) New birth in Christ. (1:3-9)
b) Testimony of the Prophets. (1:10-12)
c) Be holy yourselves. (1:13-2:3)
d) Christ the Living Stone. (2:4-10)
3. Duties of the Christian Life. (2:11-3:!2)
a) Civil duties of the saints. (2:11-17)
b) Suffering like Christ. (2:18-25)
c) Household duties of the saints. (3:1-7)
d) Moral duties of the saints. (3:8-12)
4. Difficulties of Christian persecution (3:13-5:11)
a) Conduct during persecution. (3:13-22)
b) Living for the Last Days. (4:1-11)
c) Suffering and Christian Glory. (4:12-19)
d) Shepherds and the flock. (5:1-5)
e) Humility and Vigilance. (5:6-11)
5. Closing Benediction. (5:12-14)
General features of the letter
Adapted from an article by Luke Timothy Johnson in the Reading guide of the
Catholic Study Bible P.506-510

The letter, while written for early Christians, is applicable to every age.
Most of the early Christians in Asia Minor were converts from paganism
rather than Judaism.

The letter is positive in its openness to the dominant Roman culture.


The readers are called to a level of holiness that is an example to their
neighbours.
They must work within the social structure as law abiding citizens.
The new converts are to consider themselves as pilgrims and exiles
from their heavenly homeland.
The persecution they suffer from Jews and others should remind them
of how Christ suffered for them and therefore bear all humiliations with
patience.
They are to maintain a distance from the values of the world yet
engage in dialogue with outsiders.
Their households must be marked by obedience to legitimate authority.
Children must obey parents and slaves must obey masters.
Men are to regard women as equals before God. This is quite radical
when one considers the customs of the day.
The new Christians are to be vigilant against the wiles of the devil.
Leaders are to be real shepherds in the example set by Christ. They are
not to be haughty and arrogant and Lord it over their congregations.

1. Opening Address (1:1-2)


Peter addresses himself as the writer of the letter to the gentile
converts of five provinces in Northern Asia Minor. Pontus, Galatia,
Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. While these areas were specifically the sites
of Pauls great missionary journeys, Peter would possibly have passed
through them on his way to Rome.
Peter mentions the Blessed Trinity as the source of grace and peace he
wishes upon the new converts.
2. The Dignity of the Christian Vocation (1:3-2:10)
Through Baptism the Christian receives a new birth and hope in eternal
life. He or she will be tested with trials. The Christians are to rejoice in trials
as a test of their new found faith.
so that the genuiness of your faith, more precious than gold which is
perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory and
honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1:7)
Christs return was anticipated as immanent. The gift of faith was a treasure
because, unlike the Apostles who knew Christ personally, the new converts
were blessed.

Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see
him now yet believe in him. (1:8)
The prophets of old testified to the sufferings of the Messiah in the future,
just as the apostles were testifying from their personal experience. They
testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to
follow them. (1:11)
The Good news preached by the Apostles is the work of the Holy Spirit in the
same way that the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets of old. The salvation of
men through the death and resurrection of Christ has now been revealed
through the church much to the admiration of the angels who had no
previous knowledge of these events.
Things in which angels longed to look. (1:12)
Having received the Good News of their salvation, the new Christians are
called to holiness.
but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your
conduct, for it is written, `be holy because I am holy.(1:15-16) (Lev.11:45)
Peter ends the first chapter with a quotation from the prophet Isaiah (40:6-8)
comparing the fleeting life of men with the abiding word of God.
All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field;
the grass withers, and the flower wilts;
but the word of the Lord remains
forever. (1:24-25)
He considers the church as comprising living stones. Built securely on
Christ as the Cornerstone.
Behold I am laying a stone in Zion,
a cornerstone, chosen and previous,
and whoever believes in it shall not be put to
shame. (2:6) (Isa.28:16)
This was the cornerstone rejected by most of the leaders of Israel.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone. (2:7) (Ps.118:22)
3. Duties of the Christian Life (2:11-3:12)

Peter reminds the new converts that they are aliens and sojourners (2:11)
and exhorts them to good conduct. In this manner, their non- Christian
neighbours will be impressed,
they may observe your good works and glorify God on the day of visitation.
(2:12)
Nothing speaks louder than example. One has to understand that becoming
Christian has lowered the individuals status in the eyes of ones pagan non
believers.
For this reason Peter urges the new Christians to respect the human
institutions of government. Those in authority are there because of the hand
of God. Christians should aim to make a good impression on those
neighbours who may be hostile to the new religion.
Be subject to every human institution for the Lords sake, whether it be to
the king as supreme or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of
evildoers and the approval of those who do good. (2:13-14)
He calls upon them to practice freedom. But not the freedom to do as one
pleases, rather to be free from sin.
Christian freedom is liberation from sin and readiness to do Gods will.
Unsocial behavior under the pretext of freedom is an aberration.
Peter now turns his attention and advice to slaves. He does not condemn
slavery, something that would shock us today. In ancient times much of the
work in Greek and Roman cultures was performed by slaves. The point he
makes is, that slaves must respect their masters. If such masters treat slaves
badly, they are not to rebel and threaten. They are to accept mistreatment
as Christ did, suffering in silence. (Isa.53:5-11) In this manner, they will
receive great grace. The true test of ones humility is not when one is called
to account for wrong doing, but to be silent when called to account for
something one did not do.
whenever anyone bears the pain of unjust suffering because of
consciousness of God, that is a grace. (2:19)
To continue the theme of obedience to authority Peter cites the Christian wife
who is not preoccupied with physical adornments but adorns herself with
inner virtues. Such a wife will have a positive influence on a pagan husband.
It is this,

Hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a


gentle and calm disposition which is precious in the sight of God. (3:4)
That will win a husbands favour.
The husband for his part needs to recognize that women have equal rights to
salvation. Bearing this in mind, the husband must rise above the prevailing
attitude of the day that belittles women, and treat his wife with honour and
understanding, being as they are,
joint heirs of the gift of life. (3:7)
In this way, any prayers that a husband my offer to God,
may not be hindered (3:7) by any degrading and adverse behavior towards
his spouse.
Peter now sets forth rules for the Christian community as a whole. He lists
vital and necessary attitudes.
be of one mind, sympathetic, loving towards one another, compassionate
and humble. (3:8)
He issues an important directive found in other New Testament texts,
including the words of Christ himself.
Do not return evil for evil. (3:9) (Luke 6:28)
If the Christian wishes to inherit the blessings promised to the chosen people
then,
whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep the tongue from evil.
And the lips from speaking
deceit. (3:10) (Ps.34:13-14)
4. Difficulties of Christian persecution (3:13-5:11)
if the Christian is confronted by a pagan who questions the strange
behaviour of this new religious group;
always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason
for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence. (3:15-16)

In this way, anyone who sets out to defame the Christian way of life may be
disarmed and even put to shame.
Peter reiterates the example of Christ who suffered persecution for the sake
of the truth. He then makes a statement that has led to controversy among
scholars.
Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the spirit. In it he also
went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while
God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark.
(3:18-19)
The prison referred to here contained the souls of all those who committed
evil up to the time the flood came. It does not appear to be hell because
the souls of the damned are set in their rejection of God. It is not paradise
as this is the residence of souls beloved of God, from the days of Adam to the
Patriarchs and the prophets as well as the righteous through the ages,
including Demas the good thief. Paradise is not a prison but a waiting place
of happiness.
This then, leaves us with Purgatory. A place of cleansing and indeed a
prison. When Christ resurrected, there is a tradition that with the opening
of heaven, Purgatory and Paradise were emptied. Both places will cease to
exist on the Last Day.
The reference to Noah and the Ark signify the saving power of Baptism, just
as the food cleansed the earth.
This prefigured baptism which saves you now. (3:21)
In the creed that Christians announce at the sacred liturgy is the phrase,
descended into hell.
Why would Christ descend into hell? His presence there would terrify Satan
and the other demons. The purpose of his visit is never explained. However
there is a belief that he sought out the soul of Judas and spoke to him.
In the book True life in God Vol.1, Jesus takes Vassula Ryden into the
depths of hell. She is confronted by Satan, who is paralyzed to act in the
presence of Christ. This episode is written down on March 7, 1987, in the said
book. What is the point? Christ is all powerful and present in every soul.
Otherwise it would cease to exist. No region of creation is outside the bounds

