1 John

Vital statistics

The Quality of Love

A Book of Contrasts

One of the distinct features of John's willing style was his habit of noting both sides of a conflict. He wrote to show the difference between real Christianity and anything else. Here are some of his favorites contrasts.

Contrast between

  1. Light and darkness

  2. The new commandment and the old commandment

  3. Loving the Father and loving the world

    1. Christ and Antichrist

    2. Truth and lies

    3. Children of God and children of the devil

    4. Eternal life and eternal death

    5. Love and hatred

    6. True prophecy and false prophecy

    7. Love and fear

    8. Having life and hot having life


  • 1:5

  • 2:7, 8

  • 2:15, 16

  • 2:18, 22

  • 2:20, 21

  • 3:1-10

  • 3:14

  • 3:15, 16

  • 4:1-3

  • 4:18, 19

  • 5:11, 12

The Blueprint

1. God is light (1:1-2:29)

2. God is love (3:1-4:21)

3. God is life (5:1-21)

John wrote about the most vital aspects of faith so that his readers would know Christian truth from error. He emphasizes the basic of faith so that we can be confident in our faith. In our dark world, God is light. In our cold world, God brings the warmth of love. In our dying world, God brings life. When we lack confidence, these truths bring us certainty.

John counters false teachings

John counters two major threads in the false teaching of the heretics in this letter.

  • 1:6, 8, 10

  • 2:22; 4:1-3

  • They denied the reality of sin. John says that if we continue in sin, we can't claim to belong to God. If we say we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to live according to the truth.

  • They denied that Jesus was the Messiah - God in the flesh. John said that if we believe that Jesus was God incarnate and trust him for our salvation, we are children of God.

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