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‘Come, Follow Me’ for Nov. 27-Dec. 3: What have Church leaders and scholars said about 1-3 John and Jude?

This week’s study guide includes writings from John the Beloved and from Judas, the brother of Jesus

This week’s “Come, Follow Me” study guide covers 1-3 John and Jude, which includes writings from John the Beloved and from Judas, the brother of Jesus.

Church News recently searched the archives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn what leaders and scholars have said about these chapters.

John the Beloved

“After Peter, John is perhaps the best known of Jesus’s original Twelve Apostles. He and his brother, James, were with Peter at some of the most important moments of the Savior’s mortal ministry, and he has been traditionally associated with five different books in the New Testament. His personal closeness to the Lord is suggested by John 13:23: ‘Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.’ Throughout the ages, Christian art has reflected this image, picturing John as a young man, often resting in the Savior’s arms. This is the origin of his unique title, John the Beloved, but his witness and mission reveal aspects of discipleship that we can all share.

“John’s Hebrew name, Yohanan, means ‘God has been gracious.’ Most of the details we know about him come from the first three Gospels, which tell the story of the Savior’s mortal ministry largely from the same perspective. They all agree that John was the son of a prosperous Galilean fisherman named Zebedee, who owned his own boat and was able to hire day laborers to assist him and his sons in their work. John and his brother, James, also had a partnership with brothers Peter and Andrew, and all four left their fishing business when Jesus called them to follow Him in full-time discipleship. …

“Just as Jesus Christ gave Simon the additional name Cephas or Peter, which means ‘rock,’ He also gave James and John the title Boanerges, or ‘sons of thunder.’ Because they asked Jesus whether they should call down fire upon a village of Samaritans who had rejected Him (see Luke 9:51-56), this nickname might suggest that they were hot-tempered or at least very strong-willed. However, it is just as likely that the name was in anticipation of the powerful witnesses that they might become, much as Peter’s name probably reflected not so much his earlier devoted but impulsive nature as it did his firmness and strength after Jesus’s Resurrection.”

— Eric D. Huntsman, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, in the January 2019 Ensign article, “John, the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved”

“As one of the original Twelve Apostles, John has shared his witness of the Lord’s divinity through many long centuries of time. He was with Jesus at the beginning of His ministry and was still serving at the end of the first century A.D. In this dispensation, as a translated being, he continues his work with the tribes of Israel in preparation for the Lord’s second coming.”

— Victor L. Ludlow, former professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, in the December 1991 Ensign article, “John: The Once and Future Witness”

The epistles of John

“John probably wrote his three letters of exhortation and explanation around A.D. 95. These epistles are thus among the latest writings recorded in the New Testament. The first and longest letter was a commentary on the main themes of his Gospel. Addressed to all believers, it not only countered the secessionist and gnostic heresies spreading in Asia Minor, but also amplified Christ’s testimony of himself as a God of light and love. It also included John’s testimony of how and why believers should respond to their own witness of Christ’s divinity. …

“The second epistle was written to counter the influence of false teachers. Some of the missionaries traveling among the Saints were true representatives of the Apostles. Others, however, came from apostate groups who were trying to win followers for their particular philosophies. John cautioned the Saints not to house apostates unintentionally and thus contribute to the propagation of their heresies.

“John’s third letter addresses a congregation having trouble with a local leader. John first commends Gaius, a concerned member, for his hospitality to John’s messengers. Then he chastises Diotrephes, the abusive leader, for his arrogance, inhospitality, slanderings and dictatorial practices.

“Like those persons originally addressed, most Latter-day Saints have also struggled to distinguish the Lord’s teachings from worldly philosophies. John’s letters can help us separate light from darkness and better emulate the Son of God.”

— Victor L. Ludlow, former professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, in the December 1991 Ensign article, “John: The Once and Future Witness”

John the Beloved is depicted leaning on Jesus in Carl Bloch’s “The Last Supper.”
John the Beloved is depicted leaning on Jesus in Carl Bloch’s “The Last Supper.” | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

1 John 1

“Success is not about how much money you make or how many medals you win or how much fame you achieve. The real objective of our existence is to gain light.

“Our physical bodies grow bigger when we feed them nourishing food. Our spirits grow brighter when we feed them light. ‘God is light, and in him is no darkness at all’ (1 John 1:5). Our Father in Heaven was once a mortal man who gradually progressed until He became a being with a fulness of light. He wants the same for you and me because a fulness of light means a fulness of joy.”

— Elder Larry R. Lawrence in the March 2016 Ensign article, “The Light of the Perfect Day”

1 John 2

“Wouldn’t you think it is important to know God the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ if you expect to live with them in the kingdom of heaven? Many feel that they know God and know Jesus Christ, but they fail to keep their commandments.

“Hear the words of the apostle John to all who claim to know God. He said, ‘And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him’ (1 John 2:3-4).

“Knowing God is shown by keeping his commandments. People who accept and live doctrines of men do not know the living God. When you know the living God and the living Jesus Christ, you will also know your divine relationship to God.”