of his presence. Therefore the phrase descended into hell, means exactly
that.
How do we know that the soul of Judas is in hell? The church has never
proclaimed on this topic. Our information comes from private revelation. In
the middle of the 20th Century Christ spoke to the Italian Mystic, Maria
Valtorta, the following words,
I solemnly tell you, if hell did not already exist, and was not perfect in its
torments it would have been created more dreadful and eternal for Judas,
because of all sinners and damned souls, he is the most damned and the
biggest sinner, and throughout eternity there will be no mitigation of his
sentence. 5.
Peter believes that the second coming of Christ is immanent. He advocates
that the new Christians have an intense love for one another and show
genuine hospitality to all. He quotes from Proverbs (10:12) using words
echoed by St. James (5:20)
The end of all things is at hand. (4:7)
Let your love for one another be intense, because love covers a multitude of
sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. (4:8-9)
He warns the neophytes not to be surprised that they are persecuted. Not
physically, but verbally and socially. This text indicates that the letter was
written before the first persecution under Nero had broken out. Luckily it was
confined to Rome. The newly baptized were to accept their sufferings as
Christ did and actually rejoice in such trials.
do not be surprised - - -But rejoice to the extent that you share in the
sufferings of Christ. (4:12-13)
Life is a struggle to remain faithful to Christ. If righteous people struggle
when the time of judgement comes, then it will be ever more so for the
pagans who reject the gospel.
And if the righteous one is barely saved,
where will the godless and the sinner appear? (4:18)
(Prov.11:31)
Peter now addresses the elders of the churches as a fellow elder. Later
the term elder would become synonymous with presbyter. He exhorts
them to tend their flocks willingly and not because they receive a

remuneration for their services. They are to be real shepherds as Christ was
a real shepherd.
Tend the flock of God in your midst, not by constraint but willingly, not for
shameful gain but willingly- - - (5:2)
The young members of each congregation are to subject themselves to the
elders in humility just as the elders are called to exhibit humility in their
dealings with all. Here Peter again quotes from the book of Proverbs.
God opposes the Proud, but bestows favour on the humble. (5:5)
(Prov.3:34)
Then Peter reminds all his readers of the need for vigilance. Satan is working
always to deceive them and lead them away from God. He portrays Satan as
a roaring lion. Lions were greatly feared in Palestine in biblical times.
Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him steadfast in the faith,
knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same
sufferings. (5:8-9)
This pertinent advice applies even today. The church uses this quotation as
the reading for compline in the divine office, reminding all to be on their
guard against the wiles of the devil.
Peter finishes this missive to the churches in Asia Minor with an
acknowledgement that it is written by the hand of Silvanus (Silas). It is
possible that Silvanus actually hand carried it to the Christians in what is
today Northern Turkey.
I write you this briefly through Silvanus. (5:12)
He refers to himself as,
the chosen one at Babylon. (5:13)
This is our first and only evidence in the New Testament that Peter was in
Rome. The term Babylon was not the Babylon of the Exile in Iraq, but
synonymous with Rome the capital of the Roman Empire.
His last remark is for all to
Greet one another with a holy kiss. (5:14)

This practice in a modified form is still used in the church today after the
recitation of the Our Father at Mass. It was,
A customary form of greeting in Jewish antiquity (Gen.33:4 Lk.15:20) IT was
adopted by the early Christians as a sign of their fraternal affection as
brothers and sisters in the faith. (Rom.16:16,1 Cor.16:20)
6.
The Second Letter of St. Peter
Many modern scholars consider Second Peter to be written by someone
other than St. Peter. They cite as proof of this
1. The stilted style of Greek as compared to the first letter, indicates a
different writer.
2. The reluctance of the early church to accept it as part of the Canon of
New Testament Scripture.
3. The heavy reliance it appears to have in the letter of St. Jude and the
first letter of St. Peter.
4. The reference in 3:16 to a collection of St. Pauls letters, believed to
have been put together near the end of the first century A.D.
5. The letter is not addressed to any specific church or group of
Christians.
6. Unlike the first letter that is designated as coming from Babylon
there is no indication of the second letters point of origin.
With these arguments in mind the date of composition of Second Peter is
put at the end of the first century A.D. or early second century A.D.
The contrary position to this dating, gives as proof the following reasons for
the letter being authentically the work of Peter.
1. His name is mentioned as Symeon Peter, a servant and Apostle of
Jesus Christ.
2. Concerning the stilted Greek, it could well have come from the hand
of Peter or perhaps amanuensis other than Silvanus to whom the
elegant Greek of first Peter is attributed.
3. It is possible that St. Jude drew inspiration from Second Peter and not
vice versa. Or both authors could have drawn on a common source.
None of this has been proved or disproved.
4. The reference to the Transfiguration in 1:17-18 indicates the authors
participation in this dramatic event. We know from Matt. 17:1-13, that
Peter, James and John were the only eye witnesses on Mt. Tabor who
saw Christs glorification and heard the words of commendation from
God the Father. How can another author lay claim to this miracle?

5. The letter is written as though this is a final testament wherein the


author is aware of his impending death. (1:13-14) Some believe that
apart from Christs statement concerning Peters death in Jn.21:18, he
may have been granted a special revelation as to the nearness of his
martyrdom.
6. The collection of St. Pauls letters referred to does not mean all of
Pauls letters necessarily. Some could have been collected during his
lifetime. He recommended that the churches in Asia Minor share his
letters and disseminate them. He may even have had some copies
with him in Rome. St. Peter would have been aware of St. Pauls
presence in the Christian community there. Both men were martyred in
the first anti-Christian persecution under Nero.
7. The letter was not addressed to any specific church but it does seem to
have been generated from news of false teachings beings
propagated away from Rome. The most likely region could well be
Northern Asia Minor where St. Paul had previously encountered the
same problem in Macedonia rather than in Palestine. Greek would have
been the language of Asia Minor where as Palestine would have used
Aramaic. The letter was not in Latin either, but Greek. Which side is
correct? Did St. Peter write the Second letter or did he not? The
question is still open to debate. One thing is clear. By the end of the 4th
Century A.D., the letter was officially part of the New Testament Canon.
General Features of the Letter
Adapted from an essay in the Catholic Study Bible D. Senior et al. Pgs. 510512, Reading Guide, written by Luke Timothy Johnson.

At first the letter appears irrelevant to the modern age.


There is a sustained argumentative tone throughout the letter.
One key component of the debate between the author and his
opponents the false teachers, is the question does God judge the
world?
Emphasis is also put on the person of Peter and the fact that he will
soon die.
Peter seeks to remind the readers of proper knowledge which leads
to a whole way of life of faith.
The delay in the Second Coming of Jesus is a bone of contention posed
by the false Teachers.
Peter speaks from personal experience, (Mt.Tabor) that the glorification
of Christ is not a myth.

Prophecies are not to be interpreted by individuals, but by the


community under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
His opponents have convinced many that God does not intervene in
human affairs. Peter refutes this argument by giving examples from
the book of Genesis and one from the book of Numbers.
If the people follow the false teachers they will become like them,
leading lives of licentiousness, greed and false freedom, because
they think God will not punish them.
Peter points out that the delay in Christs Second coming is to allow
people to repent. Christ chooses his own time to return. His time is not
human time.
When Christ does come, he will come like a thief in the night,
suddenly.
Peter refers to St. Pauls letters and gives them the same authority as
that of the Old Testament scriptures.
He does not make mention of any of the Synoptic Gospels. This is
another indication that the Second Letter of Peter was composed in the
early years of the Church and not late in the first century.

The principal divisions in the Second Letter of Peter are as follows: 1.


2.
3.
4.
5.

Address (1:1-2)
Exhortation to Christian virtue. (1:3-21)
Condemnation of the False Teachers. (2:1-22
The delay of the Second Coming. (3:1-16)
Final exhortation and Doxology. (3:17-18)

1 Address (1:1-2)
The author uses the name Symeon Peter. This is the Greek for Simon. It
is an unusual way to designate Simon Peter. The readers are not identified
beyond the fact that they are Christians.
Christ is referred to as both God, expressing his divinity and Saviour,
expressing his mission as Redemeer.
May grace and peace be yours in abundance. (1:2)
This same formula is used as the greeting in the first letter. (1 Peter 1:2) It
was a standard opening in early Christian letters e.g. Rom. 1:7, Phil.1:2 and
even in Johns book of Revelation, 1:4.

The word knowledge (1:2) is also an important reminder to the readers.


True knowledge is mentioned later in the letter as opposed to false
knowledge.
2. Exhortation to Christian Virtue (1:3-21)
The author exhorts his readers to show their faith by leading virtuous lives.
He uses a chain of qualities that should lead to genuine love.
make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, virtue with
knowledge, knowledge with self control, self control with endurance,
endurance with devotion, devotion with mutual affection, mutual affection
with love. (1:5-7)
A life of such moral excellence will preserve them from the corruption of the
world. They are not to be forgetful of the gift of Baptism that led to
the cleansing of his past sins. (anyone) (1:9)
They are to remain firm in their call and election (1:10). In doing so, they
will gain entry to eternal life in the kingdom of our Lord and savior, Jesus
Christ. (1:11)
The author, lets assume it is Peter, makes reference to the fact that he
knows he is soon to die. This is his reason for reminding his readers to lead
moral lives. He refers to his body as a tent.
I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by a reminder,
since I know that I will soon have to put it aside. (1:13-14)
There is a hint here that he has some certainty that his end is near. He does
not disclose how he came by this knowledge. That is why some scholars look
upon the Second Letter as a form of Testament.
Peter is accused by the false teachers of myth making in relation to
Christs parousia and glorification.
Some reject the traditional prophecies of Jesus future parousia as myths
made up by human beings to control the lives of others, not unlike the
Greco-Roman stories of rewards and punishments in the underworld. 7
In response the author assures the new Christians concerning Christs glory,
power and impending return by referring to his personal experience on Mt.
Tabor where he was one of three witnesses at the Transfiguration of Christ.

