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Bible Commentaries
1 John 1

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


We write to you. Compare John 20:30-31. The Word of life. Jesus the Christ, who is the Eternal Logos. From the very beginning. Since the Logos is Eternal and existed before time began (John 1:1), we say with MacKnight that John has in mind the Word becoming a human being (John 1:14). John speaks as an eyewitness! John declares they have heard it, seen it, touched it! John and the other apostles saw Jesus baptized, saw the Spirit come down on him, his preaching, his miracles, his transfiguration, his agony in the garden, his suffering, and all the other things which demonstrated the reality of his life in human form.

Verse 2


Became visible. The Eternal Logos was not visible until he became a human being. We saw it. The apostles were eyewitnesses who were given a special mission. Compare Acts 1:21-22. So we speak. The mission of the apostles was to give proof of this Word of life. Compare Acts 10:39-42.

Verse 3


What we. Compare Matthew 13:16. John repeats himself to guarantee to us the reality of the Eternal Logos becoming a human being!!! Fellowship. Some belonged to secret fellowships and claimed special knowledge. John points out that he and the others have fellowship with the Father and the Son (see 1 John 1:7 also), and that those who believe what he is saying may also become part of this fellowship.

Verse 4


In order. “These things, about our fellowship with the Father and the Son, we write to you who have joined with us in this fellowship, that you will make our joy complete by living in the truth of the Word of life!”

Verse 5


Now this is the message. “I want to show you the advantage of joining with us in this fellowship.” From his Son. The Christ is the source of this message. Compare Hebrews 1:1-2 and notes. God is light. The ancients thought of light as the purest and most perfect of all material substance. The message that God is light says that He is pure and holy!!! Compare 1 Timothy 6:16. John declares three things about God in his writings: God is light: God is Spirit (John 4:24); God is love (1 John 4:8). [The mystery religions called their “secret knowledge” light.]

Verse 6


If, then. Here is a test of fellowship. Since light symbolizes purity and holiness, darkness symbolizes sin, evil, error, etc. We are lying. “If we claim fellowship with God and Christ, yet live lives dark with sin, we show ourselves to be liars!”

Verse 7


But if we. This is the other side of the test of fellowship. “If our lives are filled with the light of purity and holiness, this shows the truthfulness of our claims to fellowship with the Father and the Son.” Fellowship with one another. John is not speaking about the fellowship of Christians with each other, but with the Father and his Son. The blood of Jesus. The blood symbolizes God’s act in Christ to set men free. Compare Revelation 7:14; Revelation 12:11; Hebrews 9:12-14. Makes as clean. John uses the present continuous verb form to emphasize that living in the light keeps us in the fellowship where the blood of Jesus continuously makes us clean from sin. But if we walk in darkness, we lose this fellowship! The blood of Christ’s death declares the reality of the incarnation, which in turn makes possible the fellowship with the Father and the Son and the continuous forgiveness available to those who remain in this fellowship.

Verse 8


That we have no sin. Some were making the claim that they had no sins at all because they had reached perfection in this life! What they actually were doing was to say that the gospel allowed them to do everything without it being counted as sin. We deceive ourselves. “If you say that you have progressed on beyond being put right with God and no longer have any need of the forgiveness which the blood of Jesus offers, you are far away from the truth and are deceiving yourself!” Compare Romans 7:14-25 and notes.

Verse 9


But if we. The forgiveness which the blood of Jesus offers to Christians, requires a human response to reach out to seize it! Confess. God will forgive the Christian every sin which is confessed to Him. Confession is the first step toward repentance and forgiveness. See notes on Acts 8:20-24.

Verse 10


If we say. If we refuse to confess our sin to God, we are by our refusal saying that we have not sinned. Since God says we have sinned (Romans 3:23; James 1:13-15), we call Him a liar when we deny it, as some were doing. As a result, his word is not in us, when we deny that we have sinned. Notes: these words of John are not written to outsiders, but to members of the messianic community! Since John writes at the close of the first century, he is writing to many second and third generation Christians. John is emphasizing the Christian’s constant need for the saving power of Christ!!! It is the Christian who cannot claim he has not sinned! It is the Christian who must find forgiveness by confessing his sins to God! Acts 2:38 is to outsiders; 1 John 1:9 is to Christians!

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 John 1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/1-john-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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