By Jacob Toman
This is part of a Bible study series where we are examining each chapter of 1 John and asking challenging questions about the text. In addition to this series of articles, we’ll also be focusing some questions on our Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as in our sermons and other Bible studies we conduct with people in our community, around the book of 1 John. We hope that this series will help you learn not only about this particular book of the Bible, but also how to better examine and benefit from God’s word. Enjoy!
Throughout the book the author has related to his audience through the use of family greetings. The connection of John to his audience is a bond of friendship and close knit care: John cares greatly for the wellbeing of his audience, and sees his own joy intertwined with the joy of those to whom he writes.
In this final chapter of John, he seems to be a bit scattered. Discussing love, faith, testimony of truth, the person of Jesus, prayer, confidence in knowing God, eternal life, sin, and idolatry. We may stand back and accuse John of being disorganized or rushed as he ends this first epistle. Yet in these last few verses, we see the focus of John for his audience is to know the secure confidence of relationship with God. Take a few moments to read 1 John 5, and then follow up by considering the witness of John and the encouragement of John.
1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well.
2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.
3 In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.
5 Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
6 This is the one who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ. He did not come by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.
7 For there are three that testify:
8 the Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.
9 We accept human testimony, but God’s testimony is greater because it is the testimony of God, which he has given about his Son.
10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.
16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.
17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.
19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
1. What is the hallmark of the children of God? (Hint: see v1-3)
2. What is meant by three witnesses? (Hint: Think of a court of law)
3. How can you tell a trustworthy witness from a false witness?
4. What does John lean on for his witnesses? (Hint: See 1 John 1:1-3, 2:24-26)
5. What are the three encouragements John gives his audience?
a. God _______ his people (Hint: See v14-15)
b. God keeps his people _______ (Hint: See v18)
c. God gives _______ to his people (Hint: See v11, 13)