The text of this epistle does not bear the author’s name, nor greetings common to the epistles, yet it is evidently the work of the apostle John. He claims to be an eyewitness of Christ, preaching to others the Savior he saw, touched, and heard (1 John 1:1-3; 4:14). He declares a message which he received from God (1 John 1:5). He writes as a spiritual father, addressing all his readers affectionately as “my little children” (1 John 2:1), just as the apostle Paul did (Gal. 4:19). He writes with great authority, for to refuse to listen to him shows that a person does not know God (1 John 4:6). Thus the author places himself in the circle of the apostles, men appointed by Christ to be His witnesses and authoritative spokesmen. The style and vocabulary of this epistle are remarkably similar to those of the gospel of John, which is why we may conclude that John is the author of this epistle as well. Polycarp (d. c. AD 155), a student of John, cites this epistle, and Irenaeus (d. AD 202), a student of Polycarp, attributes it to the apostle John.
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