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Highlights for the Reading of the Bible: 1 – 2 Peter, 1 – 2 – 3 John, Jude, Revelation

Highlights for the Reading of the Bible: 1 – 2 Peter, 1 – 2 – 3 John, Jude


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TABLE OF CONTENTS


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF 1 Peter


Click to hear the reading of the Bible in JW.org

1 Peter


1 Peter

*** si pp. 252-253 Bible Book Number 60—1 Peter ***

CONTENTS OF FIRST PETER

6 The new birth to a living hope through Christ (1:1-25). At the outset Peter directs his readers’ attention to the “new birth to a living hope” and the unfading inheritance reserved for them in the heavens. This is according to God’s mercy through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Therefore “the ones chosen” are greatly rejoicing, though grieved by various trials, so that the tested quality of their faith “may be found a cause for praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The prophets of old, and even angels, have inquired concerning this salvation. Hence, the chosen ones should brace up their minds for activity and set their hope on this undeserved kindness, becoming holy in all their conduct. Is this not proper in view of their being delivered, not with corruptible things, but “with precious blood, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, even Christ’s”? Their “new birth” is through the word of the living and enduring God, Jehovah, which endures forever and which has been declared to them as good news.—1:1, 3, 7, 19, 23.
7 Maintaining fine conduct among the nations (2:1–3:22). As living stones, Christians are built up a spiritual house, offering up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, the foundation cornerstone, who became a stone of stumbling to the disobedient. Those exercising faith have become ‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation, to declare abroad the excellencies of the one that called them out of darkness into his wonderful light.’ As temporary residents among the nations, let them abstain from fleshly desires and maintain fine conduct. Let them be subject to “every human creation,” whether to a king or to his governors. Yes, let them “honor men of all sorts, have love for the whole association of brothers, be in fear of God, have honor for the king.” Likewise, let servants be in subjection to their owners, with a good conscience, bearing up under unjust suffering. Even Christ, though sinless, submitted to reviling and suffering, leaving “a model” so that his steps could be followed closely.—2:9, 13, 17, 21.
8 Subjection applies also to wives, who through chaste conduct together with deep respect may even win over unbelieving husbands without a word. Their concern should not be external adornment. It should be as it was with the obedient Sarah, “the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God.” Husbands should honor wives as ‘weaker vessels’ and as “heirs with them of the undeserved favor of life.” All Christians should show brotherly love. “He that would love life . . . , let him turn away from what is bad and do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones.” Rather than fear men, they should always be ready to make a defense of their hope. It is better to suffer for doing good, if it is God’s will, than for doing evil. “Why, even Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit.” Noah’s faith, expressed in the constructing of the ark, resulted in preservation for himself and his family. In a corresponding way, those who, on the basis of faith in the resurrected Christ, dedicate themselves to God, get baptized in symbol of that faith, and continue to do God’s will are saved and are granted a good conscience by God.—3:4, 7, 10-12, 18.
9 Rejoicing in doing God’s will as a Christian, despite suffering (4:1–5:14). Christians should have the same mental disposition as Christ, living only to do God’s will and no longer that of the nations, even though the nations speak of them abusively for not continuing to run with them “to the same low sink of debauchery.” Since the end of all things has drawn close, they should be sound in mind, be prayerful, and have intense love for one another, doing all things that God may be glorified. As trials burn among them, they should not be puzzled, but they should rejoice as sharers in the sufferings of the Christ. However, let no one suffer as an evildoer. Since judgment starts at the house of God, “let those who are suffering in harmony with the will of God keep on commending their souls to a faithful Creator while they are doing good.”—4:4, 19.
10 The older men should shepherd the flock of God willingly, yes, eagerly. Being examples to the flock will assure them of the unfadable crown of glory at the manifestation of the Chief Shepherd. Let younger men be in subjection to the older men, all having lowliness of mind, “because God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.” Let them be solid in the faith and watchful of that “roaring lion,” the Devil. Again, powerful words of assurance ring out as Peter concludes his exhortation: “But, after you have suffered a little while, the God of all undeserved kindness, who called you to his everlasting glory in union with Christ, will himself finish your training, he will make you firm, he will make you strong. To him be the might forever. Amen.”—5:5, 8, 10, 11.

*** it-2 p. 622 Peter, Letters of ***

[Box on page 622]

HIGHLIGHTS OF FIRST PETER

A letter encouraging Christians to be vigilant and to endure faithfully despite trials
Written in Babylon by the apostle Peter using Silvanus as a secretary, about 62-64 C.E.
Christians should act in a manner worthy of their wonderful hope
“The ones chosen” have been given a living hope, an incorruptible inheritance in heaven (1:1-5)
They have faith in Jesus Christ for the salvation of their souls—something that the prophets of old and even the angels were intensely interested in (1:8-12)
Hence, they should brace up their minds for activity; they should shun their former desires, be holy, and conduct themselves with godly fear and brotherly love (1:13-25)
They must form a longing for the ‘milk of the word’ in order to grow to salvation (2:1-3)
They are a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, built on the foundation of Christ; they must therefore offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (2:4-8)
As a people for special possession, they declare abroad the excellencies of their God and conduct themselves in a manner that honors him (2:9-12)
Relationships with fellow humans should be based on godly principles
Be submissive to human rulers; love the brothers; fear God (2:13-17)
House servants must be in subjection to their masters even when these are unreasonable; Jesus set a good example of patient endurance of evil (2:18-25)
Wives should be subject to their husbands; if the husband is an unbeliever, the wife’s fine conduct might win him over (3:1-6)
Husbands are to assign honor to their wives “as to a weaker vessel” (3:7)
All Christians should show fellow feeling toward others, not repaying injury for injury, but pursuing peace (3:8-12)
The end of all things has drawn close, so Christians should be sound in mind and vigilant with a view to prayers, should have intense love for one another and use their gifts to honor God (4:7-11)
Elders should be eager to shepherd the flock of God; young men must remain in subjection to older men; all should manifest lowliness of mind (5:1-5)
Faithful endurance of suffering results in blessings
Christians can rejoice even under grievous trials, since the quality of their faith will be made manifest (1:6, 7)
They should not suffer because of wrongdoing; if they suffer for righteousness’ sake, they should glorify God and not feel shame; it is a time of judgment (3:13-17; 4:15-19)
Christ suffered and died in the flesh to lead us to God; hence, we no longer live according to fleshly desires—even if fleshly people abuse us because we are different (3:18–4:6)
If a Christian endures trials faithfully, he will share in great rejoicing at Jesus’ revelation as well as be assured that he has God’s spirit right now (4:12-14)
Let each one humble himself under God’s hand and throw his anxiety upon Him; let him take his stand against Satan, with confidence that God himself will make His servants strong (5:6-10)


*** w91 3/15 p. 30 Remain Solid in the Faith! ***

Remain Solid in the Faith!

