Letters of the New Testament….
In one of the final verses from Hebrews, we clearly see it as one of the letters of the New Testament:
Brothers, I ask you to bear with this message of encouragement, for I have written to you rather briefly. I must let you know that our brother Timothy has been set free. If he comes soon, I shall see you together with him. Greetings to all your leaders and to all the holy ones. Those from Italy send you greetings. -Hebrews 13:22-24, NAB
We often refer to the different sections of the Bible as books. For instance, we have been studying the book of Hebrews. As we read here, however, we see that many of the books in the New Testament are actually letters written to a group or individual.
Hebrews, obviously, was written to the Hebrews – the Jewish converts to Christianity. The unknown author of this letter is saying a few last words to the reader.
First, the author apologizes for the shortness of the letter (even though it is one of the longer letters included in the New Testament). Next, the author refers to St. Timothy – someone who had a close relationship with St. Paul (which is why some speculate St. Paul wrote this letter, as well). Finally, he ends by saying “hello” to the community.
The letters of the New Testament are remarkable by their very nature. They were simply one Christian passing on the faith to another, but we see them as the inspired Word of God. We can look back and see how the Holy Spirit worked through and inspired the writers of these letters.
Do you think the author would have written differently if he knew we would still be reading his words 2,000 years later? Do you think he realized the impact a single letter could have on the world for generations to come?
God can use some of our seemingly normal actions to have an extraordinary impact on the world around us. We never know when we will spark a fire that will burn for generations to come.