John's First Letter
Chapter One
Copyright ©1999, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington
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The basic themes in this chapter[ 1 ] are the Word of Life, walking in the light, fellowship and forgiveness (see charts OUTLINE OF 1 JOHN 1; WALKING IN THE LIGHT TESTED at 1Jo 1:8).


  1. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, seen, observed and handled (1Jo 1:1).
  2. Him we proclaim to you (1Jo 1:2, 3).
  3. Purpose of proclamation is fellowship with each other, with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1Jo 1:3, 4).
  4. God is light (1Jo 1:5).
  5. Walking in the light (1Jo 1:6, 7).
  6. Confession of sin and cleansing (1Jo 1:8, 9).
  7. Consequence of denying sin (1Jo 1:10).

1:1-3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we observed and our hands handled regarding the Word of Life-- 2 and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was revealed to us-- 3 what we have seen and heard we also proclaim to you so you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.


  1. Incarnate Word [Christ] revealed and proclaimed.
    a. So Christians may have fellowship with Deity.
    b. That joy may be complete.
  2. God is light.
    a. No fellowship with Him if walk in darkness.
    b. If walk in the light, fellowship (1Jo 1:7).
    c. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves (1Jo 1:8).
  3. Continual cleansing imperative.
    a. Confession of sins (1Jo 1:9).
    b. Cleansing from sin (1Jo 1:9).
    c. If we say that we have not sinned, we are making Him a liar (1Jo 1:10).

That which.[ 2 ] "That which" begins a long and complex three-verse sentence. The core ideas in it are: What was from the beginning we have seen, heard and handled. Him we proclaim to you. The purpose of our proclamation is that you may have fellowship with us, with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. "That which" or "what" refers to the Life that was revealed or made manifest. It is entirely proper to understand this "Life" to be Christ Himself.

Was.[ 3 ] John does not say Christ the Word came into existence. He simply "was."

From the beginning.[ 4 ] The word "beginning" is used in Scripture in different senses. It is used of the time when Satan first sinned (Joh 8:44), of the beginning of Jesus' ministry (Joh 15:27) and of Pentecost when the church was launched (Ac 11:15). Here it means before creation. The Word was before that (Joh 1:1-3; 17:5; Re 1:1-3). Christ, the Life, was from the beginning. John says he writes to "you fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning" (1Jo 2:13).

Which we have heard [that which we have heard].[ 5 ] Peter once said to Christ, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. And we have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God" (Joh 6:68, 69). The Greek perfect tense in the present verse suggests that the apostles had heard the word in the past and the effects of that hearing remained at the time John wrote.

Which we have seen with our eyes [that which we have seen with our eyes].[ 6 ] John does not use figurative language here. He is not relating some kind of obscure dream or mystical vision. He could make it no plainer. What the apostles saw was real. They literally and actually saw Jesus with their own eyes. The Greek perfect tense indicates they were never the same afterward. In his Gospel, John wrote, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth" (Joh 1:14). Peter added, "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2Pe 1:16). The apostles came to know Christ as the Son of God. Seeing Him changed John and the others forever. Except for Judas, not one of the twelve ever turned back from serving Him.

Which we observed [that which we beheld, contemplated, which we have looked upon].[ 7 ] Some have suggested the event when the apostles beheld Christ might have been the transfiguration (Mt 17:1-5), when He washed the disciples' feet (Joh 13:3-11) or when John leaned upon His breast (John 13:23). More likely, it alludes to a post-resurrection appearance of Jesus (see note below). The Greek verb implies more than merely seeing. When the apostles saw Christ, it was not a chance sighting or a fleeting glimpse. They enjoyed an attentive, earnest, contemplative viewing. They saw Him over a period of some three years. After His resurrection, He was with them over a period of forty days (Ac 1:3). They thought about what they saw and interpreted it as seeing the Christ, the very Son of God.

And our hands handled [have handled, and touched with our hands].[ 8 ] After His bodily resurrection, Jesus said to the startled apostles, "See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have" (Lu 24:39). To Thomas, He said, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing" (Joh 20:27). John and others actually handled Him. Whether Thomas did is not specifically recorded. By asserting that they handled Him, John is countering the false Gnostic idea that Christ only "seemed" to have a body (see TO WHOM WRITTEN in the Introduction).

