- was the only one of Jesus Christ’s original apostles not to be murdered by the Roman government. Not that they didn’t try! John was a codgy old man who didn’t die easily.
- was banished by the Roman government to an Island called Patmos.
- was an eyewitness of Jesus Christ, one of the first of Jesus’ followers, and he wrote five books in our New Testament: The gospel according to John (the fourth book of the New Testament), three letters–1st, 2nd, and 3rd John, and finally the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible.
- served for many years as an overseer for all the churches in ancient Asia Minor. Asia Minor is located in modern day Turkey, and there John lived as a kind of spiritual mentor or chaplain–the last living apostolic witness to Christ’s life and resurrection–so he kept himself busy helping the Christians in Asia Minor develop into fully devoted followers of Jesus.
- most likely wrote his Gospel for use among these churches in Asia Minor, to give them an accurate account of the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
- wrote 1st John, as some Bible teachers believe, because a difference of opinion arose about how to correctly interpret John’s Gospel, with some people advocating new and novel ideas contrary to what John intended in his gospel (Brown, Burge). Soon the Christians in Asia Minor became bitterly divided between those who held to the apostles’ teaching about Jesus, and those believing new and novel ideas about Jesus Christ. John wrote his first letter in order to correct these misunderstandings about Jesus Christ and the Christian life in the face of this terrible division that was destroying the churches and causing Christians to take dangerous side trips in their spiritual journey.
There was a Division in the house! Have you talked with disillusioned people lately?
Shortly before 1st John was written some of the more talented or intellectual members of the church had withdrawn from First Church of Asia Minor and started, More Enlightened Church of Asia Minor.
You see, the Christians in Asia Minor had reached a major fork in the road in their spiritual journey. With John as the last remaining living apostle beckoning them to follow the orthodox view of Jesus and at the same time false teachers enticing the church to depart from the Christian path to follow their new esoteric ideas. Eventually this painful split would deeply wound the churches in Asia Minor, causing terrible division, and leading many into a false religion that later became known as Gnosticism (http://carm.org/gnosticism). That church has daughter churches near where you live by the way!
John is writing this letter as a roadmap to help the confused and troubled Christians in Asia Minor navigate these unexpected twists and turns in the Christian journey, to help them stay focused on the true Jesus and not be led astray down a different path.
For many athletes, you are the modern day Biblical Chaplain, called on to answer some of the same questions John answered in 1st John.