KNOW YOUR IDENTITY
These books are John on fire - he is passionate and strong, and very black and white. These short letters will take you to another level in your maturity in Christ, giving us the tests of Christian living and the things we should “know.” As you read them you won’t remain the same. They will challenge you and change you as you sit at the feet of John, one of the key apostles of the faith.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us
1 john 3:16
patterns with power
As I mentioned when we studied the book of John together, John is my favourite author of the Bible. I mean, I absolutely love Paul but I resonate with John – he is a logical, analytical super-passionate teacher that is anchored in the Old Testament but with an incredibly creative prophetic edge. I love the perfect balance of Bible and Spirit in the apostle John. He can get really prophetically minded (wait until we get to Book of Revelations!) but it is “safe” prophetic because we know that it is anchored in the Old Testament.
Here at TYB we are all about you knowing the historical context of each book: author, date and background of the text to help you understand the book in its entirety. Imagine standing in front of a collection of books and plunging your hand into the pile and pulling out a book. You open up to the first page and it reads “I am a chosen leader, a leader that is going to change the world! I want my people to be the most powerful nation on the earth and I know that as I raise my voice and tell them how elite and incredible they are, that my dreams will come to pass.” Now that sounds like an incredible statement, right? But before you get caught up in this incredible vision of this amazing leader, you should really find out if this book is written by Nelson Mandela or Adolf Hitler. The author is important!
faith and works simon mcintyre
A recurrent, and all to easy, temptation when doing theology is to unhook describing the life from living the life, as though theology were a science. This is one reason I prefer Biblical Theology to Systematic Theology. Biblical Theology tends to take the passages in their immediate context, applying them to the purpose for which and to which/whom they were penned, whereas Systematic Theology attempts to make a coherent system of disparate parts. This has merit naturally, but Systematic Theology is always going to fall foul of the need for a forced consistency and logic. And I’m afraid the Middle Eastern mind wasn’t the product of the Enlightenment (nor its Protestant sibling, the Reformation).
The Apostle John (in 1 John) does something that is almost the opposite of what any discussion about faith and works tends to do. But before we get to his point it may pay to step back momentarily and look at the issue from a historical perspective.