Regarding the Word [concerning, of, the Word].[ 9 ] Some translators have capitalized "Word" to indicate a name.[ 10 ] The "Word" was the special and eternal "personality" of Christ (see chart THE WORD OF LIFE; compare Eph 4:20, 21; Col 2:6, 7). By this, John answers the Gnostic doctrine that denied Jesus was actually the Christ. He says what the apostles handled was "regarding" or "concerning" the Word of life. Jesus was the eternal Word, the Christ. This is not to say that His human body that they actually touched was essential deity. They handled the manifestation of deity or that which "regarded" or "concerned" it.


    (1Jo 1:1)
  1. Bread of life [the bread that imparts life] (Joh 6:35).
  2. Word of life [eternal personality of Christ] (1Jo 1:1).
  3. Crown of life [the crown which is life] (Re 2:10).
  4. Book of life [the book that contains the revelation of life] (Re 3:5).
  5. Water of life [the living water that sustains life] (Re 21:6).

Of life[ 11 ] (see chart THE WORD OF LIFE).


And the life [the, for the, life].[ 12 ] In the present context, "the life" is Jesus Christ (see chart THE LIFE).


    (1Jo 1:2)
  1. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men (Joh 1:4).
  2. For as the Father has life in Himself, even so gave He to the Son also to have life in Himself (Joh 5:26).
  3. I am the way, and the truth, and the life (Joh 14:6).
  4. God gives us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1Jo 5:11).
  5. He who has the Son, has life. He who does not have the Son of God, does not have life (1Jo 5:12).

Was revealed [was, has been, manifested, was made manifest].[ 13 ] According to Arndt and Ginrich, the Greek passive voice suggests that Christ revealed Himself. The Word was manifested when He literally "became flesh, and dwelt among us" (Joh 1:14). He will one day come again with another manifestation, another appearance, at which time the dead will be raised and everyone will be judged. "And now, little children, remain in Him, so when He PHANEROOTHEE is revealed we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His PAROUSIA coming" (1Jo 2:28; compare 1Jo 3:2; also Joh 1:31; 2:11; 3:21; 17:6; 21:1, 14; 1Ti 3:16; Heb 9:26; 1Pe 1:20; 1Jo 3:5, 8).


    (1Jo 1:2)
  1. The Word became flesh [historical reality of the incarnation of Christ] (Joh 1:14).
  2. The life was revealed [incarnation demonstrated in various phases of Christ's ministry] (1Jo 1:2).
  3. The proclamation of the Life [in consequence of His incarnation] (1Jo 1:2).

And we have seen [and we saw it, have seen, have seen it][ 14 ] (see note on verse 1).


    (1Jo 1:1, 2)
  1. "We have seen" [encounter].
  2. "And testify" [bearing witness].
  3. "And proclaim to you" [preaching].

And testify [and bear witness, and testify to it].[ 15 ] John the apostle was speaking of John the Baptizer as a witness of Christ who was "the light" and wrote, "He came for a witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him" (Joh 1:7).

And proclaim to you [and declare, shew, report, to, unto, you].[ 16 ]


    (1Jo 1:2)
  1. Life given to believers (Mt 25:46; Joh 3:16; compare 10:28; 1Jo 1:2; Tit 1:2).
  2. Punishment (Mt 25:46).
  3. God (Ro 16:26).
  4. The resurrection body (2Co 5:1; 1Co 15:53).
  5. God's power (1Ti 6:16).
  6. Salvation of the obedient (Heb 5:9).
  7. Redemption brought about by Christ (Heb 9:12).
  8. The Holy Spirit (Heb 9:14).
  9. God's glory (1Pe 5:10).
  10. Christ's reign (2Pe 1:11; Lu 1:33).


    (1Jo 1:2)
  1. And proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was revealed to us (1Jo 1:2).
  2. And the testimony is this, that God gives us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1Jo 5:11).
  3. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding that we might know the True One, and we are in the True One, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life (1Jo 5:20).

The eternal life [the life, that eternal life].[ 17 ] John depicts Christ as "the eternal life"[ 18 ] (see chart CHRIST IS ETERNAL LIFE). His existence extends to the eternal past and into the eternal future.[ 19 ] He was from the beginning having been always with the Father and He shall always be.

Which.[ 20 ] The Greek word that translates into "which" confirms the eternal quality of the independent, divine life that was with the Father (see footnote).

