1 John: Relying on the Love of God, Study Guide with Leader's Notes (eBook)

Scotty Smith
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What do you rely on to get through your day? The things we rely on are also what define us—our family, education, job, accomplishments, money. For the apostle John, nothing defined him more than the love of God in Jesus, and that is what he relied on every moment of every day. Scotty Smith takes readers through 1 John and shows how a rich understanding of the love of God prepares us to thrive in times of great stress and strengthens us for every season of life.

Relying on God's love brings true joy that empowers us to be faithful in the face of opposition. Discover how we are to live in this world as children of light and how the best way to defeat spiritual warfare is to be preoccupied with Jesus. Participants will learn how knowing Jesus equals loving Jesus, and loving Jesus equals loving others. Because the Father already loves us as much as he loves Jesus, he is committed to making us like Jesus.

This small group guide includes eight in-depth lessons that include discussion questions, a short article to read, and a practical application section that can be used for one-to-one discipleship, small group, or large group settings.

1 John: Relying on the Love of God is part of The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible series published in partnership with Serge. Each book in the series examines how the gospel story is revealed throughout both the Old and New Testaments.


Scotty Smith, DMin, planted and pastored Christ Community Church in Franklin, TN, for twenty-six years. He worked on the pastoral staff of West End Community Church as teacher-in-residence and also served as adjunct faculty for Covenant Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando), and Western Seminary (Portland, OR). He is the author of Everyday Prayers, Every Season Prayers, Ephesians: The Love We Long For, Revelation: Hope in the Darkness, and 1 John: Relying on the Love of God. Scotty and his wife of more than forty-five years, Darlene, live in Franklin, TN.

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"We talk about being 'Christ-centered' when we approach Scripture and yet all too often we default to moralistic patterns deeply embedded in our hearts and heads. This new study on 1 John by Scotty Smith is a master class in Jesus-centered interpretation and application. Not only will students unpack the riches of the biblical text, they will see how to apply this letter from John, the apostle of love, in a way that makes the love from Jesus and for Jesus the deep motivation for life and godliness. Pick this study up, put on the Jesus glasses supplied by Scotty, bask in the light of Jesus's love, and move out to love others in Jesus's name!"
Sean Michael Lucas, Senior Pastor, Independent Presbyterian Church, Memphis, TN; chancellor's professor of church history, Reformed Theological Seminary

"The way Christians become more Christlike is not by our own exertion but by beholding the brightness of God's glory in Christ. Scotty Smith understands this important and supernatural dynamic of gospel centrality, and his study through 1 John will wisely and artfully walk you through a gaze-lifting beholding of the transforming light of Jesus. Use this study and be changed."
Jared C. Wilson, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and author-in-residence at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of Ruth: Redemption for the Broken

"Although many centuries separate us from the apostle John's message to the early church, Scotty Smith fans the flames of that message for the church today. The central theme of knowing and relying on the love of God is applied to every nook and cranny of our lives by Scotty's years of pastoral love and care. One would be hard-pressed to find a more faithful under-shepherd that points us to the True Shepherd. Many churches will be well-served by this resource!"
John Perritt, Director of Resources, Reformed Youth Ministries; author of Mark: How Jesus Changes Everything; host of The Local Youth Worker podcast; series editor of the Track series for students

"First John is one of the most misunderstood books of the New Testament. It can throw a person into a tailspin if read apart from the gospel narrative of Scripture. But in light of the gospel, 1 John is a deep mine of gold. Scotty Smith's book, 1 John: Relying on the Love of God, unlocks this mine. With accessible commentary and with great connections to the gospel of grace throughout, this commentary is a true gift. It will make studying 1 John a joy to the reader."
Cameron Cole, Founding Chairman of Rooted; coeditor of Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry and The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School; author of Therefore I Have Hope

"Nothing is more vital to our intimacy with Christ than spending time with him in his Word. But a lot of Bible studies stop short and only deal with concepts and ideas and never really speak to our hearts. That's why I'm so excited about this series. Each author writes about the unique gospel insights he or she has gained from Scripture and has created a small group study that will help people actually encounter Christ and be changed by the power of his grace. God has used this material powerfully in my life, marriage, and ministry, and that is my prayer for you as well."
Bob Osborne, Executive Director, Serge

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1 Review

  • 4
    Helpful book!

    Posted by Jesvin Jose on 08 11 2021

    I love this series of books by New Growth Press! The publisher keeps producing top-notch materials for group and even personal study. This book written by Scotty Smith on the epistle of 1 John is designed as a group study, and consistently points to the love of God in Christ Jesus. The book has 8 chapters, and each chapter has a big idea, a Bible conversation, an article, discussion questions and a personal exercise, concluding with a final wrap-up and prayer (same format as followed in most books in the series). It also includes a leader's guide to help leaders with additional insights, like the other books in the series. Scotty begins this book by telling us that we were created and redeemed for intimacy with God. The message of 1 John, he tells us, is knowing and relying on the love of God. He writes, "First John won't just show us the greatness of the love of God, but also how it is essential." He then tells us that this knowledge of Jesus changes us. In other words, we who claim to be in Jesus must walk the way He did. He keeps reminding us of the gospel in these pages. Scott then reminds us that this walking in the way of Jesus is living a life of love. He writes,"We are to love each other in response to Jesus's love for us." Then from 1 John 2:18-29, he tells us how to do spiritual warfare - by being preoccupied with Jesus! In Christ, we have the resources we need to overcome sin and Satan. He also tells us that the more we see God's love, the more we will live in hope. Overall, I found this an encouraging read. Scotty brings out a robust understanding of the love of God from 1 John and teaches us to rely on this love for true joy. He rightly points us to Christ as the way to being Christ-centered. We simply can't become more like Christ by our own efforts. I am thankful for that reminder. 4/5 stars. *I received this complimentary book from New Growth Press, but was not required to write a positive review.*

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