The Word of Life
1 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— 2 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— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
We’re going to be memorizing 1John in fairly large chunks (Probably 20-25) mostly because I’ve noticed it’s easier to memorize with complete (ish) thoughts. For me to memorize it and retain it there has to be a thought process to internalize (at least that helps).
There are a lot of things in 1John that the English language does not help us with. For example there are 69 verbs used in the perfect tense. For those who couldn’t care less about the Greek language, at least bear with me for a minute. The reason that is so significant is because the author used those verbs was to make a very specific point. The verb is translated in the past tense but because of his use of the perfect tense, he translates it in past tense but it has an ongoing action. This is very important because as we will find out if you don’t already know, John wrote this to his beloved that they may know that they are saved (5:13). Part of the way they know that they are saved is because of the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. For example in this first section there are 6 perfect verbs. Verse1-heard, seen, 2-seen, 3- seen, heard, 4-complete. John is testifying to the incarnation and the fact that he’s heard and seen concerning the word of life. The fact that he’s heard and seen, there is an ongoing action. If he was just relating to you as to what he seen and heard in terms of the whole action of the verb he probably would have used an aorist (completely different verb endings) that would read the same way.
This introduction to 1John has a lot more teeth than a casual reading reveals. First off we know because of 1 John 5:13 that he is writing so his believing beloved may be sure of their salvation. He is also writing to refute gnostic lies that had infiltrated the body. John being very careful to reveal why he was writing (13 times he used the word write or writing) in 1 John 2:21 “I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth” and in 1 John 2:26 he states “I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.” His very careful attention to detail in this first section reveals he physically touched and seen the incarnate “word of life” that was with the Father from the beginning. As he will later develop in chapter 4:2 and 4:15 if you don’t confess Jesus has come in the flesh…oh and by the way if you don’t have the Jesus that is the Son of God (aka God), fully man and fully God, you don’t have the right Jesus. His attention to these details in this first section sets the stage for what It means to have eternal life, to have fellowship with one another, with Jesus and with the Father Himself. His response to those who were trying to deceive his beloved (2:26) will be developed thoroughly in chapter 2 so we’ll have to wait for that.
I probably won’t come back to 1John for a couple weeks so if you want to keep chewing on the section because it’s pretty large, don’t worry…I’ll be back :).