The General Epistles

2 Peter & Jude & 1,2,3 John
The New Covenant Explained

2 Peter
Peter’s Farewell Warning


Peter - 2 Peter 1:1- Simon Peter,         a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,…
1:13-14, 16 -18
Cites Paul’s letters 3:15-16

Author in History

Peter is in prison before his death
Problem with such varied language from 1 Peter?
Similar message to I Peter - Same recipients?


67 AD – Just before his death - Soon after the first letter

Origin:         Rome

Destination:         Unstated
Presumed the same as 1 Peter
Second letter 3:1


Some hesitation to accept because of:

- Lack of quotation in early writings
- Narrower circulation
- Brevity
- Pseudopigraphy using Peter’s         name
- Difference in language & style        


Seven New Testament books were recognized as part of the canon of scripture only after a certain amount of discussion: Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 & 3 John and Revelation.

Ultimately, they were acknowledged to be Scripture because the evidence, both internal & external, showed their solid worth.

Readers & Occasion

1:1 - …To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:

Faith = same kind as ours         - Acts 11:15 -17 – Gentiles

Suffering replaced by a worsening attack of heresy.

Intent & Purpose

Reminder - 1:12, 13; 3:1
By the reminder of the truth they can oppose heresy
Remember to stand on the truth against heresy

Key Verse

2 Peter 2:1 - But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.


Knowledge used 16x

The origin of prophecy - 1:20 – 21 (II Tim. 3:16)

Three worlds 3:5-13
                - pre-flood
                - post-flood
                - new heaven & new earth


Salutation 1:1

The nature of true knowledge - 1:2-21

It’s a gift - 1:2-4

But we must work the gift - 1:5-11

Retention and *inculcation
are our assurance – 1:12-21

*inculcation = to impress upon the mind by repeated admonition

The peril of abandoning true knowledge - 2:1 – 22

Indulgence of heresy 2:2, 10, 13

Insights into Noah, Lot and Balaam

The hope of true knowledge - 3:1-18

Hope in the Lord’s coming

Vigilance until then

Highlights of 2 Peter

1:3-4 – Everything for life & godliness

1:5-8 – But wait! There’s more!

3:4 – Where is the promise of His coming?

3:9 – The Lord is not slow

3:10-11 – How should we then live?

3:17-18 – Grow!

Contend Earnestly

Overview of Jude

Author: Jude -1:1

- servant of Jesus Christ
- brother of James
- half-brother of Jesus

Not an Apostle v. 17
Traveled as an evangelist - I Cor. 9:5

Author in Scripture

Matt 13:55 & Mark 6:3 - …& His (Jesus’) brothers, James & Joseph & Simon & Judas
John 7:5 – For not even His brothers were believing in Him.
Acts 1:14 - along with the women, & Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.

Author in History

Placement after John’s letters

Jude an itinerant
John’s letters about itinerancy
Jude deals with heresy
As does Revelation


Date: 66-71 AD
Origin: Unknown

                No specific church
                To a collection of churches v.1
                Personally known to writer v. 3
                Middle east churches
                “Catholic” or general epistle


Polycarp, Hermas, & Clement of Rome allude to it
In Muratorian Canon
Brevity and non-apostolic author
limited acceptance for a while among some churches

Origen, “Jude, who wrote a letter of a few lines, it is true, but filled with healthful words of heavenly grace, said in the preface, ‘Jude the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James.’”


Jude 4-18 & II Peter 2:1-3:4
Jude wrote in an emergency v. 3
Used Peter as a resource?
Jude expands II Peter
Same problem, more advanced for Jude
Material reworked into triplets
Peter diagnosis, Jude anti-dotes
II Tim. 3:1-8 similar and same time


Definite group Un-named
“our common salvation” v. 3
Usual mixed Jewish & Gentile congregations


Antinomian, libertine itinerant preachers
Corrupting believers
Some had been swayed v. 22
Pervert divine grace v. 4


See Maps, 446
Set protocols for correction
Element of rescue vs. 23, 24

Purpose & Key verse

Purpose, “Warn of heresy”

Jude 1:3 - Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.


Style & Tone: terse, poetic vs. 24-25
Severe, “darkness has been reserved forever”
Compassionate, “Have mercy…”
Groups of threes: Jude, servant, brother; mercy, peace, love; etc
Quotes Apocrypha vs. 9 & 14


Salutation vs. 1-2

Announcement of emergency vs. 3-4

Appeal to precedent vs. 5-7

Arraignment of heretics vs. 8-16

Advice to believers vs. 17-23

Concluding benediction vs. 24-25

Highlights of Jude

1:3 – Contend earnestly for the faith

1:17-18 – Remember the words of the apostles

1:20-21 – Build yourselves up

1:22-23 – Have mercy

1:24-25 – He is able

1 John
Walking in the Light

I John overview

Author: John the Apostle
I John 1:1 no address
But an admission of eye witness

John In History

Acts 8:14 = last mention
To Ephesus around 70AD
Ministered itinerantly in Asia
Exiled to Patmos Rev. 1:9
Returns after the death of Domitian
John wrote just before or after Patmos

Date: 85 AD or later

Origin: Ephesus

Destination: Churches in Asia m - See Maps 451


Polycarp quotes I Jn. 4:2-3
Irenaeus and Eusebius know it

Justin Martyr, “There was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the Apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem.”