Highlights From First Peter

JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES face various trials, or tests of their faith. In some lands, their Kingdom-preaching work is done in the face of great persecution. Behind these and other efforts to destroy their relationship with God is Satan the Devil. But he will not succeed, for Jehovah makes his servants firm—yes, solid in the faith.
The apostle Peter was privileged to ‘strengthen his brothers’ who were being “grieved by various trials.” (Luke 22:32; 1 Peter 1:6, 7) He did so in his first letter, written about 62-64 C.E. from Babylon. In it Peter counseled, comforted, and encouraged Jewish and Gentile Christians, helping them to withstand Satan’s assaults and remain “solid in the faith.” (1 Peter 1:1, 2; 5:8, 9) Now that the Devil’s time is short and his attacks so vicious, surely Jehovah’s people can benefit from Peter’s inspired words.

Conduct Based on Godly Principles

Whether our hope is heavenly or earthly, it should help us to endure trials and act in a godly way. (1:1–2:12) The hope of a heavenly inheritance causes anointed ones to rejoice in the face of trials, which actually refine their faith. As a spiritual house built on the foundation of Christ, they offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God and conduct themselves in a fine manner that brings Him glory.
Our dealings with all fellow humans should be governed by godly principles. (2:13–3:12) Peter showed that we should be in subjection to human rulers. House servants were to be subject to their masters, and wives to their husbands. A Christian wife’s godly conduct might win her unbelieving husband over to the true faith. And a believing husband should ‘assign his wife honor as to a weaker vessel.’ All Christians should show fellow feeling, have brotherly affection, do what is good, and pursue peace.

Endurance Brings Blessings

True Christians’ faithful endurance of suffering will result in blessings. (3:13–4:19) If we suffer for righteousness’ sake, we should be happy. Moreover, since Christ suffered in the flesh to lead us to God, we should no longer live according to fleshly desires. If we endure trials faithfully, we will share in great rejoicing at Jesus’ revelation. Bearing reproach for Christ’s name, or as his disciples, should make us happy because it proves that we have Jehovah’s spirit. So as we suffer in accord with God’s will, let us commend ourselves to him and continue to do good.
As Christians, we need to discharge our duties faithfully and humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. (5:1-14) Elders must shepherd God’s flock willingly, and all of us should throw our anxiety upon Jehovah, realizing that he really cares for us. We also need to take our stand against the Devil and never become disheartened, for our brothers undergo the same sufferings we do. Always remember that Jehovah God will make us firm and will enable us to remain solid in the faith.

[Box/Picture on page 30]

Feminine Adornment: In counsel to Christian women, Peter said: “Do not let your adornment be that of the external braiding of the hair and of the putting on of gold ornaments or the wearing of outer garments, but let it be the secret person of the heart in the incorruptible apparel of the quiet and mild spirit, which is of great value in the eyes of God.” (1 Peter 3:3, 4) During the first century C.E., pagan women often had elaborate coiffures, plaiting their long hair into ostentatious designs and setting gold ornaments in the braids. Likely, many did so as a showy display—something unbecoming to Christians. (1 Timothy 2:9, 10) Yet, not all adornment is wrong, for Peter includes “the wearing of outer garments”—clearly a necessity. Jewelry was also used by God’s servants of ancient times. (Genesis 24:53; Exodus 3:22; 2 Samuel 1:24; Jeremiah 2:32; Luke 15:22) However, a Christian woman wisely avoids gaudy ornaments and sensuous attire and should be careful that any use of cosmetics is tasteful. The point of the apostolic counsel is that she should place emphasis, not on outward, but on inward adornment. To be truly attractive, she must dress modestly and have the disposition of one fearing God.—Proverbs 31:30; Micah 6:8.

*** w08 11/15 p. 21 Highlights From the Letters of James and of Peter ***

‘STAND SOLID IN THE FAITH’

(1 Pet. 1:1–5:14)
Peter reminds his fellow believers of their “living hope” of an inheritance in heaven. “You are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,’” Peter tells them. After giving specific counsel on subjection, he exhorts all to be “like-minded, showing fellow feeling, having brotherly affection, tenderly compassionate, humble in mind.”—1 Pet. 1:3, 4; 2:9; 3:8.
Since “the end of [the Jewish system of] things has drawn close,” Peter counsels the brothers to ‘be sound in mind and vigilant with a view to prayers.’ He tells them: “Keep your senses, be watchful. . . . Take your stand against [Satan], solid in the faith.”—1 Pet. 4:7; 5:8, 9.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

3:20-22—How does baptism save us? Baptism is a requirement for those seeking salvation. However, baptism itself does not save us. Salvation is actually “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” The baptismal candidate must have faith that salvation is possible only because Jesus died a sacrificial death, was resurrected, and “is at God’s right hand,” having authority over the living and the dead. Baptism founded on such faith is what corresponds to ‘eight souls being safely carried through the water.’
4:6—Who were “the dead” to whom “the good news was declared”? These were ones who were ‘dead in their trespasses and sins,’ or who were spiritually dead, before they heard the good news. (Eph. 2:1) After putting faith in the good news, though, they began to “live” spiritually.

Lessons for Us:

1:7. For our faith to have excelling value, it must be of proved, or tested, quality. Such strong faith does indeed ‘preserve alive the soul.’ (Heb. 10:39) We must not shrink back from tests of our faith.
1:10-12. Angels desired to peer into and understand the deep spiritual truths that God’s prophets of old times wrote concerning the anointed Christian congregation. However, these things became clear only when Jehovah began dealing with the congregation. (Eph. 3:10) Should we not follow the example of the angels and strive to search into “the deep things of God”?—1 Cor. 2:10.
2:21. In imitation of our Exemplar, Jesus Christ, we should be willing to suffer even to the point of death in order to uphold Jehovah’s sovereignty.
5:6, 7. When we throw our anxiety upon Jehovah, he helps us to keep giving true worship priority in our life instead of being unduly concerned about what the next day may bring.—Matt. 6:33, 34.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF 2 PETER


