By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Books of the New Testament
Author: Pullan, Leighton
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Books of the New Testament" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcriber's note:

   Page numbers in this book are indicated by numbers enclosed
   in curly braces, e.g. {99}.  They have been located where page
   breaks occurred in the original book.  For its Index, a page
   number has been placed only at the start of that section.


by the


Fellow and Tutor of St. John Baptist's College, Oxford.

  "If you choose to obey your Bibles, you will
  never care who attacks them."--RUSKIN.

Fourth Edition Revised

34 King Street, Covent Garden



This book is intended to meet the widely prevalent need of an
introduction to the New Testament which is neither a mere hand-book nor
an elaborate treatise for specialists.  It is written in a conservative
spirit, and at the same time an ample use has been made of recent
critical investigation.

It has been impossible to give an exhaustive proof of the position
maintained, but no matter of great importance has been overlooked. The
arguments will be intelligible to educated persons who are unacquainted
with the Greek language.

The author has sometimes derived much help from the articles in Dr.
Hastings' _Dictionary of the Bible_.  The dates which have been adopted
are in most cases those adopted in {vi} that Dictionary by Dr. Sanday
and Mr. C. H. Turner.

His best thanks are due to the Rev. E. W. Pullan, Mr. J. F. Briscoe,
and Mr. E. W. Corbett, for the kind help which they have given him in
the preparation of the book.



CHAPTER                                    PAGE

        TABLE OF APPROXIMATE DATES . . . . . . . . . . . . .   x
     I. THE NEW TESTAMENT  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1
    II. THE GOSPELS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   III. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW  . . . . . . . .  33
    IV. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MARK . . . . . . . . . .  49
     V. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE . . . . . . . . . .  64
    VI. THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN . . . . . . . . . .  80
   VII. THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
  VIII. THE EPISTLES OF ST. PAUL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
    IX. 1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
          CORINTHIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
          CORINTHIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143
  XVII. THE PASTORAL EPISTLES  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
 XVIII. THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 208
   XIX. THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
    XX. THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JAMES . . . . . . . . . . . .  223
   XXI. THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF PETER . . . . . . . . .  235
 XXIII. THE EPISTLES OF ST. JOHN . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  255
  XXIV. THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF JUDE  . . . . . . . . . . . .  265

  APPENDIX C.--THE MURATORIAN FRAGMENT . . . . . . . . . . .  288
                 WRITINGS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  291
  APPENDIX E.--BOOKS RECOMMENDED . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  293

  INDEX  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  297



        "        "        ST. MARK . . . . . . . A.D. 62
        "        "        ST. LUKE . . . . . . . A.D. 70-75
        "        "        ST. JOHN . . . . . . . A.D. 80-90
  ACTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 75-80
  ROMANS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 56
  1 CORINTHIANS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 55
  2 CORINTHIANS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 55
  GALATIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 56
  EPHESIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 60
  PHILIPPIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 61
  COLOSSIANS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 60
  1 THESSALONIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 51
  2 THESSALONIANS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 51
  1 TIMOTHY  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 63
  2 TIMOTHY  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 64
  TITUS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 63
  PHILEMON . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 60
  HEBREWS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 66
  JAMES  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 50
  1 PETER  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 64
  2 PETER  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 65
  1, 2, 3 JOHN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 80-90
  JUDE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 63
  REVELATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D. 96




[Sidenote: Its Name.]

After the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself, we may justly reckon the New
Testament as the most precious gift which our Lord Jesus Christ has
given since His Ascension to those who believe on His Name.  The word
"testament," which is in Latin _testamentum_, corresponds with our word
"covenant," and the phrase "New Testament" signifies the record of that
new covenant in which God bound man to Himself by the death of His Son.
The truth that this was a new covenant, distinct from the covenant
which God made with Abraham, was taught by our Lord when He instituted
the memorial of His death and said, "This cup is the new covenant in My
Blood."   We do not know precisely at what date the Christians began to
call this record "the New Testament," but we do know that they used
this name before A.D. 200.

[Sidenote: Its Language.]

In the time of our Lord the popular language of Palestine was Aramaic,
a language which was akin to Hebrew and borrowed some words from
Hebrew.  Hebrew was known by learned people, but the language which the
Son of God learned from His blessed mother and His foster father was
Aramaic, and He spoke the Galilean dialect of that language.  From a
few words preserved in the Gospels, it is plain that the gospel was
first preached in that tongue.  In the 7th century after Christ, the
Mohammedan conquerors, who spoke Arabic, began to supplant {2} Aramaic
by Arabic, and this is now the ordinary language of Palestine.  As many
people who spoke Aramaic were at one time heathen, both the Jews and
the Christians adopted the habit of calling their language _Syriac_
rather than Aramaic.  The great centre of Christian Syriac literature
was Edessa, and in the eastern part of the Roman Empire Syriac was the
most important and most elegant language next to Greek.  It is still
used in the Church services of many Oriental Christians, and it is
spoken in ordinary conversation in parts of North Mesopotamia and
Kurdistan.  Further west it is only spoken in a few villages of
Anti-Libanus.  In the course of this book it will be necessary to refer
occasionally to the Aramaic language.

It is highly probable that some of the earliest Christian writings were
in Aramaic, but all the books of the New Testament which we now possess
are in Greek.  The Greek language was known by many people in
Palestine, and it was splendidly fitted to be the medium of God's
revelation.  It was widely known among the civilized nations of the
time, and it is so rich and expressive that religious ideas are better
conveyed in Greek than in almost any other tongue.  Whereas it was
essential that the gospel should be preached first in Aramaic, it was
equally essential that it should be written in Greek, for the benefit
of people who did not live in Palestine or who lived there as strangers.

[Sidenote: The Canon.]

The New Testament Scriptures consist of twenty-seven different books,
written by nine different authors.  Each book has some special
characteristics corresponding with the mind of the writer and the
circumstances under which it was written.  Yet these books exhibit a
manifest unity of purpose and doctrine.  Under many differences of
dialect and expression there is an internal unity such as we do not
find in any secular literature, and this unity is due to inspiration.
The whole collection of books is called the CANON of the New Testament.
This Greek word "canon" originally meant a straight rod, such as could
be used for {3} ruling or measuring, then it was employed to signify a
rule or law, and finally it meant a list or catalogue.  As applied to
the New Testament, the word "canon" means the books which fit the
Church's rule of faith, and which themselves become a rule that
measures forgeries and finds them wanting.  The Church set these
genuine books apart as having their origin in inspiration which came
from God.  They were all either written by the apostles or by men who
were trained by the apostles, and thus they contain a unique account of
the sayings of the Lord Jesus and the teaching of those who received
their commission from Him.  They are therefore documents to which the
Church can refer, as a final court of appeal, in all questions of faith
and conduct.

It was only by degrees that the Church realized the importance of
placing all these twenty-seven books in the canon.  This was finally
done in the western Churches of Christendom in A.D. 382, by a Council
held at Rome.[1]

The disciples first endeavoured to collect the sayings of our Lord and
the record of His life.  Thus the four Gospels constitute the first
layer of the New Testament canon.  The canon of our four Gospels
existed by A.D. 150, as is shown by Hermas and Justin Martyr.

The next layer of the canon consists of the thirteen Epistles of St.
Paul and the Acts.  To these the Epistle to the Hebrews was generally
attached in the east, though not in the west.  This layer of the canon
was universally recognized towards the close of the 2nd century, and
perhaps some years earlier, for the books composing it were used and
quoted throughout the 2nd century.

The third layer of the canon gained its place more slowly.  It consists
of what are called the "Catholic Epistles," viz. those of St. James,
St. Peter, St. John, and St. Jude, together with the Revelation or
Apocalypse of St. John.

A crowd of works circulated among the Christians of the {4} and
century, including some forged Gospels and Apocalypses, the Epistle of
St. Clement, Bishop of Rome, written about A.D. 95, and the allegory
known as the _Shepherd_ of Hermas, written about A.D. 140.  Several of
these works appear to have enjoyed a popularity in excess of that which
attached to some of the books now included in the canon.  Nevertheless
they were rejected when they were examined.  It was not merely a
wonderful intellectual feat on the part of the Church to have sifted
out this mass of literature; it was an action in which the Christian
cannot fail to see the hand of God.

One question remains to be asked after drawing this small sketch of the
history of the canon.  Why is it that for several generations the canon
of the New Testament varied in different countries, containing fewer
books in one place than in another?  Two reasons may be given: (i.)
Certain books at first enjoyed only a local popularity; thus "Hebrews
was saved by the value set upon it by the scholars of Alexandria, and
the Epistle of St. James by the attachment of certain Churches in the
East."  (ii.) The books of the New Testament, when translated into
other languages, were not all translated together.  The Gospels were
naturally translated first, as containing the words of our Lord.  The
other books followed gradually.  Interesting information is given us
with regard to the latter fact by the _Doctrine of Addai_, a Syriac
book of which the present form dates from about A.D. 400, but which
appears to describe the condition of the Syrian Church in the 3rd
century.  The writings of _Aphraates_, a Syrian writer, A.D. 338,
supplement this information.  We find from these books that about A.D.
160 the Syrian Christians possessed a translation of the Gospels.
Early in the 3rd century they used a harmony of the Gospels with Acts
and the Epistles of St. Paul.  In the 4th century they used also the
Epistle to the Hebrews.  It is fairly evident, from the _Doctrine of
Addai_, that only the Old Testament and the Gospels were at first used
by the Syrian Christians, and that St. Paul's Epistles and Acts arrived
later.  And as late as {5} A.D. 338 they knew nothing of the Catholic
Epistles and Revelation, though these books were well known by the
Christians who spoke Greek and Latin.

[Sidenote: Ancient Versions.]

The most ancient versions or translations of the New Testament were in
those three great languages spoken by people who touched the borders of
the districts where Greek was spoken.  These were Latin, Syriac, and
the Coptic language spoken by the Egyptians.  It seems probable that a
large part of the New Testament was translated into these languages
within about a hundred years after the time of the apostles.  The
oldest version in any language closely akin to English was that made by
Ulphilas, the celebrated bishop of the Goths, who translated the Bible
from Greek into Gothic about A.D. 350.  There is a most beautiful
manuscript of this version preserved at Upsala, in Sweden.  The Goths
were then settled in the country between the Danube and the Dnieper.
As late as the 17th century their language was still spoken in part of
the south of Russia.  A carefully revised translation of the Latin
Bible was made by St. Jerome between A.D. 382 and 404, and this version
came to be used by the Church throughout the west of Europe.

[Sidenote: English Versions.]

The Gospel of St. John and perhaps the other Gospels were translated by
the patient historian and monk, the Venerable Bede, who was buried at
Durham in A.D. 731.  Parts of the Bible, especially the Psalms, were
soon fairly well known through translations.  King Alfred was
translating the Psalms when he died, in A.D. 901; and soon after A.D.
1000, Archbishop Aelfric translated large portions of the Bible.  As
the language of England gradually changed, new versions of the Psalms
were made, and most of the Bible was known in a version made before
1360.  But perhaps there was no complete version of the Bible in
English until the time of John Wyclif (1380).  Wyclif translated most
of the New Testament of this version, and a priest named Hereford
translated the Old Testament.  Wyclif held various {6} opinions which
the Church of England at that time condemned, and some of which she
still rightly condemns.  The result was that in 1412 Archbishop Arundel
denounced Wyclif's version, but it seems to have been revised and to
have come into common use.  All these versions or partial versions in
the English language were made from the Latin.  But after the Turks
captured Constantinople from the Greeks in 1453, a number of learned
Greeks fled for refuge to the west of Europe.  The result was that
Greek books began to be studied again, and the New Testament began to
be read once more in the original language.  Three important editions
were printed in 1514, 1516, and 1550 respectively.  The first was
printed under the direction of the Spanish Cardinal Ximenes, but owing
to various causes was not published until 1522.  The edition of 1516
was printed under the direction of the great Dutch scholar Erasmus.
That of 1550 is important as being substantially the "received text"
which has appeared in the ordinary Greek Testaments printed in England
until the present day, and as being the foundation of our English
Authorised Version.  This "received text" was printed by Robert
Estienne (or Stephanus), a great printer of Paris.  About the same time
a desire for a reformation of abuses in the Church caused a deeper
interest to be taken in the Word of God.  The first English translation
of the New Testament shows a desire for a reformation of a somewhat
extreme kind.  It was the version of _William Tyndale_, which was
printed at Worms in Germany, in 1525.  In 1534 the Convocation or
Church Parliament of England made a petition to King Henry VIII. to
allow a better version to be made.  The work of translation was
interrupted by an order to have an English Bible in every church.  As
the Church version was not completed, a version made in 1535 by _Miles
Coverdale_ had to be used instead.  Two other versions, also somewhat
inferior, appeared in 1537 and 1539, and then a slightly improved
version called the _Great Bible_ appeared in April, 1539.  It is {7}
also called Cranmer's Bible, because Archbishop Cranmer wrote a preface
to the second edition.  Three other important versions were published
before the end of the 16th century.  The Calvinists, who were the
predecessors of the modern Presbyterians, published a New Testament at
Geneva in 1557, followed by the whole Bible in 1560.  The English
bishops published what is called the _Bishops' Bible_ in 1568, and the
Roman Catholics published an English New Testament at Rheims in France,
in 1582.  We cannot fail to be impressed by the eager desire felt at
that time by the people of Great Britain, of all religious parties, to
study the Holy Scriptures, a desire to which these various translations
bear witness.

All previous English versions were thrown into the shade by the
brilliant _Authorised Version_, which was commenced in 1604 and
published in 1611.  Its beauty and accuracy are so great that even the
Presbyterians, both in England and Scotland, gradually gave up the use
of their Genevan Bible in favour of this translation.  But since 1611
hundreds of manuscripts have been discovered and examined.  "Textual
criticism," by which an endeavour is made to discover the precise words
written by the writers of the New Testament, where discrepancies exist
in the manuscripts, has become a science.  Many results of this
criticism have been embodied in the _Revised Version_, published in
1881.  The English of the _Revised Version_ is not so musical as that
of the _Authorised Version_, and it seems probable that a deeper
knowledge of the ancient versions will before long enable us to advance
even beyond the verbal accuracy attained in 1881.  But at the same time
we know that both our modern English versions give us a noble and
trustworthy interpretation of the Greek.  And criticism has made it
certain that the earliest Greek manuscripts are essentially the same as
the original books written by the apostles and their companions.  The
manuscripts are almost utterly free from wilful corruptions.  And
concerning the small variations which they contain, we {8} can fitly
quote the words of a fine old English scholar, Bentley: "Even put them
into the hands of a knave or a fool, and yet with the most sinistrous
and absurd choice, he shall not extinguish the light of any one
chapter, nor so disguise Christianity but that every feature of it will
still be the same."

For the sake of space the works of the evangelists are often referred
to in an abbreviated form; _e.g._ "Matt." has been written for "the
Gospel according to St. Matthew," and "Mark" for "the Gospel according
to St. Mark."  But when the writers themselves are mentioned, their
names are usually given in full, with the title which Christian
reverence has bestowed upon these "holy men of old."

[1] See Mr. C. H. Turner, _Journal of Theological Studies_, July, 1900.




[Sidenote: Their Name.]

The modern English word "Gospel" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word
_Godspell_, which means "God story," the story about the life of God in
human flesh.  It does not, therefore, exactly correspond with the Greek
name _euaggelion_, which means "good tidings."  In the earliest times
the Greek name meant the good tidings proclaimed by our Lord about the
Kingdom of God which He had come to establish.  And, as our Lord
Himself rules over this kingdom, the tidings about the kingdom included
tidings about Himself.  So Christ Himself says, "for My sake and the
gospel's" (Mark viii. 35).  After the Ascension of our Lord and the
disappearance of His visible presence, the _euaggelion_ came to mean
the good tidings about Christ, rather than the good tidings brought by
Christ (see 1 Cor. ix. 14 and 2 Cor. iv. 4).  So St. Paul generally
means by _euaggelion_ the good news, coming from God, of salvation
freely given to man through Christ.  When he speaks of "My gospel"
(Rom. ii. 16), he means "my explanation of the gospel;" and when he
says, "I had been intrusted with the gospel of the uncircumcision"
(Gal. ii. 7), he means that he had been appointed by God to preach the
good tidings to the Gentiles, with special emphasis on the points most
necessary for their instruction.

The word _euaggellon_, in the sense of a written gospel, is first found
in the ancient Christian manual called the _Didaché_, or _Teaching of
the Twelve Apostles_, in ch. xv.: "Reprove one {10} another, not in
anger but in peace, as ye have it in the gospel."  This book was
probably composed about A.D. 100.  The word seems to have been still
more definitely applied to a written account of the life of Christ in
the time of the great heretic Marcion, A.D. 140.  The plural word
_euaggelia_, signifying the Four Gospels, is first found in a writing
of Justin Martyr,[1] about A.D. 152.  It is important to notice that he
also calls them "Memoirs of the Apostles," and that he refers to them
collectively as "the Gospel," inasmuch as they were, in reference to
their distinctive value as records of Christ, one book.

[Sidenote: Their Genuineness.]

The first three Gospels do not contain the name of the writers in any
connection which can be used to prove conclusively that they were
written by the men whose names they bear.  On the other hand, the
fourth Gospel in a concluding passage (John xxi. 24) contains an
obvious claim to have been written by that intimate friend of Jesus to
whom the Church has always attributed it.  But the titles, "according
to Matthew," "according to Mark," "according to Luke," rest on
excellent authority.  And they imply that each book contains the good
news brought by Christ and recorded in the teaching of the evangelist
specified.  These titles must, _at the very least_, signify that the
Christians who first gave these titles to these books, meant that each
Gospel was connected with one particular person who lived in the
apostolic age, and that it contained nothing contrary to what that
person taught.  The titles, taken by themselves, are therefore
compatible with the theory that the first three Gospels were perhaps
written by friends or disciples of the men whose names they bear.  But
we shall afterwards see that there is overwhelming evidence to show
that the connection between each book and the specified person is much
closer than that theory would suggest.

Speaking of the four Gospels generally, we may first observe that it is
impossible to place any one of them as late as A.D. 100, {11} and that
the first three Gospels must have been written long before that date.
This is shown by the internal evidence, of which proof will be given in
detail in the chapters dealing with the separate Gospels.  The external
evidence of the use of all the four Gospels by Christians, and to some
extent by non-Christians, supports the internal evidence.  Let us begin
by noting facts which are part of undoubted history, and then work back
to facts of earlier date.  It is now undisputed that between the years
170 and 200 after Christ our four Gospels were known and regarded as
genuine products of the apostolic age.  St. Irenaeus, who became Bishop
of Lyons in France in A.D. 177, and was the pupil of Polycarp, who had
actually been a disciple of St. John, uses and quotes the four Gospels.
He shows that various semi-Christian sects appeal severally to one of
the four Gospels as supporting their peculiar views, but that the
Christian Church accepts all four.  He lays great stress on the fact
that the teaching of the Church has always been the same, and he was
personally acquainted with the state of Christianity in Asia Minor,
Rome, and France.  His evidence must therefore be considered as
carrying great weight.  Equally important is the evidence of Tatian.
This remarkable Syrian wrote a harmony of the Gospels near A.D. 160.
Allusions to this harmony, called the _Diatessaron_, were known to
exist in several ancient writers, but until recently it was strenuously
maintained by sceptical writers that there was not sufficient evidence
to prove that the Diatessaron was composed of our present Gospels.  It
was suggested that it might have been drawn from other Gospels more or
less resembling those which we now possess.  This idea has now been
dispelled.  A great Syrian father, Ephraim, who died in 373, wrote a
commentary on the Diatessaron.  This was preserved in an Armenian
translation which was made known to the world in 1876.  The discovery
proved that the Diatessaron had been drawn from our four Gospels.  In
1886 an Arabic version of the Diatessaron itself was found, and it {12}
proved conclusively that Tatian's Diatessaron was simply a combination
of our four canonical Gospels.  About the same date as Tatian, a famous
Gnostic writer named Heracleon wrote commentaries on Luke and John, and
it can also be shown that he was acquainted with Matt.  There can
therefore be no doubt that all our four Gospels were well known by A.D.

Between A.D. 130 and 170 our Gospels were also in use.  The most
important evidence is furnished by Justin Martyr, who was born near
Samaria, and lectured in Rome about A.D. 152.  He says "the apostles
handed down in the Memoirs made by them, which are called Gospels;" he
shows that these Memoirs were used in Christian worship, and he says
that "they were compiled by Christ's apostles and those who companied
with them."  This exactly agrees with the fact that the first and the
fourth of our Gospels are attributed by the tradition of the Church to
apostles, while the second and the third are attributed to companions
of the apostles.  The quotations which Justin makes show that these
Memoirs were our four Gospels.  It has been thought that Justin perhaps
used some apocryphal Gospel in addition to our Gospels, but there is no
sufficient proof of this.  We may explain that he uses the term
"Memoirs" in order to make himself intelligible to non-Christian
readers who would not understand the word "Gospel."

The _Shepherd_ of Hermas, which was written at Rome, probably about
A.D. 140, but perhaps earlier, uses expressions which imply an
acquaintance with all our Gospels, though none of them are directly
quoted.  Moreover, the _Shepherd_, in depicting the Christian Church as
seated on a bench with four feet, probably refers to the four Gospels.
This would be in agreement with the allegorical style of the book, and
it gains support from the language of Origen and Irenaeus.

The testimony rendered to the authenticity of the Gospels by the
heretics who flourished between A.D. 130 and 170 is of importance.  At
the beginning of this period, Basilides, the {13} great Gnostic of
Alexandria, who tried to replace Christianity by a semi-Christian
Pantheism, appears to have used Matt., Luke, and John.  The fact that
they contain nothing which really supports his peculiar tenets, forms
an argument which shows that the genuineness of these documents was
then too well established for it to be worth his while to dispute it.
Marcion, whose teaching was half Gnostic and half Catholic, endeavoured
to revive what he imagined to be the Christianity of St. Paul, whom he
regarded as the only true apostle.  He believed that Judaism was the
work of an inferior god, and he therefore rejected the whole of the Old
Testament, and retained only the Gospel written by St. Luke, the friend
of St. Paul, and ten of St. Paul's Epistles.  Modern writers have
sometimes urged that Marcion's list of New Testament books proves that
all other parts of the New Testament were regarded as doubtful about
A.D. 140.  But it is quite evident that Marcion, unlike those Gnostics
who adapted uncongenial books to their own systems by means of
allegorical explanations, cut out the books and verses which would not
correspond with his own dogma.  In spite of his pretended fidelity to
St. Paul, he mutilated not only St. Luke's Gospel, but even the Epistle
to the Galatians.  So whereas it is certain that he used our Luke,
there is no indication to show that he did not admit that the other
Gospels were really the work of the writers whose names they bear.

In the period between A.D. 98, when the death of St. John probably took
place, and A.D. 130, we find several signs of acquaintance with the
Gospels.  About A.D. 130, Papias, Bishop of Hierapolis, wrote a book
called _Expositions of the Oracles of the Lord_.  It may be regarded as
almost certain that the word "Oracles" signifies written Gospels, just
as in the New Testament the word signifies the written documents of the
Old Testament.  He mentions Gospels written by St. Matthew and St.
Mark, and we know from Eusebius that he made use of 1 John.  It is
deeply to be regretted that we only have {14} a few remaining fragments
of the writings of this early bishop, who was acquainted with men who
knew our Lord's disciples.  In the letters of St. Ignatius, the
martyred Bishop of Antioch, A.D. 110, we find signs of acquaintance
with Matt. and John.  The Epistle written by St. Polycarp to the
Philippians soon after the death of St. Ignatius contains quotations
from Matt. and Luke, and the quotations in it from 1 John almost
certainly imply the authenticity of St. John's Gospel, as it is
impossible to attribute the Epistles to any writer except the writer of
the Gospel.  The _Didaché_, about A.D. 100, shows acquaintance with
Matt. and Luke, and contains early Eucharistic prayers of which the
language closely resembles the language of St. John.  The Epistle of
Barnabas, probably about A.D. 98, contains what is probably the oldest
remaining quotation from a book of the New Testament.  It says, "It is
written, Many called, but few chosen," which appears to be a quotation
from Matt. xxii. 14.  The Epistle of St. Clement of Rome, written to
the Christians of Corinth about A.D. 95, is full of the phraseology of
St. Paul's Epistles, but contains nothing that can be called a direct
quotation from our Gospels.  But it does contain what are possibly
traces of the first three Gospels, though these passages are perhaps
quoted from an oral Gospel employed in the instruction of catechumens.

We must conclude that, considering what a large amount of early
Christian literature has perished, the external evidence for the
authenticity of our Gospels is remarkably strong.  They are genuine
writings of the apostolic age, and were received by men whose lifetime
overlapped the lifetime of some of the apostles.  In the early
Christian literature which remains, there is much which lends support
to the authenticity of the Gospels, and nothing which injures a belief
in that authenticity.  And there are strong reasons for thinking that
in the early Christian literature which has perished, there was much
which would have made a belief in their authenticity quite inevitable.

It would be an aid to modern study if we could be certain {15} when and
where the four Gospels were put together in one canon.  In the 4th and
5th centuries it was believed by some Christians that the collection
had been made at Ephesus by St. John himself, and that he had prefixed
the names of the writers to the Gospels when he published his own
Gospel.  It is at present impossible to discover how far this supposed
fact is legendary or not, but modern criticism has done something to
corroborate the idea that the Gospels were really collected first in
Asia Minor, and if St. John did not make the collection himself, it was
probably made by his disciples soon after his death.

[Sidenote: Their Diversity.]

If we compare the four Gospels together, it is as plain as daylight
that there is a marked difference between the first three Gospels on
the one hand and the fourth Gospel on the other hand.  The first three
Gospels are usually called the _Synoptic Gospels_, because they give us
one _synopsis_ or common view of our Lord's work.  To a great extent
they record the same events and the same discourses, and in many
passages they express themselves in almost identical words.  The
account which they give of our Lord's work is mostly confined to His
ministry in Galilee, the birthplace of our religion, and it includes
only one visit to Jerusalem.  But St. John's Gospel differs widely in
language from the other Gospels, and also gives an account of no less
than five visits to Jerusalem, and chiefly describes the scenes
connected with our Lord's ministry in Judaea.  Whereas our first three
Gospels can be appropriately printed in three parallel columns, the
greater part of St. John's Gospel cannot be appropriately placed by the
side of the other three.  Another most important difference is that St.
John's Gospel is marked by a tone and teaching which are seldom to be
found in the Synoptic Gospels.  The difference was well expressed by
Clement of Alexandria, who calls the Synoptic Gospels _bodily_ and St.
John's Gospel _spiritual_; and by Theodore of Mopsuestia, who says that
St. John declared that "doubtless it was not right to omit {16} the
facts told with regard to the sojourn of Christ in the flesh, but
neither was it right to omit the words relating to His Divinity."  For
the Synoptic Gospels relate the outward events connected with our
Lord's ministry, while St. John records the discourses and works which
reveal our Lord's heavenly origin and divine authority.  Again, the
Synoptic Gospels report Christ's addresses to simple Galilean people,
addresses consisting largely of _parables_; while St. John reports
discourses, frequently expressed in the language of _allegory_, and
uttered to the Jews of Jerusalem or to His own intimate disciples.

[Sidenote: The Synoptic problem.]

The Synoptic problem consists in the difficulties raised by the fact
that the Synoptic Gospels show both a remarkable similarity and a
remarkable dissimilarity.  It is just because the similarity is often
so astonishing that we find it all the more difficult to explain the
dissimilarity when it exists.  A study of the Synoptic problem is
valuable for the Christian student, inasmuch as it directs our
attention to the sources employed by the evangelists, and thus leads us
nearer to the actual events connected with the rise of Christianity.

The RESEMBLANCES between the Synoptic Gospels may be observed in the
following points:--

(a) _A common plan._--The general view of the course of events is
almost identical.  St. Matthew and St. Luke give separate accounts of
the infancy of our Lord, but they then join with St. Mark in their
account of St. John the Baptist, the baptism and temptation of Christ,
and the beginning of His ministry.  Later all three direct their
attention mainly to Christ's work in Galilee, while St. John describes
much that took place in Judaea and Samaria.  They pass rapidly over
some considerable space of time until they come to the last week of His
life, where all three give a detailed account.

(b) _A common selection of facts._--By far the larger number of both
events and discourses are found in all three Gospels.  If anything is
recorded in Mark it is generally to be found in {17} Matt. and Luke,
and almost always in either Matt. or Luke.  If the whole number of
incidents in the Synoptic Gospels be reckoned as eighty-eight, the
distribution of the incidents shared by at least two Gospels is as

  In all three Gospels . . . . . . .  42
  In Mark and Matt.  . . . . . . . .  12
  In Mark and Luke . . . . . . . . .   5
  In Matt. and Luke  . . . . . . . .  12

If we add the above together, we realize that seventy-one incidents out
of a total of eighty-eight are to be found in more than one Gospel.  Of
the remaining seventeen incidents, three are peculiar to Mark, five to
Matt., and nine to Luke.

(c) _Similar groups of incidents._--Not only is there a common
selection of facts, but detached events which happened at different
times are sometimes grouped together in the same way in all of the
Synoptic Gospels or in two of the three.  Thus in all three we find
together the cure of the paralytic, the call of Levi, and the question
of fasting (Matt. ix. 1-17; Mark ii. 1-22; Luke v. 17-39); so also the
plucking of the ears of corn and the cure of the withered hand--events
separated by at least a week (Matt. xii. 1-21; Mark ii. 23-iii. 6; Luke
vi. 1-11).  Thus also the death of John the Baptist is introduced both
in Matt. xiv. 3 and in Mark vi. 17 to explain the fear felt by Herod
Antipas that he had risen from the dead.  In fact, when a parallel
passage is found in all three Synoptic Gospels, it is never immediately
followed in _both_ Matt. and Luke by a whole separate incident which is
not in Mark.[2] There is a general tendency in Matt. and Luke to
narrate the same facts as Mark in the order of Mark.  And therefore it
is difficult to think that the original basis of the Synoptic Gospels,
whether written or unwritten, did not coincide closely with Mark in the
order of events.


(d) _Similarity of language._--The Synoptic Gospels often agree
verbally.  And this agreement is not merely found in the reports of the
sayings of our Lord, but even in the narrative of events.  It extends
even to rare Greek words and phrases.  The clauses are often remarkably
similar.  Sometimes quotations from the Old Testament are found in two
or three Gospels with the same variations from the original.  Matt.
iii. 3, Mark i. 3, and Luke iii. 4 have the same quotation from Isa.
xl. 3, in which they agree in every word, although at the end they
depart in the same way from both the Hebrew and the Greek version of
the Old Testament, for they put "His paths" instead of "the paths of
our God."  Another interesting instance is to be found in Matt. xxvi.
47, Mark xiv. 43, and Luke xxii. 47, where all three evangelists,
apparently without any necessity, explain that Judas was one of the
twelve.  Again in Matt. xxiv. 15, 16, and Mark xiii. 14, we have the
note or parenthesis "let him that readeth understand," which one
evangelist seems to have copied from the other.

The DIFFERENCES between the Synoptic Gospels may be observed in the
following facts:--

(a) _Facts peculiar to one or two Gospels._--There is a wide difference
between the account of the birth and infancy of our Lord given in Matt.
and that given in Luke.  In Matt. we have recorded an angelic
communication to St. Joseph concerning the future birth of Jesus.  In
Luke, an earlier and fuller annunciation to St. Mary is recorded.  In
Matt. the story of the infancy is centred at Bethlehem, in Luke at
Nazareth.  The accounts given of the appearances of our Lord after the
Resurrection record different events.  In Matt. and Mark Galilee is the
scene of His appearances, in Luke the scene is laid in Jerusalem and
its neighbourhood.  There is not the least reason for regarding these
accounts as contradictory, but there is reason for inquiring why the
different writers selected different appearances.


(b) _Different accounts of the same facts._--The three distinct
incidents of the temptation of our Lord are recorded in a different
order in Matt. and Luke, and the temptation is recorded without these
incidents in Mark.  St. Luke's version of the Beatitudes is reduced in
number, and is followed by corresponding denunciations.  In Mark x. 46
and Matt. x. 29 we have the cure of Bartimaeus on the departure from
Jericho, in Luke xviii. 35, xix. 1 at the entrance of the city.  In
Matt. viii. 28 there are two demoniacs, while in Mark v. 2 and Luke
viii. 27, which seem to narrate the same event, only one demoniac is
mentioned.  All the Synoptic Gospels give slightly different accounts
of the inscription on the cross, and the words spoken by the centurion
at the death of Jesus vary in Luke from the words in Matt. and Mark.

(c) Differences in the order of words and sentences.--Although Matt.
and Luke do not combine against Mark in narrating a whole incident in
an order different from Mark, it is important to notice that there are
some cases in which Matt. and Mark agree against Luke, or Mark and Luke
agree against Matt.  And we must not omit a significant instance where
Matt. and Luke agree against Mark in the order of _part_ of an
incident.  In Matt. iii. 11, 12 and Luke iii. 16, "I indeed baptize you
with water," etc., comes _before_, in Mark i. 7, 8 it comes _after_,
the description of Jesus as "He that is mightier than I."  No doubt one
author who copies another may often omit something stated by the first
author.  But, surely, he is not very likely to invert the order of the
materials before him, especially when no obvious purpose can be served
by such an inversion.  Another instance of inversion is this: in Mark
ix. 12, 13 the rejection of the Son of Man is mentioned by our Lord
_between_ two statements of His about Ehas, in Matt. xvii. 12 it is
mentioned _after_ both statements.  Such inversions would naturally
take place in the case of oral transmission of the sacred story, but
they would be less likely in the case of one writer copying another.


(d) _Verbal differences._--Striking verbal differences occur even when
the general resemblance is most close.  In Matt. ix. 1-17, Mark ii.
1-22, Luke v. 17-39, there are verbal changes even where the sentences
closely coincide.  Other instances might be quoted.  All three
evangelists have a style of their own, and show a marked preference for
particular idioms and words.  In narrating the sayings of our Lord,
they narrate them with some verbal differences, and in the case of the
history of His ministry, they narrate it with numerous verbal
differences.  It is therefore evident that St. Matthew and St. Luke, if
they used St. Mark's work, felt themselves at liberty to deal with it
very freely.

The above brief account of the chief resemblances and differences
between the first three Gospels is an attempt to give a fair though
condensed statement of certain facts which appeal with different force
to different minds.  "How came these Gospels to be so alike and yet so
different?"  This is the "Synoptic problem," and great divergence of
opinion exists as to the solution.

[Sidenote: Possible solutions.]

The most important views propounded to solve the problem are--

(1) Both St. Matthew and St. Luke copied the Gospel of St. Mark, while
not omitting to make use of other documents.  In the case of St. Luke,
his acquaintance with earlier written stories about our Lord is
rendered indisputable by his own statement.  Sometimes it has been
thought that St. Luke made use of the Gospel according to St. Matthew
as well as the Gospel according to St. Mark.  This theory is most
appropriately called the _theory of the mutual dependence of the

(2) The three Synoptic Gospels put down in writing different, but
closely similar forms of an oral tradition concerning the teaching of
our Lord.  It is thought that the statements made by the apostles about
Christ were repeated by them and occasionally added to, and treasured
up in faithful memories.  {21} The idea of a _literary_ connection
between the Gospels is dismissed, and it is held that the methods of
teaching employed among the Jews, and the probable existence of a
school of trained catechists, will account sufficiently for the fixed
form of the tradition.  According to this hypothesis the differences
between the Synoptic Gospels are to be explained by the necessity of
teaching different aspects of the truth among different classes of
inquirers, and by the fluctuating memories of the teachers.  This
theory is known as the _oral theory_.[3]

(3) The three Synoptic Gospels are based upon one original Gospel
written in the Aramaic language.  A large number of verbal variations
can thus be accounted for.  They might have sprung from different
renderings of the same Aramaic original, and various passages derived
from oral tradition might have been added to the original Gospel when
it was translated.  It has been held by some that there was at least an
Aramaic document behind Mark, if there was not an Aramaic original
employed by all the Synoptics.  The different forms of this hypothesis
can be described as the _theory of an Aramaic original_.

It is now generally believed that the three evangelists did not employ
one original Aramaic Gospel.  The agreement between the Greek words of
the Synoptic Gospels is too close to be explained by the use of an
Aramaic original.  The real controversy, therefore, lies between the
scholars who support theory (1) or theory (2).

[Sidenote: Probable conclusions.]

On the whole, it appears that a general agreement is being arrived at.
It is becoming evident that the theory of the mutual dependence of the
documents and the oral theory are _both_ partly true, and that neither
of them can be held in an extreme form.  In the first place, the
resemblances between the first three Gospels make it extremely probable
that St. Matthew and St. Luke {22} employed the work of St. Mark.  In
England, Germany, and France the opinion of scholars seems steadily
tending towards this conclusion.  The chief reasons for it are
undoubtedly that (i.) the order of facts in Mark is the _normal order_
of the whole narrative of the Synoptists, and (ii.) in the main, the
language of Mark explains the verbal agreements between Matt. and Luke.
Therefore among the probable conclusions with regard to the Synoptic
problem we must reckon the fact that _Mark is earlier than Matt. and
Luke, and was employed in the composition of them both_.  This is the
first important conclusion.

But we must also allow room for the influence of oral tradition.

We have already noticed many differences between the Synoptists, all of
which more or less suggest that the Gospels are largely based on oral
tradition.  We may now mention a few other facts which point in the
same direction.  There are cases in which Matt. or Luke has a more
decided appearance of originality than Mark.  These cases include
words, phrases, and even sections.  For instance, Matt. employs several
times the phrase "the Father who is in heaven," a phrase which our Lord
must certainly have used, but which in Mark only occurs once (xi. 25).
Mark i. 40-45, ii. 1-12, iii. 1-6, x. 35, appear less original than the
parallel passages in the other Synoptic Gospels.  Moreover, there are
statements in Matt. of a striking kind, which are not at all likely to
have been invented, but which are entirely absent from Mark.  We may
notice the texts, "Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not
into any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel" (Matt. x. 5, 6); and again, "I was not sent but unto
the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. xv. 24).  In both cases
the context has a parallel in Mark, but the verses in question do not
occur in those parallels.

Also there are certain passages to be found in Mark which are in
neither Luke nor Matt.  If we believe that the Gospels {23} are largely
based on oral tradition, it is easy to account for the absence of a
passage in one or two of the three Synoptic Gospels.  An incident which
was remembered in one place might be forgotten in another.  But if we
exclude the influence of oral tradition, there are only two solutions
of the problem raised by these passages.  Either (a) St. Matthew and
St. Luke were ignorant of them, because they were added to Mark later
than the date when they used Mark; or (b) they knew them and omitted
them.  In other words, we have to ask, Did they use an original form of
the second Gospel, a form to which German scholars apply the name
_Ur-Marcus_ and French scholars apply the name _Proto-Marc_, or did
they omit passages in Mark which suggested difficulties or appeared
unnecessary?  The main argument against the existence of a Proto-Mark
is that neither Papias nor any known Father of the Church preserves the
least recollection of it.  It has simply been invented to account for
the difficulties of the Synoptic problem.  If, on the other hand, St.
Matthew and St. Luke deliberately abbreviated or altered the narrative
of St. Mark, we must naturally inquire why they did so.  The authors
who maintain that they did alter the material which lay before them,
account for some of the changes as having been made from a mere desire
to abbreviate, or to remove a few verses which might prove "hard
sayings" to Jewish or Gentile Christians respectively.  Some think that
other passages in Mark were emitted because St. Matthew and St. Luke
considered them to be derogatory to our Lord's power or the character
of His apostles.  For instance, St. Matthew omits the rebuke
administered to the apostles in Mark viii. 17, 18, and he does not
mention our Lord's use of spittle as a means of healing.  He also in
ch. xiii. 55 represents the Jews as calling our Lord "the carpenter's
son," whereas in Mark vi. 3 they call Him "the carpenter."

This latter line of argument is often hazardous and occasionally
profane.  And in special reference to the points just {24} described,
we may remark that St. Matthew in ch. xiv. 28-33 does not hesitate to
record the weakness of even St. Peter's faith; and that St. John,
although he gives the greatest prominence to the majesty of our Lord,
does in ch. ix. 6 record His use of spittle in healing.  And if St.
Matthew thought it irreverent to record the fact that the Jews called
Jesus "the carpenter," he might have naturally shrunk far more from
saying, as he does, that they named Him "the carpenter's son," a title
which might seem to imply an ignoring of His miraculous birth.

It seems, therefore, that we must be content to acknowledge that we
cannot always determine the reasons which influenced St. Matthew and
St. Luke, but we can say that in some cases they were probably
influenced by the mere desire to abbreviate, and that they were also
influenced by the forms which the oral teaching of the Gospel had
assumed.  We may also regard it as almost certain that St. Luke
sometimes altered words in St. Mark's narrative simply because he
preferred a more elegant and less homely form of Greek.  The textual
criticism of the oldest manuscripts of the New Testament also points to
the fact that for a few generations, when reminiscences of our Lord and
His apostles were still handed down, writers occasionally tried to make
room for these reminiscences when they copied the books of the New
Testament.  A famous instance of this is John vii. 53-viii. 11, which
was almost certainly not written by St. John, and is almost certainly a
genuine story which the apostle knew, and which Christians afterwards
inserted in his Gospel.  We believe, then, that _all the Synoptic
Gospels are influenced by oral tradition_.  This is the second
important conclusion.

Thirdly, it seems that _Matt. and Luke, and perhaps Mark, made use of
written collections of Logia, or sayings of our Lord_.  Evidence of one
such collection comes to us on the high authority of Papias.  He says--

Matthew then composed the Logia in the Hebrew tongue, and every one
interpreted them as he was able.


An equally important statement which Papias makes with regard to the
composition of Mark, is made on the authority of John the Presbyter who
had been a personal follower of the Lord and was an elder contemporary
of Papias.  It is at least possible that Papias derived his information
about Matt. from the same authority.  It is almost inconceivable that
between the time of Papias and that of Irenaeus, whose life probably
overlapped that of Papias, the name of Matthew became wrongly affixed
to our first Gospel.  We may therefore regard it as certain that in our
first Gospel is contained the book of sayings, which St. Matthew
himself wrote.  In our third Gospel we find that St. Luke has inserted
much information with regard to our Lord's teaching which is apparently
derived from a version of the Logia.  The order of the sayings is more
original in Luke than in Matt.  The reason for this assertion is the

The two evangelists arrange the sayings of our Lord differently.  In
more than two-thirds of the instances in which they seem to employ some
collection of _Logia_, they place their materials in a different
setting.  It has often been remarked that St. Matthew places the
discourses of our Lord together in large blocks, while St. Luke records
them separately, and in many cases records the circumstances which led
up to them.  Instances of this are--The Lord's Prayer (Matt. vi. 9-13
and Luke xi. 1-4); the treasure and the heart (Matt. vi. 19-21 and Luke
xii. 33, 34); God and Mammon (Matt. vi. 24 and Luke xvi. 13).  It would
therefore seem plain that either one evangelist or the other altered
the places of these discourses.  Examination makes it equally plain
that the alteration was made in Matt.  Much of Matt. is arranged in
numerical forms, and this is especially true of those passages which
are not derived from Mark.  The numbers 5, 10, and 7 are used as helps
to memory.  Thus in Matt. we find _five_ chapters (called by the Jews
"Pereqs") of the sayings of our Lord, ending respectively at vii. 28;
xi. 1; xiii. 53, xix. 1; xxvi. 1.  The {26} number five was a favourite
number with the Jews in such cases; thus we have five books of the
Pentateuch, five books of the Psalms, the five _Megilloth_ or festival
volumes, and the five parts of the _Pirqe Aboth_.  In chs. viii. and
ix. we have a collection of _ten_ miracles, in spite of the fact that
three of these miracles are placed elsewhere by St. Mark and St. Luke.
The petitions of the Lord's Prayer are arranged as seven, there are
_seven_ parables in ch. xiii., _seven_ woes in ch. xxiii., and the
genealogy of our Lord is arranged in three _fourteens_.  As these
numerical arrangements are specially characteristic of Matt., and
certainly appear to be caused by a desire to aid oral repetition, we
are led to the conclusion that the Logia are to be found in a less
artificial and therefore earlier form in Luke.  We are also led once
more to the conclusion that though we cannot say that the whole of
Matt. owes its form to oral teaching, yet many sections of it are
moulded by oral teaching.

It must lastly be noted that although the collection of Logia employed
in Luke contained much material which is also found in Matt., the
parallel passages vary considerably in style and language.  Examination
of these passages seldom enables us to prove what expressions were
specially characteristic of the Logia.  But we can assert with a fair
amount of confidence that the version, or versions, of the Logia so
employed, had a simple and Hebraic style; and that whereas Luke has
kept the order of the Logia better than Matt., the latter preserves the
style more faithfully.

In addition to Mark and collections of the Logia, St. Matthew and St.
Luke employed other sources now unknown to us.  The narratives of the
infancy and the Resurrection are independent, and are so different that
they point both to the fact that the two evangelists were here
employing different sources, and that each was unacquainted with the
Gospel written by the other.  Also, St. Luke's account of our Lord's
ministry in Peraea and elsewhere, contained in ix. 51-xix. 28, is
peculiar to his Gospel.

[Sidenote: The relation of St. John's Gospel to the Synoptic Gospels.]

The difference between the theological tone of St. John's Gospel and
that which we find in the Synoptists is mentioned {27} in our account
of the separate Gospels.  Besides this difference of tone, there is a
decided difference in the march of the events which are recorded and
some difference in the narrative of passages which are parallel.  The
first rough impression which we gather from the Synoptists is that our
Lord did not visit Jerusalem until shortly before the Crucifixion.
Matthew and Mark refer to one Passover only for which Jesus comes to
Jerusalem.  The scene of His ministry is Galilee.  On the other hand,
the centre of interest in John is not Galilee, but Jerusalem and
Judaea.  But a minute examination proves that the narrative of St. John
fits that of the Synoptists in a remarkable manner.  In the first
place, the Synoptists give us hints of our Lord's earlier visits to
Judaea and Jerusalem.  In Luke iv. 44 (see margin R.V.) we find Him
preaching in the synagogues of Judaea (cf. Acts x. 37).  In Luke v. 17
the presence in Galilee of Pharisees from _Jerusalem_ is a testimony to
the impression which Christ had produced in the holy city.  Both Matt.
(xxiii. 37) and Luke (xiii. 34) record the lament of our Lord, "O
_Jerusalem_, . . . how _often_ would I," etc.  So from John iv. 3, 43
we learn of our Lord returning to _Galilee_ after His first visit to
Jerusalem.  This second journey into Galilee recorded by St. John
brings us to a point corresponding with the early days of the ministry
in Galilee described by the Synoptists.  In John vi.-vii. 9 we have
narratives connected with _Galilee_, and this section belongs to an
interval of time between the approach of Passover in March A.D. 28 and
the feast of Tabernacles in September A.D. 28.  Of this period the
Synoptists give a much fuller account.

The question of the length of our Lord's ministry is thus intimately
connected with that of the scene of His ministry.  St. John marks the
length of our Lord's ministry, not by ordinary chronology, but by the
mention of various Jewish feasts.  The dates of these feasts show that
His ministry lasted two years and a half.  The absence of dates in the
Synoptists {28} has led to the opinion that they represent our Lord's
ministry as only extending over one year.  This opinion may be
summarily dismissed.  The mention of ripe corn in Mark ii. 23, and
green grass in vi. 39, implies two spring-times before the last
Passover.  It is impossible to compress the teaching which the Synoptic
Gospels relate into the period of one year, and they show a hostility
towards Christ on the part of the ruling classes in Jerusalem which
could not have sufficiently fermented in the space of a few months.  We
may also notice that there is a close agreement between the Synoptists
and St. John with regard to the points on which the conflict between
Christ and the Jews turned (cf. Matt. xvi. 1-4, Mark viii. 11-13, Luke
xi. 16, 29-32, with John ii. 18).  The Jews specially charged Him with
being possessed by a devil (cf. Matt. xii. 24, Mark iii. 22, Luke xi.
15, with John viii. 48 and x. 19), and also with breaking the sabbath
(cf. Matt. xii. 9, Mark iii. 1, Luke vi. 6, xiii. 10, with John v. 10,
vii. 22, ix. 14).

The dates of two important incidents have been the subjects of much
discussion.  A cleansing of the temple by our Lord is related by the
Synoptists at the close of our Lord's ministry (Mark xi. 15).  John ii.
14 places a cleansing of the temple at the very beginning of our Lord's
ministry.  If we have to choose between one record and the other, we
should perhaps be inclined to say that the narrative in John is the
more probable.  But there is no good reason for making such a choice.
No one who is at all familiar with the history of the abuses which took
place in some mediaeval churches would find a difficulty in believing
that the temple needed a second cleansing by our Lord.  The first
cleansing is the natural outcome of His righteous indignation in
beholding for the first time the holiest place in the world given up to
common traffic, the second cleansing is appropriate in Him who had then
openly proclaimed His divine authority and Messiahship.

The day of our Lord's death is a date about which there is an apparent
discrepancy between the Synoptists and St. John.  {29} The discrepancy
has been elevated into momentous importance by the sceptics of the last
sixty years, and has been employed as one of the most formidable
arguments against the authenticity of St. John's Gospel.  The argument
employed by these critics is as follows:--(1) The Synoptic Gospels
contain the original apostolic tradition, and they agree in stating
that Jesus celebrated the ordinary Jewish passover on the evening
between the 14th and 15th of the month Nisan; they therefore represent
the crucifixion as taking place on the 15th, after the passover had
been eaten.  (2) The fourth Gospel places the Last Supper on the
evening between the 13th and the 14th of Nisan.  It therefore
represents the crucifixion as taking place on the 14th, and tacitly
denies that Christ ate the usual Jewish passover.  (3) The Churches of
the province of Asia, which were founded by St. John, were accustomed
in the 2nd century to keep their passover on the 14th of Nisan, and
declared that they derived their custom from St. John.  They
consequently believed that Christ died on the 15th, and that He ate the
usual Jewish Passover.  (4) Therefore the fourth Gospel was not written
by St. John, but by a forger who wished to emphasize the break between
Judaism and Christianity.

This argument can be turned with fatal force against the critics who
made it.  It is no doubt true that St. John by numerous indications
(xiii. 1; xviii. 28; xix. 14, 31) implies that the Last Supper was
eaten the day before the usual passover, and that Christ died on Nisan
14.  But the usage of the Christians of the Asiatic Churches in the 2nd
century absolutely corroborates these indications.  These Churches when
they celebrated the passover were not celebrating the anniversary of
the Last Supper, but the anniversary of the death of Christ, the true
Paschal Lamb.  By doing this on Nisan 14, they showed that they
believed that Christ died on that day, and there is particularly strong
evidence of a belief among the early Christians that our Lord did die
on Nisan 14.  Moreover, although the account of the Synoptists is not
free from {30} ambiguity, it bears many testimonies to St. John's
chronology.  They record as happening on the day of Christ's death
several actions which the Jewish law did not permit on a feast day such
as Nisan 15, and which must presumably have taken place on Nisan 14.
The Synoptists make the Sanhedrim say that they will not arrest Jesus
"on the feast day," the guards and St. Peter carry arms, the trial is
held, Simon the Cyrenian comes from work, Joseph of Arimathaea buys a
linen cloth, the holy women prepare spices, all of which works would
have been forbidden on Nisan 15.  Finally, the day is itself called the
"preparation," a name which would not be given to Nisan 15.  The
conclusion is irresistible.  It is that our Lord died on Nisan 14, that
St. John is correct, and that the Synoptists in most of the passages
concerned corroborate St. John.  The only real difficulty is raised by
Mark xiv. 12 (cf. Matt. xxvi. 17; Luke xxii. 7), which seems to imply
that the Paschal lamb was sacrificed on the day before Christ died.  If
so, this verse implies that Christ died on Nisan 15.  But we must
observe that not one of the Synoptists says that the disciples ate a
lamb at the Last Supper, and also that, for all ceremonial purposes,
the day for killing the lamb began on the evening of Nisan 13.  It is
therefore doubtful whether there is even as much as one verbal
contradiction on this point between the Synoptists and St. John.

The omission of events which are of importance in the Synoptic Gospels
is a striking feature in St. John's Gospel.  But these instances of
omission can be more reasonably explained by the hypothesis that the
author was content to omit facts with which the Christians around him
were well acquainted, than by the hypothesis that he was a
spiritualistic writer of the 2nd century who wished to make his Gospel
fit some fanciful theory of his own.  In fact, the latter hypothesis
has proved a signal failure.  The critics who say that the writer
omitted the story of our Lord's painful temptation as incompatible with
the majesty of the Divine Word, may be asked {31} why the writer gives
no fuller account of the glorious transfiguration than the hint in i.
14.  Those who say that sentimental superstition induced the writer to
omit the agony the garden, may be asked why the writer records the
weariness of Christ at Samaria and His tears at the grave, of Lazarus.
There are gaps in the evangelist's narrative, but we cannot argue that
the Gospel is therefore a forgery.  The evangelist is acquainted with
the Ascension (vi. 62), though he does not record it; and he knows that
Nazareth was the early home of Christ (i. 46), though he does not
narrate the story of the sacred infancy.  The Gospel of St. John is
none the less genuine for being of the nature of a treatise, intended
to bring certain aspects of the life of our Lord to bear upon the
intellectual life of Ephesus.  Much has been made of the fact that he
says nothing of the institution of the Eucharist.  Nor does he record
the command of Jesus to baptize.  Are we to suppose that a writer who
has told us how "the Word was made flesh" so shrank from believing
material things to be connected with a spiritual efficacy that he
rejected the sacraments?  Is it not more probable that among people who
were perfectly familiar with both Baptism and the Eucharist he
preferred to tell what Christ had said about being born again (iii.),
and about the assimilation of His life by the believer (vi.)?  This
seems to us more reasonable.  The fourth Gospel, though it has a
character and purpose of its own, and might even have been written if
there had been no other Gospel, yet was intended to supplement either
the Synoptic Gospels or else a body of teaching corresponding with that
contained in those Gospels.

The facts which St. John records in common with the Synoptists before
the Last Supper, the Passion, and the Resurrection are--the Baptism of
John (i. 26), the Feeding of the 5000 (vi. 10), the Walking on the Sea
(vi. 19), the Anointing at Bethany, with the action of Judas (xii. 1),
the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (xii. 12).  Even in connection with
these incidents St. John gives his additional details, and {32}
therefore the character of his work is here, as elsewhere, both
independent and supplemental.

It remains to ask whether any words used by St. John seem to show that
he borrowed expressions from the Synoptic Gospels.

The following passages may be noticed: John v. 8 f. (Mark ii. 11 f.),
vi. 7, 10, 19 f. (Mark vi. 37, 40, 49 f.), xii. 3, 5, 7 f.  (Mark xiv.
3-6), xiii. 21 (Mark xiv. 18), xviii. 18, 17 (Mark xiv. 54, 69), xviii.
22 (Mark xiv. 65).  For the quotation from Zechariah in xii. 15, cf.
Matt. xxi. 5.  The words of our Lord in John xv. 18-xvi. 2 have been
compared with those in Matt. x. 17-22.  Sometimes John has more points
of contact with Luke than with the other Synoptists; _e.g._ there is
the journey of Christ to Galilee before the death of John the Baptist,
the fact that the scourging of Christ by Pilate was intended to
restrain the Jews from demanding His death, and the visit of St. Peter
to the sepulchre.  It has been thought that John xii. 3 is based upon
Luke vii. 38.  The anointing of our Lord's _feet_ in both is certainly
remarkable.  Sometimes John agrees with Matt. and Mark and not Luke, as
in recording the binding of Jesus, the crown of thorns, the purple
robe, and the custom of releasing a malefactor at the feast.  Such
coincidences between John and the Synoptic Gospels are so slight and
disconnected that it seems doubtful whether the former uses any
material drawn from the latter.  Nevertheless, the story contained in
the Synoptic Gospels, though not quoted, is presupposed.  A good
instance is in John vi. 5, where St. John does not stop to explain that
the hour was late and the people therefore hungry.

[1] _Apol._ i. 66.

[2] The longest instance of a passage in Matt. and Luke being parallel
in these Gospels and without a parallel in Mark is the short passage,
Matt. iii. 7-10, Luke iii. 7-9.

[3] This theory was first clearly expounded in 1818 by Gieseler, a
celebrated German Protestant Church historian.  It has been more
popular in England than in Germany.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

St. Matthew is one of the least known of the Apostles.  He was first
called Levi the son of Alphaeus, and was a "publican" or collector of
customs at Capernaum.  At the call of Jesus, "he forsook all, and rose
up and followed Him."  He then made a great feast, to which he invited
his old companions, no doubt that they too might come under the
influence of the Lord.  After the appointment of the twelve Apostles,
he was put in the second of the three groups of Apostles.  The New
Testament gives us no further information concerning him.  An early
tradition narrates that the Apostles remained at Jerusalem until twelve
years after the Ascension, and certainly St. Paul does not seem to have
found any of the Apostles at Jerusalem when he was there in A.D. 56
(Acts xxi. 17).  According to Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 190, St.
Matthew led a rigorously ascetic life, such as is also recorded of St.
James.  Nothing certain is known of his missionary labours.  Parthia,
Ethiopia, and India were believed in the 4th and 5th centuries to have
been visited by St. Matthew.  We learn from Clement of Alexandria that
he did not suffer martyrdom.[1] The fact that he disappears almost
completely from the realm of history is an additional reason for
believing the tradition which connects our first Gospel with his name.
A false tradition would have probably connected it with one of the more
favourite figures of early Christian story.


It is repeatedly asserted by the Fathers that St. Matthew wrote his
Gospel in _Hebrew_, which may either mean the sacred language of the
synagogues, or the popular language of Palestine which we now call
Aramaic.  It should, however, be remembered that Papias, our earliest
authority, describes St. Matthew's composition by the word _Logia_,
which seems to point to a list of sacred sayings or "oracles" of our
Lord, rather than to a historical narrative.  About A.D. 125, Papias
writes: "Matthew then composed the Logia in the Hebrew tongue, and
every one interpreted them as he was able." [2]  About A.D. 185, St.
Irenaeus writes: "Matthew published a Gospel among the Hebrews in their
own dialect." [3]  Origen and Eusebius make similar statements.  St.
Jerome, in A.D. 392, writes: "Matthew, also called Levi, who from being
a publican became an apostle, first wrote a Gospel of Christ in Judaea,
and in Hebrew letters and words for the benefit of those of the
circumcision who believed.  Who afterwards translated it into Greek is
not quite certain." [4]  We naturally inquire what became of this
Hebrew Gospel?

St. Jerome, in A.D. 392, believed that he had found it.  He says that
it was still preserved at Caesarea, and that the Nazarenes, a Jewish
Christian sect of Palestine, allowed him to transcribe a copy of it at
Beroea (now Aleppo).  In A.D. 398, he says that he had translated this
Gospel into Greek and Latin.  It is known that it was used by the
Nazarenes and by the Ebionites, a Jewish sect which admitted that Jesus
was the Messiah, but denied that He was divine.  Lastly, we find St.
Epiphanius, about the same time as St. Jerome, describing the Hebrew
"Gospel according to the Hebrews" as the Gospel written by St. Matthew.

So at the end of the 4th century it was generally believed that the
Gospel used by the Nazarenes, and ordinarily known as "the Gospel
according to the Hebrews," was the original {35} Hebrew version of
Matt.  The opinion arose from the two simple facts that it was known
that (1) St. Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew, and that (2) the
Nazarenes possessed _a_ Gospel in Hebrew.  The conclusion was natural,
but it was false.  Clement of Alexandria and Origen, who quote the
Gospel according to the Hebrews, do not represent it as the work of St.
Matthew.  St. Jerome himself felt doubts.  When he first discovered the
Hebrew Gospel, he felt the enthusiasm of a critic who has made an
important find.  He believed that he had discovered the original
Gospel.  He afterwards became more cautious.  His later allusions to
the Gospel say that "it is called by most the original Matthew," [5]
and that it is "the Gospel according to the Apostles or, _as most
suppose_, according to Matthew." [6]  In fact, this Hebrew Gospel,
which bore sometimes the title of "the Hebrews," sometimes "the
Apostles," sometimes "St. Matthew," was not the Hebrew original of our
present Matthew, nor could it have been written by an Apostle.  The
fragments of it which now remain come from two versions.  Both versions
show traces of a mixed Jewish and Gnostic heresy, and are plainly
apocryphal.  The Holy Spirit is called the "mother" of Jesus, and
represented as transporting Him by a hair of His head to Mount Tabor,
and our Lord is represented as handing His grave-clothes to the servant
of the high-priest as soon as He was risen from the dead.  The Gospel
certainly seems not only to be a forgery, but to betray a knowledge
both of our Greek Gospel according to St.  Matthew and that according
to St. John.[7]  We are obliged to conclude that it throws no light on
the origin of our Matt., and that the original Hebrew Matt. was lost at
an early date.

On the other hand, it is certain that our Greek Matt. was {36} regarded
as authentic in the 2nd century, and it is plain that it records the
sayings of Christ with peculiar fulness.

We must now return to what was stated in our previous chapter when
dealing with the Synoptic problem.  We there saw that there is a great
mass of common material in all three Synoptic Gospels, and saw that
Mark was probably used as a groundwork for Matt. and Luke.  We
therefore are led to the conclusion that the Gospel according to St.
Matthew is a combination of a Greek version of St. Matthew's original
Hebrew Logia--St. Matthew possibly wrote a Greek version of it as well
as the Hebrew--with the  Gospel written by St. Mark.  The combination
was apparently made either by the apostle himself, or by a disciple of
the apostle as the result of his directions.  The Catholic Jewish
Christians, knowing that the Gospel contained St. Matthew's own Logia,
and that the rest of the Gospel was in accordance with his teaching as
delivered to them, called it "the Gospel according to Matthew."  The
less orthodox Jewish Christians, as we have seen, invented a Gospel of
their own.

