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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Notes for 1 John

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WRITER: John the Apostle

DATE: A.D. 90-100. John evidently wrote his Gospel first, then his epistles, and finally the Book of Revelation before his death about A.D. 100.

PURPOSE: John expressed the purpose for his writing in each of the three types of revelation:

His Gospel in John 20:30, 31:

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

His first epistle in 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.

His revelation in Revelation 1:19:

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.

Actually, there is a fivefold purpose expressed in 1 John:

(1) 1Jo 1:3 — “That ye also may have fellowship with us [other believers]; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”
(2) 1Jo 1:4 — “That your joy may be full.”
(3) 1Jo 2:1 — “That ye sin not.”
(4) 1Jo 5:13 — “That ye may know that ye have eternal life.”
(5) 1Jo 5:13 — “That ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

THE FAMILY OF GOD: This epistle has been called the sanctum sanctorum of the New Testament. It takes the child of God across the threshold into the fellowship of the Father’s home. It is the family epistle; John is writing here to the family of God. Father is used thirteen times and little children eleven times. Paul wrote to the church; John wrote to the family. The church is a body of believers in the position where we are blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). We are given that position when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. In the family we have a relationship which can be broken, but is restored when “we confess our sins.” Then He “is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
The body of believers who constitute the church are in the family of God, though the family is larger than the church. The church and the family are both in the Kingdom of God but are not synonymous terms.

Kingdom of God chart

KEY WORDS: Light (used six times); love (used thirty-three times); life (used fifteen times); fellowship (used four times); know (used thirty-eight times) — John wrote to meet the first heresy that entered the church. It was Gnosticism, which boasted super-knowledge. It accepted the deity of Jesus, but it denied His humanity. John gives us the true gnosticism — knowledge.

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