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1 John 3

October 3, 2008

Here’s how the study works: Read the chapter mentioned in the heading several times during the week and share any words, thoughts, verses that stood out to you. Having a week for a chapter creates the opportunity to reread it several times and make additional comments as you feel inclined as well as make comments on other people’s insights.

by Susan Barnes
26

Susan Barnes

~ writer of insightful posts about God and faith

26 thoughts on “1 John 3”

  1. Gosh Susan I’m so tired … workin’ too much !!!!

    Here’s some chocolate truffles and coffee …
    I’ll be back

    Save me some K?

  2. Gosh Susan I’m so tired … workin’ too much !!!!

    Here’s some chocolate truffles and coffee …
    I’ll be back

    Save me some K?

  3. jON

    you know, i’ve been reading the past two chapters and i find i’m at a loss for words. i’m not sure exactly what john is saying here.

    and i’m wondering if he is speaking out of his own experience, and if he has witnessed these things of which he is speaking many times.

    because it leaves me with lots of questions and i feel like i don’t quite have the frame of reference for understanding the context of several words that he uses so freely. words such as: “light”, “darkness”, “sin”, and “righteousness.” he doesn’t go too in depth into explaining these words, so he is assuming that his hearers already understand what he means by them.

    when i read these words, i have a lot of 21st century baggage being added onto the words. and i’m left wondering if i am really understanding what john is trying to express here.

    when using my default evangelical definitions for these words, it leaves me feeling like i’ve never experienced a drop of what he’s talking about here.

    but when old definitions are stripped away, it begins to make more sense. but that just brings up more questions about the teachings of my youth.

    i can’t really explain it any better than that right now. sorry.

    still thinking…

  4. jON

    you know, i’ve been reading the past two chapters and i find i’m at a loss for words. i’m not sure exactly what john is saying here.

    and i’m wondering if he is speaking out of his own experience, and if he has witnessed these things of which he is speaking many times.

    because it leaves me with lots of questions and i feel like i don’t quite have the frame of reference for understanding the context of several words that he uses so freely. words such as: “light”, “darkness”, “sin”, and “righteousness.” he doesn’t go too in depth into explaining these words, so he is assuming that his hearers already understand what he means by them.

    when i read these words, i have a lot of 21st century baggage being added onto the words. and i’m left wondering if i am really understanding what john is trying to express here.

    when using my default evangelical definitions for these words, it leaves me feeling like i’ve never experienced a drop of what he’s talking about here.

    but when old definitions are stripped away, it begins to make more sense. but that just brings up more questions about the teachings of my youth.

    i can’t really explain it any better than that right now. sorry.

    still thinking…

  5. I think I know something of what you mean, Jon. In v.10 he says “Those who do not do what is right are not God’s children” which rise the question what is the definiton of “right”? I need to think some more too.

    I would save you some K, Val, if I knew what it was!!

    My favourite verse in this chapter is v.1 and my favourite word is, “lavished” what a great word-especially as it is describing God’s love. No barely enoughs here. God is the God of more than enough.

  6. I think I know something of what you mean, Jon. In v.10 he says “Those who do not do what is right are not God’s children” which rise the question what is the definiton of “right”? I need to think some more too.

    I would save you some K, Val, if I knew what it was!!

    My favourite verse in this chapter is v.1 and my favourite word is, “lavished” what a great word-especially as it is describing God’s love. No barely enoughs here. God is the God of more than enough.

