Can you imagine writing a letter that’s as long as the book of Galatians in the New Testament? What a rarity to receive even a 3 page hand-written letter, much less pages and pages.
But, of course the letters in the New Testament were divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit, so that puts them in a whole different category from casual missives relating recent activities.
Some modern translations or versions of the Bible don’t include the term Epistle or even Letter, but that’s what the following books literally are – letters to the churches in those places:
Romans (to the believers in Rome)
I & II Corinthians (to the believers in Corinth)
Galatians (to the believers in Galatia)
Ephesians (to the believers in Ephesus)
Philippians (to the believers in Philippi)
Colossians (to the believers in Colosse)
I & II Thessalonians (to the believers in Thessalonica)
I & II Timothy (to Timothy)
Titus (to Titus)
Philemon (to Philemon)
Hebrews (to the Hebrews)
James (to the 12 tribes scattered abroad)
I & II Peter (to the believers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia)
I, II and III John (only III John is addressed to a specific person or place: Gaius)
Jude (to the sanctified)
Many Christians have a favorite Bible verse; I would be hard pressed to name a specific verse, although there several passages which are particularly special to me.
But I do have a favorite book in the Bible: the Epistle of James.
James writes in such a clear and straightforward way. Unlike with Paul (sometimes), I don’t have to guess at his meaning.
“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:3
(An unpleasant truth, but true nevertheless.)
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12
Once Joe and I had an odd little conversation with a stranger while we were shopping. She joyfully related that she’d heard a Christian speaker teach that God allows us each one vice. That was a rather stunning statement and utterly false.
Our Heavenly Father is holy and sent his perfect Son as the sacrifice for our sins. No where in scripture is there an excuse for sin. Even one.
James says that we are blessed when we endure temptation, not winked at when we indulge.