EPISTLE - (Sl. Apostol) 1. Liturgical, A portion of the New Testament Scriptures read by the deacon or layman before the reading of the Gospel at Divine Liturgy. The book of the Epistles, or Apostle, contains the following books of the New Testament: the Acts of the Apostles, the Catholic or General epistles, and the epistles of the Apostle Paul. The Epistle book excludes only the book of Revelation. Like the Gospel, the Epistle is divided into sections with tables at the back of the book, indicating when and how they are to be read, or the book may be arranged by the pericopes (readings) appointed to be read throughout the liturgical year.
2. Biblica,l One of the twenty-one books of the New Testament written in the form of letters to individuals or churches. These are called General Epistles. There are fourteen Epistles by St. Paul, three by St. John, two by St. Peter, one by St. James and one by St. Jude.