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Category Archives: Johannine Studies

We only know it will be love: A sermon on 1 John 3:1-7

Brothers and sisters, here is the amazing thing that we have to deal with, that is so hard for us to understand. That is even harder for the world to understand. The thing that trips us up, the thing we cannot catch up with, that we cannot ever grasp is how great, how singular, how […]

Freedom from innocence: A Sermon on 1 John 1:1-2:2

Brothers and sisters, let me tell you what I am doing in speaking to you today. Let me tell you what exactly I am trying to declare and proclaim to you. I’m here to tell you about that which is eternal, that which is ultimate, that which is greater than any and every created thing. […]

Theological Commentary: 1 John 2:3-6

Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments. As the Elder makes clear throughout his treatise, one of the main goals of his writing is to give true and reliable modes of discernment to the church as to where they stand in relation to the God of […]

Revolutionary Christianity

David Rensberger, in his helpful article, “Conflict and Community in the Johannine Letters” points out the deeply revolutionary and apocalyptic nature of the Joahnnine message, especially in relation to Christology and the ethics of agape: The author of the Letters defends incarnational Christology not just because it is “what you heard from the beginning” (1 […]

Throw Yourself Away in Love: An Easter Season Sermon

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look […]

In place of purity (more on wine & Jesus)

In John 2, the story of turning of the water into wine, there’s an interesting detail that I’ve never seen commented on at length before. John 2:6 describes the vats of water that Jesus turned into wine: “Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty […]

Jesus and Baptism

John 4 marks the beginning of Jesus’s ministry with his disciples. Picking up in the train of John the Baptizer, Jesus is reported to be “making and baptizing more disciples that John” (4:2). But then it gets interesting. The next verse claims that “it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized” (4:3). Why […]

Wine and Glory

In the story of the wedding at Cana where Jesus turns water into “the best wine” (2:10), the story ends interstingly. Verse 11 reads “Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” What I find interesting is the mention of glory […]

Doing Theology with/as Caiaphas

Its hard to find a more scandalizing bunch of people than theologians, and not in the good way. One would think that among a guild of professionals dedicated to getting to know God as well as possible you’d see less infidelity, churlishness, affluence, and apathy towards injustice than in other professions. However this hardly seems […]

Theological Commentary: 1 John 2:1-2

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. In one of many statements that the Elder makes as to his reason for writing, he claims that one of his purposes is sanctifactory. He writes to aid the congregation to refrain from sin. The liberating implication of this is […]

More on 1 John and Abiding

Another interesting point about 1 John. Unlike the Gospel of John, the epistle does not use “word of God” as a reference to Jesus, rather it is always a reference to the message of about Jesus that the congregation has heard “from the beginning.” However, the language of “word of God” in 1 John is […]

The Lord of the Rings, Judaism, and Supercessionism

Ken draws some interesting connections in a couple posts between Tolkien’s epic tale in The Return of the King and the Gospel of John’s perspective on Jesus’s messiahship in relation to the institutions of Judaism. Some good analysis here that’s worth a read. Check it out.

Abiding in 1 John

The word “abide” (Grk: meno) occurs 18 times in the first epistle of John. The only other New Testament book where it occurs more often is in the gospel of John in which it occurs 33 times. Consistently in the Johannine writings the idea conveyed in one of continuity, of continuing on, of remaining. In […]

Theological Commentary: 1 John 1:5-10

“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” Following the introductory declaration, the elder gets straight to the point of the treatise: God. At the center of everything in First John is the reality of God and […]

First John 1:1-4: Theological Commentary

“We declare to you what was from the beginning” The treatise opens by hearkening back to the first proclamations of the Johannine Gospel (cf. John 1:1-4). That which “was from the beginning” echoes the first statement of the Johannine Gospel, that “in the beginning was the Word.” Here, however there is perhaps more of a […]

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