Beyond the Lectionary Text: 1 John 2

by Chelsey Harmon

Introduction

I find the letter/sermon in 1 John to be exceptionally pastoral and truthful. Scholars have helped us piece together the conflict that prompted all three letters with John in the name: it’s clear that the community of believers were being bombarded with challenges to core beliefs about Jesus and the nature of things by people who used to be part of their community. From the very beginning of his letter, John works very hard to unite himself with the community and to root their message to the good news of Jesus himself. (1.1-5) John seems to be constantly reminding them that they already have what they need to know, it’s more a matter of putting that knowledge to practice (hence his heavy use of the perfect tense, especially for the verb ‘to know’). And, as part of his pastoral sensitivity, John gives the community a few different rubrics that can be efficiently used when they are presented with challenging viewpoints and lifestyles. He also continually paints a picture of a community committed to life together.

The Rubric of Lip Service and Real Service

A Community of Support

Rubric for knowing who to listen to