Was with the Father.[ 21 ] Eternal life was with the Father. In this context, we understand eternal life to be Christ Himself. "What was from the beginning" was with God in a living, dynamic, active and vibrant relationship (see verse 1). In other words, Christ, the Word, "was with God" (Joh 1:1, 2).

And was revealed [and was, and has been manifested, and was made manifest ].[ 22 ] The "life" was made known or manifested to the apostles as the incarnate[ 23 ] Christ.

To us [unto us].[ 24 ] In verse 3, John makes a distinction between "you" and "us." In an effort to show the different meanings of the pronouns, some words are put in italics with explanations in brackets. I hope this helps. "What we [apostles] have seen and heard we [apostles] proclaim to you [John's readers] also, that you [John's readers] may also have fellowship with us [apostles]."


What we have seen and heard we also proclaim [that which we have seen and heard declare we, declare we also, we report, proclaim, also].[ 25 ] In verse 1, John mentioned "what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes." He again refers to his own seeing and hearing the Christ, together with similar experiences of the other apostles.

To you [unto you, unto you also].[ 26 ] The "you also" (ASV) in this phrase is difficult to understand. It may allude to Christians among John's readers who never had the opportunity to see and hear Christ in person or, possibly, to some Jews who were "believers"[ 27 ] but not yet Christians. Translators of the OPV and others have attempted to solve the difficulty by placing the word "also" in the following phrase.


So you may also have fellowship with us [that ye also, so that you, may have fellowship with us].[ 28 ] John's hope was that his readers would come to know true fellowship with the apostles, not just a knowledge of their existence or a superficial friendship. He wanted them to know, feel and trust their real bond of cooperation with the apostles. He hoped they would develop a full realization of the significance and impact of that bond.


    (1Jo 1:3)
  1. Fellowship with us (1Jo 1:3).
  2. Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ (1Jo 1:3).
  3. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth (1Jo 1:6).
  4. 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, cleanses us from all sin (1Jo 1:7).

And our fellowship [yea, and, and truly, our fellowship].[ 29 ] The intimate and personal fellowship the apostles enjoyed with Christ was full of meaning and joy. It was especially so for John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.

Is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ [is indeed with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ].[ 30 ] According to Marvin Vincent, the repetition of the Greek word translated "with" suggests that the Father and the Son are of the same essence. Christ coveted for His disciples a true knowledge of His Father. He prayed, "And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent" (Joh 17:3). His prayer was not only for unity with each other but also with the Father: "That they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me (Joh 17:21).


    (1Jo 1:3, 4)
  1. Fellowship "with us" (1Jo 1:3).
  2. Joy made complete (1Jo 1:4).
  3. Fellowship with Deity (1Jo 1:6, 7).


1:4 And we are writing these things so our joy may be complete.

And we are writing [and we write, and write we][ 31 ] (compare "I write" in 1Jo 2:12, 13, 14 and "I have not written" in 1Jo 2:21).

These things [this, these things to, unto, you].[ 32 ]

So our joy [that our joy, your joy].[ 33 ] Some manuscripts have HUMOON your joy; others HEEMOON our joy. It seems a bit strained to have John writing Scripture primarily for his own joy. His readers [and we] should find joy in his entire letter. Surely he was writing for the disciples' joy. On the other hand, their unbroken fellowship with God would bring John joy as well (compare 3Jo 4).

May be complete [may be full, may be made full].[ 34 ]


    (1Jo 1:4)
  1. Sweet peace of reconciliation (Ro 5:1, 11).
  2. Bright prospect of future glory (Ro 8:18).
  3. Happy growth in holiness (2Co 7:1; 1Jo 1:7).
  4. Joyous fellowship with God, Christ, the Spirit and each other (1Jo 1:3, 7).
  5. Abundant life in Christ (1Jo 1:7).
  6. Continual forgiveness of sins (1Jo 1:9).
  7. Certain promise of eternal life (1Jo 2:25).
  8. Magnificent realization of sonship (1Jo 3:1).


1:5 And this is the message that we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and there is in Him no darkness at all.

And this is [this is, this then is].[ 35 ]

The message.[ 36 ]

That we have heard from Him [we, which we, have heard from, of, him].[ 37 ] "Him" refers back to "His Son Jesus Christ" (verse 3). John and others had heard the message from Him (compare 1Pe 1:10, 11). Christ was the source of the message they had heard. John again uses the same Greek preposition in chapter 3 of blessings from God: "And whatever we ask we receive AP' from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight" (1Jo 3:22; compare usage in Mt 17:25).

