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Monday, June 17th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
1 John 1

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-4

Introduction 1 John 1:1-4 serves as an introduction. We immediately see in the opening passage of the first epistle of John how the writer is struggling to explain with human words how an eternal God has been brought into our midst for a purpose, which is to have fellowship with and thus, restore joy to mankind. John tells us that an eternal, infinite, omniscience, omnipresent, almighty God has manifested Himself in this temporal world. He is explaining the eternal nature of God in temporal terms that we can understand. Simply put, John the apostle has seen an eternal God clothed in mortality as the Son of Man, yet unbound by earthly limitations as the Son of God.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

1 John 1:1 Comments - In John 1:1 the author tells us that three of his five physical senses, hearing, seeing and touching, have witnessed God being manifested in the flesh.

“That which was from the beginning” This phrase refers to Jesus’ eternal nature.

“which we have heard” This phrase refers to the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. However, it may refer also to the Old Testament prophecies of His Coming as well as His earthly ministry.

“which we have seen with our eyes” This phrase may refer to His manifestation to the nation of Israel with signs and miracles.

“which we have looked upon and our hands have handled” This phrase refers to the physical contact the disciples have made with Jesus Christ. This phrase certainly includes His physical manifestation to His disciples after His resurrection.

“of the Word of life” John says the “Word of Life” is the subject of what existed from the beginning.

1 John 1:2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

1 John 1:2 Comments - Having said that the Word of Life was eternal, from the beginning, in 1 John 1:1, John then explains that this eternal life was manifested to us.

1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:3 “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us” Comments - The purpose of this manifestation is restore fellowship between God and mankind.

“our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” Comments - This fellowship is with Jesus Christ and those who believe in Him (1 Corinthians 1:9). A relationship without fellowship is like a marriage without love. God wants fellowship because He loves us.

1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

1 John 1:4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

1 John 1:4 “And these things write we unto you” Comments - The phrase “these things” refers to the rest of this epistle.

“that your joy may be full” - Comments - The purpose of John’s first epistle is to serve as a testimony so that others may believe and partake of fellowship with God and with God’s people. The phrase “that your joy may be full” means that God has made a way for us to live in all of the fullness of heaven’s joy while we are still here on this earth. The very fullness of joy that we will have when we are living in heaven is available for us today because Jesus has made the way for us into “full” fellowship with the Father and the Son.

Verses 5-10

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

1 John 1:5 Comments - Note this definition of sin by Sadhu Sundar Singh and how he compares it to light and darkness:

“Sin is to cast aside the will of God and to live according to one’s own will, deserting that which is true and lawful in order to satisfy one’s own desires, thinking thus to obtain happiness. Yet in so doing one does not obtain real happiness or enjoy true pleasure. Sin has no individuality, so that no one can say of it that someone created it. It is simply the name of a state or condition. There is only one Creator and He is good, and a good Creator could not have created a bad thing, for to do so would be against His very nature. And apart from the one Creator there is no other who could have created sin. Satan can only spoil that which has already been created, but he has not the power of creating anything. So sin is not a part of creation, nor has it independent existence such that it could be created. It is simply a delusive and destructive state of being. For instance, light is something which has real existence, but darkness has not; it is only a state, the absence of light. Thus sin or evil is not a self-existent thing, but simply the absence or nonexistence of good. This dark state of evil is most terrible, for because of it many miss the right course, and making shipwreck on the rocks of Satan fall into the darkness of hell and are lost. For this reason I who am the Light of the world became manifest in the flesh, so that those who put their trust in Me should not perish, for I rescue them from the power of darkness and bring them safe to that desired and heavenly haven, where there is neither name nor sign of darkness (Rev. xxi.23, xxii.5).” [27]

[27] Sadhu Sundar Singh, At the Master’s Feet, translated by Arthur Parker (London: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1922) [on-line], accessed 26 October 2008, available from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/singh/feet.html; Internet, “II Salvation and Sin,” section 1, part 1.

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

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

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:8 ; 1 John 1:10 Comments - If we say that we are not having sin, this is a deception. James 3:2 says that we are all stumbling with reference to something.

James 3:2, “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”

Illustration - One characteristic of a child is to always deny that he was the one at fault. It is the same with adults on the job. Immature people will not accept responsibility nor blame for what they have done wrong. Thus, it is in the kingdom of God. We must grow up and acknowledge our wrongs.

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Proverbs 20:9, “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?”

Romans 3:9, “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;”

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 Comments - We can confess our sins unto the Lord and be forgiven. In June 1979, I rededicated my life to the Lord at Hiland Park Baptist Church, Panama City, Florida. I had spent about six years away from the Lord. Sin can bring guilt and remorse. So, the Lord began to quicken this verse to me every day for about a year. A baby Christian has much overcoming to do. He has strongholds to tear down and bad habits to overcome. This does not always come overnight. It is a process of growing strong in the Lord. I learned to overcome the guilt of sin quickly and have the faith to believe that when I confessed my sins, they were entirely forgiven, and I no longer had to walk in guilt. What a powerful this verse became for me as I learned how to live the Christian life.

Scripture References - Note similar verses:

Leviticus 26:40-42, “If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”

Psalms 51:4, “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

We have a similar statement in James 5:16, which tells us to confess our faults, or sins, to one another.

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

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

1 John 1:10 Comments - God’s Word says all have sinned (Romans 3:23). Denying this is like calling God a liar.

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 John 1". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/1-john-1.html. 2013.
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