If you’re familiar with the Gospel of John, you’ll likely recognize the similarities to this letter we call 1st John. This leads us to conclude that John – the best friend of Jesus – is the author. It’s a letter written to be circulated to several churches, intended to strengthen the followers of Jesus. Those early Christians were getting confused by false teachers, trying to get them to believe that Jesus was only a spirit, and that his physical body was not really his body at all, but was simply an illusion of a body. They believe the physical realm is all bad, and only the spiritual realm is good, therefore Jesus, being divine, could never be a physical human. The implication for the deceptive teachers was that they didn’t need to worry about how they behaved in their physical bodies, they could do whatever they desired. All they had to worry about was believing the right things about Jesus. While that may seem sort of irrelevant to us today, this letter is packed with incredible insights in the nature of God, and that He can fill our lives with his own qualities by living inside of us.
Read the beginning of this letter (1 John 1:1-4) and make some notes. Underline words that stand out to you. Circle words that are repeated. Pick one phrase and explain why it seems significant to you. Keep in mind that “life” is being used to describe Jesus. Draw a box around every word that is making reference to God.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
Try paraphrasing this passage, using your own words.
Share a few prayer requests and discuss how those requests may be related to this teaching about Jesus. Then pray for each other, leaving some silence to listen for God’s promptings.