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New Testament Survey:
Epistles — Letters Written by Others


In this Section:
The Book of James | The Books of 1 & 2 Peter | The Books of 1, 2 & 3 John | The Book of Jude


Survey of the Book of James

There are four men in the New Testament who are named James:

  • James, the father of Judas [not Iscariot], is mentioned twice (Luke 6:16; Acts 1:13) as the father of one of the 12 disciples, but is otherwise completely unknown.

  • James, the son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), elsewhere called "James the Less" [or "younger"] (Mark 15:40), was one of the 12 disciples. Apart from being listed with the other disciples, this James is completely obscure. Thus, it is unlikely that he's the author of this epistle.

  • James, the son of Zebedee and brother of John (Matthew 4:21, 10:2, 17:1; Mark 3:17, 10:35, 13:3; Luke 9:54; Acts 1:13), was one of Jesus' intimate disciples, but his martyrdom by A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2) makes it very unlikely that he wrote this epistle.

  • James, Jesus' half-brother (Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19), was one of the "pillars" in the Church at Jerusalem (Acts 12:17, 15:13-21, 21:18; Galatians 2:9, 12). Tradition points to this prominent man as the author of this epistle; and this best fits the evidence of Scripture.

James makes a clear point that faith without works cannot be called faith. Faith without works is dead, and dead faith is worse than no faith. Faith must work. It must produce, it must be visible. Verbal faith is not enough; mental faith is not sufficient. Certainly, we must have faith, but it must be more. It must inspire action.

Faith also endures trials and hardships. Trials come and go, but a strong faith will face them head-on and not cower in fear. Faith also obeys the Word. It will not merely hear and not do. It will not tolerate inaction or compromise for the sake of culture or tradition.

Faith also controls the tongue. This small but powerful part of the body must be mastered. Faith can do that. Faith acts wisely. It gives us the ability to choose wisdom and to act wisely. Faith produces separation from the world and submission to God. And finally, faith waits patiently for the coming of the Lord. Through trouble and trial, it stifles complaining.

In some ways, the book of James mirrors the writing style of the book of Proverbs because it is written in the brief moralistic style of "Wisdom Literature". It can also be compared to the style employed by our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. Because of the many subjects in this short epistle, it is difficult to outline. The outline used here consists of:

  • the test of faith;
  • the characteristics of faith; and
  • the triumph of faith.

TO WHOM: Believers among the 12 tribes of Israel.
PURPOSE: To comfort believers undergoing trials for their faith.
KEY VERSE: 2:26— "For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Faith is the foundation of works.
MAIN CHARACTERS: James, Abraham, Isaac, Rahab, Job, Elijah


I. The Test of Faith: 1:1-18
     A. The purpose of _______________: 1:1-12
          1. Response to suffering: __________: 1:2
          2. Benefits of suffering: __________
          3. God is the source of __________: 1:5
          4. Remain single-minded: __________
          5. The right response, whether __________ or brought low: 1:9-11
          6. The blessing of suffering: __________
     B. The source of ____________________: 1:13-18
          1. Not __________: 1:13

II. The Characteristics of Faith: 1:19-5:6
     A. Faith obeys the __________: 1:19-27
          1. What we should __________: 1:19-20
          2. What we should lay aside: __________
          3. We should incorporate the __________ into our lives: 1:21
          4. We deceive ourselves if we are __________ only: 1:22
          5. Example of a man looking into a __________: 1:23-25
          6. Controlling the _______________ is evidence of faith: 1:26
     B. Pure religion is to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the __________: 1:27
     C. __________ removes discrimination: 2:1-13
     D. Faith proves itself by __________: 2:14-26
     E. Faith controls the _______________ 3:1-12
     F. __________ produces wisdom: 3:13-18
     G. __________ produces humility: 4:1-12
     H. Faith produces dependence on ________: 4:13-5:6
          1. We cannot be assured of the future: __________
          2. Only ________ knows the future: 4:15
          3. Boasting in the future is evil: __________
          4. The future of the __________: 5:1-6

III. The Triumph of Faith: 5:7-20
     A. Faith endures awaiting Christ's __________: 5:7-12
          1. Wait patiently for the coming of the __________: 5:7-8
          2. Establish your hearts: __________
          3. Do not hold grudges: __________
          4. View the prophets as _______________ of the suffering you will experience: 5:10
          5. Endure with joy, as did ________: 5:11
          6. Do not swear, but mean what you say: __________
     B. Faith __________for the afflicted: 5:13-18
          1. Response to those suffering and to those who are cheerful: __________
          2. Response to the sick: 5:14, 15
          3. Response to sin in the __________: 5:16-18
     C. Faith confronts an erring __________: 5:19, 20
          1. __________ him: 5:19
          2. Saves his soul from __________: 5:20
          3. Covers a _______________ of sins: 5:21

