Unselfish: The Letters of John

A Set of 14 lessons based on 1 John, 2 John and 3 John. 

By Rudolf E. Klimes, PhD, DMin, MPH.


Copyright © 2014 Rudolf Klimes, PhD. All rights reserved.

CECourses Press, 115 Kennerly Way, Folsom CA 95630

ethiCE.org   CECourses.org  www.klimes.org





Read the three letter of John in the New King James version or in one of the modern translations.

Then read and respond to the section on fellowship in 1 John 1-10.

If possible, find one or more friends and study together.

As you read, ask the questions who, what, when, where, why and how do these passages relate to selfishness and unselfishness.

Study the 14 lessons one by one, taking at least 30 minutes for each lesson.


1. Fellowship

1 John 1:7a. But if we walk in the light, as He is (in) the light,

7b. we have fellowship (and joy) one with another,

7c. and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1. A Wonderful Fellowship: A Study of 1 John 1.

Fellowship with God brings joy. Light leads to forgiveness of sin.

JOHN is the beloved disciple who wrote a gospel, three letters and Revelation, in that order. This letter was written from Ephesus to the churches in Asia Minor about 95 AD. Chapter 1 features five main words:

FELLOWSHIP. We are in this ship together. We are all fellows in one ship. We go together. John writes about the fellowship between the Father and the Son. The two are one. But that the two accept us in their midst is most wonderful. In many ways, we do not belong there. But God nevertheless includes us in His special love relationship. Fellowship is used here 4 times, namely 3, 3, 6, 7.

JOY. So many good things happen to us constantly. They build us up, they encourage us, they brighten our lives. They fill our lives with light and goodness. Most people have some joy under good circumstances. But here John is writing about a fellowship that brings deep joy, full joy.

LIGHT. Fellowship with God and with people of like faith brightens our lives. God is light, and all that He touches becomes light. God’s light removes darkness and sin. That light heals, that light forgives.

SIN. We are surrounded by sin. Everything that breaks fellowship with God and with others is sin. Sin is harm and darkness. The breaking of God’s order is sin. Sin removes us from light and God.

FORGIVE. We cannot be at peace and in sin. We need to take our sins to God and ask Him to forgive us. Our sins have to be removed so that we can have fellowship with others and with God. Sin hinders that relationship, forgiveness bridges it.


1, Fellowship                                                           1 John 1:1-10 

Read chapter 1 twice. Discuss and circle the best answer.

1a. Whom did they hear, see, touch?  the Word, a man, an angel

1b. What is Christianity? religion, person, a way of life

2a. To whom did the disciples witness? to John, to us, to all

2b. What is eternal life? life without end, long life, healthy life

3a. What is the 3-fold FELLOWSHIP? Father, Son, Spirit, we

3b. How do we enjoy FELLOWSHIP? pray, talk, read, study, sing

4a. Why did John write this letter? for joy, assignment, learning

4b. How do we fill our JOY? in fellowship, in learning, in service

5a. What is the message from God? peace, light, forgiveness

5b. How is God LIGHT?  eliminates: darkness, sin, temptations

6. Can we have FELLOWSHIP and darkness? yes, no

7. What happens when we FELLOWSHIP? cleaning, sinning

8. What happens when we deny our SIN? truth, lie, fellowship

9a. When does God FORGIVE us? After: confession, sin, love

9b. Do forgiveness and cleaning go together? yes, no

10. When do we make God a liar? when: we sin, deny sin, pray


Review of 1 John 1:1-10                                            

Write in the best answer:

1a. How did the disciples hear, see, touch the Word of life? ____

1b. What/who is the Word of Life? _________________________

2a. What did the disciples see? ___________________________

2b. How did the disciples show eternal life? _________________

3a. What is FELLOWSHIP?________________________________

3b. Where do we enjoy that FELLOWSHIP? _________________

4a. What things did John write?___________________________

4b. How can our JOY be full? _____________________________

5a. What message from God did John declare? ______________

5b. How is God without darkness?________________________

6. What happens when we walk in darkness? _______________

7. How does the blood of Christ clean us? _________________

8. What happens when we say we have no SIN? _____________

9a. What SINS does God forgive? _________________________

9b. How does forgiveness and cleaning go together? ________

10. When is God’s Word not in us? _______________________


2.     1 John 2:11   Blind

He that hates his brother

is in darkness

and walks in darkness.

