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March 31, 2016, 11:51 AM

First John

Every book of the bible should be studied by Christians, but each for its own unique reasons. So, why should we study the book of 1 John? What insights will we gain into the Christian life? How can we expect God to speak to us during this study? Knowing some background on the book will provide some useful knowledge as we begin this study. 

Who wrote 1 John?

The traditional and most accepted author of 1 John is that John the disciple wrote the letter. He is also the author of the Gospel of John. Some argue that a different John who was a leader in the second generation church wrote the book. But, this is not a popular opinion. The letter bears too many similarities to the Gospel of John in style, characteristics, and views of Jesus. The letter also begins with a claim of the author to have been an eyewitness to the life of Jesus. 

It should be noted that the traditional view comes from the writings of the early church, none of whom suggested any other author than John the disciple. This is most notably the result of the work of Irenaeus, bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, and who lived from a.d. 130–200. Irenaeus knew Polycarp, an early church leader who knew John the disciple. Therefore, Irenaeus's testimony is seen as very reliable.

When and Where was 1 John wrote?

It is generally thought that 1, 2, and 3 John are written in Ephesus after John's time of exile on Patmos. Therefore, a date of authorship in the late first century is most likely.

Why was 1 John written?

John wrote this letter to combat heresy that was trying to make its way into the church. From the very beginning of the book, there is a large emphasis on the connection between right beliefs about Jesus and true fellowship with Jesus and other believers. For John, these heresies were no small matter. They disqualified someone from being a true follower of Christ. 

Today, we face the same dangers. People wish to believe in God as they want to imagine Him. But, like John, we must stand for the truth of the One True God. Belief in a Jesus that is different from scripture is no belief in Jesus at all.

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