John S. C. Abbott and Jacob Abbott
Illustrated New Testament
IT will be observed that John is not named, either in the introduction or at the conclusion of this Epistle, as its author; it comes down to us, however, attributed to him, from the very earliest times. It is also strikingly characterized by those peculiarities of style and expression which mark the other writings of this apostle.
As its title imports, it appears to have been addressed to the Christian community at large, and not to any one class or company of believers. It is filled with general exhortations and instructions, many of which, undoubtedly, had particular reference to errors or sins prevailing at the time when it was penned, but which convey lessons of warning or instruction suited to all times. It is supposed to have been written at a very late period of the apostolical history; for John survived most, if not all, of the other apostles, and attained to a great age. Many turns of thought and expression occur in the Epistle, which indicate that it was written at a late period of his life, when age and infirmity were advancing upon him, warning him, that he was drawing near to the eternal world. The whole composition is pervaded, in fact, by a certain tone of subdued and quiet gentleness, often characteristic of age.