He does not know where he is going.

Because darkness has blinded his eyes.


2.  The Way of Love

COMMANDMENTS: The word commandment is mentioned 6 times, in 1 John 2: 3, 4, 7, 7, 7, 8.  We usually think of the ten commandments that God wrote on Mount Sinai in stone, the health laws given to the Israelites, and the ceremonial laws concerning sacrifices that were fulfilled with the death of Jesus. It also includes the summary of the commandments to love God and men. Of all the laws, Jesus abolished only the ceremonial law.

SIN: Sin is defined as the breaking of the law. When John wrote this letter, his readers clearly understood what law he was referring to. Today, as many believe that all laws were done away with at the death of Christ, this is a bit more controversial. Since the ten commandments are rooted in creation and the whole Old and New Testaments, sin here refers to the breaking of the law of love, namely the ten commandments. In the end, sin is any breaking of our relationship with Jesus.

LOVE: The ones that follow God’s commandments and walk in the light follow the way of love. They repent of their sins and God forgives them. Our commandment keeping and our knowledge of God are connected. One follows the other. On the other hand, hating others and walking in darkness are also connected.

John writes to the fathers, to the young men and to the children about knowing God and about overcoming evil. He writes about the eternal love of the Father and the transitory lust of the flesh.

The way of love treasures our formal and informal relationship with God and sheds light on our path. As we follow God’s teachings in the law, we befriend God and avoid the problems of sin and lust.


2. The Way of Love                                                  1 John 2:1-17

Write in the answers to the following questions:

1a. What should we avoid?_______________________________

1b. How does an advocate help us? _______________________

2a. How is Jesus the sacrifice for our sins?_________________

2b. Whose sins does Jesus eliminate? _____________________

3. How do we know that we know Jesus? ___________________

4. How is a commandment breaker a liar? __________________

5. How do we know we are in Christ? ______________________

6. What should the Christian do? _________________________

7. What is the old commandment? _________________________

8. What is the new commandment? ________________________

9. What is the relationship between light and darkness? ______

10. What is the relationship between light and love? _________

11. How does darkness blind you? ________________________

12-14. What is the message to the three groups?____________

15. How does the love of the world and the Father differ?______

16. What three things are of the world? ____________________

17. Who lives forever? __________________________________



3.   Little children: Forgiven

 Fathers: You know God. You know the Father. You have overcome the wicked one.


Young men:  You are strong. The Word abides in you. You have overcome the wicked one.


 I John 2:12-14

       Love and Obey

If you know

that Christ is righteous,

you know that


that does righteousness

is born of Christ. 1 John 2:29

In 1 John 2:18, John writes that there are many antichrists. Thus antichrist may not be one person, but a characteristic of many persons. Antichrist seems to be the characteristic of the people that once were Christians but who left. Antichrist is someone who denies the Father and also that Jesus is Christ, the messiah.

In the fellowship with the Father and Son, we Christians enjoy the promised eternal life. 1 John 2:25.

God is always right. All who do right are his children. 1 John 2:29.


1 John 2:18-29

18a. Why is it the last time? __________________________

18b. Who are the Antichrists? ________________________

19a. Why did some leave the church? _________________

19a.  Why were some not of us? ______________________

20a. What is the unction/anointing of the Holy One?______

20b. Did the readers know all things? __________________

21. How does truth and lies differ? ____________________

22a. Who is a liar? __________________________________

22b. How can we deny Jesus? ________________________

23. How are the Father and Son connected? ____________

24a What have we heard from the beginning? ___________

25. What is God’s promise? __________________________

26. Who can deceive us? ____________________________

27a. What does God’s anointing teach us? _____________

28. What do we need for Christ’s coming? ______________

29. What two things do we know?____________________


4.  John 3:1-11     Love

the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God![a] Therefore the world does not know us,[b] because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Sin and the Child of God

4 Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. 5 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 6 Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

The Imperative of Love

10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

Trace God’s love in         1 John 3:1, 10 and 11.

