Discipleship Bible Study on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John

Discipleship Lessons from
John's Letters (1, 2, and 3 John)

Simon Ushakov, St. John the Theologian (1643)
Simon Ushakov, St. John the Theologian (1673), Sergiev Posad State History and Art Museum-Reserve, Moscow. Larger mage.

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First, second, and third John, sometimes called the Epistles or Letters of John, are like trail mix -- concentrated, chewy, and nutritious. As I prepared my recent curriculum for new Christians, I found myself returning again and again to 1st John.

When John writes these letters he is an elderly man. When he was young, he was Jesus'"beloved disciple." Now when he is old he is passing on the faith he learned at Jesus'feet.

Map of Ephesus and Asia Minor  
Detail from resurrection fresco (14th century), Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia
Jesus brings people into the light. Detail from resurrection fresco (14th century), Visoki Decani Monastery, Kosovo-Metohija, Serbia. Larger image.

He has lived in Ephesus for many years now, teaching and preaching in the churches around that great provincial capital. In First John he writes with great affection. Sprinkled through the letter are references to his "little children" and to his "beloved" friends in Christ.

That doesn't mean he is soft. In First John he:

  • Refutes enemies of Christ who had infiltrated the church and spread false and dangerous doctrine.
  • Challenges believers to reject darkness and live in the light.
  • Calls for righteous living at the same time as he assures them of the forgiveness of God.
  • Underscores love as the greatest and highest commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ.

All in all, these letters pack a punch to their first century readers as well as readers in the twenty-first century.

I invite you to join me in an e-mail Bible study of the Epistles of John. Here's the outline:

Discipleship Lessons from John's Letters, e-book or paperback book
The study is available as a free e-mail Bible study, or as an e-book or paperback book at a modest cost.
  1. Walking in the Light (1 John 1:1-2:6)
  2. Don't Love the World (2:7-17)
  3. Antichrists, Anointing, and Abiding (2:18-27)
  4. Sin Is Lawlessness (2:28-3:10)
  5. Love in Action (3:11-24)
  6. God Is Love (4:1-21)
  7. God's Testimony Regarding Jesus (5:1-21)
  8. Walking in Love (2 and 3 John)

 Here's how we'll study together.

  • Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
    This is our 31st online Bible study since 1996. If you've participated in one before, you know how God can use them in your life. If not, then you have a treat in store for you. This is an cross-denominational study designed to help you grow as a disciple of Christ. -- Dr. Ralph F. Wilson. About the leader.
    Each Saturday I'll e-mail you the lesson for the week
    . Then you'll read the Bible passage and use my notes to help you understand it better.
  • On Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday you'll receive a question from that week's lesson to think about and answer. This is designed as a "total immersion" approach to Bible study, since I believe God wants to use these lessons to work real and permanent change in your life. (You can opt out of the daily questions if you like, however, and just receive the weekly lessons.) You'll be thinking about these passages constantly over these weeks -- long enough for God to work his Word into your life and lifestyle.
  • You can respond to the questions and exercises using the Joyful Heart Bible Study Forum -- and read others'answers to reinforce your own understanding.
  • With each lesson you'll receive a link to a 20- to 30-minute audio teaching that sums up the passage you've been studying that week. Some who learn better from hearing than from reading really appreciate this.
  • Then on Saturday, I'll send you the next week's lesson.

Sign up now!

To sign up, start by clicking on your e-mail frequency preference:

You'll receive your first lesson the Friday after you sign up. There is no cost to participate in the study, though donations are encouraged so we can create more studies and reach more people.

We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.

Please don't sign up for more than one of my Bible studies at one time. There's no penalty, but each of them is pretty intensive. If you try to do too many studies at the same time without adequate reflection, you'll miss out on God speaking to you.


Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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