Click to hear the reading of the Bible in JW.org

2 Peter


2 Peter

*** si pp. 254-255 Bible Book Number 61—2 Peter ***

CONTENTS OF SECOND PETER

4 Making sure of the calling to the heavenly Kingdom (1:1-21). Peter is quick to show loving concern for “those who have obtained a faith.” He desires that undeserved kindness and peace be increased to them “by an accurate knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” God has freely given them “the precious and very grand promises,” through which they may become sharers in divine nature. Therefore, by earnest effort let them supply to their faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godly devotion, brotherly affection, and love. If these qualities overflow in them, they will never become inactive or unfruitful with regard to accurate knowledge. The brothers should do their utmost to make sure of their calling and choosing, as well as their entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of their Lord. Knowing that ‘the putting off of his tabernacle is soon to be,’ Peter is disposed to remind them of these things so that they may make mention of them after his departure. Peter was an eyewitness of Christ’s magnificence in the holy mountain when these words “were borne to him by the magnificent glory: ‘This is my son, my beloved, whom I myself have approved.’” Thus, the prophetic word is made more sure, and it should be heeded, for it is not by man’s will, “but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.”—1:1, 2, 4, 14, 17, 21.
5 Strong warning against false teachers (2:1-22). False prophets and teachers will bring in destructive sects, promote loose conduct, and bring reproach upon the truth. But their destruction is not slumbering. God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, from bringing a deluge in Noah’s day, or from reducing Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes. But he delivered the preacher Noah and righteous Lot, so “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off.” For these are daring, self-willed, like unreasoning animals, ignorant, abusive talkers, delighting in deceptive teachings, adulterous, covetous, and like Balaam in loving the reward of wrongdoing. They promise freedom but are themselves the slaves of corruption. It would have been better for them not to have known the path of righteousness, for the saying has happened to them: “The dog has returned to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire.”—2:9, 22.
6 Keeping close in mind the day of Jehovah (3:1-18). Peter is writing to arouse Christians’ clear thinking faculties, that they may remember the sayings previously spoken. Ridiculers will come in the last days, saying: “Where is this promised presence” of Christ? It escapes the notice of these men that God destroyed the world of ancient times by water and that “by the same word the heavens and the earth that are now are stored up for fire” and are “reserved to the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men.” A thousand years are with Jehovah as one day, so “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise,” but he is patient, not desiring any to be destroyed. Hence, Christians should watch their conduct and should practice deeds of godly devotion as they await and keep close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah, through which the heavens will be dissolved by fire and the elements will melt with intense heat. But there are to be “new heavens and a new earth” according to God’s promise.—3:4, 7, 9, 13.
7 Hence, they should do their utmost “to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace.” They should consider the patience of their Lord as salvation, just as the beloved Paul wrote them. With this advance knowledge, let them be on guard not to fall from their own steadfastness. “No,” concludes Peter, “but go on growing in the undeserved kindness and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”—3:14, 18.

*** it-2 p. 623 Peter, Letters of ***

[Box on page 623]

HIGHLIGHTS OF SECOND PETER

A letter encouraging Christians to exert themselves and to cling to the prophetic word; it contains powerful warnings against apostasy
Written perhaps from Babylon about 64 C.E.
Christians must exert themselves and trust in the prophetic word
God has freely given all things that concern life and godly devotion; in response Christians must exert themselves to develop faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godly devotion, brotherly affection, and love—qualities that will make them active and fruitful (1:1-15)
Christians must pay attention to the divinely inspired prophetic word; when Peter saw Jesus transfigured and heard God speak in the mountain, the prophetic word was made more sure (1:16-21)
Guard against false teachers and other corrupt persons; Jehovah’s day is coming
False teachers will infiltrate the congregation, bringing in destructive sects (2:1-3)
Jehovah is sure to judge these apostates, just as he judged the disobedient angels, the ungodly world in Noah’s day, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (2:4-10)
Such false teachers despise authority, stain the good name of Christians by excesses and immorality, entice the weak, and promise freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption (2:10-19)
These are worse off now than when they did not know about Jesus Christ (2:20-22)
Beware of ridiculers in the last days who will mock the message about Jesus’ promised presence; they forget that the God who purposes to destroy this system of things already destroyed the world before the Flood (3:1-7)
Do not confuse God’s patience with slowness—he is patient because he wants men to repent; nevertheless, this system of things will be destroyed in Jehovah’s day, and a righteous new heavens and earth will replace it (3:8-13)
Christians must do their utmost to be “spotless and unblemished and in peace”; then they will not be misled by false teachers but will grow in undeserved kindness and knowledge of Christ (3:14-18)

*** w91 3/15 p. 31 Pay Attention to God’s Prophetic Word! ***

Pay Attention to God’s Prophetic Word!

Highlights From Second Peter

JEHOVAH’S prophetic word, or message, is like a lamp shining in a dark place, and true Christians need to pay strict attention to it. That is not easy when false teachers try to promote apostasy. But it can be done with divine help. And we must steadfastly adhere to God’s word if we are to survive the rapidly approaching day of Jehovah.
The apostle Peter’s second inspired letter can help us to pay attention to God’s prophetic word. Peter wrote this epistle perhaps from Babylon in about 64 C.E. In his letter he champions God’s truth, warns fellow believers of the thieflike coming of Jehovah’s day, and helps his readers not to be led away by the error of law-defying people. Since the day of Jehovah is nearly upon us, we can benefit greatly from Peter’s inspired words.

Trust in the Prophetic Word

As Christians, we need to exert ourselves to display godly qualities and must pay attention to the prophetic word. (1:1-21) To avoid becoming inactive or unfruitful, we need to ‘supply to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godly devotion, brotherly affection, and love.’ When Peter saw Jesus transfigured and heard God speak about Christ on that occasion, the prophetic word was made more sure. (Mark 9:1-8) To that divinely inspired word we need to pay attention.

Guard Against Apostates

By paying strict attention to God’s prophetic word, we can guard against apostates and other corrupt individuals. (2:1-22) Peter warned that false teachers would infiltrate the congregation. However, Jehovah would render adverse judgment against these apostates, even as he judged the disobedient angels, the ungodly world of Noah’s day, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The false teachers despise God-given authority and entice the weak to join them in wrongdoing. It would have been better for such apostates not to have known “the path of righteousness than after knowing it accurately to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

Jehovah’s Day Is Coming!

As those paying attention to the prophetic word in these last days, we must not allow ourselves to be influenced by ridiculers who mock the message about Jesus’ presence. (3:1-18) They forget that the God who has purposed to destroy this system of things destroyed the pre-Flood world. Jehovah’s patience should not be viewed as slowness, for he wants people to repent. This system will be destroyed in “the day of Jehovah” and will be replaced by the ‘new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness is to dwell.’ Therefore, we should do our utmost to be “spotless and unblemished and in peace.” Instead of being misled by false teachers, let us grow in knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Let us take Peter’s words to heart. Never fail to be on guard against false teachers. Live with an awareness that Jehovah’s day is coming soon. And always pay attention to God’s prophetic word.

