The Gospel of 1 John



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The Author

John is suspected to be a Jewish Christian. The Johannine tradition is, in many respects, poorer than the synoptic. John has a special aim and this is the readiest explanation of his differences with the synoptics.

1 John: Love One Another | Jesus' Best Friend from Pastor Mark Driscoll

The Audience

The purpose of John’s letter is to oppose certain false ideas, especially about Jesus, and to deepen the spiritual and social awareness of the Christian community. John is writing to the Christians who are facing false accusations about Jesus. The reader is urged to believe Jesus is the Messiah.

John is writing to make and defend claims of Jesus, who continued to emerge more largely on to the community’s horizon and its heart of life.

Date of the writing (c.)

The date of the writing for John’s gospel is approximately 90-100 AD


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Jesus is depicted as noble and powerful and one with his Father. He is fully in control of his destiny, even through his passion and death as well as Resurrection.

The Eagle

The Church’s animal depiction for 1John is the Eagle. The eagle is a symbol of the resurrection or ascension of Christ because it soars upward to the sky just as Jesus soared up to heaven when he resurrected. In addition, the eagle symbolizes baptized Christians, who have symbolically died and risen with Christ.
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Unique Themes and Stories

John’s Gospel theme is light and darkness. "I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness." (12:46). Jesus is being seen as the light of the world. This verse states that those who are lacking in faith will be nurtured through Jesus.

In 1 John, the divinity of Jesus is not clearly identified. Jesus, the Risen Christ, taught with the use of his seven great "I AM" statements. Throughout the gospel Jesus is displayed as an omniscient man.

Unique Themes, Images, and Stories

Model Disciple

In 1 John, the model disciple was someone who was completely obedient to God. This disciple is someone who always listens to, has faith in , and follows Jesus. It is believed that John is the mode disciple, (identified as the "beloved disciple"), since he only appears in the Gospel of John. The "beloved disciple" is present at the foot of Jesus' cross when Jesus was crucified and was the first to discover Jesus had left his tomb on Eater morning.
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5 Differences between the Gospel of John & the Synoptic Gospels

  1. The start of the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels are different. John starts his Gospel with the same words used in the beginning of the Book of Genesis, "In the beginning". The Synoptic Gospels start with Jesus' public ministry.
  2. The knowledge of Jesus as the Son of God. In the Gospel of John, the disciples acknowledge Jesus identity as the Son of God. In the Synoptic Gospels, the true identity of Jesus is known by only the reader and narrator, not the disciples.
  3. The use of allegories and parables. In the Gospel of John, there is no use of parables, Jesus used allegories. In the Synoptic Gospels, when Jesus taught he often used parables.
  4. John's Seven Signs. In the Gospel of John, Jesus performed signs rather than miracles. John focuses on the symbolic meaning of these signs rather than the act itself. In the Synoptic Gospels Jesus performs miracles.
  5. John's only focus is of his audience's interpretation of his Gospel.

the allegorical level of meaning in the seven signs

The main point of all the allegorical level of meaning in the seven signs is the diverse aspects of our spiritual journey. One example is the cure of the man at the pool in Bethesda which is about the sacramental power of the forgiveness of sin. The allusions John makes on the gospel, support our understanding and acknowledgement on the seven signs. This way we can apply the allegorical meaning to our every day life situations. Jesus’ miracles focus on symbolic meaning rather than on the literal meaning. The physical miracles symbolize a deeper truth and reality because people can relate to them. In the wedding at Cana, Jesus changed the water into wine due to the lack of wine. In a wedding at ancient times and even nowadays, there must always be wine for the guests. When Jesus changes water into wine (2:1-11), John foreshadows that Jesus,which is water at first, will be the blood,in other words the wine, of the New Covenant. In the wedding at Cana, Jesus stands as the Risen Christ.