The apostle John is the author of 5 books of the New Testament - the Gospel of John, the book of Revelation, and these three epistles of John. It's interesting to note that the Gospel of John takes the reader to the past, and looks at Jesus' first coming - "The Word became flesh"(John 1:14). The book of Revelation takes the reader to the future, and looks at Jesus' 2nd Coming. Then we get to the Epistles of John which take the reader to the present, and focus' on Christian living and love. These letters were written to the Church as whole, so it message still applies to us today.
Much like today, the time early Christian church during John's writing was afflicted with doubts, persecution, and false teaching, and so John seeks to address these topics and encourage the believers (1 John 5:11-12). In one of the most profound statements in the Bible, John writes that "God is love" (1 John 4:16). In the same way, John urges Christians to love one another unselfishly, as Jesus loved us. Our love for God is reflected in how we love our neighbor.
THEMES IN THE EPISTLES of JOHN:
- 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.
- John presents the theme that Christians should love one another.
- Hospitality is an essential trait for Christians, not just for helping church workers, but for loving others, as Jesus commanded us.
- Pride has no place in the life of a pastor, who should be a servant-leader.It is important for believers in the church to have good examples to emulate.
- Finally, all Christians are encouraged to grow spiritually and commended to be faithful to the truth of the gospel and the work of the church.