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Getting to Know the Bible: 1 John Overview

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.

Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on 1 John. But before we get to 1 John 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of 1 John. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.

And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of 1 John, as we prepare to behold and discern 1 John, beginning with 1 John 1 in our next installment of this series.

Book Type: General letter, also called a catholic epistle; 23rd book of the New Testament

Authors: Apostle John

Date of Writing: ~A.D. 80–95

Audience: Christians, likely throughout Asia Minor (Modern-day Turkey)

Theme: Fellowship; Warning; Instruction

Original Language: Greek

Genre: Letter

Purpose of Writing: John wrote this letter with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teachers (2:26 and note) and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation (5:13 and note). In keeping with his intention to combat Gnostic teachers, John specifically struck at their total lack of morality (3:8-10); and by giving eyewitness testimony to the incarnation, he sought to confirm his readers' belief in the incarnate Christ (1:3). Success in this would give the writer joy (1:4).

Summary: This apostolic letter speaks authoritatively about the truth of the incarnation-a message his doubting readers needed after hearing false teachers deny the full divinity and humanity of Christ. It reaffirms the core of Christianity, saying that either we exhibit the sound doctrine, obedience, and love that characterize all Christians, or else we are not true Christians. When all the basics of faith are in operation, we not only know joy but can live a holy life and be assured of salvation (3:19, 24)-even though we are still far from perfect (1:9). This assurance comes especially as we find ourselves learning to love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ (4:7-8). This general letter to congregations across Asia Minor (now Turkey) was probably written by the apostle John in the late first century A.D.

Overview: The focus of 1 John is fellowship, which stands against false teachings and stands firm in the faith. This fellowship is both with one another (John and his audience) and with God through both the Father and through Christ (1 John 1:1–3).

Chapter 1 includes an introduction to the letter (1 John 1:1–4) followed by two conditions for Christian fellowship. First, fellowship requires a specific focus or standard: Jesus Christ (1 John 1:5–7). Second, fellowship includes the confession of sin (1 John 1:8–10).

Chapter 2 continues this focus on fellowship. This includes following Christ as our advocate (1 John 2:1–6). In addition, believers are called to follow the commandment to love one another (1 John 2:7–14). Third, believers are not to love the world (1 John 2:15–17). Fourth, believers are warned against teachings of antichrists, or false teachers (1 John 2:18–27). Fifth, believers are called to remember their position as children of God (1 John 2:28–29).

Chapter 3 further discusses the importance of being and living as children of God (1 John 3:1–10). A major requirement for the child of God is to love one another (1 John 3:11–24).

Chapter 4 teaches believers to test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1–6). God loves us and “God is love” (1 John 4:7–21), leading believers to love one another.

Chapter 5 emphasizes the believer’s ability to overcome the world (1 John 5:1–5) through the power of Christ. John gives testimony regarding Jesus as the Son of God (5:6–12). Believers can know they have eternal life (1 John 5:13–21).

Application: As believers, we should fellowship with one another in joy & love. This is possible because of our intimate relationship with Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ).

Key Verses (ESV):

1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 3:6: No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

1 John 4:4: Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

1 John 5:13: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

*Note: First John is one of five New Testament books written by the apostle John. The others are the Gospel of John, 2 John, 3 John, and the book of Revelation. This is the first of his three letters in the New Testament.

John warns against false teachers throughout this entire writing. John also develops themes of fellowship, Christ-like love, forgiveness of sins, and assurance of salvation. It has been suggested that John’s audience was already well aware of the basics of the gospel message, since these are not included in this letter. Instead, John focuses on specific needs related to the congregation.

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.

Love you much.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!

-Humble Servant

P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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