An Eyewitness Proclaims the Word of Life - 1 John 1:1-4

Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 1:1-2:2

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An Eyewitness Proclaims the Word of Life - 1 John 1:1-4

John's first letter starts with a prologue that echoes the prologue of his Gospel, but with new emphases. Both focus on the Word of life that has existed from the beginning, but this prologue focuses on the Word's appearance in flesh that could be seen and touched. John draws a direct connection between the Word he saw and lived with, and the Word he now proclaims. In First John, the Word refers to Jesus, the gospel message, and the life it describes in fellowship with Jesus. The genitive phrase, the Word of life is pregnant with meaning—the Word that gives life or the Word that is life. The Gospel message has been passed down from Christ himself to the author of the letter, and to his recipients

The beginning - 1 John 1:1

the beginning. See notes on Gen. 1:1; Jn. 1:1. In the prologue to the Fourth Gospel, the phrase in the beginning was the Word clearly points to the time of creation, pointing to the significance of the incarnation as a new beginning. heard ... seen ... touched. The phrase seen with our own eyes is only used here in the NT, and claims that this message about the Word comes from an eyewitness. All of these verbs (hearing, seeing, touching) are sensory in nature, emphasizing the bodily presence of Jesus with his witnesses. Word of life. See BC 8. See notes on Jn. 1:4, 14. The Fourth Gospel is mainly about the incarnation of the eternal Word. First John is the message about eternal Life, the Incarnate Word gives to those who believe, obey and love him. The genitive phrase, Word of life, has many possible nuances—the Word that produces life, the Word that is life, the living Word.

The purpose of John's testimony - 1 John 1:3-4

See WSC 2. The purpose of John's testimony is so his readers will be assured of their fellowship with the Father, his Son, and with one another. Their fellowship is also with John and his witnesses in the common task of proclaiming the Word of life.

Fellowship - 1 John 1:3

fellowship. See WCF 26.1; HC 55. See notes on Jn. 15:8, 11-17; 17:21, 23. This word is used nineteen times in the NT, and is never used in the Gospels. It has to do with people sharing responsibilities, and material goods, as well as a profound bond, like that of kinship. Their partnership with one another is through Christ, and their bond is with Christ. To embrace God's Word is to embrace God's People. To sustain a relationship with the Father and the Son, a person must be in relationship with other Christians.

Our joy - 1 John 1:4

joy. John says our joy because he is talking about himself, his fellow witnesess and his readers. This joy will be matured and completed as his readers grow in their faith, obedience and love (cf. Jn. 15:11; 16:24; 2 Jn 4; 3 Jn 4)

Denials and Practices - 1 John 1:5-2:2

Denials and Practices of Sin Contradict the Word of Life. In order to have fellowship with the Father and Son, God's people must understand God's holy character, and how it illuminates their need for an atoning sacrifice for sins, and their responsibility to go on living, then in God's Light.

God is Light - 1 John 1:5

God is light. This phrase summarizes the main theological "message" of First John. With this, John defines both the character of God and of those who have an authentic knowledge of God. But, this introduces a question: "How is the reality of sin in every human life remedied?" no darkness at all. See WCF 3.1. In this phrase, literally translated, "not one bit of darkness," John is unequivocally stating evil is not associated with God.

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