The General Epistles

C.I. Scofield

The General Epistles

In Hebrews, James, First and Second Peter, and Jude we have a group of inspired writings differing in important respects from Paul's Epistles. But this difference is in no sense one of conflict. All present the same Christ, the same salvation, the same morality. The difference is one of extension, of development. The Jewish-Christian writings deal with the elementary and foundational things of the Gospel, while to Paul were given the revelations concerning the church, her place in the counsels of God, and the calling and hope of the believer as vitally united to Christ in the one body.

The other characteristic difference is that while Paul has in view the body of true believers, who are therefore assuredly saved,the Judaeo-Christian writers view the church as a professing body in which, during this age, the wheat and tares are mingled. (Matthew 13:24-30). Their writings, therefore, abound, in warnings calculated to arouse and alarm the mere professor. A word of caution is, however, needful at this point. The persons warned are neither mere hypocrites, nor mere formalists. So far as they have gone their experiences are perfectly genuine. It is said of the supposed persons in (Hebrews 6:4-9) that they had been "enlightened," and the same word is use (Hebrews 10:32,) translated "illuminated." They are said, too, to have "tasted" of the heavenly gift, and again a word importing reality is used, for it occurs in Hebrews 2:9 of the death of Christ. The true point of the divine solicitude is expressed in verses 1 and 2. It is that they shall go on. They have made a real beginning, but it is not said of them that they have faith, and it is said (verse 9) that "things that accompany salvation" are "better." This fear lest beginners will "come short" is the theme of Hebrews 3:7-4:3. The men in (Matthew 7:21-23) are not conscious hypocrites-- they are utterly surprised at their exclusion. Characteristic contrasts are, (Hebrews 6:4-6; Romans 8:29-39; 2 Peter 1:10; Philippians 1:6) In this respect these Epistles group with Matthew 13-23 and Acts 2-9. The two Epistles of Peter, however, are less Jewish and more truly catholic than the other Jewish-Christian writings. He addressed, in his First Epistle, neither Jews as such, not even Christian Jews of Jerusalem, or Judea, but of the dispersion; while Second Peter is not distinctively Jewish at all.

 


Article from Scofield Reference Notes (1917) (Public Domain)
For over 90 years people have relied on this reference work in their daily study of God's Word. Written originally in 1909, C. I. Scofield's intent was to provide a concise but complete tool that would meet the need of someone just beginning to read the Bible.

 

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