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The Epistles of John (Part 1): 1 John 1:1–4

by Stephen Hebert on Saturday - 3 February 2007

in Biblical Studies, New Testament

This is the first part in an ongoing series on the Epistles of John.

English Standard Version Nestle-Aland 27
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. ὃ ἦν ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ὃ ἀκηκόαμεν ὃ ἑωράκαμεν τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα καὶ αἱ χεῖρες ἡμῶν ἐψηλάφησαν περὶ τοῦ λόγου τῆς ζωῆς καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἐφανερώθη καὶ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ μαρτυροῦμεν καὶ ἀπαγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν τὴν ζωὴν τὴν αἰώνιον ἥτις ἦν πρὸς τὸν πατέρα καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν ὃ ἑωράκαμεν καὶ ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθ’ ἡμῶν καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ταῦτα γράφομεν ἡμεῖς ἵνα ἡ χαρὰ ἡμῶν ᾖ πεπληρωμένη

1 John tells us several key facts about God.

  1. God is Eternal.
  2. God is available to our senses—tangible.
  3. God is relational.

The gospel that John preaches is tangible. Not only did John and his buddies see it with their eyes, but they heard it, and they touched it. This is the Word of Life. God, in the flesh, made tangible—Jesus Christ, who came on behalf of the Father to give eternal life. It is this gospel that John proclaims to his readers in hopes that they will fellowship with him, and ultimately with the Father and the Son.

This word of life was present from the beginning. It is eternal. God is the first principle. There is nothing outside of Him, and nothing unnatural about Him. He is.

When Moses meets God, and asks what His name is, God’s enigmatic response is: “I Am Who I Am” (Exodus 3:14 [ESV]). This is God’s name! He Is. Curiously, the Hebrew phrase (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה) may also be translated “I Will Be Who I Will Be”—the future tense. God is eternal and unchanging. He is the same today as He was yesterday as He will be tomorrow.

The mystery of Christianity is in the tangibility of God. The Kingdom of Heaven was physically placed in the form of one person—Jesus Christ who was God incarnate. The eternal, omnipotent ruler humbled Himself to the form of His creation giving us an opportunity to walk and talk with Him, giving us an opportunity to fellowship with Him. God is relational. He likes people; he likes to hang out.

As I read the text, these are what jumps out at me. What are your thoughts?

Article Series - The Epistles of John

  1. The Epistles of John (Part 1): 1 John 1:1–4
  2. The Epistles of John (Part 2): 1 John 1:5
  3. The Epistles of John (Part 3): 1 John 1:6–7
  4. The Epistles of John (Part 4): 1 John 1:8–10
  5. The Epistles of John (Part 5): 1 John 2:1
  6. The Epistles of John (Part 6): 1 John 2:2
  7. The Epistles of John (Part 7): 1 John 2:3–6
  8. The Epistles of John (Part 8): 1 John 2:7–8
  9. The Epistles of John (Part 9): 1 John 2:9–11
  10. The Epistles of John (Part 10): 1 John 2:12
  11. The Epistles of John (Part 11): 1 John 2:13
  12. The Epistles of John (Part 12): 1 John 2:14
  13. The Epistles of John (Part 13): 1 John 2:15
  14. The Epistles of John (Part 14): 1 John 2:16
  15. The Epistles of John (Part 15): 1 John 2:17
  16. The Epistles of John (Part 16): 1 John 2:18
  17. The Epistles of John (Part 17): 1 John 2:19
  18. The Epistles of John (Part 18): 1 John 2:20
  19. The Epistles of John (Part 19): 1 John 2:21
  20. The Epistles of John (Part 20): 1 John 2:22
  21. The Epistles of John (Part 21): 1 John 2:23–25
  22. The Epistles of John (Part 22): 1 John 2:26–27
  23. The Epistles of John (Part 23): 1 John 2:28
  24. The Epistles of John (Part 24): 1 John 2:29
  25. The Epistles of John (Part 25): 1 John 3:1–3
  26. The Epistles of John (Part 26): 1 John 3:4–6
  27. The Epistles of John (Part 27): 1 John 3:7–10
  28. The Epistles of John (Part 28): 1 John 3:11–12
  29. The Epistles of John (Part 29): 1 John 3:13
  30. The Epistles of John (Part 30): 1 John 3:14-18
  31. The Epistles of John (Part 31): 1 John 3:19–22
  32. The Epistles of John (Part 32): 1 John 3:23–24
  33. The Epistles of John (Part 33): 1 John 4:1–3
  34. The Epistles of John (Part 34): 1 John 4:4–6
  35. The Epistles of John (Part 35): 1 John 4:7-8
  36. The Epistles of John (Part 36): 1 John 4:9
  37. The Epistles of John (Part 37): 1 John 4:10
  38. The Epistles of John (Part 38): 1 John 4:11-12
  39. The Epistles of John (Part 39): 1 John 4:13–14
  40. The Epistles of John (Part 40): 1 John 4:15
  41. The Epistles of John (Part 41): 1 John 4:16–17
  42. The Epistles of John (Part 42): 1 John 4:18–19
  43. The Epistles of John (Part 43): 1 John 4:20–21
  44. The Epistles of John (Part 44): 1 John 5:1
  45. The Epistles of John (Part 45): 1 John 5:2-3

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