Living Truthfully in Love — 2 John 1:4

“I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father” (2 John 1:4).

In John’s letter to an elect lady and her children (the church), he reminded Christians of two commands. First, the Father commands Christians to walk in the truth. Second, the Father commands Christians to walk in love. John wrote that the Father had always commanded people to love one another—this was no new command. Then, he explained that Christian love involved “walking” or “living according to” the truth and the Father’s commandments (which God revealed in the Bible). When Christians sincerely love God and one another by living according to the truth and commands of God, they treat others rightly. Like a good parent, John rejoiced greatly when he saw his spiritual children living truthfully in love.

As their spiritual parent, John also expressed concern that though they were walking in truth and love, they might become misled. He wrote that many deceivers had gone out into the world. These deceivers taught false things about God and Christ; for example, some denied that Jesus had come into the world in the flesh as a real human being. John wanted Christians to abide in the teachings of Jesus and not add to or subtract from them or believe and trust anyone who misrepresented what the Bible taught. Indeed, John warned that if a believer greeted a false teacher or received him into their house, then they took part in his “wicked works.” Practicing obedience to the Bible’s teachings can help us avoid being misled and sinning; especially if we will remember that the Father will never command anyone to do anything contrary to His commands in the Bible.

Thinking Further

  1. Reread 2 Thessalonians 3:1, how might the church and world be different if every Christian’s first prayer request each day was the same as Paul’s?
  2. Reread 2 Thessalonians 3:5, what did Paul pray for the Thessalonians? How might that prayer be answered in your life?
  3. How are Christians supposed to live (walk) and why should they live (walk) that way?
  4. According to John, what are some characteristics of a deceiver?
  5. What are some of the things people are doing when they welcome a deceiver into their home or church?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

The Believer’s Assurance of Eternal Life — 1 John 5:13-21

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5:13).

The Apostle John stated his reasons for writing his gospel and his letters. As he concluded the Book of John, he wrote in John 20:31, “But these (signs) are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.” The Spirit of God inspired John to write so people could hear the good news about God’s Son; then, believe in Jesus the Messiah, and have eternal life. John went two steps further as he concluded his first letter. He wrote so the followers of Jesus would know and have assurance that they have eternal life. No follower of Jesus Christ needs to doubt whether they have eternal life now and will live forever with God. John wrote to remove all doubts. The children of God experience eternal life now as the Spirit of God loves, comforts, empowers, and gives them the assurance that Jesus abides with them and will remain with them forever. John also wanted his readers to know that God always hears and answers their prayers. In 1 John 3:19-24, John wanted believers to know that they will receive from God whatever they ask because they “obey His commandments and do what pleases Him.” John wrote that believers could come boldly before God in prayer, ask for anything according to the will of God, and “know that he hears us in whatever we ask,” and because He hears us “we know that we have obtained the requests made of him”  (1 John 5:14-15).

Thinking Further

1. Who did John write His letters to? Did he also write His letters to you? Explain your answer.

2. Why did John write 1 John?

3. Having studied 1 John, did he achieve his purpose in your answer to
Question 2. for you? Explain your answer.

4. Why do the followers of Jesus have boldness when they pray?

5. How do the followers of Jesus know they have obtained their requests?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Three Testimonies for Jesus Christ — 1 John 5:6-12

This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth (1 John 5:6).

In 1 John 5:1-5, we learned that those born of God believe Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God. Furthermore, we learned that those who believe in Jesus as the Bible reveals Him overcome this world through faith in Him. John taught that belief or faith comes from historical evidence that can be examined and testimony that can be evaluated. Then, he wrote about three that testify regarding Jesus. John particularly chose these three because he and the Church needed to overcome false teachings. Some of these false teachings centered on whether Jesus came in the flesh as a human being. Because Gnostic teachers thought the human body was evil; they believed the Son of God would never contaminate himself by coming into the world with a real human body. We do not know all they taught, but John refuted them with historical evidence. First, John testified that Jesus came by water—Jesus was born of a woman. When Jesus was baptized in water, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus and His Heavenly Father declared, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13-17). Second, after Jesus died, a soldier pierced Him and John saw water and blood flow from Jesus’ side (John 19:34). Mercifully, Jesus shed His blood to cleanse believers from all sin (1 John 1:7). Third, the Holy Spirit testifies directly to people so they can evaluate truths He reveals, believe in Jesus Christ, and know they are born of God.

