Letter of I John
9th March 2008
I. INTRODUCTION : It was believed that they were written by the disciples , but not so, it is similar to the Gs of John
1 Jn 4:10 > Gods love for us 3:16
2 fold thoughts <
John 13:34 = 1 Jn 4:7 > Our love for all = loving our selves
The Gs of Jn resembles the letter of Jn
John wants to say Active love is the only true religion.
Relation between the 1 Jn to the Gs of Jn.
Similarities between the vocabulary & style: The common ideas are:
The word made flesh
The only begotten saviour
Coming in the flesh
Privacy of faith & love
The anti thesis of light & darkness, truth & lie
Differences Several key words of Johns Gs are not in 1 Jn.’ Glory, HSp, mission, judgment
The key wds in 1Jn not in Jn are anointing, parousia, the seed of god, Anti Xt, communion
In 1 Jn there are no quotations of the Ot like Jn.
The authors are not the same
The initial tradition must be passed to Johannine community.
II) THE LITERARY FORM OF THE WRITING:
i) 2, 3 Jn corresponds to the convention of the ancient letters writing, but they are typical in not giving a personal name for sender & in 2 Jn it is not stated to whom the letter is addressed to. & where the Church is addressed to.
ii) 2 Jn has the wds grace, mercy, peace, Vs3. in the form of a statement, & not a greeting.
3 Jn has no greeting
iii) 1 Jn has no name of the sender & receiver, no formula of greeting or conclusion.
It is more a didactic ( teaching & instructions) composition or an encyclical
( letters meant for the public giving teachings on different matters on matters of faith & moral)---going to group of churches in Asia.
III) AUTHORSHIP: who is the author ?
Who is Jn in 2, 3, Jn is the elder
The title is unique in the NT
In the Johannine school, we could identify 4people a) beloved disciple. b) Evangelist who called himself John. c) Presbyters of the 3 epistles. d) Redactors ( final editors = the one who gives the final SHAPE )
of the Gs What is the possibility--- of 1, 2, 3, Jn = 100AD date of this epistle , disciple of the school of Jn.
IV) WHAT IS THE POURPOSE OF THE OCCASION OF THE LETTER:
In Greek interpretation go back to the life situation / background in which the text written, what is the meaning for us today. Never take the Bible literally. The problem in 1 Jn is false teachers. Therefore Jn had to counter this problem that had come up in the community. Jn is aware that the community is aware of this & therefore gives this teaching.
Why Jn wrote this letter: 2:18; 2:28; 4:1; 4:26; 5:13.
This is a testament to his disciples. The only effective way to counter error (false teachers) is to give men an idea. To live by, to hold up before them the incarnate son of God. It is worth having experience of the word of life.
Who were the false teachers. Biblical scholars tell us they are Gnostics. Gnossos = Knowledge, secret knowledge, there were different form of Gnostics those who claim superior form of knowledge. Which went hand in hand with moral conduct.
From the epistles the Gnostics claim the knowledge of God
The Gnostics believed in myths a divine spark who claim & in another spark they received knowledge. They thought they knew how to save them selves. They thought they had superior knowledge that was above all people. For them morality did not matter 1 Jn 2:4, they thought they had overcome the flesh. JC came in flesh, so they did not believe in him. ‘Jesus was fully divine & fully human’.
4:8 Our love for all .
4:20 you cannot love God without loving Gods people. Claim fellowship with God.
1:6 superior to those of the ordinary Christians
2:6-9. They deny that Jesus is the Messiah. 2:22 because of their superior knowledge.
4:15; 5:5 They also deny that Js has come from flesh, flesh is evil & cursed. How can the Messiah come from flesh 4:2.---5:6 Jn speaks emphatically, he makes a strong emphasis. John refers to the baptism & the death of Jesus, Jesus is not a ghost or a phantom, He was born in flesh. 1 John 1:1 uses the 5 senses
i) The Anti-Christ could be Gnostics = false teachers
ii) The others could be Docetists, The Docetists denied that Jesus was truly human. ‘Jesus was truly human &fully divine’
iii) Cerinthus: He held that Xt was a spiritual being that descended upon Jesus. Jesus lived a normal life, as a normal man after baptism, & withdrew from him before crucifixion & returned to the father.
Either one or all three were effecting the community.
The authors emphasis on the need to breaking from sin & his insistence of the practical living is against the Gnostics, who hold that sin is of no account in one who possesses the perfect knowledge of God. Also when one is occupied with God one has no concern with others.
1 Jn 3:10 What does John say in reply to those who are children of God will do.---------
Anti-Christ can be Gnostics, Docetist, Cerinthus. John deals with these anti-Christ at 3 levels
They denied that JC was the son of God. 2:22-23
They negated the importance of Jesus by not confessing him as the Xt came in to flesh 4:3
They probably thought that salvation came solely by the entrance of the son of God into the world so
that the historical career of Jesus had no salvafic importance.