  7. jON

    “K” is a north american shortened expression for “okay”. she was asking us to save her some of the truffles and coffee she dropped off. which (munch,munch. slurp.) might be difficult if she doesn’t hurry back.

    here is one of the tensions i have going on in my head: john is trying to give assurances of how you can know that you know god. one of those ways, he says, is that you will obey jesus’ commandments. and, by way of explanation to what those are, he offers this in 2:7 “…the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

    which leaves me scratching my head a little bit because i am in no way sure what “the word which you have heard” that he speaks of, is.

    he also says over and over again that we who are born of god will not sin, and furthermore, that we “do not continue in sin.” and that is how we know that we are god’s children. but then he also says that if you do sin, we have an advocate. which is great. i’m glad for the advocate. not taking that lightly.

    what hurts my head is that he can say that we know we are on the true path if we do not sin and become incapable of it, but yet he still offers provision for sinning. as though those who will no longer sin just still might. and if that’s the case, WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT?!

    and then there’s 2:19 when he speaks of the ones who “went out from us”. and that by their “going out”, they show that they were never really a part of them. how so? i wish i had more context on what he’s talking about. because we know from the book of acts itself that god had persecution come upon the church for the purpose of scattering them. and people “going out” so that the word might be spread farther than the insular community of jerusalem. is this what john is talking about and he just doesn’t have the bigger picture in mind? or is he talking about something different?

    sorry. i know this is all from chapter 2 but i’m trying to work through this stuff. these are enough questions for now, i’m curious to hear your thoughts.

  8. jON

    “K” is a north american shortened expression for “okay”. she was asking us to save her some of the truffles and coffee she dropped off. which (munch,munch. slurp.) might be difficult if she doesn’t hurry back.

    here is one of the tensions i have going on in my head: john is trying to give assurances of how you can know that you know god. one of those ways, he says, is that you will obey jesus’ commandments. and, by way of explanation to what those are, he offers this in 2:7 “…the old commandment is the word which you have heard.”

    which leaves me scratching my head a little bit because i am in no way sure what “the word which you have heard” that he speaks of, is.

    he also says over and over again that we who are born of god will not sin, and furthermore, that we “do not continue in sin.” and that is how we know that we are god’s children. but then he also says that if you do sin, we have an advocate. which is great. i’m glad for the advocate. not taking that lightly.

    what hurts my head is that he can say that we know we are on the true path if we do not sin and become incapable of it, but yet he still offers provision for sinning. as though those who will no longer sin just still might. and if that’s the case, WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT?!

    and then there’s 2:19 when he speaks of the ones who “went out from us”. and that by their “going out”, they show that they were never really a part of them. how so? i wish i had more context on what he’s talking about. because we know from the book of acts itself that god had persecution come upon the church for the purpose of scattering them. and people “going out” so that the word might be spread farther than the insular community of jerusalem. is this what john is talking about and he just doesn’t have the bigger picture in mind? or is he talking about something different?

    sorry. i know this is all from chapter 2 but i’m trying to work through this stuff. these are enough questions for now, i’m curious to hear your thoughts.

  9. Thanks for the explanation, Jon. I’ll get all these abbreviations worked out one day!

    I think it is interesting that John uses the example of Cain v.12 “who belonged to the evil one.” Yet Cain had brought an offering to the Lord (Genesis 4:3).

    I think John is saying those who belong to God don’t go around plotting or planning to sin. However sometimes we unwittingly sin. Cain, even though he gave the appearnce of belonging to God by bringing an offering, planned and committed a murder which showed he didn’t really belong to God in the first place.

    I think this means for us we can’t jump to the conclusion that someone belongs to God or not belongs to God based on one or two isolated actions or even on the fact they have made “a decision.” We need to look at the ongoing actions of their life. Are they becoming more loving? Do they normally treat others well? etc. v.9 talks about God’s seed which is another picture of something that grows over time and its fruit will take time to see.

    “Doing right” seems to be connected with loving others and caring for their needs v.17-18

  10. Thanks for the explanation, Jon. I’ll get all these abbreviations worked out one day!

    I think it is interesting that John uses the example of Cain v.12 “who belonged to the evil one.” Yet Cain had brought an offering to the Lord (Genesis 4:3).

    I think John is saying those who belong to God don’t go around plotting or planning to sin. However sometimes we unwittingly sin. Cain, even though he gave the appearnce of belonging to God by bringing an offering, planned and committed a murder which showed he didn’t really belong to God in the first place.

