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New Testament

Week 19: The Epistles of John (1–3 John)


1) Introduction.
a) Tonight we turn our attention to three epistles, or letters, that bear John’s name and are
canonized near the end of the New Testament. These letters are referred to as 1 John, 2
John, and 3 John.
b) [SLIDE 2] Authorship.
i) Like the gospel that bears his name, none of the three epistles claims to be written by
John the apostle. However, there is fairly widespread support for the claim that a
single author wrote the gospel and the three epistles.1
(1) The author identifies himself only as “we” in 1 John—perhaps speaking on behalf
of the apostles as a whole—and as “the elder” in 2 and 3 John.2
(2) He claims to be an eyewitness of the resurrected Christ (1 John 1:1–3), something
that one of the original apostles would do.
ii) The similarities between the gospel and the first epistle are numerous: Eternal life,3
light versus darkness,4 the nature of truth,5 the relationship between the Father and
the Son,6 “abiding” in Christ,7 the “new commandment” of love8—all of these are
abundant in the Gospel of John and 1 John.
iii) There are fewer features that the gospel and the first epistle share with the other two
epistles. Questions about the authorship of 2 and 3 John go back to at least 3rd
century A.D.,9 and these books were not fully accepted by all major branches of
Christianity until the beginning of the 6th century.
(1) 2 and 3 John are much shorter and have a different structure than the gospel and
1 John, and their messages don’t connect much with the other books.10

1
Scholars who claim separate authorship for the Gospel of John and 1 John point to theological differences between the
two works, most notably the gospel is Christ-centered while the first epistle is God-centered, the change in the adversaries
from “the Jews” of the gospel to those who “went out from us” in the first epistle, and a sudden concern that it is “the last time”
(i.e., the end of the world is approaching) in 1 John that is completely absent in the gospel. In reply it has been argued that
John’s audience and focus has shifted since the writing of the gospel, probably due to John’s move from Jerusalem to Ephesus
(on which see page 2).
In support of separate authorship, one prominent scholar argues that “the author of 1 John was a student of the Fourth
Gospel and lived in a community which cherished that gospel as its primary tradition. This community had, however,
undergone changes since the writing of the gospel, so that its views were no longer identical those articulated by the fourth
evangelist. In particular it may be that the differences between 1 John and the Gospel of John could be the result of the
influence of other Christian traditions on the community,” most notably the teachings of Paul. Robert Kysar, “John, Epistles
of,” The Anchor Bible Dictionary 3:907.
2
See 2 John 1:1; 3 John 1:1. “Elder” could be a priesthood title, or it could simply mean “the old man.” The latter would
make sense in light of the fact that John would have been around 90 years old at the time (assuming a later date for the
epistles, on which see page 2).
3
John 3:15–16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:25, 50; 17:2–3. 1 John 1:2; 2:25; 3:15; 5:11, 13, 20.
4
John 1:5; 3:19; 8:12; 12:35, 46. 1 John 1:5; 2:8–9.
5
John 1:14, 17; 3:21; 4:23–24; 5:33; 8:32, 44; 14:6, 17; 15:26; 16:13; 17:17, 19; 18:37–38. 1 John 1:6, 8; 2:4, 21, 27; 3:18–19;
4:6; 5:6.
6
John 1:18; 3:35; 5:19–26; 6:27; 8:28; 10:36; 14:13; 17:1. 1 John 1:3; 2:22–24; 4:14.
7
John 12:46; 14:16; 15:4–7, 10. 1 John 2:6, 10, 14, 17, 24, 27–28; 3:6, 24.
8
John 13:34. 1 John 2:7–8.
9
Origen (c. A.D. 185–254) and Dionysius of Alexandria (c. 200–265) both recognized 2 and 3 John, but admitted that their
genuineness was disputed by some. The historian Eusebius (c. 263–339) placed 2 and 3 John with the disputed books. Jerome
(c. 347–420) and Ambrose (c. 339– 397) also expressed doubts about their authenticity.

