As we begin the journey of examining I John we must ask ourselves, by what authority does John write this epistle? This may be an issue you have never taken into consideration. However, it is a very important issue to ponder considering we are discussing the matters of life or death, salvation or condemnation, and Heaven or Hell. If John has no authority to write these words we have no reason to rest our life on them. If John does have the authority to write these words we then have every reason to rest our life on them.
Clearly, John had the full authority to write these words. The first reason he had the authority to write was the fact that he was an Apostle of Christ. The credentials of an Apostle are found in Acts 1:21-22, stating, “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Clearly, John met these credentials. As an apostle his calling was to be a witness of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. A major part of John writing this epistle is his personal witness of what he has seen heard and touched, Jesus, and to proclaim to you eternal life. He said in the first two verses, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” As an Apostle, John had the authority through his personal witness.
The second reason John had the authority to proclaim to us eternal life through the written word was his fellowship with the Father and Jesus. I John 1:3 says, “indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” Every Christian has this fellowship. I will further elaborate on this fellowship with God latter. John’s fellowship with God allowed him to hear from God, thus conveying the message God desired for him to deliver. Through John’s fellowship with God, he had authority from God.
Since all Christians have fellowship with God all Christians can hear directly from Him. However, God has not given all Christians the authority to write His authoritative word. I write daily. However, the purpose of my writing is to point to the authoritative word God has already given-the Bible with ultimately points to Him. I know that I am called and led of God. For this reason I preach, teach, and write just as many others do. However, my calling, just as John’s was, as well as every Christian, is confined to the authority of God. It cannot exceed God’s authority. God in His authority released authority to write the authoritative Word of God. God’s Word today is sealed. It is finalized with the 66 books we now have that make up our Bible, including I John. Therefore, all Christians today are confined to the authority of God’s written word, the Bible. Anyone who exceeds, discounts, or rejects the Word of God stands in rebellion against God and His authority.
This leads us to the final point of John’s authority to write I John. II Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” As already stated the Bible consist of 66 books. This is the Scripture Peter is referencing. I John is one of those 66 books. Therefore, John isn’t actually the author of I John, the Holy Spirit is. John was simply the tool God chose to use to write His authoritative word.
Why is this important to know? It is important because of the topic in which we are discussing-by this we know. By this authoritative word, we know what true Christianity is and is not. Since I John, as well as all of the bible is authoritative, this is what we hold and value as truth and apply to our lives. If any man, church, denomination, or movement disagrees with this authoritative word, they are wrong. Unfortunately, they are dead wrong. As we begin this journey of digging into I John, I encourage you to go ahead and read through it a few times to become more familiar with it. Also, please share this with others.