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Author & Date

1. Author

The text does not indicate the identity of the author. However, no one can read the first two verses of the Epistle without having the first four verses of the Gospel of John coming to mind. First John 1:1 does indicate the author saw and touched our Lord Jesus Christ. This narrows the identity to one of the 12 Disciples.

Early Christian writers like Irenaeus (flourished c. 175-c. 195), Clement of Alexandria (c. 155-c. 220), and Tertullian (c. 160/70-c. 215/20) identified the author as the Apostle John.1
2. Location of Author & Date

Irenaeus also indicates that John was living in Asia at the time he wrote John, his first work: ". . . John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia."2 According to Revelation 1:9, John was on the Island of Patmos when he wrote that Book. The island was near Ephesus. Thus, John may have been in the Ephesus area when 1 John was written.

It is possible that between the time John wrote the Gospel of John and when he wrote Revelation, he returned to Jerusalem where he wrote the Epistles. Hodges believes that the false teachers of 1 John were with John and the Apostles in Jerusalem but left when the Apostles' doctrine disagreed with that of the false teachers (1 John 2:19). John later returned to Asia to be with the recipients (2 John 12; 3 John 10, 14). Hodges believes he sees indications in 1 John that indicate it was written shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He may be referring to 1 John 2:18 where the "hour" refers to the period of time that immediately precedes the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. However, he does not develop that interpretation in his commentary. He prefers AD 64-65 as the date for the Epistles.3

However, others believe that the Epistles were written in the decades following the destruction of Jerusalem.4 There is obviously no certainty about the dates they were written. The estimates are from AD 64 to AD 90.