[Box/Picture on page 31]

Thrown Into Tartarus: Jehovah “did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tartarus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment.” (2 Peter 2:4) This is not the mythological Tartarus represented in Homer’s Iliad as an underground place where lesser false gods, Cronus and other Titan spirits, were imprisoned. The Biblical Tartarus is the abased, prisonlike condition into which God threw the disobedient angels in Noah’s day. (Genesis 6:1-8; 1 Peter 3:19, 20; Jude 6) “Dense darkness” results from their being cut off from spiritual light by God as outcasts from his family. As those reserved for his adverse judgment, they have only a dark outlook. Tartarus is a precursor of the abyssing that Satan and his demons will experience before the start of Christ’s Thousand Year Reign. Their destruction will occur after Jesus’ Millennial Rule.—Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10, 14.

*** w08 11/15 p. 21 - p. 22 Highlights From the Letters of James and of Peter ***

“JEHOVAH’S DAY WILL COME”

(2 Pet. 1:1–3:18)
“Prophecy was at no time brought by man’s will,” writes Peter, “but men spoke from God as they were borne along by holy spirit.” Paying attention to the prophetic word can protect us from “false teachers” and other corrupting individuals.—2 Pet. 1:21; 2:1-3.
“In the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule,” warns Peter. But “Jehovah’s day will come as a thief.” Peter closes his letter with sound advice to those ‘awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of that day.’—2 Pet. 3:3, 10-12.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

1:19—Who is the “daystar,” when does he rise, and how do we come to know that this has happened? The “daystar” is Jesus Christ in Kingdom power. (Rev. 22:16) In 1914, Jesus rose before all creation as the Messianic King, heralding the dawn of a new day. The transfiguration provided a visionary foreview of Jesus’ glory and Kingdom power, underscoring the dependability of God’s prophetic word. Paying attention to that word illuminates our hearts, and we are thus made aware that the Daystar has risen.
2:4—What is “Tartarus,” and when were the rebellious angels thrown into it? Tartarus is a prisonlike condition to which only spirit creatures—not humans—are consigned. It is a state of dense mental darkness regarding God’s bright purposes. Those in Tartarus have no hope for the future. God threw the disobedient angels into Tartarus in Noah’s day, and they will remain in that abased condition until they are destroyed.
3:17—What did Peter mean by “advance knowledge”? Peter was referring to advance knowledge, or foreknowledge, of future events, given to him and other Bible writers by inspiration. Since this was not an infinite knowledge, having it did not result in the early Christians’ knowing all the details about future events. They came to know only the general outline of what could be expected.

Lessons for Us:

1:2, 5-7. In addition to helping us increase in “accurate knowledge of God and of Jesus,” our putting forth earnest effort to cultivate such qualities as faith, endurance, and godly devotion can “cause [us] to be neither inactive nor unfruitful” regarding that knowledge.—2 Pet. 1:8, ftn.
1:12-15. To remain “firmly set in the truth,” we need constant reminders, such as those we receive through our congregation meetings, personal study, and Bible reading.
2:2. We should be careful that our conduct does not bring reproach on Jehovah and his organization.—Rom. 2:24.
2:4-9. In view of what he has done in the past, we can be certain that “Jehovah knows how to deliver people of godly devotion out of trial, but to reserve unrighteous people for the day of judgment to be cut off.”
2:10-13. While “glorious ones,” that is, Christian elders, have faults and may err at times, we must not speak abusively of them.—Heb. 13:7, 17.
3:2-4, 12. Paying close attention to “the sayings previously spoken by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior” will help us to keep in focus the nearness of Jehovah’s day.
3:11-14. As those “awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah,” we must (1) ‘be holy in conduct,’ maintaining physical, mental, moral, and spiritual cleanness; (2) abound with deeds that reflect “godly devotion,” such as those in connection with the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work; (3) keep our conduct and personality “spotless,” untainted by the world; (4) be “unblemished,” doing all things with a pure motive; and (5) be “in peace”—at peace with God, with our Christian brothers, and with fellow humans.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF 1 JOHN


Click to hear the reading of the Bible in JW.org

1 John


1 John

*** si pp. 257-258 Bible Book Number 62—1 John ***

CONTENTS OF FIRST JOHN

6 Walking in the light, not in the darkness (1:1–2:29). “We are writing these things,” says John, “that our joy may be in full measure.” Since “God is light,” only those “walking in the light” are having “a sharing with him” and with one another. These are cleansed from sin by “the blood of Jesus his Son.” On the other hand, those who “go on walking in the darkness” and who claim, “We have no sin,” are misleading themselves, and the truth is not in them. If they confess their sins, God will be faithful and forgive them.—1:4-8.
7 Jesus Christ is identified as “a propitiatory sacrifice” for sins, one who is “a helper with the Father.” He that claims to know God but does not observe His commandments is a liar. He that loves his brother remains in the light, but he that hates his brother is walking in the darkness. John strongly counsels not to love the world or the things in the world, for, he says, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Many antichrists have come, and “they went out from us,” explains John, for “they were not of our sort.” The antichrist is the one that denies that Jesus is the Christ. He denies both the Father and the Son. Let the “little children” stay with what they have learned from the beginning so as to “abide in union with the Son and in union with the Father,” according to the anointing received from him, which is true.—2:1, 2, 15, 18, 19, 24.
8 Children of God do not practice sin (3:1-24). Because of the Father’s love, they are called “children of God,” and at God’s manifestation they are to be like him and to “see him just as he is.” Sin is lawlessness, and those who are remaining in union with Christ do not practice it. The one who does carry on sin originates with the Devil, whose works the Son of God will break up. The children of God and the children of the Devil are thus evident: Those originating with God have love for one another, but those originating with the wicked one are like Cain, who hated and slew his brother. John tells the “little children” that they have come to know love because “that one surrendered his soul” for them, and he admonishes them not to ‘shut the door of tender compassions’ on their brothers. Let them “love, neither in word nor with the tongue, but in deed and truth.” To determine whether they “originate with the truth,” they must check what is in their hearts and see if they “are doing the things that are pleasing in [God’s] eyes.” They must observe his commandment to “have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and be loving one another.” Thus they will know that they are remaining in union with him, and he with them by spirit.—3:1, 2, 16-19, 22, 23.
9 Loving one another in union with God (4:1–5:21). The inspired expressions are to be tested. Those expressions that deny that Christ came in the flesh do “not originate with God” but are the antichrist’s. They originate with the world and are in union with it, but the inspired expression of truth is from God. John says: “God is love,” and “the love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.” How great the obligation, then, to love one another! Those who love others have God remain in union with them, and thus love has been made perfect that they “may have freeness of speech,” throwing fear outside. “As for us,” says John, “we love, because he first loved us.” “The one who loves God should be loving his brother also.”—4:3, 8, 10, 17, 19, 21.
10 Showing love as children of God means observing his commandments, and this results in conquering the world, through faith. Concerning those putting faith in the Son of God, God gives witness that He gave them “everlasting life, and this life is in his Son.” Thus, they may have confidence that he will hear them in whatever they ask him according to his will. All unrighteousness is sin, yet there is a sin that does not incur death. Everyone born from God does not make a practice of sin. Though “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one . . . , the Son of God has come,” and he has given his disciples the “intellectual capacity” for gaining knowledge of the true God, with whom they are now in union “by means of his Son Jesus Christ.” They must also guard themselves from idols!—5:11, 19, 20.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF FIRST JOHN

