Bible Study

John’s First Letter

Some refer to the book of John as the gospel of love because he mentions the word love thirty-nine times, more than Matthew, Mark, and Luke combined and more than any other book in the New Testament.

In all the Bible, only the lengthy 150-chapter book of Psalms uses love more often.

In John’s much shorter letter of 1 John, love shows up twenty-seven times (and seven more times in 2 and 3 John).

John, it seems, is all about love. And as followers of Jesus, so should we. That is, we should love one another. This is what Jesus tells us to do and what John repeats to us.

Unlike most of the letters in the New Testament, John doesn’t address 1 John to a specific church or person, with content unique to them. Instead, he gives universal truths for everyone.

As such, we can apply 1 John to ourselves to follow Jesus with more intention and greater confidence. 


  1. What does love mean to you?
  2. How well do we do at loving others? 
  3. What can we do to love more fully?
  4. As followers of Jesus are we known for our love? What does that say about us?
  5. How willing are you to consider 1 John as more applicable to us than Paul’s letters?

Discover more about love in John 3:16, John 13:34–35, and 1 Corinthians 13.

Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.

Read the next lesson or start at the beginning of this study.

Discover practical, insightful, and encouraging truths in Love One Another, a devotional Bible study to foster a deeper appreciation for the two greatest commandments: To love God and to love others.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.