Hey 5Pointers,

In the Johanine Epistles class I’m currently taking, I have to write a little research paper (7-10 pages). The topic I picked last night is “The Atonement in 1 John.” There are plenty of meaty verses in 1 John to cover the page limit, and some interesting statements to wrestle with (e.g. “not only for our sins, but also for the whole world” or “the Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the Devil” or “he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”).

If you have any resources I should consider while researching these passages (and others), please let me know about them in the comments!

Here’s a list of texts (off the top of my head) that I will consult:

Lexicons/Dictionaries: TDNT, BDAG

Commentaries: Bruce, Marshall, Stott, Thompson, Boice, Carson (Gospel of John)

Themed Works: Owen (Death of Death), Murray (Redemption), Pinnock (Grace Unlimited), Olsen (Beyond Calvinism…)

Thanks for your input. And if my paper is any good I’ll put some of it online.¬† ūüôā

Also, if you think of it, I could use your prayers as I research and write.


Wrestling with several issues¬†and consultation with the youth pastor I help¬†has led me, in the spirit of Jude 3, to identify some (though not all) of the propositional truths at the center of the Scriptures.¬†¬† This is referred to as the Bounded Set theory of Christianity which has been heavily emphasized since the reformation.¬† It hedges, or fences, what is definitely out as far as being Christian.¬† Deny the resurrection, you’re still a son of Adam, but you are not a Christian.¬†

Complementing the Bounded Set is a theory more emphasized recently called the Centered Set theory.¬† It allows for various stylistic components and forms of worship, and takes as its litmus test the various fruit of the Spirit, that no one will condemn.¬† Are you loving?¬† serving?¬† growing in patience?¬† etc.¬† It’s emphasis is on lifestyle.

Unfortunately, some of the contemporary and emerging church¬†emphasies have thrown away the bonded set, or so muddied its boundaries that heresies come in unchecked leading to death.¬† And unfortunately, it can define love in such a way that asks whether or not we are accepting people and making them feel comfortable at the expense of truth.¬† A good definition of this comes from John Piper, “Relationships trump truth.”¬†

We need both the Bounded and Centered Set views.¬† We need the proper knowledge of Chirst.¬† We need the proper response to Christ yielded from it, including living out a life worhty of the gospel (Phil 1) that highlights the Spirit’s transforming power in our lives.¬† Here are some of the Bounded Set propositions I have come to.¬† The essential nature of a select few may be debated, but it would be wise to view anything else with a critical eye from someone denying one of them:


  • One God- existing in three persons (Is 9:6)

  • Holy, perfect, sinless (Mt 5:48, Ps 24:3, Isa 6:3, Lev 19:2)

  • Created everything from nothing (Col 1)¬†


  • Always was, begotten NOT created (Col 1, John 1)

  • Born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:26-38, 2:6-7)

  • Substitutionary Atonement- God‚Äôs sacrifice to God for sin- Lamb of God (John 1:29)

  • Lived sinless (Heb 4:15)

  • Fully God / Fully Man (The Bible)

  • The one way to God (John 14:6)

  • Lord / King / Master (Rom 1, et al.)¬†

Who is Man

  • A creature created in God‚Äôs Image (Gen 1:27)

  • Given authority over nature (Gen 1:28-31)

  • Created as Male and Female- Two COMPLEMENTARY not interchangeable stewards of his creation (Gen 1:27)

  • Born into sin- (Rom 5:12, Ps 51:5)

Who is the Holy Spirit

  • God- person of the Trinity (I Cor 12:4-6, II Cor 13:14)

  • The promised counselor from Jesus to lead us in the way (Is 9:6, John 16-17)


  • Powerful / Personal Evil

  • Father of Lies, Liar from the beginning (John 8:44)


  • Hell- An eternal punishment that most of humanity will enter¬†¬†

What is the Bible

  • Inerrant in its original manuscript (Num 23:19, Ps 12:6, Prov 30:5)

  • Inspired by God (Ex 31:18, 32:6, Deut 31:24-26, Isa 30:8, John 14:26, Isa 30:8)

Feel free to comment or add anything on the above.  Loving Jesus for who He is.