1 John

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1 John

Postby andrwfields on Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:17 am

Suggested reading schedule:

Monday - Chapter 1
Tuesday - Chapter 2
Wednesday - Chapter 3
Thursday - Chapter 4
Friday - Chapter 5
Saturday - Post Thoughts
Sunday - Post Thoughts

Some versions available to read at Bible Gateway:

King James Version
New International Version
English Standard Version
New Living Translation

Once again, this is a very short book. Shouldn't be too hard to knock the whole thing out in a week, right?
"...An Apology. If you met me between 1987 and 2005 and I told you, "I'll pray for you," that was a lie. Never happened. I probably didn't pray for you. And that's not cool." - Prodigal Jon from StuffChristiansLike.blogspot.com
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Re: 1 John

Postby andrwfields on Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:11 am

So far, I have a studied chapters 1 & 2 of 1 John. I must admit that I am finding it difficult because John is not an easy man to follow. It's like trying to decipher Revelation (which is funny because they say this might be the same John who wrote Revelation), but with a message about God's love.

I plan on sitting down tomorrow and knocking out two more chapters, and hopefully finishing the last chapter on Saturday. After that, I'll post my notes up.
"...An Apology. If you met me between 1987 and 2005 and I told you, "I'll pray for you," that was a lie. Never happened. I probably didn't pray for you. And that's not cool." - Prodigal Jon from StuffChristiansLike.blogspot.com
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Re: 1 John

Postby andrwfields on Wed Aug 14, 2013 12:05 am

1 John

General Thoughts Before Reading

It’s amazing how much you can forget when you don’t study your Bible as much as you used to. Like how I had forgot what a vital character John the disciple and apostle was. This was a man known as “the beloved disciple.” He sat next to Jesus at the last supper. He stood at Christ’s feet while he was nailed to the cross. He was entrusted with taking care of Mary after Jesus died. He was there with Peter when the tomb was opened to reveal that it was opened. He was the Revelator!
Sure, he wasn’t remembered and made noteworthy like Peter or Paul, but he should have been. This guy was a key player and was a close and personal friend of Jesus. He’s got a story to tell.

Thoughts Through the Chapters

1 John 1
I have to admit, the first paragraph is pretty confusing. This is apparently a theme throughout the letters of John. According to the timeline that I’ve seen, these letters were written not too long before John wrote Revelation. It shouldn’t be said that John was crazy, but his thoughts were quite sporadic, and I think it’s possible he was beginning to have visions of the end times by this point in his life.

The second paragraph has a theme called, “Walking in the Light.” John says in 1:5-6 that, “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” This has been part of a big theme my pastor has been talking about lately during his sermons. I would say he paraphrased it well when he said, “If you’re acting like a saint on Sunday, but acting like the devil on Monday, then you really aren’t following Jesus.” The key point here is that we all need to acknowledge our own sin, and we shouldn’t try to act like it isn’t a part of our lives. That doesn’t mean we should be accepting of our sins, but that we should strive to live as Jesus would have us to.

1 John 2
Something that strikes at me while trying to read through John’s thoughts is that he doesn’t hold anything back about what it means to be a follower of Jesus. It’s like having a parent who is being harsh with you, but you know they’re doing it because they love you.
John talks about our sins in verses 1-6. He reminds us that we shouldn’t sin, but that if we do, we have an advocate to God. Jesus, the son, is our advocate to God, the father, for our sins. When he died on the cross, he gave us the ability to have our sins wiped clean.

John also reminds us about love and hate. In verses 9-11 he says, “Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. This is a big reminder because so many of us confess our love for Jesus but can’t stand some of the random people we see in our everyday lives. The only thing John cautions us against loving is the world itself. Our possessions and our desires outside of Christ will lead us astray from the light.

In verses 18-27, John talks about antichrists. Notice that antichrist is in the plural form. I find this interesting because modern day theories talk about antichrist as one man. This one person is feared by most and it is believed that he will try to take over the world. John states that an antichrist is someone who says that Jesus isn’t the son of God. I think there are a lot of antichrists. Can we not think of any person or persons that have said God and Jesus are not who they say they are? What about people who take the word of God and try to twist it for their own personal benefits? John warns us about these people as well, and says that we do not need anyone that should teach us a message that strays from the message of the Gospel.

1 John 3
The first theme of chapter three actually starts in chapter 2. It is a message about the “children of God.” John says that since God is righteous, that we should practice righteousness so that we may not shrink in His sight when we see Him. I initially connected righteousness with the term “self-righteous,” so you can see where I hit a moment of confusion.

John also mentions that those who continue to sin [after proclaiming for God] are doing the works of the devil. This is hard hitting stuff, and I have to wonder if I agree with it or not. Part of this is from the fact that I was saved a long time ago, before I really knew what to do with my faith. I did a lot of sinful things after the time I was saved until now. Many of us, who call ourselves Christians, still continue to sin. Does this mean we are working for the devil?

The next part of the chapter focuses on loving each other. I’m also starting to really take notice of the trend that John has to do extreme contrasts of good and evil. He says that everyone who loves his brother is righteous, and everyone who hates his brother is evil, and by extension, a murderer.
Still, I think the message that he is trying to get across is that we should love each other and do what we can to help each other out. Not just talk, but actual deeds.

1 John 4
The first segment of this chapter is about testing people (John calls them spirits) to see whether they are from God or the world. He says that anyone who confesses that Jesus was flesh and sent to die for our sins is of God and anyone who does not is an antichrist and of the world. This reminds me a lot of the conversations Sam and I have been having recently about the conflict between the theory of evolution and Creationism.

After this John goes back to the topic of loving one another. One particular verse that struck me was 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” To me, it sounded like something Paul could have tacked on to 1 Corinthians 13.

1 John 5
This is where John starts to talk about believing in Jesus. But he says something that I found peculiar. “This is he who came by water and blood – Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree.” (5:6-8)

I understand that the Spirit is the Holy Spirit, a part of the Holy Trinity. I understand that the water probably symbolizes Jesus’ baptism. By that same train of thought, I believe the blood is the blood shed by Christ when he was crucified for our sins. What I don't understand is how these three things “testify.”
One other thing confuses me. In 5:16-17, John talks about sins that lead to death. “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life – to those who commit sins that do not lead to death.” Is John trying to say that there are sins that even God will not forgive?

General Thoughts After Reading

Okay, I kind of understand why John’s letters are not studied that much. The guy is all over the place with his thoughts. Also, while he focuses on three main themes (love, God is light, and profession and belief of Jesus), he scatters these themes all throughout the letter. Also, some of his teachings seem somewhat contradictory to letters written by Paul and other apostles.

However, his themes are always polar opposites: If you don't love someone, you hate them. If you don’t sin, you are of God, if you do sin, you are of the devil. If you don't believe in Jesus, you are of the devil. It is possible that John was just trying to get a point across to his flock. After all, it is obvious that he cares for the people he is writing to, as he calls them “my little children.” It might just be that he doesn't want to give them an option to live in the gray areas of Christianity, because they can lead to the dark areas.
"...An Apology. If you met me between 1987 and 2005 and I told you, "I'll pray for you," that was a lie. Never happened. I probably didn't pray for you. And that's not cool." - Prodigal Jon from StuffChristiansLike.blogspot.com
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