1 John 1-2 To Know Jesus
The three epistles of John are considered to be the last of the New Testament writings; having been penned by the apostle John the Beloved in about 90-110 AD. John may have been serving at the time as the equivalent of today’s President of the Church. Apostasy was rampant; nevertheless, John uses the word love over 50 times in these epistles.
In 1 John 1:1 he tells of the ways he and his co-disciples knew and believed in Jesus Christ: They heard Him, they saw him, and they handled Him (evidently referring to their blessing of feeling the wounds in the resurrected Savior’s hands, feet, and side; see Luke 24:36-40):
- What did John say in 1 John 1:3-4, 7 are the blessings that come to those who choose to believe and follow Jesus?
- How can we come to “know” the Savior, according to 1 John 2:3-5? (see also John 17:3).
- What impact can “hate” have upon us, according to 1 John 2:9-11?
- In 2:15-17, John speaks of the worldly, materialistic conditions of his day, then speaks of “the last time” (verse 18), apparently referencing the approaching end of the meridian church.
- John warns against “antichrists” in 1 John 2:18, 22; 1 John 4:3; and 2 John 1:7. How does John define “antichrist” in these verses? In John’s day, those who denied that the Son of God had come into the world are like those today who reject Christ and deny that He will come again (see also Helaman 16:17-18). Read John’s firm testimony in 1 John 5:20.
- What is our only safety? Read 5:27-29.
1 John 3-5 Love
- In 1 John 3:13 John repeats to the Saints a teaching he likely first heard from Jesus some 60 years earlier, on the night of the Last Supper (see John 15:18-19; 17:14).
- In 1 John 3:16, John contrasts the world’s hate with the love of the Savior.
- What can help us receive answers to our prayers? Read 3:22.
- How can we know how we are doing spiritually? Read 3:24 and also 1 John 4:13.
- In 1 John 4, count how many times John uses the word love. What impresses you most about John’s message in this chapter?
- What do the three words, “God is love” (4:8) mean to you?
- Read 1 John 4:19. How is this true in your life?
- 1 John 5:3 teaches that we love God by keeping His commandments; see also 2 John 1:6 and John 14:15.
- Is it difficult to keep the commandments? Do commandments sometimes seem to impede us? Read D&C 59:4.
- How would you explain John’s statement at the end of 1 John 5:3 (“his commandments are not grievous”) to someone who does not agree?
- According to 5:4-5, how do we overcome the world?
- Read 1 John 5:6-8 and Moses 6:59-60. Every mortal birth symbolizes and attests to the truth of Jesus Christ’s life and mission.
2 John; 3 John To Walk in Truth
In 2 John 1:1, John addresses “the elect lady.” She is not identified, but some have speculated that it is John’s wife (supported by verses 12-13), or Mary (the mother of Jesus), or the church (as in 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23).
- In this epistle, John continues his themes of love and obedience; also wishing upon his readers grace, mercy, peace, and truth (verse 3).
- What caused John to “rejoice greatly” in 2 John 1:4 and in 3 John 1:4? (And this being in a day of great wickedness and apostasy). We know that our Father in Heaven also rejoices over our obedience to His truths.
- John also cautions against the “many deceivers” in the world (verse 7), including those who would endeavor to turn the Saints away from “the doctrine of Christ” (verses 9-11). Some of these deceivers were found within the church; read 3 John 1:9-10.
- Make a list of some of the attributes of good leadership, as found in John’s words to Gaius in 3 John 1:1-3, 5-6.
Jude “Contend for the Faith”
Jude is thought to be the brother of James and half-brother of Jesus (verse 1). He wrote this epistle sometime between 70 and 90 AD.
- What does it mean to you today to “earnestly contend for the faith”? (verse 3). With whom do we “contend”? Considering 3 Nephi 11:29, how do we “contend for the faith” without offending the Spirit?
- Note in Jude 1:6 the reference to the third part of those in the pre-mortal life who chose to follow Lucifer, as taught in LDS doctrine.
- In verses 4-8, 10-13, Jude wrote of others who also chose iniquity and suffered the consequences—or will suffer the consequences—as noted in the prophecy of Enoch, cited by Jude in verses 14-15.
- In verse 9, Jude uses Michael (Adam) as an example to teach that we are not to bring railing accusations against others; but rather say (perhaps simply in our hearts), “The Lord rebuke thee.”
- List the behaviors prophesied for our day (“the last time”), as identified in verses 16, 18-19.
- Contrast verses 16, 18-19 to Jude’s encouragement and counsel in verses 20-21.
- In verses 22-23—in addition to minding our own conduct—Jude prompts the Saints to try to help those who are struggling spiritually, even “pulling them out of the fire” if possible (but let us do so without getting ourselves burnt).