by Harley Howard

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The First Epistle of John
Introduction and Chapter 1 (Part 1 of 5)
Dr. Harley Howeard

The first epistle of John seems to fall under the
category of a circular letter, which was a letter that
was distributed to various churches in the region
which he wrote. This epistle could be compared to
Ephesians and first Peter in that they are too
circular letters not written to anyone specifically,
and being general in its tone. That being so, if it
is so, the text of the letter revealed the general
condition of the church or churches that the author
wrote to and that condition was a state of crisis. As
you get farther along in time since the beginnings of
the church, there is an apparent shift in dealing with
falseness within the church. Letters of Paul, for
example, dealt primarily with problems of Judaism and
Christianity, between pagans and Christianity, whereas
John deals in the area of false vs. true believers.
It would appear that the distinction that true
believers were noted for was eroding in the churches
and needed to be addressed. John did this in
unmistakable language. Heresies seemed to have
flourished within the church and the problem may have
arisen because of strong influence that the false
followers had, and a possibility of poor, spiritual

False teachers and their teachings, as well as, the
erosion of any true distinctiveness within the church,
takes place during times of weak leadership, and the
same is true today.

John did not mince his words concerning the falseness
in the church. He goes right to the jugular,
expressing strongly that these men were not teachers
of the truth, but of lies. The letter seems to
indicate that the two primary thrust of the epistle
itself was the incarnation of Christ and the
regeneration of the believer. This is where the false
teaching made its greatest attack. The proof of
regeneration John revealed was seen in the
rel ...

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