A vigorous treatise designed to safeguard Christians against apostate influences
Written by the apostle John about 98 C.E., after Revelation and not long before John’s death
Beware of falsehoods being spread about Jesus
Jesus’ having come in the flesh is confirmed by his having been heard, seen, and touched (1:1-4)
Anyone denying that Jesus is the Christ is a liar, an antichrist; anointed believers know the truth and do not need to listen to a different teaching (2:18-29)
Any inspired expression denying that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is not from God; many false prophets have gone forth (4:1-6)
Anyone denying that Jesus is God’s Son is rejecting the Father’s own testimony about his Son (5:5-12)
Christians do not lead sinful lives
If we avoid the darkness and walk in the light, Jesus’ blood cleanses us from sin (1:5-7)
If we do commit a sin, we should confess our wrong, and we will be cleansed on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice (1:8–2:2)
Christians do not practice sin; practicers of sin originate with the Devil; children of God seek righteousness and shun sin (3:1-12; 5:18, 19)
Christians are encouraged to pray for their brother if he falls into sin—as long as it is not a sin “so as to incur death” (5:16, 17)
Love for God and for fellow Christians will safeguard us
He who loves his brother is walking in the light and will not stumble (2:9-11)
To have the love of the Father, a Christian must do His will and avoid loving the world and its attractions (2:15-17)
Genuine love for the brothers shows that one has passed over from death to life; if we do not show love for our brothers by helping them when they are in need, there is no love of God in us (3:13-24)
Christians should love one another because God is love; we love Him because he loved us first; if a Christian claims to love God but hates his brother, he is a liar (4:7–5:2)

*** w91 4/15 p. 29 Keep Walking in Light and Love ***

Keep Walking in Light and Love

Highlights From First John

JEHOVAH is the Source of light and love. We must look to God for spiritual light. (Psalm 43:3) And love is among the fruits of his holy spirit.—Galatians 5:22, 23.
Light, love, and other matters are discussed in the apostle John’s first inspired letter, likely penned in or near Ephesus about 98 C.E. A major reason for writing it was to safeguard Christians from apostasy and help them to keep on walking in the light. Since we face challenges to our love, faith, and integrity to truth, consideration of this letter will surely benefit us.

‘Walk in the Light’

John made it clear that faithful Christians must walk in spiritual light. (1:1–2:29) He said: “God is light and there is no darkness at all [nothing evil, immoral, untrue, or unholy] in union with him.” Because spirit-anointed Christians ‘walk in the light,’ they have “a sharing” with God, Christ, and one another. They have also been cleansed from sin by Jesus’ blood.
Whether we are anointed Christians with a heavenly hope or we are looking forward to eternal life on earth, we will continue to benefit from Jesus’ sacrifice only if we love our brothers but not the world. We must also avoid being influenced by apostates, such as the “antichrist,” who denies both the Father and the Son. And let us never forget that life everlasting will be enjoyed only by those clinging to the truth and practicing righteousness.

Children of God Display Love

John next identified the children of God. (3:1–4:21) For one thing, they do what is righteous. They also obey Jehovah God’s commandment ‘that they have faith in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another.’
An individual having “the knowledge of God” knows about Jehovah’s purposes and how His love is expressed. This should help the person to display love. Actually, “he that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love.” Divine love was shown when God “sent forth his Son as a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.” If Jehovah loved us to that extent, we are obligated to love one another. Yes, anyone claiming to love God must also be loving his spiritual brother.

Faith ‘Conquers the World’

Love moves God’s children to observe his commandments, but it is through faith that they ‘conquer the world.’ (5:1-21) Our faith in God, his Word, and his Son enables us to ‘conquer the world’ by rejecting its wrong thinking and ways and by keeping Jehovah’s commandments. God has given ‘world conquerors’ the hope of eternal life and hears their prayers that harmonize with his will. Because anyone “born from God” does not practice sin, Satan does not fasten his hold on such a person. But both anointed ones and Jehovah’s servants with earthly hopes should remember that ‘the whole world is lying in the power of that wicked one.’

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A Propitiatory Sacrifice: Jesus “is a propitiatory sacrifice for our sins [those of his anointed followers], yet not for ours only but also for the whole world’s,” the rest of mankind. (1 John 2:2) His death was a “propitiation” (Greek, hi•la•smos′, signifying a “means of appeasing,” an “atonement”) but not in the sense of soothing hurt feelings on God’s part. Rather, the sacrifice of Jesus appeased, or satisfied, the demands of perfect divine justice. How? By providing the righteous and just basis for pardoning sin, so that God “might be righteous even when declaring righteous the [inherently sinful] man that has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26; 5:12) By furnishing the means for making complete satisfaction for man’s sins, Jesus’ sacrifice made it propitious, or favorable, for man to seek and receive restoration to right relations with Jehovah. (Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 2:17) How thankful all of us should be for this!

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KEEP WALKING IN THE LIGHT AND IN LOVE AND BY FAITH

(1 John 1:1–5:21)
Intended for the entire association of those in union with the Christ, John’s first letter provides sound counsel designed to help Christians take their stand against apostasy and remain firm for the truth and for righteousness. He stresses the need to keep walking in the light and in love and by faith.
“If we are walking in the light as [God] himself is in the light,” John writes, “we do have a sharing with one another.” And since God is the Source of love, the apostle says: “Let us continue loving one another.” While “the love of God” moves us to “observe his commandments,” we conquer the world through “our faith” in Jehovah God, his Word, and his Son.—1 John 1:7; 4:7; 5:3, 4.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

