Books or Letters?

books-or-lettersYou know that the books of the new Testament are actually letters right?

Now, have you ever considered why or to whom the books, or letters, of the New Testament, were written?

These are questions I was once presented and had to look into for myself. My findings were interesting, and I want to share a small piece with you today. If you haven’t heard this by now, it may be a shock but bear with me, please. The Bible was not written to us today, but it is for us today! We often overlook the fact that these letters were written for specific people and also written concerning specific things. Because every letter has a “to” section Let’s look at these different letters and see what a few verses tell us concerning the “to whom” part of the letters.

Romans 1:7 KJV

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

2 Corinthians 1:1 KJV

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:

Galatians 1:2 KJV

And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:

Ephesians 1:1 KJV

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 1:1 KJV

Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:

Colossians 1:2 KJV

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:1 KJV

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:1 KJV

Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

1 Timothy 1:1-3 KJV

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.  As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

2 Timothy 1:1-2 KJV

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:4 KJV

To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Philemon 1:1 KJV

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer,

Hebrews 13:24 KJV

Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

James 1:1 KJV

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting.

1 Peter 1:1 KJV

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

2 Peter 1:1 KJV

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

1 John 2:12-14 KJV

I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.  I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.  I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

2 John 1:1 KJV

The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

3 John 1:1 KJV

The elder unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.

Jude 1:1 KJV

Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:

Revelation 1:4 KJV

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

It’s interesting to see who these letters were written, but it’s only a start to help us understand the context of the letters. We must really look at the time period and culture in which these letters were written.  We cannot pick up these books, or letters, and automatically think we know the background, but it seems that is what happens. We are only seeing half the situation, and we must do some digging to see the context. This isn’t an easy step, and we are having to unlearn and learn a lot, but it sure is bringing a lot of understanding to the writings of the New Testament. We encourage everyone to dig with us and let’s learn together.

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Posted on October 20, 2016 in Answering Tough Questions, Confronting Mainstream Christians, Foundational Teachings

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About the Author

Jeremy lives in North Louisiana with his wife and three children. He grew up in Methodist and Baptist churches most of his life. His pastor, who also happened to be his Uncle, started realizing that Torah was still an important part of our relationship with God and began to incorporate Torah into his messages. Jeremy set out on a mission to prove his Uncle wrong and dove head first into the Word. He failed in his quest to disprove his Uncle and came to realize that the whole Word still applies to believers today.

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