Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity 1 John or The First Epistle of John A Love letter to Struggling Christians Share Flipboard Email Print The Apostles Peter and John race to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection, by Eugene Burnand (1926). Print Collector / Contributor / Getty Images Christianity The New Testament Christianity Origins The Bible The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism Latter Day Saints View More By Jack Zavada Christianity Expert M.A., English Composition, Illinois State University B.S., English Literature, Illinois State University Jack Zavada is a writer who covers the Bible, theology, and other Christianity topics. He is the author of "Hope for Hurting Singles: A Christian Guide to Overcoming Life's Challenges." our editorial process Jack Zavada Updated June 25, 2019 The early Christian church was afflicted with doubts, persecution, and false teaching, and the Apostle John addressed all three in his encouraging book of 1 John. He first established his credentials as as an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, mentioning that his hands had touched the risen Savior. John used the same type of symbolic language as he did in his Gospel, describing God as "light." To know God is to walk in light; to deny him is to walk in darkness. Obedience to God's commands is walking in the light. John warned against antichrists, false teachers who denied Jesus is the messiah. At the same time, he reminded believers to remember the true teaching he, John, had given them. In one of the most profound statements in the Bible, John said: "God is love." (1 John 4:16, NIV) John urged Christians to love one another unselfishly, as Jesus loved us. Our love for God is reflected in how we love our neighbor. The final section of 1 John set down an encouraging truth: "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12, NIV) Despite Satan's domination of the world, Christians are children of God, able to rise above temptation. John's final warning is as relevant today as it was 2,000 years ago: "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." (1 John 5:21, NIV) Author of 1 John The Apostle John Date Written About 85 to 95 A.D. Written to Christians in Asia Minor, all later Bible readers Landscape At the time he wrote this epistle, John may have been the only surviving eyewitness to the life of Jesus Christ. He had ministered to the church in Ephesus. This short work was written before John was exiled to the island of Patmos, and before he wrote the book of Revelation. 1 John was probably circulated to several of the Gentile churches in Asia Minor. Themes John stressed the seriousness of sin, and while he acknowledged that Christians still sin, he presented the love of God, proven through the sacrificial death of his son Jesus, as the solution to sin. Christians must confess, ask forgiveness, and repent. In countering the false teachings of Gnosticism, John affirmed the goodness of the human body, calling for trust in Christ for salvation, not works or asceticism. Eternal life is found in Christ, John told his readers. He stressed that Jesus is the Son of God. Those who are in Christ are assured of eternal life. Key Characters John, Jesus Key Verses 1 John 1:8-9If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)1 John 3:13Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. (NIV)1 John 4:19-21We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (NIV) Outline of the Book of 1 John God is light, and love is the supreme commandment - 1 John 1:1-2:17.Confess the Son and listen to the apostles - 1 John 2:18-4:6.God's love and faith in his Son assure us - 1 John 4:7-5:12.Faith creates confidence and understanding - 1 John 5:13-21.