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Bible Study

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Historical-Cultural Context 2

Authorship 2

Audience 3

Literary Context 4


First Pericope (1 John 4:15) 6

Second Pericope (1 John 4:16) 8

Third Pericope (1 John 4:17-18) 9

Fourth Pericope (1 John 4:19) 10

Fifth Pericope (1 John 4:20) 11




APPENDIX: (Block Diagram) 15


Many secular people in today’s society question the love God has for them and run from what they perceive to be an evil God. However, the love that God has for His children changes the Christian’s perspective of life and death if Scripture is understood. As Christians, we should seek to teach the world of God’s love as the perfect Father without giving false pretenses of expectations that could be misunderstood to make God something that He is not. While John 3:16 and verses of the like are good foundations for Christianity, the Scripture of 1 John 4:15-20 gives a better foundation, in this particular writer’s opinion, to build upon to understand God and who He is and then to be followed by other verses that teach of God’s attributes. As scholars and church leaders, it is our responsibility to teach the true attributes of God and how He works in our lives as our creator and redeemer.

It is the goal of the writer of this paper to analyze and then apply the truths found in 1 John 4:15-20 to his readers in hopes of better understanding this foundational passage so that it may be taught to others concerning the truths of God’s love for His creation. It is believed that knowing that God is love and the fruit of this love resides in us because He first loved us. It is further believed that this love drives a hunger of the world to be accepted and loved by all means. It is then that we may examine other Scriptures to be taught of how God responds to His children such as found in the likes of John 3 and Hebrews 12. To better understand this portion of Scripture, lets spend sometime by first analyzing the context of the passage before digging deeper to analyze and then apply its truths to first, our lives and then those that God holds teachers accountable for teaching.




As one seeks to begin the study of a passage, it is important to know the author and the audience to which the author of the text was writing. Historically it has been a general belief throughout the church that the apostle John wrote 1, 2, and 3 John along with the Fourth Gospel, John. Although, there have been some doubters of the writers of the text in the historical church by those such as Jerome (347-420 A.D.) in which in his writing of Lives of Illustrious Men, he made reference to two Johns, the apostle and the elder. In more recent times, through textual criticism, there has been increasing speculation has arisen over the authorship of this text.

The main problem with knowing the authorship of 1 John is found in the fact that no A to B greeting as seek in the second and third epistles. This has led to wide speculation of the authorship, although perhaps not so much as is found in the authorship of 2 and 3 John where the author refers to himself as “elder.”

In his commentary, Kruse says:

Nevertheless, we can say certain things about the author: (i) he writes as an individual, something which his repeated self-references in the first person singular indicate (2:1, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 21, 26; 5:13); (ii) his language and thought bear very striking resemblance to that of the Fourth Gospel, suggesting that either he wrote the Gospel as well or was deeply influenced by its language and concepts; (iii) he writes as an eyewitness of Jesus Christ, introducing himself, along with others, as one who has heard, seen with his eyes, looked at, and touched with his hands the incarnate Word of life (1:1-5).

Further, Robert Yarbrough states, “In line with the majority view among Christian students during the past two thousand years (though out of step with today’s majority), I think it is highly probable that John the apostle wrote the Fourth Gospel and the three letters that traditionally bear his name.” It is in this writer opinion that he may continue and be confident that John, the apostle and writer of the Fourth Gospel is the author of the first epistle of John, in which he is studying.

We can also be confident of the accuracy of the text that we have, as Yarbrough points out, “Our state of textual certainty for 1 John is very high. The numerous variants inherent in the manual copying process offer rich potential for reflection on lexical possibility and semantic nuance, but offer no room for pessimism regarding whether we know almost exactly what the original text contained.”


Christians today do not know much about the direct audience of the epistles that John wrote other than the information that is shared in them. It is known though that John in the first epistle was writing to warn his followers of the dangers of secessionists, a common problem with the church at the time. It is commonly believed by scholars that the first epistle of John was written to a number of churches that were in communion with one another and when the epistle was received, it was copied and distributed to the other churches in the Johannine community, that is the community of John’s disciples. This is most evident because there is no greeting from the author to a specific group in the first epistle giving the idea that it was a



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