1 John, lesson one

1 John

Lesson 1

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we pray for wisdom to tap into Your knowledge through daily devotion, daily reading of Your Word, and daily Bible study. We pray for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of scripture, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Introduction:

Authorship:

Scholars agreed that apostle John, who wrote the gospel of John and Revelation, was the author of 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. It was believed to have been written around 90 AD in Ephesus. John was the last remaining apostle of Christ and he was a very old man when he wrote 1, 2, and 3 John.

Audience:

1 John was not written to any specific Church or individual. It was a cyclical letter written to a group of churches in the region around the city of Ephesus.

Occasion, setting, purpose :

John wrote 1 John to address the false teachers who came to deceive the Christians with the heretic teachings called Gnosticism. Gnosis in Greek means knowledge. These heretic gnostic teachers claimed that they had special knowledge on salvation that others did not have. The Gnostics believed that the soul is intrinsically good and the body is intrinsically evil. The Gnostics accept the Deity of Christ but reject the humanity of Christ. They believed that Jesus was hundred percent divine and zero percent human. They believed that when Jesus walked on the earth, He will not leave any footprint behind Him. There are two extreme forms of Gnosticism. One extreme is asceticism and denial of all physical pleasures of life. The other extreme is licentiousness and freedom to sin since the body is intrinsically evil and headed for destruction. John’s purpose was to refute the heretic teachings of the Gnostics and to bring the people back to correct theology.

1 John 1:1-4, John declared what he saw, heard, and handled

V 1, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life,

The beginning alludes to Genesis 1:1, “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” and John 1:1, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”. John used the Word of life as a title for Jesus Christ, who pre-existed and self-existed from the beginning before creation, before time, before space, and before matter. John proclaimed that Christ is fully God and fully human. He could be seen, heard, touch, and handled. In the gospel of John, Christ could feel thirsty, hungry, tired, sad, and even wept.

VV 2-4, 2 the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us, 3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

Greek for life is “zoe” which means the God-given divine or eternal life. Greek for manifest is “phaneroo”, which means to make visible. Jesus, the word of eternal life, was made visible through the His incarnation. John and the other apostles witnessed, declared, seen, handled, heard, and fellowshipped with the incarnate word of life. God invites us into a fellowship with Him and His Son Jesus Christ so that our joy may be complete.

Application:

Jesus Christ is the pre-existing, self-existing, eternal Son of God. He is co-equal, co-divine, and co-eternal with the Father sharing the same Godhead. John testified that Jesus Christ is fully divine and fully man who could be seen, heard, and handled. John refuted the Gnostic’s claim that Jesus is one hundred percent divine and zero percent human.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we claim the promise of Isaiah 55:11, that Your word will not return to You empty but will accomplish what You desire and achieve the purpose for which You sent it. We pray for wisdom to understand, apply, and obey Your teachings, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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