1 John 3:1-11

1. What are the two effects of God’s love? ___________

2. When shall we be like god? _____________________

3.What do the people who have this hope do? _______

4. What is sin? ___________________________________

5. Who takes away our sins?_______________________

6. What two things does the sinner do? ______________

7. Who is righteous? ______________________________

8. Why did Jesus come? ___________________________

9. Why can we not sin? ____________________________

10. Who are the children of the devil? ________________

11. What message have we heard from the beginning? __




Trace God’s love in         1 John 3:1, 10 and 11.


Believe in Christ and love one another in action.  1 John 3:23


5.   1 John 3:12-24  Love

12. Why did Cain killed his brother? ___________________

13. What will the world do to us? _____________________

14. What shows that we pass from death to life? ________

15. What is the connection of hate and murder? ________

16. What is the connection between love and sacrifice? __

17. What is the relation between possessions, needs and compassion?

18. How can we love in deed and truth? ________________

19. How do we know that we are in the truth? ___________

20. How is God greater than our hearts? _______________

21. How do we have confidence toward God? ___________

22. Why do we receive things from God? _______________

23. What are God’s commandments? __________________

24. How do we know that God abides in us? ____________


6.   I John 4:1-7

1a.  Why should we not believe everything? ___________

1b. How do we try the spirits? ______________________

1c. Who is a false prophet? ________________________

2a. How do we recognize God’s Spirit? _______________

2b. Why is Christ in the flesh so important? ___________

3a. What is the spirit of anti-christ? __________________

3b. Is anti-christ in the world now? __________________

4.  Whom have we overcome? _____________________

5. How does the world connect with some? __________

6. How do we know truth and error? ________________

7. How do we know God?__________________________

1 John 4:7 Beloved,

let us love one another;

for love is of God,

and every one that loves

Is born of God

and knows God.


7.   Adult Baptism

John the Baptist  Matt 3: 1-6

Jesus’ baptism John 1: 29-33

New Birth  John 3: 3-7

Meaning of Baptism  Rom 6: 1-4


Baptism of Converts  Acts 2: 38-47

Baptism of Ethiopian  Acts 8: 36-38

Baptism of Jailor  Acts 16:30-34


How were people baptized? __________________________

Why were people baptized? __________________________

When were people baptized? _________________________

What does baptism symbolize? _______________________


No children sprinkled or baptized in the Bible.

No adults sprinkling in the Bible.


