My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True Lord, God, and Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
NEW TESTAMENT: LETTERS (EPISTLES) OF SAINT PAUL
PHILIPPIANS is the Epistle of joy. Saint Paul writes from a Roman prison. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). COLOSSIANS presents Christ as “The HEAD OF THE BODY, THE CHURCH…” (Col 1:18), preeminent in all things.
FIRST THESSALONIANS, the first letter Saint Paul penned, was written to the believers at Thessaloniki, a beautiful coastal city of Greece in about 51 A.D. shortly after Saint Paul planted that Church. This is a letter of encouragement. SECOND THESSALONIANS acknowledges persecution and warns of lawlessness, urging the Christians to “stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught…” (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
Next, Saint Paul addresses the following letters to individuals. In FIRST TIMOTHY, the aging Apostle speaks to his youthful understudy about effective oversight of the Church. The SECOND TIMOTHY, the last letter Saint Paul wrote (see 2 Timothy 4:6-8), he encourages Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Saint Paul is already in prison in Rome (1:8) awaiting Martyrdom.
TITUS is sent by Saint Paul to Crete to set the Church “in order.” and appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). If this sounds like the work of a bishop, it is (Titus 1:7-8), and Titus is consistently named in early Church records as the first bishop of Crete. PHILEMON is a Christian slave-holder, and Saint Paul writes him to receive back Onesimus (Philemon 10-16), his runaway slave, who has become a Christian with Saint Paul in Rome.
HEBREWS is the last of the Epistles (Letters) attributed to Saint Paul, but with little evidence it was actually written by St. Paul. It is General Letter to Jewish believers in Christ to continue on in the Faith. It assures them that Christ, the Great High Priest in the heavenlies (Hebrews 8:1), is there once for all sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 10:10) and Victor over death (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The General Epistles
JAMES, the brother of the Lord and first bishop of Jerusalem, writes to fellow Jews, “the Twelve Tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1). His message? “FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD” (James 1:20). Christianity is a belief that behaves.
FIRST PETER, written by the first among the Apostles, urges OBEDIENCE TO GOD and man, willingness to suffer for Christ’s sake, and effective pastoring of the flock. In SECOND PETER, the Apostle discusses Divine power for the faithful (DEIFICATION [THEOSIS], Divine Judgment for FALSE TEACHERS and the Day of the Lord.
Next, Saint John the Theologian offers THREE GENERAL EPISTLES (LETTERS). FIRST JOHN is a stirring personal testimonial to God’s FORGIVENESS, His LOVE for His children and HIs gift OF ETERNAL LIFE. In SECOND JOHN, he addresses an “elect lady and her children,” urging them to obey the Lord’s commands and beware of deceivers. THIRD JOHN commends Gaius and Demetrius, and warns against Diotrephes.
Finally, JUDE, the Lord’s brother, writes a short letter exhorting the faithful to contend for the truth and to beware of the devil’s servants. He finishes with a stunning benediction.
Written by Saint Jonn the Theologian, he entitles his book “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1). What the book of Daniel to the Old Testament, Revelation is to the New Testament. Another tittle is the APOCALYPSE. which is a transliteration of the Greek word for “revelation” or “unveiling.” The book speaks prophetically both to current and future events, to judgment and salvation, and ends with the glorious New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven “AS A BRIDE ADORNED FOR HER HUSBAND” (21:2).
“Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Divine and Glorious Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God