Unit 30, Day 2: 1 John

New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students, 2015


Introduction

The Apostle John invited Church members to seek fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. He emphasized the need to keep the commandments of God to show our love for Him. John also reminded Church members to love others.

1 John

John explains the importance of keeping the commandments and loving one another

  1. journal icon1.

    In your scripture study journal, write the word apostasy and its definition. If you need help, use the Topical Guide, the Guide to the Scriptures, or the Basic Doctrines document at the beginning of this study guide.

The Apostle John wrote this epistle at a time when apostasy was threatening the Church. He warned the Saints about antichrists (see 1 John 2:18–26; 4:3). An antichrist is “anyone or anything that counterfeits the true gospel plan of salvation and that openly or secretly opposes Christ” and the authority and teachings of His chosen servants (Guide to the Scriptures, “Antichrist,” scriptures.lds.org). Some antichrists in John’s day were teaching that Jesus Christ did not have a physical body while on earth but only appeared to be a physical being.

Read 1 John 1:1–4, looking for what John testified of to refute this false teaching. Note that “the Word of life” in verse 1 refers to Jesus Christ.

Notice in verses 3–4 that John wanted the Saints to have fellowship with the leaders of the Church, who had fellowship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He also desired that they experience a fulness of joy. One principle we can learn from these verses is that if we receive and follow the teachings of prophets and apostles, we can gain fellowship with the Father and the Son.

To have fellowship means to enjoy a relationship of trust, friendship, interaction, and unity. Think of the men who serve in the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. How does following the teachings of the prophets and apostles help us gain fellowship with our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ?

Read 1 John 1:5–6, looking for what can prevent us from having fellowship with our Father in Heaven.

One of the most significant themes of John’s writing is presented in 1 John 1:5—Jesus Christ is the Light of the World (see John 1:4–9; 8:12; 9:1–5). Think of a time when you have walked in literal darkness. John’s use of the word darkness refers to spiritual darkness.

What do you think it means to walk in spiritual darkness? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Study 1 John 1:7–2:6, looking for truths John taught that can help us know how to walk in the light of the gospel. The word propitiation in 1 John 2:2 means an atoning sacrifice that satisfies the justice of God.

  1. journal icon2.

    In your scripture study journal, write some of the truths you identified in 1 John 1:7–2:6. Then consider how you would answer the following questions:

    1. a.

      Why do you think our love for God becomes more perfect, or complete, as we keep His commandments?

    2. b.

      When have you experienced a greater love for God as you have strived to keep His commandments?

Read the following descriptions, looking for a particular commandment that these two young people struggle to obey:

  • A young man reads the scriptures each day and faithfully performs many of his priesthood duties, but he is often unkind to his younger brother.

  • A young woman regularly attends her Church meetings and has received her Young Womanhood Recognition. However, she often posts rude comments about some of her classmates and teachers on social media.

What commandment do these two young Latter-day Saints struggle to obey? (Review the scripture mastery passage Matthew 22:36–39 for help in answering this question.)

Reflect on situations in which you might struggle to show love for others.

  1. journal icon3.

    Read 1 John 2:9–11; 4:7–11, 19–21, looking for what John taught about love. Consider marking or noting the teachings that are meaningful to you. Then answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. a.

      Which of John’s teachings about love are meaningful to you? Why?

    2. b.

      One principle we could identify from these verses is that when we love God, we will love others. Why do you think we will show our love for others when we truly love God?

Notice that John referred to hating others in 1 John 4:20. There are many ways that we can withhold our love or kindness from others besides hating them. What do you think some of those ways might be? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Read 1 John 3:17–18, looking for how we ought to demonstrate our love for others.

Why do you think it is important that we demonstrate our love through our actions and not through our words alone?

Who do you know that is a good example of showing love to others?

video iconIf possible, watch the video entitled “Two Brothers Apart” found on LDS.org. As you watch, look for how these brothers exemplified this principle and what effect it had on each of them.

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  1. journal icon4.

    Think of someone in your life for whom you could show more love. In your scripture study journal, write the name of that individual and something specific you can do to demonstrate your love or kindness toward that person. You do not need to show your love in extravagant ways. Small, simple gestures of charity and kindness are often the most meaningful.

When we demonstrate our love through our actions, we are walking as Jesus walked, or living our life as Jesus did (see 1 John 2:6; 3:1–3). The Lord will bless you as you apply this truth in your life.

Read 1 John 4:12, and then read Joseph Smith Translation, 1 John 4:12 (in 1 John 4:12, footnote a). What does the Joseph Smith Translation clarify about being able to see God?

In 1 John 5, John taught what we must do to be born again, which means “to have the Spirit of the Lord cause a mighty change in a person’s heart so that he has no more desire to do evil, but rather desires to seek the things of God” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Born Again, Born of God,” scriptures.lds.org). Read the following passages, and list what we must do to be born again:

1 John 5:1 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

1 John 5:2–3 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

1 John 5:4 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Joseph Smith Translation, 1 John 5:18 (in 1 John 5:18, footnote b) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

  1. journal icon5.

    Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied 1 John and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: