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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 John: Chapter 1)

1:1 {That which} (ho). Strictly speaking, the neuter relative here is not personal, but the message "concerning the Word of life" (peri tou logou tˆs z“ˆs), a phrase that reminds one at once of the Word (Logos) in Joh 1:1,14; Re 19:14 (an incidental argument for identity of authorship for all these books). For discussion of the Logos see on ŻJoh 1:1-18. Here the Logos is described by tˆs z“ˆs (of life), while in Joh 1:4 he is called hˆ z“ˆ (the Life) as here in verse 2 and as Jesus calls himself (Joh 11:25; 14:6), an advance on the phrase here, and in Re 19:14 he is termed ho logos tou theou (the Word of God), though in Joh 1:1 the Logos is flatly named ho theos (God). John does use ho in a collective personal sense in Joh 6:37,39. See also pan ho in 1Jo 5:4.
{From the beginning} (ap' archˆs). Anarthrous as in Joh 1:1; 6:64; 16:4. See same phrase in 2:7. The reference goes beyond the Christian dispensation, beyond the Incarnation, to the eternal purpose of God in Christ (Joh 3:16), "coeval in some sense with creation" (Westcott).
{That which we have heard} (ho akˆkoamen). Note fourfold repetition of ho (that which) without connectives (asyndeton). The perfect tense (active indicative of akou“) stresses John's equipment to speak on this subject so slowly revealed. It is the literary plural unless John associates the elders of Ephesus with himself (Lightfoot) the men who certified the authenticity of the Gospel (Joh 21:24).
{That which we have seen} (ho he“rakamen). Perfect active, again, of hora“, with the same emphasis on the possession of knowledge by John.
{With our eyes} (tois ophthalmois hˆm“n). Instrumental case and showing it was not imagination on John's part, not an optical illusion as the Docetists claimed, for Jesus had an actual human body. He could be heard and seen.
{That which we beheld} (ho etheasametha). Repetition with the aorist middle indicative of theaomai (the very form in Joh 1:14), "a spectacle which broke on our astonished vision" (D. Smith). {Handled} (epsˆlaphˆsan). First aorist active indicative of psˆlapha“, old and graphic verb (from psa“, to touch), the very verb used by Jesus to prove that he was not a mere spirit (Lu 24:39). Three senses are here appealed to (hearing, sight, touch) as combining to show the reality of Christ's humanity against the Docetic Gnostics and the qualification of John by experience to speak. But he is also "the Word of life" and so God Incarnate.

1:2 {Was manifested} (ephaner“thˆ). First aorist passive indicative of phanero“, to make known what already exists, whether invisible (B. Weiss) or visible, "intellectual or sensible" (Brooke). In Col 3:4 Paul employs it of the second coming of Christ. Verse 2 here is an important parenthesis, a mark of John's style as in Joh 1:15. By the parenthesis John heaps reassurance upon his previous statement of the reality of the Incarnation by the use of he“rakamen (as in verse 1) with the assertion of the validity of his "witness" (marturoumen) and "message" (apaggellomen), both present active indicatives (literary plurals), apaggell“ being the public proclamation of the great news (Joh 16:25).
{The life, the eternal life} (tˆn z“ˆn tˆn ai“nion). Taking up z“ˆ of verse 1, John defines the term by the adjective ai“nios, used 71 times in the N.T., 44 times with z“ˆ and 23 in John's Gospel and Epistles (only so used in these books by John). Here lt means the divine life which the Logos was and is (Joh 1:4; 1Jo 1:1).
{Which} (hˆtis). Qualitative relative, "which very life."
{Was with the Father} (ˆn pros ton patera). Not egeneto, but ˆn, and pros with the accusative of intimate fellowship, precisely as in Joh 1:1 ˆn pros ton theon (was with God). Then John closes the parenthesis by repeating ephaner“thˆ.

1:3 {That which we have seen} (ho he“rakamen). Third use of this form (verses 1,2,3), this time resumption after the parenthesis in verse 2.
{And heard} (kai akˆkoamen). Second (verse 1 for first) use of this form, a third in verse 5. Emphasis by repetition is a thoroughly Johannine trait.
{Declare we} (apaggellomen). Second use of this word (verse 2 for first), but aggelia (message) and anaggellomen (announce) in verse 5.
{That ye also may have} (hina kai humeis echˆte). Purpose clause with hina and present active subjunctive of ech“ (may keep on having). "Ye also" who have not seen Jesus in the flesh as well as those like John who have seen him. Like kai humin (to you also) just before.
{Fellowship with us} (koin“nian meth' hˆm“n). Common word in this Epistle, from koin“nos, partner (Lu 5:10), and koin“ne“, to share, in (1Pe 4:13), with meta emphasising mutual relationship (Ac 2:42). This Epistle often uses ech“ with a substantive rather than a verb.
{Yea, and our fellowship} (kai hˆ koin“nia de hˆ hˆmetera). Careful explanation of his meaning in the word "fellowship" (partnership), involving fellowship with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ and only possible in Christ.

1:4 {We write} (graphomen hˆmeis). Literary plural present active indicative of graph“, which see in the singular in 2:12-14.
{May be fulfilled} (ˆi peplˆr“menˆ). Periphrastic perfect passive subjunctive of plˆro“, stressing the state of completion in the purpose (hina), remain full, precisely as in Joh 16:24. See aorist subjunctive in Joh 15:11 and perfect indicative in Joh 17:13. The MSS. differ as often between hˆm“n (our) and hum“n (your).

1:5 {And} (kai). Mutual fellowship depends on mutual knowledge (Westcott).
{Message} (aggelia). Old word (from aggelos, messenger), in N.T. only here and 3:11, and note ap' autou (from God like apaggell“ in verse 3) and anaggellomen, to announce, to disclose, here as in Joh 4:25.
{God is light} (ho theos ph“s estin). Precisely so the Logos is light (Joh 1:4-9) and what Jesus claimed to be (Joh 8:12). John repeats it in negative form as he often does (Joh 1:3).

1:6 {If we say} (ean eip“men). Condition of third class with ean and second aorist (ingressive, up and say) active subjunctive. Claiming fellowship with God (see verse 3) involves walking in the light with God (verse 5) and not in the darkness (skotos here, but skotia in Joh 1:5). See 2:11 also for en tˆi skotiƒi peripate“.
{We lie} (pseudometha). Present middle indicative, plain Greek and plain English like that about the devil in Joh 8:44.
{Do not the truth} (ou poioumen tˆn alˆtheian). Negative statement of the positive pseudometha as in Joh 8:44. See Joh 3:21 for "doing the truth," like Ne 9:33.

1:7 {If we walk} (ean peripat“men). Condition of third class also with ean and present active subjunctive (keep on walking in the light with God).
{As he} (h“s autos). As God is light (verse 5) and dwells in light unapproachable (1Ti 6:16).
{One with another} (met' allˆl“n). As he has already said in verse 3. But we cannot have fellowship with one another unless we have it with God in Christ, and to do that we must walk in the light with God.
{And the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin} (kai to haima Iˆsou tou huiou autou katharizei hˆmƒs apo pƒsˆs hamartias). This clause with kai in true Johannine style is coordinate with the preceding one. Walking in the light with God makes possible fellowship with one another and is made possible also by the blood of Jesus (real blood and no mere phantom, atoning blood of the sinless Son of God for our sins). John is not ashamed to use this word. It is not the mere "example" of Jesus that "cleanses" us from sin. It does cleanse the conscience and life and nothing else does (Heb 9:13f.; Tit 2:14). See in verse 9 both forgiveness and cleansing. Cf. 1Jo 3:3.

1:8 {If we say} (ean eip“men). See verse 6.
{We have no sin} (hamartian ouk echomen). For this phrase see Joh 9:41; 15:22,24. That is, we have no personal guilt, no principle of sin. This some of the Gnostics held, since matter was evil and the soul was not contaminated by the sinful flesh, a thin delusion with which so-called Christian scientists delude themselves today.
{We deceive ourselves} (heautous plan“men). Present active indicative of plana“, to lead astray. We do not deceive others who know us. Negative statement again of the same idea, "the truth is not in us."

1:9 {If we confess} (ean homolog“men). Third-class condition again with ean and present active subjunctive of homologe“, "if we keep on confessing." Confession of sin to God and to one another (Jas 5:16) is urged throughout the N.T. from John the Baptist (Mr 1:5) on.
{Faithful} (pistos). Jesus made confession of sin necessary to forgiveness. It is God's promise and he is "righteous" (dikaios).
{To forgive} (hina aphˆi). Sub-final clause with hina and second aorist active subjunctive of aphiˆmi.
{And to cleanse} (kai hagiasˆi). So again with hina and the first aorist active subjunctive of kathariz“ (verse 7).

1:10 {If we say} (ean eip“men). As in verses 6,8.
{We have not sinned} (ouch hamartˆkamen). Perfect active indicative of hamartan“. This is a denial of any specific acts of sin, while in verse 8 we have the denial of the principle of sin. David Smith observes that the claim to personal perfectionism has two causes, one the stifling of conscience in making God a liar (pseustˆn, the word used of the devil by Jesus in Joh 8:44), and the other ignorance of God's word, which is not in us, else we should not make such a claim.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(1 John: Chapter 1)

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