1, 2, and 3 John

Robert Carroll and Stephen Prickett

in The Bible: Authorized King James Version

Published in print February 1998 | ISBN: 9780192835253
Published online April 2009 |

Series: Oxford World's Classics

1, 2, and 3 John

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Peter and Jude are separated in the New Testament by the Johannine epistles. The location, origins, and date of the Johannine letters are all uncertain. Strong similarities between these letters and the Gospel of John suggest that if the writers are not the same, the author of the epistles was clearly influenced by the Fourth Gospel. Ancient tradition ascribes the letters and the gospel to the apostle John at Ephesus. An alternative may be John the elder, who flourished at the beginning of the second century, and who seems to have been confused with the apostle John by later authorities. These Johannine letters, like many of the shorter writings of the New Testament, are very concerned with the problem of heretical teaching. Towards the end of the first century there were so many itinerant preachers in and around Asia Minor expounding the teachings of Jesus that conflict and heresy were inevitable. That some teachings were regarded as heretical by other teachers indicates a growing need for an organization with authoritative teachings. Here are the beginnings of the (Catholic) Church as the creator and maintainer of orthdoxy, or correct belief. 1 John is a good example of the lack of any unified or consistent teaching in the New Testament. Sin, love, light and darkness seem to be the main focal points: ‘But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us’ (1: 7–10). And yet in 3: 9 the writer says: ‘Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.’ So do Christians sin and prove that they are not born of God or do they say that they have not sinned and make God a liar? Either way there seem to be logical problems. The writer of Hebrews took the view that one could not repent of sin after baptism and enlightenment, whereas 1 John takes a rather different view.

Chapter.  879 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies ; Biblical Studies

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