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Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 2

iv) [SLIDE 3] The common tradition of the early Christians affirmed that John
eventually moved from Jerusalem to Ephesus—along the western coast of Asia
Minor, where Paul had preached11—where he served as the last living apostle and
leader of the Church.12
c) [SLIDE 4] Audience.
i) It’s widely believed that John wrote these epistles from Ephesus to churches and
individuals in surrounding area (although exact locations aren’t mentioned).
ii) 1 John takes the form of a general letter or sermon. It lacks many of the standard
features of a letter,13 but appears instead to be a circular document warning local
churches against false teachings and false teachers. The audience is almost certainly
mostly Gentile converts to Christianity.14
iii) 2 John is written “unto the elect lady and her children” (2 John 1:1), which is widely
regarded as a reference to a specific, unnamed church and the members of that
church.15 As we’ll see in a moment, it’s likely that 2 John was written before 1 John.
iv) 3 John is a private letter to a man named Gaius, a very common name in the Roman
world.16 Gaius was a Christian who had shown hospitality to missionaries from
John’s church, and John asks him for continuing support in the face of opposition
from one Diotrephes, who does not accept John’s authority.
d) Date.
i) The generally accepted date for these epistles is somewhere in the late 80s through
the first decade of the 2nd century (A.D. 85–110).
ii) Some scholars, however, prefer an earlier date in the late 60s.17
e) Outline.
i) 1 John is nearly impossible to outline; its teachings are repeated and interwoven.
This lesson will approach it thematically.
2) [SLIDE 5] Theme #1—A warning against false teachers: Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.
a) The primary purpose of 1 John is to counter the teaching that Jesus did not come
physically (“in the flesh”), but only as a spirit.
10
However, even those who claim that 1 John had a separate author from 2 and 3 John still accept that the latter two were
written by the same person.
11
See Acts 18:19–21; 19:1–20:1; 20:17–38. See also lesson 14, pages 1–3; http://scr.bi/LDSARCNT14n
12
This tradition is summarized by the historian Eusebius, based on the writings of Irenaeus, Justin, Clement of
Alexandria, Apollonius, and Polycrates. See, for example, Historia Ecclesiastica 3.23:3–4; http://bit.ly/HistEccl3-23. It’s not
certain when John moved to Ephesus; some have argued he did so during the Jewish War with Rome (A.D. 67–70), but it may
have been later (80s or 90s).
13
Most of the New Testament epistles include the typical features of letters written during this time period: An opening
greeting, identification of recipients and sender, reference to local persons, the sender’s future plans, and a concluding
greeting. Contrast 1 John, which has none of these features, with 2 and 3 John and most of Paul’s letters, which do have them.
14
This is deduced from the type of heresy 1 John argues against (docetism; see page 2), and also his concluding warning to
“keep yourselves from idols,” an admonition with great relevance to former pagan Gentiles, but virtually none for former Jews.
15
2 John 1:1b indicates that “all they that have known the truth” love “the elect lady and her children,” something that
would hardly be likely if the lady were an individual woman. Also the letter concludes with “the children of thy elect sister greet
thee” (2 John 1:13); it seems more logical that this refers to John’s own church. In modern revelation, Emma Smith, wife of the
Prophet Joseph, was designated “an elect lady” (D&C 25:3); see Doctrine and Covenants lesson 7, pages 1–6
(http://scr.bi/LDSARCDC07n).
16
As of the date this was written (29 March 2011), Wikipedia lists 60 historical figures from the Roman period with the
surname Gaius (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius).
17
For an effective argument for the earlier date, see Daniel B. Wallace, “1 John: Introduction, Argument, and Outline,”
http://bible.org/seriespage/1-john-introduction-argument-and-outline

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i) What John is arguing against is an early form of Christian belief known as