Further Study
The book of James is the only New Testament book addressed to the twelve tribes of Israel: 1:1

James uses several Old Testament characters to illustrate his message. Write the appropriate person's name next the cited verses:

  • 2:21 ____________________

  • 2:25 ____________________

  • 5:17 ____________________

  • 2:21 ____________________

  • 5:11 ____________________

James also uses several natural/environmental examples to illustrate his message. Write those next to the cited verses:

  • 1:6 _______________________________

  • 1:10-11 ___________________________

  • 3:5 _______________________________

  • 3:11 ______________________________

  • 3:12 ______________________________

  • 3:18 ______________________________

  • 5:7 _______________________________

  • 5:17 ______________________________

Note the repetitions: "Faith without works is dead" in 2:17, 20, and 26. When the soul is separated from the body, the body decays. In a similar way, faith without works is dead. Faith justifies the man; works justify the faith.

Of the 108 total verses in James, 60 of these are commands for practical Christian living. Mark and study these commands.

Study the life of James, the half-brother of Jesus, who was the author of this letter. See the following references:

  • Matthew 12:46-50

  • John 2:12; 7:1-9

  • Acts 1:14; 12:17; 15:13; 21:18-26

  • 1 Corinthians 15:7

  • Galatians 1:18-19; 2:1, 9-10

The teachings in James are similar to the content of the Sermon on the Mount given by Jesus. Complete the following chart:

Compare the two kinds of wisdom discussed in James 3:13-18:


Survey of the Books of 1 & 2 Peter

Introduction to 1 Peter
The basic theme of 1 Peter is the proper response of Christians to suffering. Peter knows that the readers will soon be facing more persecution than ever before. So, he endeavors to give them a divine perspective that will help them to endure the trials without wavering in their faith. They should not be surprised at their trials because the One they follow also suffered and died (2:21; 3:18; 4:1, 12-4).

Peter encourages them to conduct themselves courageously for the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Both their character and conduct must be above reproach. Having been born again to a living hope, they are to imitate Christ who called them. The fruit of that character will be conduct rooted in submission:

  • citizens to government;

  • servants to masters;

  • wives to husbands;

  • husbands to wives; and

  • Christians to one another.

After adequately addressing the issue of submission, Peter goes on to discuss "the fiery trial which is to try you" (4:12). He encourages them to rejoice as partakers of the suffering of Christ. That response to life is truly the climax of one's submission to the hand of God working in all things in their lives.

The book of 1 Peter can be broken down or outlined into three distinct sections:

  • The salvation of the believer.

  • The submission of the believer.

  • The suffering of the believer.

TO WHOM: Exiles being persecuted for their Christian faith.
PURPOSE: To warn of the danger of persecution from those outside of the Church.
KEY VERSE: 1 Peter 4:12-13— "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Response to persecution should be based on Scriptural principles.


Part One: The Salvation of the Believer: 1:1-2:12

 I. Greeting: 1:1-2

II. Reassurance in the facts of the Gospel: 1:3-12
     A. Hope for the __________: 1:3, 4
          1. The source of salvation: __________
          2. The description of _______________ 1:3-5
     B. Reassurance based on the benefits of suffering: 1:6-9
          1. Joy in spite of trials: __________
          2. The genuineness of faith results in praise, __________, and glory: 1:7
          3. Rejoicing based on relationship to _________, not on outward circumstances: 1:8
          4. The result of faith is salvation of the __________: 1:9
     C. Anticipation in the past: 1:10-12

