Bible Study Lessons on 1 John
God is light; God is love; and God is life. John enjoyed a delightful fellowship with that God and desperately wanted his spiritual children to enjoy the same thing.
God is light. To enjoy fellowship with the Lord we must walk in light. As we do so, we will regularly confess our sins, allowing the blood of Christ to continually cleanse us. We must avoid falling in love with the world and falling for the alluring lies of false teachers.
God is love. Since we are God’s children, we must walk in love. In fact, John says that if we do not love, we do not know God. Love is more than just words; it requires action. Biblical love is unconditional, and when that brand of love characterizes us, we free ourselves of self-condemnation and increase our confidence before God.
God is life. Those who fellowship with God must possess His quality of life. Faith in Jesus Christ infuses us with God’s life—eternal life.
John’s second epistle reminds “the elect lady and her children” to love one another, but indicates that this love must be discerning. False teachers abound who do not acknowledge Christ as having come in the flesh—and it is false charity to open the door to false teaching.
In Third John, the apostle encourages a man named Gaius to foster Christian fellowship by hosting and supporting visiting missionaries. He also warns against the “me first” attitude of a church leader who left the way of love.
Although the apostle John’s name is not found any of these books, they were given the titles Ioannou A, B, and C, the “First of John,” the “Second of John,” and the “Third of John.”
Themes: By His very character, God is love, and to know Him is to extend that love to those around us.
Author: The apostle John.
Date: Believed to have been written from Ephesus near the end of the first century.
Structure: First John begins with a reminder of Christ’s incarnation (1:1–4), followed by instruction on what it means to have fellowship with God (1:5–2:28) and further teaching on how a child of God should live (2:29–5:17). The book ends with how to identify the true and reject the false (5:18–21). 2 John encourages believers to walk in Christ’s commandments and beware of deceivers, while 3 John commends hospitality and godly living.
Charles F. Stanley, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles, 2005), 1 Jn.