2:2; 4:10—How is Jesus “a propitiatory sacrifice”? To propitiate means to “appease,” or to “placate.” Jesus gave his life as a propitiatory sacrifice in the sense that by doing so, he appeased, or satisfied, the requirement of perfect justice. On the basis of that sacrifice, God could extend mercy, and he could pardon the sins of those who exercise faith in Jesus.—John 3:16; Rom. 6:23.
2:7, 8—What commandment is John speaking of as “old” as well as “new”? John is speaking about the commandment regarding self-sacrificing brotherly love. (John 13:34) He refers to it as “old” because Jesus gave it over 60 years before John penned his first inspired letter. Thus, the believers have had it “from the beginning” of their lives as Christians. The commandment is also “new” in that it goes beyond ‘loving one’s fellow as oneself’ and calls for self-sacrificing love.—Lev. 19:18; John 15:12, 13.
3:2—What has “not been made manifest” to anointed Christians, and whom shall they see “just as he is”? What has not been made manifest to them is what they shall be like when they are resurrected to heaven with spirit bodies. (Phil. 3:20, 21) However, what they do know is that “whenever [God] is made manifest [they] shall be like him, because [they] shall see him just as he is,” that is, “the Spirit.”—2 Cor. 3:17, 18.
5:5-8—How did water, blood, and spirit bear witness to the fact that “Jesus is the Son of God”? Water was a witness bearer because when Jesus was baptized in water, Jehovah himself expressed His approval of him as His Son. (Matt. 3:17) Jesus’ blood, or life, given as “a corresponding ransom for all,” also showed that Jesus is God’s Son. (1 Tim. 2:5, 6) And the holy spirit testified that Jesus is the Son of God when it descended upon him at his baptism, enabling him to go “through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil.”—John 1:29-34; Acts 10:38.

Lessons for Us:

2:9-11; 3:15. If a Christian allows anything or anyone to destroy his brotherly love, he is walking in spiritual darkness, not knowing where he is going.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF 2 JOHN


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2 John


2 John

*** si p. 259 Bible Book Number 63—2 John ***

CONTENTS OF SECOND JOHN

4 Love one another; reject apostates (Vss. 1-13). After expressing his love in the truth for ‘the chosen lady and her children,’ John rejoices that he has found some of them walking in the truth, as commanded by the Father. He requests that they show their love for one another by continuing to walk according to God’s commandments. For deceivers and antichrists have gone forth into the world, who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. He that pushes ahead beyond the teaching of Christ does not have God, but he that remains in this teaching “has both the Father and the Son.” Anyone that does not bring this teaching is not to be received into their homes, nor is he even to be greeted. John has many things to write them, but instead he hopes to come and speak with them face-to-face, that their joy may be “in full measure.”—Vss. 9, 12.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF SECOND JOHN

A letter addressed to “the chosen lady”—perhaps an individual or possibly a congregation
Written by the apostle John about 98 C.E.
Go on walking in the truth (vss 1-6)
John and all others who know the truth love “the chosen lady” and her children who are walking in the truth
He encourages her to continue to cultivate love
Love means “walking according to his commandments”
Be on guard against deceivers (vss 7-13)
Deceivers deny that Jesus Christ came in the flesh
Believers must avoid anyone not remaining in the teaching of Christ; they must not receive such a person into their homes or even say a greeting to him; otherwise they may become sharers in his wicked works

*** w91 4/15 p. 30 Walk as Fellow Workers in the Truth ***

Highlights From Second and Third John

KNOWLEDGE of the truth is an identifying mark of Jehovah’s worshipers. (John 8:31, 32; 17:17) Walking in divine truth is essential for salvation. And God’s servants must be fellow workers in the truth.
The apostle John’s second and third inspired letters speak of “walking in the truth.” (2 John 4; 3 John 3, 4) Third John also encourages cooperation as “fellow workers in the truth.” (3 John 5-8) Likely, both letters were penned in or near Ephesus about 98 C.E. But what they say can benefit Jehovah’s people today.

Second John Stresses Truth

Second John first emphasized truth and love and warned against “the antichrist.” (Verses 1-7) The letter was addressed to “the chosen lady,” perhaps an individual. But if it was sent to a congregation, her “children” were spirit-begotten Christians “chosen” by God for heavenly life. (Romans 8:16, 17; Philippians 3:12-14) John rejoiced that certain ones were “walking in the truth” and thus resisting apostasy. Yet, they needed to guard against “the antichrist,” who denies that Jesus came in the flesh. Jehovah’s Witnesses today heed such warnings against apostasy.
John next gave counsel on dealing with apostates and then concluded with a personal wish and greetings. (Verses 8-13) By such labors as preaching, he and others had produced fruitage resulting in the conversion of those to whom he sent his letter. Only by ‘looking out’ for themselves spiritually would they “obtain a full reward,” evidently including the heavenly “crown” reserved for faithful anointed ones. (2 Timothy 4:7, 8) If anyone ‘not remaining in the teaching of the Christ’ came to them, they should ‘never receive him into their homes nor say a greeting to him’ so as to avoid being accomplices in his “wicked works.” After expressing the hope that he would come and speak with those fellow believers face-to-face, John closed with greetings.

*** w08 12/15 p. 28 Highlights From the Letters of John and of Jude ***

KEEP “WALKING IN THE TRUTH”

(2 John 1-13)
John opens his second letter by saying: “The older man to the chosen lady and to her children.” He expresses joy at finding “certain ones of [her] children walking in the truth.”—2 John 1, 4.
After giving encouragement to cultivate love, John writes: “This is what love means, that we go on walking according to his commandments.” John also warns about “the deceiver and the antichrist.”—2 John 5-7.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

1, 13—Who is “the chosen lady”? John could be referring to an individual woman addressed as Kyria, which is Greek for “lady.” Or he may be using a figure of speech to address a particular congregation in order to confuse persecutors. If the latter was the case, her children would be the members of that congregation and “the children of [her] sister” would refer to the members of another congregation.
7—What “coming” of Jesus does John speak of here, and how are deceivers “not confessing” it? The “coming” is not Jesus’ future, invisible coming. Rather, it is his coming in the flesh and his being anointed as the Christ. (1 John 4:2) Deceivers do not confess this coming in the flesh. Perhaps they deny that Jesus ever lived or they reject that he was anointed with holy spirit.
Lessons for Us:
2, 4. Our coming to know “the truth”—the entire body of Christian teachings that has become part of the Bible—and adhering to it are essential for our salvation.—3 John 3, 4.
8-11. If we do not want to lose “undeserved kindness, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ,” as well as the loving association of fellow believers, we should “look out” for ourselves spiritually and reject those who do “not remain in the teaching of the Christ.”—2 John 3.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF 3 JOHN


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3 John


3 John

*** si pp. 260-261 Bible Book Number 64—3 John ***

CONTENTS OF THIRD JOHN

4 The apostle counsels hospitality and good works (vss. 1-14). John rejoices at hearing that Gaius is still “walking in the truth.” He commends him for doing a faithful work, that of showing loving care for visiting brothers. “We . . . are under obligation,” says John, “to receive such persons hospitably, that we may become fellow workers in the truth.” John wrote previously to the congregation, but the self-exalting Diotrephes receives nothing from John or other responsible ones with respect. John, if he comes, will call him to account for his ‘chattering with wicked words.’ The beloved Gaius is advised to “be an imitator, not of what is bad, but of what is good.” Demetrius is cited as a praiseworthy example. Rather than write of many things, John expresses the hope of soon seeing Gaius face-to-face.—Vss. 4, 8, 10, 11.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF THIRD JOHN

