What is 1 John?

rootedchristOver the next few weeks of summer, we are going to be looking at 1 John together as a church and as a family.  1 John is a beautiful and important book of the bible.  In fact, this week as we look at chapter 1 together, we’ll see one of the most awesome expressions of God’s forgiveness in all scripture 1 John 1:8-10.  We’ll get there this week, but this passage alone makes 1 John something worth reading and understanding.

1 John was written by the author of the Gospel of John, the Apostle John.  Many phrases and Greeks words that are found within it that identical to the Gospel of John.  Most scholars believe that this letter was written sometime after the Gospel, so probably around 85 AD.  Unlike Paul’s letters, this letter was not written to any group or church in particular but was what is called a “Catholic” letter.  This letter was written for Christians all around an area and was probably what was also called a “circular” letter.  It most likely would have been passed around and taken from church to church in a “circular” fashion.  This letter was not written to address specific questions or issues but was instead intended to answer more general issues of theology and Christian practice.

John spends time in the letter talking about false teachers, true doctrine, and encouraging believers in their lives and their salvation.  Today we have the benefit of thousands of years of great Christian teaching.  We know right doctrine and right living. And if we don’t there are mountains of books that we can read, understand, and know.  These first Christians didn’t.  John is giving that to them and doing that for him.  Correct doctrine is so very important.  Knowing the basics of our faith, what we believe as Christians, leads to a life of peace and hope.  Orthodoxy is life-giving and joyous.  John is teaching these Christians the right truth. We should listen, just as they did.  And find the same life that they did.

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