The Epistles of John

This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. 1 John 2:5-6

The apostle John walked with Jesus for three years. He was part of the inner circle—along with Peter and James—who witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1), the resurrection of Jairus’ daughter (Mark 5:37), and Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane (Mark 14:33).

Jesus also gave John the privilege of caring for Mary, His mother (John 19:27). Can you imagine how many stories Mary told about Jesus’ first thirty years of life during the time she lived with John?

No other apostle could have known more about Jesus than John did. No one, therefore, could speak with more authority than John about walking as Jesus walked.*

How do we walk as Jesus walked? We walk in truth and love. To maintain fellowship with God, we must walk in truth; to maintain fellowship with other Christians, we must walk in love.

The epistles of John are about walking in truth and love. Knowing the truth enables us to discern error and avoid it; walking in truth enables us to love people who are ensnared in error. Knowing our salvation is irrevocable frees us from fear of condemnation; walking in that assurance motivates us to obey God’s commands with grateful hearts. Knowing God loves us unconditionally gives us the confidence to proclaim His truth; walking in love clothes His truth in grace and mercy so that people are drawn to His truth rather than repelled by it.

As we study John’s epistles, pay attention to his use of key words: truth (17 times), love (28 times) and know (30 times). Throughout these letters, he contrasts knowledge and error, truth and falsehood, love and hate. And, as he explains in 1 John 4:7-10, those who truly know God live His truth and love His children.

Pure doctrine and loving fellowship are the dual marks of discipleship. The absence of one or the other exposes a counterfeit. Join us as John teaches us to recognize authentic discipleship; join us as we learn to walk in truth and love from the apostle “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23, et al).

*Note: Although some scholars believe the “John” who wrote the epistles was not the apostle John, Dig Deeper supports the view that the apostle John did write these three letters.

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