1 John for Skeptics

It is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. - 1 John 2:18

First John for Skeptics

The three Johannine epistles are all anonymously written, as was the gospel of John. No one knows who any of these "Johns" were, but none of them was who believers have always  believed him to be: the apostle John, "the beloved disciple." The three epistles and the Gospel of John share enough features, however, that they are thought to have been written by members of the same community, and the three Johannine epistles may have been written by the same non-John.

Here are some things you should know from First John:

Whoever says he is without sin is a liar (1:8) and Christians don't sin (3:6). So Christians lie if they say they don't sin (since everyone sins) and they lie if they say that they sin (since Christians don't sin). Which means, I guess, that all true Christians are liars.

The "John" of First John knew he was living in the last days since there were so many antichrists around at that time (2:18). But since antichrists are people that don't believe that Jesus is the Christ (2:22), all non-Christians are antichrists. So there must be somewhere around  five billion antichrists alive today (depending on whether you count Catholics or not), which is a heck of a lot more than there were in "John's" day. Which means we are living in the latter day last days. Or something like that.

Here are some more highlights.

  • Whoever says he is without sin is a liar. 1:8
  • Christians don't sin; whoever sins is of the devil. 3:6-10
  • Those who love others are in the light; those who hate are in darkness. 2:9-11
  • Don't love the world or anything in it. 2:15
  • The author knows he is living in the last days because there are so many antichrists around. 2:18
  • Antichrists are people who don't believe Jesus is the Christ. 2:22, 4:3
  • Get ready because Jesus is coming soon. 2:28
  • When Jesus returns, he'll be just like "John". 3:2
  • Whatever you ask Jesus for, he will give you. 3:22
  • "God is love." 4:8, 4:16
  • You're not living unless you've got Jesus. 5:12
  • There is a sin unto death." (But no one knows what it is.) 5.16
  • Christians are of God; everyone else is wicked. 5:19