They believed that God did send Jesus, in particular they may have neglected the atoning bloody death of Jesus which the author then emphasized
John had t reverse this:
1:7 Jesus’ blood cleanses us from our sins
2:2 Jesus died for the whole world
4:10 Our punishment fell on the sinless one, the son takes our punishment on him self.
All the anti-Christ boast in being in common with God & knowing God by walking in darkness & not keeping the commandments 1:6; 2:4.
Indeed they claimed not to have sinned 1:8, 10, you are calling God a liar. 3:4-6.
The author insists that a true child of God does not sin 3:9-10; 5:18.
and keeps the commandments especially to love ones fellow Christians 3:11, 23. 2:5
The children of God must walk in purity & love just as Gods son Jesus did 2:6; 3:3,7. 4:10-11.
3:9-10; 5:18; 3:11,23; 2:5, 2:6, 3:3,7; 4:10-11 To be righteous to be in the right relation with God.
III) LEVEL OF THE SPIRIT: John deals with the ant-xt with the HSp
The anti-Christ claims to be a teacher & even a prophet led by the spirit. How does John tackle this ?
John disclaims the need for a teacher 2:27 & warns against false prophets 4:1 4:5-6 2:27
The author of 1 & 2 John claims that his views & not those of the anti-xt represents the true Gs held from the beginning 1:5 3:11—(2 pts)
The author bears witness to the tradition that comes down from the beloved disciples ‘WE” who by personal witness or association have heard seen looked upon & felt Jesus the embodiment of the Life of God 1 John 1:1-4 prologue.
1:5-2:27 Communion with God.
2:28 – 4:6 Living as children of God.
4:7 – 5:12 Love & Faith
5:13 Conclusion When you were born you cried every one rejoiced
5:14 – 21. Appendix When you die everyone cries & you rejoice
1. Prologue 1:1-4.
Historical reality that they have experienced JC
John 3:16 ( the wd was made flesh) The incarnate son is seen, heard, touched that we have eternal life
We now see some similarities between Gs John & 1 John.
Here it is the life that was made known. This is the proclamation of divine life.
With out the son there was no access to God. We were separated from God because of sin. Now JC bridges the gap. This fellowship with the father is the root of Xtian joy Vs 4. an essential constituent of the Johannine community.
Complete joy is eternal Joy in Jesus possessed by all those who believe.
Johns joy of the risen lird is not complete unless you share it with others. By sharing with them the experience of the risen Lord
2. Johns exhortation to walk in the light 1:5-7
a) God is light, John sees the world in light & darkness, darkness is evil. Walking in the light means keeping the commandments.
b) Jn calls his followers to oppose sin 1:8- 2:2
We have the advocate with the father ie JC.
c) Keep the commandment 2:3-11.
d) Be not of this world 2:12-17. If you begin to love the things of the world, you will not love God.
e) Be aware of the anti-xt 2:18-27. Be faithful to the teachings that you were given at your baptism.
f) Be children of God 2: 28—3:3. see the love that the father has lavished on us. Be children of God.
g) 3:4-10. Beware of sin, the last exhortation is to avoid sin
John wishes to state that the greatest weapon against sin is its recognition & its dependence on the redemption wrought by Jesus. The hall mark of the community is the self sacrificing love of Christians for one another, based on Jesus love for them. The failure to keep this great commandment of Love removes one from the sphere of the light of Jesus.
Vs 12-14. Children is the term for all :- ie father, older Christians in the community, youn men, recent Christians.
By their fruits you shall know them. Test the Spirit 4:1.
Ones spirit of tendency will betray itself in one action.
The false teachers are really destroyed Jesus in neglecting his human carriers & so are of an anti Christ spirit a spirit already in the world, but the Christian can conquer this because Jesus has conquered Satan.
2 & 3 John.
The elders – elect lady this is a figure of speech used for an unnamed local church. The members of the church are called children. John loves the community, he loves them in the divine truth.
Divine truth = JC.
For complement the church Vs 4.
The problem in 2 John is the same à false teachers.
Vs 7 I beg you dear church if you adopt their wrong doings you will forfeit everlasting life.
In to the house = Church
True belief in Jesus is essential to any real worship of the father
3 John. Addresses Gaius, he was a lay7 Christian, some say he was the bishop of Pergamum à book of revelation.
He is a good man
Gaius is blessed because some of the Christians have reported his kindness to traveling missionary.
John emphasis is on the truth 1:3-8
Vs 7. walking in the truth
Vs 5-6. Brotherly love.
In this letter there is a character opp. Of Jairus. Diotrephes. He ignores the overseer of the community. He rejects the priestly letters, He reviles him, & blocks his missions.
Care of insubordination, he is abusing his authority.
Dimetrius = One of the missionaries for whom the letter acts as a recommendation before Gaius.
Vs 12. His Christian way of life is his own recommendation
Vs 7 For the sake of the name.