1 John | 1 | 2:1-14 | 2:15-29 | 3:1-10 | 3:11-24 | 4 | 5:1-10 | 5:11-21 | PDF |

These small group studies of 1 John contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

1 John 3:1-10 Inductive Bible Study Commentary and Questions


I. Our relationship with God (1-3)
a)He loves us (1)
b)We are His children and will meet Him one day (2)
c)Knowing that we will see Him purifies us (3)
II. Habitual sin and a relationship with God are incompatible (4-10)
d)Sin breaks God’s law (4)
e)He came so that we wouldn’t sin (5)
f)If we abide in Him we will not practice sin (6)
g)If we practice righteousness we are like Him (7)
h)If we practice sin we are like the devil (8)
i)The one born of God doesn’t practice sin (9)
j)Habitual sin is a test to determine someone’s relationship with God (10)

I. Our relationship with God (1-3)

Discussion Questions

  • How great a love did the Father bestow on us? Give examples in Scripture of how God loved believers.
  • In what ways has God shown love to you (go around the table one by one 2-3 times)?
  • Is every person in the world a child of God?
  • How can we become children of God?
  • What are the basics of the father/child relationship?
  • What does it mean that the world does not know us?
  • How do you feel when people around you think you are weird or a nut because of your belief in God?
  • What does John mean that we don’t know what we will be?
  • What do you know about what your life will be like when Jesus returns?
  • What effect does this hope have on our present lives?


Galatians 3:26 – So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.

Matthew 5:9 – Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Romans 8:16-17 – The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

John 1:12 – Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Hebrews 12:3-11 – A father has authority to discipline his children.

Luke 11:9-13 – Parable of the good father.

John 15:18 – If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

1 Peter 4:3-5 – For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 – The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. John calls his readers to look and consider how great God’s love for us is.

How great was it? People were strangers to God. We were sinners. We were His enemies by our choice, not His. He created humans and gave them the perfect life in paradise only to have them rebel and sin against Him at the first opportunity. God sent prophet after prophet, only to have most of them mocked, ridiculed, ignored, or even worse, beaten or killed. He did miracle after miracle saving the people of Israel again and again only to have them immediately rebel against Him and turn to follow idols. Finally He sent His own Son.

Jesus did hundreds of miracles and healed a large number of sick people in the country. He taught the people how they should live and encouraged them to turn back to God. Finally He was killed too. This was the greatest demonstration of God’s love.

Romans 5:8 Bible Verse

And Jesus demonstrated this love in action when He forgave the very people who killed Him on the cross. God not only does not wipe out all sinners. He offers His enemies the opportunity of a lifetime, the opportunity to be adopted as part of the “noble family.”

My youngest sister was adopted from China. People will tell my parents they are very loving because they adopted a little Chinese girl. And they are. However, this girl was cute, adorable, and beautiful. God adopts us although we are none of the above.

Application: Whenever you are tempted to complain or get upset about your circumstances remember how God has loved you. Count your blessings one by one and soon you will not feel like complaining anymore.

2. To become children of God, we also give up something. What?

We give up our popularity in the world. This verse says that the world doesn’t know us if we belong to God. When Jesus came, did people accept Him? Did people understand Him? No. They thought He had a demon (Matthew 11:18, 9:34). Some thought He was Elijah and others John the Baptist. (Matthew 16:13-14). They thought He was crazy when He said they must eat his body like bread (John 6:50-53). Jesus Himself said they didn’t know where He came from or was going (John 8:14). If the world didn’t accept Jesus, who did so many miracles and taught so authoritatively, do you think they will understand or accept believers? No. They will reject us too.

What are some of the reasons why they won’t like us? They won’t like us because we point out their sin (John 3:20). They won’t understand us because they don’t see like we do. Basically they think we are crazy, fools, nuts, dreamers. Knowing this, we have a choice. We can be popular with God or popular with the world. It is generally incompatible to be popular with both. Who would you rather please? Pleasing God is far better since He has power over our soul.

Matthew 10:28 Bible Verse

So the next time a friend or relative thinks you are crazy or weird because of your belief in Christ, take it as a compliment.

3. John says it hasn’t appeared yet what we will be. I think he means that the exact nature of our life in heaven is unknown. When I share the gospel I often get many questions about what heaven will be like and what we will do there. While the Bible does mention a little bit about it, for the most part it is a mystery. God has not chosen to reveal it to us. I am convinced it will not be like what you see in the movies (ie: floating around in the clouds playing a harp: BORING!)

What exactly we will be doing is not the critical issue. The more critical issue is what we will be like, how our nature will be changed. John says that we will be like Him. This means that we will be sinless (Revelation 21:4). And we will see Christ which is the best part about heaven. It is not the golden streets, or pearly gates. It is not the ability to fly or lack thereof. The best part about heaven is being with Christ, just like Paul said absent from the body, present with the Lord. Heaven without God is not paradise at all. The perfect relationship between people and God will finally be restored after it was broken by Adam and Eve’s sin at the fall. We will have a perfect relationship with Christ because there will be no more sin to separate us.

4. Hope is a purifying force. We hope for Jesus’ second coming. We know that He could come at anytime. In 1 John 2:28, John encouraged his readers to be living the right way so that we would not be ashamed when He returns. His possible soon return is motivation for us to make use of our time and stay far away from sin. Next time you are facing temptation, remind yourself that Jesus could come back any second. This will be extra motivation to take the way of escape offered (1 Cor 10:13).

II. Habitual sin and a relationship with God are incompatible (4-10)

Discussion Questions

  • What is lawlessness?
  • What is the main point of this passage?
  • What reasons are given for why practicing sin is incompatible with a relationship to God?
  • Why did Jesus come? (5)
  • Does verse 6 mean that a believer will never sin?
  • What kind of person might try to “deceive” people into thinking that sinning is OK or perhaps even good?
  • Did you ever try to tell yourself that some kind of sin is acceptable?
  • What should our view of sin be?
  • What other reason is given for why Jesus came? (8)
  • How can we tell believers and unbelievers apart?


Romans 6:1,2,8,11,12,13 – We are dead to sin.

Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Ephesians 4:22-24 – You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;“by his wounds you have been healed.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

John 8:44 – You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Verse by Verse Commentary

1. John makes it clear that the person who sins is breaking the law (lawlessness). Sin does not always break man’s law, but does break God’s law. For example, lying is not against the law in most countries, but it is against God’s law. In some countries, people don’t have a clear understanding of sin. Most will consider that sin is crime. They think that they are not criminals and that therefore their sin is not serious. But sin IS crime. It is crime against God’s law, which is more important than every other law.

A paraphrase of verse 4 could read, “Every person who practices sin is a criminal in Go