J.L.P Digital Publications, Odessa Ontario
The letters of Paul, Peter, James, and John's own two letters (2 John & 3 John), begin with the name of the sender, and there are greetings to a church or to particular people. What is usually called the First Epistle of John has no greetings and, like the Epistle to the Hebrews, it reads like an explanation of how we live the Christian life for general circulation.
We will assume that the three letters of John are by John the beloved disciple, who also wrote the Gospel of John (see the John's Gospel Commentary on this site). Over a century ago the Ellicott Commentary pointed out that "No less than thirty-five passages of the fourth Gospel are common to the First Epistle of John." And "considerably more than half the parallel places in the Gospel belong to the farewell discourses of John 12-17." "Light, life, darkness, truth, the lie, propitiation, doing righteousness, doing sin, doing lawlessness, life and death, loving and hating, love of the Father and love of the world, children of God and children of the devil, the spirit of truth and the spirit of error; all these notions underlie the thought of both Gospel and Epistle. An unbiased mind would find it very difficult to believe that they are not by the same author."
OUTLINE OF CONTENTS
A. FELLOWSHIP 1 John 1:1-2:2
B. OBEDIENCE 1 John 2:3-2:17
C. PAROUSIA (COMING) 1 John 2:18-28
D. CHILDREN OF GOD 1 John 2:29-3:10
E. FAMILY LOVE 1 John 3:11-24a
F. HOLY SPIRIT 1 John 3:24b-4:12
G. ASSURANCE 1 John 4:13-5:21
H. DECEIVERS 2 John
I. DIOTREPHES 3 John