Part Two: The Submission of the Believer: 2:13-3:12

I. Sanctification of the believers: 1:13-2:12
     A. Set hope on grace we receive at the revelation of ____________________: 1:13-17
          1. Prepare your mind, be sober-minded: __________
          2. Respond as obedient _______________, not according to former lusts: 1:14
          3. Be __________, as He is __________: 1:15-16
          4. Lead respectful, productive lives: __________
     B. Reassurance based on _______________ 1:18-25
          1. We are not redeemed with _______________ things: 1:18
          2. We were redeemed with the precious __________ of Christ: 1:19-20
          3. Assurance in times of suffering is based on our redeemed relationship with Him: __________
          4. This assurance of redemption is based on His __________: 1:24-25
     C. The Christian's response to suffering: 2:1-3:20
          1. Put away __________, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander: 2:1
          2. Crave the pure spiritual milk: __________
          3. Grow up into salvation if you have __________ that the Lord is good: 2:2, 3
          4. Response to the __________ of God: 2:3-10
          5. Abstain from pleasures of the flesh: __________
          6: Keep conduct honorable among ____________________: 2:12
          7. Submit to ____________________: 2:13-17
          8: Submit in ____________________: 2:18-20
          9. Submit in _______________ 3:1-8
         10: Submit in all aspects of life: __________

Part Three: The Suffering of the Believer: 3:13-5:14

  I. Our Conduct in Suffering: 3:13-17
     A. Honor __________ the Lord as holy: 3:15
     B. Be prepared to make a _______________ to anyone who asks about our hope: 3:15
     C. Have a good ____________________: 3:16
     D. It is better to suffer for doing __________ than for doing evil: 3:17

 II. Christ's Example of Suffering: 3:18-4:6
     A. Christ suffered for others' sins, the righteous for the ____________________: 3:18, 19
     B. Suffering conforms us to the __________ of Jesus: 4:1-6
          1. Whoever suffers in the flesh ceases from ______: 4:1
          2. We no longer live for human passions but for the will of ________: 4:2

III. Commands in Suffering: 4:7-19
     A. Suffering anticipates the second __________ of Jesus: 4:7
     B. Suffering develops spiritual qualities: __________
          1. Love covers a _______________ of sins: 4:8
          2. Show hospitality to one another: __________
          4. Be good stewards of God's varied __________: 4:10-11
     C. Suffering multiplies future __________: 4:12-13
          1. Do not be surprised at the __________ trial when it comes: 4:12
          2. _______________ in suffering; 4:13
     D. Suffering _______________ the Lord: 4:14-16
          1. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are _____________: 4:14
          2. Let no one suffer as a murderer, thief, evildoer, or meddler: __________
          3. If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but _____________ God: 4:16
     E. Suffering purifies the __________: 4:17-19
          1. Judgment begins at the house of __________: 4:17
          2. Let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful __________: 4:19

IV. Minister to One Another Even in _____________________: 5:1-9
     A. Exhortation: 5:1
     B. As a shepherd, __________ the flock of God: 5:2-6
          1. Take oversight willingly, not for financial gain: __________
          2. Be examples, not lords, over the __________: 5:3
          3. The Chief _______________ will reward: 5:4
          4. Be __________: 5:5-6
     C. Cast all care on Him because He __________ for us: 5:7
     D. Be sober-minded, watchful: __________
          1. The devil prowls around like a roaring __________, seeking someone to devour: 5:8
          2. Resist him, stand firm: __________
          3. Realize that the same afflictions are common among __________ everywhere: 5:9

V. Conclusion: 5:10-14
     A. Benediction: 5:10-11
     B. Personal greetings: 5:12-14

Introduction to 2 Peter
While the book of 1 Peter deals with problems from the outside, 2 Peter deals with problems from the inside. Here Peter writes about the false teachers who are peddling false doctrine.

In this book, the Apostle Peter contrasts between the knowledge and practice of truth versus falsehood. He writes to expose the dangerous and seductive work of the false teachers. He further warns believers to be on their guard so they will not be "led away with the error of the wicked" (3:17).

He also writes to encourage the readers to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (3:18).

Perhaps the most important exhortation we can draw from 2 Peter is that the Christian life demands purposeful diligence in pursuing moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and selfless love.

And finally, Peter warns the false teachers that, although God may be long-suffering in sending judgment, ultimately it will come. In view of that fact, believers must be reverent, blameless, and steadfast in their devotion to the truth of God.

TO WHOM: Christian exiles, probably the same group listed in I Peter.
PURPOSE: To warn of danger from within: Apostasy and false teaching.
1:20-21— "knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."
3:9-11— "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness"

LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: The greatest two dangers from within the Church are apostasy and false teachers.