A little help is given us by the internal evidence afforded by Matt.
The author appears to be writing for Greek-speaking converts from
Judaism, who need to have Hebrew words interpreted to them.  Thus he
interprets "Immanuel" (i. 23), "Golgotha" (xxvii. 33), and the words of
our Lord on the cross (xxvii. 46).  The numerous quotations from the
Old Testament have for a long time exercised the ingenuity of scholars,
who have believed that they enable us to determine how the Gospel was
written.  On the whole these quotations suggest two conclusions: (1)
That the evangelist knew both Greek and Aramaic, (2) that the Gospel is
not a mere translation from the Aramaic or Hebrew.  Roughly speaking,
the quotations which St. Matthew has in common with the other
Synoptists are from the Greek (Septuagint) version of the Old
Testament, while those which are peculiar to his {37} Gospel show that
the Hebrew has been consulted.  Altogether the quotations number 45.
Of these there are 11 which are texts quoted by the evangelist himself
to illustrate the Messianic work of our Lord, and 9 of the 11 seem to
imply a knowledge of Hebrew.  They are i. 23; ii. 15, iv. 15-16, viii.
17, xii. 18-21; xiii. 14-15; xiii. 35b; xxi. 5; xxvii. 9, 10.  The
other 34 texts comprise the quotations which are made in the discourses
of our Lord, and they are sometimes called context-quotations or cyclic
quotations, as coming in the cycle of discourses.  Perhaps 6 or 7 of
these 34 texts imply a knowledge of the Hebrew.  But it is certain that
this class of quotations is far nearer to the Septuagint than the other
class.  This conclusion remains good in spite of the fact that even the
Messianic quotations show the influence of the Septuagint, _e.g._ in i.
23 the writer uses the Septuagint, inasmuch as the Greek word
translated "virgin" _necessarily_ implies the unique condition of the
mother of our Lord, whereas the corresponding Hebrew word does not
_necessarily_ imply the same condition.  Now, it is plain that if the
Gospel had been translated from the Hebrew, the context-quotations
would probably have been as near to the Hebrew as the quotations made
by the evangelist himself.  This is not the case.  The quotations in
Matt. show that the writer knew Hebrew but wrote in Greek, and based
part of his work on a Greek document.

The fact that the Gospel was written in Greek does not prove that it
was not written in Palestine.  It has been urged that it cannot have
been written in Palestine, because in ix. 26, 31 we find Palestine
called "_that_ land," but the phrase may refer only to a part of
Palestine, and therefore can hardly be urged as proving anything.  It
is well known that educated persons in Palestine were acquainted with
Greek, although the majority spoke Aramaic.  The two languages existed
side by side, very much as Welsh and English exist side by side in
North Wales.  If the Gospel was not written in Palestine, it was
probably written in South Syria.


[Sidenote: Date.]

The date must be shortly before A.D. 70.  A favourite argument of
modern sceptics is that it contains a reference (xxii. 7) to the
burning of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70, and therefore must have
been written after that event.  The argument rests upon the assumption
that our Lord could not have foreseen the event predicted--an
assumption which no Christian can accept.  Even the favoured servants
of God in later ages have sometimes possessed the gift of prophecy.
Savonarola certainly foretold the fall of Rome, which took place in
A.D. 1527, and the prophecy was printed long before the event seemed
credible.  Much more might the Son of God have foretold the fall of
that city which had so signally neglected His summons.  Such
expressions as "the holy city," "the holy place," "the city of the
great King," suggest that when the Gospel was written it had not yet
become the home of "the abomination of desolation."  And a far stronger
proof is afforded by the caution of the writer in xxiv. 15, "let him
that readeth understand."  This is an editorial note inserted by the
evangelist, as by St. Mark, before our Lord's warning to flee from
Judaea.  We learn from the early historians of the Church that the
Jewish Christians took warning from this statement to flee from Judaea
to Peraea before the Romans invested the holy city in A.D. 70.  Now, it
would have been absurd for the evangelist to insert this note after the
Roman forces had begun the siege, as absurd as it would have been to
warn the Parisians to flee to England after Paris had been surrounded
by the Prussians in 1870, or to warn the English to leave Ladysmith in
1900 after it was surrounded by the Boers.  Another and final proof
that the Gospel was written before A.D. 70 is given by the form in
which the evangelist has recorded our Lord's prophecy of the end of the
world (the so-called "eschatological discourse" in chs. xxiv.-xxv.).
The prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and that of the last
coming of the Lord are placed side by side with no perceptible break.
Ch. xxiv. 29-31 refers to the {39} last coming of Christ, whereas the
verses which immediately precede it refer to the destruction of
Jerusalem, and so do vers. 32-34.  It is impossible to resist the
conclusion that the evangelist believed that the judgment upon
Jerusalem would be immediately followed by the last judgment of the
world.  He knows that our Lord foretold both, and both events loom
large in his mind.  As a traveller in a valley sees before him two
great mountains which appear close to one another, though really
separated by many miles, so the evangelist sees these two events
together.  After the fall of Jerusalem he would almost certainly have
made a definite break between the two subjects.

[Sidenote: Literary Style.]

We have already noticed in ch. ii. the fondness for numerical
arrangement, which is a marked characteristic of the style of this
Gospel.  There are other proofs of the fact that this Gospel is more
Hebrew in tone than the others.  In the other Gospels we find the
expression "the kingdom of God," but here we find it called "the
kingdom of heaven," an instance of the peculiarly Jewish reverence
which shrank from uttering the name of God.  There are a few Aramaic
words found in this Gospel--_raca_ (v. 22), _gehenna_ (v. 22), _mammon_
(vi. 24); and we should add the peculiar use of "righteousness" in vi.
1, where the word is used in the sense of "alms" in accordance with a
Jewish idiom.  But the Greek phrases are often neat and clear-cut.
They sometimes seem to imply a play upon words, _e.g._ in vi. 16 and
xxiv. 30.  This is another indication that the Gospel, as it stands,
was first written in Greek.  The Greek is smoother than that of St.
Mark, though not so vivid.  The evangelist writes with a joyous
interest in his work.  The historical parts of it are full of beauty,
but he uses them mainly as a framework for the discourses of Jesus,
which he preserves with loving fidelity.

In St. Matthew's Gospel the Old Testament is frequently quoted, that
the reader may see that Jesus is the realization of {40} the hopes of
the Jewish prophets.  With set purpose the fair picture of the Servant
of Jehovah drawn by Isaiah is placed in the middle of the Gospel (xii.
18-21), that we may recognize it as the true portrait of Christ.  Close
to it on either side the blasphemies of the Pharisees are skilfully
depicted as a foil to His divine beauty.  We have already noticed the
bearing of these quotations on the origin of the Gospel, but we must
speak further of their bearing on the evangelist's view of the Old
Testament.  His Messianic quotations are introduced by such phrases as
"that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet," or, "then
was fulfilled," etc.  The tendency of modern scepticism to ridicule the
supernatural element in prophecy has caused some writers to depreciate
this method of quotation.  And we find even a thoughtful Roman Catholic
writer speaking of it as "giving the impression that the supple and
living story of the life of Jesus is only a chain of debts which fall
due, and fulfilments which cannot be avoided." [8]  In particular, it
has been alleged that the Greek word translated "that," or "in order
that," and prefixed to these quotations, implies this fatalistic
necessity.  But this particular argument is mistaken.  In later Greek
the use of the word was vaguer than it had been formerly.[9]  It cannot
be narrowed down so as to prove that the evangelist thought that events
in the Old Testament only took place in order to be types which the Son
of God constrained Himself to fulfil.  And, speaking more generally, we
may say that the evangelist shows an exquisite taste in his selection
of Messianic quotations.  Convinced that Jesus sums up the history of
Israel, he does not hesitate to quote passages in the Old Testament,
whether they directly refer to the Messianic King, or only call up some
picture which has a counterpart in the life of Christ.


Thus the quotations in i. 23 and ii. 6 directly refer to one who is the
expected King, that in viii. 17 to one who is the ideal martyred
Servant, that in ii. 15 to Israel conceived of as the peculiar child of
God and so a type of Christ.  In ii. 23 the evangelist finds in the
name of _Nazareth_ an echo of the ancient Messianic title _Netzer_ (a
branch).  In ii. 18 we see that the tomb of Rachel near Bethlehem
reminds him of the mothers of Israel weeping over the death of their
children at the hands of the Babylonians; and as Jeremiah poetically
conceived of Rachel weeping with the mothers of his own day, so St.
Matthew conceives of her as finding her crowning sorrow in the massacre
of the Holy Innocents.

Three other quotations deserve special notice: (1) That in xxvii. 9,
which the evangelist quotes from "Jeremiah."  It is often said that
this is a mere mistake for Zechariah.  But it is a quotation combined,
according to the Jewish method known as the Charaz, or "string of
pearls," from Zech. xi. 12 and Jer. xix. 1, 2, 6, the valley of the son
of Hinnom being regarded as typical of "the field of blood."  (2) That
in xxvii. 34, from Ps. lxix. 21.  It is said that the evangelist, in
order to make our Lord's action correspond with the words of the
Psalmist, makes Him drink "gall" instead of "myrrh" (Mark xv. 23), and
thus represents the soldiers as cruelly giving Him a nauseating draught
instead of a draught to dull His pain.  The argument will hardly hold
good, for the Greek word translated "gall" can also signify a
stupefying drug, and thus Matt. and Mark agree.  (3) That in xxi. 2-7,
where our Lord is represented as making use of both an ass and a colt
for His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  The other Synoptists mention a
colt only, and it is supposed that the evangelist altered his narrative
of the fact in order to make it agree with a too literal interpretation
of Zech. ix. 9.  It must be admitted that the account in Mark and Luke
has an air of greater probability, and it has the support of the brief
account in John.  But there is not a decisive contradiction between
Matt. and the other Gospels, and it is therefore unreasonable to pass
an unfavourable verdict on any of them.  The story in Matt. cannot be
discredited as containing an apocryphal miracle, and the mere fact that
it is so independent of the other Gospels suggests that it is really

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The chief characteristic of this Gospel is the representation of Jesus
as _the Messiah_ in whom was fulfilled the {42} Law and the prophets.
It was probably placed first in the New Testament because this
Messianic doctrine is the point of union between the old covenant and
the new.  St. Matthew's representation of the Messiah is the result of
very careful reflection, and it shows that the evangelist wrote in a
spirit which was philosophical and in one sense controversial.  He is
philosophic because he is not a mere annalist.  He groups incidents and
discourses together in a manner which brings out their significance as
illustrating the Messiahship of Jesus and the majestic forward movement
of the kingdom of God.  He is in one sense controversial because he
wishes his picture of Christ to correct that false idea of the Messiah
and His reign which was ruining the Jewish people.  The best kind of
controversy is that which is intent upon explaining the truth rather
than eager to expose and ridicule what is false.  So the evangelist
presents to his readers Jesus as the Lord's Anointed with inspired
powers of persuasion.  The manner in which he records our Lord's urgent
warnings against going after false Jewish Messiahs at the time when the
destruction of Jerusalem should draw near, is a witness to the depth of
his convictions.  Like the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who
wrote shortly before him, he cannot endure the thought of any waverers
or deserters.  The Jewish Christian must be loyal to Jesus, even
although the invasion of the holy land by Gentiles may sorely tempt him
to throw in his lot with his patriotic but unbelieving kinsmen.

The very first verse suggests the nature of the Gospel--"The book of
the generation" (_i.e._ the genealogical tree) "of Jesus Christ, the
son of David, the son of Abraham."  This "book" includes the first 17
verses of the Gospel.  While St. Luke traces the genealogy of our Lord
back to Adam, the head of the human race, St. Matthew desires to show
that our Lord, _as the son of Abraham_, is the child of promise in whom
all the families of the earth shall be blessed, and, _as the son of
David_, {43} is heir to the kingdom of spiritual Israel.  The genealogy
is partly based on that of the Greek version of 1 Chron. i.-iii., and
is intended to teach certain special truths.  It is arranged so as to
be a kind of summary of the history of the people of God, each group of
14 names ending with a crisis.  Jesus is the flower and fulfilment of
that history.  It furnishes a reply to Jewish critics.  They would say
that Jesus could not be Messiah unless Joseph, his supposed father, was
descended from David.  St. Matthew shows that St. Joseph was of Davidic
descent.  Again, the Jews would say that in any case the Messiah would
not be likely to be connected with a humble carpenter and his folk.
The evangelist's reply is that David himself was descended from
comparatively undistinguished men and from women who were despised.
Thus St. Matthew meets both points raised by the Jews.

Of recent years another criticism has been passed on this pedigree of
our Lord.  A copy of the Old Syriac version of the Gospels, discovered
at Sinai and published in 1894, says that Joseph begat Jesus, and in
this way denies that Jesus was born of a pure virgin.  Some writers who
wish to believe that our Lord was brought into the world in the same
manner as ourselves, have said that this Syriac version represents what
was actually the fact.  There is, however, no reason for believing
anything of the kind.  There is no ground for the notion that the
Syriac genealogy was taken from a primitive Jewish register.  It is
merely a translation of the Greek, probably from some Western Greek
manuscript which had "Joseph begat Jesus."  When the evangelist wrote
the genealogy, he can only have meant that Joseph was by Jewish law
regarded as the father of Jesus; for his whole narrative of our Lord's
infancy assumes that He was born of a virgin mother.  The truth that
our Lord was born miraculously is asserted by St. Luke as well as by
St. Matthew.  It is assumed by St. Paul, when he argues that the second
Adam was free from the taint of sin which affected the rest of the
first Adam's descendants.  It {44} was also cherished from the earliest
times in every part of the Christian world where the teaching of the
apostles was retained, and was only denied by a few heretics who had
openly rejected the teaching of the New Testament on other subjects.

Connected with the representation of Jesus as the Messiah is the record
of His continual teaching about the "kingdom of heaven."  The "kingdom
of heaven" or "kingdom of God" signifies the reign and influence of
God.  The meaning of it is best expressed by the words in the Lord's
Prayer: "Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on
earth" (Matt. vi. 10).  The second petition explains the first.  The
kingdom comes in proportion as the righteous will of our loving Father
is done among men.  The kingdom therefore includes the influence of God
in the heart of the believer, or in great movements in the world, or in
the organization and growth of His _Church_ (xvi. 18; xviii. 17).  The
kingdom has both a present and a future aspect.  In xii. 28 our Lord
says to His hearers that it "is come upon you," and in xxi. 31 He
speaks of people who were entering into it at the time.  But the night
before He died He spoke of it as still future (xxvi. 29).  It is plain
that He taught that it was already present, though its consummation is
yet to come.  The kingdom is spiritual, "not of this world," it is
universal, for though the Jews were "the sons of the kingdom" (viii.
12) by privilege, it is free to others.  The worst sinner might come in
(xxi. 31), if he came with repentance, humility, and purity of heart.
The teaching of Christ with regard to the kingdom was based upon an
idea of God's personal rule, which runs through nearly all the Old
Testament, beginning with the Books of Samuel and revealing itself in
Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Daniel.  But our Lord's teaching is original and
distinctive.  And it is more distant from the popular Jewish idea of a
Hebrew counterpart to the Roman empire than the east is distant from
the west.

Nowhere else is our Lord shown to have given such an unmistakable
sanction to the Law.  It is here only that we {45} read, "Think not
that I came to destroy the Law, or the prophets: I came not to destroy,
but to fulfil" (v. 17).[10]  Here, too, we find an allusion to the
observance of the sabbath _after_ the Ascension (xxiv. 20), a temporary
prohibition of preaching to the Gentiles and Samaritans (x. 5), and the
statement of our Lord, "I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the
house of Israel" (xv. 24).  Most remarkable of all is the direction to
obey the scribes and Pharisees (xxiii. 3).  On the other hand, there is
a rigorous denunciation of the rabbinical additions to the Jewish Law.
Mercy is preferable to sacrifice (xii. 7), the Son of man is Lord of
the sabbath (xii. 8), moral defilement does not come from a failure to
observe ceremonial (xv. 11), the kingdom will be transferred to a more
faithful nation (xxi. 43), even the strangers from the east and the
west (viii. 11), the Gospel will be for all people (xxiv. 14), and the
scribes and Pharisees are specially denounced (xxiii. 13).

It has been said that there is an absolute opposition between these two
classes of sayings; that either Jesus contradicted Himself, or the
evangelist drew from one source which was of a Judaizing character, and
from another source which taught St. Paul's principle of justification
by faith _versus_ justification by the Law.  But the same divine
paradox of truth which we find in Matt. runs through most of the New
Testament, and is found plainly in St. Paul.  In the Epistle where he
exposes the failure of contemporary Judaism most remorselessly, he
asserts that "we establish the Law."  The true inner meaning of the
divine revelation granted in the Old Testament _is_ fulfilled in
Christ.  Not only so, but Christ Himself was "the servant of the
circumcision," living "under the Law."  The limits which He imposed
upon His own ministry (xv. 24) and that of His apostles (x. 5) were
entirely fitting until Christ at His resurrection laid aside all that
was peculiarly Jewish with its limits and humiliations.



The infancy of our Lord: i. 1-ii. 23.--Genealogy from Abraham,
announcement to Joseph, birth, visit of Magi, flight into Egypt,
massacre of innocents, settlement at Nazareth.


Winter A.D. 26 till after Pentecost 27.

The preparation for the ministry: iii. 1-iv. 11.--

The ministry of John the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, the
threefold temptation.


Pentecost A.D. 27 till before Passover 28.

The preaching of the kingdom of God by Jesus in Galilee: iv. 12-xiii.
58.--The call of the four fishermen, Jesus preaches and heals (iv.).
The Sermon on the Mount--Jesus fulfils the law, the deeper teaching
concerning the commandments (v.).  False and true almsgiving, prayer
and fasting, worldliness, trust in God (vi.).  Censoriousness,
discrimination in teaching, encouragements to prayer, false prophets,
the two houses (vii.).  The ministry at Capernaum and by the lake is
illustrated by the record of many works of _Messianic healing power_
(viii.-ix.), the apostles are chosen and receive a charge (x.), and the
ministry is illustrated by words and parables of _Messianic wisdom_
(xi.-xiii.).  We find a growing hostility on the part of the scribes
and Pharisees (ix. 11; ix. 34; xii. 2, xii. 14; xii. 24).  Jesus
returns to Nazareth (xiii. 53-58).

[Perplexity of Herod and death of John the Baptist, xiv. 1-12.]



Passover A.D. 28 till before Tabernacles 28.

Climax of missionary work in Galilee: xiv. 13-xviii. 35.--Christ feeds
the 5000, walks on the sea, heals the sick in Gennesaret (xiv.).
Christ now labours chiefly in the dominions of Herod Philip, the
journeys are more plainly marked in Mark.  Teaching about defilement,
the Canaanite woman, Christ feeds the 4000 (xv.).

Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, Peter's confession of Christ,
Christ's first prediction of His death (xvi.).  Transfiguration,
lunatic boy cured, second prediction of death, the shekel in the fish's
mouth (xvii.).  Treatment of children, Christ saving lost sheep,
forgiveness (xviii.).


Tabernacles, September A.D. 28 until early 29.

The ministry in Peraea; xix. i-xx. 34.--Christ forbids divorce, He
blesses children, the rich young man, the difficulties of the rich
(xix.).  Parable of the labourers, Christ's third prediction of His
death, the request of the mother of Zebedee's children, the two blind
men of Jericho (xx.).


Passover A.D. 29.

Last days at Jerusalem, and afterwards: xxi. 1-xxviii. 20.--Entry into
Jerusalem, the cleansing of the temple, the withered fig tree, Christ
challenged, parable of the vineyard (xxi.).  The marriage feast, three
questions to entrap Christ, His question (xxii.).  On not seeking chief
places, denunciation of scribes and Pharisees, lament over Jerusalem

Predictions of destruction of temple, siege of Jerusalem, the second
coming (xxiv.), three discourses on the judgment (xxv.).


The Council discuss how they may arrest Jesus, the woman with the
ointment, Judas' bargain, the Passover, Gethsemane, the betrayal, the
trial before Caiaphas, Peter's denial (xxvi.).  Jesus delivered to
Pilate, Judas' suicide, Jesus tried by Pilate, Jesus and Barabbas, the
mockery, crucifixion, burial by Joseph of Arimathaea, guard granted by
Pilate (xxvii.).

The women at the sepulchre, the angel, Jesus meets them, the guard
bribed, Jesus meets the eleven in Galilee, His commission to baptize
and teach (xxviii.).

_Note on the Date of Matthew._--Irenaeus, apparently following Papias,
says, "Matthew published a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their
own dialect, Peter and Paul preaching the Gospel at Rome" (_Adv. Haer._
iii. 1).  This would fix the date of the Hebrew Matt. about A.D. 63, if
it was the intention of Irenaeus to give chronological information in
this sentence.  But the context makes it more probable that this is not
the case, and that he simply wished to make it clear that the teaching
of the four chief apostles, Peter and Paul, Matthew and John, has come
down to us in writing.  That of Matthew and John survives in their
Gospels, that of Peter and Paul, though they wrote no Gospels, survives
in Mark and Luke.  Eusebius, in his _Chronicle_ dates the composition
in A.D. 41.  This he probably does in order to make it fit with the
supposed departure of the apostles from Jerusalem after twelve years
from the Crucifixion.  His statement is very improbable.  At any rate
our Greek Matt. must have been written after Mark.  The frequent
quotations from it in primitive literature from the Epistle of Barnabas
and the _Didaché_ onwards, bear witness both to its early date and its
high authority.  Internal evidence points to the same conclusion.  In
addition to what is said above (p. 38), we may note some passages
likely to perplex the reader.  Such are ii. 23, "the ass _and the
colt_" in xxi. 7, the "three days and _three nights_ in the belly of
the whale" mentioned as typical of Christ's rest in the tomb (xii. 40),
the absence of all reference to the _burning_ of the temple in xxiv. 2,
the reference to Zachariah the son of Barachiah (xxiii. 35; contrast 2
Chron. xxiv. 20).  Such verses would probably have been altered if the
Gospel had not gained an authoritative position at a very early date.

[1] Strom. iv. 9.

[2] Eusebius, _H. E._ iii. 39.

[3] _Adv. Haer._ iii. 1.

[4] _De Vir, Ill._ 3.

[5] _In Matt._ xii. 13.

[6] _Con. Pelag._ iii. 1.

[7] So Prof. Armitage Robinson, _Expositor_, March, 1897.

[8] Batiffol, _Six Leçons sur les Evangiles_, p. 48.

[9] Burton, _Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of New Testament Greek_,
pp. 92-95.

[10] In this Gospel only is sin called "lawlessness."

[11] These analyses of the Gospels are not complete, but are arranged
with the hope that the readers, by studying all the four, may gain a
clearer conception of the life of our Lord.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

John Mark was the son of a Mary who was an influential member of the
Church at Jerusalem, as the Church met in her house (Acts xii. 12).  He
was a cousin of Barnabas (Col. iv. 10), who had been a man of some
property.  It has been thought that Mark was the "young man" referred
to in the account given by this Gospel of the arrest of Jesus in the
garden.  To others the incident would probably have appeared
insignificant.  He lived at Jerusalem during the famine in A.D. 45, and
Barnabas took him to Antioch on returning thither from Jerusalem at
that time.  He accompanied St. Paul and St. Barnabas on St. Paul's
first missionary journey, and laboured with them at Salamis in Cyprus.
It is possible that Acts xiii. 5 means that John Mark had been a
"minister" of the synagogue at Salamis.  At any rate, the Greek can be
so interpreted.  After crossing from Paphos to the mainland of Asia
Minor, the missionaries arrived at Perga.  Here St. Paul made the great
resolve to extend the gospel beyond the Taurus mountains.  St. Mark
determined to leave him.  Perhaps he was not prepared for so
magnificent an undertaking as a "work" which included the conversion of
the Gentiles (Acts xiv. 27), or for the substitution of the leadership
of St. Paul for that of St. Barnabas.

St. Mark returned to Jerusalem, and was again at Antioch about the time
of St. Paul's rebuke of St. Peter.  Possibly St. Mark followed the
example of most of the Jewish Christians at Antioch in inducing St.
Peter and St. Barnabas to withdraw from {50} fellowship with the
Gentile converts.  Whether he did so or not, it is certain that St.
Paul refused to take St. Mark with him on his second missionary
journey, A.D. 49.  St. Barnabas then went home to Cyprus with St. Mark.
We hear no more of the future evangelist until A.D. 60, when we find
that he is with St. Paul in Rome, and completely reconciled to him.  He
is the apostle's "fellow-worker" and his "comfort" (Col. iv. 11;
Philem. 24).  About four years later, St. Paul, in writing shortly
before his martyrdom to Timothy, requests him to come to Rome by the
shortest route, and to take up Mark on the way, "for he is useful to me
for ministering" (2 Tim. iv. 11).  The last notice that we have of St.
Mark in the New Testament illustrates how complete a harmony had been
effected between the expansive theology of St. Paul and the once
cramped policy of St. Peter and St. Mark.  In his First Epistle St.
Peter refers to "Mark, my son," and his words make it certain that the
two friends were then together at Babylon, _i.e._ Rome.

In the 4th century it was widely believed that St. Mark was the founder
of Christianity in Alexandria, and the first bishop of the see which
was afterwards ruled by St. Athanasius and St. Cyril.  It is important
to notice that this tradition appears first in Eusebius, and is not
mentioned in the extant works of Clement and Origen, the great
luminaries of the early Alexandrian Church.  But it seems to be too
well supported by the great writers of the 4th century for us to regard
it as a fabrication.  If the tale is true, St. Mark must have brought
Christianity to Alexandria either after the death of St. Peter about
A.D. 65, or about A.D. 55, in the interval between his separation from
St. Paul and his stay with him at Rome.

The early Fathers, so far as their testimony remains, are unanimous in
ascribing this Gospel to St. Mark, and they are equally unanimous in
tracing the work of St. Mark to the influence of St. Peter.  Justin
Martyr speaks of the "Memoirs of Peter" when referring to a statement
which we find in {51} Mark iii. 17.  Papias closely associates the two
saints in his account of the Gospel, and gives us his information on
the authority of John the Presbyter, who was a disciple of the Lord.
Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, and Origen say practically
the same thing.  This evidence is overwhelming, and it is
uncontradicted by any early authority.  The statement of Papias is as
follows: "And the elder said this also: Mark, having become the
interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately everything that he
remembered of the things that were either said or done by Christ; but,
however, not in order.  For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he
follow Him; but afterwards, as I said, he attended Peter, who adapted
his instructions to the needs of his hearers, but had no design of
giving a connected account of the Lord's words.  So then Mark committed
no error in thus writing down certain things as he remembered them; for
he made it his special care not to omit anything that he heard, or to
set down any false statement therein." [1]  By calling St. Mark an
_interpreter_, Papias perhaps means that he translated statements made
in Aramaic into Greek, which was the language most used by the
Christians of Rome until the 3rd century after Christ.  By saying that
St. Mark wrote _not in order_, Papias probably means that the Gospel is
not a systematic history of all our Lord's ministry, or an orderly
arrangement of subjects placed together with a view to instruction like
those in Matthew.  So far as we are able to test them, the facts are
related chronologically in the great majority of cases.

Papias does not tell us when St. Mark wrote his Gospel.  Irenaeus
writes: "Matthew also published a written Gospel among the Hebrews in
their own dialect, Peter and Paul preaching the Gospel at Rome, and
laying the foundations of the Church.  After their departure, Mark, the
disciple and interpreter of Peter, delivered to us in writing the
things that had been preached by Peter." [2] {52} St. Peter and St.
Paul probably died not later than A.D. 65.  Eusebius quotes from
Clement of Alexandria "that Peter having publicly preached the word at
Rome, and having spoken the Gospel by the Spirit, many present exhorted
Mark to write the things which had been spoken, since he had long
accompanied Peter, and remembered what he had said; and that when he
had composed the Gospel, he delivered it to them who had asked it of
him, which when Peter knew, he neither forbad nor encouraged it." [3]
Clement is here relying upon "the presbyters of old," and the antiquity
of the tradition is proved by the fact that it does not claim St.
Peter's direct sanction for the Gospel.  Both Irenaeus and Clement were
probably born about A.D. 130, or earlier.  Irenaeus was acquainted with
Rome, where St. Peter taught, while Clement lived at Alexandria, where
St. Mark was probably bishop.  Moreover, Clement's office of
head-catechist at Alexandria had been previously held by at least three
predecessors, who must have handed down traditions of first-rate value.
The testimony of Clement with regard to St. Mark is not inconsistent
with that of Irenaeus.  The Gospel was probably written while St. Peter
was alive, and when he was dead, was given to the Church.  Possibly it
underwent some revision before publication.  Now, as St. Peter
evidently had not taught in Rome when St. Paul wrote the Epistle to the
Romans in A.D. 56, and as St. Mark was in Rome when he wrote the
Epistle to the Colossians in A.D. 60, we may reasonably date this
Gospel about A.D. 62.  It seems to be later than Colossians, as there
is no indication of St. Peter's being in Rome when that Epistle was

[Sidenote: Literary Style.]

The internal evidence afforded by the Gospel strongly corroborates the
belief that it was based upon the discourses of one who had been with
our Lord during His ministry.  It is marked by a vivid and dramatic
realism.  There is a fondness for rapid transitions from one scene to
another, as may be illustrated by the {53} fact that the Greek word for
"immediately" occurs no less than forty-one times.  In i. 27 the actual
form of an original dialogue is shown in the abrupt and broken
sentences employed.  St. Mark uses different tenses of the Greek
verb--present, perfect, imperfect, and aorist--with singular freedom,
not because he did not know Greek well enough to write with more
regularity, but because he is carried away by his interest in the facts
which he relates.  The student will find good instances of this
interchange of tenses in v. 15 ff.; vi. 14 ff.; viii. 35; ix. 34 ff.
St. Mark's language shows that he was well acquainted with the Greek
version of the Old Testament, which has exercised considerable
influence on his style.

There are many picturesque phrases, such as "the heavens rent" (i. 10)
and "devour houses" (xii. 40).  There are little redundancies in which
the author repeats his thoughts with a fresh shade of meaning, as "at
even, when the sun did set" (i. 32); "he looked steadfastly, and was
restored, and saw all things clearly" (viii. 25); "all that she had,
even all her living" (xii. 44).  There is a frequent use of popular
diminutives, such as words for "little boat," "little daughter,"
"little dog."  This is probably due to provincial Custom, and may be
compared with the fondness shown in some parts of Scotland for words
such as "boatie," "lassie" or "lassock," etc.  There are several
Hebraisms.  Some of the Greek words are frankly plebeian, such as a
foreigner would pick up without realizing that they were inelegant.
There are also some Aramaic words and phrases which the writer inserts
with a true artistic sense and then interprets--_Boanerges_ (iii. 17),
_Talitha cumi_ (v. 41), _Corban_ (vii. 11), _Ephphatha_ (vii. 34),
_Abba_ (xiv. 36), and _Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani_[4] (xv. 34).  The
Greek also contains numerous grammatical irregularities which betray
the hand of a foreigner, {54} as in ii. 26; iv. 22; vi. 52; vii. 4, 19;
ix. 18, xi.32; xiii. 34.  The use of participles is clumsy, especially
in the account of the woman with the issue of blood (v. 25 ff.).
Finally, there are more Latin words and idioms than in any of the other
Gospels.  Latin idioms may be seen in v. 23 and xv. 15, and instances
of Latin words are _speculator_ (vi. 27), _centurion_ (xv. 39),
_sextarius_ (vii. 4), _denarius_ (vi. 37), _quadrans_ (xii. 42).  In
xii. 42, xv. 16, Greek words are explained in Latin.

These facts corroborate the tradition that the writer was a Palestinian
who stayed in Rome, and knew personally some one who had exceptional
knowledge of our Lord's actual words.

The narrative is particularly fresh, and abounds in vivid details such
as would have been likely to linger in St. Peter's memory.  The green
grass whereon the crowds sat, and the appearance of flower-beds which
they presented in their gay costume (vi. 39, 40); the stern of the
boat, and the pillow whereon our Lord slept (iv. 38); the Gerasene
demoniac cutting himself with stones (v. 5); the woman who was a
Syro-Phoenician but spoke Greek (vii. 26); Jesus taking children in His
arms (ix. 36; x. 16); the street where the colt was tied (xi. 4); the
two occasions on which the cock crew (xiv. 68, 72); and St. Peter
warming himself in the light of the fire (xiv. 54);--such are some of
the instances of the writer's fidelity in recording the impressions of
his teacher.  This Gospel also abounds in proper names, both of places
and persons.  Among the latter may be mentioned the name of Bartimaeus,
the blind beggar (x. 46); the names of Alexander and Rufus, the sons of
Simon of Cyrene (xv. 21); Salome, the mother of Zebedee's children (xv.
40); and Boanerges, their surname (iii. 17).  Equally remarkable is the
manner in which the emotions of our Lord and others are recorded.  We
notice the indignation and grief which He felt in the synagogue (iii.
5); His compassion for the unshepherded people (vi. 34); His deep sigh
at the sceptical demand for a sign from heaven (viii. 12), {55} His
displeasure at the disciples for keeping the children from Him (x. 14);
His undisguised love for the rich young man who yet lacked one thing
(x. 21); His tragic walk in front of the apostles (x. 32); the
intensity of feeling with which He was driven into the wilderness (i.
12), and overturned the tables and seats in the temple (xi. 15).  St.
Mark always seems to be painting our Lord from the life.

In spite of the fact that St. Mark shows that he knew well how to
compress the material which was at his disposal, there is hardly a
story which he narrates in common with the other synoptists without
some special feature.  We may notice the imploring words of the father
of the lunatic boy (ix. 2), the spoken blessing on little children (x.
16), the view of the temple (xiii. 3), and Pilate's question of the
centurion (xv. 44).  None of these things are narrated in the other
Gospels.  In ix. 2-13 we have the story of the Transfiguration, with
the statement that the garments of our Lord "became glistering,
exceeding white; _so as no fuller on earth can whiten them_."  We are
also told that St. Peter then addressed our Lord as "Rabbi," and that
"he wist not what to answer."  The same significant phrase, "they wist
not what to answer Him," occurs in St. Mark's account of the agony in
the garden (xiv. 40).  These are only a few instances out of many which
show St. Mark's originality, and they are just such personal
reminiscences as we might expect St. Peter to retain.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

Just as the style is realistic and the narrative circumstantial, so the
contents are practical.  "He went about doing good" is the impression
which this Gospel gives us of our Lord.  The teaching which He
announced to the people is made less prominent than in Matt.  If we
count even the shortest similitudes as parables, we find only nine
parables in Mark.  Equally remarkable is the absence of quotations made
by the writer.  He records numerous references made by our Lord to the
Old Testament, though fewer than Matt. or Luke, but the only quotations
made by St. Mark {56} himself are in i. 2, 3 (Mal. iii. 1; Isa. xl. 3)
and xv. 28 (Isa. liii. 12).  On the other hand, we find eighteen
miracles, only two less than in the much longer Gospel of St. Matthew.
The theological tone of Mark may be described as neutral.  There is no
trace of the innocent preferences which Matt. and Luke show toward this
or that aspect of the teaching of Jesus.  In Mark we do not find so
strong an approval of the more permanent parts of the Jewish Law, or so
strong a denunciation of the Pharisees who exalted the external
adjuncts of the Law, as we find in Matt.  Nor do we find such parables
as the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son, by which Luke lays emphasis
upon the truth that the Jews have no monopoly of holiness, and that the
outcast is welcome to the gospel.  Mark is less Jewish than Matt., less
Gentile and Pauline than Luke.  It used to be said that this was the
result of "trimming," and intended to bridge over the differences
between two different schools of theology.  But the charge has broken
down.  St. Mark, though not anti-Jewish, regards Christ as above the
law of the sabbath (ii. 28), and teaches the necessity of new external
religious forms (ii. 22).  Though he is not Jewish, and though he omits
the statement made in Matt. xv. 24, a statement indicating that the
Jews had the first right to be taught by the Messiah, he does record,
like Matt., the still harder statement of the same fact made to the
Syro-Phoenician woman (vii. 27).  The truth is that St. Mark is neutral
simply in the sense that he faithfully records a story which was
moulded before doctrinal conflicts had taken place between Christian
believers.  The doctrine of St. Mark is archaic.

One of the most distinctive features of this Gospel is the decisive
clearness with which it shows how Jesus trained and educated His
disciples.  The simplicity with which St. Mark describes the faults of
the friends of our Lord is as remarkable as the vigour with which the
gestures and feelings of our Lord are portrayed.  St. Mark relates how
that early in the ministry of Jesus, His friends (iii. 21) said that He
was mad, and that "His {57} mother and His brethren" (iii. 31) sought
to bring Him back.  The discipline and education of the disciples are
recorded with a plain revelation of their mistakes and their spiritual
dulness.  When they had settled in Capernaum Christ shows them that He
must find a wider sphere of work (i. 38); He meets with a significant
silence their obtrusive remonstrance when the woman with the issue of
blood caused Him to ask, "Who touched My clothes?" (v. 30, 31); He
tells them with affectionate care "to rest a while," when they had been
too busy even to eat (vi. 31); He rebukes them gravely when they put a
childish interpretation upon His command to beware of the leaven of the
Pharisees and of Herod, the formalists and the Erastian (viii. 17);
they are unintelligent and uninquiring when He prophesies His death and
resurrection (ix. 32), and after this prophecy they actually dispute
about their own precedence (ix. 34); when Christ goes boldly forward to
Jerusalem, they follow with fear and hesitation (x. 32); He rebukes the
niggardly criticism of those who were indignant with the "waste" of the
perfume poured upon His head (xiv. 6); and in Gethsemane "they all left
Him and fled" (xiv. 50).

Among these disciples, St. Peter is prominent, and though his
confession of the Messiahship of Jesus is recorded, a confession which
is necessarily central in the Gospel (viii. 29), St. Mark neither
records that our Lord designed him as the rock, nor his commission to
feed the Lord's lambs and sheep.  On the other hand, St. Mark inserts
things which were often of a nature to humble St. Peter.  He records
the crushing reprimand which he received when he criticized the Lord's
mission (viii. 33); it was Peter's fanciful plan to erect three
tabernacles on the scene of the Transfiguration (ix. 5), it was Peter
who informed the Lord that the fig tree had withered after His curse
(xi. 21), it was Peter whom Christ awoke in Gethsemane by uttering his
name "Simon" (xiv. 37); and Peter's denial appears doubly guilty in
this Gospel, inasmuch as he did not repent until the cock crew _twice_
(xiv. 68, 72).  At the {58} beginning (iii. 16) and at the end (xvi. 7)
Peter occupies a special position.  But the conduct of Peter is
narrated in a fashion which renders the notion of fiction quite
impossible.  The Gospel cannot have been written by a hero-worshipper
wishing to glorify a saint of old, but must surely have been written by
"the interpreter of Peter."

In comparing the contents of Mark with those of Matt. and Luke, we are
struck by the absence of many of our Lord's discourses.  Yet we find an
eschatological discourse about the second coming in xiii., though much
shorter than those in Matt. xxiv. and xxv. The genuineness of Mark
xiii. has been assailed, and it has been described as an apocalyptic
"fly-sheet," which was somehow inserted in the Gospel.  There is no
reason for believing this theory to be true.  The chapter was in Mark
when it was incorporated into Matthew, and its teaching agrees with
that attributed to our Lord in the collections of Logia.  We have also
the beginning of the charge given to the apostles (vi. 7-11; cf. Matt.
x.).  There are a few echoes of the Sermon on the Mount, and only a
specimen of the final denunciation of the Pharisees, which occupies a
whole chapter in Matt.  (Mark xii. 38-40, cf. Matt. xxiii.).  We find a
few statements made by our Lord which are peculiar to this Gospel:
_e.g._--"the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath"
(ii. 27), "foolishness" coming from the heart (vii. 22); "every
sacrifice shall be salted with salt" (ix. 49); "Father, all things are
possible unto Thee," in the touching filial appeal during the agony
(xiv. 36).  Here alone have we the tiny parable about the growth of the
blade of corn (iv. 26), and that of the porter commanded to watch until
the master's return (xiii. 34).  There are two miracles peculiar to
Mark, the cure of the deaf-mute (vii. 32) and of the blind man at
Bethsaida (viii. 22).  Among the miracles recorded in Mark, the cures
of demoniacs are prominent.  This is in peculiar contrast with John,
where we find no cure of demoniacs recorded.

In marked contrast to St. Luke, St. Mark appears indifferent {59} to
the political conditions of the countries where our Lord worked.  Thus
Herod Antipas is simply called "the king" (vi. 14), whereas both in
Matt. and Luke he is correctly called by the title of "tetrarch," which
only implies governorship of a portion of a country.  Yet the narrative
of St. Mark shows that he was quite aware of facts which can only be
explained by the political conditions which he does not describe.  He
knows that Tyre and Sidon, Caesarea Philippi and Bethsaida, which were
not under Herod Antipas, were more safe for our Lord than Capernaum.
And he knows that in travelling to Jerusalem He was in greater danger
than while He remained in Galilee, and was meeting His doom at the
sentence of Gentile officials.  Although St. Mark is silent as to the
names of many of the places which our Lord visited, he gives us
numerous indications of the various scenes of our Lord's labours.  We
are thus able to fix the geographical surroundings of nearly all the
more important events, and construct an intelligible plan of our Lord's
ministry.  We can see how He made the shores of the lake of Gennesaret
the focus of His mission, and went on evangelistic journeys from
Capernaum into Galilee.  The time of these journeys was largely
determined by circumstances, such as the unregulated enthusiasm of the
mob, the spite of the scribes at Capernaum, or the anger of Herod's
court at Tiberias.  Towards the end of the ministry in Galilee our Lord
devoted Himself to the deeper instruction of His Apostles and their
initiation into the mystery of His death (vii. 24 ff.; viii. 27 ff.).
For such teaching the mountain slopes of Lebanon and Hermon afforded
scenes of perfect calm and beauty.




Winter A.D. 26 till after Pentecost 27.

The preparation for the ministry; i. 1-13.--The mission of John the
Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, the temptation.


Pentecost A.D. 27 till before Passover 28.

The ministry of Jesus in Galilee, journeys from Capernaum; i. 14-vi.
13.--The call of the four fishermen, Jesus preaches and heals at
Capernaum (i. 14-34).

_First missionary journey, in towns of Galilee_: leper cleansed, return
to Capernaum (i. 38-ii. 1).  Work in Capernaum, five grounds of offence
against Jesus, Jesus followed by crowds of hearers on the sea-shore
(ii. 2-iii. 12).  Appointment of the twelve, Christ accused of alliance
with Satan, the unpardonable sin, Christ's relation to His mother and
brethren.  He begins to teach in parables about the kingdom (iii.
13-iv. 34).

_Second missionary journey, on the eastern shore of the lake of
Gennesaret_: the storm calmed, Gerasene demoniac and swine (iv. 35-v.
20).  Return to the western shore, the cure of the woman who touched
His garment, Jairus' daughter raised (v. 21-43).

_Third missionary journey, in the western highlands_, including
Nazareth, where He is rejected, and adjacent villages, the mission of
the twelve (vi. 1-13).

[Perplexity of Herod and death of John the Baptist, vi. 14-29.]



Passover A.D. 28 till before Tabernacles 28.

Climax of missionary work in Galilee, journeys from Capernaum; vi.
30-ix. 50.--Christ in a desert place feeds the 5000, visits Bethsaida,
walks on the sea, returns to Gennesaret, heals many (vi. 30-56).
Teaching about defilement (vii. 1-23).

_Fourth missionary journey, to the north-west into Phoenicia_: the
Syro-Phoenician woman, departure from Tyre and Sidon, approach to the
sea of Galilee through Decapolis, cure of the deaf-mute (vii. 24-37).
Christ feeds the 4000 (viii. 1-9) Christ takes ship to Dalmanutha,
Pharisees seek a sign, Jesus takes ship to the other side, the leaven
of the Pharisees and of Herod, cure of a blind man at Bethsaida (viii.

_Fifth journey, to towns of Caesarea Philippi, special teaching of the
select few_: Peter's confession of Christ, Christ's first prediction of
His death (viii. 27-ix. 1).  Transfiguration, lunatic boy cured,
journey through Galilee, second prediction of death, arrival at
Capernaum, the value of a child's example, the danger of causing one to
stumble (ix. 2-50).


Tabernacles, September A.D. 28 until early 29.

Journey to Jerusalem through Peraea: x.--Christ forbids divorce,
blesses children, the rich young man, the difficulties of the rich,
Christ's third prediction of His death, the request of Zebedee's sons,
Christ's announcement of His mission to serve, blind Bartimaeus cured
at Jericho.



Passover A.D. 29.

Last days at Jerusalem, and afterwards; xi. 1-xvi. 20.--Entry into
Jerusalem, the withered fig-tree, cleansing of the temple, the duty of
forgiveness, Christ challenged (xi.).  The parable of the vineyard,
three questions to entrap Christ, His question, denunciation of
scribes, the widow's mites (xii.).

Predictions of destruction of temple, of woes and of the second coming

The Council discuss how they may arrest Jesus, the woman with the
ointment, Judas' bargain, the Passover, Gethsemane, the betrayal, the
trial before the Council, Peter's denial (xiv.).  Jesus delivered to
Pilate, trial, Jesus and Barabbas, the mockery, crucifixion, burial by
Joseph of Arimathaea (xv.).

The women at the sepulchre, the angel (xvi. 1-8).

Appendix with summary of appearances of the Lord (xvi. 9-20).

_Note on the Concluding Section._--The origin of xvi. 9-20 is one of
the most difficult of questions, (a) The section is not found in the
two famous Greek MSS., the Vatican and the Sinaitic, nor is it found in
the very ancient Sinaitic Syriac MS.  It is also lacking in one Latin
MS. (k), which represents the Latin version used before St. Jerome made
the Vulgate translation, about A.D. 384.  The great scholar Eusebius,
A.D. 320, omitted it from his "canons," which contain parallel passages
from the three Gospels.  (b) The language does not resemble the Greek
employed in other parts of the Gospels, differing from it in some small
particulars which most strongly suggest diversity of authorship.  (c)
Much of the section might have been constructed out of the other
Gospels and Acts; _e.g._ ver. 9 is thought to be derived from John xx.
14, and ver. 14 from John xx. 26-29.  (d) Mary Magdalene is introduced
as though she had not been mentioned previously; but she has already
appeared thrice in Mark (xv. 40, 47; xvi. 1).  On the other hand, it is
obvious that the Gospel could never have ended with the words "for they
{63} were afraid," in ver. 8.  All the old Latin MSS. contain the
present section except k, and perhaps originally A.  The evidence of
the Vatican and the Sinaitic MSS. is not so strong as it appears to be
at first sight.  The end of Mark in the Sinaitic was actually written
by the same scribe as the man who wrote the New Testament in the
Vatican MS.  And the way in which he has arranged the conclusion of the
Gospel in both MSS. suggests that the MSS. from which the Sinaitic and
the Vatican were copied, both contained this or a similar section.
Moreover, there is considerable reason for thinking that he acted under
the personal influence of Eusebius.  The verses are attested by
Irenaeus, and apparently by Justin and Hermas, and were therefore
regarded as authentic, or at least as truthful, by educated men at
Lyons and Rome, in the 2nd century.  A possible solution is offered by
an Armenian MS. (A.D. 986), which assigns the section to the "presbyter
Ariston."  This is probably the presbyter Aristion whom Papias
describes as a disciple of the Lord (Eusebius, _H. E._ iii. 39).  The
conclusion of St. Mark's MS. probably became accidentally detached, and
vanished soon after his death, and the Church may well have requested
one who knew the Lord to supply the deficiency.

[1] Eusebius, _H. E._ iii. 39.

[2] _Op. cit._ iii. 39.

[3] Eusebius, _H. E._ vi. 14.

[4] Also in Matt. xxvii. 46.  Observe also the explanation of Beelzebub
(iii. 22), Gehenna (ix. 43), Bartimaeus (x. 46), Golgotha (xv. 22).
Also the explanation of Jewish customs in vii. 3, 4; xiv. 12.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The evidence for believing that the third Gospel was written by St.
Luke, the friend of St. Paul, is very strong.  In the 2nd century both
this Gospel and Acts were attributed to him.  St. Irenaeus, about A.D.
185, writes: "Luke, also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the
gospel preached by him." [1]  A few years earlier the author of the
_Muratorian Fragment_ wrote the words, "The third book of the Gospel,
that according to Luke."

According to Eusebius and Jerome and an unknown writer of the 3rd
century, St. Luke was a native of Antioch in Syria.  Of this we seem to
have confirmation in the full account given in Acts of the Church at
Antioch.  It is shown by Col. iv. 14 that he was a Gentile, as there is
a distinction drawn between him and those "of the circumcision."  From
the same passage we learn that he was a physician.  Traces of his
profession have been discovered in the frequency with which he
describes the _healing_ wrought by Christ and His apostles (iv. 18, 23;
ix. 1, 2, 6; x. 9; xxii. 51), and the occasional use of terms which a
physician was more likely to employ than other people (iv. 38; v. 12;
vi. 19; xxii. 44).  It is very possible that it is St. Luke who is
described (2 Cor. viii. 18) as "the brother whose praise in the gospel
is spread through all the Churches."  This tradition can be traced as
far back as Origen.  The fact that he was a dear friend of St. Paul is
{65} shown by the epithet "beloved" in Col. iv. 14; by the fact that he
is one of the "fellow-workers" who send greetings from Rome when St.
Paul, who was imprisoned there, wrote to Philemon; and by the touching
statement in 2 Tim. iv. 11, where St. Paul, as he awaits his death,
writes, "Only Luke is with me."

St. Luke's relations with St. Paul are further illustrated from Acts.
The literary resemblances between this Gospel and Acts are so numerous
and so subtle that the tradition which ascribes both books to one
author cannot reasonably be controverted.  The passages in Acts which
contain the word "we" show that the writer of Acts accompanied St. Paul
from Troas to Philippi in A.D. 50, when the apostle made his first
missionary journey in Europe (Acts xvi. 10-17).  The apostle left him
at Philippi.  About six years afterwards St. Paul was again at
Philippi, and there met St. Luke, who travelled with him to Jerusalem
(Acts xx. 5-xxi. 18); he also was with the apostle when he made the
voyage to Rome, and was shipwrecked with him at Malta.  A writer of the
3rd century (quoted in Wordsworth's _Vulgate_, p. 269) tells us that
St. Luke had neither wife nor children, and died in Bithynia at the age
of seventy-four.  A writer of the 6th century asserts that St. Luke was
a painter, and attributes to him a certain picture of the Blessed
Virgin.  Another such picture is preserved in the great church of S.
Maria Maggiore at Rome.  The legend finds no support in early Christian
writers.  At the same time, it bears witness to the fact that this
Gospel contains the elements of beauty in especial richness.  It is the
work of St. Luke that inspired Fra Angelico's pictures of the
Annunciation, and the English hymn "Abide with me."

Although St. Irenaeus is the first writer who names St. Luke as the
author of the third Gospel, the Gospel is quoted by earlier writers.
Special mention must be made of (1) _Justin Martyr_.  He records
several facts only found in this Gospel, _e.g._ Elisabeth as the mother
of John the Baptist, the census {66} under Quirinius, and the cry,
"Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit."  (2) _Celsus_, the pagan
philosopher, who opposed Christianity.  He refers to the genealogy
which narrates that Jesus was descended from the first man.  (3) The
_Letter of the Churches of Lyons and Vienne_, written in A.D. 177.  (4)
_Marcion_.  He endeavoured to found a system of theology which he
pretended to be in accordance with the teaching of St. Paul.  He
rejected the Old Testament as the work of an evil god, and asserted
that St. Paul was the only apostle who was free from the taint of
Judaism.  The only Gospel which he kept was that according to St. Luke,
which he retained as agreeing with the teaching of St. Paul.  The
contents of Marcion's Gospel can be largely discovered in Tertullian.
The differences which existed between Marcion's Gospel and our Luke can
be easily accounted for.  Here, as in St. Paul's Epistles, he simply
altered the passages which did not agree with his own interpretation of
St. Paul's doctrine.  For instance, in Luke xiii. 28, instead of
"Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob," he put "the righteous."  The account
of our Lord's birth and infancy he omitted, because he did not believe
that our Lord's human body was thoroughly human and real.  An
interesting modern parallel to Marcion's New Testament can be found in
England.  At the beginning of the 19th century the English Unitarians
circulated large numbers of an English version of the New Testament in
which were altered all the passages in the English Authorised Version
which imply that Jesus is God.  The translators of this Unitarian
version accepted the Gospels of the New Testament as genuine, although
they used unscrupulous methods to support their assertion that the New
Testament is Unitarian.  In the same way Marcion, although he made
unscrupulous alterations in Luke in order to prove that it was really
Marcionite, obviously accepted it as a genuine work of the apostolic

The Preface of the Gospel begins with a ceremonious dedication to a
person of high rank, named Theophilus.  He is {67} called by the title
"most excellent," which ordinarily implies that the person so
designated is a member of the "equestrian order."  The evangelist tells
Theophilus that many had taken in hand to draw up a narrative of those
things which are "most surely believed among us."  The preface shows us
that many attempts to give an account in order of what our Lord did and
said had already been made.  The literary activity of the earliest
Christians is thus demonstrated to us.  The preface suggests to us that
substantial accuracy marked these early efforts, and, in a still higher
degree, St. Luke's own Gospel.  He does not speak of the earlier works
as inaccurate, and he does distinctly give his reader to understand
that he possesses peculiar qualifications for his task.  He asserts
that his information is derived from "eye-witnesses and ministers of
the Word," and that he has himself "traced the course of all things
accurately from the first."  This preface certainly shows us that the
writer took real pains in writing, and that he had personally known men
who accompanied our Lord.

The date can hardly be later than A.D. 80, unless the evangelist wrote
in extreme old age.  And the date must be earlier than Acts, as the
Gospel is referred to in that work (Acts i. 1, 2).  Can we fix the date
more accurately than this?  Many critics think that we can.  They say
that it must be later than the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70.  It is said
that the Gospel presupposes that Jerusalem was already destroyed.  The
arguments for this are: (1) In Luke xxi. 20-24 the utter destruction of
Jerusalem is foretold with peculiar clearness.  We have already seen
that a similar argument is employed by many in speaking of Matt., an
argument which seems to imply that our Lord did not foretell that
destruction because He could not.  This argument must be dismissed.
(2) In Luke xxi. 20 there is no editorial note like that in Matt. xxiv.
15, to emphasize the necessity of paying peculiar attention to our
Lord's warning about the coming destruction, and in Luke xxi. 25 the
final judgment is not so {68} clearly connected with the fall of
Jerusalem as in Matt. xxiv. 29, where it is foretold as coming
"immediately, after the tribulation of those days."  Moreover, xxi. 24
suggests that the writer was well aware that an interval must elapse
between the two great events.  This is the only good argument for
placing Luke later than Matt., and it certainly deserves careful
attention.  At the same time, we must observe the following facts: (a)
St. Luke probably did not know St. Matthew's Gospel, otherwise he would
not have given such very different, though not contradictory, accounts
of the infancy and the resurrection of our Lord; (b) St. Luke may
perhaps owe the superior accuracy of his report of the eschatological
discourse of Christ to persons whom he knew at Jerusalem in A.D. 56;
(c) St. Luke himself possibly thought that the end of the world would
follow soon after the destruction of Jerusalem, for in xxi. 32 he seems
to connect the final judgment with his own generation.  But the
statement is not so strong as in Matt. and Mark.  For St. Luke says,
"This generation shall not pass away till all be accomplished," while
Matt. and Mark say, "until all _these_ things be accomplished,"
evidently including the final judgment.

On the whole, it seems reasonable to date the Gospel according to St.
Luke soon after A.D. 70, but it contains so many primitive touches that
it may be rather earlier.  It has been urged that both the Gospel and
Acts betray a knowledge of the _Antiquities_ of Josephus, and must
therefore be later than A.D. 94.  This theory remains wholly unproved,
and the small evidence which can be brought to support it is far
outweighed by the early features which mark St. Luke's books.

[Sidenote: Literary Style.]

The style is marked by great delicacy and power.  It is in better Greek
than the other Synoptic Gospels, and the evangelist seems to
deliberately avoid some of the racy, popular words which are employed
by St. Mark.  But the beginner should be warned that this Gospel is not
very easy to translate, for it contains a good {69} many words with
which he is not likely to be familiar.  The language of St. Luke
contains many proofs that he is writing as a Gentile for Gentiles.
Thus he calls the Apostle Simon, who belonged to the fanatically devout
party known as the "Cananaeans," by the corresponding Greek name
"Zealot" (vi. 15); he seldom uses the Hebrew word "Amen," and he never
uses the word "Rabbi" as a form of address.  He adds the word "unclean"
before the word "devil" (iv. 33), as the Greeks believed that some
devils were good and kind, while the Jews believed all devils to be
evil.  He also substitutes the word "lawyer" for "scribe."  But while
the preface is written in what is perhaps the best Greek in the New
Testament, the evangelist allows his language to be penetrated by his
visions of Jewish scenes.  Partly from his study of the Old Testament,
partly from his knowledge of the books and the lives in which he found
a testimony to Jesus, he acquired the art of breathing into his Greek
the simple manner and the sweet tone of a Hebrew story.  There is
nothing in all literature more perfectly told than the story of the
walk to Emmaus.  Nothing can be better than the delineation of
character which is suggested to us in the story of Zacharias, or of
Anna, or of Zacchaeus.  There is always a freshness to remind us that
the Gospel is "good tidings of great joy" (ii. 10), and the Magnificat
(i. 46-55), the Benedictus (i. 68-79), the Gloria in Excelsis (ii. 14),
and the Nunc Dimittis (ii. 29-32), have become for ever part of the
praises of the Christian Church.  More often than in any other Gospel
we find such expressions as "glorifying God," "praising God," "blessing
God."  Again, St. Luke, in choosing incidents from the life of home,
and more especially in choosing incidents in which women are prominent,
gives a new solemnity to a life which men had hitherto despised.  We
always think of the Blessed Virgin as "highly favoured," of Martha
"cumbered about much serving" (x. 40), of the widow with the two mites,
of the daughters of Jerusalem weeping on the way of the cross (xxiii.
28), of the double joy of Elisabeth {70} to bear a son in her old age
and to be visited by the mother of her Lord (i. 43); and we think all
this because St. Luke has told us their story.  These passages with
their smiles and tears, their simplicity and their depth, are a divine
contrast to the grotesque passage in the Jewish liturgy, where the men
thank God that they are not women.

The last point in St. Luke's literary style is his use of phrases which
resemble phrases in St. Paul's Epistles.  He writes as a man who has
lived in familiar intercourse with St. Paul.  There is a striking
similarity between the words attributed to our Lord in _the institution
of the Eucharist_ (xxii. 19, 20) and those in 1 Cor. xi. 24, 25, a
similarity which is probably to be accounted for by the fact that St.
Luke must often have heard the apostle use these words in celebrating
this Sacrament.  Besides this, there are phrases which are parallel
with phrases in every Epistle of St. Paul.  A few instances are--Luke
vi. 36 (2 Cor. i. 3); Luke vi. 39 (Rom. ii. 19); Luke viii. 13 (1
Thess. i. 6); Luke x. 20 (Phil. iv. 3); Luke xii. 35 (Eph. vi. 14);
Luke xxi. 24 (Rom. xi. 25); Luke xxii. 53 (Col. i. 13).

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

It has been well said that St. Matthew's Gospel is in a peculiar sense
_Messianic_, St. Mark's is in a peculiar sense _realistic_, and St.
Luke's is in a peculiar sense _Catholic_.  And while St. Matthew takes
pains to connect Christianity with the religion of the past, and St.
Mark allows his interest in the past and the future to be overshadowed
by his resolve to speak of Jesus as actually working marvels, St. Luke
seems, like St. Paul, to be essentially progressive and to have a wider
horizon than his predecessors.  He does not manifest the least
antipathy towards Judaism.  He has none of that intolerance which so
often marks the men who advertise their own breadth of view.  He
represents our Lord as fulfilling the Law, as quoting the Old
Testament, and declaring that "it is easier for heaven and earth to
pass away than for one tittle of the Law to fail" (xvi. 17).  But he
writes as a representative Gentile {71} convert.  He takes pleasure in
recording all that can attract to Christ that Gentile world which was
beginning to learn of the new religion.  We may note the following
points which illustrate this fact: (1) Luke traces the genealogy of our
Lord, not like Matt. by the legal line to Abraham, the father of the
Jews, but by the natural line to _Adam_, the father of humanity (iii.
38), thus showing Jesus to be the elder Brother and the Redeemer of
every human being.  (2) While the true Godhead of our Lord is taught
throughout, His true _manhood_ is brought into prominence with peculiar
pathos.  We note His condescension in passing through the various
stages of a child's life (ii. 4-7, 21, 22, 40, 42, 51, 52), the
continuance of His temptations during His ministry (xxii. 28), His
constant recourse to prayer in the great crises of His life, His deep
_sobbing_ over Jerusalem (xix. 41), His sweat like drops of blood
during His agony in Gethsemane (xxii. 44), a fact recorded by none of
the other evangelists.  St. Luke seems to be filled with a sense of the
divine compassion of Jesus, and thus he relates the facts which prove
the reality of the grace, the undeserved lovingkindness, of God to man.
Rightly did the poet Dante call him "the scribe of the gentleness of
Christ."  (3) Corresponding with this human character of the incarnate
Son of God, we find the offer of _universal salvation_.  St. Luke
alone--for the words are wrongly inserted in Matt.--records the tender
words of Jesus, "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was
lost" (xix. 10).  St. Paul knew no distinction between Jew and Greek,
rich and poor, but taught that to be justified by God is a privilege
which can be claimed not by birth but by faith; and what St. Paul
enforces by stern arguments which convince our minds, St. Luke instils
by the sweet parables and stories which convince our hearts.  It is
here that we find kindness shown to the _Gentile_ (iv. 25-27; xiii. 28,
29), and the _Samaritan_ (ix. 51-56; xvii. 11-19); here we are told of
the publican who was "justified" rather than the Pharisee (xviii. 9),
the story of the penitent {72} thief who had no time to produce the
good works which his faith would have prompted (xxiii. 43), of the good
Samaritan who, schismatic though he was, showed the spirit of a child
of God (x. 30).  Last, and best, there is the parable of the Prodigal
Son (xv. 11), and the story of the woman who was a sinner (vii. 37).
To her Christ says, "Thy faith hath saved thee," and to His host He
says, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved
much"--words which no one but the Son of God could dare to say of any
"woman who was in the city, a sinner."  In recording these words, St.
Luke proves that Jesus Christ Himself taught the Pauline doctrine that
man is saved by faith; and yet not by an empty faith, but by "faith
working through love" (Gal. v. 6).  In this Gospel Jesus is especially
the Refuge of sinners, and the teaching of our Lord may be best
described by the happy phrase which records His address in the
synagogue of Nazareth: "words of grace."

It is important to notice that in no Gospel do we find such an especial
sympathy shown for the poor.  The poverty of the holy family (ii. 7, 8,
24); the beatitude on the poor[2] (vi. 20), with the corresponding woes
pronounced upon the rich (vi. 24 ff.); the parable of Dives and Lazarus
(xvi. 19), the invitation of the poor to the supper of the King (xiv.
21), show this sympathy.  In consequence of this, St. Luke's Gospel has
been said to show an _Ebionite_ tendency.  But the word is misleading.
It is possible that some early Christians may have called themselves by
the name _Ebionim_, a Hebrew word which designated the poor and
oppressed servants of God.  And it is known that in the 2nd century and
afterwards there was a heretical semi-Christian Jewish sect of that
name.  But St. Luke's Gospel is utterly opposed to the main tenets of
these heretics, which were a repudiation of Christ's real Divinity and
an insistence upon the necessity of circumcision for all Christians.


