Sometimes it seems too easy to create a sense of distance between our time and that of the Bible, which often leads to dismissing teachings that arise out of that time. Sure we've got cars and iPods, microwaves and Pepto-bismol, but in end are we all that different from generations past, even the apostolic one? Particularly from a sociopolitical standpoint?
The 21st century has as many gods and philosophies to worship as the 1st; we are polytheist. The spectrum of Truth is as vast and varied, each pixel along that spectrum is held to be equally valid; pluralism rules as much now as then. And we've got as many voices clamoring for the right to define and speak truth as people did during the time of the apostles; polyvocalism is perennial.
These many different, and often conflicting, views of God and truth existed during the time of the apostles, too. It was into this context that the apostle John spoke when he wrote his three letters. And Karen H. Jobes has written a lucid, engaging commentary—1, 2, 3 John in the ZECNT series— that will help preachers, teachers, and practitioners explicate these important letters for our day.
Jobes notes several facets of our own culture that make these letters exceedingly relevant:
We live in spiritually confusing times, especially as every culture becomes religiously diverse. Many believe that it doesn't matter what you believe about a higher power as long as you believe it sincerely. But can any and all religions be true—everything from Eastern ideas about reincarnation to 'new age' spirituality to beliefs taught in the sacred synagogues, mosques, and temples across North America and around the world? (22)
Our day is like John's day. The issues he addressed to his ancient world matter for our ministry to our postmodern, post-Christian one: orthodoxy matters, as does authority. And Jobes' commentary elucidates them so that you and I can ameliorate the same problems plaguing the modern Church.