Docetism.18 Docetism is the belief that Jesus’ physical body was an illusion, as was
his crucifixion—Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but
in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die.
(1) This idea sounds very odd to us, but that’s only because Docetism was declared
heretical by Christian leaders in the 3rd and 4th centuries. But during the 1st and
2nd centuries there were many docetic Christians, including Gnostics and
Marcionites, that competed for followers among the various forms of
Christianity.19
(2) Docetism arose as Christianity encountered Greek thought and philosophy.
According to Greek understanding anything that was physical could not be
perfect or divine; only spiritual things could be so.20 First century Gnostic
Christian groups developed docetic interpretations partly as a way to make
Christian teachings more acceptable to Greek ways of thinking of divinity.
According to them, Jesus was a spiritual being, not a physical one.
b) 1 John 1:1–4.
KJV 1 John 1:1–4 NRSV 1 John 1:1–4
1
That which was from the beginning, which 1
We declare to you what was from the
we have heard, which we have seen with our beginning, what we have heard, what we
eyes, which we have looked upon, and our have seen with our eyes, what we have
hands have handled, of the Word of life; looked at and touched with our hands,
concerning the word of life—
2
(For the life was manifested, and we have 2
this life was revealed, and we have seen it
seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you and testify to it, and declare to you the
that eternal life, which was with the Father, eternal life that was with the Father and was
and was manifested unto us;) revealed to us—
3
That which we have seen and heard declare 3
we declare to you what we have seen and
we unto you, that ye also may have heard so that you also may have fellowship
fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with us; and truly our fellowship is with the
with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.
Christ.
4
And these things write we unto you, that We are writing these things so that our joy
4

your21 joy may be full. may be complete.


i) John begins this epistle with a very strong statement testifying that “we”—he and the
other apostles, presumably—have heard and seen and looked at and touched “the
Word of life” (the resurrected Christ) and therefore he is physical, and not just
spiritual.
(1) “That which was from the beginning” echoes John’s opening to his gospel (“In the
beginning was the Word….”).
ii) He further states that he’s telling his readers these things so they may be in true
fellowship with him, and with the Father and the Son.

18
This word comes from the Greek δοκέω (dokeO), “to seem.”
19
We’ll discuss this further in lesson 29.
20
This is found in Plato’s Theory of Forms, according to which the “Forms” (or “Ideas”), and not the material world of
change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_Forms
21
Early Greek manuscripts are divided, with some reading “your joy,” and others “our joy.” The latter has better stylistic
support, and is favored by most modern Bible translations (including the NRSV).

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Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 4

iii) This is the calling of an apostle, to be a witness of Christ (D&C 107:23).


c) 2 John 1:7.
KJV 2 John 1:7 NRSV 2 John 1:7
7
For many deceivers are entered into the 7
Many deceivers have gone out into the
world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is world, those who do not confess that Jesus
come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an Christ has come in the flesh; any such person
antichrist. is the deceiver and the antichrist!
i) In this letter to the “elect lady,” John indicates “many deceivers” have gone out of the
church into the world. These apostates do no confess that Jesus has come to earth in
physical form. John calls them antichrist, something we’ll discuss in a moment.
ii) There is good reason to believe that 2 John was written before 1 John, because here
these apostates are in the process of leaving the church and going out into the world.
Let’s turn to our next passage to see what happened next:
d) 1 John 2:18–23.
KJV 1 John 2:18–23 NRSV 1 John 2:18–23
18
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye 18
Children, it is the last hour! As you have
have heard that antichrist shall come, even heard that antichrist is coming, so now many
now are there many antichrists; whereby we antichrists have come. From this we know
know that it is the last time. that it is the last hour.
19
They went out from us, but they were not 19
They went out from us, but they did not
of us; for if they had been of us, they would belong to us; for if they had belonged to us,
no doubt have continued with us: but they they would have remained with us. But by
went out, that they might be made manifest going out they made it plain that none of
that they were not all of us. them belongs to us.
20
But ye have an unction from the Holy One, 20
But you have been anointed by the Holy
and ye know all things. One, and all of you have knowledge.
21
I have not written unto you because ye 21
I write to you, not because you do not know
know not the truth, but because ye know it, the truth, but because you know it, and you
and that no lie is of the truth. know that no lie comes from the truth.
22
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus 22
Who is the liar but the one who denies that
is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the
the Father and the Son. one who denies the Father and the Son.
23
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath 23
No one who denies the Son has the Father;
not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth everyone who confesses the Son has the
the Son hath the Father also. Father also.
i) 2:18. By the time 1 John was written, things had gotten worse for the Christian
churches. He writes that it is now “the last hour” (KJV “the last time”), and that there
are now “many antichrists.”
(1) It seems that John, like Paul and other 1st century Christians, was expecting
Jesus to return during his lifetime, and saw this rampant apostasy as evidence
that things were coming to a head.22
(2) But in addition to warning about “many antichrists,” John also mentions “ye have
heard that antichrist [singular] shall come.”

