The final eight epistles of the New Testament canon exert an influence out of proportion to their length. They complement the thirteen Pauline Epistles by offering varying perspectives on the richness of Christian truth. Each of the five authors – James, Peter, John, Jude, and the author of Hebrews – made a distinctive contribution from his own point of view. Like the four harmonizing approaches to the life of Christ portrayed in the Gospels, these writers provide a sweeping portrait of the Christian life as a whole and how it should be lived out. Although Paul’s epistles are excellent, the New Testament revelation after Acts would be severely limited by one apostle’s perspective had the writing of these five men been neglected. The following essay will compare and contrast the authorships, dates when written, recipients, and themes from three of the following books: Hebrews, James, and 1 Peter.
The book of Hebrews was commonly entitled, “The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews,” for some 1,200 years, but there failed to be an agreement in the earliest centuries regarding its authorship. As stated, the author is unknown. Many suggestions have been made and detailed arguments put forth, but the fact of the matter is the author is nowhere named in the book and like its place of writing, date, and even its readership, unknown. The book of James very clearly states its author. This epistle begins with “From James, a bond-servant of God…” The only problem about the authorship of James is that there are four different men named James in the New Testament. Of these four men bearing the name James, only two have been proposed as the author of this letter. However, the authoritative tone of the letter points to James the half brother of Jesus who became the recognized leader of the Jerusalem church (Acts 12:17). This conclusion is supported by the resemblances in the Greek between this epistle and the speech of James at the Council of Jerusalem (James 1:1 and Acts...
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