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 at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
a. 1 John 1:4 Some manuscripts your
b. 1 John 1:7 Or every
This introduction is from bible-studys.org.
The epistle does not identify the author, but the strong, consistent and earliest testimony of the church ascribes it to John the disciple and apostle (compare Luke 6:13-14). This anonymity strongly affirms the early church’s identification of the epistle with John the apostle, for only someone of John’s well known and preeminent status as an apostle would be able to write with such unmistakable authority, expecting complete obedience from his readers, without clearly identifying himself. He was well known to the readers so he didn’t need to mention his name.
This letter could probably be classified as a general letter. It is as current for our church today, as it was for then. The apostle John, who wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation, is without doubt the author. He calls himself “the elder” (see 2 John 1), which seems to have been John’s self designation in the final years of his ministry. The purpose of the letter was probably to help the church avoid error in its teaching.
John and James, his older brother (Acts 12:2), were known as “the sons of Zebedee” (Matt. 10:2-4), whom Jesus gave the name “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). John was one of the 3 most intimate associates of Jesus (along with Peter and James; compare Matt. 17:1; 26:37), being an eyewitness to and participant in Jesus’ earthly ministry. In addition to the 3 epistles, John also authored the fourth gospel, in which he identified himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved”, and as the one who reclined on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20). He also wrote the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:1).
The letter was probably written from Ephesus, but is uncertain. The exact date of the writing was uncertain, as well. It was probably written in the 90's A.D. This letter brings special teaching on Jesus as the Light, Life, and Love.
Church tradition consistently identifies John in his advanced age as living and actively writing during this time at Ephesus in Asia Minor. The tone of the epistle supports this evidence since the writer gives the strong impression that he is much older than his readers. The epistle and John’s gospel reflect similar vocabulary and manner of expression. Such similarity causes many to date the writing of John’s epistles as occurring soon after he composed his gospel. Since many date the gospel during the latter part of the first century, they also prefer a similar date for the epistles. Furthermore, the heresy John combats most likely reflects the beginnings of Gnosticism, which was in its early stages during the latter third of the first century when John was actively writing. Since no mention is made of the persecution under Domitian, which began about A.D. 95, it may have been written before that began. Considering such factors, a reasonable date for 1 John (is ca. A.D. 90-95). It was likely written from Ephesus to the churches of Asia Minor over which John exercised apostolic leadership.
Ephesus (compare Acts 19:10), lay within the intellectual center of Asia Minor. As predicted years before by the Apostle Paul (Acts 20:28-31), false teachers arising from within the church’s own ranks, saturated with the prevailing climate of philosophical trends, began infecting the church with false doctrine, perverting fundamental apostolic teaching. These false teachers advocated new ideas which eventually became known as “Gnosticism” (from the Greek word “knowledge”). After the Pauline battle for freedom from the law, Gnosticism was the most dangerous heresy that threatened the early church during the first 3 centuries. Most likely John was combating the beginning of this virulent heresy that threatened to destroy the fundamentals of the faith and the churches.
John writes “that ye may know that ye have eternal life”. In a sense he seeks therefore, merely to strengthen the faith of his readers. Yet he writes also to combat a specific threat to his readers’ faith: Gnosticism. This was a deviant form of Christianity. Its adherents’ views varied, but they tended to value knowledge as the means of salvation (rather than the Cross), to assert that physical matter was evil, and to teach that the Son of God could not, therefore, have come in the flesh. These and other aberrant teachings seem to be the target of many of John’s avowals.
A lack of love for fellow believers characterizes false teachers, especially as they react against anyone rejecting their new way of thinking. They separated their deceived followers from the fellowship of those who remained faithful to apostolic teaching, leading John to reply that such separation outwardly manifested that those who followed false teachers, lacked genuine salvation. Their departure left the other believers, who remained faithful to apostolic doctrine, shaken. Responding to this crisis, the aged apostle wrote to reassure those remaining faithful and to combat this grave threat to the church. Since the heresy was so acutely dangerous and the time period was so critical for the church in danger of being overwhelmed by false teaching, John gently, lovingly, but with unquestionable apostolic authority, sent this letter to churches in his sphere of influence to stem this spreading plague of false doctrine.
As an apostolic eyewitness to Jesus’ ministry, including His death and resurrection, and as one of the three most intimate associates of the Lord (John, Peter, James), John affirms the physical reality of Jesus Christ’s having come “in the flesh”. In this way, John accentuated the gravity of the false teaching by immediately focusing on a strongly positive affirmation of the historic reality of Jesus’ humanity and the certainty of the gospel. Although the false teachers claimed to believe in Christ, their denial of the true nature of Christ (i.e. His humanity), demonstrated their lack of genuine salvation. The affirmation of a proper view of Christ constitutes the first test of genuine fellowship.
Jesus is eternal Spirit (the Word), and yet He took on the body of mortal man to reveal Himself to mankind. He took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us for the purpose of experiencing our difficulties in the flesh. He also, took on the form of flesh that He might save us from our sin and death. With this phrase, John accentuates the eternality of Christ in His Pre-reincarnate glory.
The death of His body on the cross brought salvation to all mankind. He gave the opportunity of salvation to all who would believe. "To bear witness" means to tell of something you have seen with your own eyes. Jesus is the quickening Spirit that brings eternal life to us.