We have been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honour and


glory from God the Father when the unique declaration came to him from the
majestic glory. `This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.
We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on
the holy mountain. (1:16-18)
He confirms this by stating that the prophecy concerning the Parousia is
backed by certainty.
Moreover we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable.
(1:19)
Peter warns against the custom that is prevalent of private interpretation of
prophecies. A custom that is in constant use in the 20th and 21st centuries
particularly among Protestant and Evangelical pastors. Interpretation is not
the prerogative of individuals, but the domain of the leaders (qualified) in the
church community.
There is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal
interpretation. (1:20)
There are four senses of scripture. The literal sense, which is the immediate
one observed, and three spiritual ones that require close attention.
The allegorical sense (typology), the moral sense, (to motivate correct
behavour) and the anagogical sense. (which relates things to eternal life)
For Catholics, the task of interpreting the word of God authentically has been
entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the church, that is, to the Pope and to
the bishops in communion with him. To facilitate this important function, the
Popes starting with Pope Leo XIII, have set up a Pontifical Biblical Commission
consisting of Cardinals and scripture exegetes, to investigate questions
arising from the bible. This ensures that there is no personal and private
interpretation of scripture.
3. Condemnation of the False Teachers. (2:1-22)
Peter now cautions his readers against the false teachers whom he
compares with the false prophets of long ago. They preached peace and
security in the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel
(6th Cent.BC) when in fact
they should have preached reform and repentance. The false teachers are
out to corrupt and deceive the new Christians by claiming God will not punish
them for misbehavior. God does not intervene in human affairs. This

pernicious argument will lead the new Christians to behave in a licentious


way like the behavior of the false teachers themselves.
Peter discounts this break down in morals by reaffirming that the false
teachers and their adherents will indeed face punishment.
He cites as concrete proof of Gods intervention in human affairs to
counteract evil behavior, by referring explicitly to three examples in the book
of Genesis. Firstly he refers to the condemnation of the fallen angels who
were thrust into Tartarus (Greek belief in the infernal regions) there they
were to await the day of final judgement. Secondly he cites the whole
generation that scoffed at Noahs plea for them to prepare for an imminent
deluge- they would not listen and perished in Gods wrath as a result. Thirdly,
Peter uses the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as Gods retribution for
the depravity of the inhabitants of these two cities. Only Lot and his family
were spared.
One wonders to what extent new Christians would be familiar with these
events in the Hebrew scriptures, especially if they are from pre-dominantly
pagan backgrounds.
For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but condemned them
to the chains of Tartarus and handed them over to be kept for judgement;
and if he did not spare the ancient world even though he preserved Noah - - when he brought a flood upon the godless world and if he condemned the
cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (to destruction) reducing them to ashes - - - then the Lord knows how to rescue the devout from trial and to keep the
unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgement and especially those
who follow the flesh with its depraved desire and show contempt for
lordship. (2:4-10)
Peters attack on the false teachers continues in a general vein. His
premise is that error leads to vice. They are compared to animals.
born by nature for capture and destruction, revile things they do not
understand. (2:12)
He goes further in his attack on their immorality,
their eyes are full of adultery and insatiable for sin. (2:14)
Those to whom the false teachers preach they seduce with promises of
freedom from the fear of punishment.

they promise them freedom, though they themselves are slaves of


corruption, for a person is slave of whatever overcomes him. (2:19)
Prior to denouncing the apostates, Peter refers to the false teachers as
following the example of Balaam, the prophet from Beth-Peor who was
tasked by the Moabite king Balak to put a curse on the Israelite people.
(Num.Chp.22-24) An angel blocked Balaams donkey and the beast refused
to moved forward. When Balaam struck the donkey, God allowed the dumb
beast to speak and rebuke the false prophet. Balaam was paid for his
services and suffered execution when the Israelites fought a holy war against
the Midianites. (Num.31:8)
Peters argument is that the False Teachers received payment for wrong
doing, Just as Balaam accepted payment from Balak.
Abandoning the straight road, they have gone astray, following the road of
Balaam, the son of Bosor, who loved payment for wrong doing. (2:15)
Peter is equally harsh on New Christians who after receiving the true faith,
back slide into their previous state because of the instructions of the false
teachers. This lapse in judgement is described in extracts from the book of
Proverbs 26:11 and a common Greek maxim.
The dog returns to its own vomit and `a bathed sow returns to wallowing in
the mire. (2:22)
4. The Delay of the Second Coming. (3:1-16)
The apparent delay in Christs return led skeptics to doubt the promise of the
Second Coming altogether. In their minds, the stability of the world since the
dawn of creation is proof that God has no plans to intervene in a dramatic
way in the affairs of natural and human history. Peter disproves this thinking
that nothing ever changes with a reminder of the biblical flood: for this was
a cosmic judgement by God that affected the entire inhabited world and
forever altered the course of human history. 8
know this first of all that in the last days scoffers will come. (3:3)
The heavens existed of old and earth was formed out of water and through
water by the word of God; through these the world that then existed was
destroyed, deluged with water. (3:5)
This was part of Greek philosophy that water was the basic element from
which all creation was derived.

We must remember that after the Great Flood God promised Noah that he
would never destroy creation again by flood. As a sign of this promise, God
set a rainbow in the sky. (Gen.9:12) Hanging up ones bow was, at that time,
making peace. The rainbow then was the sign of reconciliation between God
and humankind. 9.
In the very next verse, Peter warns that the present earth and heavens will
be consumed by fire on the last day. He is echoing the prophecy of Isaiah
51:6.
The present heavens and earth have been reserved by the same word for
fire, kept for the day of judgement and of destruction of the godless. (3:7)
No one knows the day of final judgement. (Mark 13:32)
Peter puts forth the premise that God does not operate on mans time frame,
so the new Christians should not speculate on when the day of the Lord will
come. They are to be ready always.
With the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like
one day. (3:8)
Then Peter gives a practical reason for the delay in Christs second coming.
he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all
should come to repentance. (3:9)
Because the date of the final day is hidden in the future, it is imperative that
Christians live good lives. The Last Day will come suddenly when it is least
expected.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. (3:10)
And the thief chooses his time in the darkness of night.
Then Peter reiterates his apocalyptic warning concerning the events of the
last day. Where he got this revelation was again from the book of Isaiah
66:15-16.
And then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements
will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be
found out. (3:10)
This is a clear reference to the fact that every action of every person will be
brought to light. Nothing will go unhidden.

Thankfully, the universe will be transformed. God will reign with


righteousness and peace and blessedness for Israel and the whole world.
(Is.65:17-18)
But according to his promise we await new heavens and a new earth in
which righteousness dwells. (3:13)
Peter reminds his readers that St. Paul also talked to them about the Second
Coming and many other things that were obscure. Pauls theology was very
deep. Some scholars use this reference to Pauls letters as a means of dating
Peters Second letter as having been written towards the end of the first
century by someone other than Peter. The question of the date of
composition is still very much open to debate.
Our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he
does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand - - -
(3:15-16)
5. Final Exhortation and Doxology (3:17-18)
Peter calls upon the New Christians to avoid the dangers of falling into error
concerning the Second Coming and to pursue a life of holiness. This will be
reflected in a growth in grace and the correct knowledge of Christs power
and glory.
be on your guard not to be led into error - - -but grow in grace and the
knowledge of Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. (3:17-18)

The Letter of James


Who wrote it?
The letter opens with the words,
James a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1:1)
The strongest contender for authorship is James the Son of Alphaeus and
true cousin of Jesus. He was appointed by Christ as the first bishop of the
Christian church in Jerusalem. Eusebius designates him as James the Just.
He was stoned to death in 62 A.D. under the orders of the Jewish High Priest
Ananus II during the reign of Herod Agrippa.
Modern opinion is divided concerning the real author of the letter. Some
scholars claim that the excellent Greek of the letter indicates a Christian well

versed in Hellenism and Judaism who either wrote it as an updated version of


an original letter by James, or wrote it himself using the name of James as a
cover for authority.
There is a claim that the Greek written in the letter was beyond the
capacity of someone from the region of Galilee. To counter this argument,
there is growing evidence that many of the apostles were multi lingual. They
spoke both Aramaic and Greek. This is possible particularly of the fishermen
apostles based in Bethsaida and Capernaum on the shores of lake Tiberius.
The letter is addressed to,
The twelve tribes in the dispersion. (1:1)
These may be Jewish Christians exiled from Palestine after the early
persecutions against Christians in and around Jerusalem.
Some General Features of the Letter
(Drawn form the essay by L.T. Johnson P.501-505. Reading Guide of the
Catholic Study Bible.)