Perhaps it is the gentleness of the evangelist, and his preference for
all that is tender and gracious, which causes his account of the twelve
apostles to differ considerably from that in Mark.  Their slowness,
their weakness of faith, their rivalries, are set in a subdued light.
He does not tell us that Christ once called St. Peter "Satan," or that
Peter cursed and swore when he denied Christ.  He omits the rebuke
administered to the disciples in the conversation concerning the leaven
(Mark viii. 17), the ambitious request of the two sons of Zebedee, and
the indignation of the disciples at Mary's costly gift of ointment
(Matt xxvi. 8).  When St. Mark speaks of the failure of the disciples
to keep awake while their Master was in Gethsemane, he says that they
were asleep, "for their eyes were heavy" (xiv. 40).  When St. Luke
speaks of it, he says that they were "sleeping for _sorrow_" (xxii.
45).  Doubtless both accounts are true, and we can reverently wonder
both at the rugged honesty with which St. Peter must have told St. Mark
about the faults of himself and his friends, and at the consideration
shown by St. Luke towards the twelve in spite of the fact that he was
more closely connected with St. Paul than with them.

About one-third of this Gospel is peculiar to itself, consisting mainly
of the large section, ix. 51-xviii. 14.  St. Luke here seems to have
used an Aramaic document; the beginning of the section is full of
Aramaic idioms.  In places where St. Luke records the same facts as the
other Synoptists, he sometimes adds slight but significant touches.
The withered hand restored on the sabbath is the _right_ hand (vi. 6);
the centurion's servant is one _dear_ to him (vii. 2); and the daughter
of Jairus an _only_ daughter (viii. 42; cf. the son of the widow at
Nain, an _only_ son, vii. 12).  Among the remarkable omissions in this
Gospel we may notice two sayings which are found in Matt. and Mark, and
which seem to us to have been peculiarly appropriate for St. Luke's
general purpose.  The first is the saying of Christ that He had come
"not to be ministered unto, {74} but to minister, and to give His life
a ransom for many" (Matt. xx. 28; Mark x. 45).  The second is the
statement that the Gospel "shall be preached in the whole world" (Matt.
xxvi. 13; Mark xiv. 9).  With the omission of these sayings we may
compare the omission of any record of the visit of the Gentile wise men
to the cradle of the infant Saviour of the world--an incident which
would probably have appealed most strongly to the heart of St. Luke, if
he had known it.  Its absence from this Gospel is one of the many
proofs that St. Luke was not familiar with the Gospel according to St.

We have already noticed that much of the freshness of this Gospel is
due to its being in a peculiar sense the Gospel of praise and
thanksgiving.  It is also peculiarly the Gospel of _prayer_.  All the
three Synoptists record that Christ prayed in Gethsemane.  But on seven
occasions St. Luke is alone in recording prayers which Jesus offered at
the crises of His life: at His baptism (iii. 21); before His first
conflict with the Pharisees and scribes (v. 16); before choosing the
Twelve (vi. 12); before the first prediction of His Passion (ix. 18);
at the Transfiguration (ix. 29); before teaching the Lord's Prayer (xi.
1); and on the Cross (xxiii. 34, 46).  St. Luke mentions His insistence
on the duty of prayer in two parables which no other evangelist has
recorded (xi. 5-13; xviii. 1-8).  He alone relates the declaration of
Jesus that He had made supplication for Peter, and His charge to the
Twelve, "Pray that ye enter not into temptation" (xxii. 32, 40).

As the Gospel according to St. Luke is more rich in parables than any
other Gospel, we may conclude by giving a few words of explanation
concerning our Lord's parables.  The word "parable" means a
"comparison," or, more strictly, "a placing of one thing beside another
with a view to comparing them."  In the Gospels the word is generally
applied to a particular form of teaching.  That is to say, it means a
story about earthly things told in such a manner as to teach a {75}
spiritual truth.  The Jews were familiar with parables.  There are some
in the Old Testament, the Book of Isaiah containing two (v. 1-6;
xxviii. 24-28).  The rabbinical writings of the Jews are full of them.
But the Jewish parable was only an illustration of a truth which had
already been made known.  The parables of our Lord are often means of
conveying truths which were not known.  They must be distinguished from
(a) fables, (b) allegories, (c) myths.  A fable teaches worldly wisdom
and prudence, not spiritual wisdom, and it is put into somewhat
childish forms in which foxes and birds converse together.  An allegory
puts the story and its interpretation side by side, and each part of
the story usually has some special significance.  A myth takes the form
of history, but it relates things which happened before the dawn of
history, as they appear to the child-mind of primitive men.

The parables of our Lord were intended to teach the secrets of the
kingdom of God (see p. 44).  They unfold these secrets and at the same
time veil them in the illustrations which are employed.  These
illustrations attract the attention and inquiry of those who are
spiritually receptive.  On the other hand, those who are unworthy or
hardened do not recognize the truth.  Nevertheless, the parables were
such miracles of simplicity and power, were so easy to remember, and so
closely connected with everyday objects, that even the dullest man
would awake to the truth if he retained a spark of life.  It is
difficult to divide the parables into separate groups.  But they may
perhaps be divided into two groups.  The first group is drawn from
man's relations with the world of nature and from his simpler
experiences, and the second is drawn from man's relations with his
fellow-men, relations which involve more complicated experiences.  The
parables of the second group were sometimes spoken in answer to
questions addressed to our Lord in private; such is the parable of the
good Samaritan, and that of the rich fool.  If we desire to study the
parables in special relation to the kingdom of God, {76} we can divide
them into three groups.  The first consists of those collected in Matt.
xiii., delivered in and near Capernaum, and referring to the kingdom of
God as a whole.  The second consists of those collected in Luke
x.-xviii., delivered on Christ's journeys from Galilee to Jerusalem,
and referring to the character of the individual members of the
kingdom.  The third consists of parables spoken during our Lord's last
days at Jerusalem, and referring to the judgment of members of the

It is difficult to decide whether some of the shorter parables ought to
be regarded as parables or not, but the number is usually estimated at
about thirty, of which eighteen are peculiar to Luke.  In John there
are no parables, strictly so called, and St. John never uses the word
"parable."  But he uses the word _paroimia_, or "proverb," and records
several proverbial sayings of our Lord which are rather like parables
(John iv. 34; x. i-3; xii. 24; xv. 1-6; xvi. 21).


The infancy of our Lord: i. 1-ii. 52.--Similarity and contrast between
the predictions of the birth of John the Baptist and Jesus, and also
between their birth.  The circumcision, the visit of Jesus to the
temple in boyhood.


Winter A.D. 26 till after Pentecost 27.

The preparation for the ministry: iii. 1-iv. 13.--The ministry of John
the Baptist and the baptism of Jesus, the genealogy from Adam, the
threefold temptation.


Pentecost A.D. 27 till before Passover 28.

Missionary work of Jesus in Galilee: iv. 14-ix. 6.--Jesus preaches, is
rejected at Nazareth, goes to Capernaum, various miracles (iv.).  Call
of Simon, leper cleansed, five {77} grounds of offence against Jesus
(v.-vi. 11).  Appointment of the twelve, the sermon (vi.).  The
centurion's servant, the widow's son, Christ's description of John and
of the age, the penitent (vii.).  Parables, Christ's relation to His
mother and brethren, various miracles (viii.).  The mission of the
twelve (ix. 1-6).

[Perplexity of Herod, ix. 7-9.]


Passover A.D. 28 till before Tabernacles 28.

Climax of missionary work in Galilee: ix. 10-50.--Christ feeds the
multitude, Peter's confession, Christ's first prediction of His death,
transfiguration, lunatic boy cured, second prediction of death, two
rebukes to apostles.


Tabernacles, September A.D. 28 until early 29.

Later ministry, chiefly in Peraea: ix. 51-xix. 28.--Jesus rejected by
Samaritans, discouragements (ix.).  Mission of the seventy, lament over
cities of Galilee, the good Samaritan, Mary and Martha (x.).  Prayer
and the Lord's Prayer, Jesus accused of alliance with Beelzebub, His
saying about His mother, denunciation of a generation which will not
believe without signs, and of the Pharisees and lawyers (xi.).  The
leaven of the Pharisees, confidence in God, warnings against
covetousness, anxiety and lack of watchfulness, Christ's coming
"baptism," signs of the times (xii.).  The meaning of calamities,
parable of the fig tree, cure on the sabbath, the mustard seed and the
leaven, Gentiles to replace Jews, the Pharisees try to persuade Jesus
to leave the dominions of Herod, Christ's first lament over Jerusalem

Lawfulness of healing on the sabbath, humility, inviting the poor, the
King's supper, counting the cost (xiv.).  Parables to {78} illustrate
Christ's care for the lost (xv.).  The use and abuse of money (xvi.).
Occasions of stumbling, the increase of faith, the truth that we cannot
purchase God's favour by doing more than He commands, the ten lepers,
the coming of the Son of man (xvii.).  Answer to prayer, the Pharisee
and publican, little children, the rich young man, Christ's third
prediction of His death, the blind beggar at Jericho (xviii.).
Zacchaeus, the parable of the pounds (xix. 1-28).


Passover A.D. 29.

Last days at Jerusalem, and afterwards: xix. 29-xxiv. 53.--Entry into
Jerusalem, Christ's second lament over Jerusalem, cleansing of the
temple (xix. 29-xx.).  Christ challenged, parable of the vineyard, two
questions to entrap Christ, His question (xx.).  The widow's mites,
predictions of the destruction of the temple, siege of Jerusalem, the
second coming (xxi.).  Judas' bargain, the Passover, agony on the mount
of Olives, the betrayal, Peter's denial, Jesus tried before the elders
(xxii.).  Jesus before Pilate, Herod, Pilate again, Simon of Cyrene,
the daughters of Jerusalem, the crucifixion, burial by Joseph of
Arimathaea (xxiii.).

The women at the sepulchre, and Peter, the walk to Emmaus, Jesus
appears to the disciples and eats, His commission, the Ascension

The Date of our Lord's Birth.--It is fairly well known that the dates
of our Lord's Birth and of His Death are both, in all probability,
misrepresented in popular chronology.  The best ancient chronology
fixes the date of the Crucifixion in A.D. 29.  The Birth was probably
about six years before the commencement of our present era.  Various
reasons make this date probable, including the fact that there was at
that time a conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars, which must have
presented a most brilliant appearance in the sky, and would {79}
certainly have attracted the star-loving sages of the East.  The great
astronomer Kepler was of opinion that this conjunction was followed by
the brief appearance of a new star, which is the star mentioned in
Matt. ii. 2.  This is of importance in considering the statements of
St. Luke.  Several objections have been made to his account of the
census held under Quirinius.  (1) It is said that Quirinius was not
governor of Syria when Jesus was born; his administration was from A.D.
6 to A.D. 9, and Quinctilius Varus was governor in A.D. 1.  But St.
Luke cannot be proved to say that Quirinius was governor; he describes
his office by a participle which may mean "acting as leader," and there
is proof that Quirinius was engaged in a military command in the time
of Herod, and also proof that some high official twice governed Syria
in the time of Augustus.  St. Luke's expression might fit either of
these two facts.  (2) It is said that Herod was reigning as king in
Palestine, and that his subjects would not be included in a Roman
census.  But in the year 8-7 B.C. Augustus wrote to Herod, saying that
he would henceforth treat him as a subject.  His dominions must
henceforth have been treated like the rest of the dominions of
Augustus.  (3) It is said that no census took place at that time, and
that if there had been a census, it would have been carried out by
households, according to Roman custom, and not by families.  But there
seems to have been a census in Egypt and Syria in B.C. 8, and after
Augustus determined to put Herod under his authority, the census would
naturally be extended to Judaea.  Herod would probably be allowed to
carry out the census on his own lines, so long as it was really carried
out.  And he would plainly prefer to do it in the Jewish fashion, so as
to irritate the Jews as little as might be.

The question is still involved in some obscurity, but St. Luke's
accuracy has not been in the least disproved by the controversy.  He is
the only evangelist who connects his narrative with the history of
Syria and of the Roman empire, and we have every reason to believe that
he did his work with care as well as sympathy.

[1] _Adv. Har._ iii. 1.

[2] Matt. v. 3 has "poor in spirit."  The same Aramaic word might be
used for both "poor" and "poor in spirit."




[Sidenote: The Author.]

We learn from the Gospels that St. John was the son of Zebedee, a
Galilean fisherman, and was a follower of the Baptist before he joined
our Lord.  The Synoptists show that he was one of the most prominent
and intimate of our Lord's followers.  With St. Peter and St. James he
was permitted to witness the raising of Jairus' daughter, and to be
present at the Transfiguration, and with them was nearest to Christ at
the agony in Gethsemane.  With St. Peter he was sent to prepare the
last Passover.  Like his brother St. James, he shared in the fervour of
his mother, Salome, who begged for them a special place of dignity in
the kingdom of Christ.  They both wished to call down fire on a
Samaritan village, and St. John asked Jesus what was to be done with
the man whom they found casting out devils in His name.  Their fiery
temperament caused our Lord to give them the surname of Boanerges
("sons of thunder").  In the fourth Gospel the name of John the son of
Zebedee is never mentioned, but there are several references to an
apostle whose name is not recorded, but can be intended for no other
than St. John.  At the crucifixion this apostle was bidden by our Lord
to regard Mary as henceforth his mother, and the writer claims to have
been an eye-witness of the crucifixion.  In the last chapter very
similar words are used to assert that the writer is he whom Jesus loved.

In Acts St. John appears with St. Peter as healing the lame {81} man at
the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and with St. Peter he goes to Samaria
to bestow the Holy Ghost on those whom Philip had baptized.  He was
revered as one of the pillars of the Church when St. Paul visited
Jerusalem in A.D. 49 (Gal. ii. 9).  It is remarkable that the Synoptic
Gospels, the fourth Gospel, Acts, and Galatians, all show St. John in
close connection with St. Peter.  St. John's name occurs in the
Revelation, which has been attributed to him since the beginning of the
2nd century.

Numerous fragments of tradition concerning St. John are preserved by
early Christian writers.  Tertullian, about A.D. 200, says that St.
John came to Rome, and was miraculously preserved from death when an
attempt was made to kill him in a cauldron of boiling oil.  Tertullian
and Eusebius both say that he was banished to an island, and Eusebius
tells us that the island was Patmos, and that the banishment took place
in the time of Domitian.  On the accession of Nerva, St. John removed
from Patmos to Ephesus, where he survived until the time of Trajan, who
became emperor in A.D. 98.  Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, writing
about A.D. 190, speaks of St. John's tomb in that city, and says that
he wore the _petalon_, the high priest's mitre used in the Jewish
Church.  We are told by other writers how he reclaimed a robber, how he
played with a tame partridge, how when too old to preach he was carried
into church and would repeat again and again, "Little children, love
one another."  On one occasion a spark of his youthful fire was seen.
It was when the old man indignantly refused to stay under the roof of
the same public baths as Cerinthus, the heretic who denied that Mary
was a virgin when she bore our Lord, and asserted that the Divinity of
Jesus was only a power which came upon Him and went from Him.

The residence of St. John at Ephesus is attested by the Revelation.
Even if that book were a forgery, no forger at the close of the 1st
century would have ventured to place the hero of his book in a
neighbourhood where he had not lived.  {82} Many threads of evidence
lead us back to the statement made by Polycrates about the apostle's
tomb.  It was not until long after that date that the Christians began
to carry the relics of saints from place to place, and churches
rivalled one another in producing shrines for the severed members of
one body.  There is therefore no reason whatever to doubt that the tomb
at Ephesus marked the resting-place of the apostle.  It was known two
hundred years later in the time of Jerome, and visited in 431 by the
members of the great Church Council which met at Ephesus.  The Emperor
Justinian built a sumptuous church on the site, and near a modern
Turkish mosque may still be seen the remnants of the church of St. John.

Until the end of the 18th century the authorship of this Gospel was not
seriously challenged.  The only party which ever denied that it was
written by the Apostle St. John was an ignorant and insignificant body
of people mentioned by Irenaeus and Epiphanius.  They were known as the
_Alogi_, or "unbelievers in the Word."  Their views in no wise
undermine the tradition of the Catholic Church.  For the Alogi asserted
that this Gospel was written by Cerinthus, who lived at Ephesus where
St. John lived, and was himself a contemporary of St. John.  We have
sufficient knowledge of the teaching of Cerinthus to be perfectly
certain that he could not have written a Gospel which so completely
contradicts his own theories.  Therefore the opinion of the Alogi is
absolutely worthless where it negatives the tradition of the Church,
and on the other hand it agrees with that tradition in asserting that
the book was written in the apostolic age.

During the last hundred years the men who deny that Jesus Christ was
truly "God of God, Light of Light," have strained every nerve to prove
that the fourth Gospel was not written by St. John.  It is, of course,
almost impossible that they should admit that the writer was an apostle
and an honest man and continue to deny that the Christ whom he depicts
claimed to be the Lord and Maker of all things.  During the controversy
{83} which has been waged during the last three generations with regard
to St. John's Gospel, it has been evident throughout that the Gospel
has been rejected for this very reason.  The book has driven a wedge
into the whole band of New Testament students.  The critics who deny
that Jesus was God, but are willing to grant that He was the most holy
and the most divine of men, have been forced to side with those who are
openly Atheists or Agnostics.  The clue to their theories was
unguardedly exposed by Weizsäcker, who said, with regard to St. John's
Gospel, "It is impossible to imagine any power of faith and philosophy
so great as thus to obliterate the recollection of the real life, and
to substitute for it this marvellous picture of a Divine Being." [1]
This remark shows us that the critic approached the Gospel with a
prejudice against the doctrine of our Lord's Divinity, and rejected the
Gospel mainly because it would not agree with his own prejudice.  But
the determination to fight to the uttermost against the converging
lines of Christian evidence has now driven such critics into a corner.
Many have already abandoned the position that the book is a
semi-Gnostic forgery written in the middle of the 2nd century, and they
are now endeavouring to maintain that it was written about A.D. 100 by
a certain John the Presbyter, whom they assert to have been afterwards
confounded with the Apostle John.

Of John the Presbyter very little indeed is known.  Papias, about A.D.
130, says that he was, like Aristion, "a disciple" of the Lord, and
that he had himself made oral inquiries as to his teaching.  He seems
to have been an elder contemporary of Papias.  Dionysius of Alexandria,
about A.D. 250, mentions that there were two monuments in Ephesus
bearing the name of John, and we may reasonably suppose that one of
these was in memory of the presbyter mentioned by Papias.  But a little
reflection will soon convince us that nothing has been gained by the
conjecture that this John wrote the Gospel.  If John {84} the Presbyter
was personally acquainted with our Lord, as some writers understand
Papias to mean, then the sceptics are forced to admit that one who
personally knew Jesus, describes Jesus as a more than human Being--as,
in fact, the Divine Creator.  This is the precise fact which keeps
these writers from admitting that an apostle wrote the Gospel.  If, on
the other hand, they suppose, as some do, that John the Presbyter was
very much younger than the apostles, the sceptics are confronted with
the following difficulties:--

(a) There is the important external evidence which shows how widely the
Gospel was regarded in the early Church as the work of St. John.

(b) There is the minute knowledge displayed of the topography, customs,
and opinions of Jerusalem and the Holy Land as they existed in the time
of Christ.

(c) There is the impossibility of supposing that Irenaeus, who was
probably not born a year later than A.D. 130, would not have known that
the Gospel was written by John the Presbyter.

(d) There is the fact that the evidence for St. John having lived in
Ephesus is better than the evidence for a renowned presbyter of the
same name having lived in Ephesus.  This has been wisely pointed out by
Jülicher, even though he himself denies that the apostle wrote St.
John's Gospel.  And the justice of this argument proves that it is
sheer paradox to maintain, as some now maintain, that the _only_ John
who lived in Ephesus was the Presbyter.

It is constantly urged by the opponents of the authenticity of this
Gospel that, as it was published at Ephesus at a late period, it cannot
be the work of the apostle, because he never went to Ephesus, and "died
early as a martyr." [2]  This is a most unscrupulous use of an inexact
quotation made by some later Greek writers from a lost book of Papias.
It can be {85} traced to Philip of Side (5th century), and it is to the
effect that "John the Divine and James his brother were killed by the
Jews."  Papias does not say that they died together, and his statement
is compatible with the belief that St. John survived his brother very
many years.  We know from Gal. ii. 9 that he was alive some time after
his brother's death, which was about A.D. 44.  And George Hamartolus,
one of the Greek writers who quote the above passage in Papias,
expressly says that the Emperor Nerva (A.D. 96) recalled John from
Patmos, and "dismissed him to live in Ephesus."

[Sidenote: The External Evidence.]

The external evidence for the authenticity of this Gospel is in some
respects stronger than that which is to be found in the case of the
other Gospels.  Thus the Christian may recognize with gratitude that
his Divine Master has especially added the witness of the Church to the
work of His beloved disciple.  All through the 2nd century we have the
links of a chain of evidence, and after A.D. 200 the canon of the
Gospels is known to have been so fixed that no defender of the faith is
called upon to show what that canon was.  The earliest traces of the
phraseology of St. John are to be discovered in the _Didaché_, which
was probably written in Eastern Palestine or Syria about A.D. 100.  The
prayers which are provided in this book for use at the Eucharist are
plainly of a Johannine type, and are probably derived from oral
teaching given by the apostle himself before he lived at Ephesus.  In
any case, the _Didaché_ seems sufficient to disprove the sceptical
assertion that theological language of a Johannine character was
unknown in the Christian Church about A.D. 100.  The letters attributed
to St. Ignatius, the martyr bishop of Antioch, are now universally
admitted to be genuine by competent scholars.  They may most reasonably
be dated about A.D. 110, and they are deeply imbued with thought of a
Johannine type.  It has been lately suggested that this tendency of
thought does not prove an actual acquaintance with the Gospel of St.
John.  But when we find Christ {86} called "the Word," and the devil
called "the prince of this world," and read such a phrase as "the bread
of God which is the flesh of Christ," it is almost impossible to deny
that the letters of Ignatius contain actual reminiscences of St. John's
language.  Nor is there the least reason why Ignatius should not have
been acquainted with this Gospel.  His younger contemporary St.
Polycarp, whose letter to the Philippians was also written about A.D.
110, quotes from the First Epistle of St. John.  And Papias, who
probably wrote about A.D. 130, and collected his materials many years
earlier, also quoted that Epistle, as we learn from Eusebius.  Now, the
connection between the Gospel and the Epistle is, as has been cleverly
remarked, like the connection between a star and its satellite.  They
are obviously the work of the same author.  If Polycarp, who had
himself seen St. John, knew that the Epistle was genuine, he must have
known that the Gospel was genuine.

The evidence which can definitely be dated between A.D. 120 and A.D.
170 is of extreme interest.  It proves conclusively that a belief in
the authenticity of this Gospel was so firmly engrained in the
Christian mind that men holding the most opposite opinions appealed to
its authority.  It is true that the "irrational" Alogi rejected it, and
that Marcion repudiated it, not because it was not by an apostle, but
because St. Paul was the only apostle whom he admired.  But it was used
by the Catholics, the Gnostics, and the Montanists.  St. Justin Martyr
was acquainted with it, and before he wrote, Basilides, the great
Gnostic of Alexandria, borrowed from it some materials for his
doctrine.  The equally celebrated Gnostic Valentinus used it, and his
followers also revered it.  About A.D. 170 Heracleon, an eminent
Valentinian, wrote a commentary upon this Gospel, of which commentary
some fragments still remain.  The Montanists arose in Phrygia about
A.D. 157.  Montanus, their founder, endeavoured to revive the power of
prophecy, and his followers maintained that "the Paraclete said more
things in Montanus than Christ {87} uttered in the Gospel."  It can
easily be proved that their teaching was an attempt to realize some of
the promises of our Lord contained in St. John's Gospel.  And the fact
that the Montanists were strongly opposed to the Gnostics makes it all
the more remarkable that both sects regarded this Gospel as so
important.  Somewhat before A.D. 170 St. John's Gospel was inserted by
the great Syrian apologist, Tatian, in his _Diatessaron_, or harmony of
the Gospels, and the apocryphal Acts of John composed near the same
date contain unmistakable allusions to this Gospel.

The evidence of Irenaeus is the culminating proof of the genuineness of
the Gospel according to St. John.  He became Bishop of Lyons in A.D.
177, and remembered Polycarp, who suffered martyrdom at Smyrna in A.D.
156, at the age of eighty-six.  Irenaeus, in writing to his friend
Florinus, says, "I can describe the very place in which the blessed
Polycarp used to sit when he discoursed, and his goings-out and his
comings-in, and his manner of life, and his personal appearance, and
the discourses which he held before the people, and how he would
describe his intercourse with John and the rest who had seen the Lord,
and how he would relate their words.  And whatsoever things he had
heard from them about the Lord and about His miracles, Polycarp, as
having received them from eye-witnesses of the life of the Word, would
relate, altogether in accordance with the Scriptures." [3]

Now, it is perfectly certain that Irenaeus, like his contemporaries
Heracleon and Tatian, accepted the fourth Gospel as the work of the
Apostle John.  And can we believe that he would have thus accepted it,
if it had not been acknowledged by his teacher Polycarp, who knew St.
John, and was nearly thirty years old at the time of St. John's death?


[Sidenote: The Internal Evidence.]

The Gospel itself contains manifest tokens that it was written by a Jew
of Palestine, by one who held no Gnostic heresy, and by a contemporary
of our Lord.

I. _The author was a Jew and not a Gentile._

He makes frequent quotations from the Old Testament, and some of these
quotations imply an acquaintance with the Hebrew.  This is especially
the case in the verse from the 41st Psalm (xiii. 18), and in that (xix.
37) from Zech. xii. 10, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."
The Septuagint of Zech. xii. 10, translating from a different form of
the Hebrew, has, instead of the words "whom they pierced," "because
they mocked."  It is, therefore, plain that John xiii. 18 is not
derived from the Septuagint.  The Gospel is also Hebraic in style.  The
sentences are broken up in a manner which is at variance with Greek
idiom.  Whereas in St. Luke's two writings the style becomes more Greek
or more Hebraic in proportion to his writing independently or employing
the writings of Jewish Christians, the style of this Gospel is the same
throughout.  We may particularly notice the Hebraic use of the word
"and" to signify both "and" and "but" (_e.g._ in v. 39, 40, where "and
ye will not come" means "but ye will not come").  We may also notice
the correct use of certain Hebrew proper names: _e.g._ Judas is called
"the son of Iscariot," showing that the writer did not regard the word
Iscariot as the fixed name of Judas only, but knew that it might be
applied to any man of Kerioth.  In fact, the Greek of St. John is
exactly like the English of a Scottish Highlander who has only spoken
Gaelic in his earlier days, and, when he has acquired English, shows
his origin by the continued use of a few Gaelic idioms and his
knowledge of Highland proper names.

He shows a minute acquaintance with Jewish social and ceremonial
customs.  We may notice iii. 25; iv. 9, 27; vii. 2, 23, 37; x. 22; xi.
44; xix. 7, 31; and especially the waterpots (ii. 6), the purification
previous to the Passover (xi. 55), the fear {89} of our Lord's accusers
to defile themselves by entering the praetorium (xviii. 28), and the
Jewish method of embalming (xix. 40).  Jewish opinions are faithfully
reflected, _e.g._ as to the importance attached to the religious
schools (vii. 15); the disparagement of the Jews of the "dispersion"
(vii. 35); the scorn felt by many Jews for the provincials of Galilee
(i. 46; vii. 41, 52), and the idea of the soul's pre-existence (ix. 2).

II. _The author was a Jew of Palestine._

He shows a minute acquaintance with the geography of the Holy Land.  At
the present day elaborate guide-books and histories make it possible
for a very clever writer to disguise the fact that he has not visited
the land in which he lays the scene of his story.  But even at the
present day such procedure is dangerous, and likely to be detected.  In
ancient times it was almost impossible.  Yet no one has ever detected
an error in the geography of this Gospel.  The writer mentions Cana of
Galilee (ii. 1, 11), a place not noticed by any earlier writer, and
Bethany beyond Jordan (i. 28); he knows the exact distance from
Jerusalem to the better-known Bethany (xi. 18); the "deep" well of
Jacob at Sychar (iv. 11); the city of Ephraim near the wilderness (xi.
54); Aenon near to Salim, where John baptized (iii. 23).  This word
Aenon is an Aramaic word signifying "springs," and even Renan ridicules
the notion of such a name having been invented by Greek-speaking
sectaries at Ephesus.  The place was too obscure to be known to
ordinary travellers, and, on the other hand, such a name cannot have
been invented by a Gentile.

The topography of Jerusalem is described with equal nicety.  We may
notice viii. 20; ix. 7; x. 23; xviii. 1, 15; xix. 17, 41; and
particularly the pool near the sheep-gate, having five porches (v. 2),
and the place which is called the Pavement, "but in the Hebrew
Gabbatha" (xix. 13).  Even a person who had heard of Solomon's porch
and of Golgotha might well have been ignorant of the sheep-gate and the
Pavement, unless he had been in Jerusalem.

Lastly, the writer shows an acquaintance not only with the {90} Jewish
feasts, but also with facts connected with them which imply special
knowledge on his part.  He could not have gathered from the Old
Testament the fact that the later Jews were in the habit of keeping a
feast in honour of the dedication of the temple after its profanation
by Antiochus Epiphanes (x. 22), nor would he have learned how to
introduce an allusion to the rite of pouring forth water from the pool
at Siloam at the Feast of Tabernacles (vii. 37).

The only important argument which can be urged against the author
having been a Jew is that founded on the use of the phrase "the Jews,"
which is said to imply that the writer was not a Jew.  Now, in some
passages (as vii. 1), "the Jews" may mean the inhabitants of Judaea, as
distinct from those of Galilee, and such passages are therefore
indecisive.  But in other passages the phrase "the Jews" does not admit
this interpretation, and is used with a decided suggestion of dislike.
But when we remember the bitter hostility which the Jews soon
manifested towards the Christians, and remember that in Asia Minor this
hostility was active, the phrase presents no real difficulty.  St. Paul
was proud to reckon himself a Jew, but long before the Jews had shown
their full antagonism to Christianity, St. Paul spoke of "the Jews" (1
Thess. ii. 14-16) with the same condemnation as the writer of the
fourth Gospel.

The only important arguments in favour of the author having absorbed
Gnostic views are drawn: (1) _From the alleged Dualism of the Gospel_.
In theology the word Dualism signifies the doctrine that the world is
not only the battle-ground of two opposing forces, one good and the
other evil, but also that the material world is itself essentially
evil.  Such was the doctrine of the great Gnostic sects of the 2nd
century.  But this Gospel, in spite of the strong contrast which it
draws between God and the world, light and darkness, is not Dualist.
It teaches that there is one God, that the world was made by the Word
who is God, that this Word was made flesh and came to save the world.
In thus teaching that the material world was made by the good God, and
that God took a material human body, this Gospel opposes the
fundamental tenet of Gnostic Dualism.  (2) _From the alleged
condemnation of the Jewish prophets by Christ in x. 8_.  Other passages
make it perfectly plain that this is not a condemnation of the Jewish
prophets, but of any religious pretenders who claimed divine authority.
In this Gospel an appeal is made to Moses (v. 46), to Abraham (viii.
56), to Isaiah {91} (xii. 41), and, what is most remarkable of all, our
Lord says, "Salvation is of the Jews," _i.e._ the knowledge and the
origin of religious truth came from the Jews.  The Jewish Scriptures
are ratified (v. 39; x. 35).  It is impossible to find a shred of the
anti-Jewish theories which the Gnostics taught.  And though it is true
that some Gnostics were fond of using such words as "life" and "light"
in their religious phraseology, it is much more probable that they were
influenced by the fourth Gospel than that this Gospel was tinged with

We conclude, therefore, that the author was a Jew of Palestine, and
that he was not a Gentile or in any sense a Gnostic.

III. _The author was a contemporary and an eye-witness of the events

His knowledge of Jerusalem and of the temple, which we have already
noticed, strongly suggests that he knew the city before its destruction
in A.D. 70.  So far as can be tested, his treatment of the Messianic
ideas of the people is exactly accurate, and of a kind which it would
have been difficult for a later writer to exhibit.  This Gospel
represents the people as pervaded by a nationalist notion of the
Messiah as of a king who would deliver them from foreign powers (vi.
15, xi. 48; xix. 12), a notion which was dispelled in A.D. 70, and
apparently did not revive until the rising of Bar Kocheba in A.D. 135,
a date which is now almost universally recognized as too late for this
Gospel to have been written.  We also find the two contradictory ideas
as to the place of the Messiah's origin then current (vii. 27, 42), and
the writer distinguishes "the prophet" (i. 21, 25; vi. 14; vii. 40),
who was expected to precede Christ, from Christ Himself.  At a very
early date the Christians identified "the prophet" with Christ, and it
is in the highest degree improbable that any but a contemporary of our
Lord would have been aware of this change of belief.

It is claimed that the author is an eye-witness in i. 14; xix. 35; and
xxi. 24.  We may add 1 John i. 1, for the author of the Epistle was
obviously the author of the Gospel.  Numerous details, especially the
frequent notes of time, suggest the hand {92} of an eye-witness.  And
the delicate descriptions of the inner life of the disciples and of
Christ Himself point to the same conclusion.  The description of the
Last Supper and the words spoken at it suggest with overwhelming force
that the writer knew the peculiar manner of seating employed at this
ceremony.  Another Jew would have known where the celebrant sat, but he
would scarcely have been able to make the actions of our Lord and
Judas, St. John and St. Peter, fit their places at the table with such

The Gospel claims that the disciple who "wrote these things" is the
disciple "whom Jesus loved," and who reclined "in Jesus' bosom" at the
Supper.  It was not Peter, for Peter did not recline "in Jesus' bosom."
The presumption therefore is that it was either James or John, these
two being with Peter the closest friends of Jesus.  It could hardly
have been James, who was martyred in A.D. 44, as the whole weight of
tradition and external evidence is against this.  It must, then, have
been John, or a forger who wished to pass for that apostle.  And to
suppose that an unknown forger, born two generations, or even one
generation, later than the apostles, could invent such sublime
doctrine, and insert it in so realistic a story, and completely deceive
the whole Christian world, including the district where St. John lived
and died, is to show a credulity which is without parallel in the
history of civilization.[5]

Now that we have reviewed the internal evidence for the authenticity,
we are able to return with renewed vigour to deal with the popular
rationalistic hypothesis that the author was a Christian who had
learned some genuine stories about Jesus current in the Church at
Ephesus, and then wove them into a narrative of his own composing.  We
have observed that the marks of an eye-witness and contemporary of
Jesus are {93} scattered over the whole surface of the Gospel.  If the
Gospel is not by St. John, only one other explanation is possible.  It
must be composed of three distinct elements: (a) some genuine
traditions, (b) numerous fictions, (c) a conscious manipulation of the
narrative contained in the Synoptists.  But the internal evidence is
absolutely opposed to any such theory.  We can trace no manipulation of
the Synoptic narrative.  The writer seems to be aware of St. Mark's
Gospel, and possibly the other two, but he evidently did not write with
them actually before him.  He plainly had a wholly independent plan and
an independent source of information.  And if we turn to the passages
which tell us facts not recorded by the Synoptists, it is quite
impossible to separate the supposed fictions from the supposed genuine
traditions.  Both style and matter proceed from one and the same
individuality.  One passage alone can be separated from the rest
without interrupting the flow of the story, and that passage is absent
in the best manuscripts.  It is the story of the woman taken in
adultery (vii. 53-viii. 11).  It seems to have been originally placed
after Luke xxi. 36, and was inserted into St. John's Gospel after it
was completed.  We cannot apply the same process to any other passage
in the Gospel.  It is an organic whole, as much as any play of
Shakespeare or poem of Tennyson.  And over the whole book we find the
same morsels of history and geography.  They are of a kind which
tradition never hands down unimpaired, and which no Ephesian disciple
of an apostle would be likely to commit to memory.  In spite of all
attempts to divide the Gospel into parts derived straight from an
apostle and parts invented by later minds, the Gospel remains like the
seamless coat which once clothed the form of the Son of man.

[Sidenote: Date.]

It is important to observe that even the most hostile criticism has
tended to recede in its attempt to find a probable date for this
Gospel.  Baur fixed it about A.D. 160-170, Pfleiderer at 140,
Hilgenfeld 130-140; Jülicher and Harnack will not date it later than
110, {94} and the latter grants that it may be as early as 80.  The
year 80 is as early a date as the most orthodox Christian need desire,
and we can reasonably believe that it was written by the apostle at
Ephesus between A.D. 80 and A.D. 90.  We learn from Irenaeus that St.
John survived until A.D. 98.

[Sidenote: Literary Style.]

Several points in the literary style of the apostle have been noticed
in dealing with the internal evidence which they afford to the
authenticity of his Gospel.  But it is necessary to add something more,
for there is no writer to whom we can more fitly apply the profound
saying that "the style is the man."  The language of St. John is the
result of a long and impassioned contemplation.  Whether he writes down
his own words, or records the words and deeds of our Lord, his language
shows the result of careful reflection.

The teaching of Jesus exhibits a development different from that in the
Synoptists.  We find in chs. ii., iii., and iv. that our Lord
definitely taught that He was the Son of God and Messiah quite early in
His ministry, while in the earlier part of Mark our Lord's teaching
about His Messiahship is far less definite.  And the method of teaching
is also different.  In the Synoptists we find picturesque parables and
pointed proverbs, while in John we find long discourses and arguments.
In the Synoptists the teaching is generally practical, in John it is
much more openly theological.  This difference between the Synoptists
and St. John can be partly accounted for by the fact that St. John's
Gospel contains much more of the instruction given by our Lord to His
intimate friends, and that this instruction was naturally more profound
than that which was given to the multitude.  But there is another
reason for the difference.  If we attend to such passages as xiv.
15-21, 25-26; xv. 26-27, we see that our Lord teaches that there are
two manifestations of His Person, one during the time between His birth
and His death, and the other after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit is not a substitute {95} for an absent Christ; His coming
brings with it an inward presence of Christ within the Christian soul
(xiv. 18).  By the aid of the Spirit, St. John condenses and interprets
the language of our Lord in a manner which can be understood by the
simplest of simple souls who live the inner life.  In St. John we find
a writer who is writing when Jesus spoke no longer in parables and
proverbs, but "plainly" (xvi. 25, 29).  He records the teaching of
Jesus, as it had shaped itself _in_ his own mind, but not so much _by_
his own mind as by perpetual communion with the ascended Christ.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

We have noted on p. 31 the fact that St. John's Gospel shows that he
was acquainted with facts in the Synoptic Gospels which he does not
himself narrate.  Yet the broad difference between the character of the
Synoptic writers and that of St. John is that the Synoptists are
historical, he is mystical.  We do not mean that St. John does not
trouble about historical accuracy.  His history is often more minute
than that of the Synoptists.  But his purpose is to bring his readers
into deeper life through union with the God who is in Christ and is
Christ.  The true mystic ever desires to maintain the knowledge of this
inward union in life with God.  It is a knowledge which is made
possible by obedience, made perfect by love, and causes not new
ecstasies, but a new character.  St. John adjusts all his material to
this one purpose.  "These are written that ye may believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in His
name" (xx. 31).

The Introduction or Prologue (i. 1-18) teaches that Jesus Christ is
that personal manifestation of God to whom the Jews had given the name
of the Word.  The Palestinian Jews were accustomed to describe God
acting upon the world by the name _Memra_, or "Word" of the Lord.  The
Alexandrian Jews also were in the habit of giving the title _Logos_,
which means both "Word" and "Reason," to an idea of God which perfectly
expressed all that God is.  The Greek Stoics had {96} used the name in
a similar sense, and thus St. John, having realized that Jesus is truly
God made manifest, called Him by a name which every educated Jew and
Greek would understand.  Unlike Philo, the great Alexandrian Jew who
tried to combine Greek philosophy with Jewish religion, St. John
teaches that this divine Word is a Person, and took human flesh and
revealed Himself as the Messiah.  The whole Gospel shows how this
revelation met with increasing faith on the part of some, and
increasing unbelief and hatred on the part of others.  The crises of
this unbelief are represented chiefly in connection with our Lord's
visits to Jerusalem, when He made His claims before the religious
leaders of Judaism.  His revelation is attended by various forms of
_witness_.  There is that of the apostle himself (i. 14); that of the
other apostles who also witnessed His "glory," as displayed by His
miracles (ii. 11).  There is that of John the Baptist (i. 34); and when
we remember that there had existed at Ephesus an incomplete
Christianity which had only known the baptism given by John the Baptist
(Acts xix. 3), we see how fit it was that the apostle should record the
Baptist's testimony to Christ's superiority.  There is the witness of
His works, and that which the Father Himself bore (v. 34-36).  We
should notice that the miracles are called "signs," and are carefully
selected so as to give evidence to the reader concerning particular
aspects of our Lord's glory.[6]  Even the Passion is described as
containing an element of glory (xii. 28, 32), it contains a secret
divine triumph (cf. Col. ii. 15), and is a stage towards the glory of
the Ascension.  The "darkness" contends with the {97} divine "light,"
but cannot "suppress" it.  After the "world" has done its worst, the
final victory of faith is seen in the confession of St. Thomas, "My
Lord and my God" (xx. 28).

We find other points of doctrine corresponding with the mystical
teaching that "eternal life" does not begin after the last judgment,
but may be enjoyed here and now by knowing "God and Jesus Christ whom
He hath sent" (xvii. 3).  Thus the judgment is shown to be executed in
one sense by the mere division which takes place among men when they
come in contact with Christ, according as they are good or bad (v. 30;
viii. 16; ix. 39).  The principle of this moral testing is made plain
in iii. 19.  Those who stand the test, and believe in Christ, undergo a
resurrection here (xi. 26).  On the other hand, there is also a future
judgment (v. 22, 29) and a future consummation (v. 28, 29; vi. 39 f.,
xiv. 3).

Similar beautiful paradoxes are found in the teaching that the "work"
which God requires of us is to believe in His Son (vi. 28, 29); and
that to fulfil God's will is the mark not of servants but of friends
(xv. 14).  And those who hope that they are numbered among the friends
of Jesus will find in this Gospel all the deepest experiences of the
soul--the new birth, the finding of the living water and the true
light, and that abiding in Christ which is made complete by the eating
of His flesh and the drinking of His blood.

To realize the meaning of Jesus it is necessary to follow the guidance
of the Holy Spirit.  The Synoptists tell us comparatively little of His
work, though they show us the Spirit descending on Christ at His
baptism, driving Him into the wilderness to be tempted, speaking in His
disciples, pervading His work (Luke iv. 18), and possessed of a
personality into which the Christian is baptized (Matt. xxviii. 19),
and against which blasphemy is unpardonable (Luke xii. 10).  In John we
find a much fuller doctrine of the Holy Spirit.  The fact that He is
not a mere impersonal influence of God is very clearly shown.  And it
is impossible to accept the modern rationalistic {98} hypothesis that
the Holy Spirit is only a phrase for describing the idea which the
apostles had about the invisible presence of Christ.  He is called
"another Advocate" (xiv. 16).  Christ was an Advocate or Helper; the
Spirit will be another.  Again, it is the work of the Spirit to refresh
the memory and strengthen the apprehension of the disciples concerning
Christ (xiv. 26); and our Lord definitely says, "If I go, I will send
Him unto you" (xvi. 7).  With regard to the unbelieving world, the
Spirit will prove the sinfulness of opposition to Christ, will convince
the world of His righteousness as testified by the Father's approval
manifested in the Ascension, and will procure the verdict of history
that by the crucifixion the evil spirit who inspires worldliness was
condemned (xvi. 8-11).  The Spirit's work is the same in kind as the
work of Christ, but the two Persons are distinct.  That Christ
continues His advent and His work in the world through the Spirit
implies neither that the Spirit is an impersonal influence nor that He
is personally identical with Christ.

This Gospel gives us invaluable help in determining the chronology of
our Lord's ministry.  His ministry is connected with six Jewish feasts
(ii. 13; v. 1; vi. 4; vii. 2; x. 22; xii. 1).  All are named except
that in v. 1, which is probably Pentecost, A.D. 27.  The forty-six
years in ii. 20 are correct.  Herod began to rebuild the temple in
20-19 B.C.  Therefore the Passover in ii. 13 cannot be before A.D. 27.


Introduction: i. 1--i. 18.--The Word ever with God and Himself God,
manifested in creation, in conscience, in the incarnation.


Winter A.D. 26 till after Passover 27.

The preparation and beginning of the ministry: i. 19-iv. 54.--The
testimony of John the Baptist to Jesus {99} and his baptism of Jesus,
his disciples come to Jesus, the gathering of other disciples, the
promise of seeing heaven opened (i.).  Jesus and Mary at the marriage
at Cana, the disciples believe.  Jesus at Capernaum.  At the Passover
Jesus goes to Jerusalem and cleanses the temple (ii).  At Jerusalem
Jesus teaches Nicodemus of the new birth, He labours in Judaea while
John is at Aenon (iii.).  The woman of Samaria converted; Jesus returns
and is welcomed in Galilee, is again at Cana, cures the Capernaum
nobleman's son (iv.).


Pentecost A.D. 27 till before Passover 28.

The increased self-revelation of Jesus at Jerusalem: v.--Jesus cures
the infirm man at the pool of Bethesda, is accused of sabbath-breaking.
He co-ordinates His work and His honour with the work and honour of the
Father, claims to give life now and execute judgment, claims the
testimony of John, of His own miracles, of the Scriptures.


Passover A.D. 28 till before Tabernacles 28.

Full self-revelation of Jesus in Galilee: vi.--Christ sustains physical
life by feeding the 5000, the people wish to make Him King.  He again
shows power over nature by walking on the sea.  He reveals Himself as
the Bread sustaining all spiritual life, commands the eating of His
flesh and drinking of His blood.  The effect of this teaching is
increased enmity, the desertion by nominal disciples, and intensified
faith as shown by Peter's confession.


Tabernacles, September A.D. 28 till early 29.

Further self-revelation at Jerusalem: conflict: journey to Peraea; vii.
1-xi. 57.--Jesus at the feast, {100} is accused of having a devil,
defends His former action on the sabbath, attempt to seize Him, His
invitation to all who thirst, the people divided, the officers refuse
to arrest Him (vii.).  [Interpolated story of the woman taken in
adultery, vii. 53-viii. 11.]

Jesus reveals Himself as the Light of the world, the Jews no longer
Abraham's children, the Jews reject His claim to pre-existence, and
attempt to stone Him (viii.).  Jesus gives sight to the blind man at
Siloam, discussion about healing on the sabbath (ix.).  Jesus the good
Shepherd, at the feast of the Dedication in December the Jews try to
stone Him and He goes east of Jordan (x.).

Jesus as Conqueror of death goes to Bethany, raises Lazarus and
proclaims Himself as the Resurrection and the Life.  On the advice of
Caiaphas, the Council propose to put Jesus to death.  After raising
Lazarus Jesus retires to Ephraim, a city on the edge of the wilderness
to the north-east of Jerusalem (xi.).


Passover A.D. 29.

Last public ministry at Jerusalem: xii.--Mary anoints Jesus for burial,
the entry into Jerusalem, the Greeks who desire to see Jesus, a voice
from heaven promises to glorify Him.  Rejecting or receiving Christ.

Full self-revelation of Jesus to His apostles: xiii.-xvii.--At the
Passover He washes the disciples' feet.  Judas pointed out and departs.
The question of Peter (xiii. 37), of Thomas (xiv. 5), of Philip (xiv.
8), of Judas (xiv. 22).  The work of the Advocate who is to come (xiv.
26).  Abiding in Christ, the new commandment to love one another, the
hatred of the world, future testimony of the Spirit of truth (xv.).
The Spirit will convict the world, guide the disciples.  Sorrow only
for a little while, final assurances, warm expression of faith on the
part of the apostles, Christ's warning (xvi.).

Christ's intercession (xvii.).


The death of Jesus, the apparent triumph of unbelief:
xviii.-xix.--Betrayal in the garden, trial before Annas and Caiaphas,
Peter's denial, trial before Pilate, Jesus or Barabbas (xviii.).

The scourging, Pilate's futile endeavour to release Jesus, his
political fears, the crucifixion, "behold thy mother," the
spear-thrust, the writer's personal testimony, the burial by Joseph of
Arimathaea (xix.).

The resurrection, the victory over unbelief: xx.--Mary Magdalene, Peter
and the writer at the sepulchre, the writer records his own conviction.
Jesus manifests Himself to the Magdalene, to the ten disciples, most of
whom had deserted Him, and to Thomas who doubted.  Thomas is convinced
of the Divinity of Jesus, the writer states that this Gospel was
written "that ye might believe."

Epilogue: xxi.--The manifestation of Jesus by the sea of Galilee, the
solemn charge to Peter.  The editors of the Gospel assert that the
author was the beloved disciple.

(John xxi. 24 was probably written by the Ephesian presbyters who knew
St. John.  The rest of the chapter is evidently by the apostle himself,
although, it may have been added at a time later than the rest of the
Gospel, which seems to come to an end with the impressive words in xx.
31.  The most contradictory hypotheses have been broached by writers
who have denied the authenticity of ch. xxi.  Some have held that it
was added in order to exalt St. John, the apostle of Asia Minor, over
St. Peter, the patron of Rome.  Others have held that it was added to
exalt St. Peter.  Those who deny the authenticity of the whole Gospel
are compelled to regard ch. xxi. 24 as deliberate false witness.)

_St. John's Oral Teaching._--It seems that before St. John wrote his
Gospel, he had adapted it to oral teaching.  This is shown by the
arrangement of facts in combinations of 3, possibly suggested by the 3
manifestations of the Word recorded in the Introduction.  There are 3
Passovers recorded, 3 feasts besides the Passovers, 3 journeys to
Judaea, 3 discourses on the last day of Tabernacles before the address
to believing Jews (viii. 31), 3 sayings from the Cross.  If we regard
ch. xxi. as added later by St. John, we find in the rest of the Gospel
3 miracles in Judaea, 3 in Galilee, and 3 appearances of the risen Lord.

[1] _Apostolic Age of the Church_, vol. ii. p. 211.  (English

[2] Dr. James Moffat, _Introduction to the Literature of the New
Testament_, p. 601.

[3] Eusebius, _H. E._ v. 20.  It is worth noting that Dr. Moffat, _op.
cit._ p. 609, admits that "if Irenaeus is correct, his testimony to
John the Apostle is of first-rate importance."  So he adds, "he must be
held to have mistaken what Polykarp said, and to have confused John the
Presbyter with John the Apostle."

[4] See Edersheim, _Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah_, vol. ii. p.

[5] The difficulties which arise from the difference between the
history of our Lord's ministry as given by St. John, and by the
Synoptists, have been discussed on p. 27, ff.

[6] He changes the good into better (ii. 9); saves the dying (iv. 50);
gives power (v. 8); gives food (vi. 11); gives sight (ix. 7); is Lord
over death (xi. 44); blesses the work done in faith (xxi. 11).  It
should be noticed that St. John never mentions that our Lord cured any
one possessed with a devil, which according to the Synoptists was a
common kind of miracle.  But St. John does not therefore contradict the
other evangelists.  He recognizes that there are visible works of the
devil (viii. 41; cf. 1 John iii. 8), and mentions "the prince of this
world" as causing the trials of our Lord.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The Christian Church has never attributed the Book of Acts to any other
writer than St. Luke.  The external proofs of the primitive date of the
book are important, and point to the apostolic age as the date of its
composition.  St. Clement of Rome, about A.D. 95, in referring to Ps.
lxxxviii. 20, quotes it in words which are almost certainly based on
Acts xiii. 22.  There are two apparent quotations from Acts in the
letters of St. Ignatius and one in the letter of St. Polycarp.  It is
also quoted in the works of Justin Martyr, Tatian, and Athenagoras, and
in the letter of the Churches of Vienne and Lyons written in A.D. 177.
It was evidently read throughout the 2nd century, and it is definitely
assigned to St. Luke by Irenaeus, the _Muratorian Fragment_,
Tertullian, and Clement of Alexandria.

In opposition to this tradition, a persistent effort has been made to
prove that the book belongs to the early part of the and century.
There are certain passages in which the writer uses the _first person
plural_, implying that he was personally present on the occasions
described.  The sections of the book in which that peculiarity is found
are ordinarily called the "we sections," and it has been asserted that
though the "we sections" are primitive they have been worked into the
narrative of a later writer.[1]  Furthermore it is asserted that {103}
the book was deliberately intended to be a fictitious account of the
primitive Church, and that its special purpose was to balance the story
of St. Peter with that of St. Paul in such a manner as to completely
disguise the fundamental antagonism of the two apostles.

The force of this argument has been weakened by the general admission
of non-Christian writers that the differences of opinion between the
two apostles were grossly exaggerated by the critics of fifty years
ago.  It is therefore granted that there was less necessity for the
forgery than there was said to be by the critics in question.  It is
also very obvious that we cannot fairly charge a historian with
dishonesty because he wishes to balance one great character with
another.  No one would assert that a modern writer was a partisan or a
liar because he devoted in the same book twenty appreciative pages to
the Evangelical Revival and twenty appreciative pages to the Oxford
Movement.  In spite of this fact, the trustworthy character of the book
is still vigorously assailed.  It is said that no statement in the book
deserves ready belief except the "we sections," that those sections
were written by an unknown companion of St. Paul, and impudently
"appropriated" by a Christian who wrote between A.D. 105 and A.D. 130.

This argument about the "we sections" can be completely overthrown by a
consideration of the _linguistic evidence_ of Acts.  If language
implies anything, the peculiarities of Acts imply that the author of
the "we sections," who was a companion of St. Paul, was the author of
the whole book.  And they also show that the author of the whole book
was the person who wrote the third Gospel.  There are many words and
phrases found only in the "we sections" and in the rest of Acts.  There
is, too, a large number of words and phrases in the "we sections" which
are rarely used in those books of the New Testament which are _not_
attributed to St. Luke, and occur frequently in the rest of Acts and in
St. Luke's Gospel.  If {104} we compare Acts with St. Luke's Gospel, we
find that Acts contains 108 out of 140 which are characteristic of this
Gospel, whereas it contains only about a half of those which are
characteristic of Matt. and Mark.  There are 58 Greek words which are
found in both Acts and Luke and nowhere else in the New Testament.[2]
Among the terms which serve as connecting links between St. Luke's
Gospel and Acts, including the "we sections," occur various medical
phrases.  It is becoming more and more widely recognized that these
phrases imply that the writer was a physician, such as we know St. Luke
to have been (Col. iv. 14).  It is all the more remarkable that many of
the words peculiar to Acts are found in St. Luke's contemporary, the
physician Dioscorides.

It is true that the sections taken from Mark show numerous "Lucan"
characteristics as they appear in our third Gospel, but these
characteristics are due to the third evangelist, and not to St. Mark.
So, it can be urged, the "Lucan" characteristics in the "we sections"
are due not to the author, but to an expert editor of a later time.  In
reply, we can answer that the cases are not strictly parallel.  For if
the "we sections" are not by the writer of Acts, he must have almost
entirely rewritten them, and, at the same time, have been guilty of a
gross fraud, which he stupidly dropped in passages where it could have
been effectively used.

To this linguistic evidence of authenticity we can add _archaeological
evidence_.  The discoveries of the last thirty years have greatly
confirmed the accuracy of the writer in points where a writer of the
2nd century would have betrayed his ignorance.  In fact, we are able to
compare his accuracy with the inaccuracy of the writing known as the
_Acts of Paul and Thecla_, a 2nd century blend of sensationalism and
piety based on a document of the 1st century.  Now, in almost every
point where we are able to test the knowledge possessed by the author
of Acts with regard to the topography of Asia {105} Minor and the
details of Roman government, it can be pronounced correct.  This has
been admirably shown by Prof. Ramsay's works on _The Church in the
Roman Empire and St. Paul_.  St. Luke knows that Cyprus was governed by
a pro-consul, which had ceased to be the case early in the 2nd century;
that the magistrates at Philippi were called _strategoi_, and were
attended by lictors, while those at Thessalonica were called
_politarchai_ (xvii. 6), a title which has been verified by
inscriptions.  He is aware that the governor of Malta was only called
the head-man (xxviii. 7).  He knows that Derbe and Lystra, but not
Iconium, were cities of Lycaonia, and that "great Artemis" was the cry
used at Ephesus in invoking the patronal goddess of the city (xix. 28).
We must not assert that these and similar details absolutely prove that
the writer was a companion of St. Paul; but we can say that he was
peculiarly well acquainted with the life of that period.  The account
of St. Paul's voyage and shipwreck is equally accurate.

A very favourite argument against the genuineness of Acts is that Acts
xv., in its account of St. Paul's third visit to Jerusalem, A.D. 49, is
inconsistent with Gal. ii.  It is asserted that the author deliberately
falsified the story in order to represent the older apostles as
promoting the union of Gentile and Jewish Christians, some modern
critics assuming that the apostles would never have done anything so
Catholic.  But there is no real discrepancy between the two accounts,
if we are ready to believe that St. Luke gives the public and exterior
view of the proceedings, while St. Paul, as is natural, describes the
personal aspect of those proceedings.  According to Acts xv. 2, St.
Paul and St. Barnabas were _deputed_ to go to Jerusalem by the Church
at Antioch; according to Gal. ii. 2, St. Paul went there "by
revelation."  The internal motive is surely compatible with the
external.  Again, both Acts xv. and Gal. ii. show that the momentous
Council at Jerusalem included private and public meetings.  The two
accounts fit one another all the better in consequence of the fact that
Acts {106} lays stress upon the public settlement (xv. 7 f.) and
Galatians upon a private conference (ii. 2).  Acts shows that there was
much dispute, and Galatians shows that the dispute included opposition
to St. Paul's methods.  Acts shows that St. Paul greatly desired to be
on good terms with the older apostles, Galatians shows that they gave
him the right hand of fellowship.  The historical situation, the
occasion of dispute (viz. the attempt to impose circumcision on the
Gentiles), the chief persons concerned and the feelings which they
entertained, are the same in both books.[3]

As to the fact that St. Paul in Galatians makes no mention of a second
visit to Jerusalem about A.D. 46, he ignores it because it was devoted
to the specific business mentioned in Acts xi. 30; xii. 25.  Nothing
arose out of it affecting his relations with the first apostles or his
own apostleship.  A description of this visit was therefore quite
beside the argument of Galatians.  We cannot therefore say that its
omission in Galatians proves that it was an invention of the author of

The fact that Acts does not depend upon St. Paul's writings and
nevertheless shows many undesigned points of contact with them, leads
us to a very important conclusion.  This conclusion is that the writer
of Acts was a companion of St. Paul.  It is incredible that a later
writer, who took an eager interest in St. Paul's adventures, should
have made no use of St. Paul's letters.  Those letters made a deep
impression upon St. Paul's contemporaries (cf. 2 Cor. x. 10), and they
were carefully treasured by all succeeding generations.  We can only
explain the relation between Acts and the Pauline Epistles by the
theory that the author of Acts was sufficiently intimate with the
apostle to be able to write his book without feeling the necessity of
enriching it by references to those Epistles.  The theory, then, fits
with the theory which is suggested to us by the "we sections."  The
only remaining question is whether this companion was, or was not, St.
Luke.  {107} He was evidently with St. Paul at Rome, and this makes it
impossible to attribute the authorship of Acts to Titus, as there is no
hint in the New Testament of Titus being there.  Nor was the author
Silas, for Silas was not with St. Paul on the third missionary journey,
while the author of Acts was.  Acts xx. 5, 6 seems to prove that the
book was not written by Timothy.  No one seems so likely to have been
the author as St. Luke.  For the writer of Acts xxvii. 1-xxviii. 16
evidently accompanied St. Paul to Rome, and we learn from Col. iv. 14
and Philem. 24 that St. Luke was with the apostle during his first
imprisonment in that city.  We may therefore say that every line of
evidence points to the truth of the ancient tradition that St. Luke
wrote Acts.

The sources of information employed by St. Luke can sometimes be
determined with a high degree of probability.  Where he did not draw
upon his own recollections he could often rely upon those of St. Paul.
The apostle was, as we should expect, in the habit of narrating his own
experiences (cf. 2 Cor. i. 8-10; xii. 9; Gal. i. 11-ii. 14; Phil. iii.
3-7; Rom. xv. 16-32).  Acts xxi. 19; xiv. 27; xv. 3, 12, 26, show how
St. Paul related his travels.  Acts i.-v. probably incorporates an
early Jewish Christian document, and contains features which
unmistakably point to the truthfulness of the record.  A good deal of
information was probably obtained from John Mark: it was to the house
of Mark's mother that St. Peter made his way after his escape from
prison recorded in ch. xii.  As St. Mark was with St. Luke and St. Paul
at Rome, and acted as St. Peter's interpreter, St. Luke had the
opportunity of learning from him many facts concerning St. Peter.  St.
Barnabas also perhaps furnished some details concerning the history of
the early Church at Jerusalem.  Some of the converts who fled from
Judaea to Antioch (xi. 19) were probably men who witnessed the wonders
of the Day of Pentecost.  And if St. Luke was a Christian of Antioch,
as tradition says, he may have made inquiries of these converts.


From Philip the evangelist, St. Luke may have learnt the history of
events with which Philip was concerned, as he stayed with him at
Caesarea (xxi. 8-12), and he also knew Mnason, who was one of the
"original" disciples of Pentecost (xxi. 16).  Finally, we notice that
St. Luke had intercourse with St. James, the Bishop of Jerusalem,
himself (xxi. 18).

[Sidenote: Date.]

We have seen above (p. 68) that St. Luke's Gospel was probably written
soon after A.D. 70.  As Acts i. 1 shows that Acts was written later
than the Gospel, and as there is just enough difference in style
between the two books to encourage the idea that Acts was not written
immediately after the Gospel, we may reasonably place Acts between A.D.
75 and 80.

One obvious objection to placing the date of Acts so late is the fact
that the writer does not record the death of St. Paul.  This is
certainly startling, for the martyrdom of the great apostle would have
formed an impressive conclusion to the book.  But there are several
reasons which may be appropriately suggested to account for the
omission.  Possibly the author intended to write a third "treatise," in
which the story of the martyrdom of his two great heroes, St. Peter and
St. Paul, would be recounted; possibly Acts, which ends very abruptly,
was never completed by the author.  It is also possible that, after
showing that the Roman civil power had generally been tolerant towards
Christianity, he did not wish to endanger the circulation of his book
by giving an account of Nero's brutal persecution of the Christians.
If the book had contained any such history, the possession of it would
have been regarded as no small offence by the civil authorities.
Several years later, when the Church was probably much stronger, St.
John, in writing the Revelation, disguised his description of Nero in
symbolical language.  In any case, St. Luke may have wished both to
show Theophilus that Christianity was compatible with loyalty to the
government, {109} and that the government had for a long time been
tolerant towards Christianity.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The general plan of the book may easily be seen by a glance at the
Analysis printed below.  We may describe it by saying that the ruling
ideas are the progress and the continuity of the Church.  That is to
say, St. Luke shows how the Church, the divinely organized society
which promotes the kingdom of God, lives and develops through various
stages and crises.  It spreads from one upper room in Jerusalem to
Rome, the world's mightiest city.  From the election of Matthias, the
new apostle, until the decision reached by the Council at Jerusalem
twenty years afterwards, and recorded in ch. xv., we behold a slow but
sure progress.  The secret of this progress is dependence upon the
risen Christ.  We cannot conceive how the apostles could ever have come
out of the perplexity and dismay caused by the death of their Lord, and
laboured with such enthusiasm, unless they were certain that the Lord
was indeed risen.  Without the resurrection, the Church would have
collapsed at once.  Knowing that it could not be possibly disproved,
the apostles appeal to it as their reason for advancing out of Judaism.
Two points with regard to the doctrine implied in chs. i.-xv. deserve
special attention.