I. Cultivating Christian Character: 1:1-21
     A. Salutation: 1:1, 2
     B. Growth in __________: 1:3-14
          1. God's divine power has granted all things that pertain to life and godliness: 1:3
          2. We are partakers of His divine __________: 1:4
          3. These principles keep us from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ: __________
          4. Whoever lacks these qualities has forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins: __________
          5. God's calling: __________
     C. Peter will continue to __________ of these principles: 1:12-15
     D. Reasons for __________: 1:16-21
          1. Peter's experience of the Transfiguration: __________
          2. Certainty of the _______________ 1:19-21

II. Condemnation of __________ Teachers: 2:1-22
     A. Danger of false __________: 2:1-3
          1. Example from the past: __________
          2. Many follow their carnal desires: __________
          3. The way of truth is blasphemed among them: __________
          4. For financial gain, they exploit with false words: __________
     B. Destruction of __________ teachers: 2:4-9
          1. God did not spare the __________ who sinned: 2:4
          2. God spared __________'s family, but destroyed everyone else: 2:5
          3. God spared __________'s family, but destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah: 2:6-9
          4. God knows how to rescue the __________ from trials: 2:9
          5. He will keep the _______________ under punishment until the day of judgment: 2:9
     C. Description of false _______________: 2:10-22
          1. They walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness: __________
          2. They despise _______________: 2:10
          3. They are bold and willful: __________
          4. They speak ________ against higher beings (angels): 2:10-13
          5. Their eyes are full of _______________ and they cannot cease from sin: 12:14
          6. They forsake the right way, they have gone astray: __________
          7. They follow the way of _______________ 12:15, 16
          8. They are _______________ springs and mists driven by a __________: 2:17
          9. They speak loud boasts of folly [foolery, stupidity]: __________
         10. They promise freedom, but they themselves are __________ of corruption: 2:19
     D. Destiny of the __________ teachers: 2:20-22
          1. Their last state has become worse for them than the first: __________
          2. It would have been better for them to never know the way of righteousness than to __________ __________ from it: 2:21
          3. They are like the dog returning to its own __________ and the sow returning to wallow in the __________: 2:22

III. Confidence of Christ's __________ : 3:1-18
     A. Mockery in the "____________________": 3:1-4
          1. Apostasy predicted by the prophets:__________
          2. Unbelievers and false teachers __________ at the promise of Christ's coming: 3:4
     B. God's dealings with the past, present, and future worlds: 3:5-13
          1. Condemnation of the former __________ came to pass despite the scoffers: 3:5-6
          2. The future annihilation of the present world will come to pass:__________
          3. God has His own timetable for fulfilling His plan:__________
          4. The most important factor in God's plan is the _______________ of lost souls, not the timing of future events: 3:9
          5. The "day of the Lord" in which He fulfills His plan will come __________: 5:10
          6. His plan will come to an end with a new__________ and new earth: 3:13
     C. The _______________'s response in the face of apostasy: 3:14-18
          1. Be found without spot or blemish, and at __________: 3:14
          2. Recognize that God's patience is due to His __________ on the unsaved: 15-16
          3. Beware that you are not carried away by the error of _____________ people: 3:17
          4. Grow in grace and in the __________ of the Lord: 3:18
     D. Doxology: 3:18

While 1 Peter speaks of the new birth through the living Word, 2 Peter stresses the need for growth in the grace and knowledge of Christ. The best antidote for error is a mature understanding of the truth.

Read 1 and 2 Peter and make a list of everything that is referred to as "precious".

Read 1 Peter and underline each use of the key words "suffering" and "grace".

In 1 Peter there are a number of titles which describe believers. Read the following verses and list the titles:

  • 1:14

  • 2:2

  • 2:5

  • 2:9 (4 different titles)

  • 2:11

  • 4:16

  • 4:18

  • 1:2

  • 2:10

  • 4:11

  • 5:2

Study the life of Peter in the Gospels and the book of Acts. Write some of your observations.

Note the living realities of the Christ life:

  • The living hope 1:3

  • The living Word 1:23

  • The living stone 2:4

Several Old Testament quotations are used in 1 Peter. Compare the following:

Study 1 Peter 2:9-10. Compare the lives of believers before and after salvation:

From 2 Peter, compile a list of the characteristics of ungodly men or false teachers. Save this list to compare it to those listed in the book of Jude.

From 2 Peter 1:5-10, list the qualities that believers are to add to their lives.

Compare the "day of the Lord" (2 Peter 3:10) to the day of judgment (2 Peter 3:7).


