• WordNet 3.6
    • n Epistle a book of the New Testament written in the form of a letter from an Apostle
    • n epistle a specially long, formal letter
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Epistle A writing directed or sent to a person or persons; a written communication; a letter; -- applied usually to formal, didactic, or elegant letters. "A madman's epistles are no gospels."
    • Epistle (Eccl) One of the letters in the New Testament which were addressed to their Christian brethren by Apostles. "One sees the pulpit on the epistle side ."
    • v. t Epistle To write; to communicate in a letter or by writing.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n epistle A written communication directed or sent to a person at a distance; a letter; a letter missive: used particularly in dignified discourse or in speaking of ancient writings: as, the epistles of Paul, of Pliny, or of Cicero.
    • n epistle [capitalized] In liturgics, one of the eucharistic lessons, taken, with some exceptions, from an epistolary book of the New Testament and read before the gospel. In the early church a lection from the Old Testament, called the prophecy, preceded it, and such a lection is still sometimes used instead of it. In the Greek Church the epistle (called the apostle, as also in the early church) is preceded by the prokeimenon and followed by “Peace to thee” and “Alleluia”; in the Western Church it is preceded by the collects and followed by the Deo gratias, the gradual, tract, or alleluia, with the verse or sequence. It is read in the Greek Church by the anagnost or lector at the holy doors, and in the Western Church by the subdeacon or epistler (in the Roman Catholic Church the celebrant also reciting it in a low voice) at the south side of the altar, that is, at a part of the front of the altar on the celebrant's right as he faces it. Formerly it was read from the ambo (sometimes from a separate or epistle ambo) or pulpit, or from the step of the choir. Sometimes called the lection simply.
    • n epistle Any kind of harangue or discourse; a communication.
    • epistle To write as a letter; communicate by writing or by an epistle.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Epistle e-pis′l a writing sent to one, a letter: esp. a letter to an individual or church from an apostle, as the Epistles of Paul: the extract from one of the apostolical epistles read as part of the communion service
    • v.i Epistle (Milt.) to preface
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  • Margaret Fuller
    “Essays, entitled critical, are epistles addressed to the public, through which the mind of the recluse relieves itself of its impressions.”
  • Bible
    “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. epistle, epistel, AS. epistol, pistol, L. epistola, fr. Gr. anything sent by a messenger, message, letter, fr. to send to, tell by letter or message; 'epi` upon, to + to dispatch, send; cf. OF. epistle, epistre, F. épître,. See Stall


In literature:

This epistle text is amply expounded in the "Explanation of Certain Epistles of the Apostles" printed in other volumes.
"Epistle Sermons, Vol. III" by Martin Luther
To read over the names of the poems, songs, and epistles written within such a short space of time amazes us.
"Robert Burns" by Gabriel Setoun
The question of the genuineness of the Pauline Epistles, is now far from being so clear as was once universally supposed.
"Communism and Christianism" by William Montgomery Brown
Epistles to the Churches.
"Bible Studies in the Life of Paul" by Henry T. Sell
The first Epistle he wrote was the Epistle to the Thessalonians.
"Studies in Prophecy" by Arno C. Gaebelein
The Epistle of James is admitted to be doubtful; and especially as to which of several men of this name might have written it.
"From Bondage to Liberty in Religion" by George T. Ashley
The First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians.
"Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions" by T. W. Doane
Grounsell handed him the epistle, and walked to the window.
"The Daltons, Volume II (of II) Or,Three Roads In Life" by Charles James Lever
In the Corinthian epistles we come in contact, as nowhere else, with the man Paul and his daily life.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 7, Slice 4" by Various
Magistrates "had him up" as the author of threatening letters or begging epistles.
"Davenport Dunn, Volume 2 (of 2) A Man Of Our Day" by Charles James Lever

In poetry:

The Lord reveals his face,
And smiling from above,
Sends down the gospel of his grace,
Th' epistles of his love.
"Hymn 120" by Isaac Watts
So I, in these epistles old
From men of heavenly care,
Find all the thoughts of other mould
Than I can love or share.
"The Disciple" by George MacDonald
Precious, treasured epistles of women!
Why, I also fell down from a cloud.
And eternally now and for ever
To be yours I have solemnly vowed.
"God's World" by Boris Pasternak
Long live the good School! giving out year by year
Recruits to true manhood and womanhood dear
Brave boys, modest maidens, in beauty sent forth,
The living epistles and proof of its worth!
"The Quaker Alumni" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Your Horace owns he various writ,
As wild or sober maggots bit; And where too much the poet ranted,
The sage philosopher recanted.
His grave Epistles may disprove
The wanton Odes he made to love.
"Alma; or, The Progress of the Mind. In Three Cantos. - Canto I." by Matthew Prior
O could I, like that nameless wight,
Find the choice minute when to write,
The mollia tempora fandi!
Like his my muse should learn to whistle
A true Heroical Epistle,
In strains which never can die.
"Ode To Dragon" by Hannah More

In news:

While confined in Liberty Jail, Joseph Smith wrote an epistle to the Church, portions of which are now recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 121-123.
Epistle by Chicago pastor a must-read.
Chicago black preacher's epistle on gay marriage is a must-read.
But as seen below, Gallegos was a minor player in crafting the epistle.
Way back on the Epistle side of the sanctuary in the very last pew is where you'll find the Johnsons every Sunday.
And so large a proportion of "Atlantic" readers either might, would, could, or should be "Atlantic" contributors also, that this epistle will be sure of perusal, though Mrs Stowe remain uncut and the Autocrat go for an hour without readers.
Thus was it so when I read his most recent epistle, Give me Liberty or give me.
Right after the reading of the Epistle, the celebrant would sing this Alleluia three times, elevating his voice for the second and third times, with the choir responding.
He became a missionary and authored 14 epistles in the New Testament.
Deep-six any lengthy epistles or outpourings of love to or from an ex on Facebook, our Netiquette columnists say.
This $10,000 prize-winning novel is an epistle to the Jews who are poor in spirit.