Sunday Leftovers: 1 John and assurance

Sunday LeftoversThis morning we concluded our study of the book of 1 John.  After 36 sermons, we’ve had a clear look at what John has to say about salvation, spiritual life and obedience, and eternal life and assurance.

This morning’s final sermon is designed to help us remember the big picture and essential truths of the book.  So not only did I summarize the essential points of each chapter, but I also created this chart to help us each remember the primary parts of the book.

1 John ChartI’ve also read many commentaries on the book.  While I have 20 or more commentaries on John’s epistles, some rose to the top — these were the ones I read regularly and first and found them to be most helpful.  So here are my favorite commentaries on John’s epistles (the entire list is here).

This is a cross between a technical and devotional commentary.  Hiebert is a personal favorite — if he’s written a commentary on a book, it will always be reliable and one of my favorites.  He is a careful exegete and still encouraging and helpful in his application.

Before reading this commentary, I’d only heard of Jackman by reputation and listened to one or two of his sermons and/or interviews.  Yet, this book was consistently one of my favorites for application and illustration.  I invariably found at least a sentence each week that was particularly insightful and often paragraphs and pages that helped shape the direction of my sermons.  It’s not a technical commentary, but it is a biblical commentary.

These were two of the more technical commentaries I read each week; the style will often be more difficult if one does not have a working knowledge of Greek (particularly Yarbrough).  It seemed like these two commentaries alternated position of “favorite technical commentary” week by week, but by the end of my study, I found myself leaning more heavily on Yarbrough and thankful for his insights.  Both are excellent, but Yarbrough is my slight favorite.

Additionally, the theme of 1 John is to provide assurance of salvation for its believing readers (5:13).  So I also read several books about assurance of salvation.  Here are some of my favorite books on that topic:

  • Bass, Christopher D. That You May Know: Assurance of Salvation in 1 John. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2008.
  • Greear, J. D. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know For Sure You Are Saved. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2013.
  • MacArthur, John. Saved Without a Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation. Colorado Springs: Victor, 2006.  This is an excellent and really helpful resource.
  • McKinley, Mike. Am I Really A Christian? Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011. Cf. also
  • Parsons, Burk (ed). Assured By God: Living in the Fullness of God’s Grace. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2007.
  • Peterson, Robert A. Our Secure Salvation: Preservation and Apostasy. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009.  I just purchased this a couple of weeks ago and haven’t had time to read it yet, but it looks like it will be helpful.
  • Whitney, Donald S. How Can I Be Sure I’m a Christian? What the Bible Says About Assurance of Salvation. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1994.  This is the best and most readable book on the topic of assurance.

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