Detailed outline of 1 John

  1. Introduction: The Reality of the Incarnation (1:1–4)
  2. The Christian Life as Fellowship with the Father and the Son (1:5—2:28)
    1. Ethical Tests of Fellowship (1:5—2:11)
      1. Moral likeness (1:5–7)
      2. Confession of sin (1:8—2:2)
      3. Obedience (2:3–6)
      4. Love for fellow believers (2:7–11)
    2. Two Digressions (2:12–17)
    3. Christological Test of Fellowship (2:18–28)
      1. Contrast: apostates versus believers (2:18–21)
      2. Person of Christ: the crux of the test (2:22–23)
      3. Persistent belief: key to continuing fellowship (2:24–28)
  3. The Christian Life as Divine Sonship (2:29—4:6)
    1. Ethical Tests of Sonship (2:29—3:24)
      1. Righteousness (2:29—3:10a)
      2. Love (3:10b–24)
    2. Christological Tests of Sonship (4:1–6)
  4. The Christian Life as an Integration of the Ethical and the Christological (4:7—5:12)
    1. The Ethical Test: Love (4:7—5:5)
      1. The source of love (4:7–16)
      2. The fruit of love (4:17–19)
      3. The relationship of love for God and love for one’s fellow Christian (4:20—5:1)
      4. Obedience: the evidence of love for God’s children (5:2–5)
    2. The Christological Test (5:6–12)
  5. Conclusion: Great Christian Certainties (5:13–21)
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