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1 John study guide

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1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Jude are all quite short and may be combined to make a one-hour study session.
Preparation Prior to the study session, participants should read the entire book.
Orientation 1 John is book #23 of 27 in the New Testament, and and is one of the general letters. For more information see the Bible Overview page.
Synopsis This is the first of three short letters written by John - one of the 12 original disciples, the same writer as the gospel of John and Revelation. As time passes (it is now about 50 years since Jesus), people begin to drift from the true faith as incorrect teachings creep into popularity. This letter gets everyone back to the basic truths.

God is all light (1:5). We are all sinners but confession brings about forgiveness (1:8). Jesus is our mediator and substitute (2:2). We must love our brothers (2:9). Desire to do the will of God, and not worldly desires (2:17). Antichrists are a sign of the end time, some have already come (2:18). Antichrists are those who deny Jesus is the Christ (2:22).

When God appears we will see him and become like him (3:2). If we are in him, we do not keep on sinning (3:6). Jesus came to destroy the devil's work (3:8). We should love one another as Christ loved us (3:16).

A method is provided to test whether prophets are true or false (4:2). God is love (4:8). Perfect love drives out fear (4:18).

We show our love for God by obeying his commands (5:3). God has given us his testimony (5:11).

Activity There are similarities between this book and the gospel of John.
  • Compare the openings of John 1 and 1 John 1.
  • Compare John 3:16, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:10.
  • After reviewing 1 John, take a quick survey through the gospel of John looking for other similar topics.
Discussion points John discusses sin and forgiveness at length (1:5-10 and 3:4-10). The two keys to abiding in Christ (that is, being in continued fellowship with God) are 1). before the fact - to avoid sin, and 2). after the fact - to seek forgiveness when we do sin. Since we are sinners by nature, what techniques can we use for prevention - in order to stay as sinless as possible?

John describes two methods to test whether teachers are true or false (3:10 and 4:2). Consider some teachers in history (or your experience) known to be true or false. How do they stack up against these two tests?

Connections John refers to Cain murdering his brother (3:12) which occurs in Genesis 4.

For source citations see the home page. Revised April 14 2014

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