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1 John 2:28-3:3

This week's bible study involves a deep dive into a short but complex passage.

Read 1 John 2:28-3:3 aloud.

Then take a minute of silence for everyone to re-read the passage to themselves a second (or third) time. If you want, you could even highlight or underline parts of it. Take your time and take it all in.

  • What words or phrases stood out to you in particular?

  • What do you think John's "main point" is here?

As you look closely at these verses, you might notice that they are structured as a chiasmus, a kind of mirror image, or a mountain we climb and then descend, where the concepts described in verses 28-29 are reiterated in verses 2-3. This has the effect of drawing the reader's attention to summit of this paragraph, 3:1.

  • Did anyone spot this structure before it was pointed out to you? (10 points to anyone who did!)

  • How would you describe the themes/ideas in verses 28-29 & 2-3?

  • How would you describe the themes/ideas in verse 1?

  • How do all these concepts connect with one another? Why do you think John has framed verse 1 in the context of 28-29 and 2-3?

  • What does it mean to you to be so loved by God as our Father?

  • What is unique about about God's love for us? [1]

  • What changes has this love of God brought about in your life? Share a few stories of the transformation God has worked in you by his love.

  • How does seeing God as a loving Father change the way you see yourself (as a deeply loved child of God)?

  • How does all this serve as a motivation to live rightly? How does this compare to living with a different conception of God (e.g. a rule-making God, an angry God, a distant God, an unforgiving God, etc.)?

  • What can we do to remind ourselves and each other of God's great love?

Spend some time praying for one another. As you pray for each person in your group, you might like to pray words like these:

Father God, thank you for your deep love for your child, ______. Thank you for lavishing your love upon them as a perfect Father loves his child....

[1] David Jackman writes,

John is wanting us to grasp how radically different from all other sorts of love God’s agape really is... The force is that we need to take time to contemplate this love and allow its reality to sink down into the depths of our being. It is meant to take our breath away; to startle and amaze us so that we are left gasping, ‘What sort of love is this?’ The word John uses (potapos) originally meant ‘of what country?’ It is a word that expresses surprise in encountering something foreign, something we are not used to. The disciples use this word in Matthew 8:27, when, amazed by the power of Jesus in stilling the storm on Galilee, they exclaim, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him.’ He is in a different category from anything we have come across before. And so is the Father’s love for us.

Letters of John, Bible Speaks Today, p81


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