Survey of the Books of 1, 2 & 3 John

In this section you will study the three books of 1, 2 and 3 John. All of these books were written by John, the son of Zebedee (Matthew 4:21), who was an apostle of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:2). John also wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. You have already studied the Gospel of John. The book of Revelation will be the final study in this course of Bible surveys. The books written by John fit together in a developing plan of increasing revelation:

Introduction to 1 John
John writes this first epistle at a time when the Apostles' (apostolic) doctrine is being challenged by a rapid increase in false teachings. Like 2 Peter and Jude, John refutes erroneous doctrine and encourages his readers to walk in the knowledge of the truth.

John lists the criteria and characteristics of fellowship with God and shows that those who abide in Christ can have confidence and assurance in Him. He reminds us that...

  • God is light: To engage in fellowship with Him, we must walk in light and not in darkness. To walk in His light means to regularly confess our sins, allowing the blood of Christ to continually cleanse us.

  • God is love: Since we are His children, we must walk in love. In fact, John says that if we do not love, then we do know God. Also, love is more than just words; our love needs to be practical. Love is giving, not getting.

  • God is life: Those who fellowship with Him must possess His quality of life. Spiritual life begins with spiritual birth through faith in Jesus Christ, which infuses us with God's life eternal life.

Thus, whoever walks in fellowship with God will walk in light, love, and life.

TO WHOM: Christians who were falling into Satanic deception which was breaking their fellowship with God and other believers.
PURPOSE: To explain the standards of true fellowship in Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:8-10— "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

1 John 5:11-13— "And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: True fellowship with God and fellow believers is based on the standards of God's Word and maintained by the principle of confession of sin.


Part One: The Basis of Fellowship: 1:1-2:27

 I. Introduction: 1:1-4
     A.__________ is writing from firsthand experience: 1:1
     B. The fellowship is the true fellowship of _______________ with God and one another: 1:2-3
     C. His purpose in writing is that their ________ may be complete: 1:4

II. The Conditions for __________ Fellowship: 1:5-2:14
     A. Walk in __________: 1:5-7
     B. Confession of __________: 1:8-2:2
          1. If we say we have no sin, we ________: 1:8
          2. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to __________ us: 1:9
          3. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a __________: 1:10
          4. We have an advocate with the Father: __________
     C. Obedience to His ____________________: 2:3-6
          1. We know that we know Him if we__________ His commandments: 2:3
          2. Whoever does not keep His commandments is a __________: 2:4
          3. The __________ of God is perfected in whomever keeps His word: 2:5
          4. We should walk in the same way in which He walked: __________
     D. __________ for one another: 2:7-14
          1. An old commandment and also a new ____________________: 2:7-8
          2. Whoever hates his brother is in __________: 2:9, 11
          3. Whoever __________ his brother abides in the light: 2:10
          4. Your sins are forgiven for His name's sake: __________
          5. The commandment includes all levels of spiritual maturity: 2:12-14

III. The Cautions to __________ Fellowship: 2:15-29
     A. Be separate from the __________: 2:15-17
     B. Spirit of the __________: 2:18-23
          1. Many antichrists have come and are not of us:__________
          2. Whoever denies that Jesus is the __________ is the Antichrist: 2:22-23
          3. Whoever confesses the ______ has the Father also: 2:23
     C. Encouragement to abide in __________: 2:24-29

Part Two: The Behavior of Fellowship: 3:1-5:21

I. Characteristics of True Christian Fellowship: 3:1-5:3
     A. Purity of ________: 3:1-3
     B. Practice of righteousness and __________: 3:4-18
     C. Love in deed and in __________: 3:19-24
     D. Test the __________: 4:1-6
          1. Every spirit that says Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God: _________
          2. Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not of God:__________
          3. Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the __________: 3:4
     E. Love as __________ loved: 4:7-5:3
          1. Whoever loves is of ______. 4:7
          2. Whoever does not love is not of God:__________
          3. God loved us and sent His ______ for us: 4:9-10
          4. We should love as God loved us: __________
          5. Whoever abides in love abides in ______: 4:12-17
          6. Perfect love casts out all __________: 4:18
          7. We love because He __________ loved us: 4:19
          8. Whoever loves God must also love his __________: 4:20-5:3

II. Consequences of Christian Fellowship: 5:4-21
     A. Victory over the __________: 5:4, 5
     B. Assurance of __________: 5-6:13
     C. Guidance in __________: 5:14-17
     D. Freedom from habitual ______: 5:18-21


Introduction to 2 John
The basic theme of this short letter is that the readers should continue walking in God's commandment to love one another. John also delivers a stern warning not to associate with or assist teachers who do not acknowledge the truth about Jesus Christ.