(1) _The doctrine of Christ's Person_.  The doctrine is of the simplest
kind, but the facts asserted by the apostles imply that He is divine.
He is the Messiah, anointed by God, and the Holy One, and He is in a
special sense the Holy Servant or Child of God (iii. 14; iv. 27).  He
is seated at the right hand of God (v. 31), He is Prince and Saviour.
He fulfils divine functions.  It is He who has poured out the Holy
Spirit (ii. 33).  He is the object of man's faith, and His name or
revealed personality is declared to have just restored a lame man to
soundness (iii. 16); signs and wonders are expected to be done through
Him (iv. 30).  There is "salvation" in none other (iv. 12), and He is
to be "the Judge of quick and dead" {110} (x. 42).  St. Stephen in
dying prays to Him.  He is perpetually called Lord, and the fact that
the same name is applied to Jehovah in the Septuagint makes it
impossible to suppose that Christ is not regarded as possessed of
divine attributes.

(2) _The doctrine of the salvation of the world_.  Rationalist critics
have asserted that the first apostles had no idea that the gospel was
meant for the world, and that they limited its light to the children of
Abraham.  The unfairness of this assertion is shown by the consistent
manner in which the same doctrine of the salvation of all men is
interwoven in different parts of Acts, including the early chapters,
which are generally acknowledged to be derived from an early Jewish
Christian source.  The doctrine is that salvation is offered to the
Jews first (iii. 26), but "all that are afar off" may share in it (ii.
39; iii. 25).  This is exactly the doctrine expressed by St. Paul in
Rom. i. 16.  And the conversion of Gentiles of different classes, as
recorded in Acts, testifies that the apostles acted up to the doctrine.
They did not doubt that the Gentiles had a right to the gospel.  The
point which did agitate them was, how much of the Jewish ceremonial
ought the Gentiles to be required to observe.  When the Gentile
converts became numerous the question became acute, being sharpened by
the demand of certain Jewish Christians that all converts should be

St. Peter and St. James set their faces against this demand, and it was
determined on their advice that the Gentiles should only be required to
abstain from "meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things
strangled, and from fornication" (xv. 29).  The rule was primarily
meant for Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia.  It prohibits complicity in
idolatry, and in the immorality with which Syrian idolatry had been
historically associated.  And it prohibits the eating of blood and
things strangled, a practice which might cause friction in the presence
of Jewish communities.  Nothing is said about circumcision or the
sabbath.  It is impossible to reconcile Acts xv. with the {111} theory
that the original apostles were merely Jewish Unitarians who detested
St. Paul.  And the Rationalists who have propagated this theory gain no
help either from Galatians or from Acts xxi.  For St. Paul, in writing
to the Galatians, asserts the two central facts which we find in Acts
xv., viz. (i.) that his policy of an open gospel was opposed by a party
which appealed to the original apostles, (ii.) that the original
apostles gave him the hand of fellowship and repudiated the Judaizers.
In Acts xxi. 24 we find St. Paul himself performing a Jewish ceremonial
act at the request of St. James.  The request was made in order to
counteract the falsehood that he had been trying to make the Hebrew
converts desert the old Jewish customs.  It cannot be interpreted as a
proof of the supposed blind Judaism of St. James.  For St. Paul
_voluntarily_ performed a similar act at Cenchreae, and we have no
ground for believing that he always claimed for himself that entire
freedom from Jewish usages which he always claimed for his Gentile
converts.  His own words contradict such a notion emphatically (1 Cor.
ix. 20).

The truth is that it is only by doing violence to all the evidence
which we possess, that anything can be done to support either the
theory of Baur and his school that the apostles of the Church were
divided with regard to the _Law_, or the more recent theory of Harnack
and others that they were divided with regard to the _Person of
Christ_.  All the apostles believed that the gospel was for all men on
equal terms, and that Christ was the divine Lord of all.

In addition to these points, it is necessary to say a few words about
_the ministry of the Church_ which is described in Acts.  It is
asserted by such writers as Martineau, Sabatier, and Schmiedel, that
the state of the Church and the ministry in Acts betrays the fact that
the author did not write in the apostolic age.  It is said that
"hierarchical ideas" or "hierarchical pretensions" can be detected in
such passages as i. 17, 20; viii. 14-17; xv. 28; xx. 28, and that such
ideas {112} could not have been entertained by the apostles.  It is not
possible to give a full discussion of such a theory in this book.[4]
We must be content with noting that, in order to give it any appearance
of validity, it is necessary to reject every part of the New Testament
which does not happen to agree with it.  Schmiedel, who places Acts
between A.D. 110 and 130, says that "Acts xx. 18-35 has many ideas in
common with those of the Pastoral Epistles," but that "the author has
not yet reached the stage in the development of Church government which
characterizes the First Epistle to Timothy." [5]  He says this simply
because that Epistle, which he regards as a late forgery, shows a form
of Church government practically identical with Episcopacy, while he
thinks that Acts xx. shows a form of government intermediate between
the genuine apostolic form and Episcopacy.  To this we may make two
answers; (a) that the Church government in Acts and 1 Timothy is
practically the same, the work of the apostle being in r Timothy partly
delegated to an apostolic vicar; (b) as there is excellent evidence for
regarding 1 Timothy as a genuine writing of St. Paul, it gives us an
additional cause for believing that the description of Church
government in Acts is not fictitious.


The outline of the book is laid down in the words of our Lord quoted in
i. 8, "Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you: and ye shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea,
and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."



From A.D. 29 to ? 34,

The Church at Jerusalem: i.-viii. 1.--Introduction; the commission to
the apostles, the Ascension, choice of Matthias in place of Judas (i.).
Outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Peter's speech, the unity
of the Church (ii.).  Cure of a lame man, Peter's speech on the
occasion (iii.).  Peter and John imprisoned and before the Council,
their dismissal and return to the Church, community of goods in the
Church (iv.).  Ananias and Sapphira, miracles of healing, especially by
Peter, second imprisonment of Peter and John, Peter's speech,
Gamaliel's advice to refrain from persecution (v.).  Appointment of the
seven deacons, Stephen's ministry and arrest (vi.).  Stephen's defence,
in which he shows that the Jews have always opposed the chief servants
of God and that _true worship is independent of the Jewish temple_,
Stephen's martyrdom (vii.-viii. 1).


From A.D. ? 34 to 46.

Christianity spreads through Judaea and Samaria and to the Gentiles,
St. Paul's conversion: viii.-xii.--Church scattered by persecution,
Philip in Samaria, Simon Magus, Peter and John at Samaria, Philip
baptizes an Ethiopian proselyte to Judaism (viii.).  Conversion of
Paul, his baptism, he is introduced to the apostles, Peter at Joppa and
Lydda, raising of Tabitha by Peter (ix.).  Peter and Cornelius, Peter's
trance, he eats with and has baptized _Gentiles_ who had previously
believed in God but were _uncircumcised_ (x.).  He explains his conduct
and the Church approves (xi. 1-18).

Christianity spreads to Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, where it is
preached to _pagan Greeks_ (xi. 19-30).  Herod's {114} persecution,
murder of James, Peter's third imprisonment and escape, death of Herod
in A.D. 44, Paul returns from his second visit to Jerusalem (xii.).


From A.D. 47 to 49.

St. Paul's First Missionary Journey: xiii. 1-xv. 35.--Barnabas and Paul
receive the laying on of hands at Antioch, journey through Cyprus,
Elymas the sorcerer blinded, visit to Antioch in Pisidia, Paul's speech
in the synagogue, he turns to the Gentiles (xiii.).  Paul preaches at
Iconium, cures lame man at Lystra, is stoned, returns to Antioch
(xiv.).  _Persecution of the Christians by Jews_.

The Jerusalem Church Council decides that _Gentiles need not be
circumcised_ (xv. 1-35).


From A.D. 49 to 52.

St. Paul's Second Missionary Journey: xv. 36-xviii. 22.--Paul with
Silas visits the Churches founded during the first journey, Timothy
circumcised (xv. 36-xvi. 5).  Paul crosses to Europe, imprisoned at
Philippi, conversion of the jailor (xvi.).  At Thessalonica and Beroea,
at Athens, Paul's speech at the Areopagus (xvii.).  At Corinth, brought
before Gallic the Roman proconsul, travels by Ephesus and Caesarea to
Jerusalem and Antioch (xviii. 1-22).  _Persecution by Jews, or by
Gentiles whose pockets are affected_ (xvi. 19).


From A.D. 52 to 56.

St. Paul's Third Missionary Journey: xviii. 23-xxi. 16.--Paul revisits
Galatia and Phrygia; Apollos, a converted {115} Jew, defends
Christianity at Corinth (xviii. 23-28).  Paul stays at Ephesus, great
riot (xix.).  _Roman officials tolerant to Christianity, craftsmen
whose pockets are affected show violence_.  Journey to Macedonia and
Greece, Paul at Troas, Eutychus' fall and cure, journey to Miletus
where Paul meets the presbyters of Ephesus (xx.).  Voyage to Tyre and
Caesarea (xxi. 1-16).


From A.D. 56 to 61.

St. Paul arrested at Jerusalem, imprisoned at Caesarea, voyage to Rome:
xxi. 17-xxviii. 31.--Paul visits James and the presbyters, the Jews try
to kill him, he is rescued and taken to the castle (xxi. 17-40).  His
speech to the Jews, is removed by the chief captain (xxii.).  His
speech before the Jewish Council, is taken to Caesarea (xxiii.).
Appears before the procurator Felix (xxiv.).  Appears before the
procurator Festus, appeals to the emperor, speaks before Agrippa (xxv.,
xxvi.).  _Roman officials still tolerant, but obliged to interfere_.
The voyage and shipwreck (xxvii.).  Paul at Melita (xxviii. 1-10).  He
journeys to Rome and expounds the gospel at Rome, where the Jews had
not previously heard anything against him.  He preaches the kingdom of
God for two years (xxviii. 11-31).

Similar Characteristics of St. Luke's Gospel and Acts.--Among such are
the continued interest in Samaritans (Acts i. 8; viii. 5-25) John the
Baptist (Acts i. 22; x. 37; xiii. 24; xviii. 25; xix. 3), women (Acts
i. 14; ix. 36; xii. 12; xvii. 4), the poor (Acts ii. 45; iii. 3; iv.
32; ix. 39, etc.).  In both books Christ is specially called "Lord,"
and is the great Prophet (Luke vii. 16, 39; xxiv. 19-27; cf. Acts iii.
22; vii. 37), also the suffering "Servant" (Luke xxiv. 36, 45; cf. Acts
iii. 13, 18; iv. 27; viii. 32).  Notice, too, in both books the long
reports of prayers and speeches.

[1] The "we sections" contain 97 verses.  They are xvi. 10-17, xx.
5-15; xxi. 1-18, xxvii. 1-xxviii. 16.

[2] See Rev. Sir John C. Hawkins, Bart., M.A., _Horae Synopticae_.

[3] See Lightfoot, _Commentary on Galatians_.

[4] The reader is referred to Dr. Gore, _The Church and the Ministry_,
p. 234 f. (fourth edition).

[5] _Encyclopaedia Biblica_, vol. i. p. 49.




Although the Christian cannot regard the Epistles contained in the New
Testament as having quite the same importance as the Gospels which
record the life and sayings of his Divine Master, he must regard them
as having a profound significance.  They deal with the creed and the
conduct of the Church with an inspired insight which gives them an
undying value, and they are marked by a personal affection which gives
them an undying charm.  They lend, too, a most powerful support to the
historical evidence of the truth of Christianity.  We have already
noticed that the earliest Gospel was probably not written before A.D.
62, while St. John's Gospel is probably as late as A.D. 85.  But
several of the twenty-one Epistles in the New Testament are certainly
earlier than A.D. 62, and out of the whole number only the three by St.
John can be confidently placed at a later date than St. John's Gospel.
Now, these twenty-one Epistles assume the truth of the story contained
in the Gospels.  They do more than this.  For they prove that during
the lifetime of men who had personally known Jesus Christ, there were
large numbers of earnest men and women who were at home with the same
ideas as those which Christians have cherished until modern times.
Some of these ideas explain what we find in the Gospels.  For instance,
the doctrine of the Atonement is more plainly expounded in the Epistles
than in the Gospels.  This doctrine, together with those which concern
the Person of Jesus Christ, the Holy {117} Trinity, the sacraments, the
Church, and the ministry, could be shown to have existed about A.D. 60,
even if the Gospels had perished or were proved to be forgeries.  The
indirect evidence which the Epistles give to the life and teaching of
our Lord is therefore of immense importance.  If the infidel says that
these doctrines are mere theories, we can ask him how these theories
arose, and challenge him to produce a cause which so adequately
accounts for them as the incarnation of the Son of God.

The origin of "spiritual letters" or "epistles" was perhaps due to the
wisdom and originality of St. Paul.  At any rate, there is nothing
improbable in this conjecture, nor need it draw us into any sympathy
with the recent attempts to use it as a means for discrediting those
Epistles in the New Testament which bear the names of other authors.
It is possible that the earliest Epistle is that of St. James, and we
have no means of telling whether St. Paul did or did not anticipate him
in writing Epistles.  In any case, if St. Paul is not the pioneer, he
is the captain of epistle-writers.  St. Cyprian, St. Jerome, St.
Bernard, and in modern times Archbishop Fenelon and Dr. Pusey, have
illustrated the power of making a letter the vehicle of momentous
truths.  But on the greatest of them there has fallen only a portion of
the mantle of St. Paul.

We possess thirteen Epistles written by St. Paul.  There is no real
reason for doubting the genuineness of any of them, and a remarkable
change has lately taken place in the manner in which the opponents of
orthodox Christianity have treated them.  When the ingenious attempt
was made, sixty years ago, to prove that St. Paul invented a type of
Christianity which was not taught by Christ, it was held that only
Galatians, Romans, and 1 and 2 Corinthians were genuine.  The other
Epistles attributed to St. Paul were said to be forgeries written after
St. Paul's death, and intended to act as certificates for the Catholic
faith of the 2nd century.  Since then criticism has grown wiser.  The
genuineness of Philippians and 1 Thessalonians was first conceded.
Then it became necessary to {118} admit the genuineness of Colossians
and Philemon; and 2 Thessalonians and Ephesians are now being placed in
the same list even by some extreme critics.  In fact, the use made of
St. Paul's Epistles in the 2nd century, and the impossibility of
finding any one who had the genius to personate the great apostle, are
two things which have disabled fancy-criticism.  The Epistles to
Timothy and Titus are still confidently rejected by some authors, but
this confidence is being undermined.  Some special attention is given
to the question of their genuineness in this book.

The writings of St. Paul fall into four groups, each group being shaped
by something which is unmistakably novel and by something which it has
in common with the other groups.

I. A.D. 51.  1 and 2 Thessalonians.

II. A.D. 55-56.  1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans.

III. A.D. 59-61.  Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians.

IV. A.D. 61-64.  1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy.

St. Paul was in the habit of dictating his letters.  In Rom. xvi. 22
occurs the name of Tertius, who was then acting as his secretary.  But
St. Paul wrote the little letter to Philemon himself, and in Gal. vi.
11-18 we find a postscript which the apostle wrote in his own large
handwriting.  Similar instances are found in 1 Cor. xvi. 21-24 and Col.
iv. 18, while in 2 Thess. iii. 17 he shows us that he sometimes made
these additions in order to protect his converts from being deceived by
forged letters written in his name.

In order to enter into the spirit of St. Paul's letters it is necessary
to understand his history, a brief outline of which will now be given.

Saul, who changed his name to Paul, was born at Tarsus in Cilicia, a
city which prided itself upon its good education.  The language of the
city was Greek; Saul's father was a Jew and a Roman citizen.  He was
trained at Jerusalem by {119} Gamaliel, a renowned Pharisee.  The
future apostle was therefore born a member of the most religious race
in the world, spoke the language of the most cultivated race in the
world, and lived under the most masterly and fully organized
government.  All these three influences left their mark on a soul which
was always impressible towards everything great and noble.  But his
nature was not only impressible; it was endowed as well by God with a
strong pure heat which could fuse truths together into an orderly and
well-proportioned form, and purge away the falsehoods which clung to
truths.  It is plain that he was not a Pharisee of the baser sort, even
when he believed that the Messiah was a pretender.  Righteousness was
his ideal, and because he hated sin, a struggle raged between his
conscience and his lower instincts (Rom. vii. 7-25).  He fiercely
persecuted the Christians, whom he regarded as traitors to their race
and their religion.  On his way from Jerusalem to Damascus with a
warrant from the high priest to arrest the Christians, he was converted
(about A.D. 35) by a direct interposition of the risen Lord.  Every
effort has been made by modern rationalists to explain this revelation
as either an imaginary vision or an inward light in his conscience.
The fact remains that St. Paul never speaks of it as a merely inward
reality, that he does not number his conversion among the ecstatic
states to which he was subject (2 Cor. xii. 1), and that he reckons the
appearance of Christ to himself as an outward appearance like the
appearances to the older apostles (1 Cor. xv. 5-8).  We cannot get
behind the statements made by St. Paul and those made in Acts by his
friend, St. Luke.  They show that he was met and conquered by Christ.
The appearance of Christ changed his whole career, transformed his
character, convinced him that Jesus was the Messiah, and that salvation
can only be obtained by faith in Him--that is, by a devoted adherence
to His Person and His teaching.  After preaching Christ in Damascus, he
retired into the keen air and inspiring solitude of the Arabian desert.
{120} During this period the outline of his creed seems to have grown
clear and definite.  It afterwards expanded and developed, as truly as
youth passes into manhood, but there is no evidence for any material
alteration having taken place after his return from Arabia.  Many
Christians doubted the sincerity of his conversion, but St. Barnabas, a
conciliatory and kind evangelist, introduced him to St. Peter and St.
James at Jerusalem, A.D. 38.  His life being threatened by the
Greek-speaking Jews, he departed for Tarsus.  In due time he was
brought by St. Barnabas to aid the new mission to the Gentiles at
Antioch, a large and splendid city, admirably adapted for the first
propagation of the gospel among the heathen.  In A.D. 46 he paid with
Barnabas a second visit to Jerusalem, taking thither a contribution
from Antioch to relieve the famine which raged there.  In A.D. 47 he
went from Antioch in company with Barnabas on his first missionary
tour, visiting Cyprus and part of Asia Minor.  On his return, A.D. 49,
he attended the Council at Jerusalem (Acts xv.; Gal. ii.), at which he
insisted that converts from paganism should not be required to submit
to circumcision and the other ceremonial rules of the Jewish Church.
Only once again has any Council of the Church had to discuss such a
burning and weighty question, and that once was at the Council of
Nicaea in 325, when it was determined to describe the fact that Jesus
is God in language which would admit of no possible mistake or
jugglery.  At Jerusalem, in A.D. 49, the Church had to determine
whether it was sufficient for a man to be a Christian, or necessary for
him to become a Jew and a Christian simultaneously.  Some Judaizing
Christians maintained the latter.  Faithful to the teaching of our
Lord, who laid on no Gentile the necessity of adopting Judaism, the
Church decided that Gentile converts need not be circumcised.

In A.D. 49, soon after the Council at Jerusalem, St. Paul began a
second missionary journey, and crossed over into Europe, where he
founded several Churches, including those of Philippi and Thessalonica.
At Athens he seems to have made {121} but little impression, but at
Corinth, the busy and profligate centre of Greek commerce, he was more
successful.  He stayed there for eighteen months, and during this stay
he wrote the Epistles to the Thessalonians.  They are marked by the
attention given to _eschatology_, or doctrine of "the last things"--the
second coming of Christ, the resurrection of mankind, and the judgment.

This second journey closed with a visit to Jerusalem, and was followed
by an incident which shows that the apostle's long warfare with Judaism
was not over.  The Judaizers had been defeated at the Council of
Jerusalem, and they were aware that the Gentiles were pouring into the
Church.  So they attempted a new and artful plan for securing their own
predominance.  They no longer denied that uncircumcised Christians were
Christians, but they tried to gain a higher status for the circumcised.
They asserted that special prerogatives belonged to the Messiah's own
people, and to the apostles whom He had chosen while He was on earth.
When St. Paul went from Jerusalem to Antioch in A.D. 52, St. Peter,
fearing to offend these Judaizers, was guilty of pretending to believe
that he agreed with them.[1]  He refused to eat with Gentile
(uncircumcised) Christians.  He thereby tried to compel the Gentiles to
"Judaize" (Gal. ii. 14), treating them as if they were an inferior
caste.  St. Barnabas was carried away by St. Peter's example.  St. Paul
then openly rebuked the leader of the apostles.  It is on this incident
that F. C. Baur and the Tübingen school founded their fictitious
history of a doctrinal struggle between St. Paul and the original
apostles.  The fundamental falsehood of this history lies in the fact
that there was no real difference of opinion between St. Peter and St.
Paul.  The latter rebuked the former for "dissembling," _i.e._ for
acting on a special occasion in a {122} manner contrary to his
convictions and openly professed principles.

The Judaizing party not only tried to inoculate the Church with
Judaism, but strained every nerve to undermine the authority of St.
Paul.  They said that he had no authority to preach Christ unless it
was derived through the Twelve, and they showed "letters of
commendation" (Gal. ii. 12; 2 Cor. iii. 1), to the effect that they
represented the first apostles and came to supply the defects of St.
Paul's teaching.  With these opponents he was in conflict during his
third missionary journey, which began about August, A.D. 52.  On this
journey he revisited Galatia and Phrygia, made a long stay at Ephesus,
and went to Macedonia and Greece.  During this third missionary journey
he wrote 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans.  It is hard to
determine the exact order in which they were written, as Galatians may
have been written before 1 Corinthians.  These Epistles are the noblest
work of St. Paul.  The persistent efforts of his opponents compel him
to defend both his principles and his character.  Amid the perplexity
of the time, his clear and clarifying mind formulated Christian
doctrine so perfectly that he compels his readers to see what he sees.
This group of Epistles is mainly devoted to _soteriology_, or the
method by which God saves man.  It contains abundant teaching about
God's purpose of saving us, the use of the Jewish law, the struggle
between our flesh and our spirit, the work of Jesus Christ in dying and
rising for us, the work of the Holy Spirit, and the morals and worship
of the Church.  St. Paul's arguments are mainly addressed to believing
Christians, whom he wishes to preserve from Jewish or heathen error.
They are marked by the strongest light and shade.  Nowhere does sin
appear more awful, and the love of God to undeserving man appear more
generous.  At one moment the apostle writes as a logician, at another
as a mystic.  Now he is stern, and now he is pathetic.  In compass, in
variety, in depth, these four Epistles are great works of art, and all
the greater {123} because the writer esteems his intellectual powers as
nothing in comparison with the story of the Cross.

In May, A.D. 56, St. Paul was arrested at Jerusalem, after which he was
detained by the Roman procurator Felix for two years at Caesarea, and
then sent to Rome because he appealed to have his case tried by the
emperor.  He arrived at Rome early in A.D. 59, and was imprisoned for
two years in his own hired house before his trial.  During this
imprisonment he wrote the Epistles to the Colossians, Ephesians, and
Philippians, and the exquisite private letter to Philemon.  In
Philippians there is a strong reprimand of the infatuation of trusting
in Jewish privileges, but it is plain from Colossians and Ephesians
that Gentile Christianity was already firmly established, and that in
Asia Minor the Judaizing heresies were becoming fainter and more
fanciful.  St. Paul criticizes a Judaic Gnosticism, a morbid mixture of
Jewish ritual with that Oriental spiritualism which fascinated many
devotees in the Roman empire at this period.  The Philippians do not
seem to have been infected with the same religious malaria as the
Christians who dwelt in the valley of the Lycus.  But St. Paul in
writing to them, as to the Colossians and Ephesians, takes great pains
to show who Christ is and what our relation towards Him ought to be.
This group is therefore distinguished by its _Christology_.

St. Paul was released from his first imprisonment at Rome, though we
know no details of his release.  He again resumed his missionary life,
and wrote the First Epistle to Timothy and that to Titus.  According to
a tradition of very great antiquity, he visited Spain.  But the changed
attitude of the Roman government towards the Christians soon cut short
his work.  Earlier in his career the Roman officials had regarded the
new religion with easy though somewhat supercilious toleration.  In 2
Thessalonians we find St. Paul apparently describing the Roman
authorities as the restraining power which hindered the malice of
antichristian Judaism from working revenge upon {124} the Church.  At
Ephesus he had been personally protected from the mob by the men who
were responsible for the public worship of the Roman emperor.  But
under Nero an active persecution of the Christians was set on foot, and
St. Paul was again imprisoned at Rome.  During this last imprisonment
he wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy.  This letter, like the First
Epistle to Timothy and that to Titus, deals specially with the
organization and ministry of the Church, and was intended to
consolidate the Church before the apostle's death.  The martyrdom of
the apostle probably took place in A.D. 64.  His tomb, marked by an
inscription of the 4th century, still remains at Rome in the church of
"St. Paul outside the walls," which stands near the scene of his
martyrdom.  Unless the relics were destroyed by the Saracens who sacked
Rome in 846, they probably remain in this tomb.  The festival of June
29, which in mediaeval times was kept in honour of St. Peter and St.
Paul, and which in our present English Prayer-book is wrongly dedicated
to St. Peter only, is probably not the day on which either of the
apostles suffered.  It is the day on which their relics were removed
for safety to the catacombs in the time of the persecution of the
Christians by the Emperor Decius, A.D. 258.

[1] The above account places the dispute at Antioch before the third
missionary journey.  Some writers of deserved repute place it in the
winter of A.D. 48, before the Council of Jerusalem.





[Sidenote: The Author.]

Among all schools of thought there has been an increasing conviction
that this Epistle is genuine.  It was included in Marcion's
_Apostolicon_, or list of Pauline writings, it is contained in the
_Muratorian Fragment_, it is quoted by the great Fathers of the close
of the 2nd century, and is found in the Old Latin and Peshitta Syriac
versions of the New Testament.  The earnest and affectionate tone of
the Epistle is thoroughly Pauline, and the argument that it is not
genuine because it does not contain the same pronounced anti-Jewish
teaching as we find in Romans is precarious, though it has seemed to
some sceptics to be convenient.  The argument might be turned in the
opposite direction.  For it would be just as reasonable to say that the
absence of anti-Jewish doctrine proves that the Epistle was written
before the great conflict with the semi-Christian Jews began, as to say
that it proves that it was written by a forger after the conflict was
over.  One paragraph in the Epistle points decisively to an early date.
In iv. 13-18 we find that some Thessalonians were under the delusion
that it would be an exceptional thing for a Christian to die before the
second coming of our Lord, and that those who did so die would miss
some of the felicity appointed for the rest.  Such a delusion must have
been dispelled at a very early date.  Moreover, the {126} comfort which
St. Paul administers to those who are agitated by this notion gives us
the idea that he expected Christ to return in his own lifetime.  In
this respect he writes to the Thessalonians something very different
from what he writes in his later Epistles (Phil. i. 21-24; 2 Tim. iv.
6), or even in 2 Cor. v. 1.  We need not be surprised that God left the
great apostle in ignorance of an event which it is not given even to
the angels to understand (Matt. xxiv. 36).  But a forger, living after
the apostle's death, would not be at all likely to represent his hero
as falling into such a mistake.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

Thessalonica, the modern Saloniki, was the capital of part of
Macedonia, situated in the middle of the bend of the Thermaic Gulf, and
not far from Mount Olympus, the snow-clad home of the gods of Greece.
It was a busy mercantile town, and in ready communication with Italy,
as the great road called _Via Egnatia_ passed through its walls.  It
contained then, as now, a considerable number of Jews among its
inhabitants.  In Christian times it became a great ecclesiastical
centre, and was influential in the conversion of the Slavs and
Bulgarians.  It is still famous for its splendid Byzantine churches,
though the finest have long since been converted into mosques by the

The Church was planted there by St. Paul on his second missionary
journey, in A.D. 50 (Acts xvii.).  He preached first to the Jews, and
after his third visit to the synagogue he was rejected by the Jews, and
he turned to the Gentiles.  Some of these Thracian Gentiles were
converts to Judaism, but they were people whose character could be
trusted.  In the mean time his Philippian converts twice sent aid to
him (Phil. iv. 16).  Previous to this the apostle had been earning his
own bread, no doubt by tent-making.  St. Paul was forced to leave
Thessalonica in consequence of a riot stirred up by the Jews.  He
visited it again before his last journey to Jerusalem in A.D. 56.

1 Thess. i. 9 shows that the majority of the Christians had {127} been
Gentile idolaters, though there were a few of Jewish blood.  It was
among the sturdy people of Macedonia that St. Paul won his steadiest
recruits for Christ.  Here, as in the letter to Philippi, we find that
he uses words of more than ordinary affection.  These converts are to
St. Paul his "joy and crown" (1 Thess. ii. 19; Phil. iv. 1).  He
compares his relation with them to that of a nurse with her own
children (1 Thess. ii. 7).  When he wrote to the Corinthians he
displayed his Macedonians as brilliant examples of Christian liberality
and Christian loyalty (2 Cor. viii. 1-5).  In this passage he alludes
to their poverty, and these Epistles show that they had to work for
their bread.  They were exposed to bitter and continuous persecution
from Jews, who were capable of inciting the roughs of the town to set
on St. Paul (Acts xvii. 5).

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

The Epistle was written from Corinth on the occasion of St. Paul's
first visit there.  When St. Paul had to leave Beroea in A.D. 50, Silas
and Timothy remained (Acts xvii. 14, 15; xviii. 5).  He sent for them
to meet him at Athens, and when they had come, he despatched Timothy to
Thessalonica (1 Thess. iii. 2).  In October A.D. 50, St. Paul arrived
at Corinth from Athens: Timothy and Silas rejoined him at Corinth, and
the letter was written soon afterwards, probably early in A.D. 51.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The immediate cause of the Epistle was the arrival of Timothy with news
from Thessalonica.  The apostle's reasons for writing were: (a) to calm
and encourage the converts whom he had so abruptly left; (b) to urge
them to perform their ordinary duties.  They had fallen into a state
bordering on religious hysteria.  Quite determined to be true to
Christ, they had been demoralized by the strain of facing constant
hostility.  They had begun to take excessive interest in unfulfilled
prophecy and eschatological speculation.  The result was that
individuals had become careless as to the performance of simple duties.

The apostle comforts the Thessalonians by reminding them {128} of the
happiness and reality of their own spiritual experience.  He wishes
them to see plainly the working of God both in his own preaching of the
gospel and their acceptance of it.  On the one hand, he gladly
recognizes the _faith, charity, hope,_ and constancy under persecution:
the story of their conversion, as it had been known everywhere, has won
many friends for the Faith (i.).  On the other hand, St. Paul is aware
that his own conduct has not been unworthy of an apostle.  Probably to
vindicate himself against Jewish calumnies, he declares that his
ministry at Thessalonica was bold, pure, honest, and gentle.  Moreover,
he did not quarter himself upon his converts; he worked with his hands,
and was just and fatherly (ii. 1-12).

After a thanksgiving for the manner in which they received the word of
God, he speaks of his eager wish to see his friends again.  He had sent
Timothy that he might comfort them, and Timothy has returned with glad
tidings.  He prays for their establishment in holiness (ii. 13-iii. 13).

He goes on to exhort them to avoid impurity and work quietly, and then
he speaks of the eschatological difficulties.  The Thessalonians
wondered whether the Christians already dead would miss a share in the
joy of Christ's second coming.  St. Paul replies that those who are
alive at Christ's appearing will have no advantage over the dead (iv.
15).  On the contrary, the dead will rise first, and then the living
Christians will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord.  The
day will come with surprise, and will terrify the unprepared (iv. 1-v.

He then calls them to watchfulness and sobriety.  There follows an
exhortation to obey the clergy, and the early date of the Epistle is
again suggested by the fact that the titles which are used in his later
epistles are not given to the clergy of Thessalonica.  The existence of
an order of prophets seems implied (v. 20).  The Epistle has a special
blessing for these troubled Christians who look so wistfully for "the
coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."



Salutation, thanksgiving, and congratulation.  The good fruit borne by
Christianity at Thessalonica is known of through all Macedonia and
Achaia (i.).

The character of the apostle's ministry there, a fresh thanksgiving,
the apostle desires to see his friends, but is hindered by Satan
working through adverse circumstances (ii.).

Timothy's expedition, a prayer (iii.).

Encouragement to obedience, exhortation against impurity and to work;
the blessed dead and Christ's second coming.  The sudden coming of the
Lord (iv. 1-v. 3).

Practical conclusion based on the above doctrine (v. 4-28).


[Sidenote: The Author.]

The external evidence for the genuineness of the Second Epistle is even
stronger than that of the First.  It is mentioned by Polycarp,[1] and
apparently by Justin Martyr.[2]  It is also supported by the same
versions of the New Testament and by the same Fathers as the First
Epistle.  In modern times it has been rejected even by some who accept
1 Thessalonians.  Some of the objections which have been raised are
almost too trivial to deserve attention.  But the prophetic and
apocalyptic passage in ii. 1-12 has been regarded by many critics as a
serious stumbling-block.  It has been urged (a) that 1 Thessalonians
implies that St. Paul believed Christ would return immediately, whereas
2 Thessalonians implies that certain important occurrences must first
intervene.  But there is no real contradiction.  For 1 Thessalonians
represents the return of Christ as certainly sudden {130} and _possibly
soon_; it does not represent it as certainly immediate.  A thief may
come suddenly in the night, and yet the man who gives warning that the
thief will come, does not necessarily mean that the thief is coming
without delay.  It has been urged (b) that the doctrine of Antichrist
in 2 Thessalonians is un-Pauline, and depends on the Book of
Revelation.  But there is not the least improbability in supposing that
St. Paul was in touch with these ideas about the end of the world.  We
know that such ideas were common among the Jews at this period.  Nor is
there any proof that the teaching of 2 Thessalonians on this subject is
derived from the Revelation of St. John.  Moreover, on the least
Christian view with regard to Christ and the Gospels, it is irrational
to deny that our Lord made various predictions about His second coming.
We find a list of such predictions in Matt. xxiv. and in the parallel
passages of the other Gospels.  It is therefore natural to find St.
Paul speaking about the end of the world in language which resembles
that used by our Lord, or that found in Daniel, Ezekiel, and the later
Jewish Apocalypses.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

St. Paul sent this Epistle from Corinth, probably towards the end of
the year 51.

Several modern writers have dated 2 Thessalonians earlier than 1
Thessalonians.  The grounds for this view are the references in this
Epistle to the teaching lately given by St. Paul while at Thessalonica.
But although these references would be natural in any Epistle written
first after his departure from that place, they do not necessarily
imply that 2 Thessalonians was the first.  Moreover, ii. 2 probably
contains a reference to the First Epistle, and this letter was
apparently written to clear up a difficulty which the First Epistle did
not solve.  Persecution had continued at Thessalonica, and higher
excitement and wider confusion prevailed.  The Thessalonians were more
sure than ever that Christ's advent was coming immediately, on the
strength, perhaps, of some words in St. Paul's earlier letter to them,
{131} supported by a forged letter which pretended to be his and by
feigned revelations.  The result was entire neglect of daily duties.
"There is no reason," men said, "why I should work for my living or try
to be provident, because the Lord is sure to come to-day or to-morrow."

As the circumstances are so similar to those in the First Epistle, and
as Silvanus (otherwise Silas) and Timothy are still with the apostle,
we may be sure that 2 Thessalonians was written during St. Paul's first
stay at Corinth.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The Epistle consists of instruction and exhortation.  The most
characteristic passage is ii. 1-12.  The apostle declares that he never
taught that the day of the Lord is about to dawn immediately (ii. 2).
It must be preceded by several events.  There will be an apostasy, the
revelation of "the man of sin, the son of perdition," who will assume
equality with God and sit in the temple of God.  Over against this "man
of sin" we find placed "one that restraineth now."  Many strange
interpretations of these two phrases have been devised, and the fancy
of commentators has ranged over various historical monsters from
Mohammed to Napoleon Bonaparte.  One favourite idea is that the
description of the man of sin "setting himself forth as God" refers to
the worship offered to the Roman emperors, and to the attempt made by
Caligula in A.D. 39 to place his statue in the temple at Jerusalem.
But it seems far better to regard the man of sin as hostile Judaism,
personified in an Antichrist who pretends to be the representative of
God foretold in Mal. iii. 1. The other force which St. Paul personifies
is the curbing power of a strong government as then seen in the
administrative system of the Roman empire.  The power of Rome protected
him against Jewish fanaticism at this period (Acts xix. 35-41; xxii.
22-29), but in this truly irreligious fanaticism he discerned a latent
mysterious evil (ii. 7) which would afterwards reveal itself in hideous
excesses.  While "the man of sin," or {132} "wicked one," thus wreaks
his will, Christ will come and consume him with the breath of His mouth.

St. Paul understood the real genius of the antichristian Jews.  Early
in the 2nd century they began a series of rebellions against the power
of Rome, committing horrible atrocities.  These rebellions culminated
between A.D. 132 and 135.  The Jews then rallied round a pretended
Messiah, Simon Bar Kocheba, whom they named "Prince of Israel"; they
killed the Christians who refused to blaspheme Jesus, and they captured
Jerusalem from the Romans.  After a fierce struggle the Romans took
Jerusalem again, and crowds of Jews were either massacred, or sold as
slaves by the oak of Abraham at Hebron and in the markets of Egypt.


Salutation, thanksgiving for faith, charity, steadfastness, the
certainty of Christ's coming to "render vengeance" and "to be glorified
in His saints" (i.).

Apocalyptic passage, renewed thanksgiving, exhortation to hold the
traditions already received, invocation of Christ and our Father to
comfort and stablish the converts (ii.).

St. Paul requests their prayers for himself, anticipates their
Christian progress, excommunication of disorderly brethren commanded.
The apostle had worked for his living, they must do likewise.  He
commends them to the Lord, and appends a salutation in his own hand as
a seal of authenticity (iii.).

[1] _Ad Phil._ ii.

[2] _Trypho_, 110.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The genuineness of 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, and Romans is
admitted by almost every modern critic, Christian or not Christian.  It
was always acknowledged by F. C. Baur, who rejected all the Epistles
bearing the name of St. Paul except these four.  This Epistle is
referred to in several writings of the 2nd century, and is unmistakably
mentioned in the letter written to the Corinthians by St. Clement of
Rome about A.D. 95.  He says, "Take up the Epistle of the blessed Paul
the apostle.  What did he first write to you in the beginning of the
Gospel?  Of a truth he sent a letter to you by the Spirit concerning
himself, and also Cephas and Apollos, because you had even then formed
parties" (cf. 1 Cor. i. 12).  The style of the Epistle is spontaneous,
vivid, and coherent.  The authenticity is only disputed by a tiny group
of infidel writers who, in reaction against Baur, have endeavoured to
make good their unbelief by asserting the genuineness of the Scriptures
which Baur rejected, and rejecting what Baur defended.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth" (i. 2).  In former times
Corinth had been the most important city in Greece after Athens itself.
It was one of the earliest homes of Greek art, and its position made it
so favourable for commerce that it attracted a colony of Phoenician
traders at a very remote period.  When its art declined, it remained
celebrated for its wealth and its {134} extreme licentiousness.  The
patron deity of the Corinthians was Aphrodite, who was no other than
the foul Phoenician Astarte.  Her temple on the rock of the
Acrocorinthus dominated the city below, and from it there came a stream
of impure, influences "to turn men into swine."

In B.C. 146 the city was captured by the Roman general Mummius.  It was
left desolate until B.C. 46, when Julius Caesar refounded it as a Roman
colony.  The Romans called the whole of Greece the province of Achaia,
and constituted Corinth the capital of it.  While Athens was still the
seat of the greatest university in the world, where lived most
vigorously the glorious memories of bygone Greece, the government of
the province was directed from Corinth.  When St. Paul visited it, it
was under a proconsul, Junius Gallio, the brother of the philosopher
Seneca.  The possession of two good harbours, and its position on the
quickest route from Rome to the East, caused a rapid revival of
Corinthian wealth and Corinthian manners.  There was also a good deal
of literary and philosophic culture.  In the time of St. Paul the
descendants of the original Roman colonists probably formed a small
aristocracy among the mass of Greek dwellers at Corinth, and some
settlements of various nationalities, including one of Jews, were
living there.  A few miles away, at the shrine of Poseidon, were held
the athletic Isthmian games, and still by the sea-shore there grow the
pine trees, such as furnished the quickly withering wreaths which were
given to the victors in the race.

The Church of Corinth was founded by St. Paul on his second missionary
journey, during his first visit to Europe.  His stay at Corinth lasted
for eighteen months.  There is an account of it in Acts xviii.  He
laboured at tent-making, and found a home with a devout Jewish couple,
Aquila and Priscilla.  At first he preached in the synagogue, where he
converted the ruler of the synagogue, Crispus.  Being rejected by the
Jews, he turned to the Gentiles, and held his meetings {135} in the
house of Justus, a converted proselyte.  The Jews prosecuted St. Paul
before Gallio, who, however, dismissed the case with contemptuous
indifference.  The converts to Christianity were numerous.  They were
mostly Gentiles (1 Cor. xii. 2), but there were a few influential
Jewish Christians and some Gentiles who had been proselytes of Judaism.
It is clear that the Church contained a few men of good birth and
education (1 Cor. i. 26), but the majority were from the poorer
classes.  The Corinthians as Christians were by no means entirely free
from the characteristics which had marked them as citizens.  They were
ready to form cliques and quarrel in the name of Christ, and they still
showed the same quarrelsome mood in the time of St. Clement.  They
found it hard to hate the sensuality which in their earlier days they
had regarded as divine.  They were puffed up with eloquence and
philosophic speculation, and forgot that there is no "sweetness and
light" comparable to the Gospel.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

This Epistle was written from Ephesus in the spring of A.D. 55.  The
note at the end of the Epistle to the effect that it was written "from
Philippi," though ancient, is incorrect, and is due to a
misunderstanding of xvi. 5.

When St. Paul left Corinth in April, A.D. 52, to go to Jerusalem,
Apollos came to take his place, and preached with much success (Acts
xviii. 27).  St. Paul returned to Ephesus at the end of the summer of
52, and Apollos left Corinth and joined St. Paul.  Soon some Judaizing
teachers appeared at Corinth, and the apostle was obliged to go
thither, though "in sorrow" (2 Cor. ii. 1; cf. 2 Cor. xii. 14; xiii.
1).  After this disciplinary visit he returned to Ephesus, and sent the
Corinthians a sharp letter, now lost, about the relations which they
should have with open and notorious evil-livers (1 Cor. v. 9).

St. Paul's next news from Corinth caused him to write this letter.
Some members of Chloe's household told him of the development of
factions there; and a letter was sent, perhaps {136} by the hands of
Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (xvi. 15-18), asking for advice
about matters of grave importance, including litigation between
Christians and an unseemly freedom in public worship.  Realizing the
serious state of affairs, St. Paul determined to visit Corinth a third
time, and sent Timothy as his representative to prepare for his coming
(1 Cor. iv. 17, xvi. 10).  After Timothy's departure he wrote this

The above account assumes that St. Paul's _second visit_ to Corinth was
paid before 1 Corinthians was written, but it is thought by some
writers of repute that it was paid after 1 Corinthians was written and
before 2 Corinthians.

[Sidenote Character and Contents.]

This Epistle, like each of the three other Epistles belonging to the
same group, has a perfectly distinct character of its own.  It expounds
the doctrine of a crucified Christ as applied to social difficulties.
What Romans does as a theological treatise, and Galatians as a
controversial admonition, and 2 Corinthians as a record of personal
experience and vocation, this 1 Corinthians does as an instruction for
influencing a corrupt urban life with the leaven of the gospel.  It is
very practical in tone, and the doctrine which it contains is not
stated separately, but is throughout woven into the cords of the
apostle's argument.  There is nothing in the New Testament equal to
this Epistle in its power of bringing us close to the difficulties of
the Church in an ancient city.  We seem to see the men and women who
composed it--their eagerness for religious novelties, their debased
surroundings, their anarchic divisions, their frail sense of moral
responsibility.  And a modern reader will probably lay the letter down
with a conviction that our great modern cities have much to learn from
the words written by St. Paul to Corinth, "the light of Greece."

The Epistle is very olderly in arrangement.  It deals first with the
report which St. Paul had received about the Corinthian Church
(i.-vi.); then it answers various questions {137} which the Corinthians
had submitted to him (vii.-xi. 1).  Then follow directions based on the
report and the questions.

The letter opens with a significant salutation and thanksgiving (i.
1-9).  St. Paul then proceeds to rebuke the Corinthian _tendency to
party spirit_.  There were apparently four parties in the Church.  The
first asserted that they were followers of _Paul_; the second preferred
the rhetorical preaching of _Apollos_ to Paul's simplicity; the
third--probably Judaizers--ranged themselves under the name of _Cephas_
as the leader of the original apostles; the fourth repudiated human
leaders, and arrogantly named their clique that of _Christ_, thereby
insinuating that the other parties were less Christian than themselves.
It is evident that all these four names were really used as party
watchwords.  St. Paul says that he has _transferred by a fiction_ (iv.
6) the action of the wranglers to himself and Apollos.  He means by
this, not that the Corinthians did not employ these names in their
strife, but that he and Apollos were in no sense responsible for the
strife.  Some perplexity has been caused by the name of the
Christ-party.  It is thought by some that they were rigid Jewish
Christians from Jerusalem (2 Cor. iii. 1; xi. 22).  But it is more
probable that they were only a body of Christians who protested against
the parties named after human leaders, and saying, "We are the people,"
made a new party of their own.

St. Paul shows that this sectarian spirit is entirely alien to the
whole principle and history of the Christian faith.  That faith, though
it is a wisdom which comes from God, does not lend itself to pride of
intellect.  It is deliberately content to be counted foolish by the
world; its sign is the cross, its converts are the poor and
insignificant Corinthians, its eloquence the unpolished speaking of the
apostle himself.  And as to their personal preferences for receiving
spiritual benefits from one Christian teacher rather than another, this
shows a complete misconception as to the source of the benefit and the
position of the teacher.  This is explained in iii. 1-iv. 5.  All
spiritual {138} increase comes from God.  Christ is the Foundation.
Human teachers are not figure-heads of different schools, but the
instruments and the stewards through whom God dispenses His gifts.  It
is not the duty of Christian teachers to put forward original ideas on

Then the apostle, after referring to their ostentatious
self-righteousness, pathetically shows the unfitness of pitting against
one another teachers who share in an equality of forlorn destitution
and contempt (iv. 6-13).  He concludes this section with an
affectionate but authoritative speech: he says that he has sent Timothy
to Corinth, and hopes shortly to come himself (iv. 14-21).

The apostle proceeds with sharp decision to deal with _a case of
incest_.  The Corinthians had treated this gross offence almost with
levity, but St. Paul declares that the offender shall be excommunicated
and shall be punished by disease (v. 1-8).  After explaining some
advice of his earlier letter (v. 9-13), he goes on to rebuke a third
abuse--_litigation_ between Christians in pagan law-courts.  The love
of law-suits was mischievous in itself, as involving a breach of
Christian brotherhood.  It was also scandalous in its effects, as
exposing the bickerings of the disciples of Christ to the ridicule of
unbelievers.  A stern rebuke of vice follows (vi. 1-11).  Then comes an
indignant and lofty argument against fornication, which is a defilement
of the temple of the Holy Ghost (vi. 12-20).

St. Paul now turns to the various questions that the Corinthians have
asked him.  He first gives some advice about _matrimony_, carefully
distinguishing between statements which he makes on his own authority,
and rules laid down by Christ, and also between counsels of perfection
and the obligations of ordinary Christians.  It is excellent to lead a
single life, but in view of prevailing sensuality, he recommends
marriage as generally more prudent.  He advises that when people do
marry, there should be a fulfilment of conjugal duties except for {139}
occasional devotion "unto prayer."  One permanently important assertion
in the apostle's teaching is that both marriage and celibacy imply a
"gift from God."  St. Paul would have had no sympathy with either any
mediaeval depreciation of married life, or the modern English notion
that a man has not "settled down" until he has married (vii. 1-40).

The next question is whether converts may eat _meat that has been
offered to idols_.  With strong common-sense, the apostle points out
that there is here no alternative between essential right and wrong.
You may eat it, because an idol is nothing, but you must take care not
to hurt the consciences of other Christians (viii.).  You may eat
anything that you buy in the market-place, but you must not attend an
idolatrous feast in a temple, and if you are at a private house you
must not eat food offered to idols if your attention has been directly
called to its character (x. 23-32).  St. Paul illustrates his meaning
by reference to his own self-denial--the policy he had at Corinth of
exacting no payment for his ministry, his tactful caution, his severe
self-control (ix.).  The need of such self-control is proved by the
fact that the ancient Jews, in spite of their high privileges, fell
into carelessness and sin (x. 1-13).  The Corinthians must not be like
the Jews.  The nature of the Eucharist warns them to be scrupulously
careful about temple feasts.  There cannot be a drinking of the chalice
of Christ and of the cup of devils (x. 14-22).

Chapter xi. deals with _public worship_.  St. Paul gives directions for
women to cover the head in church, and then comes a reference to the
Holy Eucharist which is of extreme interest and importance.  It was the
custom for Christians to meet together before the Eucharist for a
common meal called the Agapé, which was intended to commemorate the
Lord's Last Supper.  St. Paul complains that this meal has been made an
occasion of sin among the Corinthians: the richer people had overeaten
themselves, while the poor were left hungry and ashamed.  The apostle
sets off the unfitness of {140} this conduct by a brief exposition of
the Eucharist; the preliminary meal, so much misused by these
ungracious and ungenerous Christians, was intended to be a preparation
for the ineffable Feast, at which the Fare was the very Body and Blood
of Jesus Christ, and at which His death was solemnly represented (xi.

St. Paul deals next with _spiritual gifts_, saying that they come from
God, and so give no ground for boasting, and that the exercise of them
is only pleasing to God if it be joined with charity.  After a sublime
chapter on charity, he lays down some regulations for those who
possessed these abnormal gifts, which, it is evident, were already the
cause of disorders in the Church.  The Corinthians, with their craving
for the miraculous, tended to set a high value on speaking with
tongues, but St. Paul upholds the superiority of the more intelligible
and useful gift of prophecy (xii.-xiv.).

The Epistle concludes with a splendid argument for the reality of the
_Resurrection_.  It is directed against some false philosophy.  St.
Paul claims for the fact of the resurrection of Christ the witness of
Scripture, of many honest and intelligent Christians, and of himself.
Then he goes on to show to the Corinthian objectors what a denial of
the resurrection of the dead involves.  It means that Christ did not
rise, that I am preaching deceit, that you are believing a lie, that
the dead in Christ have no existence except as memories, that we who
have foregone the pleasures of this life have done so in pursuit of a
delusive phantom.  But it cannot be so.  Christ is really risen.  And
St. Paul passes on to demonstrate the happy consequences which follow
from this.  The Resurrection is the earnest of all that Christ will do
for man; and in the light of it Christian baptism for the sake of the
dead[1] and Christian heroism have their meaning (xv. 1-34).


In order to remove difficulties from the mind of an objector, St. Paul
discusses the kind of body which we shall have at the Resurrection.  He
shows by analogies from nature (a) that God is able to effect the
transformation of a seed-grain into a new product, and can therefore
transform us while retaining a connection between our present and
future body; (b) that God is able to create a variety of embodiments,
and can therefore give us a higher embodiment than we now possess.
There will be a spiritual body adapted to the spiritual world, as truly
as our natural body is adapted to life in this world.  Thus the gospel
is truly a gospel for the body as well as for the spirit.  Our whole
personality will be saved, and nothing will be discarded (xv. 35-58).

St. Paul concludes with an order for the collection of alms on behalf
of the faithful in Jerusalem, and says that he hopes to come soon to
Corinth.  After some personal matters, he characteristically appends
with his own hand a curse on those who do not love the Lord, and a
prayer and loving message for the faithful.


Salutation, thanksgiving (i. 1-9).

(1) Evils in the Church: i. 10-vi. 20.--Sectarianism.  This is rebuked
on the ground that all the apostles, etc., are working for one end, and
all their power is God's.  Christ is supreme over all (i. 10-iv. 21).

Incest.  The Church is to deliver the sinner to Satan (the severest
form of excommunication).  St. Paul mentions a previous warning not to
associate with immoral Christians (v.).


Going to law with a Christian in the pagan courts is rebuked.  Warning
against profligacy (vi.).

(2) Answers to a letter from the Corinthians: vii. 1-xi. 1.--Marriage
and celibacy.  It is well to avoid marriage.  But the married must not
separate.  Under present circumstances, the apostle would prefer others
to be unencumbered as he is (vii.).

Food offered to idols.  Christian liberty (viii.).  St. Paul's example
in not claiming one's own rights (ix.).  Danger of thinking that we
stand.  We are "one bread," and must seek each other's good (x.-xi. 1).

(3) Other evils in the Church: xi. 2-34.--Women to be covered.  Conduct
at the Eucharist and the Agapé.  An account of the institution of the

(4) Answer to a question concerning spiritual gifts: xii.-xiv.--Unity
in diversity (xii.).  Charity the greatest gift (xiii.).  Prophesying
and tongues compared (xiv.).

(5) Vindication of the Resurrection: xv.--The evidence for Christ's
resurrection.[2]  The nature of our resurrection.

(6) Some directions and personal details: xvi.

[1] 1 Cor. xv. 29.  This verse is very obscure.  It has been
interpreted as meaning that when a convert died before it was possible
for him to be baptized, it was a custom of the Corinthians to allow a
friend to undergo baptism in his stead.  But perhaps it simply means
being baptized for the sake of some dear one who was a sincere
Christian, and begged that his or her surviving relatives would be
baptized and meet him or her hereafter.

[2] It is important to notice that St. Paul, in writing of the death
and resurrection of our Lord, gives powerful evidence in support of St.
John's assertion that our Lord died on Nisan 14 (see above, p. 29).  In
1 Cor. v. 7, 8 he says, "Our Passover also hath been sacrificed, even
Christ: wherefore let us keep the feast"; and in 1 Cor. xv. 20 he calls
Christ "the first-fruits of them that are asleep."  Now, if Christ died
on Nisan 14, when the Passover lamb was sacrificed for a feast, and if
He rose on Nisan 16, when the Passover firstfruits were offered in the
temple, this double comparison is exquisitely appropriate.  But if the
statement in John is false, St. Paul's comparison is forced and




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The genuineness of this Epistle is almost universally admitted,
although it is not quoted quite as early as the First Epistle.  The two
Epistles are interwoven with each other by several threads of thought,
such as St. Paul's intention to visit Macedonia, his decision with
regard to the incestuous man, and his direction to collect alms for the
Christians of Jerusalem.  Moreover, this Epistle agrees with the Book
of Acts, and at the same time is plainly independent of it.  Acts does
not mention _Titus_, whose name is prominent in 2 Corinthians, and at
the same time Acts xx. 5, 6 corroborates the account of the visit to
_Troas_ in 2 Cor. ii. 12, 13.  The whole style of the Epistle is so
natural and impassioned, so wonderful in its light and gloom, that
there is only one author to whom we can possibly attribute it.

There is, however, a difficulty with regard to the last four chapters.
It is thought by some critics that they are a separate Epistle written
by St. Paul to the Corinthians, and afterwards joined to chs. i.-ix.
These writers are usually of the opinion that the last four chapters
were written before i.-ix., and that their theory will account for the
fact that they are more severe and depressed in tone.  Now, it is true
that i.-ix. seem more hopeful than x.-xiii., and also that i.-ix.
contain two references to a previous letter (ii. 4; vii. 8, 9).  We
find, too, in 2 {144} Cor. i. 23; ii. 1, 4, that the apostle shows a
shrinking from the thought of another visit to Corinth, while in 1
Corinthians no such feeling is manifested.  If, however, 2 Cor.
x.-xiii. had been written in the interval, the feeling is not
unreasonable.  But the facts of the case seem to be most easily
explained by the belief that there was a letter written between 1 and 2
Corinthians, but that this letter has been lost.  In spite of the
difference in tone between the two parts of 2 Corinthians, there is
sufficient continuity of theme to make us hesitate to detach them.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which
are in the whole of Achaia."  The latter part of the address shows us
that St. Paul felt it necessary to vindicate himself to all the
Christians in Greece (Hellas).  His opponents had evidently been
extremely active.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

The Epistle was written in A.D. 55, a few months after 1 Corinthians,
from some town in Macedonia, probably Philippi.  It was sent by the
hands of Titus and perhaps St. Luke (2 Cor. viii. 18-23).

The First Epistle was received submissively by the Corinthians, the
strife of parties subsided, and the case of incest was dealt with as
the apostle required.  In consequence of this happy result, it seems
that St. Paul decided to visit the Corinthians on his way to Macedonia,
sailing straight to Corinth from Ephesus (2 Cor. i. 15), as well as to
pay them the visit which he had promised before (1 Cor. xvi. 5).

Timothy, who had arrived at Corinth in accordance with St. Paul's
previous wish (1 Cor. iv. 17; xvi. 10), soon returned to Ephesus with
news of a second and more serious crisis.  We do not know what caused
it, or what was precisely its character, but it is certain that St.
Paul's motives and authority were harshly and openly challenged.
Perhaps Timothy himself was insulted, and therefore, indirectly, the
apostle who gave him his commission and authority.  St. Paul wrote at
once a {145} very sharp letter, which is the _second lost letter_ to
the Corinthians, and he resolved to return to his earlier plan of
visiting them only as he came south from Macedonia.  He made this
resolution to spare them for the present the pain of meeting him.  This
lost letter was probably sent by Titus (2 Cor. xii. 18), who also
carried instructions with regard to the collection for the poor at
Jerusalem.  Apparently St. Paul thought that it would be wiser not to
entrust Timothy with the delicate task of again calming the Corinthian
wranglers.  As soon as Titus left, St. Paul was full of nervous
apprehension as to the effect which this letter would produce.  He set
out from Ephesus (2 Cor. i. 8-10) in great anxiety, his departure being
perhaps precipitated by the riot so graphically described in Acts.  He
tells us himself that when he came to Troas he had still no relief for
his spirit--no news from Corinth.  Though he found an opening for the
gospel at Troas, he hurried on into Macedonia, and at last Titus came
with joyful news of the penitence and submission of the Corinthians.
St. Paul then wrote this Epistle.  Towards the end of December, A.D.
55, he reached Corinth, where he stayed for three months.

The Book of Acts fits perfectly with the Epistles.  From Acts xx. 1-3
we see that St. Paul did visit Macedonia and Greece at the close of his
stay at Ephesus, and from Acts xix. 22 we see that he sent Timothy
before him.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The Epistle has the nature of a letter sent by a spiritual father to
his children rather than of a doctrinal treatise with an argument
carefully built up.  Its value for us lies chiefly in the vivid reality
with which it reflects the personality of the writer, his love for his
converts, his intense conviction that his apostolic commission and
power are entirely genuine--a conviction which is set off by his wish
always to associate himself with the weakness and fragility of ordinary
human nature.  Throughout the Epistle there are scattered allusions to
Christian doctrine which are of the very highest importance.  Before
giving an outline of the {146} Epistle, we may notice one or two
doctrinal passages of special importance.

First, with regard to the Resurrection.  The teaching of 1 Corinthians
is further explained.  St. Paul shows how entirely he has thrown off
the feeling of terror which environed the ordinary Jewish idea of
death.  The sense of union with God by which a few Jews in some rare
flashes of inspiration knew that they would live after death, is here
triumphant.  St. Paul regards death as a portal to that happy existence
which can only be described as being "at home with the Lord" (2 Cor. v.
1-8; cf. Phil. i. 23).  Union with Christ _now_ absolutely guarantees
union with Him hereafter.  The resurrection-body which in 1 Corinthians
he described as "a spiritual body," he poetically calls the "house from
heaven" which God will provide for the redeemed spirit.  Then he thinks
of this new body as a _robe_.  And as he hopes that Christ will come
again before we have put off our present body in death, he says that he
desires to be clothed with the new body over his present body, "if so
be that being clothed we shall not be found naked."  The last phrase is
obscure, but it probably is a fresh rebuke of those Corinthians who
denied the resurrection of the body.  If so, it means "assuming, as is
indeed the case, that we shall really be found clothed with a body at
Christ's coming, and not naked (_i.e._ bodiless spirits)."

Secondly, with regard to the work of Christ.  In 2 Cor. iv. 4 He is
called the "image of God."  Now, St. Paul teaches that we men may
reflect the likeness of Christ to God:

        "The truth in God's breast
  Lies trace for trace upon ours impressed:
  Though He is so bright and we so dim,
  We are made in His image to witness Him."

But St. Paul also teaches that the relation between the Son and the
Father is unique.  He means that Christ reveals the Father completely
in virtue of this eternal relation between them.  We are made to become
like God, but the Son is not {147} made; He does not belong to the
class of created things (1 Cor. viii. 6).  And St. Paul never speaks of
Christ _becoming_ the Son of God.  He regards Christ as having always
been the Son, exercising divine functions, and therefore as "God
blessed for ever" (Rom. ix. 5).  In 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18 he asserts that
the Lord is the divine Spirit who animates the new dispensation.  The
old Jewish dispensation is described as "letter," because it was a
system of outward commandments; the Gospel dispensation is described as
"spirit," because it is a system of spiritual principles which are
summed up in Christ.  We by reflecting His glory are transformed into
the same image by successive stages of glory.  This glory comes from
the Lord Jesus, who is the Spirit of Christianity (2 Cor. iii. 18).  It
is important to notice that St. Paul does not confuse the Second Person
of the Trinity with the Third Person, and that for many years the
Christians used occasionally to describe the divine nature of the Son
by the word "Spirit."  They gradually gave up this manner of speaking,
as it was ambiguous.

