1 John 1

Submitted by admin on Mon, 2006-04-17 19:45.

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  • 1 John 1:1.
  • Which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we viewed and our hands touched—[this is] concerning the word of life.

    The pronoun (hó, which) is neuter and refers to the “word” (lógos). Before his coming to the earth, “the word of life” was unknown to humans as the unique Son of God. Perhaps, therefore, John may have chosen the less definite neuter pronoun instead of the masculine pronoun applying to the “word.”

    This one was “from the beginning,” indicating his being with God in the infinite past or before the start of creation. (Compare Genesis 1:1; John 1:1; Hebrews 7:3.) This link to the beginning was not a new thought. In the prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah from Bethlehem, the Septuagint (Micah 5:2) reads, hai éxodoi autoú ap’ archés ex hemerón aiónos (his goings forth [are] from [the] beginning, from [the] days of eternity.)

    Hearing is commonly the way in which one initially becomes aware of another’s presence. (Compare Revelation 1:12.) It is one means for verifying a reality. John had personally heard the voice of the “word of life.” When using the first person plural verb for “heard,” “seen,” “viewed,” and “touched,” he may have included all others who shared the experience.

    John wrote, “we have seen with our eyes.” By the sense of sight, the reality of the “word of life” was verified.

    Seeing can be both voluntary and involuntary. The next term (theáomai) evidently conveys the thought of deliberate seeing or an attentive looking, or contemplation.

    Finally, the reality of the “word of life” was established by the sense of touch. So, in ascending order of actual experience—hearing, seeing, viewing, and feeling, handling, or touching—the fact that the “word of life” had come in the flesh stood solidly confirmed.

    The designation “word” (lógos) here seems to have the same significance as in John 1:1, identifying the One whom the Father used in communicating his will and message, the One who came to be known as Jesus Christ. In being called “the word of life,” he is the “word” who is also the “life” or the One through whom life is imparted. (Compare John 14:6.) This life is not mere existence. It is the real life, the fullness of life enjoyed by those having an approved standing with God by reason of their faith in Jesus Christ.


  • 1 John 1:2.
  • And the life was made visible, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us.

    The main focus appears to be on “the life.” From this verse onward, the expression “life,” not “word of life,” is used. This “life” was made manifest or visible when the “word” became flesh. (John 1:14) John and others who saw Jesus Christ could therefore provide eyewitness testimony, proclaiming to those who were not eyewitnesses the historical truth about the “eternal life” which was with the Father and had been made visible to them.

    In the life of Jesus Christ—his words and deeds—the real life (the eternal life) and how it could be attained was clearly in evidence. Accordingly, the testimony of John and other eyewitnesses was a proclamation of the “eternal life.”

    Note: The Greek word rendered “with” (prós) is apparently to be understood as being indicative of an interrelationship.


  • 1 John 1:3.
  • Which we have seen and heard we are proclaiming also to you that you too may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship, moreover, [is] with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.

    The announcement or proclamation to those addressed rested on firsthand seeing and hearing. Its purpose was that those addressed might share fully with those who had participated in this firsthand experience.

    Besides enjoying fellowship with one another, the believers being addressed (as children of God and brothers of Christ) shared fellowship with the Father and his Son.


  • 1 John 1:4.
  • And this we are writing that our joy may be complete.

    The Greek literally reads, “this we are writing—we—that our joy may be complete.” Because the verb gráphomen is the first person plural form of “write,” the pronoun “we” would seem to be superfluous. This “we” (hemeís), however, appears in the oldest extant manuscripts, fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. Perhaps the verb points to John’s doing the writing, whereas the “we” served to indicate that he was speaking representatively for all eyewitnesses. For John and other eyewitnesses, their joy would not be complete until others, by responding in faith to the message, came to share in this joy with them. Later manuscripts, though, read, “we are writing to you so that your joy may be complete.” Seemingly, copyists would be more likely to conclude that the reference was to the resulting joy of the readers and would therefore be inclined to change “we” to “you” and “our” to “your.”


  • 1 John 1:5.
  • And this is the message that we have heard from him and are proclaiming to you, that God is light and in him no darkness at all exists.

    John and other eyewitnesses had heard the message from the One who had been made visible to them. The accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John about the life and activity of Jesus Christ do not contain the words, “God is light.” Nevertheless, the words and actions of God’s Son revealed that his Father is “light”—pure, clean, or holy—in the absolute sense. Not even the slightest taint of darkness—evil, depravity, corruption, ignorance, impurity, or uncleanness—exists in him. The Greek uses two negatives, emphasizing the totality of the separation from darkness (ouk [not] and oudemía [none, not at all]).


  • 1 John 1:6.
  • If we say that we have fellowship with him and are walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.

    Persons claiming to have fellowship with God while “walking in darkness” or conducting themselves in a manner associated with darkness (impurity, uncleanness, or corruption) would be lying, guilty of self-deception. They would not be practicing or living the truth (conforming to the divine standard for upright conduct based on faith in God’s Son).


  • 1 John 1:7.
  • But if we are walking in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son purifies us from all sin.

    All whose course of life is characteristic of light (purity, cleanness, or uprightness) enjoy fellowship or a relationship with all others who are walking in the light. That walk, though, is not flawless, requiring the cleansing that only Jesus Christ’s blood can effect. His blood cleanses repentant ones from all sin or any defilement resulting from a failure to meet the divine standard of holiness in thought, word, and action. Sin is a missing of the mark of complete conformity to God’s will. It is a failure to walk flawlessly in the light as God himself is in the light.


  • 1 John 1:8.
  • If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    For individuals to assert that they have no sin would be sheer self-deception and a complete denial of the truth. It would prove that the truth Jesus Christ revealed by his words and actions and which prompts noble thoughts, words, and deeds had not become an integral part of the being of those asserting they were without sin.

    Note: After “truth” (alétheia), a number of later manuscripts add “of God” (toú theoú).


  • 1 John 1:9.
  • If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous so that he would forgive us [our] sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

    If we confess our sins, we can rest assured of complete forgiveness. This is because God is faithful, dependable or trustworthy. He has declared that forgiveness is possible on the basis of his Son’s shed blood, and we can have absolute confidence in his word. The Father is also just or righteous. Having promised to be forgiving and merciful to repentant sinners, he will grant forgiveness, thereby manifesting his righteousness. Because he will never deviate from being trustworthy respecting his word and just in granting what he has promised, we can depend on his forgiveness.

    Note: Fourth-century Codex Sinaiticus and numerous later manuscripts (in the second occurrence) read “our sins” (hamartías hemón).


  • 1 John 1:10.
  • If we say that we have not sinned, we are making him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    For individuals to claim that they have not sinned would constitute a denial of the need for an arrangement to have their sins forgiven. Accordingly, this would mean that a redeemer and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ were wholly unnecessary. Such a denial of having sinned would make God out to be a liar. By having his Son die for the world of mankind, the Father testified to the reality of sin. His arrangement for forgiveness of sin on the basis of his Son’s sacrifice is predicated on the the existence of sin in all humans. Therefore, a denial of sin slanders God. The deposit of divinely revealed truth (particularly as it relates to Jesus Christ) could not be in possession of those making themselves guilty of such slander. This deposit of truth would not be an energizing or motivating power in their lives.