What I Love About 1, 2 & 3 John

by | Nov 3, 2014 | 4 comments

The letters of 1, 2 & 3 John  are—how shall I say this—blunt. Which is one of the reasons I’ve come to love them so much. Sometimes I just need someone to tell me the truth.

Well over a year ago, when considering where to land for this study, I began reading through these short letters. I hit points like what it means to walk in darkness versus light, how it’s incongruent to say you love God but then willingly go do a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t please Him, how deception creeps in, truth versus heresy, what love really is and means—and I noticed my heart starting to pulse a little faster.

I realized that John’s message, though written 2,000 years ago, couldn’t be more timely.

So I decided to invite some people to my house for a bible study on 12&3 John and try it out. (It appears I’m wearing a name tag.)


Why John’s letters matter so much today

I had gotten a little lost in the vagueness of current culture. Even Christian culture.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are a lot of opinions out there. 

While I appreciate concepts like open-mindedness, progressive, forward-thinking, without any structure these ideas cast a hazy milieu over our belief systems. And if our belief systems are unanchored or unwittingly broad, our actions and the way we live become progressively unclear. As a result of that lack of clarity we lose our direction. My course had grown a bit murky. I wonder if you know what I mean?

So 1, 2 & 3 John cuts through this haze with a laser beam, but he doesn’t do it for self-righteousness sake or so we can “get it right” or live up to the rules. He speaks hard-lined truth for the most intimate and hopeful of reasons—so we can have fellowship with God, with His Son and with one another (See 1 John 1:1-5). Community with God and others is at stake. To know and be known. We don’t have to be alone anymore. What better reason for John to have written?

And so I decided to start writing this bible study and here’s what that looked like… (I pride myself on organization.) IMG_3313

What I hope you’ll take away

Carl F. Henry once said, “The early church didn’t say, ‘Look what the world is coming to!’ They said, ‘Look what has come into the world!’”

And from verse one, John reminds us Look Who’s come into this world! He teaches us what it means to abide instead of to strive, manipulate or control. He separates light from dark, truth from lies, and walks us through the foundations of our faith so we can rest our head on firmer ground. He offers us the gift of confidence and knowledge, assuring us that we really can know we know Jesus.

Perhaps more than anything, John shows us what true love is. That it really is more costly and loyal and pursuant than anything we can imagine. And so when talking about love, John always points to Jesus.

This is what happened when Bethany and I came home from an event and saw a box of THESE on my doorstep. We were excited, with our barrettes in our hair and all.

Cascade wedding veil

A Big Thank You

I so appreciate all the support you all have shown me over the years. I love getting to meet you on the road and hearing from you through social media. I have the most gracious audience out there. My prayer is that What Love Is reaches you in the deepest places, renews your faith, strengthens your confidence and helps you know Jesus more. I’m so thankful for you.



  1. Kathy Schwanke

    Yes, yes, yes!!
    I surely know what you mean by murky! God has graciously alerted me to areas of my thinking that had been muddied by the world – and I would say the “Christian world”. I realized I’d become soft on His view of divorce. I remember when a Christian divorce took place twenty years ago, feeling so heart-broken over the defeat. Over the enemy having a destruction-victory. I realized one day that I’d become desensitized to the fact that God hates the tearing apart of what He has joined.

    There are other such things I’ve found my convictions have softened on.

    I’ve loved your studies, and will definitely be looking to lead this one this spring with my group that studied Ruth last spring. 🙂

    And I look forward to seeing you at Set Apart in March! Maybe we can have a cup of coffee one morning. 🙂
    BTW, how did you get the accent mark on “touche” on Twitter?

    . . . my table often looks just like that. . . I love a well-worn table full of memories. 🙂

  2. kelli mcknight

    I saw yesterday that you’d written this study and am ecstatic! Discovered the gifts of 1-3 John several years ago and the words rocked my world, redefining what pure and practical love needs to look like….even attempted to memorize 1 John and my word this year is ‘abide’…. Thank for you for sharing your heart and your art through this resource. Can’t wait to dive in!

  3. Linda N

    Just picked up my book a few days ago without any idea of where/when/if the study might be held in my area in the upcoming months. Will do the study on my own and pray a nearby church will offer it soon. Love your studies and sweet love for the Lord!

  4. Sandy Ralya

    Had a conversation about Creation with a friend last week. When she emphasized the importance of questioning Scripture, I felt uneasy. Thanks for clarifying that “if our belief systems are unanchored or unwittingly broad, our actions and the way we live become progressively unclear. As a result of that lack of clarity we lose our direction.” Great article, thanks!