8.   I John 4:1-7

1a.  Why should we not believe everything? ___________

1b. How do we try the spirits? ______________________

1c. Who is a false prophet? ________________________

2a. How do we recognize God’s Spirit? _______________

2b. Why is Christ in the flesh so important? ___________

3a. What is the spirit of anti-christ? __________________

3b. Is anti-christ in the world now? __________________

4.  Whom have we overcome? _____________________

5. How does the world connect with some? __________

6. How do we know truth and error? ________________

7. How do we know God?__________________________


9.    1 John 4: 8-21

8a. How are loving and knowing God connected? ______

8b. In what sense is God love? ____________________

9. What shows that God loves us? _________________

10. What is the relationship between love and sin? ____

11. Why do we love others? _______________________

12. Under what condition does God dwell in us? ______

13. How do we know that God dwells in us? __________

14. Why did the Father sent the Son? ________________

15. How can I dwell in God? _______________________

16. What makes God dwell in a person? ______________

17. What gives us boldness in the Judgment Day? _____

18a. Why is there no fear in love? ____________________

18b. How does perfect love take away fear? ___________

19. Why do we love God? _________________________

20. Is the unseen harder to love? ___________________

21. Why is loving God alone not enough? ____________


10.    I John 5:1-12

1a. What does it take to be born again? _______________

1b. What two people do we love? ____________________

2. How do we know we love the children of God? (2)_______

3a. What is the love of God? ___________________________

3b. What can make the law burdensome/difficult? _________

3c. How should we take the law? _______________________

4. Who/What overcomes the world? ____________________

4b. What is the victory? ______________________________

5. For us, Jesus is who? ______________________________

6. How did Jesus come by water and blood? ___________

7. What are the three in heaven? ______________________

8. Who are the three witnesses on earth?_______________

9. What is the witness of God? _______________________

10. Is our faith centered on God who gave his Son?______

11a. How do we gain eternal life? _____________________

11b. How is eternal life in Jesus? _____________________

12. Can we have eternal life without Christ? ____________


11.     John 5:13-21    

13a. For what 2 reasons did John write this letter? _____

13b. How does believe and know differ? ______________

13c. Is “believe” and “may believe” the same? __________

14-16. How is “asked” here used 3 times? ______________

14. How do we ask according to God’s will? ____________

15. How are hearing and asking connected? ____________

16a. What is a sin not unto death? ____________________

(unconfessed, murder, against the Holy Spirit, apostacy)

16b. What is a sin unto death? _______________________

17. What is unrighteousness? ________________________

18a. Who sins not? _________________________________

18b. How does a Christian keep himself? ______________

19. How do we know that we are of God? ______________

20. How is “true” mentioned here 3 times? _____________

21. Why keep away from idols? ______________________



12.    2 John 1-13,Truth & Love

To Cyria from Ephasis, AD 90

1a  Who is the elder? _____________________

1b. What does it mean to know the truth? ________

1c. What is truth in verses 1-4? _________________

2. How does truth dwell in us forever? ___________

3. How is grace with us? _______________________

4a. What makes John to rejoice? _________________

4b. What is the commandment here? ______________

5. Why is that not a new commandment? ___________

6. What is love? ________________________________

7. Who is anitchrist? ____________________________

8. How do we receive the full reward? _____________  

9. What is the doctrine of Christ? __________________

10a. How should we treat the deceived? _____________

10b. Is this a limit on our hospitality?________________

11. Who is partakers of evil deeds? ________________

12. What is the result of John’s personal talk? _______

13. Who are the children of the elect sister? _________


13.   3 John 1-14. Hospitality

1. Is this a personal letter to Gaius? _____________

2a. Are prosperity and health connected? ___________

2b. How can a man’s soul prosper? _________________

3. How could Gaius walk in the truth? _______________

4. What was John’s greatest joy? ____________________

5. What did Gaius for his brothers and strangers?______

6. Is Gaius’ charity his hospitality? ___________________

7. Why did the preachers take nothing from the Gentiles?

8. How are we fellow-helpers of the truth? _____________

9. What did Diotrephes do? __________________________

10. Why did he cast some out of the church? ___________

11. How do we know that we are of God? ______________

12. What report did Demetrius have?___________________

13, 14. Why was this letter so short? __________________

14. Why did John ask Gaius to greet friends by name?____


 14.   Salvation Basics

God is love.  I chose to live in it. 1 John 4:8, 16

Love is patient and kind. 1 Cor 13:4


By grace are you saved through faith;

     It is the gift of God. Eph 2:8

Be not overcome of evil,

     but overcome evil with good. Rom 12:21

This is the love of God

     that we keep his commandments. 1 John 5:3


God’s goodness  leads us to repentance. Rom 2:4

Repentance leads to forgiveness. Acts 26:18

Forgiveness comes through Christ. 1 John 1: 7, 9

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ:

       for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. Rom. 1:16


15. Continuing Education Certificate

Respond in writing to the study questions in the 14 leassons. 

Then for a CE Certificate, below submit five specific methods in which the 22 references to LOVE in 1 John 4 help you relate to others.

A certificate is issued only if you certify that you responded fully to all 14 lessons study questions, and received an A or B grade on the methods submission.