An inspired letter to Gaius that can benefit all Christians
Written by the apostle John around 98 C.E., about the same time as his other two letters
We are obligated to be hospitable to fellow Christians (vss 1-8)
John experienced great joy when traveling brothers reported about Gaius’ walking in the truth and about his love, evidently expressed in his receiving them hospitably
We are “fellow workers in the truth” if we show hospitality to brothers who go forth in behalf of God’s name
Be an imitator, not of bad, but of what is good (vss 9-14)
Diotrephes, liking to have the first place, refuses to accept anything from John with respect
He will not receive traveling brothers and tries to expel anyone who wants to show hospitality to them
Avoid copying what is bad; imitate what is good

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Third John Emphasizes Cooperation

Third John was directed to Gaius and first took note of what he was doing for fellow believers. (Verses 1-8) Gaius was “walking in the truth” by adhering to the entire body of Christian teachings. He was also “doing a faithful work” in assisting visiting brothers. John wrote: “We . . . are under obligation to receive such persons hospitably, that we may become fellow workers in the truth.” Jehovah’s Witnesses extend similar hospitality to traveling overseers today.
After contrasting the bad conduct of Diotrephes with that of Demetrius, John concluded his letter. (Verses 9-14) Glory-seeking Diotrephes showed no respect for John and even tried to oust from the congregation those receiving the brothers hospitably. A certain Demetrius was cited as a fine example, though. John hoped to see Gaius soon and concluded with greetings and a wish that Gaius enjoy peace.

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With Paper, Pen, and Ink: John desired to visit “the chosen lady” and her “children” instead of writing many things to them “with paper and ink.” Rather than continuing to write to Gaius “with ink and pen,” the apostle also hoped to see him soon. (2 John 1, 12; 3 John 1, 13, 14) The Greek word translated “pen” (ka′la•mos) refers to a cane or reed and can be rendered “writing-reed.” Among the Greeks and the Romans, a reed pen was pointed and slit like quill pens of later times. The Greek word me′lan, rendered “ink,” is the neuter form of the masculine adjective me′las, meaning “black.” In the oldest inks, the pigment was a carbonaceous black—either a form of soot obtained from burning oil or wood, or a crystalline charcoal from vegetable or animal sources. Usually, inks were stored as dried bars or cakes, which were moistened by the scribe and applied with his brush or reed. The paper of those days was a thin material made into sheets from strips obtained from the papyrus plant. Early Christians used such paper for letters, scrolls, and codices.

*** w08 12/15 pp. 28-29 Highlights From the Letters of John and of Jude ***

BECOME “FELLOW WORKERS IN THE TRUTH”

(3 John 1-14)
The third letter of John is addressed to his personal friend Gaius. “No greater cause for thankfulness do I have than these things,” he writes, “that I should be hearing that my children go on walking in the truth.”—3 John 4.
John commends Gaius for “doing a faithful work” in assisting visiting brothers. “We . . . are under obligation to receive such persons hospitably,” says the apostle, “that we may become fellow workers in the truth.”—3 John 5-8.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

11—Why do some engage in bad conduct? Lacking spirituality, some do not see God with their eyes of understanding. Since they cannot see him with their literal eyes, they act as if he is not seeing them.—Ezek. 9:9.
14—Who are referred to as “friends”? The term “friends” here includes more than those enjoying close relationships with one another. John uses it to refer to fellow believers in general.

Lessons for Us:

4. Spiritually mature individuals in the congregation experience great joy when they see its younger members “go on walking in the truth.” And what incomparable joy parents experience when they succeed in helping their offspring to become spiritually inclined children!
5-8. Among those who work hard in behalf of their brothers out of love for them and for Jehovah are traveling overseers, missionaries, those serving in Bethel homes or branch offices, and those in the pioneer service. Their faith is worthy of imitation, and they deserve our loving support.
9-12. We should imitate the example of faithful Demetrius and not that of chattering Diotrephes, who was a slanderer.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOOK OF JUDE


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Jude


Jude

*** si p. 262 Bible Book Number 65—Jude ***

CONTENTS OF JUDE

5 Warnings against fornication and disregard for lordship (vss. 1-16). After conveying loving greetings to “the called ones,” Jude says he intended to write “about the salvation we hold in common,” but he has now found it necessary to write them “to put up a hard fight for the faith.” Why so? Because ungodly men have slipped in, turning God’s undeserved kindness into an excuse for loose conduct. These men, says Jude, are “proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Vss. 1, 3, 4) He reminds them that though Jehovah saved a people out of Egypt, He afterward “destroyed those not showing faith.” Additionally, Jehovah has reserved “for the judgment of the great day” those angels who forsook their proper dwelling place. Likewise, the everlasting punishment on Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbor cities is a warning example as to the fate of those who ‘commit fornication excessively and go out after flesh for unnatural use.’—Vss. 5-7.
6 Now, in like manner, ungodly men “are defiling the flesh and disregarding lordship and speaking abusively of glorious ones.” Why, even Michael the archangel did not speak abusively to the Devil when disputing over Moses’ body, simply saying: “May Jehovah rebuke you.” Yet these men use abusive speech and go on corrupting themselves like unreasoning animals. They have gone in the way of Cain, Balaam, and the rebellious Korah. They are like rocks hidden below water, like waterless clouds, like fruitless trees twice-dead and uprooted, like wild waves that foam up their shame, and like stars with no set course. For these “the blackness of darkness stands reserved forever.” (Vss. 8, 9, 13) Enoch prophesied that Jehovah will execute judgment against these ungodly ones. They are murmurers and complainers, and they selfishly admire personalities.
7 Counsel on remaining in God’s love (vss. 17-25). Jude reminds the brothers of how the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ used to warn that “in the last time there will be ridiculers, proceeding according to their own desires for ungodly things.” These troublemakers are “animalistic men, not having spirituality.” The “beloved ones,” therefore, should build themselves up in the faith and keep themselves in God’s love, while they await the mercy of Christ “with everlasting life in view.” In turn, let them extend mercy and aid to those who waver. Jude closes by ascribing glory through the Lord Jesus Christ to “God our Savior,” the One who can guard them from stumbling.—Vss. 18-21, 25.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF JUDE

