the first epistle of saint john

Saint John the Apostle

Written by Mark Lafler

B.A., Global University; M.C.S., Regent College I am currently serving as a youth minister at our church in Sarasota, FL. I am married to Tera (15 Years +) and we have 3 beautiful daughters.

March 12, 2012

1 John is a short yet powerful letter.  It is most likely written by John the disciple of Jesus.  We believe that it was John the disciple as opposed to another John because the author states that he was an eyewitness in 1:1-2.  It is also believed that the Greek style of writing in 1 John is very similar to other books that are probably written by John the disciple of Jesus (i.e. the Gospel of John; Revelation).

The Letter was most likely written sometime between 85 and 90 AD, after the Gospel of John was written but before Revelation.  It is not known to whom the letter is written.

It seems the main purpose of the letter was to reassure Christians in their faith and to counter false teachings.  These two ideas go hand-in-hand.  When John counters the false teachings he is reassuring the believers in their faith.

It is most likely that the false teachings were an early form of Gnosticism.  Gnostics believed that knowledge is what brought true salvation.  They believed in a secret knowledge that was built on the belief that the spiritual world (the invisible world) is pure and true.  The physical world (the visible world) is evil and corrupt.

Of course, we know that this teaching is wrong because God created the world and declared that it was good.  We believe that John is refuting this early form of Gnosticism because of his emphasis on the physical in 1:1 and 4:2-3.  He also refutes the false teachers in 2:22.

It is also important to see John’s emphasis on “knowing” in the letter.  The false teachers believe in a false-knowledge.  John emphasizes the importance of knowing correct doctrine.  In fact, John uses “to know” 13 times in this short letter.

Other key words/topics that are emphasized in the letter include sin, light, and love.

Perhaps the key verse is 5:13:

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you have eternal life.

I pray as you read, study, meditate, and pray over this precious letter that you will be drawn closer to God by His Spirit and that you may know Christ with a desire to make Him known.



  1. Nikole Hahn

    This is going to be an exciting study!

    • @bibledude

      umm, yeah! #1john is my favorite book in the #bible, so i’m really looking forward to this study! and these projects always bring in perspectives that i’ve never thought of before… really cool stuff!

  2. Rochelle Itsnotaboutme Hairsto

    A very important subject for the church right now.  It is imperative that we as Believers, know the true Gospel, stand up against false doctrines and teachings, and encourage our brethren.  My stance is that we are to know the Truth of GOD’s Word so well, that when the counterfeit looms it’s ugly head, we will know it for what it is, False Doctrine. I get a lot of flack for doing this, but as long as the Holy Spirit is leading me, I will endure the backlash.  To GOD be the glory always…

    • Mark Lafler

      Amen!  Thanks for sharing.

  3. Andy Carlson

    I Second Rochelle!


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the first epistle of saint john

by Mark Lafler time to read: 2 min