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Recap of sections of the Bible:


          Creation/ Fall/ Covering

          Messianic Prophecies begin

Abrahamic Covenant

          12 Tribes/ Joseph and Judah


          Mosaic Covenant/ Law

                    10 Commands


                    Levitical Priesthood

History (of Israel)

          Conquest of Canaan

          More Messianic Prophecies


Davidic Covenant

Solomon’s Temple

Divided Kingdom 


          Messianic Prophecies become clearer

                    Suffering Servant

                    Conquering King  


          Major/ Minor

          Messianic Prophecies become startlingly clear!

          Future of Israel and World sketched out

          Day of the Lord




          Jesus is the Messiah/ Son of Man

          Jesus is the Son of God/ Jesus is God the Son

          Jesus is the only way of salvation

          The Great Commission

Acts (History of Early Church)

          The Holy Spirit works through individuals and churches


          Paul’s          By Paul to specific churches and individuals

          General        By assorted other apostles to general audiences

          Major doctrines explained/ clarified

Practical instructions to believers to live holy, set apart lives in this age of grace! Holiness is simply wanting to know Jesus and be like Him!


Ages to come are revealed, showing God keeping all yet to be fulfilled prophecies!


Counting the gospel of John, I, II, III John, and Revelation, how many chapters of the New Testament did John write?


Tradition has it that John survived all of the other apostles, having a long and full life and ministry. John probably wrote each of his 5 books after the rest of the New Testament was completed!

Look at Handout: The Life of John

Who was John’s father?             Zebedee                 Matthew 4:21; Mark 1:19

Who was John’s mother?           Salome                   Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40

We know his brother was James and they were fishermen before Christ called them

We know that like Peter he was unschooled, with no formal rabbinical training.

If she was Mary’s sister, as some have surmised, then John and James were Jesus’ cousins.

Today we look at the 3 little letters the apostle John wrote, next time we begin looking at Revelation!

We already covered Jude with James, as they were both half-brothers of Jesus!

I, II, and III John are the 62nd-64th books of the 66 in the Bible; the 23rd-25th of the 27 in the New Testament; the 5th-7th of the 8 General Epistles.   

I John:

Advanced in years, John writes out of concern for his spiritual children who are being enticed by the lure of worldliness and the lies of false teachers.

The letter was probably written in Ephesus, where John had an extended ministry in later years.

May have been written in the early 90’s AD, before the persecution under Emperor Domitian began around 95 AD.

I John does what I Peter and Jude does: challenges false doctrine and encourages believer’s to embrace the truth and walk in it!

Key word: The word LOVE appears more than 35 times in this letter, an average of once every three verses.

Of course for John, Jesus is the supreme example of love, and doing the things he has commanded us to do will lead to a life characterized by love!

Jesus had turned John from a “Son of Thunder” to an apostle of love! Luke 9:52-56

John never got over Jesus’ love for him, calling himself the disciple Jesus loved.

We should be like John: we should never get over the love of Jesus!

Another key word: Fellowship

Koinonea occurs 4 times in I John 1, tying 2 Corinthians as the place the word occurs most!

John wants his hearers to know how to experience true fellowship with God and each other!

John refutes those who denied Jesus’ incarnation, that He came in a human body (4:2-3).

This false teaching that he confronted was a forerunner of Gnosticism, which taught that matter was inherently evil and that spirit was essentially good.

This could be twisted to teach nonsense like, “You didn’t sin with that prostitute, your body did.” 

II & III John:

Against false teachers who serve themselves, for believers walking in the truth!

Both probably written by John from Ephesus in the early 90’s AD.

Both open with John calling himself “The Elder.” Peter calls himself a fellow elder in I Peter 5. One of their apostolic functions was being proto-elders, whose humble and bold example should be followed by future elders over God’s elect!

John writes in 2 John to the elect lady and her children, probably a reference to the church. In verse 13 he sends greeting from the children of your elect sister, presumably the church at Ephesus!

John writes in 3 John to his friend Gaius who he loves in the truth. Gaius is probably a leader in a specific church. 

3 John is written in part to help Gaius rebuke a church member that was acting like a lord over the affairs of the church.   

Key Verses in I John:

1:5-2:2         Fellowship with God and one another by walking in the light.

I don’t want you to sin, but when you do, confess it to Jesus and receive His forgiveness!

2:1     Jesus as Advocate

Word is Paraclete; the same word Jesus used of the Holy Spirit in Upper Room Discourse!

2:9-11          Christians love other Christians!

2:15-17        Christians do not love the world!

Satan uses the Lust of the flesh, the lust of eyes, and the pride of life.

3:1-3            The hope that purifies!

3:4-10          Christians turn from their sins!  Remember I John 1:9!

3:16-20        Christians use their resources to bless others!

4:1               Test the spirits because of false prophets

4:2-3            Reject teachers that deny Jesus’ humanity

4:4     Great promise! Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world!

4:10   God says: “I loved you first, and I love you more!”

4:11   So love one another!

4:15   Reject teachers who deny Jesus’ divinity!

4:18-19        Perfect love drives out fear; we love Him because He first loved us!

5:4-5  It is our faith that overcomes the world!

5:6-8  Three that testify…

Water – probably a reference to Jesus’ baptism, when Spirit descended on Him and Father testified of  Him!

Blood – probably a reference to Jesus death, fulfilling prophecy; JTB- Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

KJV had much later transcripts saying, These 3 testify, Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.

5:11-13        Written that you may know you have eternal life.

John believed in the doctrine of eternal security.

5:16             Sin that leads to death.

Rejection of Christ, failure to repent before death.

No use to pray for a person to be accepted by God apart from repentance!

5:21   Keep yourselves from idols!

Key Verses in II John:

Verses 4-6  

If you love Jesus, you’ll keep His commands, you’ll walk according to them.

What is His command?              To love one another, to walk in love!

Verse 7        Antichrist = denying what the Bible says about Jesus, that as God He came in the flesh!

Verse 8        Watch yourselves – don’t lose your reward!

There is a coming reward!

Don’t lose it!

Verse 9        If you remain in correct teaching about Christ, you have both Father and Son!

Verse 10      Don’t spend precious time with those who deny Jesus is God in flesh!

Key Verses in III John:

Verse 2        Prayer for the total person

Verse 4        The Shepherd’s verse!

No greater joy…than spiritual children walking in the truth!

Verse 5        Faith shown in loving deeds done toward other believers

Even strangers you didn’t know, but you know they are doing God’s work!

Verse 8        Support such men, becoming co-workers with the truth!

My saying about how everyone needs a personal strategy to fulfill the Great Commission!

Verse 11      Don’t imitate what is evil, but what is good!

Contrast between Diotrephes and Demetrius

Kind of a spiritual version of Goofus and Gallant!

Diotrephes has to have first place, often impedes God’s work and maligns God’s workers

Demetrius has a good testimony from God’s people and the truth!