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Around the time John wrote his Gospel, he also penned a few letters that were included in the New Testament. The first of these, 1 John, does not read like a typical letter as no names are mentioned, but it serves as a direct word of encouragement to Christians in the late first century who were struggling in their faith. False teachers had confused their thinking as to the truth about Jesus and what it means to live as his followers, so John writes to set matters straight. He clearly loves these fellow-believers and mentions multiple times why he is writing to them – see 1:4, 2:12-14, 26 and 5:13. When we are in need of assurance as followers of Jesus, there is no better place to go than 1 John!

As you read the first chapter, note the use of “we.” John is speaking on behalf of the apostles – those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life and, especially, his resurrection. They know the truth about Jesus better than anyone, so look closely at what they affirm in verses 1-4. The second half of the chapter begins to show where the false teachers got it wrong. Anyone can claim to have a relationship with God, but how can we know that such a claim is valid? In particular, how does our attitude toward sin factor into this question? This is exactly where John goes.