1, 2 and 3 John Study
The letters of John were written by the last apostle. John worked for years in Jerusalem and later transfered his headquarters to Ephesus. While there he ministered to the Church and lived to a ripe old age.
Of the three letters we have of John, the first is the most instructive. Like 2 Peter, it addresses the problem of false teachings in the church. But in doing so, John takes a different approach. He praises the stalwarts who have remained faithful to the teaching of Jesus Christ. He also points up the fallacy of a strange doctrine promulgated by one, Cerinthus. Cerinthus believed that reality consisted of spirit and matter and that in a similar duality Jesus and Christ were separate beings. In his fantastic theory the material Jesus was merely a vessel for the spiritual Christ - so that when Christ died, it was not the ultimate sacrifice, but the mere passing of a man.
John puts these unusual notions in their place and in so doing speaks not only to the church of his age, but to Christians of every age. He points out that Christ came to Earth in the flesh and that our understanding of God can only come through Jesus. It is in our communion with him and in our communion with our fellow beings that we come to know God.
2 and 3 John are more prosaic in that they are personal letters to people John intends to visit. Even so he conveys in them a sense of Godliness and direction we would do well to understand and emulate.
The letters of John are relatively short, yet much useful material can be gleaned from their passages. 1 John can be used in an in-depth study with 2 and 3 John as a kind of epilogue. The letters of John can also be presented efficaciously in a short study.
John and Jude, by William Barclay is great both as an in-depth study for a group and also as a daily guide for individuals. Visit our page on Barclay for more information on how to use Barclay's works in a Bible study.