Internal evidence

51 references to the 4th gospel - 1:6 & Jn. 3:21; 1:8 & Jn. 8:44
Pairs of opposites: love & hate or light & darkness
Both are anonymous but intimate
First hand knowledge, 1:1; 4:14
II & III John may have been cover letters


External pressure was off the believers in Asia
Believers begin to compromise with the world - 2:15-16
Conflicts between brothers
Advanced knowledge - 2:7, 18


Presence of false teachers
Closest to Gnosticism of 2nd century
The Rise of Gnosticism
    From the Greek word gnosis(“knowledge”).
    It would arise in the 2nd century, but         its seeds were already evident.
    The physical is bad; the spirit is good.
    Salvation through knowledge.

Views of Jesus.

Docetism:  Christ only seemed to be human.
Cerenthianism:  The Divine Christ entered Jesus at His baptism and departed prior to
                          His death.


Pastoral Concern:

Stir new fervency
Arm against Gnosticism
Promote fellowship

Purpose and Key verse

Purpose: Enhanced fellowship

1 John 1:3 - what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.


Forceful simplicity
No opening salutation, a homily
Abrupt end like James
No proper names
Comes like a meditation
Categorical affirmations (5:2)
Thought developed by opposites
Syllogistic logic that moves in circles

Contents (Benware - old)

Introduction 1:1-44

Certainty Through Walking in the Light - 1:5 -2:29

Light 1:5, 7; 2:8, 9, 10

Know 2:3, 5, 29

Certainty of Abiding in Love


2:5, 15; 3:1, 10, 11, 14, 16-18; 4:7, 8, 10-12, 16-18,20, 21


3:14, 16, 19, 24; 4:13, 16

Certainty Through the Exercise of Faith

Faith - 5:1, 4, 5, 10

Know - 5:2

Resulting Certainty - 5:13 -21

Highlights of 1 John

1:9 – Faithful & righteous

2:1-2 – Advocate with the Father

3:1 – That we should be called children of God

3:2 – When He appears

4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another

5:3 – His commands not burdensome

2 & 3 John
Truth Versus Error
Walking in Truth

Author, John the Apostle

He is a personal acquaintance of         readers
He identifies himself as the elder,        being old
Each letter fills one sheet of papyrus
John needed no other identification
Papias calls him John the Elder and disciple of the Lord


II John: Date 85 AD or later

Origin: Ephesus

To a lady & adult children?
    Widow and matron of the church
    Near Ephesus and hospitable to John in his travels
Or: a particular church fellowship?

III John: Date 85 or later

3 in New testament

Acts 19:29 – Macedonia
Acts20:4 – Derbe
Rom. 16:23 & I Cor. 1:14 - Corinth

Mature Christian brother vs 1, 2, 5

Evidence for both

Irenaeus quoted 2x
Clement of Alexandria, - “John’s longer epistle…”
Quoted at Council of Carthage - 397 AD
Those nearest Ephesus accepted it first
They resemble each other
Hospitality is an issue in each
Imagine them as cover letters

Purposes - Readers

II John: to a church or to a widow         whose circumstances John knows
III John: to Gaius whose struggle         John commends


II John - Persistent efforts of false teachers affecting the local church
                        (of the elect lady?)

III John - Diotrephes refused hospitality to itinerants & Gaius         offered it John is
                         sending out itinerant evangelists


II John: Cultivate vigilance

III John: administrative directive

Enlist Gaius
Condemn Diotrephes
Commend Demetrius

Purpose & key verse

II John  - Abiding in truth to avoid error

2 John 1:9 - Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

III John - Hospitality demonstrates truth

3 John 1:5 - Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren, and especially when they are strangers;


II John

Love and truth
Denial of humanity of Jesus corrected
Deny reception to heretics

III John

Importance of hospitality
Support missionaries
Evaluate controlling leaders


II John

Salutation vv. 1 – 3

Injunctions vv. 4 – 11

Conclusion vv. 12 - 13

III John

Introduction - vs.1-4

Encourage workers for the truth - vs.5-8

Reprove opponents of truth - vs.9-11

Commend witness for the truth - v.12

Conclusion vs. - 13-14

Highlights of 2 & 3 John

2 John 1:8 – Don’t loose your reward

2 John 1:9 – Don’t go too far

3 John 1:3-4 – Glad to hear you are walking in the truth

3 John 1:9-10 – Diotrephes

3 John 1:12 - Demetrius