22
This widespread belief is something we discussed when we talked about Jesus’ prophecy of his return in Matthew 24
(lesson 8, pages 5–6; http://scr.bi/LDSARCNT08n), and we’ll discuss it more next week, when we cover Paul’s letters to the
Thessalonians.

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(a) 1 and 2 John are the only places in the New Testament where the term
antichrist is used, although the concept of a powerful deceiver who will
appear at the end of the age appears in other passages.23 John still expects this
antichrist to arise.
ii) 2:20–21. John tells the believers that they have an anointing (KJV “unction”) that
has given them knowledge, and therefore they know the truth. What is this
anointing? 1 John 2:27 explains:
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not
that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and
is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
(1) The most reasonable interpretation here is that the anointing John is referring to
is the receiving of the Holy Spirit, which “shall teach you all things, and bring all
things to your remembrance” (John 14:26).
(2) The Holy Spirit is critical to saints who face these sorts of challenges. It is
through the Spirit that we are able to discern truth from error.
iii) 2:22–23. John defines “antichrist” as one who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Those
who deny the Son deny the Father, while those who accept the Son accept the Father
also.
For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me; and he that receiveth me
receiveth my Father; and he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father's
kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him. (D&C 84:36–
38.)
e) 1 John 4:1–3.
KJV 1 John 4:1–3 NRSV 1 John 4:1–3
1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the 1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but
spirits whether they are of God: because test the spirits to see whether they are from
many false prophets are gone out into the God; for many false prophets have gone out
world. into the world.
2
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every 2
By this you know the Spirit of God: every
spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has
come in the flesh is of God: come in the flesh is from God,
3
And every spirit that confesseth not that 3
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of is not from God. And this is the spirit of the
God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, antichrist, of which you have heard that it is
whereof ye have heard that it should come; coming; and now it is already in the world.
and even now already is it in the world.
i) 4:1. John encourages these saints to test (KJV “try”) the spirits they encounter,
“because many false prophets are gone out [from the church] into the world.” This
implies that these false prophets are claiming to speak by inspiration or to perform
miracles in Christ’s name.
ii) 4:2–3. How should we test them? You will know they are of God if they confess that
Jesus has come in the flesh. Those who don’t confess Jesus are not from God, but are
antichrist.
iii) We don’t have Docetists in our midst today; that heresy died off over 1,000 years
ago. Do we face antichrists today? If so, who are they? How can we detect them?
23
See Matthew 24:24–26; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–12; Revelation 13:1–18. We’ll discuss this more in lessons 20 and 28.

