III - The New Testament

Book of Revelation

    The Book of Revelation, also called the Apocalypse which means that which has been disclosed, and also called the Revelation to St John, is traditionally considered to be the work of the Lord’s apostle who later wrote the fourth gospel and the letters. It is dated in the middle of the last half of the first century.

    St John received his vision “on the island called Patmos.” He was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” when he received God’s command to write the letters “to the seven churches of Asia” (1:4-10). Each of the seven messages contains the words of Christ for the specific church (2-4).

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Letter of St Jude

    It has been questioned whether “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James” who wrote the letter of St Jude is the “Judas, the brother of James” (Lk 6:16, Acts 1:13), one of the twelve apostles, “not Iscariot” (Jn 14:22). In the Tradition of the Church, the two have usually been identified as the same person.

    The letter of St. Jude is a general epistle which the author “found it necessary to write to those who are called,” appealing to them “to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (1-3).

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Letters of St John

    The three letters of St John were written by the Lord’s beloved apostle who also wrote the fourth gospel. They were written at the close of the first century and have as their general theme a fervent polemic against the heretical “antichrists” who were changing the doctrines of Christ and denying His genuine appearance “in the flesh” for the salvation of the world, denying thereby both “the Father and the Son” (l Jn 2:22, 4:3, 2 Jn 7).

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Letters of St Peter

    Most modern scholars do not think that St Peter actually wrote the two letters called by his name. They consider the first letter as coming from the end of the first century and the second letter from the first half of the second century. The Tradition of the Church, however, maintains the testimony of the letters themselves, ascribing them to the foremost leader of Christ’s apostles writing from “Babylon,” which was the early Church’s name for Rome, on the eve of his martyrdom there in the latter half of the first century (see 1 Pet 5:13, 2 Pet 1:14).

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Letters of St James

    According to Church Tradition, the letter of James was written not by either of the apostles, but by the “brother of the Lord” who was the first bishop of the Church in Jerusalem (see Acts 15, Gal 1:19). The letter is addressed to the “twelve tribes in the dispersion” which most probably means the Christians not of the Jerusalem Church.

    The main purpose of the letter of James is to urge Christians to be steadfast in faith and to do those works which are called for by the “perfect law” of Christ which is the “law of liberty” (1:25, 2:12). It aims to correct the false opinion that because Christians are freed from the ritual works of the Mosaic law through faith in Christ, they need not do any good works whatsoever and are not subject to any law at all. Thus, the author writes very clearly against the doctrine of salvation by “faith alone” without the good works that the believer must necessarily perform if his faith is genuine.

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Letters of St Paul

    Fourteen letters, also called epistles, which are ascribed to the apostle Paul are included in the holy scriptures of the New Testament Church. We will comment on the letters in the order in which they are normally printed in the English Bible and read in the Church’s liturgical year.


    The letter to the Romans was written by St. Paul from Corinth sometime at the end of the fifties of the first century. It is one of the most formal and detailed expositions of the doctrinal teaching of St. Paul that we have. It is not one of the easier parts of the scripture to understand without careful study.

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Acts of the Apostles

    The book of the Acts of the Apostles was written by St Luke toward the end of the first century, as the second part of his history for Theophilus about Christ and His Church. The book begins with an account of the Lord’s ascension and the election of Matthias to take the place of Judas as a member of the twelve apostles. Then follows the record of the events of the day of Pentecost when the promised Holy Spirit came upon the disciples of Christ empowering them to preach the gospel of new life in the resurrected Savior to the people of Jerusalem.

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    The first books of the New Testament scriptures are the four gospels of Saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The word gospel literally means good news or glad tidings. The gospels tell of the life and teaching of Jesus, but none of them is a biography in the classical sense of the word. The gospels were not written merely to tell the story of Jesus. They were written by the disciples of Christ, who were filled with the Holy Spirit after the Lord’s resurrection, to bear witness to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the promised Messiah-Christ of Israel and the Savior of the world.

Read more: Gospels

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