6 Nov. 1 John 1:5-9

6 Nov. The background to John and his three letters

"Here is the message we have heard from Christ and now announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. So if we say we have fellowship with God, but we continue living in darkness, we are liars and do not follow the truth."

But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from every sin."

"If we say we have no sin, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he will forgive our sins, because we can trust God to do what is right. He will cleanse us from all the wrongs we have done."

          (1 John 1:5-9)

 

 

The three Letters of John were written between c.86 and 88AD, after the writing of John’s Gospel in c.85AD and before the Revelation given to John in c.90AD.

John was writing from the ‘mother’ church in Ephesus to believers in numerous ‘daughter’ churches spread across the interior of Asia Minor.

Both these letters and John’s Gospel were written to warn believers of a dangerous heresy (called 'gnosticism') that claimed Jesus was divine, but not fully human.

John sets out to convince the readers of his gospel and the recipients of his letters that Jesus was indeed both fully human and fully divine.

The First Letter of John was written by John, the son of Zebedee, who was one of Jesus’s first twelve disciples recruited in 27AD (see Matthew 10:2). It was written between c.86 and 88AD, after the writing of John’s Gospel in c.85AD and before the Revelation of John in c.90AD.

By the time he wrote this letter, John was an old man in his late seventies who addressed his readers in Ephesus and elsewhere as ‘my dear children’ (see 1 John 2:1). It was about sixty years since he had witnessed the events of Jesus’s life (see 1 John 1:1) but only a short time since he had written about them more fully in the Gospel of John.

It’s not surprising therefore that, in his letters and his gospel, John often uses similar words and expressions – compare, for example, 1 John 1:1-2 with John 1:1-2, and 1 John 1:6-7 with John 3:19-21.

The letter was written by John to warn believers of a dangerous heresy that was starting to engulf the churches in the Roman province of Asia. Those spreading this heresy – known today as ‘Gnostics’ – believed that Jesus was truly divine, but argued that he could not be fully human.

Some taught that Jesus only seemed to have a human body, while others said that the divine Christ only joined the human Jesus at baptism and left before he died (a view still held by some sects today). John set out to convince the readers of his gospel and the recipients of his letters that Jesus was indeed both fully human and fully divine.

At the start of his First Letter, John announces Christ’s message: “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). So Christians can’t be in fellowship with God while living lives clouded by dark and evil deeds.

John explains that if anyone says he doesn’t ever go against God’s wishes, he’s deceiving himself; but if we confess our sins to God, he will forgive us and purify us from what we have done wrong. (1 John 1:8-9)

The photo shows the remains of St John's Church in Ephesus, the 'mother church' from where John wrote his three letters to the daughter churches.

You can read more about John @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/introduction-to-john-his…/


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