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3) [SLIDE 6] Theme #2—Walking in light.


a) The contest between light and darkness is a prominent theme in the Gospel of John.24
He returns to this theme in 1 John to encourage his Christian audience to walk in the
light.
b) 1 John 1:5–10.
KJV 1 John 1:5–10 NRSV 1 John 1:5–10
5
This then is the message which we have 5
This is the message we have heard from him
heard of him, and declare unto you, that God and proclaim to you, that God is light and in
is light, and in him is no darkness at all. him there is no darkness at all.
6
If we say that we have fellowship with him, 6
If we say that we have fellowship with him
and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the while we are walking in darkness, we lie and
truth: do not do what is true;
7
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the 7
but if we walk in the light as he himself is in
light, we have fellowship one with another, the light, we have fellowship with one
and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son another, and the blood of Jesus his Son
cleanseth us from all sin. cleanses us from all sin.
8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive 8
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive
ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just 9
If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and
to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us
all unrighteousness. from all unrighteousness.
10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make 10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make
him a liar, and his word is not in us. him a liar, and his word is not in us.
i) John affirms two truths in this passage:
(1) 1:5–7. “God is light” (compare Psalm 27:1), and if we wish to have fellowship or
association with him, we must walk in the light.
(2) 1:6–10. We deceive ourselves if we claim that we have no sin. The only escape
from sin is to confess them to God, and he will cleanse us. (More on this in a
moment).
ii) It appears that the false teachers John warns against were claiming that true
Christians did not sin, probably because they rejected the saving death of Jesus
Christ. (Remember John is fighting Docetism.)
iii) Do we face similar claims today? Where do they come from? How can we identify
and reject them?
c) 1 John 2:7–11.
KJV 1 John 2:7–11 NRSV 1 John 2:7–11
7
Brethren, I write no new commandment 7
Beloved, I am writing you no new
unto you, but an old commandment which ye commandment, but an old commandment
had from the beginning. The old that you have had from the beginning; the
commandment is the word which ye have old commandment is the word that you have
heard from the beginning. heard.
8
Again, a new commandment I write unto 8
Yet I am writing you a new commandment
you, which thing is true in him and in you: that is true in him and in you, because the
because the darkness is past, and the true darkness is passing away and the true light is
light now shineth. already shining.

24
See John 1:4–9; 3:19–21; 5:35; 8:12; 9:5; 11:9–10; 12:35–36, 46.

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Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 7
9
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth 9
Whoever says, “I am in the light,” while
his brother, is in darkness even until now. hating a brother or sister, is still in the
darkness.
10
He that loveth his brother abideth in the 10
Whoever loves a brother or sister lives in
light, and there is none occasion of stumbling the light, and in such a person there is no
in him. cause for stumbling.
11
But he that hateth his brother is in 11
But whoever hates another believer is in
darkness, and walketh in darkness, and the darkness, walks in the darkness, and
knoweth not whither he goeth, because that does not know the way to go, because the
darkness hath blinded his eyes. darkness has brought on blindness.
i) 2:7–8. What is the “new commandment” John is referring to?
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved
you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my
disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34–35; cf. 1 John 3:23.)
(1) How is this both an old and a new commandment? Because it has been given
since the beginning of God’s dealings with mankind,25 but it has been given again
as the first commandment of God’s new covenant through Christ.26
ii) 2:9–11. In order to fulfill God’s new commandment and remain in the light, we must
love our brothers (and sisters) in the gospel.27 John equates hatred with darkness
and love with light; to remain in the light, we must love one another.
iii) What personal difficulties do we face in loving fellow members of our ward? How
can we overcome them and learn to love our brothers and sisters?
iv) This takes us directly into our next theme:
4) [SLIDE 7] Theme #3—“God is love”: He loves us, so we must love our brothers and sisters.
a) 1 John 3:15–18.
KJV 1 John 3:15–18 NRSV 1 John 3:15–18
15
Whosoever hateth his brother is a 15
All who hate a brother or sister are
murderer: and ye know that no murderer murderers, and you know that murderers do
hath eternal life abiding in him. not have eternal life abiding in them.
16
Hereby perceive we the love of God,28 16
We know love by this, that he laid down his
because he laid down his life for us: and we life for us—and we ought to lay down our
ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. lives for one another.
17
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth 17
How does God’s love abide in anyone who
his brother have need, and shutteth up his has the world’s goods and sees a brother or
bowels of compassion from him, how sister in need and yet refuses help?
dwelleth the love of God in him?
18
My little children, let us not love in word, Little children, let us love, not in word or
18

neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. speech, but in truth and action.
i) 3:15. John’s strong language here—“whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer”—
recalls Jesus’ teaching at the Sermon on the Mount:
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and
whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That
25
See Moses 7:33; Leviticus 19:18, 34.
26
See John 15:12–17.
27
Jesus gave a general commandment that we love all people. John’s use of “brother” in 1 John indicates that he has a
narrower focus, that of love for fellow Christians.
28
The phrase “of God” is not found in the earliest and best manuscripts. The “he” referred to here is from the Greek “that
one,” and clearly refers to Jesus Christ.

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Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 8

whosoever is angry with his brother…shall be in danger of the judgment: and


whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but
whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:21–22.)29
ii) 3:16. The reverse is actually true: If we love our brother or sister, we should be
willing to die for them. (See John 15:13.)
iii) 3:17–18. But love as a mere emotion isn’t enough—it must be expressed in action. If
we love our brother or sister, and see him or her in need, we cannot say we love them
if we do not help them. (See Mosiah 4:16–26.) We must love in action, not just in
speech.
b) 1 John 4:7–11.
KJV 1 John 4:7–11 NRSV 1 John 4:7–11
7
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is 7
Beloved, let us love one another, because
of God; and every one that loveth is born of love is from God; everyone who loves is born
God, and knoweth God. of God and knows God.
8
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for 8
Whoever does not love does not know God,
God is love. for God is love.
9
In this was manifested the love of God 9
God’s love was revealed among us in this
toward us, because that God sent his only way: God sent his only Son into the world so
begotten Son into the world, that we might that we might live through him.
live through him.
10
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but 10
In this is love, not that we loved God but
that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the that he loved us and sent his Son to be the
propitiation30 for our sins. atoning sacrifice for our sins.
11
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also 11
Beloved, since God loved us so much, we
to love one another. also ought to love one another.
i) Why must we love others?
(1) 4:7. Love is of (or from) God.
(2) 4:7–8. Love is a requirement of being born of God and knowing him, for God
himself is love.
(3) 4:9–10. He showed us how much he loved us by sending his Son into the world so
that we might have life (John 3:16). He loved us first.
(4) 4:11. Therefore, because God loves us, we should to love one another.
c) 1 John 4:15–21.
KJV 1 John 4:15–21 NRSV 1 John 4:15–21
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the
15 15
God abides in those who confess that Jesus
Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in is the Son of God, and they abide in God.
God.

29
The phrase “without a cause,” found in the KJV Bible, has been removed from this quote because it is not found in the
earliest and best Greek manuscripts and is not included in modern Bible translations. (It is also absent from the parallel
passage in the Book of Mormon and the JST.) See lesson 6, page 10; http://scr.bi/LDSARCNT06n
30
The word propitiation is the KJV translation of the Greek word ιλασμος (hilasmos), which appears twice in the New
Testament, both in 1 John (2:2; 4:10). It’s difficult to translate in English, but the general idea refers to turning away divine
anger. The English word “propitiation” (KJV, NASB, ESV) refers to appeasing or making favorable, which is pretty close;
however, we don’t use “propitiate” in common English anymore. “Atonement” (to cover) or “atoning sacrifice” (NRSV, NET,
NIV) is acceptable, but not quite close enough to the Greek meaning. “Sacrifice” (NLT, CEV) is even further from the intent.

