The epistle is not written in the same form as the other biblical epistles, as it lacks an epistolary opening or conclusion. The epistle is written in a simple style, without syntactical flourishes, and makes frequent use of asyndeton, where related thoughts are placed next to one another without conjunctions. In contrast to the linear style used in the Pauline epistles, biblical scholar Ernest DeWitt Burton suggests that John’s thought “moves in circles”, forming a slowly advancing sequence of thought. This is similar to the parallel structure of Hebrew poetry, in which the second verse of a couplet often carries the same meaning as the first, although in this epistle the frequent recapitulations of already expressed ideas serve also to add to what has previously been said. In summary, the epistle may be said to exhibit a paraenetic style which is “marked by personal appeal, contrasts of right and wrong, true and false, and an occasional rhetorical question”.

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