Thinking Further

1. How did Jesus come into the world?

2. What do you think John meant by how he described Jesus’ coming?

3. In what way or ways did Jesus come by the first way John taught? How did the first way testify to us about Jesus? How do we respond?

4. In what way or ways was it important that John stressed the second way? How did the second way testify to us about Jesus? How do we benefit?

5. How did John describe the third way that testified about Jesus? Why do we believe in Jesus because of this third testimony?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Why Jesus’ Burden For Us Is Easy and Light — 1 John 5:1-5

For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).

John wrote his first two letters to believers in churches, letters that he probably wanted circulated among the churches that he oversaw as elder. Some of these churches would have been named in his Book of Revelation. He wrote to those who were “born of God,” who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. His letters were included in the Bible to help all Christians remain faithful until Christ comes again as the Book of Revelation foretells. The Spirit of Christ indwells and transforms all Christians, bringing them from spiritual darkness and death into spiritual light and life. Through their faith in Jesus Christ, the Spirit of Christ fills believers with the love of God and enlarges their hearts to receive more of God’s love. As their expanding hearts are filled to overflowing with the love God, Christians love God and others more and more. John wrote that just as Christians love their heavenly Father, so they also love His children. When Christians love God and one another, they are obeying God’s commandments: God commands us to love God and all others. God’s commandments are not grievous or burdensome because the Spirit of Christ and the love of God within Christians enables and guides them to love God and others in practical ways every day (see Matthew 11:28-30). God’s commandments are not burdensome, because God loves everyone, and His commandments describe the best way for people to live in order to get the most out of the life that God has given them. Loving and obeying God through faith in Jesus Christ enables Christians to keep believing when persecuted or tempted by the world.

Thinking Further

  1. How do you know you are born of God? What does that mean to you?
  2. What do you think John meant to illustrate when He wrote “everyone who loves the parent loves the child”
  3. How do we know that we love the children of God?
  4. How do we love God or how do we show God that we love God?
  5. What did John say was not burdensome? Why are they not burdensome?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Proving the Bible is True

Last week I told someone. “The Bible is true,” and they replied, “Prove it!” If you are ever asked to prove the Bible is true, you can reply:

“The Person who proves the Bible is true is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17). The Holy Spirit is the Person who proves the Bible is true to those who read and study the Bible. The Holy Spirit also “Will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned” (John 16:8-11).

Because of inappropriate ads on this website that I am unable to delete, I am discontinuing all ads. Thank you for understanding, because many excellent Christian ministries have advertised through this website.


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Good News From Matthew’s Gospel

Three Months of Bible Study Lessons Begin November 7, 2021 with Matthew 2:1-12


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lessons On Matthew
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Gospel and Letters of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Those God Lives Within — 1 John 4:13-21

If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God (1 John 4:15).

God offers everyone the opportunity to live within God’s circle of love and influence, and anyone can invite God into their lives. No matter how much someone has sinned or rebelled against God, God has made their reconciliation with Him possible by sending “His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). Living daily and forever with God’s approval is possible for anyone who “acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God.” God is love, and God showed His love for the world when He sent His one and only Son into the world. Jesus taught and demonstrated the way of love; and then Jesus made the supreme sacrifice when He died on the cross in behalf of sinners, enemies of God, becoming “the Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). Believers can “know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16). Through faith in Jesus, God has graciously given believers His Spirit to live within them. Through faith in Jesus, God makes it possible for believers to love others as God loves them. Believers in Jesus have “been born of God and know God”; therefore, they can show forth the love of God for others (1 John 4:7). Those born of God are like Jesus, and the world should be able to see the love of God for all people within them. Because God is love and Jesus is their Savior, believers can live with confidence that they will have nothing to fear on the Day of Judgment. The perfect love of Jesus within them drives out all fear of punishment from God.

Thinking Further

1. How does a follower of Jesus know that God is living within them?

2. What did John testify to? How could he testify to this truth?

3. Who does God abide (remain) in?

4. How did John describe God and how does a believer abide in God?

5. How are the followers of Jesus to be “in this world”?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lesson on the Gospel of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Letters of John

Those Who Know God Love — 1 John 4:7-12

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7).

