Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Later New Testament Epistles"


Return to Syllabus

Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible



Date: Sometime shortly before AD 70.


Theme: "This epistle describes the character, course, and end of those who depart from God. It is a letter of most solemn warning for today. Examples are given from the Old Testament of those who apostatized, who kept not their first estate, and are now kept for judgment when the Lord comes with all His saints. In contrast with such, those who keep themselves in the love of God are kept from falling, and will be presented faultless at last.

"The enemy is coming in like a flood, and in this epistle the Spirit of the Lord lifts up a standard against him, to rally the faith and courage of loyal Christian hearts."



Two outlines, both good, are offered here. The preferred outline is the second (Smeeton).


Outline 1


  1. Introduction 1-4

    1. The address 1-2

    2. The keynote 3-4

  2. An exposition of the danger 5-16

    1. The wicked are destroyed 5-7

    2. The wicked are denounced 8-11

    3. The wicked are described 12-16

  3. An exhortation to duty 17-23

    1. The biblical duty 17-19

    2. The personal duty 20-21

    3. The relative duty 22-23

      The text of verses 22-23 is one of the few uncertain texts in the NT. Because there are so few, they are conspicuous when they occur. Many translations envision three classes of people; some only two (Centenary). Probably three is the number we should list:

      1. "On some have mercy who are in doubt" (RV), or
        "And some refute, while they dispute with you" (RVM).

      2. "And some save, snatching them out of the fire";

      3. "And on some have mercy with fear; hating even.. ."

  4. Conclusion 24-25

Note: Robert L. Evans, D.D., on verses 22-23

There are three classes mentioned here:

  1. "Those who contend with us. They demand both the patience and wisdom that God alone can give us.

  2. Those who are already beginning to experience the fires of hell. We are to snatch them out of the fire with Holy Spirit boldness.

  3. Others who have been so defiled by sin that they are objects of pity. With compassion mingled with fear we should seek to reclaim them. Under the Levitical code even the garments of the leper were polluted. Those who touched even his gar­ments were made unclean, so that for seven days they were not allowed even to mingle with their own families."

Outline 2



  1. "Kept (by God) for Jesus Christ" (RV) 1-2

  2. Keep the faith! 3-4 in. "Kept unto judgment" (RV) 5-7

  3. Not keeping the faith always leads to disastrous deterioration of character, spiritually and morally 8-19 (cp. 2 Peter 2)

  4. "Keep in the love of God" so that you may be kept! 20-23

  5. Kept from stumbling! 24-25

Return to Syllabus


"Mason's Notes"

(formerly Philadelphia Biblical University, Philadelphia College of Bible.)
Copyright © 2012 to present,
All rights reserved.

Cairn University

200 Manor Avenue
Langhorne, PA 19047
United States of America
"Mason's Notes" Study materials on this website are made available here free, through the generosity of Cairn University, and may be copied for use in Bible study groups, in limited numbers, providing that no charge is made for them.  No further distribution or use of these materials is allowable under U.S. or International Copyright Law without the express permission of Cairn University.