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apostles lived ; it was a later invention and corruption. Alford thinks that Paul was liberated from his first imprisonment at Rome, mentioned in the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles; that he wrote First Timothy and Titus during the period of freedom, and Second Timothy while awaiting the execution of his death sentence in the second imprisonment. The dates of writing are to be placed between 66 and 68 A. D. The references to Timothy and Titus in a Bible dictionary will help to understand these letters.
was written to encourage and instruct First Timothy
Timothy in the discharge of his duties as pastor at Ephesus ; to point out dangerous heresies, and to give directions about the charities and discipline of the church.
was written to urge Timothy to come to Second Timothy Paul at Rome, and is full of fatherly exhortations and instructions. When even Christians were deserting him in his last days the aged apostle felt the need of faithful companionship.
was written to aid Titus in organizing, Titus
teaching, and administering discipline in the island of Crete.
This letter is a severe reproof and menJude
ace of proud and sensual scoffers, professed Christians, whose evil conduct endangered the life of the church. We do not know to what place it was directed. The date of writing was, probably, about 68 A. D.
It is not in the plan of this handbook to Second Peter
present the difficult historical questions in respect to the various epistles. They will be found by those who need in Westcott on the Canon of the New Testament and in the recent critical commentaries. It seems safe to say that the Apostle Peter wrote this letter, perhaps
from Rome, in his old age, about the year 68 A. D. purpose in writing is apparent from the contents:
He urges the disciples, in the presence of error and temptation, heresy and sin, to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." Peter had Paul's letters in mind, and seems to write to the same people, only at a later date. Comparing 2 Peter 3 : 15 with Gal. 2 : 11, 12 we see how Christian magnanimity banishes all grudge and animosity from his memory of the great apostle to the Gentiles who had rebuked him for a sin. It is a sublime fact in the intercourse of two great men.
It appears best to place Second Peter after Jude, possibly as in part a copy of it.
Westcott thinks this letter the last of the spiritual records of the Bible. It certainly is the ripe fruit of a beautiful life.
The First Epistle
It is probably the final interpretation of the whole series of the divine revelations; and under this aspect it proclaims and satisfies the highest hope of man.
It declares that in the presence of Christ there has been given and there will be given that knowledge of God for which man was made, issuing in fellowship which is realized here in the Christian society, and which reaches to the source of all life.
The letter appears to have been written in the old age of John, at Ephesus, in the last decade of the first Christian century.
The teaching of St. John in his epistle turns upon
of Christ. . . It is intensely practical. St. John everywhere presents moral ideas resting upon facts and realized in life. The foundation on which conviction is based is historical experience (1 John 4 : 14). This, as furnishing the materials for that knowledge which St. John's readers had “heard from the beginning,” is
set over against mere speculation (1 John 2 : 24). Truth is never stated in a speculative form, but as a motive and a help for action. The writer does not set before his readers propositions about Christ, but the living Christ himself for present fellowship.
The object of the epistle is to unfold and lead to the acceptance of the truth of Jesus Christ as Son of Man and Son of God, who is the life eternal.
The thought of a fellowship between God and man, made possible and in part realized in the Christian church, runs through the whole epistle.
The topics are : The nature of God as source of life ; the remedy for sin ; obedience in love and light; things temporal and eternal ; the conflict of truth and falsehood ; the spirit, power, and activity of the Christian life. - Westcott.
These were written, it is probable, about The Second and the same time as First John, and from Third Epistles of
Ephesus. Westcott says of the third John
Another point which deserves notice is the view which is given of the independence of Christian societies. Diotrephes, in no remote corner, is able for a time to withstand an apostle in the administration of his particular church. On the other side, the calm confidence of St. John seems to rest on himself more than on his official power.
This is another assertion of the self-governing power and independence of primitive churches, coming from an Episcopal scholar, and confirming the Baptist view of the early church government.
'THE CENTRAL AND DOMINANT PRINCIPLE OF PAUL'S EPISTLES
LIFE, DEEDS, WORDS.
Christ! I am Christ's! and let the name suffice
Paul has no honor and no friend but Christ.
Yes, without cheer of sister or of daughter
Yes, without stay of father or of son,
Pass I in patience till the work be done.
Waketh him workers for the great employ;
Catch from my joyance the surprise of joy.
Yea, thro' life, death, thro' sorrow and thro' sinning,
He shall suffice me, for he hath sufficed ;
-Frederick W. H. Myers.
Old and New Testament Revelation. Origin of Gospels. Origin of Epistles. Contents of Introduction. Synopsis of James. Character of 1 Thessalonians. Purpose of 2 Thessalonians. Analysis of 1 Corinthians. Contents of 2 Corinthians. Topics of Galatians. Purpose and Contents of Romans. Nature of Philemon. Aim and Teaching of Colossians. Occasion and Theme of Ephesians. Time and Purpose of Philippians. Purpose and Topics of i Peter. Time, Topics, and Authorship of Hebrews. Theme and Occasion of Pastoral Epistles. Purpose of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. The Message of Jude. Contents of 2 Peter. Time and Topics of the Epistles of John. Dominant Principle of Paul's Epistles.
THE TEACHING OF THE EPISTLES IN RESPECT TO DIVINE
Section 1. The works of God in nature are symbols of his power, wisdom, and divinity. “For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity” (R. V., Rom. 1 : 20).
So much is manifest to the discerning soul from the outward creation, that there is a Being above man and over all particular objects in nature. So that it is folly and abuse of reason to take some small part of nature for an object of supreme worship, as idolaters do. Comte seems to have made mankind an object of worship; but above mankind is the true “Great Being.” Idolatry results in human debasement, since men tend to become like the objects of their adoration.
In Rom. 1 : 20 we have a proof of Paul's breadth of mind and heart. He does not disparage, as the Jews did and as Christian science has sometimes done, the value of what has been called natural theology. . . This same idea of a universal revelation appears again in Paul's discourses at Lystra and Athens (Acts 14 : 17; 17: 27, 28; so also in 1 Cor. 1 : 21 and Rom. 3 : 29): “Or is God the God of Jews only? is he not the God of Gentiles also ?”—Godet.
Nature is only one revelation and must be helped out by others: it manifests power and divinity and suggests eter