1 John: Relying On The Love of God ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

1 John: Relying On The Love of God is a small group Bible study published by New Growth Press. It is a part of the Bible study series The Gospel-Centered Life In The Bible. This study is written by Scotty Smith. I received a PDF file for the purpose of this review.

1 John is themed with love and it is the identifying characteristic the John uses in a lot of his writings. The introduction to this study reads:

John referred to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Surely, this was not because John felt Jesus loved him more than the others, but because John treasured the love of Jesus so deeply.We identify ourselves by the things we treasure. They become the things that most define us. For John, nothing defined him more than the love God has for us in Jesus.

This is what the author of this study really wants us to get a grasp of, to understand in this study. Because 1 John is a shorter book than many others in the Bible, this study is only eight lessons long rather than the 10 that seem to typically be in this series of studies. It is expected that this study will be completed in a small group. It appears to me that it would be a stronger study in a group but would work almost as well as an individual study. Each lesson is structured to take approximately an hour to complete.

Each lesson is structured in the same manner as the other books in this study series. It includes the Big Idea (theme of the lesson), Bible Conversation (reading the passage and discussing it), Article (written by the author of the study), Discussion (questions to consider and draw the group deeper into the theme of the lesson and challenge thoughts and understanding), Exercise (applying the theme and lesson to your life and creating change in you), and Wrap Up and Prayer (closure for the lesson). There is also a section at the end titled Leader’s Notes. These notes include background and information to help the leader guide the lesson and answer some of the questions brought up in the Bible Conversation and the Discussion sections. The notes section is not an answer key as these are not right and wrong sorts of questions. But it is there for consultation to aid the leader.

Personal Thoughts:
We recently went through 1 John in our Sunday night worship series and I am looking forward to going through this study more in depth. I am looking forward to the author’s approach to this. I have found his writing easy to read and his thoughts seem to be grounded in the Bible, rather than a personal take on things.

On a less positive note, I find it difficult to evaluate a book like this when it is in PDF form. I do much better with printed Bible studies. I prefer them. This format is especially difficult when you need to access the Leader’s Notes, which are at the very end. Then you have to scroll back to look at the question and scroll to the end again for the notes, etc. I think I would like this better and find it more enjoyable if I had a printed book.

Overall, I did enjoy this study. Be sure to check out other titles in this study series from New Growth Press, including PsalmsJonahRuth, Exodus, Mark, Ephesians, Titus, Revelation, and Ecclesiastes. You can read my review of some of them here on the blog.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

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