1John Bible Study Guides
1Jn | Notes | 1 | 2a | 2b | 3 | 4a | 4b | 4c | 5a | 5b | conclusion

How to Identify those Born of God

1John 1:1-2:2 (web)

Evidence from Walking in the Light

Revealing the Biblical Christ

  • 1:1 That which was from the beginning,
  • that which we have heard,
  • that which we have seen with our eyes,
  • that which we saw,
  • and our hands touched,
  • concerning the Word of life

    1:2 (and the life was revealed, and we have seen, and testify,
    and declare to you the life, the eternal life,
    which was with the Father, and was revealed to us);

    1:3 that which we have seen and heard we declare to you,
    that you also may have fellowship with us
    . Yes, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ.
    1:4 And we write these things to you, that our joy may be fulfilled.

    Walking in the Light

    1:5 This is the message which we have heard from him and announce to you,
    that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

    1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness,

    we lie, and don't tell the truth.
    1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
    we have fellowship with one another,
    and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
    1:8 If we say that we have no sin,
    we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins,
    and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
    1:10 If we say that we haven't sinned,
    we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
    2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin.
    If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.
    2:2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,
    and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.
    {"atoning sacrifice" is from the Greek "hilasmos," an appeasing, propitiating, or the means of appeasement or propitiation - the sacrifice that turns away God's wrath because of our sin.}

    Discussion Questions

    Notice the similarities between this chapter and John chapter 1
    What are the possible meanings of "fellowship" in this chapter?
    What does it mean to walk in darkness?
    Is it possible for a real Christian to walk in darkness?
    What examples of walking in darkness does John provide in this chapter?
    If a person is walking in darkness, are his sins forgiven?
    vs 10 What is the difference between saying that we don't have sin and we haven't sinned?



    The book of 1st John is all about how you can identify whether a person has been born of God.

    In interpreting the whole book of 1st John, one of the most important things to understand is the significance of the present tense in the greek. The present tense can have a strong sense of continuity, which John makes use of. For there there is another tense which we don't have in English, known as the aorist which tends to be used when continuity is not stressed or when on wishes to express punctilinear events (events that occur at discrete points in time). When John uses the present tense, he is using it in the sense of the "lifestyle" of the person. For example, "walking" is referring to the overall lifestyle of the person, not what the person is doing at any particular point in time.

    vs 1-4 John's main purpose in writing is to provide ways to identify real Christians and distiguish them from cults. One of the cults he addresses in this letter is "Docetism". The following is taken from Zondervan's Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible:

    Thus throughout the letter, John emphasizes the physical reality of Christ.

    vs 6-7 "Fellowship" is our identification with Christ and with other believers. Those who are living a lifestyle of sin are not identifying themselves with Christ, regardless of whether they claim to be Christians. Only those whose lifestyle is consistent with that of children of the light are in a right relationship with God. Though we sin from time to time, such is not the overall characteristic of our lifestyle and we are not only forgiven of sin, but God is in the process of purifying us from our sinfulness, which changes our behavior as we mature in Christ.

    vs 8-9 There are those, particularly in the holiness movement, that claim to no longer sin. They deny their inherent sinful nature. They deceive themselves, overlooking their own sinfulness. Such people are not true believers. And they lack the conviction of sin necessary to redeem them. True believers are honest about themselves. We recognize and confess our sinfulness. Such confession is part of our lifestyle. Once again, we are both justified from sin and in the process of being sanctified.

    vs 10 God has declared all to be sinners, as in Rom 3:10-12. To say otherwise is to call God a liar. "His word" is the Bible. Not accepting what the Bible says about ourselves is a rejection of God indicating of the unbelievers.

    2:1-2 Though John is encouraging Christians to not sin at all, he wants us to be honest about our sinfulness but not to be too worried about condemnation. For though our behavior may indicate our salvation status, we do not earn the forgiveness of sins by simply modifying our behavior. But rather we put our faith in Christ's atoning work.


    We are writing to you as eyewitnesses and those who have fellowship with God concerning the eternal life God has provided. Those who are called Christians, but say that they don't sin or reject the concept of sin simply don't have eternal life. Real Christians acknowledge that they are sinners, but that they rely on the atoning work of Christ as payment for their sins.


    1:1 That which was from the start, which we have surely heard
    We saw and touched, and now proclaim, to you that very Word
    2 The life appeared we've seen it, and testify to you
    He once was with the Father, but then became a Jew
    3 We tell you what we saw and heard, have fellowship with us.
    As also with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus.
    With the Father and his Son, our fellowship is sweet.
    4 We write this message to you, to make our joy complete
    5 And now this is the message, which we've heard from him
    God is light, not dark at all, not even slightly dim.
    6 If we claim to know him, yet in the darkness walk
    We do not live, by the truth, but are lying in our talk
    7 If we walk in light, as he is in the light
    We'll walk with one another, in fellowship delight
    And the blood of Jesus, his one and only Son,
    Will also purify our sins, yes each and every one.
    8 If we claim to be, without any sinfulness
    We do ourselves deceive, and truth is not in us.
    9 If we do confess our sins, he's faithful and just too
    And will forgive our sins, and make us all brand-new
    10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out a liar
    His word is not in us, we're headed for the fire.
    2:1 I write to you my children, so that you will not sin
    We have a lawyer on our side, with just the right sheepskin.
    Jesus is the Righteous One, who speaks in our defense
    He covers all our sin, regardless the offense
    2:2 He's the sacrifice atoning, not only just for us
    But also for the whole world, when they believe Jesus. 

    The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

    Jul 29,2015