Scripture reading – 1 John 1-5
The First Epistle of John is believed to have been written near the close of the first century (scholars suppose between A.D. 85-90), and in the last years of the apostle’s life. Though John failed to identify himself by name, the beauty and style of the writing is similar to the Gospel of John (where John’s name also does not appear), as well as the Epistles of 2 John and 3 John.
In addition, the historical details presented in the introductory verses were written by a disciple who had intimate knowledge of our Lord. Consider the following eyewitness account regarding the historical evidences of Christ’s incarnation.
1 John 1:1 – “That which was from the beginning [Eternal God], which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life.” [note John 1:1-3, 14]
With an assertive, apostolic authority, John was writing to the children and grandchildren of first-generation believers. Their parents had been contemporaries of the apostles, and were probably among the first to come to Christ during the missionary travels of the apostle Paul and others. The generation receiving John’s letter would have heard firsthand accounts of Christ’s sufferings, crucifixion, death, and resurrection!
Already, persecution was an ever-present danger; however, there was a greater danger confronting the churches and that was the presence of false teachers within the congregations. There were some professing believers that had departed from the faith, and were tempting others to follow them.
John exposed the characteristics of those pseudo-believers, writing that they “walk in darkness…and do not the truth” (1:6). Some claimed to not be troubled by their sins, and John writes, “the truth is not in [them]”(1:8). Others professed they knew the Lord, but they did not obey His commandments, and John writes of them: “4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (2:4).
There were those who claimed to love the Lord, but their lives evidenced a love for the world and its sinful pleasures. John rebuked their hypocrisy, writing, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (2:15b).
Realizing there were some sincere believers who were troubled by those who departed from the faith, John declared, “19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (2:19).
John’s epistle was a clear rebuke to the false teachers, and those who were following them. His exposition of the fundamental doctrines of the faith, and the Christ-like traits that should be manifested in the lives of believers, was meant to give sincere believer’s discernment and confidence in their faith.
1 John 5:13 – “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith