The General Epistles include:
          I Peter
          II Peter
          I John
          II John
          III John
These letters are referred to as the General Epistles because they were not written to specific churches.  The function of the General Epistles appears to be to round out the great doctrinal teaching of the New Testament in the following manner:
* Paul sets forth the great principles of Christianity for the
* James does the same thing for the Jews.
* Peter, then, acts as a bridge between Paul and James.
* John follows that with a presentation of the univer-
   sality of Christianity.
Or, look at it another way:
* Paul can be seen as the apostle of faith.
* James, as the apostle of works.
* Peter, as the apostle of hope.
* John, as the apostle of love
* Jude as the apostle of the defense of the faith.

Peter and John were discidples of Jesus as He walked and taught during His earthly ministry.  James and Jude were actually younger half brothers of Jesus, sons of Joseph and Mary.  The Gospels actually name four half brothers of Jesus and indicate that He also had sisters (Matthew 13:55-56 and Mark 6:3).  John 7:3 tells us that His brothers did not believe that He was the promised Messiah.  In fact, earlier in John's Gospel, they had come to Capernaum with their mother to forcibly take Him back home because they believed He had gone mad.  It wasn't until after Jesus' resurrection that they came to faith - not in their half brother; but in the Messiah of Israel - God come in the flesh (Act 1:14 and I Corinthians 5:17).

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