John: The Things of the World



Scripture lesson (I John 2:15-17): “Do not love the world or the things in the world…the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”



  1. Memorize the first line of the verse; know its content and context.
  2. Consider re-prioritizing our lives; what do we love best?


Background on the book:

            Each of these letters was written by the apostle John, one of the twelve disciples and the author of the Gospel of John and the Revelation. John lived in Jerusalem with Mary the Theotokos until her death, then he moved to Ephesus.  Remember that John was the only one of the apostles who died a natural death at an old age, probably around 100 years old.  I John was probably written about the time John wrote his gospel, about AD 90-95.  II John and III John were also probably written around the same time. It is believed that John was writing to believers in Ephesus with his first letter; the 2nd and 3rd letters are more personal notes to friends he expected to visit shortly.


Possible Lesson Plan:

1.      Open with prayer.


2.      Review the background of the letters.


3.      Scripture Lesson: Again, have each student read a single chapter and summarize it. They should be getting more familiar by now with reading Scripture for meaning. Too few students? Teacher can summarize some of the chapters.

·         I John 1: The Light of the World – Who saw the life of Jesus unfold? Who is telling the story? What is the purpose of confession?

·         I John 2: Remain in the True teaching of Christ  – How can people tell that we follow Jesus? What is the truth of the nature of God the Father and God the Son?

·         I John 3 and 4: The LOVE chapters – How did the Father show His love for us? (by loving us so much that He made us His children) How do we know that Jesus loves us? (He laid down His life for us) How can the world tell that we are Christians? (by our love for one another) What casts out all fear? (love)

·         I John 5: Live in Faith – Look for the clear and definite reference to the Trinity in verses7-8. WHAT is the truth about Jesus? Was He just a nice teacher? Who bears witness in our hearts of the love of God? (Holy Spirit) How then should we live? How should we pray?

·         II John: Walk in Truth – What kind of heresy is John speaking against? That Jesus is not fully God and fully man) How do we show we love God? (walking in His commandments)

·         III John: Genuine Christian leadership and false leadership – contrast the statements of John about Gaius and about Diotrephes.


4.      Scripture verse: I John 2: 15-17


5.      Who are some people from the history of the Church who have zealously left behind the things of the world? Consider John the Baptist, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Seraphim of Sarov. Do we all have to become monks or hermits to obey this verse?


6.   Discussion questions:

Where does God fit in our lives? What are the top two most important things in our lives? How do these things affect our daily activities? How does our use of time reflect our priorities? How do we show someone/something that we love them? What do I really love?

What were my priorities 2 years ago? How have they changed? Why? What will they be 2 years from now? Why? Give specific examples. What will be my relationship to a church? What kind of career will I have? Will I be married? Which of my possessions will be yard-sale trash and which will I still value?


            7. Close with prayer.