1 John or First John is first of the three epistles written by John the Evangelist. Also mentioned as the First Epistle of John, it forms a part of Christian New Testament. John, who is also credited with the authorship of the Gospel of John, wrote 1 John while in Ephesus between 95 AD and 110 AD. The main reason for writing 1 John was to counter the notion of Docetism; a belief which held that Jesus only came as a spirit and not “in the flesh”. The book also laid the rules as to how Christians were supposed to distinguish true teaches from the false; by their ethics, by their steadfast belief of Christ coming in the flesh as well as by their love.
Although John the Evangelist is widely held as the author of the First Epistle of John or 1 John, there are still others who believe that the gospel and the epistle were created by different authors due to certain stylistic differences. Considering John as the writer of this text, it is believed that he wrote them at a later stage of his life. This would mean that 1 John was composed sometime around 98 AD or 99 AD.
In this letter, Saint John the Evangelist hopes to put certain false ideas regarding Jesus to rest and deepen the overall spiritual and social consciousness of the Christian people. Some former members of the Christian community refused to accept Jesus as Christ and even the fact that he is a true man. These members operated as heretical teachers to spread their wrongful notions about Jesus in the churches that were under the care of John the Evangelist. These teachers who were once church leaders themselves but later on turned to heterodoxy were labeled as Antichrists. It seemed that these false teachers spread notions of some form of indoctrination wherein they denied that Christ lived as a human among humans in order to keep his divinity intact. They also suggested that His crucifixion and death were not atonement for sins in the truest sense. A proto-Gnostic by the name of Cerinthus was quite active at that time who also denied the human aspect of Christ, and it seems that John also raised his voice against him.
John claims that the historic appearance and sacrifice of Christ Jesus is integral to the genuine practice of Christian ethics, faith and love. The richness of Christian life can be rewarded only through true belief and charitable living. Having true knowledge of God and cultivating love goes hand in hand, and erroneous ideas or practices in one sphere invariably affect the other. Even though the author admits that intangible mysteries about Christ are revealed by the Christian doctrine, he also insists that deeper realities about the gospel are indicated by concrete Christian life.
The text of 1 John contains very few quotations from the Old Testament or any distinctively Jewish expressions. This suggests that 1 John was written primarily for the gentiles who were already converted to Christianity. Sign up now to receive Bible Quotes from 1 John by email or text message daily.