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The Study of I & II & III John


Vincent Lo

I & II & III Book of JOHN – Introduction

1. John is one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ.

2. He had an intimate relationship with Jesus.

3. He was the last apostle who died around 100 years old.

4. He resided in Ephesus before his death.

5. The style of writing of I John is accepted as a letter

even though it does not contain salutation or greeting

at the end.

6. John appeared to have a very intimate relationship with

the receivers. There was no introduction of himself,

greetings, or description of the receivers in I John.

7. Initially, there was debate over the canonicity of II and

III John. By the 4th century, they were fully accepted

into the NT canon.


Key words: If, how, light, love, abide, anti-Christ, spirit.

Key verses: 1:7;5:20


1. We write this to make our or your joy complete. 1:4.

2. I write this to you so that you will not sin. 2:1.

3. I am writing these things to you about those who are

trying to lead you astray. 2:26.

4. I write these things to you who believe in the name of

the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal



1.The test of a true fellowship with God.

2.Jesus Christ, the true God and eternal life.


I. The gospel is the word of life. 1:1-4.

a. Its origin: From the beginning; that is before the

creation of the world and man. Vs 1.

The word of life or the eternal life was

with the Father from the beginning.

John 1:1-2.

He is equal with the Father and also the

co-author of His creation. Co 1:15-17.

John 1: 3.

b. Its manifestation:

The life has appeared to us. Vs 2.

John 1: 14, 17-18. He has make God known to

us. John 17:3, Eternal life is knowledge of

God which is a personal relationship with


Thus, the life appeared to us so that we may

have a personal relationship with God. It is

indeed God’s love and grace that cause Him

to reach out to us.

c. Its testimony:

The apostles are the eyewitnesses. They

have a personal relationship with Jesus.

i. They have heard.

ii. They have seen with their eyes.

iii. They have looked at.

iv. They have touched.

d. It s proclamation: By the apostles for the purposes of:

i. Fellowship with the Father and with his Son.

ii. Fellowship with one another.

iii. Complete joy within and among the believers.

The apostle’s message is a message of fellowship with God and other believers. Fellowship means intimate relationship and sharing. It also means partnership. Philippians 1:5. In other words, believers are called to be partners with God and with other believers. Fellowship speaks about relationship, while partnership speaks about mutual goal and responsibility. A complete joy can only comes from fellowship with God as well as with other believers of the body of Christ. It must be stressed that fellowship between believers is vitally linked to individual fellowship with God the Father. One cannot claim he has fellowship with God while he does not have fellowship with other believers. The reverse is also not true.

II. Walking in the light is the test of true fellowship

with the Father. 1:5-2:2.

1.God is light – In him there is no darkness, because

of the physical properties of light. Light and darkness

are totally incompatible. Where there is light, there is no

darkness. Thus the functions of light are :

a.Illuminates and exposes darkness. Nothing can hide in the

light. John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, but the

darkness has not understood ( overcome ) it. Yes, darkness

may indeed overcome light when there is relatively little

light present. However, the light of God cannot be

overcome by darkness. It is sufficient to expose even the

deepest hidden darkness in our lives.

b.Enlightens our hearts from darkness. Light gives us

direction and understanding. It is a horrible thing to be

lost in darkness.

c.Gives out warmth and life.

2.Having fellowship with God is walking in the light.

Vs 6-7. To have fellowship with God is to walk with God.

To walk with God is to be side by side with Him going in

the same direction, not ahead or behind Him, but at equal

pace with God. Indeed it is our privilege to walk with


a.No one walks in the darkness has fellowship with God.

If any one claims the above, he lies and he is not living

in the truth.

b.Whoever walks in the light may be tested by the following:

i.Light illuminates our true needs before God. Vs 7.

- Need of fellowship with Him and other believers.

- Need of purification from all( every ) sins.

ii. Light enlightens our attitudes towards sin.1:8-2:2.

- Confession of our original sin. That is admission of our

sinful natures.

- Confession of our personal sins. That is admission of

our wrong doings, and wickedness.

- Confession of the faithfulness and justice of God. That

is admission of God’s righteousness.

- Confession of the need of forgiveness and purification.

That is admission of the futility of salvation by our

own selves.

- Acknowledges Jesus is the only provision of God for our

sins. Jesus Christ, the righteous one is our advocate

and atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.

III. Light enriches our knowledge of God. 2:3-14.

1.Obedience is the only way to know God. Vs 3-4.

John 14:21 God reveals himself to those who

obey His commands. Obedience is not only the way to

know God but it is also the hallmark of those who

truly know God. To disobey His commands is indicative

of lack of truth in us. In other words, those who

disobey His commands do not know God, and is not living

in the truth.

2.Love is the perfect motive to know God. Vs 5.

Furthermore, love made our knowledge of God complete.

I Co 13:2. God’s love is truly made complete in us

when we are obedient to His words.

