We all like to get letters, preferably letters addressed to us personally, not simply to "Occupant." Anyone who has lived away from home for even a short time knows that there is no substitute for a personal letter from home and loved ones. On the other hand, we have all experienced the annoyance of receiving letters that bear our name, yet come from people or corporations that know nothing about us. In the age of the laser printer, such deceptions are common, and we no longer give them a thought.
John's letter is a form letter of sorts too, but with no such deception. In verses 4-6, John follows the precedent of virtually every one of the letters of Paul (he will end like Paul too; see 22:21). First is the author's self-identification (John); second, an identification of those to whom the letter is written (the seven churches in the province of Asia); third, a formula introduced by the words grace and peace; and finally an expression of praise to God, in Paul's case a thanksgiving or a blessing, in John's a doxology: To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood . . . to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. John differs from Paul only in appending to his doxology two prophetic pronouncements (vv. 7-8) identifying the letter as a work of prophecy and introducing its major themes.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Upgrade to remove banner ads and unlock new features!
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!