Thoughts from The Bible

Over the next few weeks as the Lord allows, we will study the letter of 1 John. Let’s begin this journey by getting to know the author.

by Joey Carroll Corinth Missionary Church

Under the influence of the Holy Spirit, John wrote five New Testament books: The Gospel of John, 1, 2, 3 John, and Revelation. His writing is unique from the other New Testament authors and easily recognizable. By the time he writes his books, he is an old man who has spent much of his lifetime reflecting upon and learning from all the things the Lord Jesus taught him and modeled before him. In fact, John realized something that we would do well to learn. John writes in the last verse of the Gospel of John, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written,” (John 21:25, NASB). Since that is true, a life spent contemplating and obeying what Jesus taught would not only fill up a man’s thoughts for a lifetime, it would also make one exceedingly wise and discerning – just like John.

John has several “titles” throughout Scripture, and those “titles” reveal to us a great deal about John’s character.
In 2 and 3 John, he refers to himself as “the elder,” and he truly was in every sense of the word. A faithful elder has a deep concern for the church. He loves the church, instructs the church, and protects the church, and you can certainly see all of these things in John. In 2 John, he warns the church to watch out for many deceivers who have gone out into the world. He is deeply concerned that they might lose what they had already understood and accomplished in their spiritual growth. His favorite word of instruction to the church was for us to love one another. John’s letters dripped with love for his congregants, often referring to them as the “beloved” or his “children.”

However, this was not always true of John. John had a brother named James, and together they were known as the “Sons of Thunder,” and that was certainly not a title that should make one proud. John had his struggles early on. One of his more sinful and embarrassing moments is recorded for us in Luke 9:52-56 when he wanted to call down fire from heaven and consume those who had rejected the Lord. Another time he and his brother desired a place of prominence and position, which led to a rebuke from the Lord (Mark 10:35-37). John was just like the rest of us. He was a sinful man in desperate need of a Savior. That should give us all great hope because this fiery fisherman, who was known as a son of thunder, later became known as “the elder,” whose teaching could be summarized by this one phrase, “Children, love one another.”

John was also known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” In humility, John never referred to himself in his gospel account. He could only describe himself by the love that he had experienced from God – a love that redefined and reshaped his entire life. This will be the
experience of every person who is truly born again. The love which comes to us first from God through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is reciprocated by a love for God and for others.
One last title of John that is very important in our study of God’s Word is John, “the eyewitness.” You can understand this title from his first words in 1 John, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and
touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life,” (1 John 1:1, NASB). Many people do not know how eyewitness accounts work. In a court of law, an eyewitness account is the type of evidence that makes a case. You cannot argue against two or more eyewitnesses who testify to identical accounts of what happened. Go reread 1 John 1:1 above, and you will notice the plurality of witnesses. “… what WE have seen with our eyes,” (emphasis added).
So, as we study 1 John in the weeks ahead, remember this is coming from a man who saw these things and experienced them first hand; therefore, we can trust in what he says.

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