Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
John wrote his letters sometimes between the 60s and the 90s of the first century AD.
1 John 1-4:6
Questions & Observations
Q. (1 John 2:8, 3:6): The first of these verses says we all sin and if we say we don’t then we are calling God a liar. But, 3:6 says that if we live in Him we won’t sin and anyone who keeps sinning does not know Him. So, on the face of it, these sound a little contradictory. But, I think what they say together is that we all have sin and have sin in us, but the more we live in the love of Jesus/God/Holy Spirit, the less likely we are to sin and more pure we become.
A. I’m not going to take credit for the effort, but I am glad to see that you are expanding your understanding of the depth of Scripture: not everything that SOUNDS like a contradiction is one. I think that you are right about this reading, and that we can grow to be more like God (including sinning less — we are unlikely to stop sinning all together) over time.
Q. (3:21): Here, John says that feeling guilty is pretty much a sin. It keeps us from feeling worthy of all the gifts He offers.
A. Guilt, while sometimes motivating, is ultimately not an emotion that brings us closer to God. If we understand our worth comes from God and not from our actions, we will frankly be less likely to turn to our guilt instead of our God.
Q. Anything else, Rob? Did you want to say anything about John himself? I am curious about who he is.
A. Church tradition holds that the Apostle John is the writer of this letter, the one referred to as the “apostle Jesus loved.” We do not know if this is true or not (he doesn’t identify himself), but it is quite clear if you examine the language of this letter that the writer of this letter also wrote the Gospel of John. Compare John 1 and 1 John 1’s first few verses and you will see what I mean.