TO WHOM: The "elect lady and her children," which means the Church and its members. [The Church is always addressed in the feminine gender because she is called the "bride of Christ".]
PURPOSE: To admonish believers to be faithful to sound doctrine and to warn against false teachers.
KEY VERSE: 2 John 1:9-10— "Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: We must guard against false teachers who cause us to lose the spiritual qualities we have developed and who make us partakers of their evil.

NOTE: The book of 2 John has no chapter divisions. Therefore, only the verses are listed.

  I. Salutation: 1-3

 II. Abide in God's Commandments: 4-6
     A. Walk in __________: 4
     B. Walk in __________: 5, 6

III. Do Not Abide with False Teachers: 7:11
     A. Doctrine of the __________ teachers: 7-9
     B. __________ the false teachers: 10, 11

IV. Benediction: 12, 13


Introduction to 3 John
The basic theme of this letter is for the readers to enjoy and continue to have fellowship with one another, especially full-time Christian workers. John uses two different men, Gaius and Diotrephes, to contrast truth and servanthood with error and selfishness.


TO WHOM: The book is addressed to a man named Gaius. It is written to both him and the church with which he was connected. There is no way to identify who this man was, as the Bible gives no further information about him. The truths of the letter are applicable to all believers.

PURPOSE: To commend Gaius and Demetrius for their Christian testimony and to reprove the unchristian behavior of Diotrephes.

KEY VERSE: 1:11— "Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God."

LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: Our lives are examples of either good or evil to others around us.

MAIN CHARACTERS: John, Gaius, Diotrephes, Demetrius

NOTE: The book of 3 John has no chapter divisions. Therefore, only the verses are listed.

  I. Salutation: 1

 II. The Commendation of Gaius: 2-8
     A. Godliness of Gaius: _____
     B. Generosity of Gaius: _____

III. The Condemnation of Diotrephes: 9-14
     A. __________ of Diotrephes: 9-11
     B. Praise for Demetrius: _____

IV. Benediction: 13, 14

Further Study
Read through 1 John and underline the word "know" or "known" each time it is used. Then go back, and from what you have underlined, make a list of things we should know.

From 1 John 2:12-14, list the things written to the following spiritual levels of maturity:

  • Children

  • Fathers

  • Young men

Read through 1 John and mark each use of the words "love" and "truth". Summarize what is taught about these two subjects.

List the evil characteristics of Diotrephes given in 3 John 9-10.

List the traits of the born-again believer in 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1, 4, 18.

List the seven tests of genuine Christian experience given in 1 John 1:6 ,8, 10; 2:4, 6, 9; 4:20

Study the following contrasts in 1 John:

  • Light vs. darkness: 1:5-2:11

  • Father vs. the world: 2:12-17

  • Christ vs. the Antichrist: 2:18-28

  • Good works vs. evil: 2:29-3:24

  • Holy Spirit vs. error: 4:1-6

  • Love vs. pretense: 4:7-21

  • God-born vs. others: 5:1-21


Survey of the Book of Jude

Almost all of the epistles written by Paul, James, John, and Peter confront or allude to the problem of false teachers. But Jude goes beyond all of the other epistles in his relentless and passionate denunciation of the apostate teachers.

At the beginning of his letter, Jude focuses on the believers' common salvation. After that, however, he abruptly changes gears and challenges them to fight for the faith. He reminds them that the danger is very real, that false teachers have crept into the Church, turning God's grace into license to do as they please.

Jude reminds such men of God's past dealings with unbelieving Israel, disobedient angels, and false prophets. And he warns the true believers to not be caught off guard. The challenge is great, but so is the God who is able to keep them from stumbling.

AUTHOR: Jude [the half-brother of Jesus]
TO WHOM: All Christians, although the specific audience at the time were members of churches in Palestine and/or Asia.
PURPOSE: To warn against false teachers
KEY VERSE: Jude 3— "Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints."
LIFE AND MINISTRY PRINCIPLE: We must be alert for false teachers who creep in unawares and divert believers from the truth of God's Word.

NOTE: The book of Jude has no chapter divisions. Therefore, only the verses are listed.

