Unger's Bible Dictionary: First John



JOHN, FIRST EPISTLE OF. The first epistle of John is in the nature of a family letter from the heavenly Father to His "little children" who are in the world. The great theme of the epistle is fellowship in the family of the Father. The intimacy of the epistle has always had great attraction for the people of God.


Occasion and Date. The epistle was apparently written to compete with various forms of error, particularly Cerinthian Gnosticism. False teachers of this cult had denied the essential truth of the incarnation, that Christ had come in the flesh, maintaining that matter was evil. The writer also combated false mysticism that denied the reality of the sin nature in the Christian. He also railed against those who violated Christian fellowship and rejected Christian morality and love. The first epistle of John is in a sense a moral and practical application of the gospel. The time between the two could not have been long. It was probably written a little later than the gospel, around A.D. 90 AD or 95.


Purpose. The apostle plainly refutes the false ideas of the errorists. He does this positively, giving fresh interpretation and application of the gospel to the urgent demands of his time. He shows the reality of the fellowship with the Father and that believers possess eternal life now in this world. He stresses the close connection of the possession of eternal life with the manifestation of love, right conduct, and sound morality. The apostle apparently does not develop this thought in progressive fashion but in what has been called a "spiral" manner, treating a number of related topics and interweaving them. For this reason outlining the epistle is difficult and to some extent arbitrary. The book is commonly divided into two principal parts.



BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. H. A. Ebrard, Biblical Commentary on the Epistles of St. John (1860); P. J. Gloag, Introduction to the Johannine Writings (1891); C. H. Dodd, The Johannine Writings (1946); R. S. Candlish, The First Epistle of John (1955); L. Strauss, The Epistles of John (1962); J. R. W. Stott, The Epistles of John, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (1964); B. F. Westcott, The Epistles of St. John (1966); R. Law, The Tests of Life (1968); F. F. Bruce, The Epistles of John (1970); G. G. Findlay, Fellowship in the Life Eternal (1977); I. H. Marshall, The Epistles of John, New International Commentary on the New Testmament (1978); J. M. Boice, The Epistles of John (1979); R. C. Stedman, Expository Studies in I John (1980); J. J. Lias, First Epistle of John (1982); J. Morgan and S. Cox, The Epistles of John, 2 vols. in 1 (1982); D. W. Burdick, The Letters of John the Apostle (1985).

(from The New Unger's Bible Dictionary. Originally published by Moody Press of Chicago, Illinois. Copyright (c) 1988.)

New Testament Books and Authors

Bible History Online


The New Testament Books and Their Authors

New Testament Books and Authors The Book of Matthew The Book of Mark The Book of Luke The Book of John The Book of Acts The Book of Romans The Book of 1 Corinthians The Book of 2 Corinthians The Book of Galatians The Book of Ephesians The Book of Philippians The Book of Colossians The Book of 1 Thessalonians The Book of 2 Thessalonians The Book of 1 Timothy The Book of 2 Timothy The Book of Titus The Book of Philemon The Book of Hebrews The Book of James The Book of 1 Peter The Book of 2 Peter The Book of 1 John The Book of 2 John The Book of 3 John The Book of Jude The Book of Revelation Books of the New Testament The New Testament

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises. Heb. 8:6 (The Book of Hebrews)


image\bible_persp9.gif The New Testament is the most wonderful book. It reveals how God has kept every promise that He made to the nation Israel and ultimately fulfilled His covenant with them in One Man, Jesus Christ. It contains an accurate account of the gospel of Jesus Christ, His life, His history on earth, His Words, and His plan for all nations including Israel. It reveals how God used a single man, a Jew, who courageously went out to the farthest parts of the known world, to preach the gospel, and would eventually die for his faith in Jesus Christ. It reveals the end of the world, and how Jesus Christ would receive the kingdom that God had promised Him from the beginning.


The New Covenant - A Heart Message



The New Testament

A Heart Message


List of New Testament Books


Matthew Mark Luke
John Acts Romans
1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Galatians
Ephesians Philippians Colossians
1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians 1 Timothy
2 Timothy Titus Philemon
Hebrews James 1 Peter
2 Peter 1 John 2 John
3 John Jude Revelation


Charts and Information




Related Content