In the New Testament, 21 of the 27 books fall into the letters genre. The majority of these letters (13) were written by Paul. Other New Testament letters were written by Peter, James, John and Jude. The purpose of the letters written by Paul and others was to reveal more truth about Jesus, the gospel, and ways church leaders and members should conduct themselves so others would see Jesus through them. New Testament letters follow patterns similar to letters one would write today. Each letter consists of an opening or greeting, a body of encouragement, and a closing statement.
Letters in the New Testament were essentially the only way to pass a message from one place to another. No cell phones, no landline phones, no telegraph, just ink and paper. As Peter said in one of his letters, the words he wrote came through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, written by men, so others would know what God wanted them to know. The letters reveal a pastor’s heart to encourage the lives of those to whom he was writing. The letters exist to help people today put into practice the advice shared to help them live out the gospel today.