  I. Greeting: 1-2

 II. Purpose of the Letter: 3

III. Characteristics of __________ teachers: 4-16
     A. They crept in unnoticed and were designated long ago to this _______________: 4
     B. They are ungodly people, who _______________ the grace of God: 4
     C. They _______________ Jesus Christ: 4
     D. ___________ judgment of false teachers: 5-7
          1. Israel, once saved, was afterward ____________________: 5 (see Numbers 13-14 and 1 Corinthians 10:5-10)
          2. Angels who rebelled are kept in eternal _______________ 6 (2 Peter 2:4)
          3. _______________ and _______________'s sexual immorality resulted in their destruction by fire: 7 (Genesis 18-19)
     E. Present characteristics of _______________ teachers: 8-13
          1. They rely on their _______________, defile the flesh, and reject authority: 8
          2. They ____________________ the spiritual beings: 8
          3. Examples of these men: 11
          4. Description of these evil men by comparison to natural things: ____________
     F. Future ____________________ of false teachers (Genesis 5:18-24): 14-16
          1. _______________ prophesied their destruction1: 14, 15
          2. Judged by the Lord with _______________ saints1: 14
     G. Additional descriptions of _______________ teachers: 16
          1. Grumblers, malcontents, following their own sinful _______________ 16
          2. Loud-mouthed _______________, showing favoritism to gain advantage: 16

IV. Defense against False Teachers: 17-23
     A. Jesus _______________ of these men: 17-19
          1. _______________ will come with ungodly passions: 18
          2. They are worldly people who cause _______________ and don't have the Holy Spirit: 19

 V. How Believers Should Respond: 20-23
     A. Build up ourselves in the faith and pray in the _______________: 20
     B. Remain in the love of God, looking for the _______________ of Jesus Christ: 21
     C. Have compassion on some who _______________: 22
     D. Rescue some out of the ___________, but do not join in their sin: 23

VI. Closing: 24, 25
     A. He is able to ______ us from falling: 24
     B. Present us blameless before His _______________ 24
     C. Doxology: 25

Further Study
In spite of its limited size and subject matter, the book of Jude was accepted as authentic God-breathed Scripture and quoted regularly by the early Church. The writer identifies himself as "a bondservant of Jesus Christ and brother of James" (v. 1). This designation, combined with the reference in verse 17 to the Apostles, makes it unlikely that this was written by the apostle Jude [also known as "Judas the son of James" in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13].

The traditional view is that Jude is one of Jesus' half-brothers called "Judas" in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3. Like his brothers, Jude did not believe in Jesus as the Messiah before the resurrection. The only other biblical allusion to him is in 1 Corinthians 9:5 where it is recorded that "the brothers of the Lord" took their wives along on their missionary journeys.

Make a list of the characteristics of false teachers identified in the book of Jude.

List the Old Testament examples given in Jude:

  • Numbers 13-14; 1 Corinthians 10:5-10; Hebrews 3:17

  • 2 Peter 2:4

  • Genesis 18:1-19:24

  • Genesis 4

  • Numbers 22-24

  • Numbers 16

  • Genesis 5:18

Study Jude 20-23. List the keys given for protecting yourself from false teachers such as described in the book of Jude.

Study the commands in Jude:

  • Earnestly contend for the faith: 3

  • Remember the words of the apostles: 17

  • Build yourself up in the faith: 20

  • Pray in the Holy Ghost: 20

  • Look for the mercy of Jesus: 21

  • Keep yourselves in the love of God: 21

  • Make a difference: 22

  • Have compassion on some: 22

  • Save others with fear: 23

  • Pull them out of the fire: 23

  • Hate even the flesh garments: 23

One of the key words in Jude is "ungodly". He uses it to describe men, lusts, deeds, sinners, and speeches.

Note the comparisons between the books of Jude and 2 Peter:

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1Some of the verses in Jude refer to incidents that are not recorded in our Bible. For example, the argument between Michael and Satan over Moses' body comes from a book called "The Assumption of Moses" which was familiar to the readers of the first century. Many think Jude is referring to a book that has perhaps been lost from the Bible. It has not been lost; we still have it. It, and other so-called "lost books" can be read in any reputable theological seminary library. But they are a mixture of truth and error, and what these New Testament writers sometimes do is refer back to them for some recorded instance that is true, so that what is recorded here is perfectly true, but not everything in "The Assumption of Moses" is.

In verse 14, Jude quotes or references the "Book of Enoch", another book we do not find in our Bible, but which is also available today in Seminary libraries. The quotations Jude uses are truth; however, the entire book from which they were taken is not.