And proclaim to you [and announce, and declare, to, unto, you].[ 38 ]


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. The favor of God (Ps 4:6).
  2. The judgments and commandments of God (Isa 51:4; Pr 6:23; compare Ps 43:3).
  3. The guidance of God (Job 29:3; Ps 112:4; Isa 58:10).
  4. The Lord Jesus as the light of men (Joh 1:4, 5, 9; 3:19; 8:12; 9:5; 12:35, 36, 46; Ac 13:47).
  5. The glory of God's dwelling-place (1Ti 6:16).
  6. The impartiality of God (Jas 1:17).
  7. God's nature (1Jo 1:5).    (Adapted from Vine 670)

That God is light.[ 39 ] Through Christ, Christians are able to see God's true light. He "lights up" their lives. "There was the true light, even the light, which lights every man coming into the world" (Joh 1:9; see charts GOD; SIGNIFICANCE OF LIGHT). He essentially gives life to all (Ac 17:25, 28). Secondly, but more importantly, He enlightens those becoming Christians, forgiving their sins and giving them hope (see Heb 6:4). God's being light implies His righteousness. One reason Christians live righteous lives is because He is righteous. In fellowship with Him, they walk in the light. That is, they live righteous and forgiven lives.

Light helps Christians understand God as Spirit. Like love, light spreads out from its source. Like truth, it makes possible seeing and understanding. It energizes like sunlight that powers the process of photosynthesis to provide food for a hungry world (see chart SIGNIFICANCE OF LIGHT). Those in fellowship with God of necessity "walk in the light." They live pure lives. When they occasionally slip into sin they are cleansed by the blood of Christ.


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. God is spirit (Joh 4:24).
  2. God is light (1Jo 1:5).
  3. God is love (1Jo 4:8, 16).

I suppose every false doctrine has an element of truth. Right here there is a point of agreement of the truth with Gnosticism. It equated the Christian God with righteousness, goodness and light. Such He is. This point of agreement with Gnosticism, though, becomes an irrefutable answer to Gnostics who argued that it did not matter whether one committed sins of the flesh. John's point is that since God is light, His children must not compromise with sin (see chart IMPLICATIONS OF LIGHT).


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. Authenticity - truth.
  2. Eternal outcome - everlasting life.
  3. Informationally - knowledge.
  4. Intellectually - wisdom.
  5. Luminosity - glory.
  6. Morally - purity.
  7. Visibility - seeing.

And there is in Him no darkness at all [and in him is no darkness at all].[ 40 ] God is not part good and part bad. He is pure light with no darkness, shadows or twilight (see Jas 1:17). In Him there is not the slightest dimness. There is absolutely no darkness of evil or error. He never does anything wrong. It is impossible for Him to sin or to lie (see Heb 6:18).


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. Consequentially - eternal punishment.
  2. Governmentally - evil rulers (Lu 22:53).
  3. Instructionally - error.
  4. Intellectually - ignorance.
  5. Luminosity - gloom, obscurity.
  6. Morally - depravity.
  7. Visually - blindness.


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. The people who sat in darkness (Mt 4:16; compare Isa 9:2).
  2. If your eye is evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness (Mt 6:23).
  3. Look therefore whether the light that is in you be not darkness (Lu 11:35).
  4. Those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death (Lu 1:79; compare Isa 9:1, 2; 59:8).
  5. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not (Joh 1:5).


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. Men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil (Joh 3:19).
  2. He who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness (Joh 8:12).
  3. Walk while you have the light, that darkness overtake you not: and he who walks in the darkness knows not where he goes (Joh 12:35).
  4. What fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? or what concord has light with darkness? (2Co 6:14).
  5. Our wrestling is against . . . the world rulers of this darkness (Eph 6:12).


1:6, 7 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing 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, cleanses us from all sin.


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. God is light, and there is in Him no darkness at all (1Jo 1:5).
  2. If we say we that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we are lying and are not practicing the truth (1Jo 1:6).
  3. He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is still in the darkness even now (1Jo 2:9).
  4. He who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes (1Jo 2:11).