Concise, powerful warning against wicked ones who would infiltrate the congregation
Probably written about 65 C.E., more than 30 years after the death and resurrection of Christ
A situation calling for Christian endurance (vss 1-4)
Ungodly men have slipped into congregation and are using God’s undeserved kindness as an excuse for loose conduct
Christians must put up a hard fight for the faith
Attitudes, conduct, and people to guard against (vss 5-16)
Not to be forgotten is the fact that Israelites saved from Egypt who later lacked faith were destroyed
Angels that forsook their proper position were punished
Grossly immoral Sodom and Gomorrah suffered the judgment of everlasting fire
Despite these examples, some endeavor to bring similar practices into the congregation
Michael was not abusive, even when speaking with the Devil; but these men ‘speak abusively of glorious ones’
They are following the bad examples of Cain, Balaam, and Korah
They pose a threat comparable to rocks hidden below water; like waterless clouds and dead, uprooted trees, they produce nothing beneficial
Enoch prophesied God’s judgment against such ungodly sinners
These men are murmurers, complainers, self-centered, as well as deceptive flatterers
How Christians can resist this bad influence (vss 17-25)
Remember, the apostles foretold the presence of such men in “the last time”
Christians should stand out as different from them, building themselves up on the foundation of faith, praying with holy spirit, keeping themselves in God’s love, waiting for Jesus’ mercy to be expressed
They should also help others, showing mercy to doubters, saving them by snatching them out of the fire

Beware of Apostates!

Highlights From the Letter of Jude

JEHOVAH’S servants must “abhor what is wicked” and “cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9) The Bible writer Jude helped others to do this in his letter sent from Palestine probably about 65 C.E.
Jude called himself “a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James.” This James was evidently the well-known half brother of Jesus Christ. (Mark 6:3; Acts 15:13-21; Galatians 1:19) Jude himself was thus Jesus’ half brother. However, he may have thought it unbecoming to mention this fleshly tie, since Christ was then a glorified spirit person in heaven. Jude’s letter was very direct in giving counsel that can help us to “cling to what is good” and beware of apostates.

“Put Up a Hard Fight”

Though Jude intended to write about the salvation Christians hold in common, he found it necessary to urge his readers to “put up a hard fight for the faith.” (Verses 1-4) Why? Because ungodly men had slipped into the congregation and were ‘turning the undeserved kindness of God into an excuse for loose conduct.’ They wrongly thought that they could break God’s laws and yet stay among his people. May we never yield to such wicked reasoning but always pursue righteousness, thankful that through Jesus’ blood God mercifully washed us from our sins.—1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 John 1:7.

Warnings Set Before Us

It is necessary to guard against certain attitudes, conduct, and people. (Verses 5-16) Because some Israelites saved from Egypt lacked faith, they were destroyed. Angels that forsook their proper position have been “reserved with eternal bonds under dense [spiritual] darkness for the judgment of the great day.” Gross immorality brought “the judicial punishment of everlasting fire” upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Therefore, let us always please God and never leave “the path of life.”—Psalm 16:11.
Unlike the archangel Michael, who would not even bring a judgment against the Devil in abusive terms, the ungodly men spoke abusively of “glorious ones,” evidently those with certain glory conferred upon them by God and Christ as anointed elders. Let us not show disrespect for God-given authority!
The bad examples of Cain, Balaam, and Korah were followed by the ungodly men. They posed a spiritual threat comparable to rocks hidden below water and were like waterless clouds and dead, uprooted trees producing nothing beneficial. Those apostates were also murmurers, complainers, and ‘admirers of personalities for the sake of their own benefit.’

Keep On Resisting

Jude next gave advice on resisting bad influences. (Verses 17-25) There would be ridiculers in “the last time,” and true Christians must endure them and their taunting words today. To resist such bad influences, we should build ourselves up on our “most holy faith,” pray with holy spirit, and keep in God’s love, while waiting for Jesus’ mercy to be expressed.
Apparently in the role of false teachers, the ungodly men caused some to have doubts. (Compare 2 Peter 2:1-3.) And what did doubters need? Why, spiritual help to be snatched out of the “fire,” everlasting destruction! (Matthew 18:8, 9) But the godly need not fear that destiny, for Jehovah will protect them from “stumbling” into sin and the destruction awaiting apostates.

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Hidden Rocks: Jude warned fellow Christians about ‘rocks hidden below water in their love feasts.’ (Jude 12) Feigning love for believers, such apostates were like jagged underwater rocks that could wreck ships or rip and kill swimmers. Love feasts may have been banquets to which materially prosperous Christians invited poor fellow believers. The Church Father Chrysostom (347?–407 C.E.) said: “They all met at a common feast: the rich bringing provisions, and the poor and those who had nothing being invited, they all feasted in common together.” Whatever was the nature of the early love feasts, Jude’s warning helped the faithful to beware of apostate ‘hidden rocks’ that could bring about spiritual death. Though Christians were not commanded to hold love feasts, and they are not held today, Jehovah’s people do help one another materially in times of need and do have pleasurable fellowship.

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“KEEP YOURSELVES IN GOD’S LOVE”

(Jude 1-25)
Jude describes those infiltrating the congregation as “murmurers, complainers about their lot in life, proceeding according to their own desires.” They “speak swelling things, while they are admiring personalities.”—Jude 4, 16.
How can Christians resist bad influences? “Beloved ones,” writes Jude, “call to mind the sayings that have been previously spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He adds: “Keep yourselves in God’s love.”—Jude 17-21.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

3, 4—Why did Jude urge Christians to “put up a hard fight for the faith”? Because ‘ungodly men had slipped into the congregation.’ These men were ‘turning the undeserved kindness of God into an excuse for loose conduct.’
20, 21—How can we “keep [ourselves] in God’s love”? We can do this in three ways: (1) by building up ourselves on our “most holy faith” through diligent study of God’s Word and by having a zealous share in the preaching work; (2) by praying “with holy spirit,” or in harmony with its influence; and (3) by exercising faith in what makes everlasting life possible—the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ.—John 3:16, 36.

Lessons for Us:

5-7. Can the wicked escape Jehovah’s judgment? According to the three warning examples listed by Jude, that is impossible.
8-10. We should follow the example of Michael the archangel and show respect for divinely constituted authority.
12. Apostates feigning love are as dangerous to our faith as rocks hidden below water are to ships or swimmers. False teachers may seem to be generous, but they are like waterless clouds in that they are spiritually empty. Such ones are as fruitless as dead trees in late autumn. They face destruction, as do uprooted trees. Wise we are to shun apostates.
22, 23. True Christians hate what is bad. In an effort to save “some that have doubts” out of the fire of everlasting destruction, mature ones in the congregation—especially appointed overseers—provide them with spiritual help.


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