The Bible as “Letter Sent by God to Humankind”: Outlining the Theological and Pastoral Merits and Demerits of the Analogy
Ernest M. Ezeogu
The word “letter” occurs 126 times in the RSV text in both the singular and plural forms.1 In the Old Testament, letters were written not only by kings and statesmen but also by prophets, such as Elijah and Jeremiah (2 Chron 21:12, Jer 29:1). In the New Testament, twenty out of the twenty-seven component
books are explicitly identified as letters. These include the thirteen letters attributed to Paul and the seven Catholic letters addressed to no one person or community in particular.2 There is no doubt that letters and letter writing feature prominently in the Bible. Nevertheless, the Bible nowhere identifies itself as a letter from God to humankind. Even the book of Revelation, with its well-known seven “letters” to the seven churches of Asia Minor, does not use the word “letter” to describe its contents.