One thing that is nice about the apostle John, he will tell you why he is writing. He tells us his purpose for the gospel in John 20:30 – 31. In 1 John he tells us several times why he is writing. Probably the overall purpose is 1 John 5:13.
Looking at the book as a whole
I am working through a summary of 1 John, second or third week on this. This afternoon I spent some time working through a couple of the threads in the book. One of those threads was John’s statements on why he was writing. Here they are:
- 1:4 – So that our joy may be made complete…
- 2:1 – So that you may not sin…
- 2:7 – not a new commandment
- 2:8 – a new commandment
- 2:12 – because your sins have been forgiven you
- 2:13 – because you know Him from the beginning, because you have overcome the evil one
- 2:14 – because you know the Father, because you know Him from the beginning, because you are strong and the word of God abides in you
- 2:21 – not because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it
- 2:26 – concerning those who are trying to deceive you
- 5:13 – In order that you may know you have eternal life.
The detail of the statements in 2:7 – 14 need to be dealt with separately, I may do that in another post. Looking at the rest as a whole, we get a picture of the content of the false teaching the recipients are hearing. There seems to be a false teaching that it is ok to continue to sin. Further, although the recipients of the letter know the truth there is an individual or a group of individuals that are attempting to deceive them. A further aspect of the false teaching seems to be that there is more to attaining of eternal life than receiving Christ.
A major lesson
John does not give the details of the false teaching, he just outlines what is true. He focuses on what is real and not what they are teaching. There is at least one major lesson there.
Focus and hold on to the truth and you will be able to recognize and counter error when you encounter it. I will give you an example of how that worked out in my life tomorrow.