In John’s Gospel and Letters, John emphasized two crucial characteristics of a follower of Jesus. First, a follower of Jesus knows God. Notice: John did not say they know about God, or they know the theology of some famous person, or they know some characteristics of God. He did not say that those who know about God should use their knowledge of God to denigrate or try to ruin someone else who has a different understanding of God or the Bible. Second, those who know God love others. John clearly stated that if someone knows God it is because they are born of God, so they love like God. Because God is love, no matter how much someone may say they know theology, if they do not love others, they do not know God. The followers of Jesus love one another because God lives in them, and because God lives in them, they seek to express the love of God perfectly in all their relationships with others. The followers of Jesus do not love God and others perfectly, but they try to follow the example of Jesus as the Holy Spirit leads them and they will love one another unselfishly as they know Jesus loves them. They will want to do what is best for everyone in all of their relationships, even if that requires self-sacrifice, whether in business, in the church, or in their home. As one example, Jesus had no selfish or self-centered motive when He loved, came, and sacrificed His life to make eternal life possible for all who would accept His freely given gift.

Thinking Further

1. What reasons did John give for the followers of Jesus to love one another?

2. What two truths did John say about a person who is born of God?

3. What did John say about a person who does not love?

4. How did God reveal His love to us and why did God do so?

5. How did John describe God’s love compared to our love?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lesson on the Gospel of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Letters of John

Testing and Overcoming Deceivers — 1 John 4:1-6

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1)

John teaches the followers of Jesus Christ how to test and unmask deceivers. Then, John reassures believers that they have already overcome these deceivers. Finally, John tells believers how they overcame and how they can always overcome deceivers. First, believers can test deceivers from the world. Worldly deceivers will say what is from the world and the worldly trust them. John also tells how to test for lying spirits that influence or indwell false prophets and how to recognize the spirit of the antichrist. John writes that antichrists have once been in the church, but because they have never really been part of the church, they left the church. Along with lying spirits and false prophets, antichrists try to deceive the followers of Jesus. To test the spirits, believers must remember that antichrists and false prophets are not from God. They will not confess that the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world with a real human body, mind, and soul. Second, John reassures believers that they are from God; therefore, God indwells them, and they dwell within God. The followers of Jesus Christ have conquered those who would deceive them because believers are the temple of God and God is greater than anything in the world. Third, to keep overcoming deceivers, believers must keep listening to Jesus Christ and the apostles. John tells his readers that they can distinguish the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of error by studying the Truth and obeying the Truth. Today, believers keep listening to God when they read and study the Bible.

Thinking Further

1. Why did John say he wanted the followers of Jesus to test the spirits?

2. How can you tell the difference between a false spirit and the Spirit of God?

3. Who is the one who is in the believer and how can this encourage a believer in Jesus?

4. Who do those of the world listen to and why do they do so?

5. How do we know the difference between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lesson on the Gospel of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Letters of John

True Christian Love for Others — 1 John 3:18-24

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action (1 John 3:18).

When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, He warned, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Simply declaring the truth that Jesus is Lord without obeying Jesus as Lord is an example of living by words alone without corresponding deeds. Jesus taught the crucial importance of right actions based on a foundation of truth: “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock” (Matthew 7:24). John also warned against a religion of mere words without appropriate works, a life of speech instead of truth and action. John remembered that Jesus called people to follow Him as the way, and the truth, and the life; and Jesus promised He would send His followers the Spirit of truth (John 14:6; 15:26). True belief in Jesus as Lord will always lead His true followers to speaking the truth in love and to loving actions. The Apostle James gave some examples of truth leading to right actions when he wrote, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world;” and then James asked the question, “If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?” (James 1:27; 2:15-16).

Thinking Further

1. What did John mean when he distinguished between not loving in word and speech but loving in truth and action.

2. From what you know about the teachings in John’s letter so far or other parts of the Bible, what is one way you can love in truth?

3. From what you know about the teachings in John’s letter so far or other parts of the Bible, what is one way you can love in action?

4. How can a follower of Jesus know that they are from the truth?

5. What must you do to receive whatever you want from God?


Study the International Bible Study
Commentary and Lesson on the Gospel of John
by L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

Or Begin A Study of the Letters of John