How to Study 1 John (NASB)
Begin your study by reading through 1 John and marking every reference to the author in one color and every reference to the recipients in another.
If you want to handle a passage of Scripture accurately you must always interpret it in the light of its context. Context simply means that which goes "with" (con) the "text." Context rules when it comes to interpretation. Identifying the author's purpose for writing will help you discern the context of a passage. What the author says, he says in the light of his purpose for writing. In this letter the author tells us his purpose in seven different verses: 1:4; 2:1, 12-14,21, and 26. Then in 1 John 5:13 he concludes by summarizing his purpose for writing. Read these verses and record his reason for writing on the chart I AM WRITING TO YOU. Record on the Structure of 1 John the author's purpose for writing.
One of the major heresies the church would face was gnosticism. Gnosticism wasn't in full bloom in John's time, but the seeds had been sown. Understanding gnosticism will help you better understand why John concentrated on the truths contained in his writing. Therefore, before you go any further, read the article "Understanding Gnosticism"
Now 1 John chapter by chapter:
Mark each of the key words (and their synonyms and pronouns). When you finish, go to the chart 1 John key Words and record the number of times each key word is used in each chapter. Then determine the number of times each word is used in 1 John. Doing this will help you see the main themes of 1 John.
John uses contrasts in order to make his point: light/darkness, children of God/children of the devil, etc. Watch for these contrasts; observe what you learn from them.
Remember, 1 John was written "so that you may know," When you finish reading all five chapter, trace throughout 1 John repeated use of the word know and record what you learn from the text no the chart What I can know and How I can know it. Watch the matters John deals with in respect to wrong behavior or wrong belief.
You may want to keep a running list of everything you learn about God, Jesus Christ, and the Spirit from this book.
Record the theme of each chapter on Structure of 1 John. Fill any remaining information called for on the chart.
Key Words in the NIV and KJV
Key doctrines in 1 John
Fundamentals of faith: - sound faith, obedience, and love work together, to produce happiness, holiness, and assurance in the lives of believers (1:4, 9; 2:1, 3, 15; 4:4-6; 5:13; Ps 32:3-5; Prov 28:13; John 14:30; 16:11; Rom 6:12-14; 8:12, 13; 1 Cor 15:34; Eph 4:32; Col 2:13)
Demonic teachings - false teachers denied the humanity of Jesus Christ (2:18, 26; 3:7; 4:1-7; Is 53:3, 4; Matt 1:18; Luke 1:31; 1 Cor 15:21; Gal 4:4; Heb 2:14-17; 2 John 1:7)