In 2 Cor. v. 18-21 there is an important statement on the Atonement.
The close connection between the Atonement and the Incarnation is shown
in the assertion that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto
Himself," and the love of both the Father and the Son is shown in the
words that "He made Him to be sin on our behalf."  The first statement
saves us from the idea that God selected a holy man to reveal His will,
and then gave up this best of men to unimaginable suffering.  No! it
was God Himself who came in the Person of the Sufferer.  The second
statement implies that Christ, though sinless, was treated as a sinner.
He thus by dying accomplished the end which our punishment would
accomplish, namely, the expression of God's hatred of sin and love of

The Epistle opens with an introduction and thanksgiving, in which there
seems to be a note of sadness, marking the effect which the crisis in
Corinth has left on the mind of St. Paul.  He proceeds to give a
personal explanation.  The visit to the {148} Corinthians on the way to
Macedonia was abandoned only because of the pain which it would have
given them; the sharp letter was not written in wrath, but in sorrowful
love (i. 23-ii. 1-4).  St. Paul goes on to ask pardon for the man who
caused the recent disturbance (ii. 5-11).

Then, whilst he is describing his journey to Macedonia (ii. 12-17), he
breaks off suddenly into a digression, in which he describes the
dignity of the apostolic ministry, its superiority over the Mosaic
ministry, the nature of its commission, and the seal of it in a life
which is always martyrdom (iii. 1-vi. 13).  St. Paul concludes this
section with a short appeal to the Corinthians to avoid contamination
from heathenism (vi. 14-vii. 1).

He then returns to the situation of ii. 13.  He tells us with how much
joy he received the news that Titus brought him--joy for the
Corinthians, for Titus, and for himself.  The next two chapters (viii.,
ix.) contain instructions and exhortations respecting the fund
mentioned in 1 Cor. xvi. 1. The last four chapters follow quite
naturally.  The apostle speaks with plain severity to rebuke those who
created the recent disturbance, and to warn any there may be whose
submission perhaps has not been quite entire.  The prevailing tone is
that of pathetic and sorrowful expostulation.  St. Paul repeats the
unkind things that have been said of him--how unimposing his presence,
that he depends on alms, that he is only eloquent with his pen.  But he
defends his apostleship with absolute though very humble confidence,
counting up the things that he can say for himself--his share in Jewish
privileges, his sufferings for Christ, the revelations that God has
sent him, the signs of his success, the continual weakness that Christ
gives and blesses.  Truly, the apostle is even greater than his grief.

The Epistle concludes with a benediction, in which St. Paul
co-ordinates the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.  From primitive
times these words have been used as the introduction to the most solemn
part of the Greek liturgy, from which they were taken into the services
of the Church of England.



(1) St. Paul's thankfulness and exhortation: i. 1-ii. 17.--Salutation,
thanksgiving, the promised visit postponed, the previous letter, the
penitent offender.  St. Paul's journey to Macedonia, triumph in Christ.

(2) The Apostle's ministry: iii. 1-vii. 1.--His converts are his
letters of commendation, the superiority of this ministry of the gospel
above that of the Mosaic dispensation (iii.).

Christ the subject of his preaching, present light affliction resulting
in eternal glory (iv.).

Inspiring hopes of the resurrection, constraining love of Christ, the
ministry of reconciliation based on the atonement (v.).

He persuades and suffers (vi. 1-13).

Warning against being yoked with unbelievers (vi. 14-vii. 1).

(3) The Corinthian Church and Titus: vii. 2-ix. 15.--The visit of Titus
to Corinth, the godly sorrow that followed (vii. 2-16).

The collection for the poor at Jerusalem, Macedonian generosity, praise
of Titus (viii.).

Exhortation to a generosity like that of the Macedonians (ix.).

(4) A sorrowful expostulation: x.-xiii.--A warning to those who despise
his authority (x.).

His rights and his sufferings for Christ (xi.).

Revelations given, but also a thorn in the flesh, the signs of an
apostle, how he and Titus had dealt with the Corinthians (xii.).

He repeats that he will come to Corinth a third time, exhortation,
benediction (xiii.).




[Sidenote: The Author.]

This Epistle, being one of the four Epistles which are almost
universally unquestioned, requires little or no defence.  The Pauline
authorship "has never been called in question by a critic of first-rate
importance, and until recently has never been called in question at
all."  The writings of those Fathers of the Church who lived nearest to
the apostolic age contain several possible allusions to it, and it is
expressly named by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Tertullian.
The internal evidence shows that it must belong to the time of the
apostles, for the errors which are criticized in it are different from
the Ebionite ideas which existed at the beginning of the 2nd century,
and from the Gnosticism which existed even before the apostles were all
dead.  They are evidently earlier than these heresies.  Still more
convincing is the vehement and pathetic energy which marks this
Epistle.  There is a ring of reality in its broken sentences and
earnest appeals.  It displays none of the careful patchwork which we
should expect from a forger; it consists only of the quick hot words of
a man who is very deeply moved.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"Unto the Churches of Galatia."  What is the meaning of the name
"Galatia"?  Students are still divided on the question.  If the word
"Galatia" is used in a popular sense to describe the country inhabited
by the Galatai, then it means North Galatia, a district in {151} the
extreme north of Asia Minor.  It was mainly inhabited by Celts, who
came thither from Europe in the 3rd century B.C., and spoke a Celtic
language as late as the 2nd and even 4th century after Christ.  This
language is mentioned by Pausanias, and St. Jerome says that it was a
dialect only slightly varying from that used in Gaul by the Treveri.
But if the word "Galatia" is used in a political sense, signifying a
particular province of the Roman empire, then it means a large area
much further south, including Pisidia, Lycaonia, and part of Phrygia.
In this province were Pisidian Antioch, Derbe, Iconium, and Lystra,
where St. Paul founded Churches in A.D. 47, on his first missionary
journey.  The latter explanation is almost certainly correct.

No good argument can be brought forward in favour of North Galatia
which cannot be balanced by a better argument in favour of South
Galatia.  For instance, though St. Luke in Acts uses the popular and
not the political names for districts, this cannot be urged in favour
of St. Paul's adopting the same usage.  On the contrary, he uses Asia,
Macedonia, and Achaia in their political sense, and so we may suppose
that he would do the same in the case of Galatia.  Again, though there
were in North Galatia Jews who would tempt the converts to Jewish
observances, there were Jews in plenty in South Galatia also.  And
while many writers have said that the Celtic blood of these
recalcitrant Christians is proved by the enthusiasm, fickleness,
superstition, love of strife, and vanity which St. Paul rebukes, we may
reasonably urge that these defects are not confined to the Celts.  The
Phrygians doted on a sombre and mysterious religion.  In heathen times
they loved the worship of Cybele, with its exciting ceremonial and
cruel mutilations.  And when they adopted Christianity, though their
morality was generally austere, their credulity was intense.  In the
2nd century many of them embraced the new revelations of Montanus, and
in the 4th they largely affected the hard Puritanism of Novatian.  In
religious matters the Celts are very little {152} inclined to
fickleness, and their superstitions are more closely connected with
dreaminess than with vehemence.

The following facts also deserve attention; (1) It would be strange if
Acts gave us no account of Churches in which St. Paul took so much
interest.  If Galatia be North Galatia, there is no such account in
Acts.  If it be South Galatia there is, and the polite and natural
manner of addressing the inhabitants of the cities of Antioch, Derbe,
etc., would be "Galatians."  Their bond of union was association in one
Roman province.  (2) It is improbable that St. Paul would take the very
difficult journey necessary for visiting the Celtic Galatians.  His
usual plan was to travel on Roman high-roads to the big centres of
population.  North Galatia was both isolated and half-civilized.  Also,
he says that he visited the Galatians on account of an illness (iv.
13).  It is incredible that he would have chosen the long unhealthy
journey to North Galatia when he was ill.  But it is extremely probable
that he left the damp lowlands of Pamphylia for the bracing air of
Pisidian Antioch.  The malady was probably the malarial neuralgia and
fever which are contracted in those lowlands.  (3) The Epistle contains
technical legal terms for adoption, covenant, and tutor, which seem to
be used not in the Roman but in the Greek sense.[1]  They would hardly
be intelligible except in cities like those of South Galatia where the
institutions were mainly Greek.

Assuming that the "Galatians" are those of South Galatia, we note that
in Gal. iv. 13 St. Paul speaks of preaching to them "the first time."
This first time must be the occasion mentioned in Acts xiii., xiv.  The
second time is that in Acts xvi. 1-6.  The Christians were mainly
converts from heathenism (iv. 8; v. 2; vi. 12), but some were no doubt
Jews or proselytes.  {153} After the second visit of St. Paul, his
converts were tampered with.  Some Judaizers had put a perverse
construction upon his action in promulgating the decrees of the Council
of Jerusalem of A.D. 49, and in circumcising Timothy.  They urged that
St. Paul had thereby acknowledged his inferiority to the other
apostles, and practically advocated a return to Jewish ceremonial.
Instigated by other Judaizers from Jerusalem, the Galatians had changed
their Christianity into a semi-Judaism, and this all the more readily
because of their previous familiarity with the Jewish religion.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

The place and date are both uncertain.  The words, "I marvel that ye
are so _quickly_ removing from Him that called you" (i. 6), suggest
that it was written not long after the conversion of the Galatians.
But we cannot place it, as some writers have done, before 1 and 2
Thessalonians.  Its style is allied with that of 1 and 2 Corinthians
and Romans.  It must be earlier than Romans, as it is like a rough
model of that Epistle.  If written soon before Romans, it was probably
composed at Corinth early in A.D. 56.  It may, however, have been
written as early as A.D. 52, before St. Paul's third missionary journey.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The Epistle is intended to recall the Galatians to St. Paul's true
gospel.  In order to do this, he vindicates his own apostolic authority
to preach it, and expounds its great principle--justification by faith,
and not by observance of the Jewish law.

After a salutation, without the congratulations which the apostle
ordinarily offers, St. Paul expresses his astonishment at their
perversion, and vehemently asserts that if any one dares to preach a
gospel other than that which the Galatians first received, let him be
anathema (i. 1-10).  The history of St. Paul's reception of the gospel
is then set out.  It came to him by revelation of Jesus Christ: this is
at once the demonstration of its unique authority, and the decisive
fact which settles the relation of St. Paul to the other apostles.  He
did {154} not receive from them the gospel he preached, and, to
emphasize this, St. Paul counts up the various opportunities he had of
intercourse with them, and says what use he made of each (i. 11-ii.
10).  The best illustration of the independence of his position is the
attitude which he adopted towards St. Peter, the prince of the
apostles, when at Antioch he deceitfully took the same sort of line
with respect to Jewish ceremonial that the Galatians are taking now
(ii. 11-13).[2]  St. Paul describes the speech he made in opposition to
St. Peter, but while he is dictating it, he is carried away by an
orator's enthusiasm: he forgets that he is telling the story only of an
old debate, and at some points we cannot confidently distinguish the
rebuke to St. Peter from the exhortation to the Galatians (ii. 14-21).

Then, still as if he were making a speech, the apostle proceeds to
argue as he does later in the Epistle to the Romans.  He recalls to the
"bewitched" Galatians the happy memories of the days when they first
heard of Christ--the out-pouring of the Spirit, the first sharp
persecution endured so well.  Did not all this happen when they were
under the gospel of Faith (iii. 2-5)?  The true sons of Abraham are
those who accept the gospel (iii. 6-9).  On the other hand, the people
who still desire to be under the Law can only avoid being under a curse
by keeping the whole Law--and this is impossible (iii. 10).  God's will
is plain: He has said, "The righteous shall live by faith" (iii. 11,
12).  Moreover, whatever claim the Law had on us is now discharged by
the satisfaction made by Christ (iii. 13, 14).  Now St. Paul goes on to
show that the promise made by God to Abraham binds Him still.  Just as
no subsequent transaction can nullify a Greek "covenant," _i.e._ will,
so the Law cannot nullify the earlier promise of God (iii. 15-18).[3]
Then he compares the promise made to {155} Abraham with the Law.  The
latter was a contract, a mutual agreement between two parties involving
mutual obligations; if the Jews did not keep the Law, God was not bound
to bless them.  But in the case of the promise, there is no suggestion
of contract.  Then, lest his readers should suppose that there was an
inconsistency in the fact that God was the Author of both the Law and
the promise, St. Paul adds an explanation (iii. 19-22).  The Law would
have been contrary to the promise if it had been intended to produce
the same result as the promise by another method.  But, on the
contrary, the Law was added as a parenthesis in order to make known
transgressions, and with the result that it increased them (iii. 19).
Scripture shut up all mankind in the fold of sin, that they might look
forward to the reign of faith as the only means of escape.  To
emphasize further the contrast between the Law and the promise, St.
Paul asserts that the Law did not come direct from God to man.  It
came, as Jewish traditions said, from God and the angels to Moses, the
mediator, and from him to the Hebrews.  The Law had a mediator,
therefore it involved two parties--God and the Hebrew people.  But
there was no such mediator in the case of the promise.  God spoke
directly to Abraham.  And God in the Person of Christ spoke directly to
mankind.  Thus the promises are greater and more gracious than the Law.
It is important to observe that the argument implies the Divinity of

Before Faith came, the Law played the part of a Greek "tutor," _i.e._ a
trusted servant who attended a child.  He took the child to the house
where he was taught, and kept him from harm and mischief.  And we, if
we wish to be still under the Law, shall be as foolish as a grown-up
son who wishes to be under a steward and a guardian.  We must leave the
mere rudiments of religion now that we have reached a stage at which we
have been taught that God is indeed our Father (iii. 23-iv. 11).

St. Paul supports this conclusion from his arguments by a {156}
touching appeal, in which he gratefully recalls the kindness he
received from the Galatians when he came to them in all the weakness
and distress of fever (iv. 12-20).  Then he interprets for them the
story of Hagar, probably in answer to a reference in a letter which
they had sent him (iv. 21-v. 1).  The Jew is in bondage like Hagar's
child, the Christian is free like Sarah's child.

After this we have another appeal, a medley of exhortation, warning,
denunciation, and pathetic entreaty: the apostle, himself so
appreciative of great ideas, tries to make the unaspiring Galatians
understand that they are called to the perfect freedom which is the
service of God (v. 2-26).  The Epistle closes with some plain words
which the apostle wrote with his own hand in large characters so as to
emphasize them for his readers.  The motive of the Judaizers is boldly
labelled.  Then, as if there had been a question of his own humility,
he associates himself with the crucified Christ, for whose sake he
bears in his flesh the eloquent marks of the Roman rods and the stones
of the Jews.  It was the cruel custom in Asia Minor, a custom not yet
extinct, for masters to wound their slaves with marks which made it
impossible for them to escape recognition.  And so St. Paul glories in
the pitiful scars on his body, because they prove Whose he is and Whom
he serves.



Salutation, rebuke (i. 1-10).

(1) St. Paul defends his apostleship: i. 11-ii. 21.--He was called by
God in spite of his fanatical Judaism, God's Son was revealed in him,
he conferred with no man, but retired to Arabia, then three years after
his conversion he stayed fifteen days with Cephas, and afterwards
preached in Syria and Cilicia (i.).

Fourteen years after his conversion[4] he again went to Jerusalem "by
revelation."  False brethren attempted to get Titus circumcised, but in
vain.  James, Cephas, and John were most friendly to Paul and Barnabas,
agreeing that they should go to the Gentiles while remembering the poor
in Jerusalem.  Cephas rebuked at Antioch by St. Paul (ii.).

(2) St. Paul defends justification by faith: iii. 1-v. 1.--Galatian
fickleness, even Abraham was justified by faith, and in the Old
Testament the righteous live by faith, the Jewish Law merely a
parenthesis between God's promise and its fulfilment, the Law a tutor
to bring us to Christ (iii.).

Judaism is the state of a son who is a minor, Christianity is the state
of a son who has attained his majority.  Why return to the beggarly
rudiments of knowledge?  The Jew is like the child of Hagar, the
Christian is like the child of Sarah (iv.-v. 1).

(3) Practical exhortation: v. 2-vi. 18.--Circumcision useless, freedom
and love are the allies of the true Law, the works of the flesh and the
fruits of the Spirit (v.).  Bearing one another's burdens, supporting
our teachers.  A conclusion in St. Paul's handwriting (vi.).

[1] The law implied in Gal. iv. 2 is in accordance with Syrian law.  If
a father died, he left his son under the authority of a steward until
he was fourteen, and left his property in the hands of a guardian until
he was twenty-five.  It is probable that in South Galatia as in Syria
this law was made under the reign of the Seleucids.

[2] For the explanation of this quarrel, see p. 121.

[3] The argument about "seeds" and "seed," in iii. 16, looks like a
mere verbal quibble in English.  But it becomes quite intelligible when
we remember that in rabbinical Hebrew the word "seed_s_" was used in
the sense of descendant_s_.

[4] See Gal. ii. 1, "at an interval of fourteen years."  This third
visit to Jerusalem (the second mentioned here) was in A.D. 49.  The
verse probably means fourteen years after his _conversion_, and eleven
years after his first visit.  If we reckon the fourteen years from his
_first visit_ to Jerusalem, the first visit would be in A.D. 33.  This
will not agree with Acts ix. 25, 26; 2 Cor. xi. 32, which show us that
the first visit was made while Aretas ruled at Damascus.  Aretas became
master of Damascus in A.D. 37.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The genuineness of this Epistle, like that of Galatians and 1 and 2
Corinthians, is practically undisputed.  No one ever seems to have
questioned it between the time that Marcion drew up his _Apostolicon_,
about A.D. 140, and A.D. 1792.  Before the time of Marcion it is quoted
by St. Clement of Rome, St. Ignatius, and St. Polycarp.  And there seem
to be some reminiscences of it in 1 Peter.  It is first definitely
mentioned by name in the writings of St. Irenaeus, who quotes it
several times.  This early and frequent use postulates for the Epistle
a very authoritative source.  There is no one that we know of among the
first Christians who could have written it except St. Paul.  What he
tells the Romans about his personal wishes and intentions is exactly
consonant with what he says elsewhere.  The notices that he gives them
of his movements perfectly accord with the notices in Acts.  The
primary conceptions of the Epistle are more or less common to all St.
Paul's works.  They are concerned with the guilt and the power of sin,
the eternal purpose which God has for man, the meaning of Christ's
death and the effect of His resurrection, the nature of our acquittal
by God and our new spiritual life.

The only serious question with regard to the criticism of the outward
letter of the Epistle, is connected with the last two chapters (xv.,
xvi.).  Baur rejected both as spurious compilations, {159} intended to
reconcile "Paulinism" with the more Jewish school of early Christian
thought.  But Baur's habit of pronouncing spurious every book or part
of a book which did not agree with his peculiar estimate of St. Paul,
is now discredited.  In spite of this, many critics think that xv. and
xvi. do not belong to this Epistle.  They are generally admitted to be
by St. Paul, but it is thought that they are simply pages which have
become detached from some other writings of the apostle.  Chapter xvi.
in particular is supposed to be a fragment of an Epistle to Ephesus.
It abounds in personal greetings to intimate friends; and yet it is
difficult to believe that St. Paul had many friends in Rome before he
visited it.  And among these friends are Prisca and Aquila (xvi. 3),
who certainly stayed at Ephesus, where St. Paul had laboured for two
years and must have had many friends.  The tone of xvi. 17-20 is
thought to imply sectarian divisions which the rest of the Epistle
ignores.  And the final doxology appears in different places in
different MSS., a fact which suggests that the early Church doubted
where the Epistle ended.  No real importance need be attached to
another argument used by some critics, viz. that Marcion omitted xv.
and xvi.  He would have rejected them, whether genuine or not, on
account of the sanction given to the Old Testament in xv. 4.

On the other hand, the integrity of the Epistle is maintained by some
of the best recent critics, including Sanday, Zahn, and Godet.  The
best MSS. place the final doxology in its present position.  The fact
that the majority of cursive MSS. and some valuable versions, such as
the later Syriac and the Armenian, place it at the end of xiv. seems to
be accounted for by the fact that the last two chapters were often
omitted in the lessons read in church, being considered unimportant for
the purposes of general edification.  The fact that the Epistle seems
to come to an end at xv. 33, and also at xvi. 20, before the final
doxology in xvi. 27, suggests the best solution.  It is that the
apostle, after concluding the argument of the Epistle, made various
{160} additions of a personal nature with reference to himself and his
friends as they occurred to his mind.  He then summed up the whole
argument in xvi. 25-27, where the obedience of _faith_ is stated to be
the purpose of God's final revelation.  The number of friends mentioned
in xvi. is not incredibly large when we remember the easy and frequent
intercourse which existed between Rome and the east.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"To all that are in Rome, beloved by God, called to be saints."  It has
been well said that the universality of the gospel made St. Paul desire
to preach it in the universal city.  He longed to "see Rome;" he was
conscious that Christ had called him to "bear witness at Rome."  He
himself had the freedom of the city of Rome, and he was inspired with
the hope, which was fulfilled three hundred years afterwards, that the
religion of Christ would be the religion of the Roman empire.  The
territory then ruled by Rome more nearly embraced the whole of the
civilized world than any empire that has since been seen.  It included
London and Toledo, Constantinople and Jerusalem.  Roman soldiers kept
their watch on the blue Danube, and were planting outposts on the
far-off grey Euphrates.  The city of Rome itself contained about a
million and a half of inhabitants.  It was well governed and
sumptuously adorned.  A real belief in the homely vulgar gods of their
forefathers had declined among educated people, and the humane
principles of Stoic philosophy were instilling a new regard for the
less fortunate classes of mankind.  Strange foreign devotions were
satisfying some of the yearnings which found no nourishment in the hard
old Roman paganism.  Men who took no interest in Jupiter were attracted
by Mithras, the Eastern god of the light.  Women who could obtain no
entrance into the exclusive sisterhood of the Vestal Virgins, could
find occupation in the worship of the Egyptian Isis.  Some vague belief
in a Divine One was rising in minds who thought that Jupiter Mithras
and Isis were only symbols of a power behind the mists of human wisdom.
Jews {161} of all classes were numerous, though the majority were as
poor as those of East London.  They made some converts, and Poppaea,
the mistress of Nero in A.D. 58, dallied with Judaism as with a new
sensation.  Men and women of every race were included among the slaves
of Rome, and the arts and elegance of Greek and Syrian slaves often
proved a staircase by which new religions found a way into the chambers
of the great and wealthy.  In spite of some signs of moral vigour,
society was cankered with pride of class and with self-indulgence.  It
possessed no regenerating force capable of checking the repulsive vice
which was encouraged by the obscenity of actors and the frivolity of

We are told that "sojourners from Rome," both Jews and proselytes, were
in the crowd which listened to St. Peter's address on the Day of
Pentecost (Acts ii. 10).  It is possible that these men brought news of
the gospel to the large body in Rome of Jews, and of Gentiles
influenced by Jewish ideas.  In any case, communication between the
chief cities of the empire was at this time so frequent that we may be
sure that the principles and attractions of Christianity were soon
heard of at Rome.  Gradually a small band formed there of people who
were interested and pleased by what they had learnt of Christ; it is
probable that St. Paul sent Aquila and Prisca from Ephesus to give them
definite instruction.  It does not seem that they had been visited by
an apostle (xv. 20).  The Epistle is addressed to a community
consisting of Jews and Gentiles, but the Gentiles are by far the more

The apostle's claim in ch. i. to address this Church as within the
jurisdiction of "the apostle of the Gentiles," his direct appeal to the
Gentiles in xi. 13, and the statement of his priestly office exercised
over the Gentiles in xv. 16, show that the Church of Rome was Gentile
in character.  The proper names in the Epistle afford us little
indication of the proportion of Jews and Gentiles.  The majority of the
names are Greek, and four names are Latin; but the Jews of that time,
like the {162} Jews of the present day, often passed under Gentile
names.  We know how the English Jews now disguise Moses as "Moss" Judah
as "Leo," and Levi as "Lewis."

The majority of the converts were probably in a humble social position.
When St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, there were Christians in the
imperial household itself, and it is possible that the Narcissus
mentioned in Romans may be the freedman of the Emperor Claudius, put to
death in A.D. 54.  Ordinary slaves and freedmen seem to have been the
principal element among those who were first "called to be saints" at
Rome, but before long there were people of good birth and cultured
intelligence who turned gladly from the lifeless old Roman religion and
the fantastic new-fashioned Eastern cults to this original faith in the
incarnate God.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

St. Paul wrote this letter towards the end of his stay at Corinth, at
the close of A.D. 55 or the beginning of A.D. 56 (see xvi. 1; xv.
23-26, and Acts xix. 21).

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

St. Paul writes as the apostle of the Gentiles to the Christians of the
greatest of all Gentile cities.  He does so with a solemn sense of
special responsibility.  Profoundly impressed with the grandeur of the
Roman name, the position of this promiscuous little body of converts is
to him enormously significant.  They are the representatives of the
faith of Jesus in the capital of the world; they are the first members
of a Church to which God seems to give the most magnificent of all
opportunities.  And the thought is scarcely absent from his mind that
this may be the last Epistle he will ever send.  He is going to
Jerusalem, and has a sad foreboding of what may await him there (xv.

The manner and style which give the Epistle a unique place among the
works of St. Paul are caused by these considerations.  He wishes to
tell the Roman Christians his very best ideas in the very best way:
this may be his last chance of doing so.  He puts aside, then, all
clamour of personal debate, and sets {163} himself to produce an
ordered theological treatise.  Never elsewhere does the apostle write
with so careful method, so powerful concentration, so effective
marshalling of arguments, so stirring yet measured eloquence.

The Epistle opens with a brief introduction.  Paul, the apostle of
Christ, wishes to preach the gospel to those in Rome whom Christ has
called.  Then he begins at once to describe the set of circumstances
which the gospel is intended to meet.  The Gentiles have not been true
to such knowledge as they had of God, and by an inevitable process they
have passed on to unnatural and vicious excess (i. 18-32).  And when
St. Paul turns to the Jews, he finds they are in no better case.  With
fuller knowledge they have sinned scarcely less.  Strict justice will
be meted out by God to all, the Jew coming first and then the Gentile.
The Gentile will not escape, for the Gentiles, whom we conceive of as
having no law, have a law in that moral sense which makes them
instinctively put in practice the precepts of the Law, and their inward
thoughts accuse or defend them (ii. 1-16).  The Jew may boast of his
Law and his knowledge of revelation, but he is no better in practice
than a Gentile.  And as for his circumcision, it is worthless unless he
is also spiritually circumcised in the heart (ii. 17-29).

After a parenthetical discussion of difficulties suggested by a
possible Jewish opponent (iii. 1-8), St. Paul shows that the Jews are
not in a worse case than the Gentiles.  Both are under the dominion of
sin, and Scripture says so.  The whole system of Law is a failure.  Law
does nothing but give a clear knowledge of sin (iii. 9-20).

St. Paul then brings forward his great remedy--the answer of God to the
need which is represented by universal human sinfulness.  Man has
failed to correspond to the suggestions of conscience, he has failed to
fulfil the requirements of the written Law, but now he may come into a
right relation with God by identifying himself with Jesus Christ.  He
may be justified (_i.e._ accepted as righteous) by an act of God's
grace (_i.e._ by an {164} undeserved act of God's love) on account of
the redemption wrought by Christ, whom God has set forth as a
propitiation to show His own righteousness.  God could no longer allow
man to mistake His patience with our sins for slack indifference.  Man
must no longer seek to be justified before God on the strength of what
he himself has done, but on the strength of his faith in Christ, _i.e._
his devoted personal adhesion to Christ (iii. 21-26).  St. Paul tells
the Romans that this justifying faith excludes glorying, can be
realized by Gentile as well as Jew; that by it we establish the Law
(iii. 27-31), as the Jewish dispensation, rightly understood, testifies
to its necessity.  In fact, Abraham himself was justified by faith
(iv.)  Then St. Paul sets forth in glowing and stately words what are
the consequences for us which follow from being so justified.  We are
at peace with God, and share in His love, and this is the secure ground
of Christian hope for life and after death (v. 1-11).  The effects of
Christ's death are computed by an _argumentum a fortiori_ from the
results of Adam's fall (v. 12-21).

The apostle now carefully refutes the notion that the doctrine of
justification by faith encourages Antinomianism.  Liberty does not mean
licence.  St. Paul was quite alive to the fact that skilful opponents
and brainless admirers would misrepresent his doctrine, which was also
Christ's.  He therefore takes great pains to show that the connection
between the righteousness of Christ and the righteousness of a
Christian is not arbitrary or fictitious.  His argument throughout
implies that man actually receives "the righteousness of God," that is,
the righteousness which is inherent in God, and is bestowed by God upon
man when he unites himself with Christ (vi.-viii.).

Shall I go on sinning that God's mercy may be all the greater in
forgiving me?  God forbid: for when I went down into the waters of
baptism, I shared in the death of Christ; and when I rose from them, I
rose as a sharer in His risen life.  Because I am united thus to the
life of Christ, sin is foreign to my nature (vi. 1-14).  I am no longer
under law, but under grace: but {165} to be the slave of sin and be
occupied with uncleanness, and to gain the wages of death, is
inconsistent with being the slave of righteousness, occupied in a
course of purification and rewarded with the gift of life (vi. 15-23).

Next, St. Paul asks why it is that we are no longer under the Law?
Because we have no connection with that state of sin to which the Law
was applicable.  Our soul is like a wife whose lawful husband is dead.
Or, to put the truth into another form, our old state was killed by our
identification with Christ crucified, and we are espoused to Christ
risen (vii. 1-6).  What, then, shall we think of the Law?  Is it sin?
No.  It reveals the sinfulness of sin, and it irritates dormant sin
into activity.  A thing cannot be identical with another thing which it
exposes and irritates.  But why did God permit the Law, which is holy,
to prove fatal to my soul (vii. 13)?  He did not.  The Law was not
fatal, though sin was all but fatal.  Sin was permitted to do its worst
that its real hideousness might be apparent.  This is what took place.
The Law gave me an ideal, but my better self, which corresponds to the
Law, could not keep me from ding wrong or make me do right.  I became
involved in a terrible conflict.  This was the opportunity of Christ.
He has delivered me from that state of the body which involved me in
sin and death.  Without Him, I should still be serving the Law of God
with my conscience, and the law of sin with my body (vii. 25).

Where the Law of Moses failed, Christ splendidly succeeds.  He not only
sets before men an ideal, but also helps them to attain it, and fulfil
the righteous claims of the moral Law, by uniting Himself with them by
the Spirit (viii. 1-10).  Men are now in a new relation to God: they
call Him Father, He sees in them His sons.  Though with all creation we
wait still in fruitful pain for the fulness of redemption, we wait with
confident hope.  The Spirit is with us to help and to pray, we remember
God's high purpose for us, we have known His love in the past, Jesus in
infinite exaltation is interceding for us; {166} who, then, shall ever
be able to separate us from the love of God (viii. 11-39)?

St. Paul turns now to a parenthetical discussion which necessarily
suggests itself here.  It has practically happened that God's own
people, the children of Abraham, in spite of their privileges, are
excluded from this new salvation which comes from acceptance of Christ.
This does not mean that God has been unfaithful.  St. Paul vindicates
His action toward them, and he shows that it has been consistent with
His previous action towards the Israelites (ix. 6-13), righteous (ix.
14-21), and merciful (ix. 22-29).  God has always shown that He is free
to select whom he likes to carry out His purpose in the world.[1]  The
Jews are rejected because they seek to be justified, on the strength of
their own works (ix. 30-33; x. 1-3): now, the method of the Law has
been superseded by Christ's, which is an easier method (x. 4-10) and
universal (x. 11-13).  And the Jews have had every opportunity for
hearing of it (x. 14-21).  But God has not rejected them entirely or
finally (xi. 1-10); and if their fall has led to the preaching of the
gospel to the Gentiles, how much more happily fruitful will be their
reception into the Church (xi. 11-15)!  We may hope for this ultimate
acceptance of the gospel by both Jew and Gentile because of the
original holiness of the Jewish stock.  The Gentiles are grafted into
that: just as we may be cut off from it if we sin, so the Jews more
easily may be grafted in again if they will (xi. 16-24).  St. Paul now
shows how the hardening of the Jews and the disobedience of the
Gentiles alike have served the purposes of God.  Israel as a nation
shall be saved by the Messiah.  The chapter closes {167} with words of
reverent admiration for the wonderful workings of the Divine Providence
(xi. 25-36).

After this long doctrinal argument, St. Paul insists upon certain
practical duties (xii.-xv. 13).  We may notice in xiii. 2 ff. the
emphasis which is laid upon the dignity of the civil government, a
dignity which was immeasurably degraded ten years later by the wanton
persecution of the Roman Christians.  And xiii. 13 is a verse ever to
be remembered by the Church as the verse by which God brought Augustine
from free thinking and licentious living to be numbered among the
saints.  In xiv. begins some considerate advice about certain
Christians "weak in faith."  They seem to have formed a party, but not
a party which can be identified with any other religious clique
mentioned by the apostle.  Their vegetarianism and their observance of
particular holy days have suggested the theory that they were
Christians who followed the ascetic practices of the Jewish sect of
Essenes.  The theory that they were Gentiles who affected the customs
of the Pythagoreans has commended itself to other writers.  On the
whole, the number of Jews in Rome supports the theory that these were
Jewish Christians.  St. Paul deals very tenderly with these total
abstainers from meat and wine.  He evidently does not put them on the
same level as the sectaries of Galatia or Colossae.

The Epistle closes with various references to personal matters,
including the expression of a desire to visit Spain and Rome (xv. 34).



Salutation and introduction (i. 1-15).

(1) DOCTRINAL.--The subject of the Epistle.  How is righteousness to be
attained?  Not by man's work, but by God's gift, through faith, _i.e._
personal attachment to Christ (i. 16, 17).

A. Righteousness as a state of man in the sight of God (Justification):
i. 18-v. 21.

a. Righteousness was never attained before Christ came.  The Gentiles
neglected their conscience until they sank into abominable sins; future
judgment will certainly come on all men without respect of persons; the
Jews, too, have no right to criticize the Gentiles--they had the Law of
Moses, while the Gentiles only had the unwritten law of conscience, yet
they failed.  The Jewish quibble that there was no good in being a Jew
if God condemned him, is refuted.  The witness of the Old Testament to
the universality of sin is quoted (i. 18-iii. 20).

b. Exposition of the new method of attaining righteousness.  It is
independent of the Law, is universal, is obtainable through Christ's
death which manifests God's righteousness.  This method excludes human
boasting, and can be experienced by Jew and Gentile alike (iii. 21-31).

c. The relation of this new method to the Old Testament.  Abraham, the
typical saint of the Old Testament, was not justified because of works,
or circumcision, or law.  His faith shows that the Old Testament
supports the Christian method of salvation (iv.).

d. The blessed state of the justified Christian.  He is filled with
hope, and this hope is guaranteed by the proved love of God.  What a
contrast between this blessedness and the effects of Adam's fall!  The
work of Christ resembles that of Adam, because it passes from one man
to all men: it differs greatly, because Adam's fall brought sin, our
condemnation, our death.  Christ's gift brings grace, our acquittal,
our life.  The Fall brought sin, Law increased sin; Grace is greater
than sin (v.).


B. Righteousness as necessarily involving moral progress
(Sanctification); vi.-viii.

a. Refutation of the theory that we may continue to sin in order to
give God fresh opportunities of displaying His lovingkindness.  Our
baptism implies union with the sinless Christ.  Refutation of the
theory that we may as well sin as not sin because we are no longer
under the Law.  Our marriage to Christ must be fruitful (vi. 1-vii. 6).
The Law is not to be disparaged, though it is impotent to rescue me in
the terrible moral conflict under which I should suffer, if it were not
for Christ (vii. 6-25).

B. Where the Law of Moses failed, the incarnation of Christ succeeds.
The life of Christian righteousness is ruled by the Holy Spirit.  It
implies filial confidence in God, a glorious inheritance, divine
assistance, inviolable security (viii.).

C. The problem raised by the fate of the Jews: ix.-xi.

a. Their rejection from their privileged position a sad contrast to
their high destiny; the entire justice of God in forming a new Israel
of Jews and Gentiles alike (ix.).

b. The cause of their rejection was that they sought to be justified in
their own way and not in God's way, and this in spite of Christian
opportunities and prophetic warnings (x.).

c. Consolations which qualify the severity of their fate.  Their
unbelief is only partial and temporary, and God's purpose is to restore
all.  Doxology (xi.).

(2) PRACTICAL.--The Christian sacrifice, and the duties of a Christian
(xii.).  Church and State, the law of love, the approaching judgment

Toleration for weak and eccentric Christians; vegetarians, observers of
private holy days and total abstainers, not to be disturbed; we must do
nothing that makes a brother stumble.  Christ pleased not Himself; He
was both a minister of the circumcision and the hope of the Gentiles
(xiv. 1-xv. 13).

Personal conclusion (xv. 14-xvi. 27).

[1] The Calvinistic doctrine of predestination, as taught in the
writings of Calvin and in the Presbyterian Westminster Confession, is a
complete perversion of St. Paul's teaching.  Calvin teaches a
predestination to heaven or hell; St. Paul here speaks of an
appointment to certain duties on earth.  The Calvinists asserted that
some men "cannot be saved;" St. Paul teaches that God so acted "in
order that He might have mercy upon all" (xi. 32).





[Sidenote: The Author.]

There is no good reason for doubting that this beautiful Epistle is the
work of St. Paul.  It is full of Pauline thought, and is well attested
by external evidence.  It is apparently quoted in the very ancient work
known as the Epistle of Barnabas, and Justin Martyr quotes the title of
Christ "the firstborn of all creation" (Col. i. 15).  It is included in
Marcion's canon and in the _Muratorian Fragment_, as well as in the Old
Latin and Peshitta Syriac versions.  The notion that it is only a weak
reflection of Ephesians seems incredible, for neither of the two
Epistles is appreciably inferior to the other, and in each one there
are several unique passages which represent as high a level of
intellectual and spiritual attainment as the passages which are in some
degree common to the two.  Moreover, we cannot trace any definite
method according to which the one writing has been used for the other,
and destructive critics have only destroyed one another's arguments in
their attempts to show which of the two Epistles is genuine, or why
they both are forged.  It is also important to consider the association
of this Epistle with that to Philemon: the transparent genuineness of
the latter makes it practically certain that Colossians is genuine as

Objections to the authenticity of Colossians have been {171} steadily
growing fainter.  It was denied by Mayerhoff in 1838, and by the whole
Tübingen school, in spite of very strong external evidence.  (1) The
heresy opposed by St. Paul was said to be a form of 2nd-century
Gnosticism; but the affinities which it shows with Judaism point rather
to the 1st century.  (2) There are a large number of words which St.
Paul uses nowhere else, thirty-four being found in no other part of the
New Testament; but several of these words are called forth by the
special error which St. Paul rebukes, and the Epistle does contain
eleven Pauline words used by no other New Testament writer.  (3) The
doctrine has been declared to be not Pauline, but a further development
of St. Paul's doctrine of the dignity of Christ.  This objection rests
entirely on the hypothesis that Jesus Christ was not God, but was
gradually deified by successive generations of His followers.  The
critics who declared that no apostle believed Christ to be more than an
ideal or half-divine man, and said that St. John's writings are
forgeries of the 2nd century, described the doctrine of Colossians as a
transition from the true Pauline doctrine to the doctrine of the Logos
contained in the fourth Gospel.  But St. Paul states nothing about
Christ in this Epistle which is not implied in earlier Epistles.  He
only makes fresh statements of truth in view of fresh errors.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

Colossae was the least important town to which any Epistle of St. Paul
which now remains was addressed.  The place was on the river Lycus in
Phrygia, about ten miles from Laodicea and thirteen from Hierapolis,
and thus the three towns were the sphere of the missionary work of the
Colossian Epaphras (Col. iv. 12, 13).  Colossae had been flourishing
enough in the time of Herodotus, but now, overshadowed by greater
neighbours--Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Chonae--and perhaps shaken by
recurring earthquakes, it was sinking fast into decay.  Still it
derived importance from its situation on the great main road which
connected Rome with the eastern provinces, the road by {172} which
Xerxes had led his great armament against Greece.  And as the people
had a special way of their own for producing a rich dye named
_Colossinus_, it retained a fair amount of trade.  We may account for
the presence of Jews at Colossae which is suggested in the Epistle, by
remembering its convenient position and its trade speciality.  The
people were mainly the descendants of Greek settlers and Phrygian
natives, and the intellectual atmosphere was the same as that of which
we have evidence in other parts of Asia Minor: every one was infected
with the Greek keenness for subtle speculation, and the usual Phrygian
tendency to superstition and fanaticism.  Thirteen miles away, at
Hierapolis, was growing into manhood the slave Epictetus, who later on
will set out some of the most noble and lofty of pagan thoughts.  The
persistent love of the people of this neighbourhood for the
angel-worship which St. Paul rebukes, is illustrated by the facts that
in the 4th century a Church Council at Laodicea condemned the worship
of angels, and that, in spite of this, in the 9th and 10th centuries
the district was the centre of the worship of St. Michael, who was
believed to have opened the chasm of the Lycus, and so saved the people
of Chonae from an inundation.

Colossae, being exposed to the raids of the Moslem Saracens,
disappeared from history in the 8th century.

The Church at Colossae was not founded by St. Paul, and he was not
personally acquainted with it (Col. ii. 1).  But we can hardly go so
far as to say that he had never seen the town at all.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

St. Paul sent this letter, together with that to Philemon and the
circular which we call "Ephesians," by Tychicus from Rome, probably in
A.D. 60.  He alludes to his imprisonment twice incidentally, and again
with pathetic simplicity in the postscript added by his own hand,
"Remember my bonds."

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

Some difficulties are connected with the heresy taught by the religious
agitators at Colossae.  It is plain that their {173} teaching affected
both doctrine and practice.  They appealed to visions and a knowledge
of the celestial world (ii. 18), and therefore set up a worship of
angels which tended to thrust Christ from His true position in the
creed of the Church.  They treated the body with unsparing severity
(ii. 23), they abstained from meat and drink, and paid a punctilious
attention to festivals, new moons, and sabbaths (ii. 16).  St. Paul
calls these practices "material rudiments" (ii. 8), elementary methods
now superseded by faith in Christ.  Moreover, it is almost certain that
literal circumcision was practised (ii. 11).  These things point to
Judaism.  And yet St. Paul does not seem to be rebuking a return to the
Judaism of the Old Testament.  He could hardly have described a
compliance with Old Testament injunctions as an "arbitrary religion"
and "doctrines of men" (ii. 1, 22, 23).  It might be Pharisaism, but if
we look in the direction of Judaism, it is most natural that we should
think of a Judaism resembling that of the Essenes.  The Essenes were
vegetarians, they avoided wine, they kept the sabbath with special
scrupulousness, and had some secret teaching about the angels.  These
resemblances have tempted some commentators to identify the false
teachers with the Essenes.  But there is nothing to prove that the
Essenes worshipped the angels, and St. Paul makes no mention of the
Essene veneration for the sun, or their monastic life, or their
elaborate process of initiation.  Besides this, the principal community
of Essenes dwelt by the Dead Sea, and it is very doubtful if any
existed in Asia Minor.

It is best to confess our ignorance.  All that we can say is that the
scruple-mongers at Colossae taught doctrines which had points of
contact with Essenism.  They employed some affected interpretation of
the Old Testament.  They also were influenced by heathenism in their
conception of half-divine beings intermediate between God and the
world.  How far they held any definitely dualistic view of matter we
cannot tell.  {174} But their system was a mischievous theosophy, which
they endeavoured to popularize under catchwords like "wisdom" and
"philosophy."  The fact that there was at this time such a widespread
tendency to adopt an exaggerated asceticism and theories about
mediatorial spirits, makes it unnecessary to suppose that the Colossian
heresy need be affiliated to any particular school of speculation.

The Epistle consists mainly of a more or less indirect argument against
the insidious "philosophy" of the heretics, with an exhortation and
personal notes.

Perhaps we account most naturally for the broken order and lax
coherence of this letter, by the suggestion that, as St. Paul dictated
it, there was present with him a sense of almost nervous hesitation.
He has exactly a gentleman's reluctance to do an ungracious action:
while he knows that it is his duty to warn the Colossians of a serious
danger, he knows that unless he does so with much tactful delicacy,
they will resent his interference.  So he begins by saying what polite
things he can about them, and instead of going on at once to talk of
the heresy, he first says with plain significance that he perpetually
prays for their perfection in knowledge, activity, and constancy.  An
incidental allusion to God's method for human salvation gives St. Paul
an opportunity for making a digression--one of the most important
statements in the New Testament--concerning the nature and work of
Christ (i. 14-20).  He shows the Colossians what views they ought to
hold concerning Him.  This would keep them from giving to the angels
what is due to Christ alone.  Christ is the Redeemer.  He was born
prior to all creation, even the angels, and all creation coheres
through union with Him (i. 15-17).  He is the Head of the Church in
virtue of His resurrection, and as embodying the full number of divine
attributes (i. 18, 19).  He is the Saviour of angels and men by His
death, and in this salvation the Colossians ought to share (i. 20-23).

It seems that now he will deal with the heresy, but again he {175}
postpones it.  He breaks in with a digression of a pastoral character.
He speaks of his commission to preach (i. 24-29), his anxiety even for
Churches that he has never visited (ii. 1-5), and he exhorts the
Colossians to continue in their original faith (ii. 6, 7).

At last he enters upon the main business of the Epistle and begins
dogmatic controversy.  After a warning against spurious philosophy, he
asserts that Christ is the sole incarnation of Deity, to whom all
spirits are subject (ii. 9, 10).  This is the true doctrine: God has
not divided His attributes among a group of angels; all are to be found
in Christ.  And the true method of salvation is simply that union with
Christ which begins with baptism, the Christian's circumcision.  In it
we receive that forgiveness which was won for us when Christ died, and
both blotted out the Law and triumphed over evil angels (ii. 13-15).
The apostle then directly condemns the practices of the false
teachers--their anxious and mechanical conduct with regard to food and
seasons, their intrusion into celestial secrets and their doctrine of
angel-worship, their loose hold on Christ the Head, symptoms of an
affected humility which is no real check against the indulgence of the
flesh (ii. 16-23).

He then turns to practical exhortation.  In the bracing words made
familiar to us by the Epistle for Easter Day, St. Paul bids the
Colossians leave the gently stimulating exercise of intellectual
theorizing and listen to the stern demands made by Christ on life and
character.  They have risen to a life hid with Christ in God; they must
make dead the faculties of sensual action, angry thinking, and evil
speaking: this is implied in forsaking heathenism for the universal
Christ (iii. 1-11).  Live quietly in peace and love, show a gracious
life in a gracious worship, consecrate your words and deeds by doing
all in the name of the Lord Jesus (iii. 12-17).

Then the special duties of wives and husbands, children and fathers,
slaves and masters, are dealt with.  Prayer and thanksgiving are
enjoined on all alike, and the Christians are bidden {176} to "buy up
the opportunity" of furthering the cause of God in their dealings with
the outer world, having their speech seasoned with the salt of
wholesome wisdom (iii. 18-iv. 6).  A few words are said about Tychicus,
Onesimus, and other friends, including "Luke, the beloved physician,"
and the Epistle ends with a farewell which St. Paul wrote with his own
hand.  Before writing it, the apostle directs that this letter should
be read at Laodicea, and that the Colossians should procure another
letter which had been left in that city.  This was probably the
so-called Epistle to the Ephesians.


Salutation, thanksgiving, the apostle's prayer for the readers (i.

Christ, who redeemed us, is pre-eminent in Person, being the Head of
the natural creation, and of the spiritual creation, because the sum of
divine attributes dwells in Him (i. 14-19).  He is pre-eminent in work,
having reconciled us to God (i. 20-23).

St. Paul's own commission and his anxiety (i. 24-ii. 7).  Warning
against the delusion of a false philosophy.  The "fulness" is in
Christ, therefore the Colossians must avoid semi-Jewish practices and
also avoid the worship of angels (ii. 8-19).  The converts have died
with Christ to their old life and earthly ordinances (ii. 20-25).

The converts have risen with Christ to a new life and heavenly
principles, vices must be made dead, virtues must be put on (iii. 1-17).

Obligations of wives and husbands, children and parents, slaves and
masters (iii. 18-iv. 1).

The duty of prayer and thanksgiving, and right behaviour towards the
unconverted (iv. 2-6).

Personal conclusion, and a message relating to an Epistle from Laodicea
(iv. 7-18).



[Sidenote: The Author.]

The genuineness of this winning little letter could never be doubted
except by the most dryasdust of pedants.  It is no proof of acuteness
to detect the artifice of a forger in its earnest simplicity, its
thoughtful tact, and affectionate anxiety.  There is about it a
vivacity and directness which at once and decisively stamp it as
genuine.  And external evidence shows that it was included in the
earliest lists of St. Paul's Epistles.  It was accepted by Marcion,
included in the _Muratorian Fragment_, and expressly attributed to St.
Paul by Origen.  It shows a number of coincidences with Colossians,
Ephesians, and Philippians, and it is especially connected with
Colossians by the proper names which it contains, such as Archippus,
Aristarchus, Mark, and Luke.  No evidence exists to show that any early
Christians denied this Epistle to be by St. Paul.  But it does appear
that some of them half disliked its inclusion in the Canon, thinking it
too trivial to be numbered with the Scriptures.  To modern readers it
manifests a great treatment of little things, which is one of the
surest proofs of inspiration.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

The Epistle is addressed to Philemon, a substantial citizen of
Colossae.  He has been converted by St. Paul, who writes with deep
appreciation of his faith in Christ, and of the kindness that he has
shown to the saints.  He gives him the honourable title of
"fellow-worker."  Religious services and the social gatherings of
Christians are held in Philemon's house.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

This Epistle was written during St. Paul's first imprisonment in Rome,
A.D. 59-61.  In ver. 10 St. Paul alludes to his "bonds."

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

Philemon had a Phrygian slave named Onesimus, who first {178} robbed
him and then ran away.  Onesimus was able without much difficulty to
get to Rome, and here he met the apostle, who received him into the
Church.  The young convert served him with such eager willingness that
St. Paul would have been glad to keep him with him, but he decides to
send him back to Philemon with this letter to ensure his forgiveness.

We have, therefore, in this letter a picture of St. Paul in a new
relation.  There is no other letter in the New Testament of such a
private nature except 3 John.  The great apostle of the Gentiles is
taking his pen to provide a dishonest runaway slave with a note that
shall shield him from the just anger of his master.  He writes both
with a strong sense of justice and with his own perfect diplomatic
instinct.  The letter is at once authoritative, confident, and most
gentle.  He does not command or insist, yet it is quite clear that
Philemon must do just what he asks.  There is no violent attack upon
slavery as an institution.  Any such attack would have been both
foolish and criminal.  For it would have encouraged slaves to make
Christianity a cloak for revolt, and precipitated horrors far worse
than those which it could have professed to remove.  But St. Paul
asserts a principle which will eventually prove fatal to slavery.  When
he tells Philemon to receive Onesimus "as a brother beloved," he is
really saying that our estimate of men must not be based on their
social class, but rather on their relation to God.

This letter has been compared with a letter written under similar
circumstances by the younger Pliny, one of the best of the pagan
gentlemen of Rome.  But while the letter of Pliny is more elegant in
language, the letter of St. Paul is a finer masterpiece of feeling.  A
Roman slave was still allowed no rights and no family relationship, and
for the smallest offence he might be tortured and killed.  In the next
century the Emperor Hadrian first took away from masters the power of
life and death over their slaves, and it was not until the time {179}
of the Emperor Constantine, who established Christianity, that the laws
affecting slavery pointed to the future triumph of emancipation.  But
the ancient conception of slavery was doomed as soon as "slave-girls
like Blandina in Gaul, or Felicitas in Africa, having won for
themselves the crown of martyrdom, were celebrated in the festivals of
the Church with honours denied to the most powerful and noblest born of
mankind." [1]


Salutation from Paul and Timothy to Philemon and Apphia (? wife), to
Archippus and the Church in Philemon's house; thanksgiving for
Philemon's faith; a plea for the pardon of Onesimus, St. Paul promises
to be responsible for what was stolen; a lodging to be prepared for St.
Paul; concluding salutations, benediction.

[1] Lightfoot, _Colossians and Philemon_, p. 325.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The Pauline authorship of this Epistle is well attested by external
evidence.  Before 150 we have proof of its wide use among both heretics
and Catholics; it is quoted probably by St. Clement and St. Polycarp,
and some of its characteristic ideas are to be found in a more
developed form in the _Shepherd_ of Hermas.  There is one clear
reference to it in St. Ignatius, and two other possible references.  We
trace an interesting connection between the thought of this Epistle and
that of the Revelation and the Gospel of St. John (_e.g._ ch. xvii.)
and the First Epistle of St. Peter.  Perhaps we may account for it by
accepting Renan's suggestion that St. Peter, St. John, and St. Paul
were in Rome together.  The strongest argument for the Pauline
authorship lies in the undesigned coincidences between Ephesians and
Romans.  In both we notice the same courtesy of manner and sensitive
frankness, the same setting forth of God's method of salvation, the
same valuation of the relative position of Jews and Gentiles, and of
their union in Jesus Christ; the same thought of God's eternal and
unchanging purpose very gradually revealed, and extending in its
ultimate operation to all creation.  It has been well said that the
Epistle to the Ephesians is required to give completeness to the
argument of Rom. xv.  Though we do not find here the controversial
reasoning of the earlier Epistle, we have some of those characteristic
passages in which the {181} writer, carried away by emotion, leaves
statement for prayer or praise (cf. Rom. xi. 33 and Eph. iii. 20).  We
have, indeed, in this Epistle evidence which points to a date later
than that of some of his Epistles.  We miss the expectation of Christ's
immediate coming; the Gentiles are now quite secure in the Church;
there is proof of the growth of Christian hymns (v. 14, 19).  But the
names of the ministers of the Church seem very primitive, the words
"presbyter" and _episkopos_ not being mentioned.  And words such as
"worlds," "fulness," "generations," which were used in a special sense
by the Gnostics of the 2nd century, are here used in an earlier and
less technical meaning.

It has been argued that Ephesians is a forged imitation of Colossians,
because about half of its verses have parallels in Colossians.  This
argument has broken down, since it has been shown that it is equally
easy to prove that Colossians is based upon Ephesians.  And there is
nothing strange in the idea that St. Paul wrote two similar letters at
the same time to Churches in similar difficulties.  The two Epistles
resemble one another just as two letters written by one man to two
different friends during the same week.  The phrase "holy apostles"
(iii. 5) is also said to be a formula which St. Paul would not have
employed.  But the word "holy" is used in his writings almost in the
sense of "Christian;" it signifies consecration rather than personal
perfection.  There would, therefore, be no vanity in the apostle
applying such a title to himself.  The attempt to make the style
furnish an argument against the genuineness of the Epistle has also
failed.  There are thirty-two words used only in this Epistle, but
there are also eighteen which are found in Pauline Epistles and not
elsewhere in the New Testament.  The assumption of some sceptical
writers that an apostle must have been too unintelligent to enrich his
vocabulary, scarcely deserves serious examination.  No one would think
of applying the same rule to a Greek classical writer, and if he
attempted to do so, he would find that Xenophon varies his language as
much as St. Paul.


The real reason why the authenticity of this Epistle has been attacked
is this.  Ephesians teaches that the Church is a universal society,
visibly united by baptism and the ministry, embracing Jew and Gentile
on equal terms.  But, according to Baur, this conception of the Church
is a product of the 2nd century.  He assumed that St. Paul could not
include the twelve under the name of the "holy apostles," or teach a
Catholic doctrine of the Church.[1]  The present school of rationalists
is inclining to admit that Ephesians is genuine.  But it is hard to see
how they will be able to do this without also admitting that the
Epistle implies that the other "holy apostles" held, like St. Paul,
that Christ is divine.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

It is almost certainly not primarily a letter to Ephesus, but a
circular letter to several Churches in Asia Minor.

In i. 1 we read the words "to the saints which are in Ephesus."  But
the words "in Ephesus" are omitted in the two great MSS. K and B.
Origen also implies that these words were absent in some MSS., and St.
Basil definitely says so.  And as the Epistle contains no salutation to
any individual, it is difficult to imagine that it was specially
addressed to Ephesus, where St. Paul's friends were numerous and dear
(see Acts xx. 17-38).  In some passages St. Paul speaks as if he and
those to whom he writes knew each other only through third persons (i.
15; iii. 2).  This suggests that the Epistle was written primarily to a
Church like that of Colossae which he had never visited.

The probable solution is that it was written to the Christians of
Laodicea in the first instance.  Tertullian says that Marcion had
copies with "Ad Laodicenos" as the title.  Now, in this case Marcion
had nothing to gain by fraud, and we may therefore suppose that he had
honest grounds for using this title.  The same title gains some support
from Col. ii. 1; iv. 13, 16.  The last verse suggests that it was to be
passed on from Laodicea.  Perhaps several copies of the letter were
written at {183} Laodicea, and a blank space left in them for the
insertion of the various addresses.  No doubt the letter would be
forwarded to Ephesus in time.

Laodicea, at present called Eski-Hissar (the "old fortress"), is now
utterly deserted.  It was probably founded about B.C. 250 by Antiochus
II. Theos, and named after his wife Laodike.  It was distant eleven
miles from Colossae.  The population included some Syrians and Jews.
It rose to great wealth under the Roman power, and was so rich that
when it was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 60 it scorned to seek
pecuniary aid from the emperor.  It was in a central position on the
great trade route from the east, and was famous for its banking
business, its manufacture of fine garments of black wool, and its
"Phrygian powder" for weak eyes.  In Rev. iii. 18 there appears to be a
veiled allusion to each of these three sources of prosperity.  Timothy,
Mark, and Epaphras (Col. i. 7) were instrumental in spreading
Christianity in this region.  Laodicea was the leading bishopric of
Phrygia throughout the Christian period.

Ephesus was the capital of the Roman province of Asia.  With Antioch in
Syria and Alexandria in Egypt, it ranked as one of the greatest cities
of the East Mediterranean lands.  Planted amid the hills near the mouth
of the river Cayster, it was excellently fitted to become a great mart,
and was the commercial centre for the whole country on the Roman side
of Mount Taurus.  The substratum of the population was Asiatic, but the
progress and enterprise of the city belonged to the Greeks.  There, as
in the Florence of the Medici, we find commercial astuteness joined
with intense delight in graceful culture.  Some of the best work of the
greatest Greek sculptors and painters was treasured at Ephesus.  A
splendid but sensuous worship centred round the gross figure of the
goddess Artemis, whose temple was one of the greatest triumphs of
ancient art.  In the British Museum are preserved some fragments of the
old temple built by Croesus, King of Lydia, in B.C. 550.  The vast
{184} temple which replaced this older structure was built about B.C.
350, with the help of contributions from the whole of Asia.  The wealth
of the city was increased by the crowds which attended the festivals,
and many trades were mainly dependent upon the pilgrims, who required
food, victims, images, and shrines.  In St. Paul's time the city
contained one temple devoted to the worship of a Roman emperor.
Ephesus was also a home of magical arts, and was famous for the
production of magical formulae known as "Ephesian letters."  The actual
foundation of the Christian Church in Ephesus may be ascribed to
Priscilla and Aquila, whom St. Paul left there on his first visit (Acts
xviii. 19), On his return to Ephesus he stayed there for two years
(Acts xix. 1, 10), and the opposition of the tradesmen to a creed which
affected the vested interests of idolatry was the cause of the riot so
vigorously described by St. Luke.  Even after the riot the
superstitions of the mob were a serious danger to St. Paul (1 Cor. xv.
32; xvi. 9; 2 Cor. i. 8-10).  At a later period Ephesus became the
residence of St. John.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

St. Paul wrote this Epistle during his imprisonment at Rome, which
began in A.D. 59 (see iii. 1, 13; iv. 1, vi. 22).  Rome is not
mentioned in the Epistle, but the connection between Ephesians,
Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians points to the high probability
that they were all written from the same place.  This place is much
more likely to have been Rome than Caesarea, the only other possible
locality.  Ephesians was apparently written later than Colossians, for
it shows an emphasis on new points of doctrine--the continuity of the
Church, the work of the Holy Spirit, the analogy between family life
and the Church, and the simile of the spiritual armour.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The Epistle is of the nature of a sermon, full of closely interlaced
doctrinal arguments on the greatness of that _one_ Gospel and that
_one_ Church by which all distinctions in mankind are bridged over and
salvation is made sure.  The writer {185} fears that there will be some
lack of unity in the Church, and that the moral tone of his converts
will sink.  He wishes for a Christianity both Catholic and deep.  So he
presents his readers with the portrait of a Church predestined before
all ages, appointed to last through all ages, in which all men will be
united in holiness and love.  If Galatians and Corinthians are more
vivid, Romans more rich, and Philippians more affectionate, Ephesians
gives us St. Paul's most mature and complete picture of Christianity.

St. Paul explains how his Gentile readers came to their present
position in the Church.  They are not to regard it as a matter of
chance.  They were called to Christ as the result of an eternal counsel
of God.  God intended from eternity to adopt them in union with His
Son.  This intention was now made known, to sum up all things again in
Christ (i. 10).  The apostle prays for his readers that they may
receive enlightenment, and grow in knowledge, particularly concerning
the power of God shown in the resurrection and ascension of Christ and
his consequent relation _to the Church_.[2]

The unity of all things in the Son of God is explained in Colossians as
having been involved in His creation of them.  In Ephesians St. Paul
assumes this relation, and shows that it is largely in abeyance through
_sin_.  Estrangement has come between man and his God, involving man in
death and in the wrath of God (ii. 3-5).  A wall of division has also
been made between Jew and Gentile (ii. 14).  This division was visibly
embodied in the Jewish ordinances.  But Jew and {186} Gentile alike
have now been reconciled to God, and in being reunited with God are
reunited with each other.  This momentous change was effected by the
shedding of Christ's blood on the cross.  The readers are to remember
that they are being built into God's own habitation, of which Christ is
the Corner-Stone (ii. 20).

To the end that they may be filled in their degree with God's
attributes, the writer bows his knees (iii. 14) unto the Father.  He
prays for their strengthening because he has a special charge over the
Gentiles.  This charge involves the stewardship of a secret (iii. 3),
viz. the inclusion of the Gentiles in the promise of God.  He, the
least of all saints, has been allowed to proclaim this secret, a work
which shows to the heavenly powers the wisdom of God corresponding with
His eternal purpose (iii. 10, 11).  This bounty of God will ever be
praised in the Church, which is the monument of that bounty (iii. 21).

Chapters iv.-vi. are largely practical.  They set out rules of conduct.
But even here doctrine is brought in to enforce practical advice.  The
readers are to "walk worthily" of their calling.  To do this, they must
realize unity.  The principles of unity are magnificently summed up
(iv. 4-6).  Then the apostle mentions some means which God has
appointed for the maintenance of unity.  Christians have various gifts
from the ascended Christ (iv. 7-8), and some are specially gifted for
ecclesiastical offices (iv. 9-13).  These gifts make for the
completeness of the Church, of which Christ is the Head and the Life.
To "walk worthily" also means that everything connected with heathen
habits must be sedulously renounced.  The old self must be changed for
the new.  A basis for social life must be found in truthfulness,
uprightness, and kindliness (iv. 25-32).  Purity must specially be
preserved, impurity being contrasted with love.  Light and darkness are
then contrasted, and the sober gaiety of the Christian with heathen
folly and excess (v. 1-21).

