An Inductive Study of 1st John

Lesson 1



Read both the handouts; the outline of 1st John and the Introduction to 1st John.

As the gospel spread through Asia, and churches were established, people who were not true Christians began to preach a different gospel from that of the apostles. These false teachers blended Christianity with teachings of Plato, other Greek philosophers and Eastern religions, to come up with their own "superior knowledge". They taught that "ordinary" believers could not possess this superior knowledge which only certain "enlightened ones" had received. Hence, these false teachers became known as Gnostics from the Greek word Gnosis, which means knowledge.

The Main Teaching of Gnosticism

1.       Knowledge is superior to virtue.

2.       The non-literal interpretation of Scripture is the true interpretation and only a select few can understand it.

3.       All matter [or flesh] is evil; therefore, God could not become man. Christ only appeared to be human. He was a phantom.

4.       A person could be godly regardless of what he did with his body, because that which is done in the body has no effect on the spirit.

5.       Gnostics did not confess sin.

John wrote this epistle to the endangered first century church, to contradict the confusion caused by these false teachers. He called these false teachers antichrists.

Question: Is the church today in danger of false teaching similar to that of the first century church? (yes/no), explain.




Observation: The use of contrasts in 1st John. Make a list of contrast John uses in his epistle.

                1. Darkness vs Light.






Question: Why would God direct John to us these contrasts?



                How would stating absolutes with such authority go over in today's church?



Observation:"know" is a key word in 1st John. Review the word "know" in Vine's Expository Dictionary of the New Testament. Read the following verses and state what is known and how one can know, or the result of knowing.













3:16 "we perceive"








4:16  "we have known"




5:15  (2 things are known)