© 2011, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 9
16
And we have known and believed the love 16
So we have known and believe the love that
that God hath to us. God is love; and he that God has for us. God is love, and those who
dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in abide in love abide in God, and God abides in
him. them.
17
Herein is our love made perfect, that we 17
Love has been perfected among us in this:
may have boldness in the day of judgment: that we may have boldness on the day of
because as he is, so are we in this world. judgment, because as he is, so are we in this
world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love
18 18
There is no fear in love, but perfect love
casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. casts out fear; for fear has to do with
He that feareth is not made perfect in love. punishment, and whoever fears has not
reached perfection in love.
19
We love him, because he first loved us. 19
We love because he first loved us.
20
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his 20
Those who say, “I love God”, and hate their
brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who
his brother whom he hath seen, how can he do not love a brother or sister whom they
love God whom he hath not seen? have seen, cannot love God whom they have
not seen.
And this commandment have we from him,
21 21
The commandment we have from him is
That he who loveth God love his brother this: those who love God must love their
also. brothers and sisters also.
i) 4:16. Earlier John taught that “God is light,” so therefore we should walk in the light
(1 John 1:5–7). He now asserts that “God is love,” so therefore we should love others.
ii) 4:17. If we love, as he has commanded, then we can be bold when we face him in the
day of judgment, because we will know then that we have been like he is. Love gives
us assurance and confidence that we have done as he has asked of us.
iii) 4:18. If we fear the day of judgment, it’s because we don’t have perfect love. If we
have Godly love for others, then we will not be afraid to stand before him at the last
day.
5) [SLIDE 8] Theme #4—Knowing God.
a) 1 John 2:3–6.
KJV 1 John 2:3–6 NRSV 1 John 2:3–6
3
And hereby we do know that we know him, 3
Now by this we may be sure that we know
if we keep his commandments. him, if we obey his commandments.
4
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not 4
Whoever says, “I have come to know him,”
his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is but does not obey his commandments, is a
not in him. liar, and in such a person the truth does not
exist;
5
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is 5
but whoever obeys his word, truly in this
the love of God perfected: hereby know we person the love of God has reached
that we are in him. perfection. By this we may be sure that we
are in him:
6
He that saith he abideth in him ought 6
whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to
himself also so to walk, even as he walked. walk just as he walked.
i) 2:3. In his Great Intercessory Prayer, Jesus declared
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3.)

© 2011, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 10

(1) Continuing with the theme of assurance that we just discussed, how can we
know (be sure) that we know God and therefore have eternal life? If we keep his
commandments.
(2) And what is his commandment?
b) 1 John 3:22–24.
KJV 1 John 3:23–24 NRSV 1 John 3:23–24
23
And this is his commandment, That we 23
And this is his commandment, that we
should believe on the name of his Son Jesus should believe in the name of his Son Jesus
Christ, and love one another, as he gave us Christ and love one another, just as he has
commandment. commanded us.
24
And he that keepeth his commandments 24
All who obey his commandments abide in
dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby him, and he abides in them. And by this we
we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that
which he hath given us. he has given us.
i) 3:23. Compare this with Jesus’ teaching at the Last Supper in John 13:34; 15:12.
ii) 3:24. God dwells (or abides) in us if we believe in his Son and love one another. We
know that he abides in us because we have the presence of the Holy Ghost as a
witness.
c) 1 John 3:1–3.
KJV 1 John 3:1–2 NRSV 1 John 3:1–2
1
Behold, what manner of love the Father 1
See what love the Father has given us, that
hath bestowed upon us, that we should be we should be called children of God; and
called the sons of God: therefore the world that is what we are. The reason the world
knoweth us not, because it knew him not. does not know us is that it did not know him.
2
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it 2
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what
doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we will be has not yet been revealed. What
we know that, when he shall appear, we we do know is this: when he is revealed, we
shall be like him; for we shall see him as he will be like him, for we will see him as he is.
is.
i) 3:1. John’s use here of the phrase “sons [or children] of God” is the same as in his
gospel (John 1:12): He means it in the sense of a covenant relationship.
ii) 3:2. When Jesus returns we will see that we are like him. This doesn’t just mean in
physical appearance (Philippians 3:21), but just as the Son of God is righteous and
holy, so to are we as his children, because we love him and keep his commandments.
d) 2 John 1:9–11.
KJV 2 John 1:9–11 NRSV 2 John 1:9–11
9
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in 9
Everyone who does not abide in the teaching
the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have
abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath God; whoever abides in the teaching has
both the Father and the Son. both the Father and the Son.
10
If there come any unto you, and bring not 10
Do not receive into the house or welcome
this doctrine, receive him not into your anyone who comes to you and does not bring
house, neither bid him God speed: this teaching;
11
For he that biddeth him God speed is 11
for to welcome is to participate in the evil
partaker of his evil deeds. deeds of such a person.