The letter is in the form of a moral exhortation intended for a general


readership. The message is straight forward.
The first chapter takes the form of reminders of traditional values,
using short maxims.
The rest of the letter, chapters 2 to 5 takes the form of short essays.
James message concerns behavior. He advocates living by faith and
practical love.
His targets are Christians of Two minds. Those who want to obey God
and his commandments but at the same time have fallen prey to the
values of the world.
Jesus is mentioned only twice. The author centers his attention on God
rather than Christ. This is odd, if indeed the author is really the cousin
of Christ.
The law of love is the regulating factor in the community. This law is
incompatible with any form of discrimination.
James speaks of an active faith of good works. He appears to
contradict St. Paul who claims that Christians must live by faith not
works.
There is preoccupation with speech and the power of the tongue. The
capacity of speech to do evil is more impressive than its power for
good.

Envy is the way of the world and leads to much of the evil and
dissension that occurs there.
James maintains that when people draw near to God, God draws near
to them.
He attacks the insolence of the rich. Particularly those who withhold
daily wages from their labourers.
Speech should be plain without the need for oaths.
His instruction on prayer and anointing of the sick has become the
basis of the Sacrament of the sick.

Outline of the Letter


1) Opening Address (1:1)
2) Introduction of Themes. 1:2-27)
a) Patience in Trials and Temptations. (1:2-15)
b) Being born of the Word. (1:16-25)
c) True Religion. (1:26-27)
3) Discussion of Themes (2:1-5:18)
4) Conclusion (5:19-20)
10.
1. Opening Address (1:1)
To the twelve tribes in the dispersion (1:1)
This has already been discussed as the Christian Jews living outside
Palestine. However there is a second interpretation. It could possibly refer to
all Christians in general.
2. Introduction of Themes (1:2-27)
a) Patience in trials and Temptations (1:2-15)
James assures his readers that trials will come and should be accepted with
joy for,
the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (1:3)
If the Christian lacks wisdom then he should ask God
and he will be given it. (1:5)
wisdom here does not refer to the wisdom of the sages but rather a kind of
knowledge and understanding that prepares the Christian for the coming of
Christ. It is a knowledge not given to unbelievers. If the Christian suffers
doubts about Gods willingness to grant this gift then he is like

a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. (1:6)
Now James refers to the doubter as a
man of two minds, (1:8)
This kind of person is the real target of his message. The person who desires
to live for God but in effect is very much attached to the values of the world.
Such a person holds back from a complete trust in God.
Now James moves on to another of his important themes. He has no love for
the rich. He puts forward the prospect of a great reversal of fortunes for
the poor and the rich. The poor
in lowly circumstances should take pride in their high standing. (1:9)
At the coming of Christ they will experience exaltation. The rich on the other
hand will droop and dry up,
like the flowers of the field. (1:10)
All their wealth will come to nothing and they will face humiliation unless
they recognize that true wealth is found only in God. Worldly prosperity is not
necessarily a sign of Gods favour as was the common belief among Jews.
James now calls upon his readers to persevere during temptations. Those
that do persevere will be rewarded with
the crown of life. (1:12)
In essence this is eternal life. It is a symbol drawn from the practice in
ancient times of presenting successful athletes with a wreath of leaves or
flowers.
Some people accuse God of being the instigator of temptations.
I am being tempted by God. (1:13)
Such talk is completely erroneous. James is adamant that God is neither the
author nor the promoter of evil. Sin is mans own willful doing.
Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.
(1:14)
b) Being born of the word 1:16-25)

James changes course now to discuss the fact that not only does God not
promote evil, but he is the source of all god.
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above. (1:17)
He calls God the Father of Lights (1:17) that is, he is the creator of all the
heavenly bodies which are in constant motion. God by contrast does not
change. They are subject to eclipses, alterations in brightness and position
but God is steadfast in blessing those people who love him.
By accepting the gospel, which James calls the world of truth (1:18)
Christians are like the first fruits of the harvest. The Torah demanded
that the first sheaves of any crop or the first animals born of the flock were
to be offered to Yahweh. This ritual was meant to thank God for his gift of an
abundant harvest. The new Christians then were the first sheaves of the
harvest.
Doers of the word.
James is clear that Christian should be,
quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. (1:19)
Quoting from Sirach 5:11-12, he insists that listening is more important than
speaking.
But when it comes to the gospel,
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. (1:22)
In responding to the gospel, obeying is more important than merely listening.
(Lk.11:28) If one merely listens and does not take the gospel message into
ones heart, that person is like a man who briefly gazes at his reflection in a
mirror,
then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like. (1:24)
One who hears the word of God and obeys it is like a person gazing into the
Perfect Law of Christ and sees there the true freedom that leads to
blessings.
Such a one shall be blessed in what he does. (1:25)
c) True Religion (1:26-27)

For James, practical religion includes prudent speech and genuine service to
others, in particular, orphans and widows.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives
his heart, his religion is vain. (1:26)
With regard to care for others, Jewish tradition not only suggested but
demanded care of the poor. Close to Gods heart were those in society
without any visible means of support.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care
for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by
the world. (1:27)
3. Discussion of Themes 2:1-5:18
a) Partiality and the Law of Charity. (2:1-13)
In the Christian community there is to be no discrimination based on
wealth. There is a natural inclination in people to honour the rich with
privileges while the poorer people are given menial tasks or positions.
Partiality in such matters blasphemes the law of love of neighbor.
The poor have a distinct advantage over the rich. Those with little in the
world are better prepared to rely on God for their needs. They have no
alternative but to trust not in themselves but in God. When all come to
judgement there will be a great eschatological reversal. Those with little
in this life shall be exalted, while the rich will be dispossessed. This
outcome has been clearly depicted in the parable of Dives and Lazarus.
(Lk.16:19-31)
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith
and heirs of the kingdom. (2:5)
Christians are urged to fulfill the Royal Law. i.e. the law of Moses. This
law comes from God, the Universal king. However it is summed up in one
law drawn from Leviticus.
Love your neighbor as
yourself. (2:8) (Lev.19:18)
With regard to the ten commandments, which are an essential part of the
Mosaic Law, we cannot be selective in which ones to obey. To fail in one is
to fail in all. Likewise, the law of charity must be followed
comprehensively not selectively. All who seek our help are our neighbor.

In the end when we come to be judged we will be judged on the mercy we


have shown to others. (Matt.5:7) (Mk.4:24) (Lk.6:38)
For the judgement is merciful to one who has shown mercy; mercy
triumphs over judgement. (2:13)
b) Faith and Works. (2:14-26)
Paul stated clearly in Romans,
For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the
law. (Rom.3:28)
What is justification?
It is a pure gift from God whereby a person is made righteous by an
infusion of grace. The process is ongoing. As this righteousness is put
into practice so does grace increase. To be made righteous is to become
a friend of God and to be gifted with faith in God.
James wants to set the record straight. Faith on its own does not
enhance righteousness. He states,
that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (2:24)
This seems to contradict Paul and has been a contentious issue among
Protestants and Catholics since the Reformation in the early 16th Century.
So much so, that Martin Luther would not include the letter of James in his
German canon of scripture. He was adamant that people are justified by
faith. To prove his point he added the word alone to his translation. The
word alone does not occur in the Greek manuscripts.
How do we reconcile Paul and James on the point of Justification by faith?
Firstly, both men are talking about Christians in different stages of faith.
Paul is talking about newly baptized believers. While James is talking
about the faith of a professing Christian. Secondly, the works that Paul
is considering are the works required by the Mosaic Law such as
circumcision, dietry laws, Sabbath observance, festivals and the minutiae
of restrictions imposed by custom on the people. (613 regulations). He
rightly asserts that carrying out all these prescriptions is simply unable to
merit the grace of justification in Christ.

