BOOK OF 1 JOHN
Although the writer did not identify himself, early church fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Tertullian, named John as the author. Irenaeus (A.D. 130-200), who heard the eyewitness of Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and disciple of John the apostle, also specified that the epistle was penned by John, the Lord’s disciple. Thus, there is strong evidence that John, the son of Zebedee and the apostle of Jesus, composed this letter.
The three letters of John were probably written from Ephesus to the churches in the surrounding area of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Tradition assigns the writing of these letters to the latter years of John’s life, dating them between A.D. 80 and 95. The exact date, however, is not certain.
The recipients of the letter had been exposed to the heretical teachings of a group of people who had left their church (1 John 2:19). This group believed that spiritual things were good and physical things were evil. For them, the divine Christ, the Son of God, was not the same human Jesus who came to suffer and die for the sins of the world. They claimed to have a direct knowledge of God and to be morally perfect. However, their sinful behavior, lack of love, and prideful claims betrayed their heretical belief (see John 1:4, note; 1 Corinthians 1, Heresies).
John wrote to strengthen the faith of the believers (1 John 1:4). He encouraged them to hold to the apostolic teaching and to express that gospel through love and righteous living (1 John 2:1, 26). As a remedy against the onslaught of heretical views, he also assured believers of forgiveness, victory, and eternal life through Jesus Christ (1 John 5:13).
Historically, the heresy closest in character to that described in the epistle was the Gnostic heresy taught in Asia Minor by Cerinthus. Therefore, it is probable that the letter was addressed to the churches in Asia Minor.
The literary character of the epistle evades classification. In its greeting and conclusion, it lacks the features typical of a first-century letter. Nevertheless, the author is apparently addressing a specific situation with which he is familiar. First John could be a circular letter containing a written sermon or address.
• A true claim of the knowledge of God entails the acknowledgment that Jesus is both fully divine and fully human.
• Right belief goes hand-in-hand with right conduct; love and righteous living cannot be separated from right belief.
• Right faith produces confidence in forgiveness, in prayer, in victory against the Evil One, and in the possession of eternal life.
1 John 1
The Incarnation of the Word of Life
1 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 joy complete.
Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness
5 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.
January 28 Devotional-1 John 1
1. 1 John 1: 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.” Any time a word is repeated in scripture, it is note-worthy. The word ‘fellowship’ in this passage means “to have all things in common.” We are to love one another because we share life together. We have something in common. We share the life of the Lord Jesus, and therefore we should have fellowship with one another. Don’t confuse RELATIONSHIP and FELLOWSHIP. Relationship is when we come to know the Lord, and fellowship is when our relationship is visible through us. Fellowship is the key to vital Christianity. A nonbeliever may not see if you have a relationship with Christ, but he/she should know if you have fellowship with Christ. As a Christian, are you enjoying fellowship with the Father and with His Son?
2. There are several IF-THEN statements in verses 5-10. Record the statements below and think about what each statement means to you.