Today, I’m excited to make an announcement that has been nine years in the making. If you want the history, just keep reading. But if you are only interested in the announcement itself about the new book I’m about to publish (oh, sorry—spoiler alert!), jump down to the next section.
I first seriously studied 1 John in the Fall of 2005, when I was part of a team in the Lincoln Berean College Group who prepared a Bible Study that all the small groups went through during the Spring of 2006. In seminary, 1 John was the first book of the Bible I studied in Greek, and then I preached through the letter twice: once at Crete Berean Church in 2011, and again at First Evangelical Covenant Church in Lincoln in 2012 and into 2013. (In sum, I ended up preaching on various passages from the Letters of John at seven churches over the years.) I have led one-to-one Bible studies with 1 John, and I even saw someone come to Christ through one of those personal studies.
In sum, I have been poring over 1 John for almost 9 years now.
Somewhere along the way, I realized just how well 1 John is written to provide a comprehensive introduction to Christian discipleship. It’s ideal for new Christians, but also for bringing veteran Christians back to the basics of what it means to follow Jesus. In the process, I have created two major collections of content, primarily as I prepared to preach on the passages.
One collection was a set of commentaries that functioned as my exegetical scratch pads. I worked on these by first translating the passage, then writing comments verse-by-verse, and then reading through other commentaries and providing helpful quotations and discussions from those. All of these are freely available on Scribd, and I have had at least a couple of pastors tell me that they have found them helpful as they prepared to preach or teach through 1 John. I’m providing links to each of the commentaries at the bottom of this post.
The second collection was a series of blog posts. Typically, I would write three blog posts that roughly correlated to the three points of the sermons I would end up preaching. They made use of all the exegetical study, but they focused more on explanation and application than raw exegesis. In addition to the commentaries, I have also provided links to each of these blog posts at the bottom of this post.
New Book: That You May Know
Today, I’m thrilled to announce that I have also created a third collection of content, based off of the material I developed in the commentaries and in the blog posts: a book. This book is called That You May Know: A Primer on Christian Discipleship, and I have the manuscript ready to be edited and published. Tomorrow, I will run a post with more information about the goals and target audience for the book. I cannot tell you how excited I am to unveil what I have been working for the last several years!
I have many plans for this project as I get it ready for publication, but one of the things that I am most excited about is that I plan to publish this book independently. On Wednesday, I will post an article about why I want to publish this book independently, but for now, I will mention only that I need help to get this book off of the ground.
First, I need people who would be willing to interested in reading the manuscript to provide some initial reviews. One of the biggest benefits of traditional publishing houses is their distribution channels and reach, which means that they can get books to large groups of people because they have been doing this for so long. Since I want to go independently here, I need to run a more grassroots campaign to get this done. So, I need your help. If you are interested in getting an exclusive sneak-peak so I can help other people understand how this book might benefit them when it comes off the press, leave a comment or email me at jacob [at] 19baskets [dot] com.
Second, I will have about $1500 in up-front costs to publish this book as I hire an editor, a cover designer, a text layout service, etc., in order to make this book a reality. To cover these, I will be launching a Kickstarter campaign next Monday, April 28th. If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, it’s basically a way for people making various creative projects (books, films, albums, etc.) to pre-sell their projects to cover their up-front costs. All kinds of people pledge money (typically small amounts) toward the project, and after the project is produced, typically the pledgers are rewarded with early or exclusive access to whatever is being produced.
That’s exactly what I’m trying to do here. Everyone who contributes will get their name included in the acknowledgements of the book. But additionally, here are the rewards that I am offering for people who contribute to the campaign:
- If you pledge $5, I will send you a digital copy (PDF, ePUB, or Kindle format) of the book before it is publicly available
- If you pledge $12, I will send you a print copy of the book before it’s publicly available—and I’ll also send you a digital copy if you want to have both
- If you have a group of people who are interested in using this book for a Bible study on 1 John and on discipleship, I will send you advance copies of the book for every $10 you pledge, with a minimum pledge of $100.
Studying John’s Letters, preaching through them, and now writing this book has been an incredible process for me, and I am so eager to share the fruit of this work with other people. I am praying that God will use this to help Christians learn to follow Jesus more closely and to study God’s word more deeply.
But I can’t do this without your help. Please consider helping me make this book a reality by reviewing the manuscript and/or by pledging money to the Kickstarter campaign. Spread the word by telling your friends, your Bible study groups, and people in your churches. Thank you so much in advance!
Blog Posts on 1 John
Post Series on 1 John 1:1-4:
- The Proclamation: The Word of Life has been Made Manifest (1 John 1:1-3)
- The Fellowship: With the Church, with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3)
- The Joy: Filled up and overflowing in the Gospel (1 John 1:4)
Post Series on 1 John 1:5-2:6:
- God is Light, and in Him is no Darkness Whatsoever (1 John 1:5)
- Reforming the Speech of Pharisaical Hypocrites (Like Me) (1 John 1:6-10)
- How Can God be Faithful, but Still Just? (1 John 1:9)
- Reforming the Lives of Wanton Libertines (Like Me) (1 John 2:1-6)
Post Series on 1 John 2:7-14:
- How Jesus Made the Old Commandment New (1 John 2:7-8)
- Love as the Litmus Test of Genuine Faith (1 John 2:9-11)
- Envisioning the Beloved Society (1 John 2:12-14)
Post Series on 1 John 2:15-27:
- John’s Warning Concerning the World (1 John 2:15-17)
- John’s Warning Concerning the Church (1 John 2:18-27)
- The Anointing of the Holy One (1 John 2:18-27)
Post Series on 1 John 2:28-3:10:
- Because Truth is So Much More Than Just Being Right (1 John 2:28-3:1)
- We Shall Be Like Him (1 John 3:2-3)
- Whoever is Born of God Cannot Keep on Sinning (1 John 3:4-10)
Post Series on 1 John 3:11-24:
- Why Righteousness Attracts Persecution (1 John 3:11-15)
- Righteousness Looks Like Love (1 John 3:16-18)
- How Righteous Love Offers Assurance (1 John 3:19-24)
Post Series on 1 John 4:1-6:
- Testing the Spirits in a World of Twitter (1 John 4:1)
- Confessing This Jesus-Christ-Come-In-Flesh Jesus (1 John 4:2-3)
- On The Discernment of the Saints (1 John 4:4-6)
Post Series on 1 John 4:7-21:
- If God So Loved Us, We Also Ought to Love One Another (1 John 4:7-12)
- Whoever Abides in Love Abides in God, and God Abides in Him (1 John 4:13-16)
- But Perfect Love Casts Out Fear (1 John 4:17-21)
Post Series on 1 John 5:1-21:
Post Series on 1 John 5:13-17:
- How Confident are You That You Have Eternal Life? (1 John 5:13)
- Confidence in Our Eternal Life Results in Prayer (1 John 5:14-15)
- Praying for the Prodigal Brother (1 John 5:16-17)
Post Series on 1 John 5:18-21:
- He Who Was Born of God Protects You from the Touch of the Evil One (1 John 5:18)
- The Whole World Lies in the Power of the Evil One (1 John 5:19)
- Jesus is the True God and Eternal Life (1 John 5:20)
- Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21)
Post Series on 2 John:
Post Series on 3 John:
- No Greater Joy (3 John 1:1-4)
- Missions For the Sake of the Name (3 John 1:5-8)
- Do Not Imitate Evil, but Imitate Good (3 John 1:9-12)