    (1Jo 1:5)
  1. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on Me may not abide in the darkness (Joh 12:46).
  2. May turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God (Ac 26:18).
  3. Delivered out of the power of darkness (Col 1:13).
  4. We are not of the night, nor of darkness (1Th 5:4, 5).
  5. Called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Pe 2:9).

If we say.[ 41 ] In this phrase, the Greek subjunctive mood does not imply that John's readers were necessarily out of fellowship with God or that they walked in darkness. It only supposes that this might possibly be the case with some or might become so.


    (1Jo 1:7)
  1. We should love one another (1Jo 3:11).
  2. We should believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another (1Jo 3:23).
  3. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God (1Jo 4:7).
  4. If we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us (1Jo 4:12).
  5. Not as though I were writing a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we should love one another (2Jo 5).

That we have fellowship with Him [we have fellowship with him].[ 42 ] Fellowship with God and His Son Jesus Christ is the quintessence of life. An added bonus is fellowship with other Christians. The false teachers apparently claimed to have fellowship with God but placed little emphasis upon fellowship with Christians in general (see chart PRETENDERS' FALSE CLAIMS).


    (1Jo 1:6)
  1. To have fellowship with Him (1Jo 1:6).
  2. To have no sin (1Jo 1:8).
  3. To have not sinned (1Jo 1:10).


    Tested by attitude to sin and righteousness
    (1Jo 1:6)
  1. Denying the guilt of sin (1Jo 1:8).
  2. Denying the fact of having sin (1Jo 1:10).
  3. Saying we know God but not keeping His commandments (1Jo 2:4).
  4. Not walking as Christ walked (1Jo 2:6).
    (Adapted from Law 21)


    Tested by attitude to sin and righteousness
    (1Jo 1:7)
  1. Confessing one's guilt of sin (1Jo 1:8).
  2. Confessing the fact of having sin (1Jo 1:10).
  3. Keeping His commandments (1Jo 2:4).
  4. Keeping His word (1Jo 2:5).
  5. Walking as Christ walked (1Jo 2:6).
    (Adapted from Law 21)

And walk in darkness [and walk in the darkness, while we walk in darkness].[ 43 ] God is light. When one has fellowship with Him, he walks in the light. If one walks in darkness, he is out of fellowship with Him.

We are lying [we lie].[ 44 ] If a person is walking in darkness he is not living the truth. Those desirous of doing right welcome the light. "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God" (Joh 3:21). "Book truth" is fine. Truth believed is noble. Truth practiced is glorious!


    (1Jo 1:6)
  1. Practicing the truth versus walking in darkness (1Jo 1:6).
  2. Love of the Father versus love of the world (1Jo 2:15).
  3. The Holy One versus Antichrist(s) (1Jo 2:18-20).
  4. Children of God versus children of the devil (1Jo 3:1-12).
  5. Life versus death (1Jo 3:14).
  6. The Spirit of God versus false spirits (1Jo 4:1, 2).
  7. We who are of God versus the whole world found in the evil one (1Jo 5:19).

And are not practicing the truth [and do not the truth, and do not live according to, and do not practice, truth] (see chart RIGHT VERSUS WRONG).

But if we walk in the light.[ 45 ] It is essential to walk in light (see chart THE LIGHT OF GOD). As one grows as a Christian, the light becomes brighter and brighter. "But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day (Pr 4:18). The problem is that increasing light reveals more of what people usually consider to be flaws and minor character defects. Actually, the light is revealing sin. The remedy for all of sin's defacing blemishes is repentance and an application of the cleansing blood of Christ (see note on verse 9).


    (1Jo 1:7)
  1. The Lord is my light and my salvation (Ps 27:1).
  2. In Thy light we shall see light (Ps 36:9).
  3. Who covers Yourself with light as with a garment (Ps 104:2).
  4. The Lord is God, and He has given us light (Ps 118:27).
  5. The Lord will be your everlasting light (Isa 60:20).
  6. When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me (Mic 7:8).
  7. His brightness was as the light (Hab 3:4).
  8. Who only has immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man has seen, nor can see (1Ti 6:16).
  9. God is light (1Jo 1:5).

As He is in the light. [ 46 ] To walk in the light one must first be in Christ. Then he must do the best he can to live faithfully. Even then, he needs continual cleansing from sin (see verse 9).


