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This article is about The First Epistle by John. You may be looking for the Gospel of John or another John.

The First Epistle of John or First John (1 John) is the twenty-third book of the New Testament and the sixty-second book of Bible. It was the first epistle written by John the Apostle, being the second book of the Bible he had wrote.

First John was written to an unknown group of Believers and as a proclamation of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.[1]. John's letter has a strong emphasis on Christians loving others and the validity of Jesus life on Earth through witness by John.


The author of this epistle is the Apostle John.

Language Comparison with Gospel of John[]

This is a table containing concepts or phrases found only between the Gospel of John and the First Epistle of John. This shows the dependency of 1 John on both the content of the Gospel and its heavy allusion. Many of John's concepts in 1 John are actually derivative of Jesus' sayings that are only found in the Gospel.

This table is incomplete. You can help Bible Wiki by expanding it.

Concept Gospel 1 John
Light 3:19-21 1:5-7,2:8-10
Son with the Father 5:23 2:23
New Command:Love Another 13:34 2:7-8

Relation with Audience[]


Generally, John addresses his letter to Christians, possibly a specific Church. The recipients were Believers, because the author clearly states that his readers knew the truth of Jesus Christ[2]. They were fully aware of the reasons for Jesus appearing incarnate and living a sinless life- to remove sin[3]. The Christians that received John's letter were not eyewitness of Jesus, thus they had to rely on the proclamation of eyewitnesses like John[4].

The recipients knew of Jesus' teachings such as the command to love another [5] and that hatred in the heart is like committing murder[6]. The readers knew that antichrists and false teachers were present in the world at the time[7]

John clarifies his recipients many times throughout his epistle. Usually, the identity of a particular group is revealed when John is trying to capture their attention. By calling a group out by name, John is able to emphasize the importance of personal application or instruction for that group.


John's primary audience is the "children" of the faith[8]. The children in the letter may be both literal and figurative "children of the faith". Within the group of children, John specifically addresses children with a sense of endearment to him[9], indicating some personal connection. The other children of the letter would include these endeared children, but would refer to any child of the faith under teaching (or any child)[10].


John also seems to address Christians who are generally endeared or beloved by him (not specifically children)[11]. The specific address of "the loved" often preludes an important part of the message of the letter.

Children, Young Men, Fathers[]

Two other audiences are identified once in the letter: young men[12] and fathers[13]. They are addressed alongside the "children" in a set of parallels.


The purpose of the epistle's writing is made abundantly clear in the text. The first given purpose is that the letter was written to proclaim the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. John wanted to complete his joy, by proclaiming Jesus, so the readers would be in communion with God and with him [14]. The letter was written in order that the readers would not sin[15]. John reveals that the letter was written, because the readers were believers rather than unbelievers[16]. He wished to warn about antichrists who denied Jesus Christ and claimed to know God and so try to deceive the Church[17]. Lastly, the letter was written to reassure the reading believers of their faith[18].

John also identifies his audience with a set reason for writing to each group. The letter was written to children of the faith, because they knew God and their sins were forgiven in God's name[19]. The fathers received the letter, because they knew Jesus Christ[12]. Lastly, the young men had the letter written to them due to their strength, the presence of God's Word in them and their overcoming of Satan[13]


  1. 1 John 1:3-4 (Link)
  2. 1 John 1:21, 5:13 (Link)
  3. 1 John 3:5 (Link)
  4. 1 John 1:2 (Link)
  5. 1 John 2:7, 3:11 (Link)
  6. 1 John 3:15 (Link)
  7. 1 John 2:18, (Link)
  8. 1 John 2:1,12,13,18,28; 3:7,18; 4:4;5:21 (Link)
  9. 1 John 2:1, 12, 28, 3:7, 18, 4:4, 4:21 (Link)
  10. 1 John 2:13, 18, (Link)
  11. 1 John 2:7; 3:2,21; 4:1,7,11 (Link)
  12. 12.0 12.1 1 John 2:13, 14
  13. 13.0 13.1 1 John 2:13, 14
  14. 1 John 1:2-4 (Link)
  15. 1 John 2:1 (Link)
  16. 2 John 2:21 (Link)
  17. 2 John 2:26 (Link)
  18. 1 John 5:13 (Link)
  19. 1 John 2:12, 13c (Link)