On the other hand, James is concerned with a living faith that compels
one to charitable acts of spiritual and corporal mercy, such as instructing
the ignorant or feeding the hungry.
James says,
faith of itself if it does not have works is dead. (2:17)
He goes further.
I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. (2:18)
He cites the demons who believe in the one God but despite their belief,
their wills are alienated from God. Religious knowledge does not itself
bring justification.
Even the demons believe that and tremble. (2:19)
As an example of faith with works, James takes the story of Abraham to
illustrate his point.
was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son
Isaac upon the altar? (2:21)
Abraham believed in Gods promise concerning his multitude of offspring,
even when commanded to slay his only son. So he was justified.
Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
(2:23)
Finally to back up his argument, James refers to Rahab the harlot in
Jericho, who saved Joshua and Caleb. She believed what they said and
was made righteous by her works. He concludes therefore,
Just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is
dead. (2:26)
C. Taming the Tongue (3:1-12)
In the early church, teaching was an honourable task. With it came also a
great responsibility. In an age when books were mainly scrolls and few in
number, there was great reliance on the spoken word. Truth had to be
conveyed by speech. Christian teachers were more vulnerable to making
mistakes than other people. James warns teachers to be careful with what
they say.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize
that we will be judged more strictly. (3:1)
He includes himself with the word we.
At the divine tribunal James is aware that what teachers say, they will be
held to account for. There words will influence many people. He
acknowledges that human nature, being what it is, everybody falls short
in speech. We all make mistakes.
If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man. (3:2)
James compares the human tongue with the bit put into a horses mouth
to control it, and a ships rudder used to navigate a large vessel. Though
both the bit and the rudder are quite small, the effect they have on
movement far exceeds their size. So it is with the human tongue.
In the same way the tongue is a small member and yet has great
pretensions. (3:5)
He goes further and compares the tongue to a fire.
Consider how small a fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also
a fire. (3:5-6)
A little gossip can ignite a conflagration amongst people.
All kinds of beasts can be tamed, but
No human being can tame the tongue. (3:8)
One of the great contradictions in social interaction is that with the same
tongue we can bless God in prayer, yet curse our fellow man.
James asks rhetorical questions drawn from nature to show such
contradictions cannot exist in creation.
Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish
water? (3:11)
In the same vein, he points out that fig trees do not produce olives nor a
grapevine, figs. Each produces only its own kind.
How then can good and evil come from the same tongue? The answer lies
in the human will, the source of all choices.

d) Wisdom and Worldliness (3:13-4:17)


James continues now, to address the teachers mentioned earlier. The
genuinely wise teacher will be known for his humility. On the other hand,
the teacher who claims to be wise but is controlled by Jealousy and
selfish ambition shows that his wisdom stems from the world.
True wisdom transforms the heart and mind of a person and manifests
itself through pure and peaceful behavior.
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle,
compliant, full of mercy, and good fruits, without inconsistency or
insincerity. (3:17)
James is concerned with the origin of conflicts in the Christian community.
The root problem is our fallen human nature. Envy and the uncontrolled
desire for possessions are passions that drive people to conflict with one
another.
Where do the wars and where do conflicts among you come from? Is it
not from your passions that make war within your members. (4:1)
He allies these failures with our attitude in prayer. Prayers go unanswered
when their requests are for material advancement when in fact they
should be geared to asking for help to better oneself in the spiritual
sphere.
You ask but you do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on
your passions. (4:3)
James calls those who love the world and its values, adulterers! (4:4) A
very harsh indictment. He seems to have been really upset. The term
goes back to the time of the prophets. It does not refer to marital infidelity
but rather to the breaking of the sacred covenant between God and man.
Whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself the enemy of
God. (4:4)
James now quotes from the book of Proverbs.

God resists the proud,


but gives grace to the humble. (Prov.3:34)
St. Peter uses the same text in his first letter. (1 Pet.5:5)
The point being made is, that pride keeps us from receiving Gods grace.
Whereas the humble receive grace in abundance, as they recognize the
need to ask God for help in overcoming their sins.
He calls on the Christians seduced by the wiles of the devil to return to a
faithful relationship with God. To renew ones personal covenant with
ones creator. This requires submission to the will of God in all humility.
So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. (4:7)
James now uses the image of the priests cleansing their hands before
offering the sacrifice in the temple.
Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts, you of two
minds. (4:8)
Heaving said that, he now warns all the community against slandering
one another. Such acts do not only break one commandment, but make a
mockery of the law and therefore of God. There is one law giver and one
judge. God alone.
Who then are you to judge your neighbor. (4:12)
Warning against Presumption
James changes here. He talks to all his readers about the error of
believing that ones future is entirely in ones own hands. The complaint
he raises is not so much against trade and commerce, but against a false
sense of security. This false sense makes one forget how tenuous is
ones hold on life or the circumstances that will prevail in the future.
Come now you who say, `Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and
such a town, spend a year there doing business and make a profit. (4:13)
There is a saying, Man proposes God disposes.
So James adds emphatically the warning,
You have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. (4:15)

It is transitory and disappears.


His advice to all is,
Instead you should say, `If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or
that. (4:15)
The Moslems practice this in the speech. Everything they do or that
happens to them is the will of Allah.
Christians could do well to develop the same habit, when speaking of the
future.
e) Woe to the Rich (5:1-6)
James attacks the rich for placing their trust in their wealth and for their
unjust treatment of workers. He considers both faults foolish in view of the
impending second coming and the harsh judgements their actions will
draw down upon themselves.
He even says that the silver and gold of the rich will corrode. Something
that never happens. He is just stressing the uselessness of accumulated
wealth.
But the more serious mistake and indeed a crime is the withholding of
wages from hired workers. This will bring Gods condemnation.
Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded - - - you have stored up treasure for
the last days. (5:2-3)
Behold the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your
fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the
ears of the Lord. (5:4)
The phrase the ears of the Lord, is taken from Isa. 5:9. James is alarmed
that the rich are senselessly hoarding wealth in the calm before the storm
of divine judgement. He warns them that economic injustice does not go
unnoticed or unpunished. Leviticus 19:13 specifically forbids such
exploitation. Wages were to be paid at the end of each days work.
The Coming of the Lord. (5:7-12)
James advises his hearers to wait patiently for the coming of the Lord.
They are to endure the current trials with courage. He uses as an

example, the farmers who must wait patiently for the early OctoberNovember rains and the showers of April and May. Both sets of rains were
vital to Palestinian farmers in a land with few sources of water.
He uses other examples as models for the Christians to follow. He cites
the prophets of old who endured many trails, and Job.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job. (5:11)
He is assuming that his readers were well acquainted with the story of
Job. Job was anything but patient. However in the midst of unspeakable
misfortune, he did persevere in righteousness. Those who believe he
never complained, should reread the book of Job. He was quite vitriolic
towards his counselors and less than happy with Gods treatment of
himself.
James changes course now to caution his readers against the abuse of
oath swearing. To avoid calling on God to witness an oath. Some people
thought that they could lessen the binding force of an oath by calling
heaven and earth to witness what they proclaim.
But above all, my brothers, do not swear either by heaven or by, earth,
or with any other oath, but let you `yes mean `yes and your `no mean
`no that you may not incur condemnation. (5:12)
This is an exhortation to truthfulness in speech rather than to the
untruthfulness covered by a false oath.
f) Anointing and Prayer for the Sick. (5:13-18)
Suffering and cheerfulness are part of life. In both cases, James exhorts
his readers to offer prayers. In the case of one who is quite sick and
confined to bed, he should call for the Presbyters of the church to anoint
him and pray over him. These presbyters were the elders of the
church, not by age, but by authority. It was common in the time of Christ
to anoint sick people with oil. (Mark.6:13)
However, here James envisages more than the simple anointing with oil.
He is describing a ritual in the early Christian community that takes on the
force and authority of a sacrament.
Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the
church, and they should pray over him and anoint (him) with oil in the
name of the Lord. (5:14)

The prayers of these presbyters will save the sick person and the Lord will
heal him and forgive him any of his sins.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will raise
him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven. (5:15)
The command to confess your sins to one another (5:16) is given in the
context of the anointing of the sick. It was not a general rule applicable to
everyone. The confession of sins was an acceptable practice in Old
Testament times. (Lev.5:5-6) (Num.5:5-10)
James reiterates the value of prayer by citing the efficacy of the prayer of
Elijah the prophet.
he prayed earnestly that it might not rain, and for three years and six
months it did not rain upon the land. (5:17)
4. Conclusion (5:19-20)
James finishes his letter with a note on fraternal correction. This is a delicate
task. If one succeeds in bringing back to the right path a fellow Christian who
has strayed, one will save that fellows soul and bring forgiveness for sins the
back slider may have committed.
Whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his ways, will save his soul
from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (5:20)

The Letters of John


The New Testament contains three letters attributed to John. How these
letters connect to the Gospel according to John and the book of Revelation is
not easy to determine.
The three letters seem to have originated from the one community. The
whereabouts of this community is not clear. The best guess is somewhere in
South Western Asia Minor, (Turkey) most probably Ephesus or nearby.
Who was the author?
1 John has an apostolic flavor to it. Two possibilities come to mind. Either
John the Beloved apostle, son of Zebedee, or a presbyter from the Johanine
community who rewrote the final draft of Johns original. One thing seems
clear. 2 John and 3 John come from the pen of a Johanine presbyter or

elder. There are strong doubts that St. John the Apostle wrote all three
letters.
To whom were the letters sent?
No specific community is mentioned. All three letters indicate conflicts
happening within the same churches. Letter 1 addresses serious doctrinal
issues centered on Jesus. Letter 2 is written to a community addressed as the
chosen Lady. Letter 3 is specifically addressed to an elder called Gaius.
When were the letters written?
The common view is that they were written after the fourth Gospel. Johns
gospel is believed to have been written about 90 A.D. The letters then were
composed around 100 A.D.
There is a belief that all three letters were carried at the same time by one
courier, the elder mentioned in the third letter. This has neither been proved
nor disproved.

