1 John: Relying on the Love of God

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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3 Reviews

  • 5
    This study has been so good and as always Scotty Smith draws the student into a deeper understanding of how much Jesus loves us.

    Posted by Unknown on 12 26 2022

    I would highly recommend this study!

  • 5
    Great small group Bible study

    Posted by Dell Bobier on 06 03 2022

    Our group had our 1st meeting using John...it was great and we are looking forward to the next 7 lessons.

  • 4
    Hits the highlights of this biblical book

    Posted by Joan Nienhuis on 08 20 2021

    The short book of 1 John is packed with encouraging teaching and theological principles. This study, with its seven lessons, hits the highlights. It is not a verse by verse study but rather one that explores several paragraphs at a time. I like how each lesson identifies the big idea in the section, provides a bit of an overview, provides discussion questions on the biblical text, includes a short personal and inspirational article by Smith, more discussion questions with broader areas, then a closing prayer. This study is designed for group use but could be used for individual study too. It provides a good overview of 1 John but does not cover any section in depth. Mention of Greek words is generally not done. One truth from each section is explored rather than investigating the specific contents of the entire passage. That makes this study a good one for new Christians or seasoned Christians who are not looking for an in depth biblical study. It is more relational in style and is not so much aimed at increasing theological knowledge. There is a good leader's guide included and each lesson has specific instructions so leading the discussion could be shared by members of the group. This is a good study for a neighborhood outreach or for a group of friends. I received a complimentary digital copy of the book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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