    I think this means for us we can’t jump to the conclusion that someone belongs to God or not belongs to God based on one or two isolated actions or even on the fact they have made “a decision.” We need to look at the ongoing actions of their life. Are they becoming more loving? Do they normally treat others well? etc. v.9 talks about God’s seed which is another picture of something that grows over time and its fruit will take time to see.

    “Doing right” seems to be connected with loving others and caring for their needs v.17-18

  11. Another thought:

    Amy Grant sang a song called, The Now & The Not Yet. It was based on v.2 of this chapter and this was the chorus:

    But I'm caught in between
    The now and the not yet;
    Sometimes it seems like
    Forever and ever,
    That I've been reaching to be
    All that I am,
    But I'm only a few steps nearer,
    Yet I'm nearer….

  12. Another thought:

    Amy Grant sang a song called, The Now & The Not Yet. It was based on v.2 of this chapter and this was the chorus:

    But I'm caught in between
    The now and the not yet;
    Sometimes it seems like
    Forever and ever,
    That I've been reaching to be
    All that I am,
    But I'm only a few steps nearer,
    Yet I'm nearer….

  13. I’ve been reading up on Cain. v.7 of Genesis 4, God says “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Now this was before the 10 commandments so how was Cain to know what was right? The clue seems to be in Hebrews 11:4 where we discover Abel acted in faith and Cain apparently did not. “Doing right” seems to mean trusting God.

    I need to think some more about this.

  14. I’ve been reading up on Cain. v.7 of Genesis 4, God says “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” Now this was before the 10 commandments so how was Cain to know what was right? The clue seems to be in Hebrews 11:4 where we discover Abel acted in faith and Cain apparently did not. “Doing right” seems to mean trusting God.

    I need to think some more about this.

  15. I have taken out all the negatives and all the stuff about Cain and Abel … a well known story among the Jews. Here are the positives … it looks to me like we are back to the ancient secret of the ages. God is love and it is ALL about love and really nothing else. Sin is the absence of love …. remember what the law hinges on, Love the Lord your God …. and your neighbour as yourself. Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
    This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.
    For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

  16. I have taken out all the negatives and all the stuff about Cain and Abel … a well known story among the Jews. Here are the positives … it looks to me like we are back to the ancient secret of the ages. God is love and it is ALL about love and really nothing else. Sin is the absence of love …. remember what the law hinges on, Love the Lord your God …. and your neighbour as yourself. Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
    This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.
    For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

  17. v.3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

    The anticipation of Christ’s coming has a purifying effect on us.

  18. v.3 All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

    The anticipation of Christ’s coming has a purifying effect on us.

  19. v.6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

    If we could perfectly abide in Christ we would never sin. When we sin we are acting from our old nature and not from our position of being in Christ.

  20. v.6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

    If we could perfectly abide in Christ we would never sin. When we sin we are acting from our old nature and not from our position of being in Christ.

  21. v.15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

    Eternal life resides in us when we abide in Christ. When we are not abiding we are capable of all sorts of sin. Murder is the result of the complete absence of love.

  22. v.15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

    Eternal life resides in us when we abide in Christ. When we are not abiding we are capable of all sorts of sin. Murder is the result of the complete absence of love.

  23. v.21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.

    God wants us to have confident to come to him. Are we abiding? Are we living a life of love towards others? Even if we are not doing this perfectly but have an attitude of wanting to please God there is no reason for our hearts to condemn us therefore we can have confidence before God.

  24. v.21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God.

    God wants us to have confident to come to him. Are we abiding? Are we living a life of love towards others? Even if we are not doing this perfectly but have an attitude of wanting to please God there is no reason for our hearts to condemn us therefore we can have confidence before God.

  25. Sometimes it is hard to understand the John's context as it is so different from today. He wrote to a congregation who was being infiltrated by false teaching.

    I'm not saying it doesn't happen today but rather it is a lot more subtle.

  26. Sometimes it is hard to understand the John's context as it is so different from today. He wrote to a congregation who was being infiltrated by false teaching.

    I'm not saying it doesn't happen today but rather it is a lot more subtle.

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