It's our pleasure to welcome Elise Herzing to the blog this week to share her thoughts on Kelly Minter's study of 1,2,3 John.
1, 2, and 3rd John are three little books tucked away somewhere at the back of the Bible between the instructional Hebrews and the apocalyptic Revelation. With these two most imposing books in the New Testament serving as the very thick bread in the 1-3 John sandwich, it is very easy for the filling of 1-3 John to be overlooked. But these three little books are rich and full and bursting at the seams with lessons about God's love for us and how we are to love others. Even though they are small, great and flavorful things come in small packages.
Kelly Minter's "The Living Room Series" is designed to bring women together in a comfortable environment to bring about honest and genuine conversation. It's meant to be hosted in your living room, around a table or in a local coffee shop. Not only is the series packed full of God's truths, there are also some tasty recipes included. What Love Is: The Letters of 1, 2, 3, John is just one of many in her series.
The Skinny: I began this study with a group of women who were in my house church at the time. We had just finished a study about abiding in God and were looking for a new study to go through together. A poll was sent out between a Kelly Minter study, a Beth Moore study, and a book of the Bible. Kelly Minter won the majority vote and through process of elimination, this study was selected. We met on a monthly basis to work our way through the six sessions of the study. For each week of the study, there was a corresponding video session, which is optional but our group decided to utilize. The video sessions, while wonderful and full of biblical truth, are not necessary to go through the study. Each week focuses on a section of 1, 2 or 3 John and has a series of personal questions throughout the week as well as questions for the group.
What I Loved: I loved how this study focused on biblical truth throughout every week. Each week, Kelly pointed out several theological truths from the passage we were studying in order to create "John's Theological Soup" with ingredients such as "The new command to love is loving like Jesus loved" from 1 John 2:7-8 and "Every believer in Christ is a child of God and is born of God" from 1 John 3:1,9. These truths straight from Scripture reminds us of our identity as Christians as well as who God is and who Jesus is. In addition to these truths, the study has margins set aside for all you note-takers, scriptural cross-references as well as original Greek translations and definitions for commonly repeated and emphasized words and phrases.
I also loved the way Kelly made the study feel like you were having a conversation with another sister in Christ in her living room. It was as if you were holding a cup of tea with lots of blankets around you, talking about the love that God has for you and how He wants to display His love for others through us. And the fact that she included some of her family recipes throughout the study definitely helped make me feel right at home.
What I Didn't Love: Although I loved this study, I did not love how it held your hand through the majority of the sessions. There was not a whole lot of room for you to discover these truths for yourself based purely in Scripture; as Kelly walked through most of the Scripture with her own personal thought process and experiences. While it is helpful to have her perspective on what 1-3 John has to say, it didn't help me with creating and processing through the Scripture in my personal quiet times. There was constantly someone else's voice and perspective in my times with the Word. However, if you have better self-control than I do, this shouldn't pose an issue.
"No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another,
God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
1 John 4:12
My Profound Truth: One of the biggest mind-melts for me in this study was in Session 4, Day 3, focusing on 1 John 4:7-14, particularly verse 12: "No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." The whole book of 1 John is building up to this idea that God is perfect and powerful; and that he sent his perfect son to die for those he loved (by the way, that's us!!!), but that his love is not complete until we love one another. And this God IS LOVE. This powerful, perfect God who IS LOVE: His love isn't made complete until we love one another as He loved us; which is completely, sacrificial and selflessly. When we love one another, WE can see God!! We see Him in acts of service, in gifts, and in time spent with one another, in the mundane and the tremendous. We see him in sudsy dishes and in walks with friends. We can see God when we love others, and when we are loved in return. Wow. How huge is that?! It was "rock my world" huge and it completely changed my perspective on acts of service and loving others well.
If you are interested in learning more about the GINORMOUS love that God has for you and how we are to share that love with others, pick up this study!! But whether or not you pick up this particular study, I would encourage you to study through 1-3 John regardless. It is chock-full of deep, spiritual truths and is encouraging for the Christian woman in all walks of life.
Elise wants to live in a world where you can eat as much pizza as you want without concerns about your waistline. When she's not guzzling tea, you can find her reveling in God's nature or watching exorbitant amounts of Gilmore Girls. One of her favorite Scriptures is Ephesians 5:8-10: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." Explore her other favorite Scriptures and get to know her on Instagram at @eliseherzing.