— Elder Bernard P. Brockbank, October 1972 general conference, “Entrance into the Kingdom of God”

1 John 3

“The promises of the gospel are uplifting and ennobling, even exalting. We receive those promises by covenants which are conditioned on our living lives of purity and morality. When we live right and seek to purify our hearts, we draw closer to God and the Spirit. The condition of our heart determines how much evidence of divinity we see in the world now and qualifies us for the eventual realization of the promise that the pure ‘shall see God.’ Ours is a quest for purity. Thus, the Apostle John wrote:

“‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

“‘And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure’ (1 John 3:2-3).”

Elder L. Whitney Clayton, October 2007 general conference, “Blessed Are All the Pure in Heart”

1 John 4

“The Savior provided the perfect example of how to live in an imperfect and unfair world. ‘We love him, because he first loved us’ (1 John 4:19). His love for us is immeasurable. He is our truest friend. He sweat ‘as it were great drops of blood’ for you and also for me (Luke 22:44). He forgave the seemingly unforgivable. He loved the unlovable. He did what no mortal could do: He provided an Atonement to overcome the transgressions, pains and sicknesses of all mankind.”

Elder K. Brett Nattress, October 2016 general conference, “No Greater Joy Than to Know That They Know”

“I promise you that if you will respond to the invitation to share your beliefs and feelings about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, a spirit of love and a spirit of courage will be your constant companion, for ‘perfect love casteth out fear’ (1 John 4:18).”

— Elder L. Tom Perry, October 2011 general conference, “Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear”

1 John 5

“The tender mercies of a loving Father and His Only Begotten feel after us, seeking to lift us out of this fallen world back into the heavens. The gospel of Christ draws us to Him so we can be perfected in Him. We are born again in order to be borne up again. As John confirmed, ‘Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith’ (1 John 5:4).”

— Elder Lowell M. Snow in the December 2007 Ensign article, “Facing the Future with Hope”

2 John 1

“John’s letters are the latest writings of the New Testament. The view that they provide of the Church at the end of the century is a tragic one. John told his readers that the last hours of the Church had come, as prophesied, and that the powers of apostasy were among them in force:

‘Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time’ (1 John 2:18).

“Continuing, John stated that the antichrists had come from among the Saints: ‘They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us’ (1 John 2:19). …

“John denounced as deceivers and antichrist those ‘who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh’ (see 1 John 2:22-26; 2 John 1:7) and pleaded with the Saints to hold fast to true doctrines: ‘Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father’ (1 John 2:24).”

— Kent P. Jackson, former professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, in the December 1984 Ensign article, “Early Signs of the Apostasy”

3 John 1

“A passage from 3 John sets forth the formula whereby we might express to our parents our gratitude for the gift of birth: ‘I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth’ (3 John 1:4). Let us so walk. Let us so honor the givers of this priceless gift of birth.”

— President Thomas S. Monson, April 1993 general conference, “Gifts”

The Kirby family, from left to right, Trevor, Jacob, Mason, Carly, Kristin, Camree and Ryan, prays before beginning a gospel study at home using “Come, Follow Me” in Lehi on Sunday, March 15, 2020.
The Kirby family, from left to right, Trevor, Jacob, Mason, Carly, Kristin, Camree and Ryan, prays before beginning a gospel study at home using “Come, Follow Me” in Lehi on Sunday, March 15, 2020. | Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News

Jude

“The writer of the epistle of Jude refers to himself as the brother of James (see Jude 1:1) and so most scholars assume this is Judas, another of the Lord’s brothers. Though he does not call himself an apostle, the fact that his letter would be recognized and accepted as authoritative suggests that he too may have been an apostle.”

— Gerald N. Lund in the September 1975 Ensign article, “Do the scriptures give any indication as to what happened to the family of Jesus after his death and resurrection?”

The epistle of Jude

“By the time the epistle of Jude was written, the apostasy was well underway, as Jude’s words attest. He exhorted his readers to ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 1:3). … A translation of the Greek original of Jude 1:4 shows the cause for Jude’s concern: ‘Certain people have infiltrated among you; and they are the ones you had a warning about, in writing, long ago.’

“Jude continued by likening the apostates of his day to several from more ancient times. Among other charges with which he condemned them was the assertion that they ‘despise dominion and speak evil of dignities’ (Jude 1:8), an overt act of rebellion similar to that described in 3 John.

“Near the end of the letter, Jude reminded the readers, ‘Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.’ He emphasized that this day had now arrived: ‘These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit’ (Jude 1:17-19).”

— Kent P. Jackson, former professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, in the December 1984 Ensign article, “Early Signs of the Apostasy”

Jude 1

“In the early days of Relief Society in Nauvoo, we know that sisters traveled from house to house, ministering to one another, determining needs, bringing food, caring for the sick and showing forth compassion for each woman and her family. This brings to mind the scripture in Jude: ‘And of some have compassion, making a difference’ (Jude 1:22). As I ponder upon this scripture and its meaning, my thoughts turn to the Savior and the many times the scriptures speak of the love and compassion Christ had for everyone. …

“Compassion means to feel love and mercy toward another person. It means to have sympathy and desire to relieve the suffering of others. It means to show kindness and tenderness toward another.”

— Sister Barbara Thompson, April 2010 general conference, “And of Some Have Compassion, Making a Difference”

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