Verse to consider: “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” – 1 John 4:13-15
In the past month, I had the opportunity to teach a lecture on the book of 1 John. The writings of the Apostle John are unique in that they represent of a period of the New Testament church unlike any other books of the Bible. If we hold to the generally accepted dates for the writing of the other books of the New Testament, then the events that we see in John’s Gospel, 3 epistles, and Revelation take place 15+ years after the latest writings we have from Paul, and 50+ years since Jesus ascended! This means that we get a small glimpse into the progress and struggles of an established, early church community.
In 1 John, the apostle (now very old) is writing an intimate letter to the church community surrounding the region of Ephesus, often referring to his readers as “beloved” and “little children.” As 21st century readers, it’s often easy to remove ourselves from the situations we read about in the Bible, and yet we see John and the church community facing similar problems that our modern churches face today. What do we do when people are teaching a gospel contrary to what we’ve heard or read about? How should we feel or react when people leave the church community because of heresy? How do we know that we really know the truth about God when those who think contrary to what we’ve read claim the same thing? John addresses all of these things in this epistle.
For such a small book, John has much to say about all kinds of theological truths. He finds time to speak about the doctrines of God, sin, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Salvation, and Eschatology! John goes to great lengths to reassure his readers about the truths that they have received in very definitive statements (look out for repeated phrases like “by this we know…”). The heresies present in the church have produced a sort of elitism and lovelessness among the believers, and John’s message stresses the importance of fellowship, rooted in the person and example of Christ, who brings all believers into fellowship with each other and with the Father. If you’re looking for a book chockfull of creedal statements about who Jesus is and the core of Christian belief, read 1 John!
General Update/Travel Plans
As our final week of teaching comes to a close in our School of Biblical Studies, we’re gearing up for graduation and summer travel plans. As always, it’s been absolutely incredible to see the change in our students as they engage with the Bible on a whole new level. We’re so proud of their progress and the way that they have persevered to the end! One of the last things we do in our school is to give our students a lecture assignment, where they put their new skills into action and practice teaching a book!
(If you find yourself interested in knowing your Bible in an intimate way, please consider whether God is calling you, or maybe someone you know, to attend our school! It will change your life! You can find out more and apply here!) https://emmausbibleministries.org/
As for summer plans, Samantha and I will be traveling for the months of June and July in order to visit friends, family, and supporters, and also to attempt to raise more general support for our mission here. Beginning June 7th, we will be traveling to Homer, AK for around 3 weeks, and then we plan to visit Virginia in July for a yet-to-be-determined amount of time. If you would like to visit with us, set up a support meeting, or book some kind of teaching, please contact us as soon as possible so we can be sure to plan accordingly!
– As we plan for our summer travels, we are of course anxious about any sort of travel that involves an infant, please pray for our safety and sanity.
– As this semester ends, we’re praying for the future of our current students, and we’re also praying for our new students-to-be. We also will have some changes coming to our school which will require some transitioning. Please pray for us as we work to develop the best Bible equipping ministry we can!
– We’re also coming to the end of our current lease with our apartment. There are multiple factors to consider as we think about our future living situation, our family needs, and our current support income. Please pray for guidance and the needed increase in our support.
If you would like to donate towards our family and our work with Emmaus Bible Ministries, click here to reach our donate page.
– Jacob, Samantha, and Benaiah