We have fellowship.[ 47 ] God is light (verse 5). When Christians walk in the light, one result is a beautiful and happy fellowship with Him.

With one another.[ 48 ] "One another" refers back to the purpose of writing: "That you may also have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ," that is, fellowship with all of God's people and with Deity as well (see verse 3). Fellowship with God brings with it fellowship with everyone He accepts.


And the blood of Jesus, His Son [and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son].[ 49 ] There is no cleansing from sin available for anybody anywhere apart from the blood of Christ.


    A word study
    (1Jo 1:7)
  1. Blessed are the KATHAROI pure in heart (Mt 5:8).
  2. That He might sanctify it, KATHARISAS having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word (Eph 5:26).
  3. And KATHARISEE purify to Himself a people for His own possession (Tit 2:14).
  4. How much more will the blood of Christ . . . KATHARIEI cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Heb 9:14).
  5. And according to the Law, I may almost say, all things KATHARIZETAI are cleansed with blood (Heb 9:22).
  6. 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, KATHARIZEI cleanses us from all sin (1Jo 1:7).

Cleanses us [cleanseth us].[ 50 ] The Greek present tense implies continual cleansing. This wonderful blessing of grace is predicated upon walking in the light (see chart CLEANSING).


    (1Jo 1:6)
  1. Beware of the scribes who desire to walk in long robes, and to have salutations in the marketplaces (Mk 12:38).
  2. After the flesh (Ro 8:4).
  3. After the manner of men (1Co 3:3).
  4. In craftiness (2Co 4:2).
  5. By sight (2Co 5:7).
  6. As the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind (Eph 4:17).
  7. Disorderly [an unruly life] (2Th 3:6).

From all sin.[ 51 ] Sin's darkness destroys fellowship with God. Cleansing from sin is the only remedy for that. All unrighteousness is sin (1Jo 5:17). Sin of every description and sin in its totality may be cleansed by the blood of Christ.[ 52 ] If we walk in the light and are cleansed, the light is pure and bright. The fellowship that results is flawless and uninterrupted.


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


    (1Jo 1:8)
  1. Tested by righteousness (1Jo 2:29; 3:7, 10).
  2. Tested by walking as Christ walked (1Jo 2:6).
  3. Tested by obedience to God's commands (1Jo 2:3-6, 29).
  4. Tested by love (1Jo 2:9, 10, 15).
  5. Tested by the anointment (1Jo 2:20, 27).
  6. Tested by confession [the liar denies Jesus is the Christ] (1Jo 2:22).
  7. Tested by "what you heard" remaining within (1Jo 2:24).
    (Compare Law's comments)

If we say.[ 53 ] As in verse 6, John's use of the subjunctive mood is not accusatory but only supposes a possible claim that one has no sin. John alludes to a "lie of conscience" that makes fellowship with God impossible[ 54 ] (see note below on We are deceiving ourselves).


    (1Jo 1:8)
  1. If you were blind, you would have no sin (Joh 9:41).
  2. If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin (Joh 15:22).
  3. If I had not done among them the works which none other did, they had not had sin (Joh 15:24).
  4. He who delivered Me to you has greater sin (Joh 19:11).
  5. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves (1Jo 1:8).

That we have no sin [we have no sin].[ 55 ] After a person commits even one sin, he "has" it until it is forgiven.[ 56 ] For example, if a teenager steals a car, he commits a sin. He may return the car but he still has the sin (see chart "HAVING" SIN). A woman may tell a lie to her husband and later retract it but she still has the sin. A man may commit a sin of the flesh and regret it but he still has the sin. When the sin is forgiven the person does not have it anymore. "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us" (Ps 103:12).


    (1Jo 1:8)
  1. Do not be deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1Co 6:9, 10).
  2. Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals (1Co 15:33).
  3. Do not be deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap (Ga 6:7).
  4. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above (Jas 1:16, 17).

We are deceiving ourselves [we deceive ourselves].[ 57 ] If one denies that he has sin, not only is he deceived but he deceives himself. He denies what his own conscience tells him or should tell him (see chart BE NOT DECEIVED).

And the truth.[ 58 ] Does "truth" here mean sincerity, truthfulness or integrity of character? It may seem so but if one looks at the parallel thought in verse 10, it is "His word." When one denies he has sin he rejects God's revealed truth (see 1Jo 2:14 and chart SIN). What about the converse? If one says that he has sin, is the truth in him? Yes, it is--providing he comes to Christ according to the truth and receives forgiveness.