St. Paul passes on to speak of the Christian household--the {187}
duties of husband, wife, children, slaves.  He seems to pronounce a
great benediction over family life as he compares the union of marriage
to the association of Christ with His Church.  Just as in calling
Christ the Head of which the Church is the body, he suggests the entire
dependence of the Church upon Christ, so now in describing the Church
as the spouse of Christ, he suggests that this dependence must imply a
voluntary and conscious submission.  The final exhortation vividly
describes the Christian's conflict with evil: to fight victoriously he
will need to be well armoured with the whole panoply of God (vi.
10-20).  There is a short personal conclusion in which St. Paul
describes himself as Christ's "ambassador in chains."


Salutation (i. 1, 2).

Exposition of God's purpose in adopting the Gentiles as His sons,
chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, sealed by the Spirit.  A
prayer for the readers (i.).

Their new state as saved by grace through faith; reconciliation of Jews
and Gentiles in Christ (ii.).  Paul was made a minister to dispense the
grace of God to the Gentiles.  He prays for their spiritual progress

The unity of Christians in the Church combined with diversity of gifts
and offices, a warning against heathen vices, and advice as to duty
towards one's neighbour (iv.).  Christian love, heathen uncleanness,
light and darkness, walking circumspectly, sobriety and song (v. 1-21).

The union of husbands and wives like that of Christ and His Church (v.
22, 23).  Duties of children and parents, servants and masters (vi.

Wrestling against evil powers with the whole armour of God (vi. 10-18).

Personal conclusion and benediction (vi. 19-24).

[1] See Baur's _Paul_, vol. ii. p. 177 (English translation).

[2] Eph. i. 23.  The Church is said to be "the fulness of Him that
filleth all in all."  The word "fulness" is derived from philosophy,
and means that the Church is, or rather is the realization of, the sum
of the sacred attributes of Christ, who fills the whole universe with
all kinds of gifts.  Some commentators translate "fulness" as if it
meant the receptacle of Christ's attributes, and others as if it meant
the completion of Christ.  But the word is used in a philosophical and
not in a literal sense.  See Lightfoot, _Colossians_, p. 259.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The genuineness of this Epistle is now admitted by critics of very
different schools of thought, including some extreme rationalists.
About A.D. 110 St. Polycarp, in his letter to the Philippians, speaks
of the letters which they had received from "the blessed and glorious
Paul."  Although he seems to refer to a number of letters, we may be
sure that this letter was among that number.  Otherwise it would not
have been so universally regarded as genuine during the 2nd century.
It is in Marcion's canon, in the _Muratorian Fragment_, the Peshitta
Syriac and Old Latin versions.  It is also quoted in the letter of the
Churches of Lyons and Vienne, in the Epistle of Diognetus, and by
Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria.  It was rejected by Baur and others
on various grounds.  It was urged (1) that the doctrine of Christ's
self-surrender or "self-emptying" in Phil. ii. 7 is derived from the
Valentinian Gnostics of the 2nd century, who taught that the Spirit
"Sophia" fell from the "fulness" of divine spirits in heaven to the
"emptiness" of the lower world.  This objection is too fantastic to
deserve serious refutation.  It is, in fact, little more than a play
upon words.  It was urged (2) that in Phil. ii. 7 the manhood of Christ
is said to have come into existence at the incarnation, whereas in 1
Cor. xv. 47-49 it is said to have existed in heaven before the
incarnation.  This idea rests on a false interpretation; in 1 Cor. xv.
Christ is called "of heaven" {189} because His manhood became heavenly
at His ascension.  It was urged (3) that in Phil. iii. 6 the writer
says that he had been, "as touching the righteousness which is in the
Law, found blameless," whereas St. Paul in Rom. vii. speaks of his
revolt against the Law.  But it seems that in Phil. iii. St. Paul is
laying stress rather on his external privileges and external
conformity, while in Rom. vii. he speaks of what is inward and secret.
It was urged (4) that the mention of "bishops" (or rather _episkopoi_)
and "deacons" in Phil. i. 1 shows that the Epistle was not written in
the apostolic age.  But there is nothing to make it impossible that
such offices did exist at that period, and there is much evidence in
favour of them.  Christians who are attached to the historical form of
Church government will now note with interest that, since the
genuineness of this Epistle has been practically demonstrated, some
writers have suggested that these words do not refer to special
ecclesiastical offices![1]

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

Philippi was named after Philip, King of Macedon, in the 4th century
B.C.  It was in Eastern Macedonia, on a steep hill at the edge of a
plain; its seaport, Neapolis, was about eight miles distant.  It was on
the Egnatian road, the great high-road which connected the Aegean and
the Adriatic seas, and therefore connected Asia with Europe.  It was
made into a Roman colony, with the title _Colonia Augusta Julia
Philippensium_, after the victory of Antony and Octavian over Brutus
and Cassius.  Its new name was, therefore, a memorial of the murdered
but avenged Julius Caesar.  St. Paul brought Christianity to Philippi
early in A.D. 50, during his second missionary journey.  St. Paul's
first visit here is described in Acts xvi. 12-40, and it has a special
interest as the story of the apostle's first preaching in a European
town.  The Jews had no synagogue, only a spot by the river-side in the
suburbs, where a few met together on the sabbath.  His first convert
was Lydia of Thyatira, who was a seller of purple-dyed {190} goods; her
house became the centre of the Philippian Church.  The imprisonment of
St. Paul and St. Silas in consequence of St. Paul's exorcising a
heathen slave-girl who professed to be inspired, is one of the most
dramatic incidents in Acts.  When St. Paul was released he left the
town, but returned there, in all probability, in A.D. 55, on his third
journey while travelling to Corinth.  In A.D. 56 he was there once
more, and the last Easter before his imprisonment was spent with these
beloved converts (Acts xx. 6).

The Christians of Philippi were pre-eminent in the affections of St.
Paul.  He calls them, like the Thessalonians, his "joy and crown" (iv.
1), and they alone of his children had the privilege of ministering to
his personal necessities.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

It may be regarded as almost certain that St. Paul wrote this Epistle
in Rome.  He was a prisoner, as we see in Phil. i. 7, 13, 14, 17.  He
sends greeting from those of Caesar's household (iv. 22).  The first
and last chapters imply that he is in the midst of an active Church,
and that he is the centre to which messengers come and from which they
go.  This accords with the apostle's treatment at Rome.  One phrase,
however, has been thought to suggest Caesarea rather than Rome.  It is
"the whole praetorium" (i. 13).  This might mean the praetorium or
palace of Herod Agrippa II. at Caesarea, but it is possible that it has
quite a different meaning.  It may either be the imperial guard or the
supreme imperial court before which St. Paul had to be judged.  The
latter interpretation is that suggested by the great historian Mommsen,
and seems to be the most satisfactory explanation.

The meaning of the phrase has an important bearing upon the date of the
Epistle.  If it was not written at Caesarea, it must have been written
at Rome between A.D. 59 and A.D. 61.  But the critics who are agreed
that it was composed at Rome, are divided as to the place which it
occupies among the Epistles which St. Paul wrote during his
imprisonment.  Some {191} place it first, because the vigorous style,
and many of the phrases, suggest that it was written not very long
after Romans.  Others, with greater probability, place it last among
the Epistles of the captivity.  For even if it was written first among
those Epistles, it was written more than three years after Romans.  And
the Epistle contains several indications of being written late in the
captivity.  If "praetorium" means the imperial guard, some time would
have to elapse before such a large body of men could know much about
St. Paul; and if it means the imperial court, the verse implies that he
had already appeared before his judges.  Phil. ii. 24 shows that he was
expecting a speedy decision on his case.  Epaphroditus, probably not
the Colossian Epaphras who was with St. Paul at Rome (Col. iv. 12), had
come as a delegate from the Philippians, bringing their alms to the
apostle (ii. 25; iv. 18).  After his arrival in Rome he was ill and
homesick, and now he is returning to Philippi bearing this letter of
thanks.  This all seems to imply that Philippians was written a
considerable time after the apostle's imprisonment began, and we can
therefore reasonably place it after Colossians and Ephesians, and date
it early in A.D. 61.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

With the exception of 2 Corinthians, this is the most personal and
intimate of St. Paul's writings.  In both he lays bare his heart.  But
the tone of the two Epistles is absolutely different.  In 2 Corinthians
he writes as a man who has been bitterly injured; he asserts his claims
to fickle believers whose ears have been charmed by his unscrupulous
opponents.  In Philippians we chiefly observe a note of frank and
loving confidence; buffeted by the world, the apostle finds refreshment
in the affection of his friends at Philippi.

After a salutation to all the "saints" at Philippi, including
especially the _episkopoi_ and deacons, the apostle speaks of the joy
which he feels in praying for them, and begs of God that their love may
abound, and that they may approve the things {192} that are excellent,
being filled with the fruits of righteousness (i. 1-11).

Then St. Paul tells how his captivity has been a means of spreading the
gospel in the praetorium and elsewhere.  Even the malicious activity of
his opponents has been a means of proclaiming Christ, and with true
grandeur of soul the apostle rejoices in the fact.  So far as he is
concerned, death would be a more attractive prospect than life, for
death would mean admission into the presence of Christ, but for the
sake of the Philippians he is glad to live.  With wonderful
cheerfulness he says that he is glad if his blood is to be offered like
a libation poured over the living sacrifice of the souls and bodies
which the Philippians offer to God (ii. 17).  Before he speaks of this
libation of his blood he makes a tender appeal to his converts to
imitate the lowliness of Jesus Christ.  He puts into the language of
theology the story of the incarnation which his friend St. Luke draws
with an artist's pen in the first two chapters of his Gospel.  He
speaks to them of "the mind" of Christ Jesus, whose life on earth was
self-sacrifice in detail.  Christ had before the incarnation the "form"
or essential attributes of God, but He did not set any store on His
equality with God, as though it were a prize,[2] but stripped Himself
in self-surrender, and took the "form" or nature of a bond-servant.  He
looked like men as they actually are, and if men recognized His outward
"fashion," they would only have taken Him for a man.  And then He made
Himself obedient to God up to His very death, and that the death of the
cross.  This was followed by His exaltation, and worship is now paid to
Him in His glorified humanity (ii. 1-11).

In ii. 19 St. Paul returns to personal matters concerning Timothy and
Epaphroditus; then he seems on the point of concluding the Epistle
(iii. 1).  But he suddenly breaks into {193} an abrupt and passionate
warning against the Judaizers.  The passage almost looks as if it were
a page from the Epistle to the Galatians.  The Judaizers are called
"dogs," and as their circumcision was no longer the sign of a covenant
with God, the apostle calls it a mere outward mutilation of the flesh
(iii. 2).  It is unlikely that Jewish influences were potent at
Philippi.  The explanation of this passage appears to be that the
apostle, before completing his letter, learnt of some new and
successful plot of the Judaizers at Rome or elsewhere.  Nervously
dreading lest they should invade his beloved Philippian Church, he
speaks with great severity of these conspirators.  The conclusion of
the chapter is apparently directed against the licence of certain
Gentile converts.  These seem to have been "enemies of the cross of
Christ" in the looseness of their lives rather than in the corruptness
of their creed.  It is difficult in this case, as in that of the
Judaizers, to know whether these errors already existed at Philippi or
not.  The passage concludes with an exhortation to steadfastness (iii.
2-iv. 1).

Two women, Euodia and Syntyche, are exhorted to be "of the same mind."
A true yokefellow of the apostle, possibly Epaphroditus, and a certain
Clement, possibly the Clement who was afterwards Bishop of Rome, are
exhorted to try to bring about their reconciliation.  All are exhorted
to rejoice in the Lord, and are told that the peace of God, which
passeth understanding, shall stand sentinel over their hearts and
thoughts.  Before returning again to personal matters and thanking the
Philippians for their gifts, St. Paul urges them to follow whatsoever
is true and lovely.  His language here seems to consecrate all that was
permanently valuable in the sayings of the Greek philosophers.  It
recalls to us the words of the ancient Church historian, Socrates: "The
beautiful, wherever it may be, is the property of truth."



Salutation, thanksgiving, prayer (i. 1-11).

The position of affairs at Rome.  His imprisonment has stimulated the
preaching of the gospel; his own feelings are divided between the
desire for death and a willingness to live for their sakes; an
exhortation to boldness (i. 12-30).

An exhortation to imitate the humility of Christ, who took the form of
man and was willing to die, and was after this abasement exalted above
every created being (ii. 1-11).

An exhortation to obedience, quietness, purity, mission and
commendation of Timothy and Epaphroditus; farewell (ii. 12-iii. 1).

Strong warning against Judaism, enforced by his own example; against
claim to perfection, also enforced by his own example; against
Antinomian licence as unworthy of "citizens of heaven", exhortation to
steadfastness (iii. 2-iv. 1).

Advice to Euodia, Syntyche, and others; exhortation to think of all
things true and lovely (iv. 2-9).

The apostle expresses his joy at the spirit shown by the offerings sent
to him from Philippi.  Doxology.  Salutation (iv. 10-23).

[1] So E. Haupt, _Die Gefangenschaftsbriefe_, p. 3.

[2] The Greek is ordinarily translated as "a prize to be grasped," but
it seems quite possible to translate the passage, "He considered not
equality with God to involve a process of grasping."




[Sidenote: The Author.]

1 and 2 Timothy and Titus form the fourth and last group of St. Paul's
Epistles, and are known as the Pastoral Epistles,[1] because they deal
so largely with the duties and qualifications of the men entrusted with
the pastoral care of the Church.  St. Paul here teaches the teachers.

Their genuineness is more frequently denied than that of any other of
St. Paul's Epistles, and this attack upon their genuineness has been
mostly based upon the character of their teaching about the
office-bearers of the Church.  Attempts have sometimes been made to
separate some fragments supposed to be genuine from the remaining
portions.  All such attempts have failed.  These Epistles must either
be rejected entirely or accepted entirely.  Otherwise we become
involved in a hopeless tangle of conjectures.

The _external evidence_ is excellent.  They are found in the Syriac and
Old Latin versions, and in the _Muratorian Fragment_.  They are all
quoted by Irenaeus, and also by Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian.
Their authenticity was therefore regarded as a certain fact in the
latter part of the 2nd century, and early in the 4th century Eusebius
was unaware that any doubts concerning them existed in the Church.
Moreover, St. Polycarp, A.D. 110, quotes both 1 and 2 Timothy.  The
{196} combined evidence of these writers forms a very substantial
argument.  Against it we sometimes find urged the fact that the heretic
Marcion rejected them.  Such an objection borders on frivolity.
Marcion held a definite doctrinal heresy, and rejected everything which
he could not make to coincide with his own belief.  The value which is
set on the Old Testament (_e.g._ 2 Tim. iii. 16), the assertion of a
real incarnation (_e.g._ 1 Tim. ii. 5), and the sustained opposition to
a false spiritualism, which these Epistles exhibit, must have been
intensely distasteful to Marcion.  We have therefore no reason for
believing that he would hesitate to reject them, while knowing them to
be genuine, any more than he hesitated to reject all the Gospels except

The _internal evidence_ is called in question for the following reasons.

1. _Historical difficulties._--We cannot place the journey referred to
in 1 Tim. i. 3 during the three years' stay at Ephesus mentioned in
Acts.  The visit to Miletus in 2 Tim. iv. 20 cannot have taken place on
the journey to Jerusalem in Acts xx., because Trophimus was with the
apostle when he reached that city (Acts xxi. 29).  Again, in 2 Tim. iv.
20 Erastus "abode at Corinth."  But he had not been to Corinth for a
long time before the journey to Rome recorded in Acts.  In Tit. i. 5 we
see Titus left by St. Paul at Crete; he is to join the apostle in
Nicopolis (iii. 12).  But Acts allows no room for this, and the
reference to Apollos (iii. 13) implies a later period than St. Paul's
stay at Corinth (Acts xviii.).

_Answer._--All three Epistles may quite well be later than the history
related in Acts.  There is no reason for denying that St. Paul was set
free after his trial at Rome, and arrested again at a later date.
Assuming that this liberation did take place, all historical
difficulties vanish.  There are several points in favour of this
liberation.  First, the attitude of the Roman government towards
Christianity was fairly tolerant until Nero began his persecution in
A.D. 64, and the state of the law would {197} have allowed St. Paul's
acquittal.  Secondly, it was believed in the early Church that St. Paul
was set free.  The Muratorian Fragment says that he went to Spain, and
St. Clement of Rome, writing from Rome about A.D. 95, says that he went
"to the boundary of the west," which seems to point to Spain.  Thirdly,
the chronology implied in the ancient list of the bishops of Rome will
not allow us to put St. Paul's martyrdom earlier than A.D. 64.
Fourthly, the apostle himself expected to be set free (Phil. ii. 24;
Philem. 22).  There is therefore no historical reason for denying that
St. Paul was set free from the imprisonment in which Acts leaves him.

2. _References to heresies._--It has been said that these Epistles
contain references to heresies later than the apostolic age, such as
the Gnosticism of the 2nd century.  More especially, it is said that 1
Tim. vi. 20, which speaks of "oppositions of gnosis falsely so called,"
refers to a work by Marcion called the "Oppositions" (Antitheses), in
which he tried to demonstrate that the Old Testament was antagonistic
to the New.

_Answer._--The heresies here rebuked are not so definitely described
that we can determine their precise character.  This fact is in favour
of the idea that the heresies belong to the 1st century rather than to
the 2nd.  Stress has been laid upon statements which seem to imply
Gnostic heresy, and heresy of a "Docetic" character, _i.e._ teaching a
denial of the reality of our Lord's human nature.  But there is
certainly nothing which suggests that the error here rebuked was as
developed as the heresy rebuked by St. Ignatius, or even that denounced
by St. John.  It is most unlikely that the word "oppositions" can refer
to a book bearing that title.  The passage 1 Tim. vi. 20 does not
suggest this.  And if Marcion is really quoted in 1 Tim., how could
Polycarp have quoted 1 Tim., as he does, before Marcion's book was
written?  Something of a Gnostic tendency is betokened by the scorn of
material life and the human body shown in 1 Tim. iv. 3, 8 and 2 Tim.
ii. 18.  But the error is mainly Jewish.  The false {198} teachers
professed to be "teachers of the Law" (1 Tim. i. 7), which was exactly
the title claimed by the Jewish rabbis (see Luke v. 17).  The general
character of their teaching was "vain talking" (1 Tim. i. 6; cf. Tit.
i. 10; iii. 9).  It consists of "profane babblings" (1 Tim. vi. 20; 2
Tim. ii. 16).  It is further characterized as "foolish questionings,
and genealogies, and strifes, and fightings about the law . . .
unprofitable and vain" (Tit. iii. 9).  It is summed up in the phrases
"old wives' fables" (1 Tim. iv. 7), "Jewish fables" (Tit. i. 14).  All
this shows that the error was not a definite Gnostic heresy with a
fundamentally false view of God.  It was something intrinsically
ridiculous.  Therefore the "endless genealogies" (1 Tim. i. 4) can
hardly be Gnostic genealogies of the semi-divine beings who took part
in the creation.  They are Jewish tales about the heroes of the Old
Testament.  The error is, in fact, primitive, and does not belong to
the 2nd century.

3. _Church organization._--It is said that these Epistles lay down the
rules for an organization of the Church which is later than the
apostolic age, and resembles the Episcopal system, such as we find it
in the 2nd century.  Titus and Timothy act as delegates of the apostle,
and as the highest officials of the ministry, and they appoint
presbyters and deacons.  We thus find a threefold ministry which
derives its sacred authority through the apostolate.  The apostle lays
his hands upon his delegate (2 Tim. i. 6), and this delegate lays his
hands upon others (1 Tim. v. 22).

_Answer._--It is perfectly true that there is a threefold ministry
mentioned in these Epistles.  But there is no sufficient reason for
denying that such a ministry is of apostolic origin.  It seems quite
certain that at Jerusalem the presbyters and deacons were under the
authority of St. James, and after his death under that of Symeon.  The
same form of government can also be traced back in other places to
apostolic times.  Moreover, the organization which is mentioned in Acts
is fundamentally the same as that in these Epistles.  In Acts we {199}
find the apostles first appointing deacons and then presbyters.  All
the additional evidence which has lately been discovered to support the
genuineness of Acts therefore favours the genuineness of these
Epistles.  Finally, we must notice that the titles of the ministry in
these Epistles do not correspond with the titles used in the 2nd
century.  The government is substantially "Episcopal," but the title
"episkopos" was in the 2nd century only applied to the chief dignitary
who ruled over the "presbyters."  But here the title "episkopos" is
applied to the presbyters themselves as the overseers of the
congregation.  We find the same thing in the letter of St. Clement,
A.D. 95.  St. Clement, although Bishop of Rome, still gives the title
of "episkopos" to the presbyters.  This inconvenient practice was given
up soon after that date, for we find that St. Ignatius, about A.D. 110,
applies the title "episkopos" only to the highest ministers of the
Church.  We conclude, therefore, that while the organization of the
Church described in the Pastoral Epistles supports the belief that the
threefold ministry, which we now call Episcopal organization, is of
apostolic origin, it does not prove that these Epistles are forgeries.
And it is natural that St. Paul, knowing that his death must before
long come to pass, should devote a large measure of attention to
questions of Church government and discipline.  The history of the
Church in the 2nd and 3rd centuries proves to us that the organization
of the Church was almost as important as the inspiration of the Church.

4. _Language._--This is an important difficulty.  There are in these
Epistles many words and phrases which do not occur in the other
Epistles of St. Paul.  We find different Greek words used for "Lord"
and for the second "advent," and a fondness for the words "wholesome,"
"godliness," and "faithful saying."  The new element is most prominent
in 1 Tim. and Titus.

_Answer._--Private letters to individuals and friends in reference to
one particular subject are not likely to resemble public letters which
were written in reference to other subjects.  It {200} would therefore
be unreasonable to expect that the style of the Pastoral Epistles
should be cast in the same mould as that of the other Epistles of St.
Paul.  Nevertheless, the objection would have considerable weight, if
St. Paul's aptitude for varying his vocabulary could not be shown.  But
it can be shown; for his other Epistles are marked by an astonishing
variation in the Greek.  Beneath this diversity there exists a unity.
The Pastoral Epistles have many Pauline phrases,[2] many graphic
touches, many forcible and original statements, and glow with that
personal devotion to Christ combined with a practical capacity for
guiding Christians which St. Paul possessed in so singular a degree.
If the Pastoral Epistles are spurious, or if they are composite
productions written by a forger who inserted some notes of St. Paul in
his own effusions, it becomes almost impossible to account for the fact
that 2 Tim. differs delicately both in language and subject from 1 Tim.
and Titus.  In view of this fact we can admire the sagacity of a recent
opponent of their authenticity who deprecates "the possibility of
extricating the Pauline from the traditional and editorial material"!


[Sidenote: The Author.]

Reasons have already been given for rejecting the arguments which have
been alleged against the Pauline authorship of this Epistle.  We may
add that it is unlikely that a forger would have inserted the word
"mercy" (i. 2) in the usual Pauline greeting "grace and peace."  The
reference to Timothy's "youth" (iv. 12; cf. 2 Tim. ii. 22) has seemed
strange to many.  But although {201} St. Paul had been acquainted with
Timothy for about twelve years, Timothy must have been greatly the
junior of St. Paul.  Even if Timothy was as old as thirty-five, the
word "youth" would be quite natural from the pen of an old man writing
to a pupil, whom he had known as a very young man, and whom he was now
putting in authority over men old enough to be his own father.  We can
attribute this Epistle to St. Paul without hesitation.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

Timothy was one of the apostle's own converts, his "child in faith."
We learn from Acts xvi. 1 that he was the son of a Greek-speaking
Gentile father and a Jewish mother.  He had received a strictly
religious Jewish training from his mother Eunice and his grandmother
Lois (2 Tim. i. 1-5; iii. 14, 15).  He was converted by St. Paul on his
first missionary journey, at Lystra or Derbe.  On St. Paul's second
visit to that district, Timothy was so well reported of that he was
thought worthy of being associated with the apostle in his work.
Before employing him as a colleague, St. Paul had him circumcised, that
he might be able to work among Jews as well as Gentiles (Acts xvi. 3).
Some Christian prophets pointed him out as destined for his sacred
office (1 Tim. i. 18).  He was ordained by the laying on of the hands
of St. Paul himself and the presbyters of the Church (1 Tim. iv. 14; 2
Tim. i. 6).  He was frequently associated with the apostle in
travelling and in the writing of Epistles.  His name occurs as sending
a salutation in Rom. xvi. 21, and as the fellow-sender of six of the
apostle's letters.  He was with the apostle during his first
imprisonment at Rome (see Phil., Col., and Philemon).  From this
Epistle we learn that after the apostle's release he was left in charge
of the important Church at Ephesus.  While he was in this position, the
two Epistles which bear his name were written to him.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

It is impossible to ascertain the precise direction of St. Paul's
journeys after his release, and it is wisest to refrain from mere
conjecture.  Before writing this letter he had been recently {202} at
Ephesus and had been called away to Macedonia (i. 3).  He intended to
return before long, but had been unexpectedly delayed (iii. 14, 15).
This delay rendered it necessary for him to send directions to Timothy.
The precise date cannot be exactly fixed.  If St. Paul's martyrdom was
as early as A.D. 64, and his release as early as A.D. 61, we may
reasonably put this letter in A.D. 63.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The letter is personal, but it is also official.  It is intended to
guide Timothy in his work of apostolic delegate.  In speaking to the
presbyters of Ephesus at Miletus (Acts xx. 29, 30), St. Paul had
already expressed fears about the future of the Church, and these fears
now seem to have been partly realized.  Ephesus was a meeting-place of
east and west, a place where religious speculations and religious
divisions were likely to increase, and where wise supervision of the
Christian Church was essential.  The contents of the Epistle therefore
mainly consist of warnings against Judaism and false knowledge, and
directions as to the duties of various classes of Christians, and
especially the clergy.


The danger of Jewish and Gnostic heresy (i.).

The order of common prayer (ii.).

The qualifications of _episkopoi_ (translated "bishops" in the English
versions) and deacons (iii.).

Condemnation of Gnostic asceticism and the duty of Timothy towards
heresy (iv.).

Counsels as to the treatment of presbyters (translated "elders" in the
English versions) and widows (v.).

Warnings against disobedience towards masters, vain disputations,
covetousness, and a wrong use of wealth--concluding with a direct
appeal to Timothy (vi.).



[Sidenote: The Author.]

This is exactly the kind of letter which we should expect to be written
by a writer of strong individuality addressing a disciple entrusted
with the duty of ruling a Church threatened by the same troubles as the
Church which was under the supervision of Timothy.  It is attributed to
St. Paul by Irenaeus, and is amply supported by other early writers.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"To Titus, my true child after a common faith" (i. 4).  Titus was
converted by St. Paul (i. 4), and was an uncircumcised Gentile (Gal.
ii. 3).  He must have been converted at an early period in the
apostle's career, for he was with Paul and Barnabas on their visit from
Antioch to Jerusalem in A.D. 49.  He was therefore present during the
great crisis when the freedom of the Gentiles from the ceremonial part
of the Jewish law was vindicated.  It is suggested by Gal. ii. that
Titus was personally known to the Galatians, and possibly he was
himself a Galatian.  Titus was prominent at another important crisis.
When the Church at Corinth was involved in strife, Titus was sent
thither.  His efforts were attended with success, and he was able to
report good news on returning to St. Paul in Macedonia (2 Cor. vii. 6,
7, 13-15).  He carried the Second Epistle to the Corinthians to
Corinth.  We hear no more of him until the period when this Epistle was
written.  After St. Paul's release from his first imprisonment, Titus
was with him in Crete, and was left by the apostle to direct the
affairs of the Church in that island (Tit. i. 5).  It is plain that the
tact and wisdom which he had shown at Corinth had not failed him in the
interval, and that St. Paul still regarded him as a worthy delegate and
a true evangelist of the gospel of peace.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

The similarity to 1 Timothy makes it almost certain that Titus was
written about the same time, and before 2 Timothy.  {204} The apostle
is expecting to winter at Nicopolis, probably the Nicopolis in Epirus.
The letter was therefore possibly written from Greece.  It seems from
iii. 13 that Zenas, a former teacher of the Jewish law, and Apollos,
had occasion to travel by Crete, and St. Paul takes the opportunity to
send a letter with them to Titus.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The greeting at the beginning of the Epistle and the character of its
general contents show that this letter is official as well as private.
Possibly the gospel was first brought to Crete by those Jews or
proselytes from Crete who saw the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at
Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts ii. 11.) Fully thirty years had
passed since then, but the Church had not hitherto been sufficiently
organized to be independent of the apostle.  Now, however, the
apostolic delegate will be able to ordain the presbyters required in
every city.  The manner in which the "episkopoi" are mentioned
immediately afterwards (i. 5, 7) strongly favours the idea that the
name "episkopos" is here used as a title of the presbyters, as in Acts
xx.  They form the order under the apostle's delegate.  Useless
speculations of a Jewish character had invaded the Church (i. 10-14;
iii. 9).  The teachers of these "fables" were influenced by love of
"filthy lucre."  St. Paul quotes the saying that the Cretans are
"liars, evil beasts, idle gluttons," and attributes it to "one of
themselves, a prophet of their own."  The saying is by the poet
Epimenides, c. B.C. 600.  He was a native of Cnossus in Crete, who was
regarded as a seer, and his reputation for second-sight is testified by
Plato giving him the epithet "divine."  St. Paul seems convinced that
the Cretan character was as prone to sensuality as in the days of
Epimenides, and it is immediately after alluding to their dangers that
he utters the memorable words, "unto the pure all things are pure."
The apostle's exhortation to "maintain good works" (iii. 8) is one of
the verses which have been absurdly alleged to be out of harmony with
{205} St. Paul's insistence upon the importance of justification by
faith.  There is a definite allusion to baptismal regeneration in iii.


Titus to ordain elders; the requisite character of "episkopoi",
Judaizing talkers to be checked (i.).

Duties of aged men and women; young women and men; servants; the grace
of God and the hope inspired by it (ii.).

Duty towards rulers and all men; the kindness of God; foolish
discussions to be avoided; how to deal with a heretic; personal notes


[Sidenote: The Author.]

It is generally considered that the authenticity of this Epistle stands
or falls with that of the First Epistle.  But it bears its own peculiar
marks of genuineness.  One thoroughly Pauline feature is _thanksgiving_
at the beginning, a feature which is found in eight of his other
Epistles, but not in the two other Pastoral Epistles.  A forger might
have had the critical insight which would lead him to compose this
thanksgiving.  But it is highly improbable that a forger would have put
twenty-three proper names into the Epistle without tamely copying names
which occur elsewhere, or without betraying any wish to glorify some
saint who became popular after the death of the apostle.  Neither of
these two suspicious tokens can be detected here.  For instance, Demas,
concerning whom nothing that is discreditable is narrated elsewhere, is
here rebuked with a pathetic regret (iv. 10; cf. Col. iv. 14); while
Linus, afterwards a famous bishop and martyr of Rome, is mentioned
without any honourable distinction at all.  Even if the Linus of this
Epistle is not the bishop of that name {206} the argument still holds
good.  For a forger, if he inserted the name of any Linus, would have
been almost certain to mention _the_ Linus and no other.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"To Timothy, my beloved child" (i. 2).

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

It was written from Rome, where St. Paul is again a prisoner, the
reason of his imprisonment being the witness that he has borne to
Christ (i. 8, 12, 17).  His imprisonment had already lasted some time,
for it was known at Ephesus.  The apostle had apparently requested two
of his friends, Phygellus and Hermogenes, to come to him at Rome, but
they had declined.  The Ephesian Onesiphorus had acted otherwise, and
when in Rome had sought him out.  St. Paul anticipates death.  His case
has already had a first hearing, when no witness appeared in his
defence (iv. 16).  He is now ready to be offered up.  But he does not
anticipate an immediate martyrdom, as he urges Timothy to come to Rome
before winter.  The date is therefore probably some weeks or months
before St. Paul's martyrdom.  The year is either A.D. 64 or very soon

[Sidenote Character and Contents.]

This Epistle is the apostle's farewell pastoral charge.  He looks
forward to his fate with courage and confidence.  He has fought a good
fight, and is sure of the crown of righteousness which the Lord will
give him.  But he sees that a dark future is in store for the Church.
Some professing Christians have already deserted him, others have
perverted the faith.  Among the latter are Hymenseus and Philetus, who
assert that the resurrection is past already.  It is probable that they
were influenced by some Gnostic dislike of the human body, and taught
that the only resurrection possible for a Christian was the spiritual
resurrection of becoming acquainted with their own Gnostic doctrine.
Such a heresy is described by Irenaeus.  St. Paul warns Timothy that
there are "grievous times" to come (iii. 1).  Scripture will be a means
of security against the mischief-makers.  {207} The various
exhortations given to Timothy are of great force and beauty; he is to
endure hardship like a good soldier, and is charged before God to
preach and rebuke with long-suffering.  The solemnity of these words is
equalled by the pungent sarcasm with which the writer alludes to the
schismatics who "lead captive silly women" or will "heap to themselves
teachers, having itching ears."

We may notice that ii. 11-13 seems to contain part of a Christian hymn,
that iii. 8 contains a reference to a Jewish story not found in the Old
Testament, and that i. 18 is perhaps a prayer for the dead.  The Second
Book of Maccabees xii. 44 shows that in the century before the
Christian era the Jews were wont to pray for the departed.


Exhortation to energy, the failure of friends, the fidelity of
Onesiphorus (i.).

Exhortation to endurance as Christ's soldier, profane discussions to be
shunned; the error of Hymenseus and Philetus; varieties of character
like varieties of vessels; the way to become a vessel of honour (ii.).

Coming corruption, the creeping mischief-makers; Timothy is reminded of
St. Paul's manner of life and of the value of Scripture (iii.).

Exhortation to fidelity in ministerial work; the apostle's course
drawing to an end, Timothy urged to come; personal notes (iv.).

[1] This title seems to have been first applied to them in 1810 by

[2] Cf. "according to my gospel" (2 Tim. ii. 8; Rom. ii. 16); "the
gospel of the glory" (1 Tim. i. 11; 2 Cor. iv. 4).  The Greek phrase
for "give occasion to" (1 Tim. v. 14) is found in 2 Cor. v. 12, and
nowhere in the New Testament except in St. Paul.

[3] B. W. Bacon, _Introduction to the New Testament_, p. 140.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The question of the authorship of this Epistle is one of the most
fascinating problems raised by the criticism of the New Testament.  It
does not in the least involve any charge of forgery, such as is
involved in a consideration of St. John's Gospel or of St. Paul's
Epistle to the Ephesians.  Nor does it involve the fact of an author
absorbing the work of a previous writer, such as we find in the case of
St. Luke.  The work is one complete and original composition of great
finish and perfection, and yet this perfect work contains hardly a hint
as to its author.  The title which is placed above it in our Bibles
deserves serious consideration, as it represents an opinion which was
held in many parts of Christendom in the 4th century, and in some parts
of Christendom even in the 2nd century.  But it by no means represents
the universal judgment of the Church, and is contradicted by good
evidence, both external and internal.  A remarkable divergence of
opinion on the subject existed between the Churches of the east and
those of the west.

Alexandria appears to have been the first centre of the belief that
this Epistle was written by St. Paul.  We find that about A.D. 170,
Pantaenus, the head of the catechetical school at Alexandria,
attributed it to St. Paul.  His successor Clement agrees with this, but
states that it was written in Hebrew and translated by St. Luke into
Greek--a statement which implies that scholars were conscious that the
style of Hebrews is not {209} the style ordinarily used by St. Paul.
In A.D. 240, Origen, the successor of Clement, defends the Pauline
authorship--a defence which shows that the authorship was disputed.  In
A.D. 245 Origen had learnt to doubt the validity of his former defence,
and states that the writer was a disciple of Paul, but "who wrote the
Epistle God only knows."  In A.D. 269 the famous heretic Paul of
Samosata quoted Hebrews as the work of St. Paul in a letter read at the
Synod of Antioch which deposed him from his bishopric.  Early in the
next century Eusebius quotes the Epistle as by St. Paul, but he shows
the same perplexity as Clement of Alexandria, for he thinks that it was
translated from the Hebrew, possibly by Clement of Rome.  After the
time of Eusebius the Greek Fathers all ascribe it to St. Paul.  We can
therefore sum up the evidence of the Greek Churches by saying that
though it mostly favours one theory, it is not so cogent as to remove
all our suspicions.

Moreover, the complete absence of references to this Epistle in the
extant writings of Irenaeus[1] almost compels us to ask if the Greek
Churches of Southern Gaul and Asia Minor regarded this Epistle as
Pauline.  Irenaeus might naturally omit to quote a short and
comparatively unimportant Epistle, but his omission of a long Epistle,
well adapted to his arguments, inclines us to place him in a rank
opposite to his contemporary, Clement of Alexandria.  A Greek writer of
the 6th century actually says that Irenaeus, in a passage now lost,
denied that St. Paul wrote the Epistle.[2]

The Latin Churches of the west seem to have been for three centuries
under the conviction that this Epistle was not by St. Paul.  It is
quoted by Clement of Rome, A.D. 95, a fact which {210} alone is
sufficient to prove its early date and its sacred character.  But
Clement makes no statement as to its authorship.  Caius of Rome, A.D.
200, excludes it from the list of St. Paul's Epistles, and the same
hesitation with regard to it existed in the great Latin-speaking Church
of Carthage.  St. Cyprian, A.D. 250, does not include Hebrews among St.
Paul's Epistles.  No Latin Father attributes it to St. Paul before
Hilary of Poictiers in A.D. 368, and Hilary was in close contact with
the East.  At the end of the 4th century St. Jerome shows distinct
hesitation in attributing it to St. Paul, and it was not commonly
attributed to him in the west until the time of St. Augustine, who died
in 432.

Internal evidence agrees with the external evidence in making it very
difficult for us to believe that St. Paul wrote Hebrews.

(1) The Greek is more elegant than that of St. Paul's Epistles.  The
styles are widely different.  That of St. Paul is abrupt and vehement
like a mountain-torrent, that of Hebrews is calm and smooth like a
river running through a meadow.

(2) The quotations are very unlike St. Paul's.  They are all from the
Greek version of the Old Testament, with the exception of that in x.
30, which occurs in the same form in Rom. xii. 19.  It had probably
taken this shape in popular use.  The quotations are introduced by
phrases such as "God saith," or "the Holy Spirit saith."  But St. Paul
often shows a knowledge of the Hebrew when he makes quotations, and he
uses such phrases as "it is written," or "the Scripture saith," or
"Moses saith."

(3) There is no salutation such as is usual in St. Paul's Epistles.

(4) In Hebrews the incarnate Son is called "Jesus," or "Christ," or
"the Lord."  In St. Paul's Epistles we find fuller titles employed,
such as "our Lord Jesus Christ."

(5) The theological differences are important.  The teaching of the
author harmonizes with that of St. Paul, but throughout the Epistle we
feel that the truths of Christianity are being expounded to us by one
whose personal history is different {211} from that of St. Paul.  The
author starts from the fact of the perfection of Christ's sacrifice,
and in his doctrine about the Law he looks at it from that fact.  St.
Paul, on the other hand, starts from the doctrine of justification by
faith, and looks at the Law from the point of that doctrine.  Again,
the author takes a general view of faith as heroic belief in unseen
facts; while St. Paul, though he sometimes does the same, prefers to
use the word "faith" in the sense of devoted, personal, adhesion to

(6) In ii. 3, 4 the author seems to imply that he had not personally
seen the Lord.

Many conjectures have been made as to the real author.  Few of these
conjectures deserve serious consideration.  Luther suggested Apollos,
and the suggestion has been accepted by many writers.  In favour of it
are: (1) he was a friend of St. Paul; (2) he was "mighty in the
Scriptures," and Hebrews deals with the Old Testament in a masterly
way; (3) he was an Alexandrian Jew, and Hebrews was plainly written by
a Jew, and apparently by one acquainted with Philo and other
Alexandrian authors.[3]  Against this theory is the complete absence of
traditional support, and the fact that Apollos was taught by Aquila and
Priscilla, whereas the author of Hebrews implies that he was taught by
a personal disciple of Christ.  On the whole, _St. Barnabas_ seems to
have the best claim.  Tertullian not only speaks of it as the work of
Barnabas, but also shows by his words that the Church of North Africa
regarded it as his work.[4]  He is not, therefore, making a conjecture,
but assuming a tradition.  His evidence is the more valuable, because
the Church of North Africa was important and was in close contact with
Rome, where the Epistle was venerated at least as early as A.D. 95.  In
favour {212} of the tradition we can note: (1) St. Barnabas was an
influential companion of St. Paul; (2) he was a Levite, and would be
interested in Levitical worship; (3) he was a native of Cyprus, which
was in close communication with Alexandria; (4) he had been in the
regions to which the Epistle was probably addressed.

Against the theory that St. Barnabas was the author, it is said that
the author makes surprising errors with regard to the Temple ritual,
which St. Barnabas was not likely to do.  The so-called "errors" are:
(a) the high priest sacrificing _daily_ (vii. 27; x. 11)--but the high
priest was free to do this; (b) the pot of manna and Aaron's rod placed
_in the ark_ (ix. 4), though not so described in 1 Kings viii. 9--but
in the tabernacle they were at least close to the ark (Exod. xvi. 34;
Numb. xvii. 10); (c) the altar of incense is said to belong to the
_holiest place_ (ix. 4)--but it did belong to it in the sense of
sanctifying the approach to it, though it was placed outside it: see 1
Kings vi. 22.  No one can reasonably say that these statements are of
such a nature as to prove that the Epistle was not written by a Levite.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

The title says "To the Hebrews."  The character of the Epistle suggests
this.  It was plainly written for Jewish Christians, and apparently for
some particular community of them (v. 11, 12; vi. 9, 10; x. 32-34;
xiii. 1, 7, 19, 23).  Which community, it is difficult to say.  The
Jewish Christians of Rome have been suggested, and in support of this
the reference to Italian Christians (xiii. 24) has been quoted.  It is
a strange fact that this theory about the destination of the Epistle is
favoured by some critics who assign it to a late date.  For if it was
really written to Rome, the date must be early.  It is almost
inconceivable that the author should have said, "Ye have not yet
resisted unto blood," to the Christians of _Rome_ after the persecution
of A.D. 64-65.  Some town in Syria or Palestine is more likely than
Rome, and Antioch seems a probable destination for the Epistle.  The
community must have been {213} familiar with Greek, and at the same
time must have been under strong temptations to relapse into Judaism.
They had for the sake of Christ left the warm social life of Judaism.
They felt isolated and depressed.  The splendour of the temple worship
and the zeal of Jewish patriotism were luring them back to their old
religion.  They felt that they had perhaps deserted a magnificent
reality for a shadowy hope.  Such circumstances fit with the theory
that the community dwelt in Palestine or Syria, and the same theory is
supported by the fact that these Christians had been converted long ago
(v. 12), and had heard the apostles (ii. 3).

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

Probably from Italy, as shown by xiii. 24.  The date may be put about
A.D. 66.  A generation of Christians had passed away (xiii. 2).  The
doom of Jerusalem was approaching (x. 25; viii. 13; xiii. 13).  The
frequent reference to the Levitical worship, as exerting an attractive
force, must imply that the temple was still standing.  The Epistle must
therefore be earlier than 70.

It is true that the references to the Levitical worship are sometimes
more appropriate to the ancient tabernacle than to the temple, and this
fact is urged by those who maintain that the temple was already
destroyed when the Epistle was written.  But this is no answer to the
fact that the Jewish worship is throughout assumed to be in existence.
The author is not opposing the propaganda of Jewish rabbis or the
attractions of synagogues which were connected with the temple by
tradition only.  He is opposing a great living system with its
priesthood and its ritual.  And in order to criticize Judaism he deals
with the _tabernacle_, concerning which the Old Testament gave definite
directions.  This was a more effective method than discussing the
temple which superseded the tabernacle.

[Sidenote: Character and contents.]

Hebrews is marked by a complete unity of argument.  Though the thread
of the argument is sometimes dropped for the sake of practical
exhortation, it is soon resumed and logically carried on.


Christ as the Son of God is a manifestation of God superior to all
other manifestations.  He is far above the prophets, and above the
angels, who neither created the material world nor have the "world to
come" subject unto them.  He towers above Moses, who was only a servant
and a stone in the house of God, for He is the Son, and built the
house.  He is above Joshua; for He has won a rest for the people of
God, of which the rest of Canaan was a mere type.  Neither under Joshua
nor under David did the people of God reach the ideal sabbath rest
which God has promised (i.-iv. 13).

Christ as High Priest is above the Aaronic priesthood, for He is "after
the order of Melchizedek" (Ps. ex. 4) (iv. 14-v. 10).  Then the writer,
before giving the full interpretation of Christ's high priesthood,
makes a digression to urge the need of greater spiritual insight on the
part of his readers (v. 11-vi. 12).  They can be sure of God's blessing
if they have faith and patience (vi. 13-20).  The unique position of
Melchizedek is then expounded.  In Gen. xiv. nothing is said of
Melchizedek's descent or of his death.  Thus he stands forth in
contrast to the Levitical priests whose descent is described, and who
die and are succeeded by others.  He was also superior to those
priests, because Levi, in the person of his father Abraham, paid tithes
to Melchizedek.  Since Melchizedek's priesthood is superior to that of
the Levitical priests, much more is that of Christ, of whom
Melchizedek, great as he was, is only a type.  Then the author shows
that the rise of a new priesthood must imply the birth of a new
religious system.  Christ "hath His priesthood unchangeable," but needs
not to repeat His sacrifice (vii.).

Then the author shows that the new liturgy and the new sanctuary of the
Christian Church are superior to the liturgy and the sanctuary of
Judaism.  Though Christ's blood was shed only once, He retains the
character of Priest (viii. 3); He hath "somewhat to offer," viz.
Himself in His sacred manhood in heaven.  He thus acts as a Mediator of
the new covenant {215} promised in the Old Testament (viii. 6-13).  The
tabernacle was only a temporary parable; Christ acts as High Priest in
the holy of holies, the actual presence of God typified by the
tabernacle; He has consecrated the new covenant between man and God by
His own blood (ix.).  The repetition of the Levitical sacrifices proves
their impotence.  But that of Christ is adequate.  It is an offering of
inherent value, being the offering of the will of Christ, instead of
the offering of unconscious beasts.  And we need no other atonement,
for His unique offering has a perpetual value (x. 1-18).

The writer then proceeds to insist upon the appropriation and
application of the truths which he has expounded.  It is our privilege
to have full confidence, and our duty to assemble for worship: apostasy
is most serious (x. 19-39).  The writer next describes the nature of
faith, which is a faculty which makes the future as if it were present,
and the unseen as if it were visible.  It is illustrated by a
magnificent roll-call of heroes from Abel to the Incarnation.  These
heroes, who saw both worlds, and realized how petty the material world
is compared with the spiritual, had real insight (xi.).  Emulate their
example, enduring persecution, knowing that our Mount Zion is superior
to Sinai, and our coming to church a reunion with angels and saints

The Epistle closes with a practical exhortation concerning brotherly
love, hospitality, prisoners, marriage, and contentment.  The ministers
who had formerly had rule over the readers are to be remembered.  We
are not to be unsettled by strange teachings.  "We have an altar" of
which the Jewish priests may not partake.  Our sin offering, Jesus, is
given to us as food.  We must go to Him outside the camp of Judaism.
After an injunction to obey the clergy and a request for prayers, the
Epistle concludes.  Just before the end it is stated that "our brother
Timothy hath been set at liberty" (xiii.).

The whole Epistle is peculiarly dignified, eloquent, and {216}
persuasive, and its elegant Greek and delicate Alexandrian philosophy
make it a literary treasure.

We may conclude with some further remarks on the writer's doctrine of
Christ's Person and of the Jewish Law.

Knowing that these Christians were in danger of drifting away from
Christ, the writer calls their special attention to His Person, in
order that they may carefully consider who He is before deciding to
part from Him.  The doctrine corresponds most exactly with that which
we find in Colossians and in John.  It is declared in the most positive
manner that Christ is essentially divine.  He reflects His Father's
glory, is the expression of His essence, and the Sustainer of the
universe (i. 3).  He is the God whose throne is eternal, and the Lord
who made the earth (i. 8, 10).  Yet He became "a little lower than the
angels" (ii. 9), and, though entirely sinless, He was so truly human as
to become the pattern of obedience (x. 7), humility (v. 5), reverent
piety (v. 7), and fidelity (iii. 2).  By the discipline of suffering He
was made perfect for His redeeming work (v. 8, 9).  It is made evident
that this process of perfection did not consist in the diminution of
sin, but in the development of goodness.  Nowhere do we find a more
profound view of suffering and virtue, or a more pathetic delineation
of the character of Jesus.

It has already been hinted that the author regards the Jewish Law
differently from St. Paul.  The latter had lived under the goad of a
Pharisaic interpretation of the Law of Moses, which laid down so many
regulations as to what ought to be done, and gave so little assistance
towards doing it, that escape from such a system was like an escape
from penal servitude.  When he speaks of the Law, he regards it
primarily as a system of stern moral requirements.  But the author of
Hebrews regards the Law as primarily a system of worship.  He implies
that it was in some sense a "good tidings" (iv. 2).  He teaches that
the Law was a "shadow" of those real "good things" which constitute the
world of truth in heaven, while the Gospel is the {217} "image" or
adequate representation of those holy realities.  The Law is therefore
a rough unsubstantial outline of truth, while the Gospel is exact and
solid.  Both writers regard the Law as divine in origin, and both
regard it as insufficient and rudimentary (vii. 16; cf. Gal. iv. 3, 9).
But St. Paul thinks of the Law as weak "through the flesh," _unable to
overcome_ the resistance which it encounters from man's lower
instincts, while the author of Hebrews thinks of it as _unable to
cleanse and make perfect_ the human conscience.


The subject of the Epistle: CHRISTIANITY AS THE FINAL RELIGION.  The
contrast of the Old Revelation and the New in method, time, and
messengers; the divine personality and incarnation of the Son (i. 1-4).

A. The superiority of the Son, the Mediator of the New Revelation, to
the angels, and to the human founders of the Jewish polity: i. 5-iv. 13.

a. Scripture shows the Son to be above the angels (i. 5-14).

b. The danger of rejecting the Son's revelation (ii. 1-4).

c. The Son of Man through suffering fulfils the high destiny of mankind
(ii. 5-18).

d. The dignity of Jesus is far above that of Moses, He is the Maker and
Son, Moses represents the house in which he is a servant (iii. 1-6).

e. Faith is necessary if we would enter the promised land of rest (iii.

f. Encouragement as well as warning can be based on the failure of the
Israelites.  Under Joshua they did not reach their rest.  The promise
of it remains for us (iv. 1-13).


B. The high-priesthood of Christ, superior to that of Aaron's line,
universal and royal: iv. 14-vii. 28.

a. Transition to the doctrine of Christ's high priesthood (iv. 14-16).

b. The characteristics of a high priest, human sympathy and divine
appointment, fulfilled in Christ (v. 1-10).

c. A digression to urge the readers to advance; the writer's hope for
the Hebrews, God's blessing is assured (v. 11-vi. 20).

d. The characteristics of Christ, as perfect and universal High Priest,
shadowed forth by Melchizedek (vii.).

C. The liturgy and sanctuary of Christ superior to those of Judaism:
viii. i-x. 18.

a. Christ offers sacrifice in heaven (viii. 1-6).

b. Thus He maintains the New Covenant between God and man promised in
the Old Testament (viii. 7-13).

c. The sanctuary and priests of the Old Covenant (ix. 1-10).

d. Fuller explanation of the atoning work of Christ under the New
Covenant (ix. 11-28).

e. The inadequacy of the old sacrifices, the abiding efficacy of
Christ's one sacrifice (x. 1-18).

D. The appropriation and application of the above truths: x. 19-xiii.

a. The privilege of entering the holy place with confidence, the duty
of public worship (x. 19-39).

b. The past triumphs of heroes of the faith (xi.).

c. Exhortation to energy, endurance, fidelity to our Mount Zion and its
divine utterances (xii.).

d. Detailed instructions (xiii.).

[1] Eusebius, _H. E._ v. 26, says that Irenaeus "mentions the Epistle
to the Hebrews and the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, comparing certain
expressions from them."  Eusebius does not say that Irenaeus attributed
it to St. Paul.  We can compare words in Heb. i. 1 with Wisd. vii. 22;
Heb. i. 3 with Wisd. xvi. 21; Heb. xii. 17 with Wisd. xii. 10; Heb.
xiii. 7 with Wisd. ii. 17.

[2] Stephen Gobar, in a passage preserved by Photius, Cod. 232.

[3] The word "effulgence" (Heb. i. 3) is a favourite word with Philo.
The interpretation of "King of Salem" as "King of peace" (Heb. vii. 2)
occurs in Philo, and Heb. xiii. 5 has a quotation from Josh. i. 5
exactly resembling in form a quotation in Philo, _De conf. ling._, 33.

[4] _De Pudic_, 20.




The New Testament contains seven letters known as "Catholic," viz. that
of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2, and 3 John, and that of Jude.  These
letters were added to the Canon of the New Testament later than the
rest of its contents.  In ancient manuscripts, versions, and catalogues
their position in the New Testament varies, and for a long time they
were often placed between Acts and St. Paul's Epistles.  1 Peter and 1
John were the first to be universally received.  About A.D. 300 all
seven were known and received in the Greek Churches, but nearly as late
as A.D. 350 the Syrian Church was unacquainted with any of them except
James.  After this the Syrian Church adopted 1 Peter and 1 John, and
finally the whole seven.  This fact with regard to the Syrian Church is
of peculiar importance.  It shows us that we must take care not to
argue that an Epistle is probably a forgery because an important
Christian community was unacquainted with it at a comparatively late
date.  For the evidence for the genuineness of 1 Peter and 1 John is
even stronger than the evidence for the genuineness of James.  Yet at a
time when the best Greek critics were entirely satisfied as to the
genuineness of 1 Peter and 1 John, the Syrians did not recognize them.
The only reasonable explanation of this is the simplest explanation,
namely, that some Epistles were translated at a later date than others.
Among Syrian writers we find two distinct tendencies.  Writers who were
entirely at home with Greek literature, and in communion with the
orthodox Greek Church, like St. Ephraim or St. John of Damascus, used
the same Catholic {220} Epistles as the Christians of Alexandria or
Jerusalem.  On the other hand, Christians who were cut off by schism
from the main body of Christendom continued for centuries to use
exactly the same Canon of Scripture as that which had been employed by
their ancestors before the schism.  Thus Ebed Jesu, Metropolitan of
Nisibis, and the last prelate of the Nestorian sect who wrote important
works in Syriac, died in A.D. 1318.  But we find that he only uses the
three Catholic Epistles contained in the Peshitta Syriac version of the
New Testament, probably completed soon after A.D. 400.

If we pass from the extreme east to the extreme west of ancient
Christendom, we find ourselves confronted with similar but not
identical facts.  We find that a superior degree of authority was
allowed to belong to 1 Peter and 1 John.  There can be no doubt that in
all the great centres of Christian life outside Syria these two
Epistles were in the Canon by the year 200.  The _Muratorian Fragment_,
written in Italy about A.D. 180, mentions two Epistles of St. John and
that of St. Jude.  It contains no mention of 1 Peter, but there are
grounds for believing that there was a reference to it in the lost
portion which was devoted to Mark.  It contains no mention of James,
though that Epistle seems to be quoted in the _Shepherd_ of Hermas,
written at Rome about A.D. 140.  It was long before James was
universally regarded as part of the Canon.  It is quoted as Scripture
by Origen of Alexandria early in the 3rd century, but a hundred years
later Eusebius says that it was disputed by a minority.  It is accepted
by Eusebius himself.  The very private character of 2 and 3 John
accounts for the slowness with which they won acceptance as part of the
word of God, yet 2 John is backed by the high authority of Irenaeus,
and both Epistles are obviously the work of the same author.  The
Second Epistle which bears the name of St. Peter is connected with
peculiar difficulties, and possesses less evidence in its favour than
any of the other Catholic Epistles.

We cannot do better than quote the admirable words in {221} which Dr.
Sanday has sketched the adventures of such books.  "An Epistle lodged
in the archives of a great and cultured Church like the Church of Rome
would be one thing, and an Epistle straying about among the smaller
communities of Bithynia or Pontus would be another; while an Epistle
written to an individual like the Gaius of 3 St. John would have worse
chances still.  There were busy, careless, neglectful, and unmethodical
people in those days as well as now; and we can easily imagine one of
these precious rolls found with glad surprise, covered with dust in
some forgotten hiding-place, and brought out to the view of a
generation which had learnt to be more careful of its treasures.  But
even then, once off the main roads, circulation was not rapid; an
obscure provincial Church might take some time in making its voice
heard, and the authorities at headquarters might receive the reported
discovery with suspicion.  They might, or they might not, as it
happened." [1]

But by degrees the customs of the different Churches were levelled.
Before the end of the 4th century all the Catholic Epistles were
accepted as canonical in Europe, and in a large part of the Christian
world which lay beyond Europe.  This leads us to inquire why these
Epistles bear the name of Catholic.  The answer seems to be that the
name Catholic or General was given to the more important of the seven,
because they were addressed to the Church Universal, or to groups of
Churches, and not to individuals or to single Churches.  The words
Catholic Epistles therefore signify Circular or Encyclical Letters.
Origen gives the name of Catholic to 1 Peter, 1 John, and Jude.  By the
4th century the name was applied to all the seven.  There can be little
doubt that 2 and 3 John are not Catholic in the sense of being Circular
or Encyclical.  But they were numbered with the others for the sake of
convenience, being naturally associated with the first and more
important letter by St. John.


The following table gives an idea of the gradual incorporation of the
Catholic Epistles into the Canon.  An * denotes a direct quotation or
the expression of almost no doubt; a ?  notes that the writer is aware
of decided doubts, a () marks an uncertain reference.

                                            1   2
                                        J   P   P   1   2   3
                                        a   e   e   J   J   J   J
                                        m   t   t   o   o   o   u
                                        e   e   e   h   h   h   d
                                        s   r   r   n   n   n   e

      Laodicea, A.D. 363 . . . . . . .  *   *   *   *   *   *   *
      Rome, A.D. 382 . . . . . . . . .  *   *   *   *   *   *   *
      Carthage, A.D. 397 . . . . . . .  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

      (a) _Syria._
          Ephraim, A.D. 370  . . . . .  *   *   *   *   *   *   *
          Chrysostom, A.D. 400 . . . .  *   *       *
          Peshitta version, ? A.D. 410  *   *       *
          Junilius, A.D. 550 . . . . .  ?   *   ?   *   ?   ?   ?
          John of Damascus, A.D. 750    *   *   *   *   *   *   *
          Ebed Jesu, A.D. 1300 . . . .  *   *       *
      (b) _Palestine._
          Eusebius, A.D. 330 . . . . .  ?   *   ?   *   ?   ?   ?
          Cyril, A.D. 348  . . . . . .  *   *   *   *   *   *   *
      (c) _Alexandria._
          Clement, A.D. 190  . . . . .      *       *   *       *
          Origen, A.D. 220 . . . . . .  *   *   ?   *   ?   ?   *
          Athanasius, A.D. 367 . . . .  *   *   *   *   *   *   *
      (d) _Asia Minor._
          Polycarp, A.D. 110 . . . . .      *       *
          Amphilochius, A.D. 380 . . .  *   *   ?   *   ?   ?   ?
          Gregory Nazianzen, A.D. 380   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

      (a) _Italy._
          Muratorian, A.D. 180 . . . .              *   *       *
          Hippolytus, A.D. 220 . . . .      *  ( )  *
      (b) _Gaul._
          Irenaeus, A.D. 180 . . . . .      *       *   *
      (c) _Roman Africa._
          Tertullian, A.D. 200 . . . .      *       *           *

[1] _Inspiration_, p. 368.




[Sidenote: The Author]

In the 4th century this Epistle was reckoned among the authentic
documents of the apostolic period.  It does not seem to have been
universally known in the Church at an earlier period.  It is not in the
_Muratorian Fragment_.  But it is plainly quoted by Irenaeus, though he
does not mention the author's name.  The same is true with regard to
the _Shepherd_ of Hermas, which was written at Rome about A.D. 140.
Justin Martyr quotes the words "the devils shudder" (James ii. 19,
_Trypho_, 49).  Polycarp seems to quote James i. 27, and 1 Peter seems
to show traces of its influence.  The first writer who both quotes it
and mentions the author is Origen.

It opens with the name of "James, a servant of God and of the Lord
Jesus Christ."  There can be no reasonable doubt that this is James
"the Lord's brother."  James the son of Zebedee was killed as early as
A.D. 44, before which date it is unlikely that the Epistle was written.
We have no reason to attribute the Epistle to the Apostle James "the
Little."  He does not seem to have been of sufficient prominence to
write an authoritative letter "to the twelve tribes which are of the
Dispersion."  But such an action would have been exceedingly natural on
the part of a saint who was bishop of "the mother of Churches,"
Jerusalem itself.  It will be convenient to postpone the consideration
of such evidence as we possess for the foregoing conclusion until we
have discussed the exact relation of St. James to our Lord.


Three important theories must be mentioned as offering a solution of
the difficult problem as to this relationship--

(a) That James, Joses, Simon, and Jude, mentioned in the Gospels as the
"brethren" of our Lord, were His first cousins on His mother's side.

(b) That they were the children of Joseph and Mary.

(c) That they were the children of Joseph by a former wife.

The theory of St. Jerome (a) may be perhaps discarded without any
further comment than that St. Jerome apparently invented it, that he
claimed no traditional sanction for it, he did not hold it consistently
himself in his later writings, and it is very difficult to reconcile it
with Scripture.  The theory of Helvidius (b), which called forth St.
Jerome's attempted refutation, answers some verbal requirements of the
Gospel narrative, and has found some skilful modern advocates.  But
with the possible exception of Tertullian, no Christian seems to have
held it before Helvidius, and the theory that Mary had other children
besides Jesus gave a profound shock to Christian sentiment.  No
argument can be brought against (c), the theory defended, though not
originated, by St. Epiphanius, that the brethren of our Lord were
children of St. Joseph by a former wife.  It is in keeping with the
strong tradition which maintained the perpetual virginity of the
Blessed Virgin; it helps to explain the attitude of unbelief recorded
in the Gospels of Christ's brethren, and at the same time requires no
distortion of the literalness of the passages in which they are
mentioned.  There is hardly sufficient evidence to show that first
cousins were ever called "brethren."  But it would have been quite
natural for those who called St. Joseph "the father of Jesus" to call
St. Joseph's sons "the brothers of Jesus."  And again, the supposition
that the Blessed Virgin had no other son, seems strongly supported by
the fact that at the crucifixion our Lord commended her to His beloved
disciple, and not to one of St. Joseph's family.


