When I study a book of the Bible I have a systematic approach. I go through steps to help me understand the content. You don’t have to do these, but I like to be as diligent as I can be in approaching God’s word. I have a mnemonic to help me remember them, Faithful Men Readily Offer Prayers. FMROP.
F-First impressions, read through 1 John and write down your first impressions of the book.
M-Mood, read through 1 John and try to get a sense for the mood of the book; is it matter-of-fact, personal, gentle, harsh, condemning, encouraging.
R-Recipients, go through 1 John and write down every piece of information about the people who are receiving the letter and write down what verse that piece of information came from.
O-Occasion, go through 1 John and write down every piece of information about the problem the recipients are having–what is going on with these people that would lead to this letter being written.
P-Purpose, go through 1 John and write down every piece of information on why the letter is being written; what does John say or hint at why he is writing the letter.
And I usually write down an S or an I beside each piece of information to clarify whether it is stated or implied.
2.12-15-S, the recipients are of mixed ages: little children, fathers, young men
Teknon: sins are forgiven
Fathers: have known him that is from the beginning
Young men: have overcome the wicked one, are strong, the word abides in them
Paidion: have known the Father
2.20-S, they have an anointing from the Holy One and know all things
2.21-S, they know the truth
You/the recipients: of God, have overcome “them”
They/antichrists: of the world, they speak of the world, the world hears them
We/apostles: of God, those of God hear them, those not of God don’t hear them
4.13-S, they dwell in JC and have the HS
5.13-I, they have eternal life
5.13-S, they believe in the name of the SoG
5.19-S, “we” are of God (including the recipients?)
5.20-S, God has given them (“we”) an understanding and “we” are in him that is true (cf 5.19).
Key verses: 2:12-15, 5:13
Conclusion on the Recipients: They are children of God, mixed ages, know the truth, and have eternal life.
“Occasion”— the main problem of the recipients
1.3,4-I, fellowship w/ “us” and F&S is broken/in danger
2.18-S, they have heard that antichrists will come
2.19-S, antichrists came out of their company (those who deny J is C)
2.26-S, they are being seduced
2.24-I, they are tempted to deny J is C
2.28-I, they are tempted to not abide in JC
3.7-S, some were (attempting to) seducing them
3.13-S, the world hates them
3.17,18-I, they were not loving in deed and in truth
4.1-I, they were (tempted to) believing some spirit that were wrong
4.3-S, the spirit of antichrist (denying JC came in flesh) is in the world
4.5-S, “they” were of the world
Key verses: 2:26, 3:7
Conclusion on the Occasion: The recipients are being troubled/seduced by “antichrists” who were previously among them (2:19) and now deny J is C or that he came in flesh.
“Purpose”—the remedy of the problem/stated purpose of writing
1.3-S, to have fellowship with “us” (the apostles)
1.4-S, that their joy may be full
2.1-S, that they sin not
2.8f-I, to remind them of an old/new commandment
2.21-S, because they know the truth; affirm the truth
2.26-S, some seduce them; educate them on the seducers
3.7-I, to help them not be seduced
4.6-I, to educate them on the standard of truth
4.7-I, to tell them to love one another
5.13-S, to have them believe on the name of the SoG, they may know they have e. life
5.17-20-I, they may know they are of God and have e. life
Key verses: 1:3-4, 5:13
Conclusion on the Purpose: John writes the recipients to assure them that they have fellowship w/ the apostles, God, and JC, that they know the truth, and that they have eternal life. Secondarily, to define the truth (and remind them of it) so they do not sin and are not seduced.