    (1Jo 1:8)
  1. For there is no man who sins not (1Ki 8:46; 2Ch 6:36).
  2. Surely there is not a righteous man on earth (Ec 7:20).
  3. Both Jews and Greeks -- they are all under sin (Ro 3:9).
  4. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Ro 3:23).
  5. If we say that we have not sinned, we are making Him a liar, and His word is not in us (1Jo 1:10).

Is not in us.[ 59 ] This is a mild way of comparing Satan with one who brags that he has no sin. "There is no truth" in the devil (Joh 8:44). To state this truth positively, the word of God convicts all accountable men and women of sin (see charts UNIVERSALITY OF SIN; WHAT DWELLS IN A CHRISTIAN).


    (1Jo 1:8)
  1. The word of God (1Jo 2:14).
  2. What you heard from the beginning (1Jo 2:24).
  3. "His seed" (1Jo 3:9).
  4. Eternal life (implied by 1Jo 3:15).
  5. "He" (1Jo 3:24).
  6. He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1Jo 4:4).
  7. God (1Jo 4:12, 15, 16).
  8. The one believing in the Son of God has the testimony in himself (1Jo 5:10).


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

If we confess.[ 60 ] An OT example of confession is David's acknowledgement of his sin with Bathsheba and the remote murder of Uriah. He confessed, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2Sa 12:13). He wrote at least two Psalms about it. "I acknowledged my sin to Thee, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord; and Thou didst forgive the iniquity of my sin" (Ps 32:5, 6). In deep contrition he poured out his soul to God, saying, "Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight. . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me" (Ps 51:4, 10). Confession alone without repentance is only an empty form. "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion" (Pr 28:13).

Our sins.[ 61 ] Sin is a transgression of the words from God (compare Joh 17:8), that is, His commandments (1Jo 2:3), "the word which you have heard" (1Jo 2:7), "the word of God" (1Jo 2:14).


    (1Jo 1:9)
  1. Lawlessness (Ro 6:19; 1Jo 3:4).
  2. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Ro 14:23).
  3. To him therefore who knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin (Jas 4:17).
  4. All unrighteousness is sin (1Jo 5:17).


    (1Jo 1:9)
  1. Transgressions (Mt 6:14; Jas 2:11; 2Pe 2:16).
  2. Violation of the law (Ac 23:3).
  3. Bad deeds (2Co 5:10).
  4. Wrong (Col 3:25).
  5. Iniquities (Heb 8:12).
  6. Ungodly deeds (2Pe 2:16; Jude 15).
  7. Works of the devil (1Jo 3:8).
  8. Evil works (1Jo 3:12).


    (1Jo 1:9)
  1. The Lord is faithful, who shall establish you, and guard you from the evil one (2Th 3:3).
  2. A merciful and faithful high priest (Heb 2:17).
  3. Faithful to Him who appointed Him (Heb 3:2).
  4. The faithful witness (Re 1:5).
  5. The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God (Re 3:14).

He is faithful.[ 62 ] Notice the similarity with an OT passage. "The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He" (De 32:4). "Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls in well-doing to a faithful Creator" (1Pe 4:19; see charts CHRIST IS FAITHFUL; GOD IS FAITHFUL).


    (1Jo 1:9)
  1. God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able (1Co 10:13).
  2. Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it (1Th 5:24; compare 1Co 1:9).
  3. If we are faithless, He abides faithful; for He cannot deny Himself (2Ti 2:13).
  4. He is faithful who promised (Heb 10:23).
  5. Sarah counted Him faithful who had promised (Heb 11:11).

And righteous [and just].[ 63 ] Righteousness is active truth. It is doing what is right. Since God is faithful, He is also righteous in character. Since He is righteous, He is faithful to keep His word. He acts consistently with His NT laws, including the laws of pardon (Ac 2:38; 8:22; 1Jo 1:9). Forgiveness is an important action of His faithfulness as well as of His righteousness, mercy and love. He is not slow about any of His promises (compare 2Pe 3:9). He especially keeps His word to forgive those who confess and forsake their sins.

