1 John 1–5

“1 John 1–5,” New Testament Teacher Resource Manual (2002), 241–42


John wanted to protect the Saints from the destructive ideas of the Gnostics. He refuted Gnostic doctrine by encouraging the Saints to continue believing and living what they had previously been taught about the divine sonship of Jesus. President Ezra Taft Benson taught:

“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities.

“We should put God ahead of everyone else in our lives” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 3; or Ensign, May 1988, 4).

Prayerfully study 1 John 1–5and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 428–33.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for 1 John 1–5.

1 John 1:1–2:11. Keeping God’s commandments brings us into the light of God.

(40–45 minutes)

Turn off the classroom lights and display on a table as many safe light sources as you can gather (for example flashlights, lamps, strings of Christmas lights). Ask: Why do we depend on light so much?

Turn on the classroom lights. (If your other light sources are bright enough, you may wish to continue using them instead.) Write the word light on the board. Ask your students to describe as many properties of physical light as possible, and list them on the board. (For example, light allows sight, gives life, can be reflected, varies in intensity.)

Explain that there are characteristics of physical light that also apply to spiritual light. We can benefit from comparing the two. Divide your class into two groups. Assign one group 1 John 1:1–10and the other 1 John 2:1–11. Invite them to read their verses looking for words or phrases that relate to light. Discuss their findings. Discuss how light’s spiritual attributes are similar to its physical attributes.

Write the following questions on the board. Divide the questions among your class and have students search the accompanying scripture to find the answers:

  • 1 John 1:1–3. To what had John been an eyewitness? What are some scripture mastery scriptures that speak of eyewitnesses to Christ?

  • 1 John 1:5–6. How do these two verses relate to Matthew 6:24?

  • 1 John 1:7. How do we “walk in the light”? How will following Christ’s example “[cleanse] us from all sin”?

  • 1 John 1:8–2:1(see JST, 1 John 2:1). How does bringing our sins to light (confessing) prepare us to repent?

  • 1 John 2:3–4. How do you feel about the Savior when you try hard to do what He asks? Do you feel any different about Him when you ignore His words? Why?

  • 1 John 2:5–6. How does keeping the Savior’s words reflect His example in our lives?

Discuss the questions as a class. (Note: The answer to the scripture mastery question is Exodus 33:11; Luke 24:36–39; D&C 76:22–24.)

You may wish to conclude by discussing the principles relating to light taught in the following scriptures: 1 John 1:7; Matthew 5:14–16; 3 Nephi 18:16, 24; Doctrine and Covenants 88:67; 93:36–37. Suggest to your students that after they read each of these scriptures, they create a scripture chain by writing the reference to the next scripture in the margin. When they have read all the scriptures, have them complete the chain by writing the reference to the first scripture by the last.

1 John 2–5. Heavenly Father blesses us when we demonstrate our love for Him by loving and serving one another.

(35–40 minutes)

Display a picture of a large, red heart. To its left place a picture of the Savior. To its right place pictures of the scriptures and various people, such as a family, students, political leaders, or a prophet. Ask students to determine what the display is depicting. (One possible answer is the relationship between love for God and love for others.)

Write the accompanying chart on the board. Ask students to choose and silently read one of the scripture references from the chart looking for answers to the two questions.

1 John

Love for God



3:11, 23




What does this scripture say about love?


What does it mean to me?


Combine and summarize both ideas.


When students have finished, discuss what they have learned. Fill in the chart as students comment on the verses they read (or invite students to come to the board and write in their answers). Ask students to suggest what John is teaching about loving God with each pair of references, and write their answers in the “Combine and summarize” row. (Possible answers include that our love for Christ grows as we obey Him; we cannot truly love God without loving others; and we show our love best when we follow the example of the Savior by helping others.)

Invite students to read and contemplate 1 John 4:18–19. Then read this statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, then a member of the Seventy:

“Life has its share of some fear and some failure. Sometimes things fall short, don’t quite measure up. Sometimes in both personal and public life, we are seemingly left without strength to go on. Sometimes people fail us, or economies and circumstance fail us, and life with its hardship and heartache can leave us feeling very alone.

“But when such difficult moments come to us, I testify that there is one thing which will never, ever fail us. One thing alone will stand the test of all time, of all tribulation, all trouble, and all transgression. One thing only never faileth—and that is the pure love of Christ.

“… Only the pure love of Christ will see us through. It is Christ’s love which suffereth long, and is kind. It is Christ’s love which is not puffed up nor easily provoked. Only his pure love enables him—and us—to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1989, 32; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, 26).

Teach students that as our love for God increases, He will bless us with greater confidence and take away our fear.