Sunday, September 18, 2011

1 John Background

As we begin our study in 1 John, it may be helpful to begin with a little historical information.

The author
John, along with his brother James & co-fisherman Peter, was one of Jesus' closest disciples. Before following Jesus he was a disciple of John the Baptist. Historically he has been considered to the “disciple whom Jesus loved” and was nicknamed a “Son of Thunder” by Jesus. He authored the Gospel of John, 1, 2, & 3 John, and Revelation. Although he was greatly tortured and was eventually exiled to the Isle of Patmos, John was the only disciple not to be executed. He led the church in Ephesus and later the churches of Asia Minor (modern Turkey – not China).

The book
Dates are always disputed, but 1 John was probably written sometime between 60-90 AD in Ephesus. No one knows to whom it was written, but it seems to be written from John to a church or group of churches, probably in Asia Minor. It is among the New Testament letters known as “general” or catholic” because they were not addressed to a specific reader or church. John warns his readers about false teachers who are actively trying to deceive them. These false teachers were probably Gnostic (believed matter was evil, spirit was good, secret knowledge and wisdom was available to the few who sought it), Docetic (Jesus had no human body and his sufferings and death on the cross was not real), or followers of the heresy of Cerinthus (“Christ” came upon Jesus at his baptism and left him to suffer and die alone on the cross).

I pray our study of this book strengthens your faith in the one true God as we see His love for us!

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