The heretics claimed to be the truly enlightened, walking in the real light, but John denied that because they do not recognize their sin. About that basic reality, they were unenlightened.
Notice in this, that God is not a Light. He is Light. He is the source of all Light. Light does away with darkness. There is no darkness at all where there is God. Light destroys darkness.
We are not completely free of sin because we are saved, but the desire of our heart must be not to sin. The sin must be of an outward nature and not part of us. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We walk in His forgiveness.
This is from the easy English site.
Some people in these churches believed wrong things. The people who had taught them these wrong things had been members of the church. However, they had moved away from the faith and they had left the church (1 John 2:19). So John intended to correct these wrong ideas in his letter.
One wrong idea was that Christ was not really a man. He seemed to be a man but was not a real man. John taught quite clearly that the Son of God came as a real man. He lived his life here on earth as a man. The Christ actually died as a man. The man, Christ Jesus, rose again from the dead.
Some people taught that Jesus was merely a man. They taught that he was not really God. They did not believe that God could die. They said that the Christ came upon Jesus. Then the Christ left him again before he died. John answered this. He showed that Jesus is one with God. He is the Christ, who gave his life for us. No mere man could take away our sins as the Lord Jesus Christ has done.
These people taught other wrong things. This is what they argued:
· The body is bad, but the spirit is good. True life is in the spirit. What we do in the body does not affect the spirit. So it does not matter how we live in the body.
These people thought that their evil actions did not matter. They said that they loved God. However, they lived for themselves. John shows that such ideas are false. If we love God, our lives must be good. We must not continue to sin. We must live as Jesus lived. We must live right and good lives because God is good.
Some people said that they did not need the Lord to remove their sin. They thought that they did not have any sin. This is not true and is itself a sin.
We may say that there is no sin in us. That would be false. It would be to say that we are already perfect.
Those who say this have chosen to forget their sin. They refuse to agree that all people have sinned. It is human to sin. They do not live by the truth that God has shown us. They deny the basic fact of their sin. Truth as a principle of life is not in them. They do not share in the reality of God. Jesus showed us that God is the truth. The truth of God is not in these persons.
Some people say that they have not done anything wrong. They say that they have not sinned. But God says that all have sinned. This is the reason that Jesus had to come. He came to die for the sins of all people. If we had not sinned, Jesus would not have died. What God has said would not be true.
Those who say that they have not sinned cut themselves off from God. They have not believed the word of God. They do not know the Lord Jesus. They have not believed the truth of the gospel. They cannot have the new life that the Lord Jesus gives. He gives this life to those who trust in him.
OK.... I googled Gnosticism.... it's Greek.... and it is simply stated.... "Gnostics focused on eradication of ignorance; Christian concern was the eradication of sin. :
Gnosticism in modern times includes a variety of contemporary religious movements, stemming from Gnostic ideas and systems from ancient Roman society. Gnosticism is an ancient name for a variety of religious ideas and systems, originating in Jewish-Christian milieux in the first and second century CE.
I know... the cure can't be worse than the disease.... and the commentary shouldn't be longer than the chapter.... but it is... sorry.
There were, are, people who just couldn't come to grips with the fact God became a human so He would know what it's like to be a human. Imagine the scenario..... A human is standing before God at the Judgement. God said.... "you took that man's food".... and the human replied... "hey what would you know about wanting or needing.... you are a God.... you are not a human so how can you judge a human. So since you can't understand how it is.... it's ok to do it.... after all a human needs and wants what a human needs and wants." So.... that man was saying God doesn't "understand" humans.
God controls time... and so God knows what humans are going to do before they do it. He hopes they will not do it.... after all... He gave humans free will and humans can decide not to do it... but He's already looked ahead in time... and He knows what a human is going to do before that human even think about thinking about doing it. God knew humans were going to come up with these stupid ideas. God knew someone was going to say "God hasn't been a man.... so how would God know."
That's why Jesus came to earth..... In order to tell humans they should not do something.... God needed to know why humans "felt" they needed to do it in the first place. God had to understand what it's like to be tempted. So.... God sent Jesus to become a human. Jesus was tempted.... that was part of the mission.... Jesus had to be a human... feel like a human... experience human..... and Jesus had to experience death as a human to understand. Jesus had to know what it's like to be a murderer so that He could defend a human.
The Greeks and Romans really love to argue. They love to come up with some grandiose idea and then build an argument to suit the question. The Greeks and Romans apparently figured God was too good to be in a human body so the whole Idea of Jesus being God didn't make sense to them. So they made up versions of the gospel that did make sense to them... but John says.... that's not true... you are not getting it...
I think it's so funny when humans want to make God jump through human hoops. I get a chuckle every time people want to put God in a box so He only does things they understand. Eve started it.... Eve ate the apple that started the whole human race dying. Jesus brought the antidote.... but in order to use the antidote... Jesus had to become human... experience human... experience human death... then show the humans.... and then He had to go back home to Heaven where He can "represent" humans when they get there for their Judgement day.
John says "it is true.... I saw it with my own eyes". Jesus was God.... He met with Moses and Elijah.... He was murdered on a Cross and John helped lay Him in a borrowed tomb.... and then He rose.... and on top of that.... He cooked them a fish dinner after being murdered on the Cross.
John said.... Jesus became human for us. Jesus "understands" human.