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Who Wrote 1 John?

February 24, 2008 Leave a comment

I was surprised to learn that there is no internal proof that the apostle John wrote this epistle.

Then again, John refers to himself not by name, but by the phrase “The disciple whom Jesus loved” in his gospel. There is a humility and an element of mystery in this practice.

I wonder why John refers to himself by name in Revelation but not in his other four books?

The following early church historians name John the author of 1 John, according to the Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible:

Polycarp
Eusebius
Irenaeus
Clement of Alexandria
Tertullian
Cyprian

Just digging more deeply into the primary sources written by these authors could become a lifetime of work.

In the same way that a good scientist accepts the conclusions of peer review as authoritative until proven otherwise, it is reasonable to accept John’s authorship of this letter.

Additionally, there are many parallels between the gospel of John and this letter. The EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary is just one place that outlines these similarities clearly and thoroughly.

Categories: bible

Introduction to 1 John

February 24, 2008 Leave a comment

John writes this letter in response to an early heresy, a belief in gnosticism.

“Gnostics do not look to salvation from sin (original or other), but rather from the ignorance of which sin is a consequence. Ignorance — whereby is meant ignorance of spiritual realities — is dispelled only by Gnosis, and the decisive revelation of Gnosis is brought by the Messengers of Light, especially by Christ, the Logos of the True God. It is not by His suffering and death but by His life of teaching and His establishing of mysteries that Christ has performed His work of salvation.” [quoted from The Gnostic World View: A Brief Summary of Gnosticism]

John focuses much of his attention to dispelling the myth that Jesus’ death and resurrection were either an illusion or unnecessary.

The letter may be broken down as follows:

I. I Saw Jesus
II. Live Without Sinning
III. antichrists Are All Around
IV. We’re Children of God
V. God = Love, Therefore My Life Ought to Reflect This Love
VI. Testimony of Spirit, Water, Blood
VII. Conclusion

Key Verse: 5:13

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life (NIV).

Categories: bible
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