Some Features of the First Letter

Strictly speaking it is not in the form of a letter. it does not identify the
recipients; it does not contain personal greetings; it does not contain a
farewell.
It is really in the form of a sermon.
Its purpose is to warn believers against an heretical group that denies
Christs humanity. This group has broken away from the community
and threatens to draw other unsuspecting believers away with it.
Johns readers need assurances that they have embraced the true
gospel presented by the apostles.
John divides the world into light and darkness; truth and error; love and
hate; life and death; Christ and the antichrists.
The author urges his readers away from their sense of perfection to an
awareness of their need to repent. All are sinners.
The members of the church are not to live by the standards of the
world but by the love of God and love of neighbor.
The crisis in the community that has led to its fracture is a serious one.
Those who have broken away in a very hostile manner, deny that
Christ is the Messiah. They deny his humanity.

The division in the community has given rise to the need for
discernment. Those who remain must test the spirits to see whether
or not they belong to God.
1 John is so constructed as to appeal to Christians right through the
ages. It is considered as one of the great spiritual witnesses of the New
Testament.

Outline of the First letter of Saint John


1. Prologue (1:1-4)
2. Living in the Light (1:5-3:10)
a) Fellowship with God and One another. (1:5-2:6)
b) Loving God and One another. (2:7-17)
c) Exposing the Antichrist. (2:18-29)
d) Revealing the children of God. (3:1-10)
3. Living in Love. (3:11-5:12)
a) Loving the brethren. (3:11-24)
b) Discerning the Spirits. (4:1-6)
c) God is love. (4:7-21)
d) Faith and life in God the Son. (5:1-12)
4. Conclusion. (5:13-21)
12
1. The Prologue. (1:1-4)
The Prologue gives witness to the mystery of the Incarnation. John testifies
that Jesus is the Son of God.
There is a striking parallel to the prologue of the Gospel of John, (Jn.1:1-18),
but the emphasis here is not on the pre existent Word but rather on the
apostles witness to the incarnation of life by their experience of the
historical Jesus. He is the Word of Life (1 Jn 1:1 c.f. Jn 1:1-14) the eternal life
that was with the Father and made visible (1 Jn.1:2 c.f Jn.1:14) and was
heard, seen, looked upon and touched by the apostles. The purpose of their
teaching was to share that `life, called fellowship with the Father and with
his on Jesus Christ. 13.
What was from the beginning,
what we have heard,
what we have seen with our eyes,
what we looked upon and
touched with our hands
Concerns the Word
of Life. (1:1)
2. Living in the Light. (1:5-3:10)

a) Fellowship with God and one another. (1:5-2:6)


God is light. Light is to be understood here to mean truth and goodness. One
can walk in the light or in the darkness. Walking in the light is to walk in
the truth. Walking in the Darkness is to walk in error. Fellowship with God is
to walk in the light. One advantage of this fellowship is the forgiveness of
sins. John urges his faithful followers to acknowledge their sins.
God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. (1:5)
If we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one
another, and the blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. (1:7)
If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins
and cleanse us from every wrong doing. (1:9)
John is stressing that repentance is vital for forgiveness of sins. If people do
sin, then Christs death on the cross will draw down forgiveness for their sins
and those of everyone else.
If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the
righteous one. He is expiration not for our sins only but for those of the
whole world. (2:1-2)
How do people know that they are truly in fellowship with God? John offers a
practical solution.
The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.
(2:3)
If people do not keep the commandments then they do not abide in Christ
and keep fellowship with him.
b) Loving God and one another. (2:7-17)
Johns teaching is not something new. He reiterates the commandment of
Christ to his disciples to love one another. (Jn.13:34) Yet at the same time
he does add a caveat to the rule.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard. (2:7)
whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the
darkness. (2:8)

He then says he is writing to the children, the fathers and the young
men. In essence he is writing to the whole community. Some scholars see in
the listing of the three categories a wisdom exhortation directed at persons
in different stages of the spiritual life.
He now warns the whole community about the love of the world. The love of
the world and the love of God are mutually exclusive. What then are true
Christians to avoid?
Three things.
The lust of the flesh; the lust of the eyes and pride.
For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes and a
pretentious life is not from the Father but is from the world. (2:16)
In this case, a pretentious life refers specifically to the rich who are
arrogant in their many possessions and false sense of security.
c) Exposing the Antichrist. (2:18-29)
John digresses from his theme of light and darkness to introduce an
eschatological nuance to his sermon. He reminds his readers that
it is the last hour. (2:18)
This last hour refers to the period of time between the first and second
comings of Christ.
He refers to those who have gone out of the community as antichrists.
Now many antichrists have appeared. - - -they went out from us, but they
were not really of our number. (2:18-19)
This term antichrist only occurs in the letters of John. It refers to anyone
who does not acknowledge that Christ is the Messiah and true son of God.
Literally speaking, such a person is a heretic.
St. Paul restricts the term the lawless one to a single individual.
For unless the apostasy comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one
doomed to perdition who opposes and exalts himself above every so called
God and object of worship, so as to seat himself in the temple of God,
claiming that he is a god, - - (2 Thess. 2:3-4)

This is the real antichrist. A cleric who by the work of Satan becomes pope
and reigns for three and a half years, overturning church laws and carrying
out a brutal persecution of all those who remain faithful to the traditional
church. He will appear shortly before the Second coming of Christ.
But John does not refer to this person. For him, anyone who opposes Christ is
an Antichrist. If someone opposes Christ, it follows that he also opposes
God the Father.
Johns readers have received the gift of anointing from the holy one (2:20)
Either Christ or the Father. This is a grace that helps them remain in the
truth. Because of this anointing they will receive the promise
that he (Christ) made to us of eternal life. (2:25)
This assurance of eternal life for believers is contingent upon their
perseverance in the faith and a life of active charity. Because of the
anointing, presumably at Baptism, they have received the gift of
knowledge about everything that is true and not false. (2:27)
d) Revealing the children of God. (3:1-10)
We are Gods children now.
Gods love in making the Christians Children of God has three
consequences. Christians do not belong to the world which failed to receive
Jesus. (John 15:18-19) (Jn.17:14-16); Christians will lead lives of holiness like
Christ (John 17:17-19); Christians are confident of an even greater salvation
in the future (John 17:24). 14.
In fact there is a glory that awaits the believers. It is the Beatific Vision of
Christ. This is a blessing reserved for those who have led pure lives or have
been purified in Purgatory. They will see Christ face to face.
We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (3:2)
Christ is pure. Therefore Christians are called to be pure. It is a level of
holiness that grants entry into Gods eternal kingdom. The book of Revelation
states explicitly,
Nothing unclean will enter it. (Rev.21:27)
We are called to avoid sin because
in him there was no sin. (3:5)

Those who continue to sin belong to the devil, who was a sinner from the
beginning of his existence.
Whoever sins belongs to the devil. (3:8)
For Christians, the indwelling of the holy spirit makes them share in the life of
Christ. This free gift of righteousness enables them to break free from
godless habits.
3. Living in Love (3:11- 5:12)
a) Loving the Brethren (3:11-24)
John reminds his readers of the fundamental law of community,
we should love one another. (3:11)
In contrast to this law, he cites from the Old Testament the example of Cain
and Abel. This is a case of evil as opposed to love and goodness. The brutal
action of Cain in slaughtering his brother out of envy, constitutes the first
example of fraternal hatred in the bible. (Gen.4:1-16) behavior of Cain,
who belonged to the evil one and slaughtered his brother. (3:12)
John is telling his readers and listeners that those who hate their brother in
community are on a par with Cain. They are committing homicide.
They must act in the reverse. They must be willing to lay down their lives for
their brethren in much of same way as Christ lay down his life for all of us.
(Matt.20:28, Jn.15:13)
The way that we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so
we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (3:16)
This giving of self demands that when a Christian sees a brother in need he
responds immediately with help.
Let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. (3:18)
We should have confidence before God. Despite being aware of our
shortcomings, Christians can stand before God at the divine tribunal because
of our belief in the great mercy of God. God knows our intentions. He is
aware of our striving to imitate his son.
For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything. (3:20)

What is the basis of this confidence?


