1 John: Walking with God - Introduction

1 John: Walking with God - Introduction (=) Bible Study

The apostle John is the author of the gospel that bears his name.  The stated purpose of writing his gospel is found in John 20:30, 31. 

"And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

The gospel of John was written primarily for unbelievers that they might come to believe in Jesus, and receive eternal life.

In contrast 1 John was written to believers, those who had already come to a saving faith in the Son of God.  We can find at least three reasons why John wrote this epistle.  First, it was written that those who read it might have the assurance of salvation.

"These things have I written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God."  1 John 5:13.

A second purpose in writing 1 John was that they might have fellowship with God.

"That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."  1 John 1:3.

Before we can have fellowship with God we must first have a personal relationship with Him.  Fellowship is a privilege of those who have become children of God through the new birth.  There must first be a union with God before there can be communion with God.

The central theme of this Bible study is walking with God.  How can believers have fellowship with God?  What does it mean to abide in Him, and to know the Lord in our daily lives?

A third purpose in writing this epistle was to warn believers against false teaching.

"These things I have written to you concerning those who try to deceive you."  1 John 2:26.

A heresy against which the apostle wrote was docetic Gnosticism, as is evident in the content of the letter.  Gnostics boasted of knowledge, rejecting foundational Christian beliefs.  They denied the doctrine of the incarnation, and made light of sin.  They made such lofty claims as "I know God," and "I am in the light."  Throughout 1 John we find the expressions, "If we say...," and "He who says...."  John is quoting statements made by false teachers.

The earliest of the Gnostics known by name to church historians was Cerinthus, an antagonist of the apostle John.

Bible scholars have done a lot of guessing as to when John wrote this letter.  The simple truth is we just don't know when the epistle was written.  It's also true that we don't know where the letter was written.

1 John is a difficult book to outline.  However, if you memorize the lesson titles, they should give you a good overview of the entire epistle.  They also list some of the requirements for walking with God.  A simple outline to remember is that chapters 1 and 2 deal with light; chapters 3 and 4 with love; chapter 5 with faith.  Light, love, and faith!  It doesn't get easier than that.

This brief book is intensely practical, warning believers against the dangers of false teaching and exhorting them to live in obedience to God with love for others.  John emphasized the transformation resulting from the new birth, and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  The predominant theme of the letter is fellowship with God the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

 

Lesson 1 - Witnessing to the Word of Life

 
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