Ian McNaughton has done us a service in producing this short commentary. There is much truth concentrated here, but it is given in a clear and simple way. It is designed to help the ordinary Christian understand a book whose structure can seem complicated, and it breathes throughout a spirit of devotion.
McNaughton begins with an overview, followed by a helpful summary of the main topics of the book. Here a question arises. John teaches that Christians are God’s children by the new birth; but does John also have a doctrine of adoption, such as Paul teaches? The author says yes; this reviewer remains to be convinced. But the point is made that the reality of Christians being God’s beloved children – to which there are 23 references in the letter – underlies all.
This title brings out clearly the vital truth that Christianity is fellowship with the holy God, which is eternal life, grounded in God’s love to us; and that we who enjoy this are also meant to enjoy assurance of salvation, by the witness of God’s Spirit. Those who follow false ‘Christs’, or who practice lawlessness, do not have eternal life – and Christians are to know this.
The author interacts well with other good commentators through the ages, and provides questions for further study and group discussion.
Here is simple, helpful teaching concerning the person of Christ, the true doctrine of the Trinity, union with Christ, and prayer, all with the aim of deepening Christians’ relationships with, love for, and worship of the Father and the Son.