because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (3:22)
Keeping his commandments is believing in the name of Gods son, Jesus
Christ and obeying the law of love. By so doing Christians display the spirit
granted to them at baptism. They remained in him, (Christ) and he in
them. (3:24)
This is an echo of the great discourse on union with Christ found in John 15:110.
b) Discerning the Spirits (4:1-6)
Christians need to distinguish between the false prophets who utter deceit
inspired by evil spirits and the voice of the Holy Spirit which is heard in the
authentic teachings of the apostles. The measure of truth in these matters is
genuine belief in the Incarnation of Christ.
Beloved do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they
belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. - -every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to
God. (4:1-2)
Any spirit that does not recognize the Incarnation comes from the evil one
and is the antichrist. Such spirits belong to the world and as a consequence.
anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. (4:6)
c) God is Love. (4:7-21)
That God is love is the most enduring teaching to come from Johns first
letter. God has many attributes such as mercy and justice, but the concept of
compassionate love emanating from the Divine Essence is nowhere more
clearly spelled out than in this chapter of Johns first letter. Despite the
invisible nature of God we gain a glimpse of his being by imitating the love
he has shown us.
Beloved let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who
loves is begotten by God and knows God. - - - for God is love. (4:7-8)
This great love of God has been revealed to us in the person of his Son.
Christ told Philip,
He who sees me sees the father. (Jn.14:9)

The love of God was revealed to us; God sent his only son into the world so
that we may have life through him. (4:9)
The love we have for one another must be merciful. We must strive to love
as Christ loved. This will be the proof that we can see the invisible God.
if God so loved us, we also must love one another. (4:11)
John can speak from firsthand experience that Jesus came into the world. He
himself was called the beloved disciple. There was a purity and uniqueness
in the heart of this young man whose love for Christ the other apostles never
came close to emulating.
We have seen and testify that the Father sent his son as Saviour of the
world. (4:14)
We are called to abide in Christ. that is we are called to remain in his love. By
so doing, we abide in the love of the Trinity, the complete Godhead.
God is love, and whoever remains in love, remains in God and God in him.
(4:16)
Perfect love drives out fear. Overtime, the exercise of love instills a sense of
security in a person that expels anxiety about the coming judgement. The
fear of punishment decreases.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to
do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. (4:18)
Our love cannot be selective. We cannot love God and at the same time
neglect our neighbor. Worse still, we cannot discriminate between
neighbours or even hate them. Such an attitude is hypocritical.
If anyone says `I love God, but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever
does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not
seen. (4:20)
d) Faith and life in God the Son. (5:1-12)
In the final argument against the dissidents, 1 John will bring together
obedience to the love command, belief in Jesus as Son and the conviction
that Jesus death for sin brings us eternal life. 15
Obedience to the love command i.e. the love of God means that Christians
obey Gods commandments.

For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his
commandments are not burdensome. (5:3)
Belief that Jesus is the Son of God is a faith that conquers the world. This
victory was won by Christ and we share in that victory.
And the victory that conquers the world is our faith. (5:4)
How do we know that Christ was victorious over the world?
In the Torah, for evidence to be sufficient as testimony in a court of law,
either two or three witnesses were required. (Deut.17:6)
In the case of evidence for Christs victory, John presents Christs baptism
and his death on the cross.
This is the one who came through water and blood. The Spirit is the one
that testifies and the Spirit is truth. (5:6-7)
John was a disciple of John the Baptist. It was John the Baptist who saw and
proclaimed the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Son of God at this
baptism, (Matt.3:16-17) and heard the words of the Father.
There follows in 1 John a reference to the three witnesses in heaven. The
spirit, the water and the blood. (5:8)
This statement is called the Johannine Comma. It appears to be a later
insertion into Johns letter. It does not occur in manuscripts until the 4th
Century. A.D.
Be that as it may, the Testimony of the Holy Spirit and the Father at Christs
baptism confirm that Christ is the Son of God.
What does this divine testimony do for us?
That those who follow Christ will share in the eternal life of Christ.
And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his
Son. (5:11)
To possess Christ is to accept a person into ones life.
Paul could say, I live not I but Christ lives in me. (Gal.2:20)

4. Conclusion. (5:13-21)
This is the Epilogue to Johns letter. He starts by assuring his audience that
they have confidence in prayer. They should be confident that God hears
their prayers.
And we have this confidence in him, that if we ask for anything according to
his will, he hears us. (5:14)
This is made possible through Christ, whose holy name gives Christians
access to the heavenly throne.
John now approaches the topic of sin. He distinguishes between two types of
sin. One that he calls deadly and leads to spiritual death and another that
he describes as not deadly. The church draws upon this teaching to classify
sin as Venial or Mortal.
With regard to sin that is deadly, John probably has in mind the dissidents
who have apostatized. They have severed themselves from the life of the
apostolic church. On the other hand, sin that is not deadly is sin that has
weakened the Christians fellowship with God. If a Christian sees a fellow
Christian sinning, he has an obligation to pray for forgiveness for that person.
If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is not deadly, he should pray to
God and he will give him life. (5:16)
He reminds his audience that
there is such a thing as deadly sin. (5:16)
John is practical enough to acknowledge that
the whole world is under the power of the evil one. (5:17)
So he can see the need for prayer and Gods protection.
He concludes with a warning against idol worship.
Every pagan deity is a false god unworthy of worship. Asia Minor was Johns
theatre of operation and it was an area of the Roman Empire riddled with idol
worship.
Little children keep yourself from idols.

Worshipping idols was undoubtedly a sin that was deadly.

The Second Letter of John


The author calls himself Presbyter (Elder). This being the case, there are
doubts that the letter was written by John the Apostle. It is known that a
devout disciple of St. John worked at Ephesus in the community there. he
was known as John the Elder. His grave is also reputed to be at Ephesus
along with the grave of St. John the Apostle.
There is a possibility that John the Elder is writing either after the death of
the Apostle or with the Apostles permission.
The author is writing to a particular church that he designates as the chosen
Lady and to the children. (v.1)
It is possible that the bearer of 2 John and 3 John also carried the Exhortatory
sermon of 1 John to the same church. If this is so, then 2 John serves as an
introduction to 1 John. It is a true letter. Its brevity seems to indicate the use
of one sheet of papyrus. It would be read aloud to the assembly and followed
by the much longer Sermon of John the Apostle.
It contains an emphasis on walking in the truth and keeping the
commandment to love one another.
The Presbyter is delighted to have met some from the community who
have remained faithful to the teachings of the Apostle John. They may have
been the ones who carried to Ephesus the news concerning the False
prophets and their nefarious activities.
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth. (v.4)
He reminds his listeners to adhere to the basic command they received in
the beginning as new Christians.
I ask you, not as though I were writing a new commandment but the one we
have from the beginning: let us love one another. (v.5)
The Presbyter acknowledges the serious crisis that has divided the
community. Some Christians have defected and formed another group that
denies the humanity of Christ. their numbers are considerable.

Many deceivers have gone out in to the world, those who do not
acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. (v.7)
He refers to them as the antichrist. (v.7)
For their own protection, the Presbyter warns the community about any
itinerant preacher who comes preaching this heretical doctrine.
do not receive him in your house or even greet him. (v.10)
Anyone who does receive him becomes an accomplice in this deceit and is to
be excommunicated along with the false preacher.
For whoever greets him shares in his evil works. (v.11)
There are many other matters that the presbyter wishes to discuss with
the true believers in the community but he wants to make a personal visit to
clarify them.
I hope to visit you and speak face to face so that our joy may be complete.
(v.12)
He ends with a traditional greeting.
The children of your chosen sister send you greetings. (v.13)

The Third Letter of John


This letter was addressed to a specific individual Gaius. It gives us a window
into the politics of leadership in early Christian communities.
Third John was written for several reasons: 1) To encourage the addressee,
Gaius, in his efforts to show hospitality towards traveling preachers in need
of temporary food and lodging. 2) To expose a certain Diotrephes, whose
heavy handed leadership over a local church was not to be endorsed or
imitated. And 3) to recommend to Gaius a faithful brother named
Demetrius, who probably delivered this letter by hand. 16
This is the shortest writing in the New Testament. It is generally a charitable
and pastoral letter that is straight forward and practical.
The author appears to be the same presbyter who wrote 2 John. Nothing is
known about Gaius apart from his reputation for holiness.
The Presbyter to the beloved Gaius whom I love in truth. (V.1)

Some members of the church to which Gaius belonged informed the


Presbyter of the situation in their church.
I rejoiced greatly when some of the brothers came and testified to how truly
you walk in the truth. (V.3)
He asks Gaius to accept some itinerant Christians, presumably from the
mother church at Ephesus.
Please help them in a way worthy of God to continue their journey. (V.6)
He asks this because he does not want his co-workers begging from pagans.
It appears that the Presbyter had previously sent a letter to the Elder
Diotrephes, but his letter had been ignored.
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes who loves to dominate, does not
acknowledge us. (V.9)
Not only that, but he is quite hostile to messengers from Ephesus and even
expels from the church those who offer assistance.
he will not receive the brothers, hindering those who wish to do so and
expelling them from the church. (V.10)
Gaius is advised not to be influenced by the behavior of Diotrephes. The
Presbyter then recommends to Gaius to welcome Demetrius, a well thought
of Christian, and most probably the bearer of all three writings 1, 2 & 3 John.
As in 2 John, the author hopes to visit the community and talk face to
face with Gaius and others loyal to the presbyter. No doubt he will also take
the opportunity to confront Diotrephes over his behavior.

