Setting

Having declared that God is light, the author sets the direction of his exhortation. In order to have fellowship with God, we must walk in the light and receive the atonement of Jesus Christ. This section further teaches us that keeping God’s commandments is the way to remain in fellowship with God.

Key Verse

(2:3)

Did You Know...?

1. Little children (2:12,13): “In verse 12 the Greek word is teknia, representing kinship. So John writes this verse as to those spiritually related to him. In verse 13 the Greek word is paidia suggesting subordination, or listening to instruction.” [ref]
2. World (2:15): “The Greek translated ‘world’ is kosmos, an ordered system (opposite of chaos).” [ref]

Outline

  • Walk as He Walked
    (2:3-6)
  • Abide in the Light
    (2:7-11)
  • Know God and Overcome the Evil One
    (2:12-14)
  • Love God and Do His Will
    (2:15-17)

General Analysis

  • 1.

    What are the three false claims that John discusses in this section?

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    Verses 4,6,9.

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  • 2.

    How can we truly know God?

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    Keep God’s word (5), walk in His likeness (6), and love our brothers (10). Knowing God is not simply come from intellectual exercise or discussion. Most importantly, it comes from living out God’s image in our lives.

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  • 3.

    How can we overcome the wicked one?

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    We must walk in the light by obeying God’s commands and loving our brothers (5,10,17). We need to be strong and let God’s word abide in us (14).

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Segment Analysis

  • 2:3-6

    1.

    How is God’s love perfected in those who keep God’s word?

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    The word “perfected” can also be translated as “made complete” or “fulfilled.” The perfecting of God’s love does not mean that God’s love is somehow imperfect. It means allowing God’s love to live in us fully. Because the spirit of God’s commandments is love, if we keep God’s word, we allow God’s love to fill our hearts and overflow to others.

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  • 2.

    What are some ways you can walk as Jesus walked?

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  • 2:7-11

    3a.

    What is the commandment mentioned in verses 7 and 8?

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    The command to love one another (Jn 13:34).

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  • 3b.

    Why is the commandment both old and new?

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    The commandment is old because it is not something that John invented. It is new because it is the command of Christ to those who have received a new life. In Christ, the old is gone, and the new has come (v. 8; 2Cor 5:17). We need to continue to practice it.

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  • 4.

    What does love and hatred have to do with light and darkness?

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    God is light, and He is love. Love is the concrete expression of God’s nature. If anyone has no love, he is far from God and has no part with the light. He is blinded and without direction (v. 11). He may even stumble because he walks in darkness (v. 10). Life without love is meaningless and under the control of the wicked one (cf. Jn 8:40-44).

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  • 2:12-14

    5a.

    How is this paragraph unique?

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    It is rhythmical, with a definite pattern and repetition. The forms of address “little children,” “fathers,” and “young men.” is also unique. We can see a change of tone here from one of warning to one of warmth and confidence.

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  • 5b.

    What three things are again emphasized here?

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    Their sins are forgiven. They know God. They have overcome the wicked one.

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  • 5c.

    What do you think is the purpose of this paragraph?

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    In this section, he addresses the true believers and assures them of their spiritual status and blessings. After exposing the false claims of those who live in darkness, he gives encouragement to those who are truly in fellowship with God.

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  • 6.

    Who is the wicked one? How have the believers overcome him?

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    The devil. Believers are able to overcome because Christ has overcome (Rev 17:14). They overcome by the blood of Christ and the word of their testimony (v. 12; Rev 12:11). In other words, those who believe in Christ, confess their sins, and obey God’s commandments are able to overcome the evil one. They do so not by their own power, but by God’s protection (5:18).

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  • 7.

    How can we let God’s word abide in us (v.14)?

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    We need to store God’s word richly in our hearts through sharing God’s word with one another (Col 3:16). We must constantly meditate on God’s word and put it into practice (Jos 1:8).

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  • 2:15-17

    8a.

    What does it mean to love the world?

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    The word “world” in the Bible often refers to the wisdom or control of the wicked one (5:19). Loving the world means submitting to desires or knowledge that is contrary to God’s will (2:16,17; 1Cor 2:6)

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  • 8b.

    Why shouldn’t we love the world?

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    Since the world and the things in it are contrary to the will of God, we cannot love both the world and the Father (Jas 4:4,5; Rom 8:7,8; Mt 6:24). Choosing to love the world means choosing to be God’s enemy.

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  • 9.

    Explain each of these and think of some real-life examples: a. Lust of the flesh b. Lust of the eyes c. Pride of life

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    a. Self-centered desires; Loving pleasure rather than loving God (2Tim 3:4); Obeying the demands of our sinful nature rather than obeying God.
    b. Desire for what is pleasing to the eye. Letting the eye go uncontrolled is most often the cause of greed and sexual immorality. E.g. Eve, Achan, David.
    c. Boasting of one’s possessions or status. E.g. Paul (Phil 3:4-7).

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  • 10a.

    What does it mean that the world and its lust are passing away?

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    The satisfaction that the world gives is only temporary because life is fleeting and the world will one day be destroyed. The old world is coming to an end and will be replaced by the new heaven and new earth. Those who love the world will likewise perish (2Pet 3:7,12,13).

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  • 10b.

    What does this verse teach you about what is meaningful and valuable in life?

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