AUTHOR: Unlike most NT letters, 1 John does not tell us who its author is. The earliest identification of him comes from the church fathers: Ireneus (c. AD 140-203), Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215 ), Tertullian (c. 155-222) and Origen (c. 185-253). All designated the writer as the apostle John, the brother of James, the sons of Zebedee.RECIPIENTS: I John 2:12-14; 3:1; 5:13 make it clear that this letter was addressed to believers. But the letter does not indicate who they were or where they lived. The fact that it mentions no one by name suggests that it was a circular letter sent to Christians in a number of places.
GNOSTICISM:One of the most dangerous heresies of the first two centuries of the church was Gnosticism, especially from the 2nd to the 5th century AD. It’s core teaching was that spirit is good and matter is evil. From this dualism flow 4 significant errors:
I john 1 22.7.12
I John 1Dr. Samuel Ong 22.7.12 Dragonfly, Maxwell Hills, Taiping, June 2012
1 John 1• Author: Probably James, the son of Zebedee• Date: Probably AD 85-95• Recipients: To believers (2:12-14), a circular letter• Occasion: – To counter false teaching from deserters of John’s churches (2:18-19). – Call to to 3 basics of Christian life: true doctrine, obedient living and fervent devotion.
Gnosticism• Spirit is good, and matter is evil.• God (spirit) is good, and human beings (matter) is evil.• Salvation – “escape from the body” - depends on special knowledge (gnosis) and not faith in Jesus Christ.• Christ could not be human. – Docetism; Cerinthianism• Led to “asceticism” or “licentiousness”
I John – Simple Outline 1/3• INTRODUCTION: 1:1-4• TO WALK IN THE LIGHT: 1:5-2:28 – Walk in the Light, 1:5-7 – 1st Condition: Break with sin, 1:8-2:2 – 2nd Condition: Keep the commandments, esp. Love, 2:3-11 – 3rd Condition: Detach from the world, 2:12-17 – 4th Condition: Be on guard against Antichrists, 2:18-28 Source: New Jerusalem Bible
I John – Simple Outline 2/3• TO LIVE AS GOD’S CHILDREN: 2:29-4:6 – Live as God’s children, 2:29-3:2 – 1st Condition: Break with sin, 3:3-10 – 2nd Condition: Keep the commandments, esp. Love, 3:11-24 – 3rd Condition: Be on guard against Antichrists and against the world, 4:1-6 Source: New Jerusalem Bible
I John – Simple Outline 3/3• THE SOURCE OF LOVE AND FAITH: 4:7-5:13 – The source of love, 4:7-5:4 – The source of faith, 5:5-13• SUPPLEMENTS: 5:14-20 Source: New Jerusalem Bible
I John 1:1-41 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
Commentary 1• The Word of Life: 1:1b – “And God said”, Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24, 26, 28, 29 – “And so it was”, Gen. 1:30b
Commentary 2• Eternal/Father: “what was from the beginning”, 1:1 – Genesis 1:1, “in the beginning, God …” – John 1:1, “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”• Manifest/Incarnate/Son: “we have heard, seen, looked at, touched with our hands” – John 1:1-5 – John 1:14• Indwelling/Spirit: “fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ”, 1:3b
Commentary 3• We proclaim to you, 1:1, 3, 4 – The Word of Life, 1:1b – That which we have fellowship with (Father and Son), 1:3b – That you may have fellowship with us, 1:3a – That our/your joy may be complete, 1:4 – Christian life is always lived in fellowship/community/body: Father/Son/Spirit; God-Us; I-You – Evangelism: Sharing the tangible Word of Life – Reach out and touch somebody
I John 1:5-105 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Commentary 1• God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all, 1:5 – not a stain, not a dot, not a hint• Light – Defines, reveals, gives warmth, burns – Life, Gen. 1:1; John 1:4-5• If we are in fellowship with Him, we cannot walk in darkness, 1:6 – Walk as children of Light, Eph. 5:7b-14 – Metaphor of “walk”
Commentary 2• To walk in darkness is to live in sin, 1:7-10 – All have sinned (original sin) – All continue to sin – Sin: rebellion, transgression, falling off the mark• There is forgiveness for sin, 1:9-10 – Confess – God is faithful and just – Jesus Christ (our atoning sacrifice and advocate with Father)
Conclusions• God in Christ is real – “O, taste and see that the Lord is good”• God in Christ gives Light/Life – “I AM the way, the truth and the Life” – “I AM the resurrection and the Life” – “I AM the Light of the world”• Share Him• Live in Him – Break with sin