The Letter of Jude


Questions have been raised concerning the authorship of this letter. The
most likely candidate is Jude Thaddeus, cousin of the Lord. He is identified in
the opening line of the letter as the brother of James. (v.1) There is only
one Jude recorded in the early church who had a brother named James. We
know that Jude had three brothers. They were by age, Joseph, Simon and
James. All four were the sons of the second marriage of Alpheus, the true
brother of Joseph, the husband of Mary. The wife of Alphaeus was Mary
Cleophas, the daughter of Mary Heli, the older sister of the Blessed Mother.
The four men then, were true cousins of Jesus.

James, called James the Less, was appointed by Peter as the first bishop of
the Jerusalem Christian church. This was a post he held until A.D. 62 when he
was killed under the orders of the then High Priest, Ananus II. In Pauls letter
to the Galatians he is called the brother of the Lord. (Gal.1:19)
Some scholars question the fact that Jude was the author of this letter. Their
main argument is that the Greek in which the letter was written was of such
a high caliber as to preclude the hand of a rustic farmer or tradesman from
Nazareth, where his family of brothers resided.
The same argument has been leveled at James and his authorship of the
exhortatory sermon bearing his name. however there is increasing evidence
that Galileans were multilingual, being well versed in Greek apart from their
native Aramaic. So the literary argument is becoming increasingly weak.
To whom is the letter addressed?
The lack of internal information means that the receivers of the letter are
unknown. It is generally believed that it was a community of Jewish
Christians in Palestine who were familiar with the Hebrew scriptures and
Apocryphal literature of Judaism. Tradition has it that Jude was a missionary
to Persia where he was martyred in a brutal fashion. How he is connected to
a Christian community in Palestine is unclear. Suffice it to say he has been
informed of a serious behavioural problem arising in the said community and
he has responded with this letter.
When was the letter written?
The only means we have for dating the letter is the fact that there is a
considerable number of ideas contained in it that correspond to material
found in the second letter of Peter. The correlation is as follows: 2 Peter

Jude

2 Peter

2:1.3b

2:13,15

Jude
11-12

4:6

6-7

17

12b-13

18

16

10-11

8-9

3:1-4

17-18

10-13

14-15

14-18

20-25

If we assume that 2 Peter came from the hand of Peter or a manuensis, then
the letter of Jude can be dated to the period of the early 60s A.D., before the
death of Peter in the persecution ordered by Nero.

Scholars are still debating who copied from whom?


Did Peter copy from Jude or did Jude copy from Peter? There is also another
possibility. Both authors copied from a common source. The weakness in this
argument is that no common source has been discovered.
Some features of the Letter of Jude

The letter is one of the shortest in the New Testament.


It bristles with difficulties in translation and polemic. (Argument)
There is a passing reference to a previous attempt to write to the
community.
The letter is aimed against false teachers, Godless Persons, not so
much for false doctrines but for their immoral behavior.
The Godless Persons have been interrupting the agapes. i.e. the
Eucharistic celebrations.
These same persons have been looking after themselves only, thus
dividing the community.
Jude stresses divine retribution on the trouble makers.
The letter encourages the faithful in the community to edify one
another and bear the current trials patiently.

After introducing himself, Jude admits the need for him to write and counsel
the community. He thought of doing this before but received information that
alarmed him. Circumstances forced him to caution the community against
the dangers of false teachers who appear to be intruders, rather than
members of the community.
There have been some intruders, who long ago were designated for their
condemnation, Godless persons who pervert the grace of our God into
licentiousness and who deny our only Master and Lord Jesus Christ. (v.4)
The false teachers misinterpret the law of grace. Grace grants the Christian
freedom from the errors of the world. But the false teachers contend that the
freedom of the children of God grants them the freedom to do whatever they
wish. This is a perversion of Gods gift of grace.

To drive home his point, Jude embarks on a series of examples from the past
where this kind of licentiousness led to divine punishment.
He cites first the punishment meted on the Egyptians then moves quickly to
mention the angels who came to earth and had sexual intercourse with
women. God punished them by casting them out of heaven into darkness
and bondage to await the final judgment. Jude draws his idea from Genesis
6:1-4 and an extract from the apocryphal book of Enoch which elaborates on
this episode.
The angels too who did not keep to their own domain but deserted their
proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains, in gloom, for the judgment of
the great day. (v.6)
He refers also to Sodom and Gomorrah,
which in the same manner as they, indulged in promiscuity and practiced
unnatural vice. (v.7)
Not only amongst their male townspeople but sort to indulge themselves in
the same behavior with the angels sent to warn Lot and his family.
The five towns in the region together with their inhabitants
serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (v.7)
This disgusting behavior is in marked contrast to the way Michael, the leader
of Gods army, treated the heinous Evil one Satan with respect when Satan
wished to dispute with Michael the ownership of the body of Moses.
Yet the Archangel Michael, when he argued with the devil in a dispute over
the body of Moses, did not venture to pronounce a reviling judgment upon
him but said, `May the Lord rebuke you. (v.9)
This incident is nowhere recorded in the Old Testament, but is drawn from
the Apocryphal work, The Assumption of Moses.
Not content with what he has already said, Jude now refers to three people in
the Torah whom God punished for their evil deeds. They were infamous
sinners in the Old Testament.
They followed the way of Cain, abandoned themselves to Balaams error for
the sake of gain, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. (v.11)

Cain was the first murderer in the bible. (Gen.4:1-16) Balaam tried to curse
Israel (Num.22-24) and later counseled the women of Moab to seduce Israel
into sin (Num.31:15-16). Korah headed a rebellion against the authority of
the Israelite priesthood and was consumed in Gods wrath. (Num.16:1-40).
18
These false teachers,
They carouse fearlessly and look after themselves. (v.12)
Because of this Jude calls them waterless clouds, fruitless trees, wild waves
and wandering stars. (v.12)
Like waterless clouds, they promise refreshment but leave their victims
parched. Like fruitless trees they are barren and lack every sign of life. Like
wild waves that cough up debris on the beach, they pollute their listeners
with falsehoods and filthy behavior. Like wandering stars they lead others
astray in the darkness. 19
Jude cites Enoch as having prophesied the coming of the Lord to condemn
those godless ones.
Behold the Lord has come with his holy ones to execute judgment on all and
to convict everyone for all the godless deeds that they committed and for all
the harsh words godless sinners have uttered against him. (v.14-15) (Enoch
1:9)
The false teachers are in reality heretics. Their traits are listed as
Complainers, disgruntled ones who live by their desire; their mouths utter
bombast as they fawn over people to gain advantage. (v.16)
The early Christians were warned that such scoffers would come among
them. They would divide the community and live as sensualists on the
natural plane without any signs of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their
lives.
Jude now contrasts the behavior of the heretics with the behavior of the
believers.
But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith. (v.20)

They are to practice the love of God and wait patiently for the mercy of
Christ. Their reward will be eternal life. If there are doubters amongst the
believers or those who are weak then the strong are to
On those who waver, have mercy; save others by snatching them out of the
fire. (v.22)
They are to have mercy even on those who have fallen and become victims
of the iniquitous example of the heretics. They are nevertheless to abhor
the outer garment stained by the flesh. (v.23)
Some scholars see this as a reference to the high priest Joshua indicted by
Satan for some wrong doing but delivered by Gods mercy, and his filthy
robe replaced by a new garment. (Zech.3:2-5)
Jude closes his letter with a doxology about the power of God. It is the power
that will keep the believers from stumbling. Gods power lasts for all ages.

Sources
1. Luke Timothy Johnson in The Catholic Study Bible, D.Senior et.al,
Reading guide P.506.
2. New Jerome Biblical Commentary Art.3, P.903(Article Commentary by
W.Dalton S.J.)Henceforth the Commentary will be designated by the
acronym, N.J.B.C with Article & Page number only.
3. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible The New Testament. Ignatian Press.
P.449.
4. N.J.B.C Art.14, P.906.
5. The Poem of the Man God, M. Valtorta, Centro Editoriale Valtortiano,
Vol.5 P.580.
6. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, Commentary P.458.
7. N.J.B.C. Art.12, P.1019.
8. Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, Commentary P.464.
9. Christian Community Bible, B.Hurault, 2010, Claretian Publications,
Commentary P.51.
10.
Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. P.438
11.
The Catholic Study Bible, D. Senior et.al., Reading guide P.513.
12.
Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. P.468.
13.
The Catholic Study Bible, D.Senior et.al, Commentary on the
R.N.A.B text, P.1741.
14.
N.J.B.C Art.25, P.991.
15.
N.J.B.C. Art. 30, P.992.
16.
Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. P.479.

17.
18.
19.

N.J.B.C Art.5, P.1018.


Ignatius Catholic Study Bible P.486.
Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, P.486.