© 2011, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 11

i) 1:9. In this final warning, John tells his readers that those who abide (dwell, remain)
in the doctrine or teaching of Christ have the Father and the Son. To know God is to
live his teachings.
ii) 1:10–11. He warns the saints not to receive or give him any greeting. This does not
mean that we insult or mock them, only that we do not assist them in their endeavor
to convert others to their teaching.31
6) [SLIDE 9] A textual note: The Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7–8).
a) This passage is probably the most controversial textual issue in the Bible. The longer
reading is found only in the King James Version:
For there are three that bear record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy
Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth], the
Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
i) This is the only direct statement in the Bible that supports the idea of a “three-in-
one” Trinitarian God.
ii) However, the italicized portion in brackets cannot be found in any Greek
manuscripts older than the 14th century. It appears in Old Latin manuscripts after
A.D. 600, and in the Latin Vulgate Bible after A.D. 750.

iii) None of the early Christian writers are aware of this passage (they certainly would
have used it to argue for the doctrine of the Trinity).
b) So where did the longer passage come from?
i) The phrase is first found in the writings of Priscillian, a 4th-century bishop in
Spain.32 It is quoted by several Christian writers in North Africa and Spain between
400 and 650. After that it was incorporated into some Latin manuscripts of the
Bible.
ii) [SLIDE 10] Desiderius Erasmus (whom we discussed back in lesson 2)33 omitted it
from his first two printed editions of Greek New Testament (A.D. 1516 and 1519)
because he couldn’t find any Greek manuscripts that had it.
(1) Other scholars criticized him for this move. Erasmus said that if someone could
find a Greek manuscript with the passage that he would include it in his third
edition. A Greek manuscript was quickly produced—very likely made to order—
and Erasmus reluctantly included in his third edition (1522).
(2) Because Erasmus’ Greek text became the basis for the King James Bible (1611),
the passage has survived to this day. No other Bible includes it.
iii) [SLIDE 11] In fact, if you read the passage without the Comma, it makes more
sense:

31
I bring this verse up partly because of my first memory of reading it: During my mission in Pennsylvania in the late
1980s my companion and I knocked on a door of a man who was a firm evangelical Protestant Christian. He refused to hear
our message, and even told us (quite emphatically) that he wasn’t supposed to shake our hand or wish us well because the
Bible instructed him not to. It was the first and only time 2 John 1:10–11 was ever used against me as a missionary.
32
Priscillian, Liber Apologeticus 1.4.
33
See lesson 2, pages 10–11; http://scr.bi/LDSARCNT02n

© 2011, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: The Epistles of John Week 19, Page 12

(1) 1 John 5:6–8. The passage in context.


KJV 1 John 5:6–8 NRSV 1 John 5:6–8
6
This is he that came by water and blood, 6
This is the one who came by water and
even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water
by water and blood. And it is the Spirit only but with the water and the blood.
that beareth witness, because the Spirit And the Spirit is the one that testifies,
is truth. for the Spirit is the truth.
7
For there are three that bear record in 7
There are three that testify:
heaven, the Father, the Word, and the
Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8
And there are three that bear witness in 8
the Spirit and the water and the blood,
earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the and these three agree.
blood: and these three agree in one.
c) The Johannine Comma was not written by the author of 1 John, and should be crossed
out in your Bible.34
7) [SLIDE 12] Next week we’ll start a 6-week study of the epistles of Paul, beginning with his
earliest writings to the saints at Thessalonica.
a) Reading: 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians.

34
The idea of the spirit, the water, and the blood being involved in Christ’s atonement is also found in Moses 6:59.

© 2011, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.