Scriptures

Complete Study Of 1 John

Introduction

John’s first letter deals with many subjects, but the main one is the identity of Jesus. Throughout the first century, the church had many problems with false teachers and deceivers all of whom were teaching their own ideas, encouraged people to follow them and as a result, they caused division within the church, but more dangerously, they drew people away from the truth.

Author

Most scholars and commentators attribute the author to John himself, the beloved disciple of Jesus. There are also many similarities between this letter and the Gospel of John, which certainly suggest that John is the author, John 14:15 / John 14:21 / John 15:10 / John 15:14.

There is also external evidence John is the author, Polycarp, a close associate of John, appears to refer to this letter at the beginning of the second century, in a letter to the Philippians. Irenaeus, a student of Polycarp, quoted from it and attributed it to John.

The Recipients

John doesn’t appear to be writing to anyone specifically, but it has been suggested that he may have been in Ephesus at the time and that his letter might be a general letter to the Christians throughout Asia Minor.

Others suggest that John may have been addressing a particular group of Christians possessing certain spiritual gifts, 1 John 2:20 / 1 John 2:27.

The Purpose Of The Letter

John himself tells us why he wrote the letter.
1. He wrote it ‘to make their joy complete.’ 1 John 1:4.
2. He wrote it ‘so that they will not sin’, 1 John 2:1.
3. He wrote it ‘that they continue to believe in the name of the Son of God’. 1 John 5:13.
4. He wrote it ‘so that they may know they have eternal life.’ 1 John 5:13.
5. He wrote it because certain people were ‘trying to lead them astray’. 1 John 2:26.

The main problem John was dealing with was Gnosticism, and those who follow this teaching are called Gnostics. They claimed to have superior knowledge, hence the Greek word for knowledge is ‘gnosis’.

They believed that all matter was evil, therefore God didn’t create or have anything to do with the material universe. They also believed that Christ couldn’t have come in the flesh, 1 John 4:1-3.

A splinter group from the Gnostics were called Docetism, and they believed that Jesus only ‘seemed’ to be physical, in other words, they believed that Jesus was a ghost, 1 John 1:1.

Cerinthus taught that ‘Jesus’ was physical, but that the ‘Christ’ came upon him at his baptism, and left before His death, so that the ‘Christ-spirit’ never suffered, 1 John 5:6.

Their application to everyday living took two different directions because they believed that all matter was thought to be evil. Some thought everyone should abstain altogether from anything that would satisfy the flesh and others claimed it didn’t matter what anyone did in the flesh, because it was evil anyway, and to have full knowledge, it was proper to explore everything.

Date

Some commentaries suggest that John’s first letter was written anywhere between 60 A.D. to 100 A.D. Most commentators place the date of writing to around 95 A.D., but there are also good reasons for believing it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Theme

John appears to be dealing with one theme in particular and that is, the eternal nature of Jesus the Christ. He asserts the incarnate Son of God so that his readers be reassured that Jesus is who He claimed to be, 1 John 1:3, and so, John encourages them to continue in fellowship with God in their belief that Jesus was the Christ, 1 John 5:13.

Outline

Our fellowship with God. 1 John 1:1-10
A new commandment. 1 John 2:1-17
A warning against Antichrist and evil. 1 John 2:18-29
Christian conduct. 1 John 3:1-24
False teachers. 1 John 4:7-21
The love of God. 1 John 4:7-21
Faith is the victory. 1 John 5:1-21

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Complete Study Of 1 John  

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

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