This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!
The Big Picture of 1, 2, and 3 John:
These three books, written by John may be short but are packed full of truth and encouragement just as relevant today as it was for the original readers. If I had to describe the first letter in three words they would be: life, light, and love. These concepts and themes weave their way through out the five chapters that make up the book. John longed for His readers to live in the new life of Jesus, shine that light in the dark world, and understand God’s great love for them. The second and third letters are much shorter, only one chapter each. John’s second letter emphasizes the longing that God’s children wold walk in the truth and let God’s truth and love abide in them. The last letter was written to Gaius encouraging him and others to continue in their faithful service to God and His servants.
The Big Picture of Jude:
Jude is another short book, only one chapter long, written by Jude (James’ brother and Jesus’ half-brother). There are two main points he speaks too: the danger of some false teachers that were present and an encouragement to remain faithful in the midst of trials. This was likely written about 10 years before 1-3 John around 75 A.D. We also hear Jude echoing other writers in reminding believers that our salvation is secure in Christ not because of anything we do but because of what Christ has done! He alone is able to present us holy before God (vs 24)!
Common Words in 1 John:
As I mentioned above, John is very repetitive in his themes in this first letter. Here are some common words or phrases and how many times they are found in the book (based on the New Living Translation):
- Light (6) and Darkness (6)
- Life/Living/Lives (49)
- Truth/truly/true (19)
- Love/loves (46)
- God’s children/Child(ren) of God/dear children (20)
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.
- “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all.” (1 John 1:5)
REFLECTION: Where have you seen the light of Christ invade your darkness lately?
- “See how much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” (1 John 3:1)
REFLECTION: Take some time and just repeat this truth until it sinks into your soul: I am a beloved child of God! He lavishes his love on me!
- “Grace, mercy, and peace, which comes from God the Father and from Jesus Christ–the Son of the Father–will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.” (2 John 1:3)
REFLECTION:Where are you looking for grace, mercy, or peace apart from God? How has that not worked out?
- “I am writing to remind you, dear friends, that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one that we have had from the beginning.” (2 John 1:5)
REFLECTION:How can you love someone intentionally this week?
- “I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.” (3 John 1:4)
REFLECTION:Who can you celebrate with this week who is following the truth? Tell them that you notice their often unseen faithfulness.
- “But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you to eternal life. In this way you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.” (Jude 1:20-21)
REFLECTION:Who can you build up in the faith this week as we wait for eternal life?
Some Other Resources:
- The Bible Project summary video for 1-3 John
- The Bible Project summary video for Jude
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for 1-3 John
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for Jude
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!