1, 2, and 3 John
Class One




It is generally believed that the Apostle John not only wrote these three letters but also the Gospel of John and Revelation. However, John no where states that he is the writer. But there is an abundance of external evidence that verifies his authorship. Time of writing of all five books are generally dated from 80 to 96 AD.




Historical references are made to John being located in the area of Ephesus and of Asia Minor from about 70 AD onward. He probably left Jerusalem about the time of its destruction. He may have been one of the Apostles to help Christians to know when to leave the city. Teachers were arising in the churches who were not content with just the message of the Apostles.

The first were the Jewish converts who tried to bind circumcision and the Law on Gentiles. But once the Temple was destroyed—this would help to deal with such teachers. But others were also trying to mix their teachings with other philosophies. They also desired to make their own following. John does not name these people, but does give much about them in his writings. He uses such expressions as the following to identify them:


• False teachers or prophets (4:1)


• Anti-Christ (2:22-25; 2:18; 4:3; 2 John 7)


• Deceivers (2 John 7)


He strongly indicated that their teachings resulted in the denial of both the Father and the Son (2:22; 2 John 9). These teachers were taking advantage of the hospitality of Christians as they traveled about advocating their doctrines. John said, “Try the spirits” (1 John 4:1). If they don’t bring the true doctrine of Christ—don’t accept them into your house or bid them God speed. (2 John 10). This and his other writings were for the purpose to help Christians to deal with these false concepts.




When we compare the N.T. writings with early church history—we can get a good insight as to what they were teaching and who they were. Paul stated in his letters: •That men would arise in midst of church to draw away disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-32) •That some would depart from the faith giving heed to doctrines of demons. (1 Tim. 4:1-5). •That all of this would eventually lead to a great apostasy. (2 Thess. 2:1-12). And history reveals that it was well underway by the last half of the 2nd century. Various names have been connected with these heresies: Cerinthus (who lived in Ephesus the same time John did), Marcion, Valentinus, Arius, Sabellius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, etc., were some of the prominent names among this number. Names have been given to identify these doctrines: Ebionites, Docetists, Arians, Antinomianism, Apollinarians, Nestorians.


The general term “Gnostic” is used to identify these various sects. Gnosticism was really trying to make Christianity conform to the mold of the Oriental, Greek, and Jewish philosophies to be acceptable to them all. Emphasis was placed on knowledge—“The knowing ones.” The Greek word means “knowledge.” They exalted their knowledge and insights above the Apostles. There was an arrogance, pride, superior intellectual attainments pointed out by these false teachers. 1,2, and 3rd John was written to address, and warn, the Christians about these false teachings.

Answer the questions below.  If you miss a question, go back and study that portion of the class and then retake the test.  Once you have received a 100% you may proceed to the next class.  You DO NOT have to submit this test for grading.  Only the final test will be submitted.