DATE: 90 AD
1 John: Tradition strongly supports that John spent his old age in Ephesus. Lack of personal references in this letter indicates that it was written to Christians all over Asia Minor. John wrote to address the heresy of Gnosticism, which taught that knowledge is superior to virtue, only a select few can understand Scripture, evil in the world precludes God’s being the only Creator, the Incarnation is incredible because deity cannot unite itself with anything material such as a body (Docetism), and there is no resurrection of the flesh.
John wrote to believers who were dear to him and called them his “little children.” He wrote in concern for their spiritual welfare and presented many of his teaching with contrast–light and darkness (1 John 1:6-7; 2:8-11); love of world and love of God (1 John 2:15-17); children of God and children of the devil (1 John 3:4-10); the Spirit of God and the spirit of Antichrist (1 John 4:1-3); love and hate (1 John 4:7-12, 16-21). John wrote about about knowing (38 times some form of “know” is used) to give assurance to the children of God (“children” used 12 times).
OUTLINE OF 1 JOHN
I. Introduction: The Purpose of the Letter, 1:1-4
II. Conditions for Fellowship, 1:5-2:2
A. Conformity to a Standard, 1:5-7
B. Confession of Sin, 1:8-2:2
III. Conduct in Fellowship, 2:3-27
A. The Character of Our Conduct–Imitation, 2:3-11
B. The Commandment for Our Conduct– Separation, 2:12-17
C. The Creed for Our Conduct–Affirmation, 2:18-27
IV. Characteristics of Fellowship, 2:28-3:24
A. In Relation to Our Prospect: Purity, 2:28-3:3
B. In Relation to Our Position: Righteousness and Brotherly Love, 3:4-18
C. In Relation to Our Prayers: Answers, 3:19-24
V. Cautions of Fellowship, 4:1-21
A. Concerning False, Lying Spirits, 4:1-6
B. Concerning a True, Loving Spirit, 4:7-21
1. The ground of brotherly love, 4:7-10
2. The glories of love, 4:11-21
VI. Consequences of Fellowship, 5:1-21
A. Love for the Brethren, 5:1-3
B. Victory over the World, 5:4-5
C. Verification of Christ’s Credentials, 5:6-12
D. Assurance of Eternal Life, 5:13
E. Guidance in Prayer, 5:14-17
F. Freedom from Habitual Sin, 5:18-21
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