Route 66 / Stop 62: I JOHN

Audio File: 
Dr. Rich McCarrell
Sunday, January 13, 2019


Though the author does not identify himself by name, we believe the author to be the apostle John. The author speaks in the first person (1:4, 2:1). As we read the other writings attributed to the apostle John, it seems to be that he desired not to mention himself in the books he penned. He was used of God to write Gospel of John/Three Letters of John/ and Revelation where he is self identified (1:4/1:9/22:8).


But, there also is some clear internal evidence. We see that the author was an eyewitness of our Lord (1:1-3). Also many phrases used in 1 John are used nowhere else in the New Testament except in the Gospel of John and The Revelation. Examples – “the Word” (John 1:1, 1 John 1:1, Rev. 19:13) “Joy full” (John 16:24, 1 John 1:4) “to do the truth” (John 3:21, 1 John 1:6) “to have sin” (John 9:41, 1 John 1:8) “Paraclete” (John 14:16,    1 John 2:1) “the true light” (John 1:9, 1 John 2:8), “new commandment” (John 13:34,    1 John 2:8), also “little children,” “begotten of God,” “no man hath beheld God at any time,” “to overcome the world,” etc.


Historically, the earliest Christian writers after the apostolic period unanimously held to this epistle as having been authored by John. It was also the unanimous opinion of the early church that the Gospel of John, these three epistles and the book of Revelation were all written by John.


A couple of interesting thoughts concerning the apostle John. 1. He outlived all the other apostles. 2. He had a long and fruitful life. 3. The Spirit of God empowered him to pen the gospel, telling us of Christ’s coming to earth and how we can come to salvation by “believing”. Then, he tells us of the coming again of Jesus Christ. This he wrote in the Gospel of John and Revelation. Now, what do we do between “us coming to Christ” and “Christ coming for us”? This is the space in the believer’s life between his understanding of the work of Christ and the time that Christ calls us unto Himself. This time is to be lived in proper relationship to both of these momentous events. Therefore, it is this life in the Son that John writes about in his three epistles. John shows that the sin question has been settled (1:9-2:2). Eternal life is now readily available and confirmed upon all who believe (5:1-13). Now the manner of living is to be in such a way as to make us comfortable in the presence of Christ when He returns (2:28).


Date:               Probably around AD 90.



This epistle is not addressed to any particular local church or individual. Along with James, 1 and 2 Peter and Jude, these three letters (I,II,III John) are called the “general epistles”. In other words, these were addressed in a general way to all believers (5:13).

  Note John’s classification of believers in 2:13:

  *  “fathers” – those mature in the Christian faith

  *  “young men” – those who have not been Christians very long, but are maturing

  *  “little children” – those who have just recently been saved



We see the purpose clearly, because John tells us specifically why he wrote these   words. First, in 1:3-4 he tells us his desire is for us to have joy in our fellowship with God and fellow believers. Secondly, in 5:13, John states he desires us to know that we have eternal life! Now, in 2:1, John lets us know that his desire is that we sin not. This is the third great purpose and it grows out of the first two (our understanding and assurance of our salvation). Now walking in fellowship with the Lord - - walking so closely that our desire truly is that we “sin not” so that our “joy” might be full.


By the way, always compare Scripture with Scripture. So in viewing 3:6 and 3:9, compare it with verses such as 1:8-10 and 2:1-2. Then compare all of these verses with 2:19. Comparing Scripture with Scripture within the context of any book will keep us from being off balance. Remember also the distinction between position and practice. Positional relationship and practical fellowship.

 “The fact that God has removed the penalty for our sin at conversion, does not remove the necessity of confessing our sins frequently. The issue is not acceptance by God, but fellowship with God. Conversion (forensic, positional) forgiveness makes us acceptable as members of God’s family. Continual (family, practical) forgiveness enables us to experience intimate fellowship within God’s family.”      – Dr. Tom Constable –



Fellowship with God. We as believers need to appreciate our Fellowship with God, guard it, and be diligent in deepening it. This is a very intimate “family” letter.



1. God is light (1:1-2:29)       

2. God is love (3:1-4:21)                                

3. God is life (5:1-21)


Side Note 1:

The Family of God

- How do we enter ~ Gospel of John

- How do we act once in ~ Three epistles of John

- What’s the familys future ~ Revelation


Side Note 2:   

The contrasts between the children of God (John 1:12) and the children of the world (John 8:44)

- Contrast of principle (1:6-7, 2:8;-11)

- Contrast of loves (2:15-17)

- Contrast of practice (3:4-10)

- Contrast of the inner spirit (4:1-3)

- Contrast of attitudes (4:7-12, 16-21)


* There are great nuggets of truth tucked away all throughout this epistle. We would do well to read        and meditate on them.