Bible Study

Bible Study Introduction: John’s Letters

The apostle John (not to be confused with John the Baptist) is one of Jesus’s twelve disciples and part of Jesus’s inner circle, along with his older brother James and his friend Peter.

But there’s more. In his biography of Jesus, John refers to himself as the disciple Jesus loved. 

Imagine that. 

Consider that Jesus has many followers. He picks twelve of them to be his disciples and three of them to be in his inner circle, but beyond that John rises above them all as the disciple Jesus loves. (The word love occurs often in John’s writing, which we’ll cover throughout this study.) 

John also wrote five of the New Testament books. Only Paul wrote more. 

As far as the New Testament’s content, John wrote about 20 percent of it. Only Paul and Luke wrote more, about 33 percent and 25 percent respectively.

This clearly places John as one of the top three authors in the New Testament and a leading source of our Scriptural understanding of Jesus and our faith.

It’s interesting that Paul wrote only letters (epistles), while Luke wrote only historical accounts (the books of Luke and Acts). John, however, wrote in both of these genres, as well as a prophetic book, making his contributions to the Bible more holistic.

John is best known for his beloved biography of Jesus (his historical book). Many cite it as their favorite gospel for its poetic language and unique content. 

John is also well known for his epic vision of the end times, called Revelation (his prophetic book). Its evocative imagery intrigues and perplexes readers. 

John’s letters, however, are not as well known. He wrote three of them, which we know as 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John.

This is unfortunate as John’s letters present valuable insights to help us grow in our faith and understanding of what it means to follow Jesus. This is most true of his longest letter, 1 John.

We’ll dig deep into these three letters to mine simple truths and profound insights to move us forward on our faith journey.


  1. What else do you know about John?
  2. What do you think about John calling himself the disciple Jesus loved?
  3. Which of John’s five books do you like the most?
  4. Which of John’s five books do you know the least about?
  5. What are your expectations for this Bible study?

Discover more about John’s writing in Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John and A New Heaven and a New Earth: 40 Practical Insights from John’s Book of Revelation.

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.

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.