1-3 John treats the three letters of John as a unified epistolary package. Taking a thorough and scholarly approach, John Paul Heil proposes two important contributions to the study of 1-3 John. First, he presents new comprehensive chiastic structures for each of the three letters of John based on concrete linguistic evidence in the text. These chiastic structures serve as the guide to a better understanding of for whom John’s epistles were meant, and why they were written. Secondly, it treats these letters from the point of view of their worship context and themes. Not only were 1-3 John intended to be performed orally as part of liturgical worship, but together these three letters plead with their audience to engage in a distinctive kind of ethical worship. The three letters of John are most concerned with giving their audience the experience of living eternally by the worship that consists of loving God and one another.
2. 3 John: The Elder to Gaius
3. 2 John: The Elder to an Elect Lady
4. 1 John 1:1-10: He Will Cleanse Us from All Unrighteousness
5. 1 John 2:1-14: If We Keep His Commandments the Love of God Has Been Perfected
6. 1 John 2:15-17: Do Not Love the Things in the World
7. 1 John 2:18-27: The One Confessing the Son Also Has the Father
8. 1 John 2:28-3:6: You Know Whoever Does Righteousness Has Been Begotten from Him
9. 1 John 3:7-12: We Should Love One Another
10. 1 John 3:13-17: We Ought To Lay Down Our Lives for the Brothers
11. 1 John 3:18-24: Believe in the Name of His Son Jesus Christ and Love One Another
12. 1 John 4:1-6: In This You Know the Spirit of God
13. 1 John 4:7-12: God Has Sent His Son so that We Might Live through Him
14. 1 John 4:13—5:2: Just as That One Is so We Are in This World
15. 1 John 5:3-12: This Is the Love of God that We Keep His Commandments
16. 1 John 5:13-21: All Unrighteousness Is Sin
17. Summary and Conclusion
Endorsements and Reviews
John Paul Heil has made a distinctive contribution in his commentary on the Johannine Epistles. Based on his recognition that the three Epistles belong together in the context of worship in the community to which they were sent, he analyzes the Epistles into fifteen chiastic micro-structures which exhort the readers/hearers to a distinctive worship of love of God and brother/sister, thus revealing unity in literary complexity.
John Painter, Professor of Theology, St Mark’s National Theological Center, Charles Sturt University, Canberra
John Paul Heil opens up rich and compelling insights into these three letters by paying detailed attention to their micro- and macrostructures. His audience-oriented approach leads him to treat seriously the worship setting in which these letters were first heard and to show that they call for a distinctive ethical worship. He argues persuasively that true worship – involving loving God and loving one another so as to live eternally – is the main theme of these letters. Highly recommended.
Paul Trebilco, Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Otago, Dunedin