Darian R. LockettFeb 23, 2022
Letters for the Church
Reading James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude as Canon
InterVarsity Press 2021
The Catholic Epistles often get short shrift. Tucked into a few pages near the back of our Bibles, these books are sometimes referred to as the "non-Pauline epistles" or "concluding letters," maybe getting lumped together with Hebrews and Revelation. Yet these letters, Darian Lockett argues, are treasures hidden in plain sight, and it's time to give them the attention they deserve.
In Letters for the Church: Reading James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude as Canon (InterVarsity Press, 2021), Lockett reveals how the Catholic Epistles provide a unique window into early Christian theology and practice. Based on evidence from the early church, he contends that the seven letters of James, 1–2 Peter, 1–3 John, and Jude were accepted into the canon as a collection and should be read together. Here Lockett introduces the context and content of the Catholic Epistles while emphasizing how all seven letters are connected. Each chapter outlines the author, audience, and genre of one of the epistles, traces its flow of thought, and explores shared themes with the other Catholic Epistles.
The early church valued the Catholic Epistles for multiple reasons: they defend orthodox faith and morals against the challenges of heretics, make clear that Christianity combines belief with action, and round out the New Testament witness to Christian faith and life. By introducing the coherent vision of these seven epistles, Letters for the Church helps us rediscover these riches.
Darian R. Lockett is professor of New Testament at Biola University. His many publications include Letters from the Pillar Apostles, Understanding Biblical Theology, and An Introduction to the Catholic Epistles.
Jackson Reinhardt is a graduate of University of Southern California and Vanderbilt University. He is currently an independent scholar, freelance writer, and research assistant. You can reach Jackson at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @JTRhardt