"What We Don't Know About . . ."
In 2007 a popular science magazine (Wired) had a cover article titled
"What We Don't Know About . . ." The article then ran short pieces on such
unanswered mysteries as "Why Do We Sleep?" "Is Time an Illusion?" "What's
at the Earth's Core?" "What is the Universe Made of?" and "Why Can't We Predict
Even after hundreds of years of scientific advancement, on such basics, we're
still in the dark!
Fortunately, on the
most basic of all questions (and by far more important than "What's at the
earth's core?") questions such as "How did we get here?" "Why are we
here?" and "Where are we going?"we haven't been left to grope in darkness.
Instead, God has revealed to us, in the Bible, the answers to these fundamental
concerns. And among those revelations given to us in Scripture, we have the
writings of John the evangelist.
This quarter, instead of studying John's Gospel (his own inspired eyewitness
account of Jesus) or the book of Revelation (which he also wrote), we're
going to study his three letters. Though addressed to certain churches and
individuals in his time, they deal with issues relevant to us today, issues
such as false doctrine, sin, love, apostasy and obedience. But most important
of all, they deal with Jesus Christ, the One through whom we were created
("How did we get here?"), the One who gives our existence meaning and purpose
("Why are we here?") and the One who promises to come again and raise us
to eternal life ("Where are we going?"). In short, in Jesus we find the answers
to the most important questions.
As with many of the letters of the New Testament, John's don't occur in a
vacuum. On the contrary, they were written to deal with issues facing some
churches at that time, including the nature of Christ, which for John wasn't
mere abstract theology but a topic that impacted the Christian's view of
truth. For John, to deny that Jesus Christ "has come in the flesh" would
ultimately lead to a view of sin and redemption that radically differs from
the Bible's teaching. It would lead to a different dynamic within the community
of believers and to a different relationship to the "world." Finally, it
would lead to apostasy and ruin. Hence, the importance of this theme.
Indeed, while discussing the passages and themes of these epistles, we need
to keep in mind that they are all related to Jesus. Whenever we discuss them,
we also discuss who Jesus is, what He has done for us, and what He promises
to do for us, as well.
Thus, the three epistles of John speak to issues relevant for the church
today. We would do well to listen to them, because we believe that ultimately
it is God who is speaking to us through John's words, the God whothough
not revealing to us answers to such questions as "What's at the earth's
core?"has revealed to us truths about a greater and firmer foundation
upon which we can rest: our Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
A native German, Ekkehardt Mueller, Th.D., D.Min., is an associate director
of the Biblical Research Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland. His specialties
are New Testament, the book of Revelation, hermeneutics, and applied theology.
He is married and has two grown children.
(all lessons may
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl,
prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes
all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New
King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.
The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing
RTF for our MAC friends (this is now a
zip file); and HTML (Web Pages).
Last updated on July 2, 2009
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