The Epistles differ in their nature from any other portion of the
Scriptures. They are a series of letters to the newly planted churches
of the first century, or to individual church members, written, with
possibly two or three exceptions, by apostles. These letters are
twenty-one in number. I give a list of them with the number of chapters
in each in the following table.
AUTHORS.--The writers of these Letters were
Peter, James, John, Jude, and Paul. Other of the apostles may have
written, but if so, their productions have not come down to us.
PURPOSE.--These Letters were written, some to
particular congregations of believers; some to the church at large, and
others to individuals; to encourage, reprove, correct false teaching,
and give special instruction in doctrine and practical duties.
SOURCE.--The authors of the Epistles all being
apostles or inspired evangelists were under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit, and all their utterances, as apostles, were by divine
CLASSIFICATION.--The Epistles may be classified
1. The Pauline Epistles, or those written by the Apostle Paul. These
may be subdivided into:
(1) The Doctrinal, addressed to special churches--Romans,
Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians,
(2) Pastoral, addressed to the evangelists, Timothy and Titus.
(3) Special, addressed to an individual--Philemon.
2. General Epistles, addressed to the church at large. These are,
(1) One of James; (2) Two of Peter; (3) Three of John; (4) One of