This theory of St. Epiphanius is much older than the 4th century.  It
is sometimes urged against it that Origen derived it from the
Apocryphal Gospels of the 2nd century, and that its popularity in the
Church was owing to Origen's influence.  But though the Apocryphal
Gospels often contained fictions, we cannot argue that everything in
them is fictitious.  The tradition agrees with the words of Scripture,
and gains support from some fragments of Hegesippus, a cultured
Palestinian Christian, born about A.D. 100.  He states directly that
Symeon, the second bishop of Jerusalem, was the _cousin_ of our Lord,
because son of Clopas who was the brother of Joseph.  He also calls
James "the brother of the Lord," and in another passage speaks of Jude
as "called brother" of the Lord.  He therefore plainly distinguishes
the cousins from the so-called "brethren."  We then get the following

          |                                         |
        Joseph       ==      Mary          Clopas (or Alphaeus)
          |                    |                    |
          |                    |             +------+------+
          +-- James          JESUS           |      |      |
          +-- Joses                        James  Joses Symeon
          +-- Jude                     (the Little)
          +-- Simon
          +-- Sisters

We conclude, therefore, that St. James was the son of St. Joseph.

The writer of the Epistle frequently colours his sentences with words
from the Old Testament, and assumes a knowledge of it among his
readers.  He makes no allusion to the Gentiles.  He writes in a tone of
authority and without any self-advertisement.  He briefly uses for
illustration certain natural phenomena which would be familiar to the
people of Palestine, such as allusions to "the early and latter rain"
(v. 7), the effect on vegetation of the burning wind (i. 11), the
existence of salt or bitter springs (iii. 11), the cultivation {226} of
figs and olives (iii. 12), and the neighbourhood of the sea (i. 6; iii.
4).  From such a cursory view of the character of this Epistle, it
would seem reasonable to admit that it was written by a Palestinian
Jewish Christian for the edification of Christians of the same race and

We get the same impression when we study what is said by the writer
about the readers.  He speaks as though they had been under a law of
bondage, but are now under a law of liberty (i. 25; ii. 12).  They are
in touch with men who are unbelievers, who blaspheme Christ and
persecute Christians (ii. 6, 7).  The believers are mostly poor (ii.
5); the few rich who are Christians are in danger of falling away
through covetousness and pride (iv. 3-6, 13-16).  The rich appear as
oppressors, who luxuriously "nourish their hearts in a day of
slaughter," and had even "killed the righteous" (v. 5, 6).  The Church
is ruled by "elders" (v. 14) like the Jewish synagogues, and the
Christian "synagogue" is occasionally frequented by rich strangers (ii.
2).  All this is well suited to the conditions of Christian life in
Palestine.  And it is difficult to find any locality equally
appropriate.  Even as late as the first part of the 2nd century rich
Gentiles were reluctant to persecute Christians, and to describe them
as blaspheming the name of Christ at any time within or near the
apostolic age would be almost impossible.  They regarded Christianity
with good-natured contempt, not with blasphemous hostility.  We have
only to read Acts to see that among the Gentiles it was the poor and
ignorant rather than the rich who began the persecution of the
Christians.  On the other hand, if we turn to the Jews, we find that
the rich were the leaders of persecution.  It was the wealthy Sadducee
party in union with the influential Pharisees which harried the Church.
The Gospels and Acts give repeated evidence on this point, and the
evidence of the Jewish historian Josephus supplies the keystone of that

Against the Palestinian origin of the Epistle it is urged that {227}
the Greek is too correct and rhetorical.  The style is vivacious and
forcible.  It contains many rather unusual Greek words, including six
which are neither in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament nor in
the rest of the New Testament, a long list of words which are found in
the Septuagint and not in the New Testament, and seven rare classical
or late Greek words.  The whole question of the style of the Epistle
requires the most delicate handling.  But the style is distinctly
unfavourable to the theory that the Epistle was written at a late date
in a centre of Gentile Christianity.  The Greek is neither the flowing
Greek of a Greek, nor the rough provincial Greek which St. Paul spoke
and wrote.  It is slow and careful, with short sentences linked by
repetitions.  One epithet is piled effectively on another (_e.g._ iii.
15, 17), and abstract statements are avoided.  Galilee was studded with
Greek towns, and in Jerusalem Greek was well known.  The Epistle might
well have been written by a Jew of Palestine who had made a good use of
his opportunities.  And the introduction of some rare words in the
midst of a simple moral exhortation is by no means a proof of complete
mastery over Greek.  It points, not to a mastery over the language, but
to a painstaking familiarity with it.

These facts seem compatible with the few details which we know about
St. James.  Their full significance can only be appreciated when we
know the difficulties which have beset the commentators who assign to
the Epistle a date outside his lifetime.

Before considering the question of the date more minutely, we may
collect together some points of interest connected with St. James.

St. James, like the other "brethren" of our Lord, watched the
development of our Lord's career, but was unconvinced of the truth of
His mission.  After the Resurrection, our Lord, St. Paul tells us, "was
seen of James."  Perhaps this was the turning-point of his life, he,
like St. Thomas, "saw and {228} believed."  The Gospel according to the
Hebrews, one of the oldest of the Apocryphal Gospels, says that our
Lord, after His Resurrection, "went to James and appeared to him--for
James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour in which he
drank the cup of the Lord, until he saw Him rising from the dead;--and
again after a little while.  'Bring hither, saith the Lord, a table and
bread.'" . . . "He brought bread, and blessed and brake it, and gave it
to James the Just, and said unto him, 'My brother, eat thy bread, for
the Son of man hath risen from the dead.'"  There are other versions of
the story which make the vow to be taken after the death of Christ.  In
spite of some absurdities in this Apocryphal Gospel, it is possible
that the legend is true, and that the sublime death of the Redeemer
began to effect the repentance of His brother.  However this may be,
before Pentecost, A.D. 29, we find him joined to the Christian
community at Jerusalem, where he afterwards attained a foremost
position.  In Gal. i. we find that St. Paul visited St. James and St.
Peter at Jerusalem.  In Acts xii. 17 St. Peter, on escaping from prison
in A.D. 44, desires that news of his escape should be taken to St.
James.  In Gal. ii. St. Paul speaks of "James and Cephas and John" as
pillars of the Church at Jerusalem.  From Acts xv. we find that at this
time, A.D. 49, St. James acted as president of the Council which
determined how far the Gentile Christians need conform to the customs
of the Jews.  It is remarkable that the speech of St. James in Acts xv.
and the circular despatched from the Council show several coincidences
of style with the Epistle.  If these coincidences are due to forgery,
the forger has certainly used consummate self-restraint and skill.

Again, when St. Paul paid his last visit to Jerusalem, in A.D. 56, and
the Jews accused him of advocating the abandonment of the Law of Moses
and "the customs," it is St. James and his presbyters who advise him to
go up to the Temple and purify himself with four Nazirites, and so
reassure the "myriads" of Christian Jews who were zealous for the Law.
{229} Once more we cannot help observing how well this anxiety of St.
James agrees with the very cautious tone of the Epistle with regard to
distinctively Christian doctrine.

The end of St. James is recorded by Hegesippus and by Josephus.
Hegesippus represents him living as a strict Nazirite, always
frequenting the Temple, with knees as hard as a camel's because of his
perpetual prayers.[1]  He tells us that St. James was thrown from a
pinnacle of the Temple, stoned, and clubbed to death at the order of
the scribes and Pharisees for asserting that Jesus was on the right
hand of God.  From Josephus we learn that his martyrdom took place when
a vacancy in the procuratorship caused by the death of Festus (in A.D.
62) gave the Sadducees the opportunity which they desired.  He was
dragged before the Sanhedrim, condemned and stoned.  Josephus also
gives us to understand that the more moderate Jews were not in sympathy
with such a thoroughly unconstitutional proceeding, and that Agrippa
deprived Ananus, the high priest, of his office for invading the rights
of the civil power.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"The twelve tribes of the Dispersion."  We might suppose that the
writer had in his mind all the Jews who were dispersed throughout the
world, but came to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice when they were able,
and who were all bound by the religious obligation to pay the yearly
tribute to the temple.  There had been several dispersions in the
history of the chosen people, to Assyria under Shalmaneser, to Babylon
and Egypt in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, and to Rome under Pompeius.
But ch. ii. 1 shows that the Epistle was written to men who
acknowledged Jesus as Lord.  It is therefore natural to think that it
was written only to men who were both Christians and of Jewish origin.
But there is another interpretation of the phrase "the twelve tribes."
Some think that it is merely a symbolical name for the Christian Church
composed both of Jews and Gentiles, and {230} forming the new and
spiritual Israel.  Strong arguments have been brought forward in favour
of each of these views, but the former seems to be the sounder.  The
argument that the Jews at this period could not have been called
"twelve" tribes when only two had returned from the captivity, is
disproved by the fact that the phrase is unquestionably used in this
meaning in Acts xxvi. 7.  We must frankly admit that St. Paul speaks of
the Gentile Christians as forming part of the new Israel of God, but he
never alludes to them as part of twelve tribes.  In Rev. vii. the
twelve tribes still mean Christian Jews in contrast with the "great
multitude" of redeemed Gentiles.  Justin Martyr speaks of "your twelve
tribes" in addressing Trypho[2] the Jew, and several instances are to
be found in early Christian literature where the words are used in this
literal sense.

We may therefore rest content with this literal meaning.  But we must
maintain it with reserve in view of the fact that St. Peter applies the
word "dispersion" to the new and ideal Israel.  And we must beware of
arguing that the word "synagogue" (ii. 2) proves that the readers were
necessarily Jews.  The word "synagogue" was for a long time
occasionally applied to the Gentile Christian congregations, as we find
in the _Shepherd_ of Hermas[3] (A.D. 140) and Theophilus[4] (A.D. 180).

[Sidenote: When and where written.]

We have already seen that Palestine is the most likely place, and as
St. James lived at Jerusalem, the Epistle was probably written there.
The date has always been a hopeless problem to those who reject the
authenticity of the Epistle.  That it was written by a heretic in
Palestine about A.D. 70, or by a Catholic at Rome about A.D. 90, or
that it represents a "Catholicized Paulinism" of A.D. 140, or that it
is a patchwork of homilies written soon after A.D. 120, are guesses
which have been made but not substantiated.  The fact that it was
written before A.D. 62 is {231} self-evident if we admit that it was
written by St. James.  But it is also corroborated by the fact that 1
Peter, written about A.D. 64, seems to show a knowledge of this
Epistle.  Far more complicated is the question as to whether St. James
shows any knowledge of St. Paul's Epistles.  He insists so pointedly on
the need of being justified _by works_ that some writers have thought
that he is attacking St. Paul's doctrine of justification _by faith_.
The idea must be dismissed.  Such a masterly writer would not have
attacked what an apostle did not really hold.  St. James, in attacking
a theory of justification by faith, is condemning a faith which means
only orthodox intellectual assent.  St. Paul, in defending his doctrine
of justification by faith, is upholding a faith which implies energetic
and loving service.  The two doctrines simply supplement one another.
When Luther called the Epistle to the Galatians his "wife" and called
the Epistle of St. James an "Epistle of straw," he simply showed that
he understood neither.  St. James is not only not criticizing St. Paul;
he is perhaps not even criticizing a popular perversion of St. Paul's
doctrine.  The question of the justification of Abraham was a favourite
subject of discussion among the Jews, and the teaching of our Lord had
shown the superiority of a living faith over dead works.  There is no
difficulty in supposing that some Jewish believers were confused with
regard to these great matters before they had read a word of St. Paul's
letters.  And to such men the Epistle of St. James might be of the
highest value.

In spite of this, there often seems to be a verbal connection between
this Epistle and those of St. Paul.  The connection is admitted by
critics of the most different schools.  Moreover, some are of opinion
that there is a connection between James and the Epistle to the
Hebrews, ch. xi.  These connections have been exaggerated, but they are
hard to deny.  Now, if St. James had borrowed from any of these
Epistles, it would be very difficult for us to account for the extreme
simplicity of his {232} doctrine.  On the other hand, there is no
difficulty in the fact that they put his words in a more elaborate
setting.  And as St. Paul's opponents declared that they were backed by
St. James, we may be sure that St. Paul would eagerly read anything
written by St. James.  We may therefore place this Epistle earlier than
St. Paul's Epistles to Corinth and Rome, and perhaps earlier than any
of his extant Epistles.

It is sometimes objected to this that it is "grotesque" to suppose that
St. James would have originated the practice of writing religious
Epistles.  It is said that the practice must have been begun by an
apostle of supreme originality, and one who travelled widely, therefore
by St. Paul.  But we have no means of deciding the question.  And as
St. Paul may have written Epistles before he wrote those now extant, we
may still hold that St. Paul began the practice, and that this Epistle
is nevertheless older than the works of St. Paul which we now possess.
We can, therefore, see no good reason for denying that this Epistle is
as early as A.D. 50.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The Epistle is intensely practical, and though it is in no sense
anti-doctrinal, it does not discuss doctrine.  The evils against which
it contends all concern conduct.  The good which it recommends is
persistent well-doing in accordance with the new moral law of
Christianity.  The sole validity of the law of love (ii. 8), the gift
of a new birth by the word of truth, making us heirs of God (i. 18; ii.
5), the mention of the author's servitude to Christ (i. 1), and the
ascription of divine power to His name (v. 14), show conclusively that
the writing is not, as some say, of Jewish origin.  The tone is
austere, and the Epistle contains no word of praise for the readers.

A strong argument in favour of the genuineness of the Epistle is
furnished by the numerous parallels which it presents to the Synoptic
Gospels.  These parallels are not quotations from the Gospels, but they
show that the writer was saturated with the kind of teaching which the
Gospels record.  The {233} connection with the Sermon on the Mount as
recorded by St. Matthew is particularly plain.  Among the numerous
proofs of this connection we must content ourselves with noticing the
agreement as to the spiritual view of the Law (Jas. i. 25; ii. 8, 12,
13; Matt. v. 17-44), the blessings of adversity (Jas. i. 2, 13; ii. 5;
v. 7, 8; Matt. v. 3-12), the dangers of wealth (Jas. i. 10, 11; ii. 6,
7; iv. 13-16; v. 1-6; Matt. vi. 19-21, 24-34), the true nature of
prayer (Jas. i. 5-8; iv. 3; v. 13-18; Matt. vi. 6-13), the necessity of
forgiving others (Jas. ii. 13; Matt. vi. 14, 15), the tree known by its
fruits (Jas. iii. 11, 12; Matt. vii. 16-20), the prohibition of oaths
(Jas. v. 12; Matt. v. 34-37), the Judge before the door (Jas. v. 9;
Matt. xxiv. 33).  Many other coincidences can be found.  The "perfect
law" upheld by St. James, a law both "free" and "royal," irresistibly
reminds us of the legislation of the Messianic King in our first Gospel.

In v. 14-16 we have a direction given with regard to the anointing of
the sick by the presbyters of the Church.  This rite, perverted by the
Gnostics in the 2nd century, survived that perversion.  The first full
directions for it in a Catholic document are in the prayers of Bishop
Sarapion of Thmuis in Egypt, about A.D. 350.  In the Eastern Church the
oil used for this purpose may be consecrated by presbyters, contrary to
the usual practice of the West, which requires it to be consecrated by
a bishop.



Salutation (i. 1).

Human trial and the wisdom which enables us to profit by it, a warning
against double-mindedness, Christianity exalts the lowly, riches are
transitory, trial brings blessing, trial due to lust is not a trial
from God but from self, God is the Source of all our good (i. 2-18).

We must receive the divine word with humility and act upon it, kindness
and purity are the best ceremonial (i. 19-27).

Christian behaviour towards rich and poor to be based on the royal law
of love; violation of that law is a breach of God's command, which
embraces motive as well as action (ii. 1-13).

Intellectual faith is no substitute for godly works, Abraham and Rahab
were justified by works (ii. 13-26).

The responsibility of teaching, the difficulty and importance of
controlling the tongue (iii. 1-12).

Christian wisdom contrasted with the animal wisdom of faction (iii.

The cause of quarrelling is selfish desire, which infects even your
prayers, the adultery of a soul which indulges in worldliness and
pride, cease from finding fault, worldliness is shown in business plans
made without reference to God (iv.).

Luxurious wealth denounced, it is the rich who have persecuted the
righteous, patience is commended (v. 1-11).

Swear not, prayer and praise, the anointing of the sick with prayer,
mutual confession of sins and prayer, the blessing on those who convert
a sinner (v. 12-20).

[1] Quoted by Eusebius, _H. E._ ii. 23.

[2] _Trypho._ 126.

[3] _Mand._ xi. 9.

[4] _Ad Autol._ i. 14.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The author describes himself as "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ" (i.
1).  Few books of the New Testament are so well attested as this

The external evidence for its authenticity is strong, and stronger than
that for any other Catholic Epistle except 1 John.  It seems to be
quoted in _Didaché_, i. 4.  The letter of Polycarp written about A.D.
110 shows a complete familiarity with 1 Peter.  He evidently regarded
it as a letter of the highest authority.  His contemporary Papias was
acquainted with it, and so far as we can determine from Eusebius, he
referred to it directly as the work of St. Peter.  The Epistle of
Barnabas, the date of which is uncertain, but which is probably as old
as A.D. 98 or even older, quotes 1 Pet. ii. 5.  Again, it seems certain
that the Epistle is quoted, though not by name, in the Epistle of
Clement of Rome, A.D. 95.  It is quite unnecessary for us to point to
important references in writers of the latter part of the 2nd century
and onwards.  An Epistle which has the triple support of Clement,
Polycarp, and Papias is, so far as external evidence is concerned,
beyond the reach of any sober criticism.

The apostle was first called "Simon, the son of John" (according to the
correct reading in John xxi. 15, 16, 17), and was a fisherman of
Bethsaida.  He was brought to Jesus by his brother Andrew, and, like
him, had been a disciple of John the Baptist.  Our Lord at once
discerned his capacity, and gave {236} him the surname of Cephas
(Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), signifying a rock or stone.  Peter was the
first disciple to confess the Messiahship of our Lord, and was rewarded
by the promise of the keys of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. xvi. 13-19).
With John and James he was admitted to a peculiarly close relationship
with Jesus (Mark v. 37; Matt. xvii. 1; xxvi. 37; cf. Mark iii. 16, 17).
He thrice denied that he was a disciple of Jesus on the night when
Jesus was tried and condemned.  He bitterly repented, and on the third
day after the Crucifixion he, again in the company of John, hastened to
the sepulchre and found it empty.  He was permitted several times to
see the risen Lord, who cancelled his threefold denial by graciously
drawing from him a threefold confession of his love, and commanded him
to feed His lambs and His sheep.  Our Lord also predicted his martyrdom
(John xx. and xxi.; Luke xxiv. 33, 34; 1 Cor. xv. 5).

In Acts St. Peter appears as the leader of the Church.  At the election
of Matthias in place of Judas, at the descent of the Holy Ghost at
Pentecost, at the admission of the Gentiles in the person of Cornelius
and his family to the privileges of the new covenant, at the
emancipation of the Gentile Christians from the Jewish ceremonial law
at the Council of Jerusalem, St. Peter is foremost (Acts i. 15-26; ii.
1-42; x.; xv. 6-11).  Soon after the Council St. Peter was at Antioch,
and weakly "dissembled" by disguising his belief in the truth that the
Gentile Christians were on the same spiritual level as the Jewish
Christians.  He was rebuked by St. Paul (Gal. ii. 11-14).

He does not seem to have laboured in Rome until near the end of his
life.  The Roman tradition that he was bishop of that city for
twenty-five years is almost certainly a legend, based on the fact that
twenty-five years elapsed between the year when the apostles were
believed to have temporarily left Jerusalem (twelve years after the
Crucifixion) and the date of his martyrdom.  There is, however, no
ground for disputing the fact that {237} he died at Rome during the
Neronian persecution.  There are several reasons for thinking that he
survived St. Paul for a short period, though St. Augustine asserts that
he was martyred before St. Paul.  He was crucified near the middle of
the circus of Nero, on a spot afterwards marked by a "chapel of the
crucifixion."  He was buried nigh at hand.  His tomb, probably in the
form of a _cella_ or open apse, is mentioned by Caius of Rome about
A.D. 200.  A huge basilica was built over it by the Emperor
Constantine, and remained until it was replaced in the 16th century by
the present St. Peter's.  In spite of his unique position, St. Peter in
1 Pet. v. 1 speaks of himself as a "presbyter," as St. John does in 2
John 1 and 3 John 1 (compare also 1 Tim. iv. 14, where St. Paul reckons
himself as a member of the "presbytery").  At this period, and for many
years later, the word "presbyter" was vague enough to be applied to the
highest officers of the Church.

The internal evidence afforded by the Epistle is in harmony with St.
Peter's experience.  (1) The writer claims to have been "a witness of
the sufferings of Christ" (v. 1), and contrasts himself and his readers
in saying (i. 8), "Whom not having seen ye love."  (2) He lays stress
upon the pastoral aspect of our Lord's work (ii. 25; v. 2-4), as though
writing under a sense of the special pastoral charge given to him by
our Lord.  (3) His injunction, "all of you gird yourselves with
humility"--literally, "put on humility like a slave's apron"--seems to
be a reminiscence of the action of our Lord that astonished St. Peter
when "He took a towel and girded Himself" at the Last Supper.  (4)
There are points of resemblance between the Epistle and the speeches
delivered by St. Peter in Acts.  (5) The appeal to Old Testament
predictions of Christ's sufferings (1 Pet. i. 11; Acts iii. 18), the
reference to the stone that was rejected by the builders (1 Pet. ii. 7,
8; Acts iv. 11), the description of the cross as the "tree" (1 Pet. ii.
24; Acts v. 30), are coincidences which suggest a common authorship
while they seem too small to be designed.  (6) The graphic and {238}
pictorial style of the Epistle bears resemblance to the style of Mark,
which is based on St. Peter's preaching.  We may mention the word "put
to silence" (ii. 15)--literally, "muzzle"--which St. Mark (i. 25; iv.
39) applies to the subduing of an unclean spirit and the stilling of a
rough sea.

Against the authenticity of the Epistle it is sometimes said that it is
improbable that St. Peter, whose mission was to the Jews, would address
Churches in which St. Paul had laboured, and which were largely
composed of Gentiles.  But in no case could such action on the part of
St. Peter be thought incredible.  And if St. Peter survived St. Paul,
as he very probably did, it would be particularly fitting for him to
write to them after St. Paul's martyrdom.  Many critics have been
inclined to pronounce the Epistle spurious on the ground that it seems
to be so strongly influenced by St. Paul's teaching as to represent St.
Paul's own school of thought.  We find, as in St. Paul's writings, the
phrase "in Christ" (iii. 16; v. 10, 14), and the second advent of
Christ called by the name "revelation" (i. 7, 13; iv. 13).  Moreover,
there are numerous verses which can be compared with verses in St.
Paul's Epistles, particularly in Romans and Ephesians.[1]  We must not
fail to notice in passing, that if this Epistle, which manifestly
belongs to the 1st century, does actually quote Ephesians, as some
affirm, the authenticity of Ephesians is thereby very strongly
corroborated.  But in any case the similarity between the Epistle and
St. Paul's writings cannot be reasonably urged against its genuineness.
The once popular theory that St. Paul held a fundamentally different
conception of Christianity from that held by St. Peter has completely
broken down.  There is not a shred of evidence for believing that the
semi-Christian Jews who lived in Palestine in the 2nd century
represented St. Peter's {239} type of Christianity, or that the
teaching of St. Peter excluded the deep teaching of St. Paul.  He was
susceptible to external influences, and he may have caught the tone of
St. Paul while living in a community which St. Paul had so profoundly
influenced.  This tone seems to mark 1 Peter.

But a further point must be mentioned in this connection.  Modern
writers have too readily adopted the habit of labelling certain
expressions and doctrines as Pauline and assuming that St. Paul
_originated_ them.  No doubt the apostle of the Gentiles possessed a
mind as original as it was fertile.  But it is at least reasonable to
suppose that a common creed and a common training produced similar
habits of thought in many cultivated and eager minds.  St. Paul himself
frequently writes as if his readers, even those who had not seen his
face, were quite familiar with a treasury of words and ideas which he
employs.  We cannot legitimately argue that he was the first and only
coiner of such words and ideas.  For instance, the phrase "in Christ,"
which we have quoted above, is often said to have been directly
borrowed from St. Paul.  But the idea of abiding in Christ is implied
in Matt. and Mark, and expounded in John.  It reaches back to the Old
Testament idea of abiding "in God" (Ps. lvi. 4; lxii. 7; Isa. xlv. 25).
It would be quite natural in any Christian who had adequately realized
the truth of the Incarnation.  We can therefore repudiate without
hesitation the assertion that the writer is more affected "by the
teaching of Paul than of Jesus."  The imagery employed by the writer is
of a distinctive character.  It is almost entirely derived from the Old
Testament, and is narrower in its range than that of St. Paul.  The
figures are drawn from birth and family life (i. 3, 14, 17, 22; ii. 2),
nomadic life (i. 1, 17; ii. 11), temple and worship (ii. 3; iii. 15),
building (ii. 4), fields and pastoral life (i. 4; v. 2, 8), military
life (i. 5; ii. 11, iv. 1), painting (ii. 21), working in metals (i. 7;
iv. 12).  Some of these figures suggest that the author was a Jew by
birth, and also that he was not a mere copyist of St. Paul.


Again, we must notice that 1 Peter shows a dependence upon James.[2]
While we therefore grant that the author of this Epistle seems to have
made use of St. Paul's writings, we must be prepared to grant that he
also made use of a document written by one who has been frequently
declared by modern critics to have been antagonistic to St. Paul.  A
tradition found as early as Origen, and in itself extremely probable,
represents St. Peter as having organized the Church at Antioch, and St.
Peter probably became acquainted with the Epistle of St. James while at
Antioch and before his arrival at Rome.  In any case, the author shows
himself by no means exclusively indebted to St. Paul, and the candid
student must therefore admit that it is unreasonable to discredit this
Epistle on the ground that it represents St. Peter as preaching

It is also asserted that the Greek is too flowing to have been written
by St. Peter, especially if Papias is right in saying that St. Peter
required the services of St. Mark as "interpreter."  The style of the
Greek is, indeed, good.  It contains a considerable number of classical
Greek words, though it is also saturated with the language of the
Septuagint.  It is simple, correct, and impressive.  But the large
extent to which Greek was spoken in Palestine, and the fact that it was
the language of Antioch, make it quite possible that St. Peter obtained
a considerable mastery over Greek.  We cannot attach a quite definite
meaning to the word "interpreter."  It need not imply that St. Peter
always, or even at any time in his later life, required his Aramaic to
be translated into Greek.  It is not unusual for a clever modern
missionary to lecture and write in correct Chinese after a very few
years of practice, and there would be nothing strange if St. Peter soon
acquired a comparatively easy language such as Hellenistic Greek.  It
is therefore quite unnecessary for {241} some half-hearted apologists
to suggest that the Epistle was mainly or entirely written for St.
Peter by his secretary, Silvanus (1 Pet. v. 12).  The expression and
connection of the ideas contained in it are far too natural and easy
for us to think that two hands were concerned in its composition, and
the tone of authority used in v. 1 can only be explained on the theory
that St. Peter or a forger wrote the Epistle.  The language of ch. v.
is most easily explained by the theory that Silvanus, a trusted friend
and delegate of St. Peter, carried the letter.  The letter was
purposely made short (v. 12) because its lessons were to be enforced by

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"To the elect who are sojourners of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia,
Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia."  Considerable difficulty is attached
to this address.  At first sight it seems to mean those Christians of
Asia Minor north of the Taurus mountains who had been converted from
Judaism.  But there are some verses in the Epistle which seem to imply
that the readers had been pagans.  These verses are i. 14; ii. 9, 10;
iii. 6; iv. 3.  They suggest that the readers had led a licentious
heathen life, and had been only recently admitted to any covenant with
God.  The bearing of some of them is a little uncertain.  For instance,
ii. 10 says that the converts in time past "were no people, but now are
the people of God"--the same verse that St. Paul in Rom. ix. 25 applies
to the calling of the Gentiles.  This verse is thought to furnish a
strong argument for those scholars who hold that the Epistle is
addressed to Gentiles, and that "sojourners of the Dispersion" must be
taken in a figurative sense, meaning Christians who are exiled from the
heavenly Canaan.  But as the verse is from Hos. i. 10, and is applied
by Hosea himself to the Jews, it is certainly _possible_ to hold that
St. Peter also applies it to Jews.  In this case the word "Dispersion"
would retain its literal meaning, and the Epistle would be written to
converts from Judaism.  But the reference to "idolatries" in iv. 3
cannot be applied to Jews.  And it {242} would be quite unnatural for
St. Peter to speak about the heathen thinking it "strange" that
converted _Jews_ refused to join in their idolatrous excesses.  The
word "you" in i. 12 suggests that the readers belonged to a different
race from the Hebrew prophets.  Finally, the phrase "elect of the
Dispersion" must be compared with "in Babylon, elect" (v. 13).  Like
the name "Babylon" for Rome, the word "Dispersion" is a Jewish phrase
taken over by the Christian Church.  We agree, then, with St. Jerome
and St. Augustine in holding that this Epistle was written to Gentiles.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

The Epistle says, "She that is in Babylon, elect together with you,
saluteth you" (v. 13).  This means the Church in Rome.  The name
"Babylon" is applied to Rome in the Revelation, and from an early
period the Christians would naturally be inclined to give this name to
a city which had become, like Babylon of old, the centre of worldliness
and oppression.  It is practically certain that St. Peter spent his
last days in Rome.  Moreover, St. Mark was with St. Peter when this
Epistle was written (v. 13), and from 2 Tim. iv. 11 we know that St.
Mark was invited to Rome about A.D. 64.  It is most improbable that
"Babylon" signifies either the Babylon near Cairo, or the great city on
the Euphrates.  Three facts enable us to determine the date: (1) The
presence of Mark in Rome.  (2) The fact that St. Peter appears never to
have been in Rome when Colossians was written in A.D. 60--so that the
Epistle cannot be earlier than A.D. 60.  (3) The allusion in iv. 13-15
to the fact that Christians are already punished for being named
Christians.  In the period described in Acts they are not yet punished
merely for being Christians, but for specific crimes alleged against
them by their opponents.  It is often asserted that this Epistle must
be later than the time of Nero, on the ground that it was after Nero's
time that the name _Christian_ ensured the legal condemnation of any
one who bore it.  But this assertion is not supported by the Roman
historians Tacitus and Suetonius.  Their words support the contention
{243} that the kind of persecution mentioned in this Epistle began
under Nero in A.D. 64.  When the Epistle was written this persecution
had probably begun, but it had not yet assumed its most savage form.[3]
(4) St. Peter himself suffered under Nero, not later than A.D. 67.  We
may therefore confidently date the Epistle about A.D. 64.

It appears from v. 12 that in writing this Epistle St. Peter was
assisted by "Silvanus, our faithful brother," as an amanuensis.  He is
probably the "Silas" (another form of the same name) mentioned in Acts
xv. 22, 32, 40, and the Silvanus in 1 Thess. i. 1; 2 Thess. i. 1, 2
Cor. i. 19.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

This Epistle is highly practical, and though it is rich in doctrinal
elements, it endeavours to instruct the readers in conduct rather than
doctrine.  The two key-words of the Epistle are _suffering_ and _hope_,
and the sufferings of Christ and the glories which crowned them furnish
St. Peter with encouragement.  Though he writes in plain sympathy with
the liberal Christianity of St. Paul, his language throughout bears the
impress of the Old Testament.  Christ is the "lamb" (i. 19) and the
"corner-stone" (ii. 6); Christians are the "elect race" (ii. 9) and the
"royal priesthood" (ii. 9).  Without discussing the problems raised by
God's predestination of the Jews, he says that they were "appointed"
unto stumbling, and their stumbling seems to be regarded as the
punishment which God attached to their disobedience.

The fact that in i. 2 the names of the Three Persons of the Trinity are
given in an order which does not correspond with the order of their
revelation in the history of religion, indicates that they are regarded
as coequal.  We may note that in iv. 19 the Father is called "faithful
Creator," a unique expression.  The teaching about the work of Christ
is full.  He is often {244} simply called "Christ" without the name
"Jesus."  He is called "Lord," and His special divine Sonship is
implied (i. 3).  The real existence of our Lord before His birth on
earth is also implied.  It has been said that i. 20 signifies that He
was only known to the Father as destined to exist in the future.  This
interpretation is excluded by i. 11, which shows that His Spirit
inspired the prophets before His birth.  It is still more definitely
excluded by iii. 18, 19.  Here it is shown that His personality resided
neither in His flesh, nor in His human spirit clothed "in which" He
preached to the dead.  This spirit was therefore taken by a personality
which existed previous to the creation of the spirit.  The Atonement is
prominent.  Christ's death is both an example and a redemption which
procured God's grace.  He died "for the unrighteous."  He carried our
sins in His body to the cross (ii. 24).  The Resurrection is one of the
"glories" which followed His sufferings (i. 11).  It is a unique motive
to our faith (i. 21), and the cause of the efficacy of our baptism
(iii. 21).  The Ascension is the fact which guarantees to us the
present rule of Christ (iii. 22).  In iv. 6 we have an important
statement with regard to the dead, which must be studied in relation to
iii. 18-20.  The purpose of Christ's preaching to those who died before
the gospel came was that though judged they yet might live.  Blessings
which they had not known on earth were offered to them by the dead but
living Christ.

The practical side of the Epistle is simple but solemn.  It deals with
the privileges (i. 3-ii. 10), duties (ii. 11-iv. 11), and trials (iv.
12-v. 11) of the brethren.  It seems to be written with the hope that
the Christians may perhaps disarm persecution if they abstain from
vainly attempting to set every one to rights and are scrupulously loyal
to the Government (ii. 14-17).



Salutation (i. 1, 2).

The joy of salvation, a joy which springs from faith; this salvation
was foretold by the prophets: the fruits of salvation, seriousness,
love towards others, growth, the privilege of being built upon Christ:
Christians are the true Israel (i. 3-ii. 10).

The Christian brotherhood and its duties, submission to civil
magistrates, slaves must obey even unreasonable masters, wives if good
and gentle may win their husbands, husbands must reverence their wives:
kindness must be the Christian's rule, there must be no return of evil
for evil; suffering, if wrongfully endured, has its reward.  Christ's
sufferings issued in blessing, in His ministerial journey to Hades and
His triumphant journey into heaven: Christ our Example, our rule is the
will of God: Christian life must be guided in view of the approaching
end of all things, each of our gifts is to be used for the good of the
whole Church (ii. 11-iv. 11).

The trials of the brethren, trust in God in the midst of suffering,
rejoice in your participation in Christ's suffering, bear the reproach
that fell on Him, to suffer as a Christian is cause for thanksgiving,
suffering to be expected, judgment is beginning: the relation of
pastors and people, the presbyters not to act as slaves, hirelings, or
tyrants: final counsels to humility and firmness (iv. 12-v. 11).

Commendation of the bearer, and salutations (v. 12-14).

[1] Compare 1 Pet. i. 14 with Rom. xii. 2; 1 Pet. i. 21 with Rom. iv.
24; 1 Pet. ii. 5 with Rom. xii. 1; 1 Pet. ii. 6, 7 with Rom. ix. 33; 1
Pet. ii. 10 with Rom. ix. 25, 26; 1 Pet. ii. 18 with Eph. vi. 5; 1 Pet.
iii. 1 with Eph. v. 22; 1 Pet. v. 5 with Eph. v. 21.

[2] Compare 1 Pet. i. 1 with Jas. i. 1; 1 Pet. i. 6 f. with Jas. i. 2
f., 12; 1 Pet. i. 23 with Jas. i. 18; 1 Pet. ii. 1 with Jas. i. 21; 1
Pet. ii. 11 with Jas. iv. 1; 1 Pet. v. 6 with Jas. iv. 7, 10; 1 Pet. v.
9 with Jas. iv. 7; and the quotation in 1 Pet. v. 5 with Jas. iv. 6.

[3] For the persecution and its bearing on the date of this Epistle,
see Leighton Pullan, _History of Early Christianity_, p. 105 ff.
(Service and Paton, 1898).




[Sidenote: The Author.]

The difficulties which are connected with the authorship of this
Epistle are greater than those connected with the authorship of any
other book of the New Testament.  A multitude of objections have been
raised against its genuineness, and it has been pronounced spurious by
a considerable number even of Christian writers.  But while fully
admitting that the problem is complicated, we can lawfully simplify it
by at once dismissing some of the weaker objections.  For instance, the
statement that 2 Peter quotes from Josephus, the celebrated Jewish
historian, who died c. A.D. 103, is utterly unproved.  Again, the
often-repeated statement that the doctrine of man being made a partaker
of the divine nature (2 Pet. i. 4) is a doctrine which was not taught
until after the apostolic age, is unwarrantable, unless we repudiate
wholesale many books of the New Testament which we have every reason to
regard as apostolic.  For the indwelling of the Father in Christ and in
the believer through Christ is implied by St. Paul, St. John, St.
James, and St. Peter.  The writer, in laying stress upon the importance
of spiritual knowledge, is once more in agreement with St. Paul and St.
John.  He plainly does not mean mere intellectual _knowledge_, and the
doctrine which he teaches is of a very simple kind.  The slight
reference made to the Redemption (ii. 1) and the silence manifested as
to the Resurrection cannot be considered so crucial as some scholars
believe them to be.  Readers of the First Epistle could hardly fail to
have these {247} facts printed in their very souls.  They would not
require to have them repeated in a second letter.

The language of the Epistle, especially in the verses which do not
depend upon Jude, shows several small coincidences with 1 Peter and
with the speeches of St. Peter in Acts.  We may compare the phrases in
2 Pet. ii. 15 with Acts i. 18, and 2 Pet. iii. 10 with Acts ii. 19, and

  Compare 2 Pet. i. 7      with 1 Pet. i. 22, iii. 8.
     "       "   i. 19, 20   "     "   i. 10-12.
     "       "   ii. 1       "     "   i. 18
     "       "   iii. 6      "     "   iii. 20.
     "       "   iii. 14     "     "   i. 19.

The writer abstains from copying the designation of the apostle
contained in 1 Peter, and does not record the words spoken from heaven
at the Transfiguration exactly as they are reported in the Gospels.  In
both these points a forger would very probably have acted otherwise.

On the whole, the words employed in 2 Peter seem indecisive with regard
to the authorship.  There is sufficient variation to allow us to
believe that it was written or not written by the apostle.  One of the
most remarkable words in 2 Peter is that employed in i. 16 for an
"eye-witness."  It is a word used in the Greek heathen mysteries, and
some critics think that such a word would not have been used by an
orthodox writer until an age when the Church had learnt to borrow Greek
religious terms from the Gnostic heretics.  It is a sufficient proof of
the weakness of this argument that the Greek verb derived from this
noun is found in 1 Pet. ii. 12.  It is, however, fair to say that the
style of 2 Peter is less simple and less closely connected with the Old
Testament than that of 1 Peter.

More serious objections are (1) the lack of external evidence in the
writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries; (2) the internal evidence that
the Epistle is based upon Jude, and perhaps on the Apocalypse of Peter.


Eusebius is evidently in doubt about it.  He says, "We have not indeed
received it by tradition to be in the Canon, yet as it appeared useful
to many, it was studiously read with the other Scriptures." [1]  It is
not mentioned by Irenaeus, nor is it in the list given in the
_Muratorian Fragment_.  But it seems to have been commented on by
Clement of Alexandria, though it is not quoted in his extant works.
Origen does mention it in his original Greek works, but in a manner
which shows that it was disputed in his time.  In Rufinus' Latin
translation of Origen there are several quotations from 2 Peter, but
against this fact it is sometimes urged that Rufinus emended Origen,
and that we cannot be absolutely certain that these quotations are
genuine.  The Epistle seems to have been known to Origen's great
contemporary Hippolytus (_Refut._ ix. 7; x. 20 and elsewhere).  There
are, moreover, passages in still earlier writers which are perhaps
based on 2 Peter.  These are in Clement of Rome, A.D. 95, Justin
Martyr, A.D. 152, and the document which is wrongly called the Second
Epistle of Clement, and is really a Roman homily of about A.D. 140.
The evidence of these passages is not positive, but if even one of them
is quoted from 2 Peter, it becomes quite impossible to assign 2 Peter
to A.D. 150-170, which is the date most favoured by those who deny its
authenticity.  Nor is the omission of any mention of it in Irenaeus and
the _Muratorian Fragment_ a very destructive fact.  The _Muratorian
Fragment_ is only a fragment, and does not mention 1 Peter, and there
is no passage in Irenaeus quoted from James.  Yet it is certain that
those two Epistles belong to the apostolic age.  The fact is that such
a very large amount of the literature of the 2nd century has been
destroyed, that it is always precarious to argue from omissions in the
books which are still extant.  Therefore, although the evidence of
writers of the 2nd and 3rd centuries is certainly meagre in the case of
2 Peter, we cannot argue that comparative lack of evidence means
positively hostile evidence.  A {249} notable step towards the
determination of the problem will be made if scholars eventually agree
to assign a very early date to the two great Egyptian versions of the
New Testament.  Both these versions contain 2 Peter.

As to the connection between 2 Peter and Jude, it may be regarded as
certain that either they both depend on some previous document, or that
one of them depends on the other.

  Compare Jude  6     with 2 Pet. ii. 4.
     "      "   7       "     "   ii. 6.
     "      "   8       "     "   ii. 10.
     "      "  10       "     "   ii. 12.
     "      "  11       "     "   ii. 15.
     "      "  12, 13   "     "   ii. 13, 17.
     "      "  16       "     "   ii. 18.
     "      "  17, 18   "     "   iii. 1-3.

An examination of these passages seems to prove that 1 Peter borrows
from Jude and not Jude from 2 Peter.[2]  In Jude the connection of
ideas seems more simple and direct.  Various verses in 2 Peter become
more intelligible in the light thrown upon them by the corresponding
verses in Jude.  Thus Jude 10 alludes to the immorality which explains
why the heretics are called "animals to be destroyed" in 2 Pet. ii. 12.
Jude 13, by calling the heretics "wandering stars," explains why
"darkness" is said to be "reserved" for them in 2 Pet. ii. 17.  Between
2 Pet. ii. 17 and 18 there is no direct allusion to Enoch as in Jude
14, but some of the material taken from the Book of Enoch still remains.

It will be observed that this connection with Jude is confined to 2
Pet. ii. 1-iii. 7.  Now, this passage must have been either inserted in
some ancient manuscript of this Epistle, or it was originally part of
the Epistle.  If it has been inserted, the question of the authenticity
of the rest of the Epistle obviously remains {250} untouched.  But if
it originally formed part of the Epistle, as appears to be the case,
can we regard this as a conclusive proof that St. Peter did not write
it?  Surely not.[3]  The fact that St. Luke inserts most of the Gospel
of St. Mark is not considered to be any argument against the
authenticity of St. Luke's work.  Both in the Old Testament and the New
we are occasionally confronted by the same phenomenon.  Writers repeat
what has been said by other writers when their words appear to them to
be the best possible words for enforcing a particular lesson.

The question of the authenticity of 2 Peter has lately become still
further complicated.  There has recently been discovered part of the
Apocalypse of Peter mentioned in the _Muratorian Fragment_.  This
Apocalypse is usually thought to have been forged in Egypt in the first
half of the 2nd century.  It presents certain points of resemblance
with 2 Peter.  These points of resemblance affect the first chapter of
2 Peter as well as the second chapter.  They therefore furnish an
argument against the theory that ch. ii. is a late interpolation into a
genuine Epistle, and they suggest that the Epistle is either wholly
genuine or wholly forged.  But the solution of the problem is not so
easy as it seems to many scholars.  If we could positively say that the
Apocalypse was written in the 2nd century, and positively say that 2
Peter borrows from it, the question would be settled once for all.  But
this is the very thing which we cannot do with confidence.  Some
critics of great ability hold it certain that 2 Peter was forged by
some one who borrowed from the Apocalypse.  Some think that the same
writer forged them both.  Others think that the Apocalypse is partly
derived from 2 Peter.  They can strongly support their view by the fact
that when Christians were familiar with both writings, it was decided
to reject the Apocalypse and {251} keep the Epistle.  Lastly, it might
be reasonably held that the coincidences in both writings are due to
the use of one earlier document or a common stock of ideas and phrases.
The popularity of Apocalyptic literature at the beginning of the
Christian era makes this theory credible.

We may sum up the evidence for and against 2 Peter as follows:--

1.  The external evidence is meagre.

2.  The internal evidence is perplexing, and may reasonably be
considered adverse.

On the other hand:--

1.  The external evidence is not definitely adverse.

2.  No convincing reason can be assigned for forging such an Epistle.
The critics who believe it to be forged, hold that it was written in
Egypt in order to oppose the Gnosticism of c. A.D. 150 or 160.  But the
Gnosticism rebuked in 2 Peter cannot definitely be assigned to the 2nd
century.  And it is very difficult to say that the heresy rebuked in 2
Peter belongs to the 2nd century without also maintaining that the
heresy rebuked in Jude belongs to the 2nd century.[4]  Yet several
facts in Jude point so decidedly to the 1st century that some of the
ablest writers who deny the authenticity of 2 Peter strongly assert the
genuineness of Jude.

We can only conclude by doubting whether we know more about the problem
of 2 Peter than the Church of the 3rd and 4th centuries knew.  Perhaps
we do not know nearly as much.  And under these circumstances we cannot
effectively criticize the judgment of the Church which decided to admit
2 Peter into the Canon.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

To the same readers as the First Epistle (iii. 1).

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

It was probably written in Rome, and some of the earliest references to
it are by writers who lived in Rome.  {252} Justin Martyr lived in
Rome, and if the references in Justin Martyr and other writers before
Hippolytus be considered doubtful, Hippolytus is a Roman witness of the
first importance.

The date is perhaps between A.D. 63 and 67.  If it were later than 70,
we might reasonably expect to find a reference to the destruction of
Jerusalem after the allusion to God's retribution on the people of
Sodom and other malefactors of old times.  The errors which are
denounced are akin to those which are denounced in 1 and 2 Timothy.
The allusion to St. Paul's Epistles in iii. 16 suggests that some
collection of these Epistles already existed, and that St. Paul was
already dead.  It has been urged against the genuineness of the Epistle
that it includes the Pauline Epistles in _Scripture_ (iii. 16), and
that this would have been impossible in the apostolic age.  But the
statement need not necessarily mean more than that the Epistles were on
the margin of a Canon which was in process of formation.  There is good
reason for believing that the Pauline Epistles occupied this position
at a time when men who had known some of the apostles were still
living, and perhaps earlier.  The manner in which St. Peter has made
use of St. Paul's work in his First Epistle, makes it quite possible
for us to think that he believed in the peculiar inspiration of his
great comrade.  And it is an interesting fact that the Syriac _Doctrine
of Addai_ in speaking of the Epistles of St. Paul, adds, "which Simon
Peter sent us from the city of Rome."

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The key-word to the Epistle is not _hope_, as in 1 Peter, but
_knowledge_ (i. 3, 8; ii. 20).  We find, as in 1 Peter, a fondness or
the word "glory."  But in 1 Peter glory seems to be represented as
given to Christ after His sufferings, and promised to Christians in the
future after their sufferings (1 Pet. i. 11; iv. 13; v. 1).  Here glory
is rather spoken of as manifested in all the new dispensation, and
especially at the Transfiguration (i. 3, 17).  The apostle {253}
appeals to the fact that he witnessed the Transfiguration as a
guarantee of his prophecy of the second "coming" of Christ.  He finds
another warrant in the prophecies of the Old Testament, and asserts
that prophecy is not a matter for a man's own private unaided
interpretation, inasmuch as it was an utterance prompted by the Holy
Spirit (i. 19-21).

This description of true religious knowledge is followed by an
arraignment of false prophets and speculative heresy.  It is possible
that the teaching of definitely false doctrine was already combined
with previously existing immoral practice.  The verse (ii. 1) in which
the writer speaks of false _teachers_, refers to the rise of these
heretics as future.  But in other verses of the chapter the
"self-willed" teachers are spoken of as already active.  We gather from
iii. 16 that the licence which is so sternly rebuked was a system in
which St. Paul's doctrine of justification by faith was represented as
a justification of vile indulgence.  Although this part of the Epistle
is a paraphrase of Jude, it is not a mere reproduction.  A new feature
in 2 Peter is that the heretics were sceptical concerning the second
coming of Christ (iii. 4).  They argued that since the death of "the
fathers," _i.e._ the first followers of Christ, the world continued as
before.  St. Peter urges that the deluge came, though its coming was
doubted, and also that it must be remembered that the Lord does not
reckon time as men do.  A period which is long to us is not long to
Him.  The day of the Lord will come suddenly "as a thief in the night,"
and in view of judgment the readers are exhorted to holiness and



Salutation, a list of Christian graces which are to be successively
blended with faith, a reminder of the truth of Christianity as
testified by the words of God at the Transfiguration, and by the light
of prophecy (i.).

Denunciation of the false teachers who are guilty of gross sin and
blindly follow their lower instincts (ii.).

Allusion to the former letter, rebuke of those who disbelieve in the
last judgment, the coming of the day of the Lord and the destruction of
the world, exhortations to holiness, diligence needed, the
long-suffering of Christ witnessed to by Paul, growth in grace (iii.).

[1] _H. E._ iii. 3.

[2] The priority of 2 Peter is strongly defended by Spitta, in his _Der
Zweite Brief d. Petrus_, 1885.

[3] This is very clearly stated by Dr. G. B. Stevens in his valuable
_Theology of the New Testament_, although he decides against the
genuineness of 2 Peter.

[4] This is done by Harnack, who places Jude between A.D. 100 and 130.





[Sidenote: The Author.]

The authenticity of this Epistle is bound up with the authenticity of
St. John's Gospel.  Like the Gospel, it does not contain any statement
as to the name of the author.  Like the Gospel, it is attributed by a
very ancient tradition to the nearest friend of Jesus Christ.  The
external evidence is particularly good.  We learn from the
unimpeachable testimony of Eusebius[1] that it was used by Papias, who
was a disciple of St. John.  Polycarp, another disciple of St. John,
directly quotes 1 John iv. 3 in his still extant letter.  It is quoted
by Irenaeus, the pupil of Polycarp, and was recognized as genuine in
widely distant Churches at the close of the 2nd century.

The internal evidence shows that the writer claims to be an eye-witness
and intimate personal friend of Jesus Christ (i. 1-3).[2]  And this
eye-witness must be St. John, if the fourth Gospel was written by St.
John.  The style is similar, and the ideas are the same.  It is true
that Christ is not called our "propitiation" in the Gospel as in this
Epistle (ii. 2; iv. 10), that in the Gospel there is no mention of
"antichrists" (as in {256} ii. 8), and that the word "Paraclete" is in
the Gospel applied to the Holy Ghost, while it is here applied to our
Lord (ii. 1).  But the idea of propitiation is expressed in the
description of our Lord as "the Lamb of God" (John i. 29), the mention
of antichrists is uncalled for in the Gospel, and by naming the Holy
Ghost "another Paraclete" our Lord gave St. John the best possible
reason for calling Christ Himself by the same title.  The description
of our Lord as "the only begotten Son" (iv. 9) is an important point of
contact with John i. 14, 18.  The language about "light" and
"darkness," "God" and "the world," the "new commandment," the "love" of
God, being "born of God," "eternal life," "abiding in Christ," recalls
the Gospel at every turn.

The Epistle, however, does contain some phrases and ideas which are not
to be found in the Gospel.  Such are "love perfected," "a sin unto
death," "the lust of the eyes," "to come in the flesh," "to walk in the
light," "to do lawlessness," "to be from above."  Yet they fit quite
naturally with the language and theology of the Gospel.  Therefore
there does not seem to be any sufficient reason for holding that it was
the work of another writer.  F. C. Baur and Hilgenfeld thought it to be
the work of a second forger of that mysterious band to which they
attributed such versatility and success.  And several more recent
critics who have denied the authenticity of the Gospel, have maintained
with Baur that the Epistle is the work of a second forger.  But these
negations have led to no assured result.  They are seen to be fruitless
as soon as we realize that these critics have been quite unable to
agree whether the Epistle was composed before the Gospel or after it.
Some consider that it was a theological balloon sent to try the
credulity of Christian readers before the Gospel was despatched.
Others consider that there are "overwhelming indications" to prove that
the Epistle is only a poor imitation of the Gospel.  Renan and Davidson
favoured the former view, F. C. Baur and C. Weizsäcker the latter.  At
the present time the majority {257} of critics, both Christian and
non-Christian, believe that it was written by the writer of the fourth

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

It seems to be a pastoral letter addressed to all the members of the
apostle's flock, intended therefore for the Christians of Asia in and
around Ephesus.  It is a strange fact that St. Augustine, in quoting
iii. 2, describes the passage as "said by John in his Epistle to the
_Parthians_."  This statement is a riddle which no commentator has been
able to answer satisfactorily.  As the Eastern Churches had little or
no knowledge of this title, we are compelled to regard it as a mistake.
It may have arisen from some scribe failing to read a partially
illegible manuscript in which St. John may have been given the title of
_parthenos_ or virgin.  But it is most likely that it arose from a
confusion with the Second Epistle, which was thought in the time of
Clement of Alexandria to be addressed to _parthenoi_ or virgins.  The
absence of quotations from the Old Testament, and the command "guard
yourselves from idols" (v. 21), solemnly given at the very end of the
Epistle, suggest that the recipients of the letter were converts from
heathenism.  The Christians of Ephesus, the mother-city of Asiatic
idolatry, were peculiarly in need of such an exhortation.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

We can hardly doubt that it was written at Ephesus, where the apostle
spent his last years.  The assertion that St. John did not live at
Ephesus is in direct contradiction with the best and earliest
traditions.  But it has been repeated at intervals during the last
sixty years by several critics, who found that they would be compelled
to admit the genuineness of the Revelation if they granted that St.
John lived at Ephesus, where the Revelation was evidently published.[3]
Against such criticism we can confidently marshal the express and
independent statements of Apollonius of Ephesus (A.D. 196), Polycrates
of Ephesus (A.D. 190), {258} Irenaeus of Lyons (A.D. 185), Clement of
Alexandria (A.D. 190), Tertullian of Carthage (A.D. 200), not to
mention some valuable indirect evidence of earlier date.  If we are to
reject such evidence as this, the science of history must be laid in
the tomb.

The question as to the exact date is very important for those who
believe that the Epistle was not written by the author of the Gospel.
They are involved in the most intricate questions about the
reproduction of the Gospel in the Epistle or of the Epistle in the
Gospel.  For those who do not believe in a diversity of authorship the
problem is far less vital.  The apostle was evidently advanced in
years.  He includes all his people under the affectionate name "my
little children" (ii. 1).  On the whole, it seems probable that it was
written rather later than the Gospel.  This is suggested by the
teaching about the second coming of Christ.  Both in the Gospel and in
the Epistle we find mentioned or implied a present and a future passing
from death to life, and a spiritual presence of Christ now and another
hereafter.  But in the Epistle it is the future coming of Christ which
is more prominent (ii. 28; iii. 2; iv. 17).  In the Revelation, A.D.
96, it is still more prominent.  The Epistle suggests that St. John's
readers were already acquainted with the discourses in his Gospel.  The
heresy described, and the fact that the heretics are already _outside_
the Church, point to a comparatively late date.  We can hardly place it
before A.D. 85.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

This Epistle contains no reference to any outward dangers.  Domitian's
persecution had not yet affected the Church, and the controversy with
Judaism had closed.  There is no trace of any conflict between Jew and
Gentile, and St. John, in asserting the truth of the incarnation of the
Son of God, is not opposing any heresy resembling that of those
semi-Christian Jews of the 2nd century who declared Christ to be
_merely_ the best of men.  He is combating a form of error taught by
Cerinthus, who said that {259} Jesus was a man born of Joseph and Mary,
and that on this man there descended a divine element named Christ, who
left him before the crucifixion.  Thus _Christ_ never suffered, though
the _Jesus_ who seemed to be Christ did suffer.  In face of these false
views St. John asserts the truth.  He asserts that One who is both
Jesus and Christ came in the flesh (iv. 2), and that He came, that is,
was manifested as Christ, both in the water of His baptism and the
blood of His cross (v. 6).  By this blood He cleanses man from sin (i.
7).  We may be sure of His help, for He lives as our Advocate with the
Father.  To deny that Jesus is the Christ is to deny the Father, to
deny God altogether (ii. 22; iv. 3).  St. Ignatius and St. Polycarp
inveigh in similar language against the Docetists, who flourished
between A.D. 110 and 120.  It is important to notice that St. John's
opponents do not appear to have been Antinomian in conduct.  He says,
"Every one that doeth sin, doeth also lawlessness; and sin is
lawlessness" (iii. 4).  If he had been blaming Antinomianism it would
have been more natural to say, "Every one that doeth lawlessness, doeth
also sin."

The main theme of the Epistle is not controversial.  It is to show that
in faith and love is the guarantee of our fellowship with God and of
our salvation.  Since this fellowship implies that He abides in us, it
may be recognized by His Spirit being in us (iii. 24).  This Spirit is
distinguished from the spirit of error by the confession of Christ; so
to hear the apostle's teaching about Christ is a sign of the presence
of God within us.  The moral and the religious life are summed up in
the words "God" and "Love," and those who love one another are born of
God.  Love in action corresponds with a confession of the incarnation
in the intellect (iv. 7-12).  It is wholly incompatible with sin (iii.
6), and is therefore righteous towards God and man.  Every one who, as
a child of God, hopes to grow like God, purifies himself as Christ is
pure.  He cannot love the world, which is a system of selfishness.  St.
John speaks of the possibility of committing a "sin unto death."  This
{260} is an old Jewish expression for a sin deserving natural death.
But the apostle lifts the phrase to a higher level and slightly alters
it.  His words literally mean "a sin tending unto death."  It is any
sin which by its very nature excludes a man from fellowship with
Christians.  It is a sin which requires chastisement before
forgiveness, and St. John does not enjoin, though he does not forbid,
prayer for those whose sin makes them unable to share in the privileges
of the common life of the Church.

Behind the practical teaching of the Epistle lies that great conception
of the Father which the writer had gained from intercourse with the
only-begotten Son.  God is _Love_ (iv. 8, 16), and has given us the
greatest of all gifts (iv. 9); God is _Light_ (i. 5), and dispels all
moral darkness (i. 6); God is _Life_ (v. 20), imparting His own
existence to man (iii. 9); God is _Father_ (ii. 1; iii. 1)--though our
relationship with Him is forfeited by sin, perfect and fearless
intimacy may be gained through Christ (iv. 15, 18).


A promise to impart knowledge of the incarnate Word; God is Light,
fellowship with God and forgiveness of sin (i.).

Christ our propitiation, love of our brother a necessary condition of
walking in the light, messages to children, fathers, young men, the
love of the world, Antichrist and the denial of Christ, abiding in the
Son and in the Father (ii.).

The love of God in calling us His children, the manifestation of Christ
to take away sin, love of our brother the sign that we are spiritually
changed, to believe in Christ and love one another the commandment of
God (iii.).

Acknowledgment of the incarnation is the test of spirits, to love one
another is to be like God, perfect love loses fear (iv.).

Faith in the incarnation overcomes the world, the three {261} witnesses
to the incarnation, eternal life possessed if we have the Son, prayer,
freedom from sin, knowledge through Jesus, who is the true God and
eternal life (v.).


[Sidenote: The Author.]

The writer does not insert his name in the Epistle, but simply
describes himself as "the elder."  Some writers have therefore supposed
that it was written by the presbyter named John, who lived at Ephesus
about the close of the apostolic age.  But Irenaeus, who was not likely
to be mistaken in such a matter, certainly regarded it as the work of
the apostle, and the _Muratorian Fragment_ apparently so regards it.
Clement of Alexandria was certainly acquainted with more than one
Epistle by St. John, and a Latin translation of his _Hypotyposes_
definitely says, "the Second Epistle of John, written to virgins, is
very simple."  Moreover, the title "elder" or "presbyter" is by no
means incompatible with apostolic authorship.  St. Peter in 1 Pet. v. 1
expressly describes himself by this title, nor does the title appear to
have become confined to the presbyters or priests of the Church until
about A.D. 200.  The similarity to the First Epistle is strong, seven
of the thirteen verses having parallels in the First Epistle.  If the
Epistle were a forgery, it is probable that the writer would have
claimed to be an apostle in unmistakable language.  And if the author
were not a forger, but the presbyter who was for some years a
contemporary of the apostle, it is hardly likely that he would have
been content to write this diminutive letter, which does little more
than sum up part of the First Epistle.  The language of the Second
Epistle bears almost the same relation to that of the first as the
first bears to that of the Gospel.  There is a fundamental likeness
combined with a few fresh expressions, such as "walk _according to_,"
"_coming_ in the flesh" instead of "come in the flesh," "to have God."


[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"Unto the elect lady and her children."  The interpretation of these
words is a notorious difficulty.  At first sight the "lady" would be
supposed to be a private individual.  But if so, why is not the
individual's name mentioned, like the name of the recipient of the
Third Epistle?  Perhaps it is mentioned, for the words translated "the
elect lady" may mean "the elect Kyria."  The "house" of the lady (ver.
10) also suggests that the lady is an individual.  On the other hand,
it has been supposed that the lady is a symbolical name for a local
_Church_.  In favour of this interpretation is the fact that the writer
speaks, not only of the children of the lady who are with her, but also
of others whom he has met (ver. 4), and in a manner which suggests a
large number of persons.  The same interpretation can be put upon the
"elect sister" mentioned in the last verse of the Epistle.  Writers of
deserved repute accept this symbolical interpretation.  But when a
literal meaning and a symbolical meaning are supported by equally good
arguments, it seems prudent to accept the simpler, _i.e._ the literal
interpretation.  It is hard to believe that St. Jerome and Hilgenfeld
are right in thinking that it is addressed to the whole Catholic
Church.  This is surely excluded by the mention of an "elect sister."

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

Probably from Ephesus, and the contents suggest that it was written
later than the first Epistle.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The letter contains an affectionate expression of happiness due to the
steadfast Christianity of the children of the "elect lady."  But its
main object is to utter a warning against the deceivers who deny that
Christ is "come in the flesh."  These deceivers were evidently
Docetists.  In order to appreciate the necessity for such a warning we
must remember the extraordinary attraction which many persons who liked
a _dilettante_ Christianity found in the theory that Christ was a
divine Spirit who clothed Himself with flesh in which He did not
suffer.  At the close of the apostolic age, and {263} for many
generations afterwards, orthodox Christianity was often regarded as too
materialistic for advanced thinkers.  They endeavoured to make
Christianity keep pace with the times by infusing into it the decadent
Greek or Oriental mysticism which depreciated our human body.


Salutation, thanksgiving for certain of the elect lady's children,
reminder of the commandments to love and obey, the deceivers who deny
the incarnation not to be welcomed; the writer, expecting to visit his
correspondents, closes his letter.


[Sidenote: The Author.]