3.Jesus Christ is our example to know God. Vs 6. To know

God, we must come to Jesus Christ and humble ourselves

and imitate Him. That is to walk as Jesus did. Paul

often urged us to imitate him as he imitated Christ.

What did Jesus did ? He came to bear the cross and to

do the will of the Father. Therefore, believers are

also called to bear the cross and do the will of the


4.A new commandment to love our brothers is the test of

our walk in the light. Vs 7-11.

The commandment to love one another is a message that

they have heard in the beginning or in the past, when

the Lord Jesus was still with them. John 13:34,

John 15: 12,17. John called this the old commandment.

But, now he was writing a new commandment to them to

love their brothers. The commandment is new not because

the content is new and that they have not heard before.

It is new because it s truth or the reality of this

commandment can now be truly experienced in Him

( Christ ), as well as among you ( the believers ).Vs 8.

Christ loves us and He laid down His life for us. I John

3:16, 4:9. The death of Christ on the cross is the

assurance of His love, and also the reason behind

to compel us to love one another. The darkness is

passing and the true light is shining. Therefore, our

mutual love of one another should be evident among

us and should be shining as the true light ( Christ )

is. Hate and love are incompatible as if with light and

darkness. Thus if one walks in the light, he must love

and not hate his brothers. He who hates his brother

is still in darkness. He has deceived himself and is

lost in darkness, because darkness has blinded his


5.The knowledge of God is relevant to all ages. Vs 12-14.

a. Believers are the dear children of God whose sins

have been forgiven on account of his name. Sins in

our lives are the main obstacle of knowing God.

God is light and holy. If we harbor unrepentant

sins in our lives, how can we approach our holy

Father. When Adam and Eve sinned, the first thing

they did was to hide from God. We are His children.

Thus, we should come to Him like children come to

their father.

b. John addressed some of them as fathers, implying that

they were the older and more mature Christians. Their

knowledge of God is experienced in their lives

because they have known Him. It is no longer a head-

knowledge but experiential knowledge. Knowledge of

God takes time and personal experience. How long have

you been Christian ? Should you be fathers now ?

c. John also addressed some of them as young men,

implying that they were younger in age and also

less experienced in the Lord. The young men are

characterized by their strength ( you are strong ),

their thirst of God’s word ( the word of God lives in

you ), and their ambition of victory over the evils.

When you first came to know Christ, were you like

that ? Have you been acting like the young men ?

IV. Light separates us from the world. 2:15-17.

- Definition of the world: Cravings of the sinful man;

lusts of his eyes, and boastings of what he has and

does. The world in other words is man-centered. The

world does not received the light. John 1:10-11.

- Warning not to love the world.

- Reasons not to love the world. If anyone loves the

world, the love of the Father is not in him. Thus, one

cannot have the Father and also the world

Simultaneously. After all, the world and its desires

will pass away.

- Love the Father; do his will and live forever.

V. Acknowledging Jesus as the Christ is the test of our

abiding in God.2:18-27.

1. Warning of the coming of anti-Christ in the last hour.

Vs 18. The coming of antichrists is indicative of the

last hour. John declared that many antichrists have come.

Therefore, the last hour is here. Hebrew 1:1 tells us

that in the last days, God spoke to us in His son. Thus,

we are living in the last days, and last hour. How do we

recognize the antichrists ?

a. They are counterfeit of the apostles. Vs 19. They have

left the apostles. Indeed, they did not belong to the


b. They are liars. Vs 22. They opposed and slandered the

truth. Their intention is to deceive others.

c. They denies Jesus is the Christ. Vs 22. In other words,

they denies Jesus is the Anointed one, the Messiah.

d. They denies the Father and the Son. Since the Father and

the Son are co-equal and one, it is absurd to think

that denying the Son has the Father. Therefore, whoever

acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Vs 23.

e. They are deceivers – trying to lead you astray. Vs 26.

2. God has given the anointed one, the Holy Spirit to

teach and guide us. Vs 20-21,24-27.

a. Believers have received an anointing from the Holy one.

Vs 20.

b. Believers are the one who know the truth. Vs 21.

c. Believers are reminded to remain in or keep the truth

which is what they heard in the beginning. Vs 24.

d. Believers are urged to remain or abide in the Son and in

the Father. To remain or abide in the Son and in the

Father is to have eternal life. Remain in the Son and

Father and we will not be deceived and let astray. Vs 25.

e. Believers will be keep in the Father by the anointed one

who will remain in them and teach them all things. Vs 27.

3. Therefore, whoever abides in the Father must acknowledge

His Son Jesus as the Christ.

VI. Do what is right is the proof of being born of God. 2:28-3:10.

1. The confidence of being born of God.2:28-3:1

a. Confidence of the great love of the Father, knowing that

we are His children, Vs 28. 3:1, though the world does

not know us because it did not know God.

b. Continue to abide in him, knowing that we have continuous

fellowship with Him. Vs 28.

b. Awaiting his coming, knowing that we will be unashamed

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