Introduction to 1 John:
When preaching through the letters of the NT, it is best to preach the paragraph units as demarcated in the Greek New Testament. By my reckoning, there are twenty paragraphs in 1 John. In determining the paragraph and divisional structure of 1 John, I have relied heavily upon the linguistic work of Grace Sherman and John Tuggy, A Semantic and Structural Analysis of the Johannine Epistles (Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1994). On four occasions, 2:1-2, 2:26-27, 2:28-29, and 5:21, I have identified paragraphs that are no more than two verses in length, and with respect to 5:21, only one verse.
Sometimes there is a difference of opinion as to where paragraph breaks occur in 1 John. For example, In addition to being viewed as a paragraph itself, 2:1-2 can be seen as the conclusion of the paragraph that begins at 1:5 or it can be viewed as the beginning of a new paragraph that concludes at 2:6. Some interpreters consider 2:29 to begin a new paragraph that concludes with 3:10. Others think that verse 29 goes with verse 28 and that a new paragraph begins with 3:10. I have chosen the latter option for the same linguistic reasons given by Sherman and Tuggy. Second and 3 John, though composed of multiple paragraphs, are best treated as a whole for preaching purposes in my judgment since each of these letters is so short.
You can see how I divided 1 John into paragraphs and how I wrote text-driven sermons on each paragraph in my book 1-3 John: Fellowship in the Family, in Preach the Word (Wheaton: Crossway, 2013).
PREACHING PARAGRAPH DIVISIONS IN 1 JOHN:
2:28-29 (26-29 may be combined into one sermon due to length)
In addition to Sherman and Tuggy, and my 1-3 John: Fellowship in the Family, and excluding the many excellent commentaries available, I recommend the following resources for preparing text-driven sermons on 1 John:
- John L. Anderson, An Exegetical Summary of 1, 2, 3 John (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1992).
- Martin Culy, I, II, III John: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2004).
- Robert Longacre, “Exhortation and Mitigation in the Greek Text of 1 John,” Selected Technical Articles Related to Translation, 9 (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1983), 3-44.
- See also Longacre, “Towards an Exegesis of 1 John Based on the Discourse Analysis of the Greek Text,” in Linguistics and New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Discourse Analysis, ed. David Alan Black (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1992), 271-86.
- Andrew Persson, Translator’s Notes on 1, 2, 3 John (Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1997).