It is generally admitted, both by those who deny and those who accept
the authenticity of the works of St. John, that this Epistle was
written by the author of 2 John.  It presents several close parallels
both with 2 John and with the Gospel.  Its obviously private character
accounts for the fact that it is seldom quoted in early literature.  It
is found in the Old Latin version of the New Testament, though not in
the _Muratorian Fragment_.  It was known to Origen and Dionysius of
Alexandria.  Eusebius places it among the _Antilegomena_ (_H. E._ iii.
25), but it was generally accepted in the 4th century.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

"Unto Gaius the beloved."  The name was a common one, being a form of
the Latin "Caius."  There is no reason for identifying this Gaius with
one of the persons of the same name who are mentioned as living in
Corinth, Macedonia, and Derbe respectively, all of whom may have been
dead at the late period when this letter was written.  The Gaius of
this Epistle was evidently a faithful and hospitable Christian.  Baur
displayed more than even his {264} usual powers of invention by
suggesting that Gaius was a Montanist of the latter part of the 2nd
century, and "Diotrephes" a symbolical name for one of the Catholic
bishops of Rome opposed to Montanism.

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

Probably at Ephesus; subsequently to the First Epistle, and probably
very soon after the Second.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

This little letter gives us a few brief glimpses of the life of the
Church near the end of the 1st century.  The purpose of the letter is
to commend a Christian of good character, named Demetrius, to the
hospitable care of Gaius.  It appears, therefore, to be one of those
"letters of commendation" which are mentioned by St. Paul in 2 Cor.
iii. 1, and were common in later times.  By the side of this
pleasantness there is distress.  Connected with the Church to which
Gaius belongs there is an ambitious schismatic named Diotrephes, who
refuses to admit the authority of the apostle.  The fact that he was
guilty of casting the friends of the apostle out of the Church (ver.
10), suggests that Diotrephes was at least a presbyter, and perhaps a
bishop appointed by the apostle.  We are told by Clement of Alexandria
that St. John appointed bishops in Asia, and there is no reason for
doubting that episcopacy dates back to this period.  The apostle
evidently intends to punish Diotrephes for his malice when he visits
the district again.  It is just possible that the letter to the Church
(ver. 9) which Diotrephes repudiated is our "Second Epistle" of St.
John.  This theory will win acceptance with some of those who think
that the Second Epistle was not written to an individual, but to a


Salutations to Gaius, congratulations that he is walking in the truth,
his hospitality to travelling Christians, the tyranny of Diotrephes,
recommendation of Demetrius, personal matters.

[1] _H. E._ iii. 39.

[2] It is impossible to accept the recent Rationalist hypothesis that
these words were written by a pious Christian who had not seen Jesus,
but wished to emphasize the truth that the historical Church was
intimately connected with the historical Jesus.

[3] Among these critics must be numbered Lützelberger (1840), Keim
(1867), Bousset (1899).




[Sidenote: The Author.]

"Judas, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James."  We can be
sure that the James here mentioned is the James who acted as the first
bishop of the Church at Jerusalem.  The author's designation of himself
would not be intelligible unless he meant that he was related to a very
prominent man of that name.  The writer cannot be the Apostle Jude.  He
does not claim to be an apostle, and he seems indirectly to repudiate
the authority of an apostle by describing himself only in relation to
his brother and by referring to "the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ"
in a manner which seems to distinguish them for himself.  If the
Apostle Jude was the _son_ of James (as many scholars think), this Jude
was clearly another man.  If the Apostle was the _brother_ of James (as
the English Authorised Version holds), then his identification with
this Jude is still doubtful.

Jude was a son of St. Joseph.  At first he did not believe in our Lord
(John vii. 5), but was convinced by the Resurrection (Acts i. 14).  He
was married (1 Cor. ix. 5).  Hegesippus, a writer of the 2nd century,
tells us that two of his grandsons were taken before the Emperor
Domitian as being of the royal house of David, and therefore dangerous
to the empire.[1]  He found them to be poor rough-handed men, and
dismissed them with good-humoured contempt when they described the
kingdom of Christ as heavenly.  Philip of Side, about 425, says {266}
that Hegesippus gave the names of these two men as Zocer and James.

The Epistle was known to Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian, and is
in the _Muratorian Fragment_.

The chief objections to the authenticity of this Epistle fall under
three heads.  It is said that (a) a late date is indicated by the
allusion to the teaching of the apostles in ver. 17.  But the allusion
seems to correspond exactly with a late date in the apostolic age, for
vers. 17 and 18 assume that the readers remember what the apostles had
said.  It is said that (b) the phrase in ver. 3, "the faith which was
once for all delivered unto the saints," indicates that a definite body
of doctrine was recognized by the Christians of the period, and that
the Christians of the apostolic age did not use the word "faith" in
this sense.  But it is not difficult to suppose that the word would be
soon extended from the act of believing to the facts believed.  And in
such early passages as Gal. i. 23 and Rom. x. 8 we find the word
closely approximating to the latter sense.  It is said that (c) the
heresy which is described is a heresy of the 2nd century, and implies a
definite Gnostic system.  But the fact that the Epistle does not
describe such a definite system is convincingly shown by the inability
of certain critics to determine who the heretics are.  The Balaamites
of Asia Minor, the Carpocratians of Egypt, and some obscure sects of
Syria, are all suggested.  There is no evidence to show that the errors
here described could not have grown up in apostolic times, and the
Epistles of St. Paul contain several passages which point to similar
perversions of Christianity.  The word "sensual" in ver. 19 was an
insulting term applied to ordinary Christians by the Gnostics of the
2nd century, but St. Jude's use of it betrays no consciousness of this
later application.

The style of the letter makes it practically certain that it was
written by some one who had been a Jew.  The Greek is forcible.  It
shows a considerable knowledge of Greek words, {267} including various
poetical and archaic expressions.  But the manner is stiff, and the
sentences are linked together with difficulty.  Several phrases come
from the Septuagint, some of them being taken from the Book of Wisdom.
It is probable that the author was acquainted with the Hebrew Old
Testament, as ver. 12 (from Ezek. xxxiv. 2) and ver. 22 f. (from Zech.
iii. 2 f.) suggest this.

[Sidenote: To whom written.]

The Epistle is simply addressed "to them that are called, beloved in
God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ."  It seems that these
Christians must have been natives of Palestine or Syria.  They had been
personally instructed by the apostles (ver. 17), which makes this
region probable.  No place seems more likely than Antioch and its
neighbourhood.  The libertinism which was endangering the Church would
not be likely to arise except in a district where the Christians were
in close contact with heathenism.  Extreme critics now usually maintain
that it was written either in Asia or in Egypt.  If written in Asia, it
can hardly have been written by the Lord's brother, as we know that his
descendants lived in Palestine.  If written in Egypt, it can hardly
belong to the age of the apostles.  These two sceptical theories as to
the place where the Epistle was written contradict one another

[Sidenote: Where and when written.]

The style and contents of the letter show that it was probably written
in Palestine and at Jerusalem.  The date is probably soon after the
martyrdom of St. James in A.D. 62.  St. Jude was dead before his
grandsons had their interview with Domitian.  The Epistle must
therefore be before A.D. 81.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

The Epistle is remarkable as containing references to two Jewish books
of an apocalyptic character which are not mentioned in the Old
Testament.  This caused some writers in early days to hesitate to
ascribe the Epistle to a brother of St. James, and in recent times the
same argument has been revived in a new {268} form.  But these
quotations seem quite compatible with a belief in the genuineness of
the Epistle.  The books quoted were in existence in the apostolic age,
and would be likely to be valued by a devout Jew.  In ver. 9 there is
reference to Michael, which Origen says was derived from the
_Assumption of Moses_, a Jewish work written at the beginning of the
Christian era.  In 2 Pet. ii. 11 the allusion to Michael is so
modified, that the origin of the reference is no longer obvious.  In
vers. 4, 6, and 14, there are quotations from the _Book of Enoch_, a
Jewish book composed of sections written at various dates, the latest
being written in the century before Christ.

The purpose of the Epistle is to warn the Church against certain
depravers of God's grace who denied "our only Master and Lord, Jesus
Christ" (ver. 4).  The author sees fit to remind his readers of ancient
examples of unfaithfulness and impurity, and shows that they must be
compassionate towards the wavering, and try to save the worst by a
desperate effort.  It is plain that the false teachers were guilty of
gross and unnatural vice, that they were greedy, and destitute of godly
fear.  They also, like the evil Christians at Corinth, brought
discredit upon the Agapé (ver. 12), a social meal which the Christians
were first wont to partake of before the Eucharist, and at a later date
after the Eucharist.  The licence which is rebuked by St. Jude probably
arose from a perversion of the doctrine of justification by faith which
had been taught by our Lord.  Christians who had been taught that they
could be saved without observing the Jewish ceremonial law, imagined
that they could be saved without any self-discipline or self-restraint.
Many parallels to such errors have been found in modern times, the
worst example being that afforded by the Anabaptists, who arose in
Germany at the time of the Reformation.  It is worth noticing that, in
spite of the untheological character of this Epistle, the writer shows
his belief in the Holy Trinity by the manner in which he refers to the
Father {269} and Jesus Christ (ver. 1) and the Holy Ghost (ver. 20).
The Epistle gives no encouragement to the theory that the first Jewish
Christians were Unitarians.


Salutation and charge to maintain "the faith" (1-4).  Warnings from the
punishment of the Israelites, of the angels, of Sodom and Gomorrha

Railing at dignities rebuked (8-10).

Denunciation of those who imitate Cain (murder), Balaam (encouragement
of impurity), Korah (schism), and spoil the _Agapé_ (11-13).

These sectaries foretold by Enoch (14-16).

And by the apostles (17-19).

Duty of edifying believers, and saving sinners (20-23).

Doxology (24, 25).

[1] Eusebius, _H. E._ iii. 20.




[Sidenote: The Author.]

Like the First Epistle of St. John, the Revelation has particularly
strong external evidence in its favour.  About A.D. 150 Justin Martyr
speaks of it as the work of "John, one of the apostles of Christ," in
his dialogue held with Trypho, a Jew, at Ephesus, where St. John had
lived.  Still earlier, Papias looked upon the book as "inspired," and
"bore testimony to its genuineness."  Irenaeus, the pupil of Polycarp,
the disciple of St. John, quotes it as written by "John, the disciple
of the Lord."  About A.D. 170 Melito of Sardis, one of the places to
which part of the book was specially addressed, wrote a commentary upon
it.  It was accepted by the Churches of Vienne and Lyons in Gaul in
A.D. 177, for they wrote of it as "Scripture" in their letter to the
Christians of Asia Minor.  Near the same date the _Muratorian Fragment_
mentions it twice.  It will be observed that this evidence is not only
good, but it is also mostly drawn from sources which were most closely
connected with St. John.  The evidence of the Churches of Vienne and
Lyons would be important, even if it stood alone.  For these
Greek-speaking Churches were allied with the Church of Ephesus, and
were not likely to be mistaken about this question.  And the evidence
of Irenaeus and Melito is still more weighty.

Strange to say, the belief in the authenticity of the Revelation began
to waver as time went on.  We need pay little heed to the sect known as
the Alogi, who attributed both St. John's {271} Gospel and the
Revelation to Cerinthus, because they disliked the doctrine of the
Logos contained in these two books.  They were too ignorant to have
been influenced by any real critical knowledge.  But it is an important
fact that about A.D. 248 Dionysius of Alexandria stated that it was
probably written by John the Presbyter, and that the great Eusebius
seems at one time to have been inclined to accept the opinion of
Dionysius.[1]  So far as we can discover, Dionysius founded his opinion
solely on the difference of style which can be observed as separating
the Revelation from the Gospel.  He does not seem to have been in
possession of any facts which gave historical support to his theory.
Nevertheless, we can legitimately think that there was another reason
which induced orthodox Christians to regard the Revelation with less
confidence.  The Montanist sect, which arose in the latter half of the
2nd century and became powerful in Asia Minor and North Africa, taught
an extravagant doctrine about the millennium when Christ would return
to reign on earth.  This doctrine was partly founded on Rev. xx., and
was supported by pretended prophecies.  It caused orthodox Christians
to be more suspicious about the statements of Christian prophets, and
probably made them less anxious to translate and circulate the
Revelation.  This hesitation was soon overruled, and Eusebius, in spite
of his own slight doubts, reckons it as received among the undisputed
books of the Canon.  This was c. A.D. 320.

In modern times the controversy about the authorship has been revived.
About one hundred years ago a school of critics took up the argument of
Dionysius.  They urged that the Gospel and the Revelation must have
been written by two different authors, the Revelation being much more
Hebrew in style than the Gospel.  The argument was elaborated by F. C.
Baur and the Tübingen School.  As they were determined to deny the
genuineness of the Gospel which so clearly teaches {272} that Jesus is
God, they tried to discredit the Gospel by insisting upon the
authenticity of the Revelation.  The successors of these critics soon
found themselves on the horns of a dilemma.  A closer examination of
the Revelation made it clearer that on many important points the
theology of the Revelation is the same as that of the Gospel.  If they
admit that St. John wrote both the books or one of them, they will be
forced to admit that the apostle taught definite orthodox Christian
theology.[2]  If, on the other hand, they affirm that both the books
were written by John the Presbyter, they will shatter the old argument
that diversity of style proves diversity of authorship.  It will
therefore surprise no one to learn that they are now engaged in
continuous disputes with regard to the identity of the author, and the
materials, Jewish or otherwise, which he is supposed to have used in
compiling his book.  At the present time the writers who hold the
Revelation to have been written by various authors, are divided into no
less than four camps, while the rationalists who hold that it was
written by one author cannot agree who that author was.  It is
extremely significant that, in spite of his conviction that the book
was not all written at the same date, the critic who is now by far the
ablest opponent of orthodox Christianity, holds that the Revelation was
(i.) published in the time of Domitian, as the tradition of the Church
affirms; (ii.) published by the author of the fourth Gospel, though not
by the real St. John.[3]

It must be admitted that the style of the book is more Hebrew and less
Greek than that of the Gospel.  But some arguments may be reasonably
alleged against the theory that {273} this proves the Revelation to be
by a different author.  The difference in the scope and origin of the
two books account in a large measure for the differences of vocabulary
and style.  No book in the New Testament is so steeped as the
Revelation in the imagery of the Old Testament; Daniel, Isaiah,
Ezekiel, and Zechariah are constantly used.  The thoroughness with
which their spirit has been assimilated, and their ideas combined by
the writer, would create a Hebrew tendency in his language.  Whether
St. John made use of the material furnished by non-canonical
apocalypses is uncertain.  If he did, their style would also influence
him in the same way.  We must also beware of exaggerating the contrast
in style which does exist between the Gospel and the Revelation.  The
Gospel is not always in correct Greek, and never shows a thorough
mastery of that language.  But the Revelation is certainly in much
rougher Greek.  The writer uses the nominative case for the accusative
(vii. 9; xiv. 6); similar instances are in iii. 12; xiv. 12.  This
rugged usage is introduced with magnificent, and perhaps intentional,
effect in i. 4, where the author emphasizes the eternity of God by
using an entirely ungrammatical construction.[4]  Apart from the
question of grammar, the language of the Apocalypse shows a remarkable
affinity with St. John's Gospel.  We may observe the use of such words
as "witness," "true," "tabernacle," "have part," "keep the word," and

The theology of the two books is in close agreement.  This can easily
be shown in the case of the doctrine of Christ's Person.  He is called
the "Lamb" [5] in the Gospel (i. 29, 36) and in the Revelation (v. 6,
8, 12, etc.).  He is called the "Word" in the Gospel (i. 1, etc.) and
in the Revelation (xix. 13).  He is taught to be eternal and divine.
He is "the Alpha and {274} the Omega, the first and the last" (xxii.
13; cf. Isa. xliv. 6).  He shares the throne of God (xxii. 1, 3); He
determines who shall be released from the realm of death (i. 18); He
joins in the judgment (vi. 16); He is worshipped by the elders and the
angels (v. 8, 11).  He is the Bridegroom of the Church (xix. 7; xxi. 2,
cf. John iii. 29).  The attitude towards Judaism is the same as that in
the Gospel.  The Jews who oppose Jesus are strongly denounced (iii. 9),
and though the Church is a new _Jerusalem_, it is composed of people
gathered out of every nation (vii. 9).  The necessity of good works is
strenuously upheld (ii. 5, 19); but they are not works of rabbinical
righteousness, but works of Jesus (ii. 26), and the "righteous acts of
the saints" (xix. 8) are based on "the faith of Jesus" (xiv. 12).
Salvation is the free gift of Christ (xxi. 6; xxii. 17).  The saints
who overcome, conquer not by relying upon their own righteousness, but
"because of the blood of the Lamb" (xii. 11).

In the Revelation (ii. 17) Jesus promises to believers "the hidden
manna;" in the Gospel, referring also to the manna, He promises "the
true bread from heaven" (John vi. 32).  In the Revelation (xxii. 17)
Jesus says, "Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him
take of the water of life freely;" in the Gospel He says, "If any man
thirst, let him come unto Me and drink" (John vii. 37).  If, then, the
Revelation is full of Hebrew expressions, it is essentially and
profoundly Christian, and linked with the other Johannine books by the
closest kinship.  The theology and the style of the Revelation are the
same throughout.[6]  We can therefore reject without hesitation the
recent hypothesis that it is one large Jewish work with numerous
Christian interpolations.  The difficulty of supposing that the book
was ever a purely Jewish Apocalypse {275} can quickly be realized by
any one who undertakes to strike out all the Christian allusions in the

The author states that he is John, in the strongest fashion both in the
beginning and end (i. 4, 9; xxii. 8), and his attitude towards the
seven Churches is inexplicable unless the writer held a position of the
highest ecclesiastical importance.

[Sidenote: For whom written.]

Plainly for the whole Church, as represented by "the seven Churches
which are in Asia" (i. 4).

[Sidenote: Date.]

From i. 9 we learn that the revelation was made to John when he "was in
the isle that is called Patmos" (in the Aegean Sea) "for the word of
God and the testimony of Jesus."  Irenaeus expressly says that the date
of this banishment was at the end of the reign of Domitian (Emperor
81-96 A.D.), and therefore he says it was almost within his own
generation.  On the other hand, some modern writers have assigned part
or the whole of the book to the time of Nero (54-68), or a little
later.  But though some parts of it seem earlier than Domitian, the
final form of the book is unquestionably late.  A late date is
indicated by the corruptions existing in some of the Churches
addressed, by the expression "the Lord's day" (i. 10) instead of the
older expression "first day of the week," by the strong opposition to
Judaism which is called the "synagogue of Satan" (ii. 9; iii. 9), and
above all by the attitude of the writer towards Rome.  The imperial
rule is no longer regarded with the tolerance which we find in Acts and
in St. Paul's Epistles.  It is no longer the "restraining" and
protecting power.  It is denounced as cruel and aggressive, and not
only is the worship offered to the Roman emperor mentioned as
widespread, but also the worship offered to Rome.  The city is called
the Great Harlot, because in prophetical language idolatry is described
as an act of fornication, being a violation of the pure love which
should be felt by man towards his Creator.  The worship of Rome does
not seem to have become common in {276} Asia until late in the 1st
century, and it is not even mentioned once in Acts.

The destruction of Jerusalem is definitely mentioned in xi. 2, where
the earthly Jerusalem is symbolized as the "court which is without the
temple," the temple which the prophet measures being the heavenly
temple only (xi. 19).  This chapter seems to imply that Jerusalem is
already destroyed, and is founded on Ezek. xl., when the prophet
measures the ideal city, not the city which had been destroyed
previously.  We are therefore pointed to a date later than A.D. 70.
The same seems to be suggested by xiii. 1 and xvii. 10.  For the beast
in xiii. 1 is the pagan Roman State as typified by Nero, and so is the
number 666 in xiii. 18; for if the words Nero Caesar are written in
Hebrew letters, and the numerical values of the letters are added
together, the result is 666.  In xvii. 8 Nero is described as dead, and
in xvii. 10 Vespasian is the sixth emperor, Titus the seventh, and the
eighth, in xvii. 11, is Domitian, who plays the Satanic part of Nero.
The sixth emperor is described as still living, and we therefore seem
compelled to assign part of this passage to Vespasian's reign.
Nevertheless, there is abundant internal evidence for thinking that the
book was not completed until the time of Domitian.  It is worth noting
that Domitian exacted a more extravagant worship of his own person than
any previous emperor, and that his policy therefore made the
publication of the book doubly appropriate.

[Sidenote: Character and Contents.]

There were a number of Jewish books called by the name of Revelation or
Apocalypse (_i.e._ revelation or unveiling).  In the Old Testament an
Apocalypse is to be found in the second part of Daniel, and there is a
fine short Apocalypse in Isa. xxiv.-xxvii., where we find striking
passages relating to the resurrection and eternal life.  The _Book of
Enoch_ and the _Apocalypse of Baruch_ are later examples of this class
of literature.  These books were generally written with the special
purpose of giving encouragement to the {277} servants of God in times
of distress and persecution.  The Revelation of St. John was written
under similar circumstances, but is by far the most sublime of these
writings.  The interpretation of the Revelation appears to have always
been a standing difficulty, in spite of the fact that there has been no
age of the Christian Church which has not been able to draw consolation
and vigour from its beautiful pages, all illuminated as they are with
glowing pictures.  The question as to whether different portions of the
book were written at different dates, and afterwards edited in one
volume by the writer, does not necessarily interfere with the
interpretation.  For the book is one work, the materials have been
fitted into one structure.

The connection between the different parts is organic and internal.
Not only is the doctrinal standpoint the same throughout, but the whole
book has an immense number of connecting thoughts and words.  The
letters to the seven Churches contain statements which are taken up in
the visions which follow.  Among such we may compare ii. 7 with xxii.
2; ii. 11 with xx. 6; ii. 26 with xii. 5, ii. 28 with xxii. 16; iii. 5
with xix. 8; iii. 12 with xxi. 2.  The description of the glorified
Redeemer in i. 10-18 is reflected in numerous passages, and the strong
assertion of the author's personality in i. 9 is again presented in
xxii. 8.  And the meaning of the book rapidly becomes clearer to the
reader if he sees (a) that the notices of contemporary history in each
of the seven parts of the book are arranged chronologically in
reference to what is contained in that part; (b) that these seven parts
are not related to one another in the order of temporal succession:
each part is complete in itself, and is a full presentation of one
aspect of the whole subject.  This is exactly what we find in Isaiah,
Amos, and Zechariah.

This leads us to another fact.  Some writers have held that the
Revelation is to be interpreted simply on _historical_ lines, as though
it contained a list of events occurring through the whole of history
since the time of St. John.  Other writers {278} have held that little
or no historical meaning can be found in the book, and that it is to be
interpreted on _ideal_ lines, as teaching certain principles of
religion.  The truth seems to be that these two methods of
interpretation are both partly true.  Certain historical facts, such as
the Ascension of our Lord, the destruction of Jerusalem, the
persecution of the Church, the struggle between the Church and the
Roman empire, are taken as a basis.  Certain great principles of God's
dealings with the world, and of the continued conflict between good and
evil, are then illustrated in connection with these facts, and the
whole is knit together by the fixed expectation that Christ will come
again to vanquish the wicked and rescue the good.  While each division
of the book thus possesses a real meaning, it seems hardly possible to
attach a significance to each detail in the imagery which is employed.
Many items and even numbers appear to be introduced in order to make
the scenes clear to the mind's eye rather than impart a knowledge of
independent events.  In after-ages Dante, like St. John, showed this
care for minute imagery in the midst of verses of mystic vision.  The
book is the highest example of Christian imagination led and inspired
by the Holy Spirit, and although at is written in prose it is of the
nature of a poem.

The book contains seven revelations, which are preceded by a prologue
concerning the divine Son of Man and the seven Churches of Asia.  Of
these seven revelations, the fourth is central both in place and
meaning.  It represents the kingdom of the world becoming the kingdom
of Christ as the result of the coming of the Messiah, born of that
glorious mother, the woman whose seed wars against the serpent (Gen.
iii. 15), and the maiden who bears Immanuel (Isa. vii. 14), and who
also represents the Church banished to the wilderness.

On each side are three revelations, which correspond with one another
like the petals of a mystical rose.  The _third_, which deals with the
divine judgment upon Jerusalem, corresponds with the _fifth_, which
contains God's judgment upon {279} Rome.  Here we see the triumph of
God over corrupt religion and corrupt imperialism.  The _second_, which
describes the powers of divine judgment kept in check, and the seal of
God imprinted on the saints of the new Israel, corresponds with the
_sixth_, which describes the war of the Word of God with the Beast, and
events which end with the universal judgment.  The _first_, which
describes the Lamb that was slain and the book of destiny which He
alone could open, corresponds with the _seventh_, which describes the
Bride of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem in heaven.  Thus the final glory
of the Church corresponds with the glory which the ascended Jesus
already receives in heaven.

The whole closes with a short epilogue.

It will be observed that the book contains seven choric songs.  The
first revelation contains two such songs, one after each division.  The
second, third, and fifth revelation, each close with a song.  The
fourth and central revelation contains two songs; one is sung by the
bodyguard of the Lamb before they go to war, the other is sung after
the victory is gained.  The seventh and last chorus celebrates the fall
of Babylon (Rome), and ushers in the marriage of the Lamb.  It comes at
the end of the fifth revelation.  Its form is double, and it sums up
the remaining action of the book.  Two more facts must be mentioned in
this connection.  The first is that the words of the song of the
bodyguard of the Lamb (xiv. 3) are not told; it can only be learned by
the redeemed.  It begins with the voice of Christ, the voice "of many
waters," and it is taken up by the "thunder" of the cherubim and the
harps of the elders.  The second is that there is no song between the
sixth and seventh revelation.  It is simply the voice out of the throne
itself, the voice of the cherubim who uphold the throne of God (see iv.
6), which proclaims that the tabernacle of God is now with men, and
that He shall wipe away every tear (xxi. 4).  The exquisite art of this
arrangement of the songs is manifest.



Title and description (i. 1-3).

Prologue (i. 4-iii. 22).

The vision of the Son of Man (i. 4-20).

The message to each of the seven Churches of Asia (ii., iii.).

A general idea of conflict is present in this introduction.  The
Churches of Asia have special temptations against which they must
fight, _e.g._ coldness at Ephesus, false prophecy at Thyatira, emperor
worship at Pergamum.

I. Revelation of the Book of Destiny: iv.-v.--The throne of God is
manifested, surrounded by the elders and by the four living creatures
who represent the created universe, _chorus of creation_ (iv.).  The
sealed book which none can open but the Lamb, _chorus of redemption_

II. Revelation of the Seals: vi.-viii. 1.--The first four seals of the
book are opened.  Christ appears riding on a white horse, and is
followed by four symbolic powers of evil: (a) Apollyon, who rides on a
red horse; (b) the Steward, who rides on a black horse, and dispenses
corn at a dear price, representing a perverted ministry of the Word,
which nevertheless cannot hurt the unction given to the Christian nor
the wine of Christ's Passion; (c) Death on a pale horse; and (d) his
companion Hell.  When the fifth scene is opened, the martyrs who are
under the altar which is before the throne cry in expectancy.  With the
sixth seal there is a warning of prophetic horrors.  The day of God's
wrath all but comes.  But judgment is restrained for a season (vi.).
Chastisement is suspended until 144,000 of Israelites are sealed, then
a multitude of all nations, _chorus of salvation_ (vii.).  The seventh
seal, which discloses a war against God, can now be opened; silence
(viii. 1).


III.  Revelation of the Trumpets: viii. 2-xi. 18.--Seven angels receive
trumpets, incense offered.  With the sounding of each of the first four
trumpets a chastisement is sent from above to rouse repentance (viii.).
With the fifth, chastisement ascends from the pit; with the sixth,
angels and terrific horsemen come from the Euphrates; but men repent
not (ix.).  Before the seventh trumpet sounds, an angel tells the seer
that when it has sounded the mystery of God as declared to the prophets
will be finished (x.).  Two prophets resembling Elijah and Moses appear
as the symbols of Christian prophecy; they are slain in Jerusalem where
our Lord was crucified, they ascend like Christ amid the wreck of a
tenth of the city.  The city confesses God.  Then the seventh trumpet
proclaims the subject of the next revelation: the kingdoms of the world
becoming the kingdoms of Christ, _chorus of God reigning_ (xi. 1-18).

IV.  Revelation of the Lamb's Redemption: xi. 19-xv. 4.--The ark itself
is revealed to show that the coming revelation manifests what is most
sacred and most profound.  The conflict between Christ and evil is
shown first as the conflict of the Child of the Woman against the
dragon, then as the conflict of Michael and his angels against the
dragon, then as the conflict of the dragon against the woman's seed
(xii.).  Next come the allies of the dragon, the beast out of the sea,
which is imperial pagan Rome; and the beast out of the earth, which is
the priesthood of Asia appointed to promote the worship of the emperor
(xiii.).  Then there is seen on Mount Zion the Lamb with His bodyguard
of 144,000, singing _the incommunicable chorus_.  An angel proclaims
the eternal gospel; another tells that Babylon, _i.e._ pagan Rome, has
fallen; another proclaims the eternal punishment of those who worship
the beast.  Then a voice from heaven announces the blessedness of the
dead in Christ.  The Son of Man is seen with a sickle; then comes the
harvest of the good, and the vintage of those who {282} are to suffer
in the winepress of God's wrath (xiv.).  Seven angels appear, and the
victors over the beast sing _the chorus Of Moses and the Lamb_ (xv.

V.  Revelation of the Bowls: xv. 5-xix. 10.--The heavenly temple opens,
and the seven angels come to pour out the seven last punishments from
the golden bowls (xv. 6-8).  There is a plague, and the turning of the
sea, and then of the rivers, into blood, then the sun's heat is
intensified, then darkness is poured over Rome.  Then, in conformity
with Revelation III., we are shown the Euphrates.  It is dried up that
the kings of the East, probably conceived of as Parthians, may march to
destroy Babylon.  Other kings come to aid the beast.  They muster at
Har-Magedon.  The seventh bowl is poured on the air.  Babylon breaks
into three parts.  Storms (xvi.).  Then an angel shows John Babylon
riding triumphantly upon a beast as the mother of harlots, drunken with
the blood of the martyrs, and he explains how she shall be destroyed by
her subject kings (xvii.).  There follows a solemn dirge on Babylon
(xviii.).  Then comes a _triumphant chorus_ for the judgment of the
city (xix. 1-8).  John is forbidden to worship his angel-guide (xix.

VI.  Revelation of the Word of God and the universal Judgment: xix.
11-xx. 15.--It is now shown that judgment is the work of the Word of
God Himself.  As in Revelation II., He appears upon a white horse.
Brief sections display the complete overthrow of the great enemies of
Christ, the beast, the false prophet, and the dragon.  Then comes the
millennium, when the martyrs of Jesus reign with Christ while Satan is
bound.  Satan is then loosed, and with Gog and Magog, who are leaders
of nations hostile to God's people, he is finally vanquished.  The
final judgment takes place, and Death and Hell are cast into fire.


VII. Revelation of the New Jerusalem: xxi. i-xxii. 5.--From a
mountain-top is seen the Church, the holy city, New Jerusalem, the
Bride prepared for Jesus.  Its luminary and structure are described.
It rises on a vast rock of jewels.  The throne of God is no longer
remote from man, but in the midst of the city.  From the throne pours
the river of life through the very heart of the city.  The river is
shaded on both sides by the "tree" or wood of life, with its perpetual
variety of fruit.  This is in contrast with the one tree and its
forbidden fruit which was the means of the Fall.

_Epilogue_ (xxii. 6-21).

The attestation of the angel, the watchword of Jesus, John again
forbidden to worship the angel.  The book to remain unclosed.  The
watchword repeated.  The attestation of Jesus to Himself and the angel,
to His Bride, to the book, to His advent.

The response of John to the Lord Jesus.


[1] _H. E._ iii. 25, 39; vii. 25.

[2] The determination to deny that St. John could have believed in the
Divinity of Christ made Zeller maintain that in the Revelation Christ
is called the _Word of God_ as a mere honorary title.  Davidson
interpreted it as meaning "the highest creature."  Renan tried to
extricate himself from the difficulty by saying that St. John did not
write the Revelation, but, "having approved of it, saw it circulate
under his name without displeasure" (_L'Antichrist_, p. xli.).

[3] Harnack, _Chronologie_, vol. i. pp. 245, 246, 679.

[4] Many of the supposed wrong constructions in the Revelation are
capable of justification (Dr. Benson, _The Apocalypse_, p. 131 ff.).

[5] It is true that a different Greek word for Lamb is used in the
Revelation from that in the Gospel, but the variation can be accounted
for by the author's desire to use a word similar in form to the word
used for the Beast, who is contrasted with the Lamb.

[6] The attempt to divide a supposed Judaizing element in the book from
a more Catholic element has led to the assertion that vii. 1-8 is
inconsistent with vii. 9-17.  There is no more incongruity between
these two passages than in the statement of St. Paul in Rom. i. 16,
that the gospel is a power unto salvation "to the Jew _first_, and also
to the Greek."




The following table will illustrate the points of agreement arrived at
by the more prominent Rationalist critics of the last sixty years:--

              THE GOSPEL.    1 JOHN.     2 AND 3 JOHN.    REVELATION.

  F. C. Baur, By a forger,   By a        By a             By St.
  1847.       170 A.D.       second      third            John.
                             forger.     forger.

  Th. Keim,   By the same forger,        ----             Not by
  1867.       100-117 A.D.                                St. John.

  A. Hilgen-  By a forger,   All by a second forger,      By St. John.
  feld, 1875. 120-140 A.D.   130 A.D.

  E. Renan,   By the Presbyter John and others, who       Not by St.
  1879.       pretended that they were by St. John,       John, but
              120 A.D.                                    circulated
                                                          by him.

  C. Weizsäc- By a disciple  Not by St. John nor by the   Not by
  ker, 1886.  of St. John.   author of the Gospel.        St. John.

  A. Harnack, The Gospel and Epistles all probably by     By the
  1897.       the Presbyter John, who did not pretend     Presbyter
              that they were by St. John,                 John,
              80-110 A.D.                                 96 A.D.

  A. C.       Uncertain.     By the      Uncertain.       Possibly
  McGiffert,                 author                       by the
  1897.                      of the                       Presbyter
                             Gospel.                      John.

  B. W.       By an          All by another unknown       By St.
  Bacon,      unknown        writer, A.D. 95-100 A.D.     John.
  1900.       writer,
              100-110 A.D.

  P. W.       Not by St.     By a        By a third       Possibly
  Schmiedel,  John, nor      second      forger.          by the
  1901.       by the         forger.                      Presbyter
              Presbyter.                                  John.




Papias, a Phrygian by birth, and Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, wrote
in the first half of the 2nd century a book called _Expositions of
Oracles of the Lord_.  Among the "Elders" whom Irenaeus quotes, Papias
and Polycarp alone are called "ancient" (_archaios_--_Adv. Haer._ v.
33).  This helps us to fix the date of Papias.  For Polycarp died
either in A.D. 155 or 156.  He had been a Christian for eighty-six
years, and was therefore born in A.D. 70 at the very latest.  Papias
was therefore probably born about A.D. 70.  We know from Irenaeus that
Polycarp was a disciple of St. John, and several ancient writers,
including Irenaeus, expressly assert that Papias also was a hearer of
St. John.  Eusebius (_H. E._ iii. 39) says that "in his preface" Papias
does not declare that he was an "eye-witness of the holy _apostles_."
But Eusebius in his Chronicle (_Syncell._ 655, 14) plainly says that
Papias, like Polycarp, was a "hearer" of John the Divine and Apostle.
The preface of Papias, which Eusebius transcribes, mentions John the
Presbyter.  The following is a literal translation of it:--

"But for your advantage I will not hesitate to put side by side with my
interpretations everything that in time past I learnt well from the
Elders, and remembered well, guaranteeing its truth.  For, unlike the
many, I did not take pleasure in those who say much, but in those who
teach the truth; nor in those who relate alien commandments, but in
those who relate such as were given from the Lord to the Faith, and are
derived from 'the Truth' itself.  And again, on any occasion when a
person came who had been a follower of the Elders, I would inquire
about the discourses of the Elders--what Andrew or what Peter said, or
what Philip or what Thomas or James, or what John or Matthew or any
other of the disciples of the Lord, and the things which Aristion and
John the Presbyter (Elder), the disciples of the Lord, say.  For I did
{286} not suppose that the contents of books would profit me so much as
the utterances of a living and abiding voice."

The exact meaning of this passage is disputed, but much of it is
perfectly clear.  It is plain that Papias is referring to his action at
a time long past (_pote_), probably about A.D. 100.  It is also plain
that he had no direct access at that date to the apostles about whose
sayings he inquired.  They were already dead, their speech was a thing
of the past (_eipen_).  On the other hand, Aristion and John the
Presbyter were then living, their speech was a thing of the present
(_legousin_).  They survived at the time of his inquiries, and we
cannot accept the hypothesis that Papias only meant that he inquired
what Aristion and John the Presbyter said in their books.  He recorded
what they said to his friends, and he quoted them both so freely that
Eusebius believed that Papias also wrote down words which Aristion and
John the Presbyter said in his own hearing.  But whether he heard them
or only heard about them, it is evident that he had reached manhood
before they were dead.  It is also certain that he calls them
"disciples of the Lord."  He must mean by this that they had been
personally in contact with Christ, like the apostles whom he has just
mentioned.  We therefore can only draw the conclusion that Papias
believed that these two men had known the Lord in their boyhood, and
the fact that he mentions only two such men favours this interpretation.

With regard to the other Elders, the question at once arises, Did
Papias include among those Elders the apostles whom he mentions?  If he
did _not_ include them, he means that he inquired of travellers what
they had heard from Elders who had known the apostles.  This seems
incredible; the information gained would be far inferior to that
contained in books, whereas Papias speaks of it as superior.  Moreover,
it would imply that the knowledge possessed by Papias about those who
had known the Lord was less direct than that possessed by Irenaeus!
For Irenaeus (1) knew Polycarp (2) and others, who knew St. John and
others who had seen the Lord.  Whereas, according to this theory,
Papias (1) was instructed by travellers (2), who had heard the Elders
(3) speak about the apostles.  If Papias had no better knowledge than
this, Irenaeus would not have referred to Papias with such marked
deference.  We conclude, therefore, that Papias used the word "Elders"
to denote Christians who had actually seen the Lord, including the
apostles whom he mentions.  This interpretation is {287} supported by
the fact that in the New Testament both St. Peter and St. John give
themselves this very title.

If the above views are correct, they have an important bearing on the
authenticity of St. John's Gospel.  The lifetime of Papias, like that
of Polycarp, covers the whole period of dates to which modern
Rationalists now assign that Gospel.  If it was not written by the
apostle, it is hard indeed to suppose that Papias did not know the
truth, and record it.  And it is equally hard to believe that his
statements about it would not have been copied by such men as Irenaeus,
Dionysius of Alexandria, and Eusebius.




The _Muratorian Fragment_ is part of a Latin list of the books of the
New Testament, named after Muratori, the librarian at Milan, who
published it in A.D. 1740.  The Canon of which the Fragment is a part
was probably written about A.D. 180.  It begins in the midst of a
sentence relating to St. Mark--

[Sidenote: The Gospels.]

". . . at some things, however, he was present, and has thus recorded

"The third book of the Gospel according to Luke, Luke compiled in his
own name from report, the physician whom Paul took with him after the
ascension of Christ, for a companion as devoted to the law: however he
did not himself see the Lord in the flesh, and hence begins his account
with the birth of John as he was able to trace (matters) up."

[Sidenote: The Epistles of St. John.]

"Of the fourth of the Gospels (the author is) John, one of the
disciples.  At the instance of his fellow-disciples and bishops he
said, 'Fast with me to-day for three days, and whatever shall be
revealed to each, let us relate it to one another.'  The same night it
was revealed to Andrew, one of the apostles, that John should write all
in his own name, the rest revising. . . .  And therefore, although
varying ideas may be taught in the several books of the Evangelists,
there is no difference in that which pertains to the faith of
believers, since by one Sovereign Spirit in all are declared all things
that relate to the nativity (of the Lord), His passion, resurrection,
intercourse with His disciples, and concerning His double advent, the
first in humble guise, which has taken place, the second splendid with
royal power, which is yet to be. . . .  What wonder, then, if John in
his Epistles also, speaking of his own authorship, so boldly advances
each {289} detail, saying, 'What we have seen with our eyes, and have
heard with our ears, and our hands have handled, these things we have
written unto you.'  For thus he professes himself not only an
eye-witness, but a hearer, yea, and a writer as well, of all the
wonders done by the Lord in their order."

[Sidenote: Acts.]

"But the Acts of all the Apostles are written in a single book, Luke
relates them excellently to Theophilus, confining himself to such as
fell under his own notice, as he plainly shows by the omission of all
reference either to the martyrdom of Peter or the journey of Paul from
Rome to Spain. . . ."

[Sidenote: The Epistles of St. Paul.]

"But the letters of Paul themselves make known to those who would know
both what they are, and from what place, or what occasion they were
sent.  At considerable length he wrote to the Corinthians first,
forbidding schismatic divisions, then to the Galatians (forbidding)
circumcision, and to the Romans (expounding) the general tenor of the
Scriptures, showing, however, that Christ is the essence of their
teaching; to these (Epistles) we must devote separate discussion; for
the blessed Apostle Paul himself, following the example of his
predecessor John, wrote by name to seven Churches only in this order:
First to the Corinthians, second to the Ephesians, third to the
Philippians, fourth to the Colossians, fifth to the Galatians, sixth to
the Thessalonians, seventh to the Romans.  True, he wrote twice to the
Corinthians and Thessalonians for their correction, but he shows
thereby[1] the unity of the universal Church; for John also in the
Apocalypse, though he writes to seven Churches only, yet speaks to all.
He also writes one to Philemon, one to Titus, and two to Timothy, out
of personal regard and affection, but these too are hallowed in the
respect of the Catholic Church for the arrangement of ecclesiastical
discipline.  Moreover, there is in circulation an Epistle to the
Laodiceans, another to the Alexandrians forged under the name of Paul,
looking towards the heresy of Marcion, and several others which cannot
be received into the Catholic Church; for gall should not be mixed with
honey.  However, the Epistle of Jude, and two of John the above named,
are received among Catholics.  Also the Book of Wisdom written by the
friends of Solomon in his honour."


[Sidenote: Apocalypses.]

"We receive, moreover, the Apocalypse of John and Peter only, though
some of our body will not have the latter read in the Church.  The
_Shepherd_ indeed was written quite recently in our own times in the
city of Rome by Hermas, while his brother Pius occupied the seat of
Bishop of the Church of Rome; wherefore the private reading of it is
indeed commendable, but it can never be publicly read to the people in
the Church whether among the Prophets . . . or among the Apostles."

"We receive nothing whatever of the Arsinoite, or Valentinus, or of
Mitias (?) . . . who also were the compilers of the new Book of Psalms
(?) for Marcion, together with Basilides. . . ."

[1] As symbolized by the number seven.




CLEMENT OF ROME.  Bishop of Rome.
  _Epistle to Corinthians_ . . . . . . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 95

BARNABAS.  _Epistle of_, not by the Barnabas who
  was St. Paul's companion . . . . . . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 98

DIDACHÉ.  "The Teaching of the Twelve
  Apostles," a manual of Church regulations  . . . .   c. A.D. 100

IGNATIUS.  Bishop of Antioch and Martyr.
  7 _Epistles_ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 110

POLYCARP.  Bishop of Smyrna and Martyr.
  _Epistle to Philippians_ . . . . . . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 110

PAPIAS.  Bishop of Hierapolis.  _Expositions of
  the Oracles of the Lord_ (fragments are
  preserved by Eusebius) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 130

HERMAS.  _The Shepherd_, an allegory . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 140

MARCION.  Heretic from Pontus at Rome  . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 144

JUSTIN MARTYR.  Apologist.  _1 and 2 Apologies_
  and _Dialogue with Trypho_ . . . . . . . . . . . .      A.D. 152-157

EPISTLE TO DIOGNETUS.  Anonymous defence
  of Christianity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 160

TATIAN.  Syrian Apologist, disciple of Justin
  Martyr.  _Diatessaron_, a harmony of the Gospels        A.D. 160-170

THEOPHILUS.  Apologist of Antioch.  _Ad Autolycum_     c. A.D. 180

IRENAEUS.  Bishop of Lyons.  _Against Heresies_        c. A.D. 185

[1] In the case of most of these witnesses the date here given is that
of their chief literary activity.


CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA.  Head of the Catechetical
  School.  _Paedagogus, Hypotyposes_, etc.   . . . .   c. A.D. 190

TERTULLIAN.  Of Carthage.  Apologist . . . . . . . .      A.D. 200

HIPPOLYTUS.  Presbyter at Rome.  _Refutation of
  All Heresies_ and numerous commentaries  . . . . .   c. A.D. 220

ORIGEN.  Of Alexandria.  Successor of Clement,
  great philosopher and writer . . . . . . . . . . .   c. A.D. 230

DIONYSIUS.  Bishop of Alexandria . . . . . . . . . .      A.D. 248

EUSEBIUS.  Bishop of Caesarea.  _Ecclesiastical
  History_, etc. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      A.D. 320

APHRAATES.  Syrian writer  . . . . . . . . . . . . .      A.D. 338

ATHANASIUS.  Bishop of Alexandria  . . . . . . . . .      A.D. 328-373

EPIPHANIUS.  Bishop of Salamis . . . . . . . . . . .      A.D. 380

JEROME.  Author of the revised or "Vulgate"
  Latin version of the Bible . . . . . . . . . . . .      A.D. 390




In this list are included the most useful books written in English or
translated into English.  An * is placed before those commentaries
which contain the whole Greek text of the books indicated, or which
comment much on the Greek text.

1. CANON--
   Charteris (Prof. A. H.), Canonicity, 18s.
   Sanday (Dr. W.), Inspiration, 6s. 6d. (Longmans.)
   Westcott (Bishop), History of the Canon, 10s. 6d. (Macmillan.)

2. TEXT--
   The Greek Text of the Revised Version, various prices.
      (Oxford University Press.)
   Concordance to the Greek Testament, by Moulton (W. F.)
      and Geden (A. S.), 26s.  (T. and T. Clark.)

   Lake (Prof. K.), The Text of the New Testament, 1s. net.
     Oxford Church Text Books.  (Rivingtons.)
   Nestle (E.), Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament,
     10s. 6d.  (Williams and Norgate.)

   Zahn (Prof. Th.), Introduction to the New Testament, 3 vols.,
     English Translation, 36s.  (T. and T. Clark.)
   Salmon (Prof. G.), Historical Introduction to the Books of
     the New Testament, 9s.  (Murray.)
   Godet (F.), Introduction to the New Testament.  Part I.
    The Epistles of St. Paul, 12s. 6d.  (T. and T. Clark.)

   Burkitt (Prof. F. C.), The Earliest Sources for the Life of
     Jesus, 1s. net.  (Constable.)
   Sanday (Dr. W.), Studies in the Synoptic Problem, 12s. 6d.
     (Oxford Clarendon Press.)
   Wright (Dr. A.), *A Synopsis of the Gospels in Greek, 10s.
   Campbell (Dr.  Colin), *The First Three Gospels in Greek,
     5s.  (Williams and Norgate.)


   Hawkins (Sir J. C.), *Horae Synopticae, 7s. 6d.
     (Oxford Clarendon Press.)
   Rushbrooke (W. G.), *Synopticon, 35s.  (Macmillan.)
   Westcott (Bishop), Introduction to the Study of the Gospels,
     10s. 6d.  (Macmillan.)
   Stanton (Dr. V. H.), The Gospels as Historical Documents,
     Part I. 7s. 6d., Part II. 10s.  (Cambridge University Press.)

   _St. Matthew._--Godet (F.), The Collection of the Four
     Gospels and the Gospel of St. Matthew, 6s.  (T. and T. Clark.)
     Allen (Ven. W. C.), *Commentary, 12s.  (T. and T. Clark.)
     Plummer (Dr. A.), *Exegetical Commentary on the
       Gospel according to St. Matthew, 12s.  (Elliot Stock.)
     Carr (A.), "The Gospel according to St. Matthew, 4s. 6d.
       (Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges.)

   _St. Mark._--Swete (Prof. H. B.), *Greek Text with Notes,
       15s.  (Macmillan.)
     Maclear (G. F.), *The Gospel according to St. Mark,
       4s. 6d.  (Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and

   _St. Luke._--Plummer (Dr. A.), *Commentary, 12s.
       (T. and T. Clark.)

   _St. John._--Godet (F.), Commentary, 3 vols., 31s. 6d.
       (T. and T. Clark.)
     Westcott (Bishop), Commentary, 10s. 6d.  (Murray.)
     Lightfoot (Bishop), Biblical Essays, 12s.  (Macmillan.
     Sanday (Dr. W.), The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel,
       7s. 6d.  (Longmans.)

   _Acts._--Knowling (Dr. R. J.), in *Expositor's Greek Testament,
       vol. ii., 28s.  (Hodder and Stoughton.)
     Rackham (R. B.), 12s. 6d.  (Methuen.)
     Ramsay (Prof. W. M.), The Church in the Roman
       Empire, 12s.  (Hodder and Stoughton.)
     Ramsay (Prof. W. M.), St. Paul the Traveller and the
       Roman Citizen, 10s. 6d.  (Hodder and Stoughton.)

   _Romans._--Sanday (Dr. W.) and Headlam (A. C.),
     *Commentary, 12s.  (T. and T. Clark.)
       Liddon (Dr. H. P.), *Analysis, 14s.  (Longmans.)
       Gore (Bishop), Exposition, 2 vols., 3s. 6d. each.  (Murray.)


   _1 Corinthians._--Goudge (H. L.), in Westminster
       Commentaries, 6s.  (Methuen.)
     Findlay (G. G.), in *Expositor's Greek Testament, vol.  ii.

   _2 Corinthians._--Meyer's *Critical Commentary on the New
       Testament, 1 and 2 Cor., in 2 vols., 10s. 6d. each.
       (T. and T. Clark.)

   _Galatians._--Lightfoot (Bishop), *Text with Introduction,
       12s.  (Macmillan.)
     Ramsay (Prof. W. M.), Historical Commentary, 12s.
       (Hodder and Stoughton.)

   _Ephesians._--Abbott (T. K.), *Commentary on Ephesians
       and Colossians, 10s. 6d.  (T. and T. Clark.)
     Robinson (Dr. J. Armitage), *St. Paul's Epistle to the
       Ephesians, 12s.  (Macmillan.)
     Westcott (Bishop), *St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians,
       10s. 6d.  (Macmillan.)
     Gore (Bishop), Exposition, 3s. 6d.  (Murray.)

   _Philippians._--Lightfoot (Bishop), Text with Introduction,
       12s.  (Macmillan.)

   _Colossians and Philemon._--Lightfoot (Bishop), *Text with
       Introduction, 12s.  (Macmillan.)

   _1 and 2 Thessalonians._--Milligan (Dr. G.), *Commentary, 12s.
     Ellicott (Bishop), *Commentary, 7s. 6d.  (Longmans.)

   _1 and 2 Timothy, Titus._--Bernard (Dr. J. H.), *Cambridge
       Greek Testament, 3s. 6d.  (Cambridge University Press.)

   _Hebrews._--Westcott (Bishop), *Greek Text with Notes.
       14s.  (Macmillan.)
     Davidson (Prof. A. B.), Handbook, 2s. 6d.
       (T. and T. Clark.)

   _St. James._--Mayor (Dr. J. B.), *Greek Text with Notes., 12s.
     Carr (A.), *The General Epistle of St. James, 2s. 6d.
       (Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges.)

   _1 and 2 St. Peter, St. Jude._--Bigg (Dr. C.), *Commentary,
       10s. 6d.  (T. and T. Clark.)
     Mayor (Dr. J. B.), *The Epistle of St. Jude and the
       Second Epistle of St. Peter, 14s.  (Macmillan.)

   _1, 2, 3 St. John._--Westcott (Bishop), *Greek Text with
       Notes, 12s. 6d.  (Macmillan.)


   _Revelation._--Ramsay (Prof. W. M.), Letters to the Seven
       Churches, 12s.  (Hodder and Stoughton.)
     Simcox (W. H.), *The Revelation of St. John the
       Divine, 5s.  (Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools
       and Colleges.)
     Milligan (Prof. W.), Lectures on the Apocalypse, 5s.
     Swete (Prof. H. B.), *The Apocalypse of St. John, 15s.



  Acts, Book of, 102
  Agapé, or Love-feast, 139, 269
  Alexandria, St. Mark at, 50; philosophy of, 95
  Alogi, rejected St. John's writings, 82
  Antichrist, in 2 Thess., 131; in 1 John, 255
  Antilegomena, or disputed books, 222, 271
  Antioch, in Syria, collision between SS. Peter and Paul at, 121, 157
  Antioch, Pisidian, 152
  Apocalypse.  _See_ Revelation
  Apocalyptic teaching, in St. Matt., 38; in 2 Thess., 131;
    general nature of, 276
  Apollos, his partisans at Corinth, 135, 137; supposed author of
    Hebrews, 211
  Aramaic language, 1; original of St. Matt., 34
  Aristion (author of St. Mark xvi. 9-20), 63, 285

  "Babylon" in N. T., 242, 279
  Balaamites, 266
  Baptism, St. Paul's doctrine of, 164, 175, 205; for the dead, 140
  Barnabas, St., author (?) of Hebrews, 211
  Barnabas, so-called Epistle of, 14
  Baur, F. C., his misrepresentation of the apostles, 111, 121;
    what Epistles accepted by, 133; repudiation of Rom. xv., xvi.,
    158; of Colossians, 171; of Ephesians, 182; of Philippians, 188
  Beast in Revelation, 276, 281
  Bousset, W., denies St. John's residence at Ephesus, 257
  Brethren of our Lord, 224

  Calvinistic doctrine of predestination, not Pauline, 166
  Canon, formation of, 2, 220
  Catholic Epp., 219; gradual insertion in Canon, 3, 221
  Census in St. Luke, 79
  Christology, or doctrine about Christ's Person, in St. Matt., 40;
    in St. Mark, 54, 56; in St. Luke, 71; in St. John, human side of,
    31, divine side of, 82, 95; in Acts, 109; of St. Paul, 123, 146,
    174, 185, 192
  Church, doctrine of, in St. Matt., 44; in St. Paul, 185
  Clement, St., of Rome, quotes Synoptic narrative, 14; quotes
    the Epistles, 133, 235
  Clement of Alexandria, on date of St. Mark, 52; on 2 Peter, 248
  Colossians, Ep. to, 170; heresy of, 173
  Corinthians, Epp. to, 133, 143; first lost Ep. to, 135; second
    lost Ep. to, 145; factions among, 137; doctrine of resurrection
    in Epp., 140, 146

  Date of N. T. books, p. x.; of Christ's nativity, 78
  Date of Christ's death, 28; St. John supported by St. Luke as to,
    30; and by St. Paul, 142
  Davidson, S., on I John, 256; on Christology of Revelation, 272
  "Diaspora," or Dispersion, 229, 241
  Diatessaron of Tatian, 11
  Dionysius of Alexandria on Revelation, 271
  Diotrephes, 264
  Disputed books, 222, 271
  Docetic heresy, 197, 259, 262
  Domitian, his treatment of Christians, 265, 276

  Ebionites, their Gospel, 34; St. Luke not influenced by, 72
  Enoch, Book of, 249, 268, 276
  Epaphroditus or Epaphras, 171, 191
  Ephesians, Ep. to, 180
  Ephesus, St. John at, 81, 257
  Epiphanius on Gospel of the Hebrews, 34
  Eschatology, in St. Matt., 38; in St. Mark, 58; in St. Luke, 67;
    in St. John, 97; in St. Paul, 121, 131, 146
  Essenes, sect of, possible influence at Rome, 167; at Colossae, 173
  Eucharist, in St. Luke, 70; in 1 Cor., 139
  Eusebius, on Hebrews, 209; on Catholic Epp., 222; on 2 Peter, 248;
    on Revelation, 271

  Faith, St. Paul's doctrine of, 154, 164; in Hebrews, 211; in
    St. James, 231; in St. Jude, 266
  Feasts, Jewish, in St. John, 98
  Felix, Antonius, procurator of Judaea, 115
  Festus, Porcius, procurator of Judaea, 115
  Florinus, letter of Irenaeus to, 87

  Galatia, North or South (?), 151
  Galatians, Ep. to, 150
  Gallic, 134
  Gieseler, J. K. L., on the Synoptic problem, 21
  Gnosticism, supposed influence on Ep. to Philippians, 188; rebuked
    in Pastoral Epp., 197; in 2 Peter and Jude, 251, 266
  Godet, F., writings of, 293, 294
  Gospels, the four, 9, St. Matt., 33; St. Mark, 49; St. Luke, 64;
    St. John, 80

  Harnack, A., on St. John, 93, Appendix A; on the apostles'
    doctrine, 111; on Revelation, 272
  Hebrews, Apocryphal Gospel of, 35
  Hebrews, Ep. to, 208; its connection with Philo, 211
  Hegesippus, on St. James, 225, 229; on St. Jude's grandsons, 265
  Heresies in N. T. times, 120, 137, 153, 172, 197, 251, 258, 266
  Herod the Great, 79
  Herod Agrippa I., 114
  Herod Agrippa II., 115, 190
  Hilgenfeld, A., on St. John's writings, Appendix A

  Idols, eating meat offered to, 139
  Ignatius, St., relation to St. Matt., 14; to St. John, 14, 85;
    heresy rebuked by, 197, 259
  Irenaeus, St., on Canon of the Gospels, 11; on St. Luke, 64;
    on St. John, 84, 87; on Catholic Epp., 222

  James, St., Ep. of, 223
  Jerome, St., author of the Vulgate, 5; on the Hebrew of St. Matt.,
    34; on 2 John, 262
  Jewish Christianity, 34, 120, 137, 153, 172
  John the Presbyter, not the author of the fourth Gospel, 83;
    Papias on, Appendix B
  John, St., Gospel of, 15, 27, 80; relation to Synoptists, 27; does
    not quote them, 32; Epistles of, 255; Revelation of, 270;
    rationalist criticism of his writings, 83, Appendix A
  John, St., the Baptist, his infancy and ministry, 76; interest
    shown in, 115
  Josephus, on St. James, 229; not quoted in 2 Peter, 246
  Jude, St., Ep. of, 249, 265
  Judgment, the, in St. Matt., 38; in St. John, 97, 258, 282
  Jülicher, A., on St. John, 83
  Justification, in St. Luke, 71; in St. Paul, 157, 163;
    in St. James, 231
  Justin Martyr, used our four Gospels, 12; ascribes Revelation
    to St. John, 270

  Keim, Th., on St. John's writings, Appendix A
  Kingdom of God in St. Matt., 44

  Laodiceans, Ep. to, identical with "Ephesians," 176, 182
  Latinisms in St. Mark, 54
  Law, teaching of Christ on, 44, of St. Paul on, 154, 163, of
    Hebrews on, 216
  Linus, ? Bishop of Rome, 205
  _Logia_, meaning of the word, 13; early books of, 24, 34
  Logos, doctrine of, in St. John, 95
  Luke, St., Gospel of, 64; its dependence on St. Mark, 16;
    Acts written by, 65, 102
  Lycus valley, Churches of, 123, 171, 182

  Magi and the star, 78
  Marcion, Canon of, 13; Gospel of, 66; why he repudiated 1 and 2
    Tim. and Titus, 196
  Mark, St., Gospel of, 49; its dependence on St. Peter, 51, 54
  Marriage and celibacy, St. Paul's teaching on, 138, 187
  Matthew, St., Gospel of, 33; its dependence on St. Mark, 16,
    36; some primitive features in, 22; numerical arrangement in, 25
  Ministers of the Church, in Acts, 111; in Ephesians, 186; in
    Pastoral Epistles, 198; in 3 John, 264
  _Muratorian Fragment_, Appendix C

  Nazarenes, Gospel of, 34
  Nero, persecution by, 108, 124, in Revelation, 276
  Nicopolis, 204

  Onesimus of Colossae, 177
  Onesiphorus of Ephesus, 206
  Oral teaching, influence on St. Matt., 26; on St. John, 101
  Oral tradition theory of Gospels, 21, 22
  Origen, on Hebrews, 209; on Catholic Epp., 222; on 2 Peter, 248

  Papias, on the "Oracles," 13; on the Logia of St. Matt., 24, 34;
    on St. Mark, 51; on John the Presbyter, Appendix B
  Parables, the different classes of, 74
  Pastoral Epp., 195
  Paul, St., Epp. and life of, 116; Epp. questioned, 117, 125, 133,
    171, 181, 188, 195
  Peter, St., source of St. Mark's Gospel, 51, 57; "Memoirs"
    of, 50; Epistles of, 235, 246; "Apocalypse" of, 250, 290
  Philemon, Ep. to, 177
  Philippians, Ep. to, 188
  Philo, his difference from St. John, 96; his similarity to
    Hebrews, 211
  Polycarp, St., connection with St. John, 11, 86, 87, 222
  Polycrates on St. John, 81
  Prayer in St. Luke, 74

  Quirinius, P. Sulpicius, governor of Syria, 79

  Ramsay, W. M., on authenticity of Acts, 105
  Renan, E., on St. John's writings, 272, Appendix A
  Revelation, Book of the, 270
  Romans, Ep. to, 158
  Rome, attitude of, towards the Church, 108, 131, 275; religion
    at, 160; worship of, 275

  Sabatier, A., on ministry in Acts, 111
  Sanday, W., on Catholic Epp., 221; writings of, 293, 294
  Schmiedel, P. W., on Acts, 111; on St. John's writings, Appendix A
  Silvanus or Silas, not the author of Acts, 107; bearer of
    1 Peter, 243
  Sinaitic Syriac version of Gospels, 43
  Slavery, St. Paul on, 175, 178, 187
  Spirit, the Holy, doctrine of, in St. John, 97; in St. Paul, 147
  Synoptic problem, 16
  Synoptists, relation of, to St. John, 15, 27, 95

  Tatian, Diatessaron of, 11
  Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, or Didaché, 14; Johannine
    language in, 85
  Tertullian ascribes Hebrews to St. Barnabas, 211
  Theophilus of Antioch, 291
  Thessalonians, Epp. to, 125
  Timothy, Epp. to, 195
  Titus, Ep. to, 203
  Titus, Roman emperor, 276
  Tübingen School, on St. Paul's Epistles, 117; on relation of
    St. Peter to St. Paul, 121
  Tychicus of Asia, 172, 176

  Versions of the Bible, 5
  Vespasian in Revelation, 276
  Virgin birth of our Lord, 43

  "We sections" in Acts, 65, 102
  Weizsäcker, C., on St. John's writings, 83, Appendix A
  Westcott (Bishop), writings of, 294, 295
  Works, doctrine of, in St. Paul, 155, 204; in St. James, 231;
    in Revelation, 274

  Zechariah, quoted by St. Matt., 41; by St. John, 88
  Zeller, E., on Revelation, 272
  Zenas, 204

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Books of the New Testament" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.