NT Theology John’s Letters
Authorship • The authorship of 1, 2, 3, John; Revelation; and the Gospel of John are a topic for NT Survey. • However, many evangelicals believe that they were all written by the same John. • A new set of arguments has recently been mounted by Baucham in his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses postulating that John of the Gospel is not the same as John of the Revelation and letters.
1 John • Purpose of the book is two-fold: • 1. To oppose and expose false teachers. 2:26 • 2. To give assurance to those who are true Christians. 5:13 and many other passages • Basis of the False Teaching: • 1. A proto-Gnosticism that held matter was evil. 1:1-2 • 2. A belief that salvation is for an elite inner circle 2:20, 27
1 John • Errors of the False Teachers: • 1. Denial of the incarnation: 2:22, 4:1-2 • 2. Denial that Jesus is the Christ: 2:22 • 3. Denial of personal sin: 1:8 • 4. Unconcern for righteousness and love: 2:9-11 and others
1 John • Marks of the True Believer: • 1. The T/B believes that Jesus is the Christ. • 2. The T/B obeys God and his commandments. • 3. The T/B loves God and others. • Interesting Question: What is the sin unto death and what is meant by “praying for it?” 5:16
2 John • A Charge to refuse false teachers out of concern for truth and love.
3 John • A charge to accept true teachers, and not to engage in false exclusion (as does Diotrephes), out of concern for truth and goodness.