Study Guide

Johannine Epsitles (1-3 John) Light and Dark

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Light and Dark

If you've ever searched for a flashlight or candle in a power outage, you can understand why the elder feels the way he does about light. Darkness can be scary. After all, you can't see where you're going, and anything could be out there waiting in the dark to gobble you up. It always feels good to turn on that little beam of light and finally see.

Well, after a few pranks, that is.

Let There Be Light

A God of light and goodness is one of the elder's favorite images. Don't believe us?

  • "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5)
  • "We walk in the light as he himself is in the light." (1 John 1:7)
  • "The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining." (1 John 2:8)
  • "Whoever says, 'I am in the light,' while hating a brother or sister, is still in the darkness." (1 John 2:9)

Makes sense, too. For the elder, believing in God and Jesus is like a sunny day—everything is illuminated and bright and clear. God is like a shining beacon of goodness telling you which direction to head. And you can see exactly where you're going. (Heaven, duh.)

Darkness, on the other hand, stinks. Darkness is frightening (hello, monsters!) because you can't see two feet in front of your face. Walk with God, says the elder, and everything is clear. Walk without God and you risk bumping into a wall every once in a while.

Hey, whether you buy it or not, it sure is poetic.

This Little Light of John's

This whole light and dark thing sounds kind of familiar, though. Oh, that's right. Because we came across it in the Gospel of John, too.

Yup—the elder cribbed his favorite image right from his favorite sacred text. Don't worry; the other Bible-writer guys didn't seem to mind.

In John's Gospel, Jesus tells everyone that he's "the light of the world" (John 8:12). The whole book even opens with a description of Jesus as a light: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it" (John 1:5). Maybe that's why the elder says he's not writing anything new.

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