Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 John 1:1-2:6

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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.

Those Purified by Christ Walk in God's Light. - 1 John 1:6-2:2

This section of the letter addresses three claims (1:6, 8, 10) which may originate from those who left the church. Each claim is countered strongly on the basis of the message in 1:5, that God is light.

Walk in darkness . . . walk in the light - 1 John 1:6-7

walk in darkness… in the light. The OT told God’s people not to mix up right and wrong, or light and darkness (see notes on Isa. 2:5; 5:20). The metaphor of walking has to do with a person’s behavior or pattern of life. This is the clear sense of the word “walk” in 2:9-11, where a person knows they are walking in the light if they love other Christians. This not to say “walking in the light” means a life of sinless perfection. John clearly disallows that meaning in 2:1. Rather, it describes a pattern of life that imitates God’s character (1:5-7), depend on God’s mercy for cleansing from sin (1:7, 9; 2:1-2), obeys God’s commands (2:3-11), and resists the ways of the world (2:15-17), including false teaching (2:18-27). blood… cleanses. See WCF 18.3. This phrase is connected to fellowship, showing how a right relationship with God is connected to right relationships with God’s people. People who have been forgiven will be in fellowship with other forgiven people. In the OT, the blood of a sacrificial animal set people apart as sacred for God by making atonement (see note on Lev. 16:30). The word cleanses here and in v. 9 is about removing the sin which separates a person from God’s presence and purposes.

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