The Book of 1 John

Summary of the Book of 1 John

The book of 1stJohn is a General Epistle (Apostolic Letter). It is written by the Disciple/Apostle John around 85-95 A.D., probably from Ephesus.

The key personalities are the Apostles Peter and Paul. Its purpose was to warn about the increasing threat of false teachings and to reassure Christians of their faith and love in Jesus Christ.

It was written to combat false teachings that had to do with the denial that Jesus had a genuine human body (1:1).

This Gnostic view of matter as being evil led to two responses, asceticism or licentiousness. He very clearly writes to give the true tests of a true Christian.

These tests also contradicted the Gnostic licentious approach to Christianity. He gives several means to measure the reality of one’s conversion experience.

Chapters 1-2 – John reassures believers explaining:

Statue of John the apostle at St. Isaac Cathedral St. Petersburg, Russia
Public domain.

When John the apostle returned to Ephesus from his exile on the island of Patmos, he was invited to numerous churches (likely being the only apostle still alive, and certainly the only one still remaining in Asia Minor). He went from church to church, appointing bishops, strengthening the people, and ordaining others who were marked out by the Spirit.

John had been exiled to Patmos, this is told in the book of Revelation.

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness” (1:5).

He wrote that if sins were confessed He would cleanse them, because Jesus is…

“…the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the world” (2:2).

Because John was aware of the continuing attack of false teachings, he then urged believers not to love and follow after the world because it was not of the Father, and would ultimately pass away. Discernment is necessary to thwart the constant attacks of heresy.

Chapters 3-4 – John teaches about the love of God and that through His love He sent Jesus:

“He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.  For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (3:8).

Therefore, believers should love each other not only with words but also,

“…neither in tongue; but indeed and in truth” (3:18), as Jesus commanded.

Chapter 5 – John exhorts Christians to live by faith because through our faith in Christ we overcome the wickedness of the world.

In addition, John writes one of the most powerful and assuring statements concerning the work of Jesus on the cross:

“These things I have written to 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” (vs. 13).

John wanted all believers to know 100%, that because of their faith and trust in Jesus Christ they would spend all of eternity with Him.

The Book of John and John, the Person

Summary of the Book of John

The book of John is a Gospel that contains Narrative History, Sermons, Parables, and a few Prophetic Oracles.

It was written by the Disciple/Apostle John around 85-95 A.D.

The key personalities of this book are Jesus Christ, His Twelve Disciples, Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, Lazarus, his sisters Mary and Martha, Jewish religious leaders, and Pilate.

It was written so that all may believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God who gives eternal life.

John’s gospel uses the word “Believe” 98 times and the word “Life” 36 times, in an effort to embed the importance that one must believe in order to live eternally.

John is not one of the three synoptic (common view) gospels, but instead was written with a more theological substance, yet equally as inspired and important as the first three gospels.

Chapter 1 – is the preamble of the Messiah’s coming ministry. John gives clear evidence that Jesus is more than just a man,

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1).“John then describes that the “Word” is Jesus who became a man to “live among us” (1:14).

The beginning verses in the first chapter teaches us that Jesus is more than just a man who came into existence but rather, He is infinite God.

Chapters 2-12 – consist of Jesus’ ministry. He meets with a religious leader named Nicodemus and teaches him that no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven unless they have are personally “Born-Again” (3:3).

Several times throughout the book, Jesus claims that He Himself is God:

“I and the Father are one” (10:30).

Jesus also repeats and applies to Himself, the Jehovah statement:

“I AM (Ex 3:14), for example, when Jesus declares:I am the resurrection and the life (11:25),I am the way the truth and the life (14:6),“I am the door (10:9), andI am the bread of life” (6:35).

Chapters 13-17 – occurs less than 24 hours before Jesus’ death. They describe the details of the Last Supper with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus taught many important topics to the Disciples during this time.

Some of these were topics about the Kingdom, and about the work of the Holy Spirit that would be sent to them. He also prays for Himself, His disciples, and for all the future believers (chp 17).

Chapters 18-21 – portrays the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In these final chapters, He is on trial and then convicted illegally. After which He is appallingly beaten, humiliated, and then crucified.

Jesus resurrected and arose from the tomb and appeared to Mary Magdalene and to His disciples.

When John finishes his gospel he writes one of the most amazing truths about Jesus Christ,

“And there are many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written” (21:25).


John the Apostle was one of the original 12 apostles. He is the author of this book and four other in the New Testament.

John, his brother James and their father Zebedee were Galilean fisherman. Jesus called John and James to leave their careers as fishermen and to become His apostles. Soon after, John and James became part of an inner circle around Jesus with Peter and sometimes Andrew.

John and his brother James were called the “Sons of thunder” by Jesus (Mk 3:17).

John along with Andrew had been disciples of John the Baptist and became followers of Jesus after He was baptized by John the Baptist.

John was the “beloved disciple” who:

– leaned on Jesus during the Last Supper (John 13:23),– was “known to the high priest (John 18:15),– was entrusted by Jesus with the care of His mother Mary (John 19:26), and– outran Peter to the empty tomb (John 20:2-4).

After the resurrection, John appears as one of the leaders of the early church.

According to Papias, one of John ‘s disciples, John later went to the city of Ephesus. He was exiled under Emperor Domitian to the island Patmos.

It was there at Patmos he wrote the Book of Revelation, which is the last book of the New Testament.

Under Nerva, John returned to Ephesus, and there composed the Gospel of John, the 4th book of the New Testament, and three Epistles, called John 1, John 2, John 3.

John reportedly died at a very old age and he is the only disciples that was not executed.