To forgive [and will forgive us, to forgive us].[ 64 ] Without Christ, no one can be cleansed. "Who can make the clean out of the unclean? Not one!" (Job 14:4). "Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" (Pr 20:9). John the baptizer exclaimed, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (Joh 1:29). When one is forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Christ he is no longer held liable for the eternal punishment due him. A very important passage on forgiveness is Acts 2:38, "And Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." "But thanks be to God that whereas you were servants of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were delivered, and being made free from sin, you became servants of righteousness" (Ro 6:17, 18). Praise God for forgiveness!

Our sins [our sins].[ 65 ] Translators appropriately supply "our" because of an inference from the previous phrase, "to forgive us" or the following phrase, "and to cleanse us."

And to cleanse us [and cleanse us].[ 66 ] Sin defiles, stains and pollutes. Cleansing absolves, purges and purifies. This is not a pretended cleansing. It is real. It is not just a covering over of a "sinful nature" with Christ's righteousness. God reckons the cleansed Christian as righteous because he is righteous. His righteousness is no less genuine because it is "attained" by faith (implied by Ro 9:30).

From all unrighteousness.[ 67 ] Another name for unrighteousness is sin (1Jo 5:17). The blood of Christ is one hundred percent effective. It can thoroughly cleanse the vilest, most sinful heart and make it whiter than snow.


1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are making Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

If we say. [ 68 ]

That we have not sinned [we have not sinned].[ 69 ] The Greek perfect tense indicates a present state of sin resultant upon a past act of sin.[ 70 ] John is more precise here than in his former statement, "If we say that we have no sin" (verse 8). When people say, "We have not sinned," they are denying one or more specific acts of evil in order to get around their continued guilt. Chapter two presents the solution to this problem. The solution is available through Jesus Christ who is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (see 1Jo 2:1, 2).

We are making Him a liar [we make him a liar].
[ 71 ] God says all have sinned. "Both Jews and Greeks are all under sin" (Ro 3:9). "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Ro 3:23; compare Ro 3:19; 11:32; Ga 3:22; see chart UNIVERSALITY OF SIN). To deny God's word is to accuse Him of lying, an impossibility for God (see Heb 6:18).


    (1Jo 1:10)
  1. They are all gone aside; they are together become filthy (Ps 14:3).
  2. Every one of them is gone back; they are together become filthy (Ps 53:3).
  3. If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? (Ps 130:3).
  4. All we like sheep have gone astray (Isa 53:6).
  5. For we are all become as one who is unclean (Isa 64:6).
  6. There is none upright among men (Mic 7:2).

And His word.[ 72 ] God's word is the truth revealed in the Bible (see verse 8; compare Joh 17:17). Both testaments emphasize that He forgives sins. This is the main theme of the Bible. The whole point about Christ being sent to die on the cross has to do with this central truth. To deny sin is to falsify the main doctrine of His word.

Is not in us.[ 73 ] Unconfessed sin chokes the word (compare Lu 8:14). God's word obeyed is righteousness. His word ignored or disobeyed is sin. If one denies he has sinned, that in itself is sin because it is a lie. It is worse than a regular lie because it implicates God.


    (1Jo 1:10)
  1. For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God (Ro 3:23).
  2. But the Scripture shut up all things under sin (Ga 3:22).
  3. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves (1Jo 1:8).
  4. If we say that we have not sinned, we are making Him a liar (1Jo 1:10).
  5. The whole world is found in the evil one (1Jo 5:19).


[ 1 ] The basic text of this chapter is the Old Paths Version (OPV). Quotations from 1, 2 and 3 John and from Colossians are from the OPV unless otherwise noted. Alternate phrases are from the ASV, Darby, RSV and KJV. Many quotations are from an updated but unpublished ASV. Greek transliteration follows the BibleSoft method.

[ 2 ] HO, what (Marshall 932); it is disputed whether John uses this in a personal sense as equivalent to He whom, or in its strictly neuter sense as meaning something relating to the person and revelation of Christ (Vincent 2.304).

[ 3 ] EEN, was (Marshall 932); third person singular, imperfect active indicative of EIMI (Han 427); imperfect tense denotes continued action in past time (Machen 122); not EGENETO came into being. See John 1:3; 7:34; 8:58. It was already existing when the succession of life began (Vincent 2.304).

[ 4 ] AP' ARCHEES, from [the] beginning (Marshall 932); the writer looks back to the initial point of time, and describes what has been in existence from that point onward (Vincent 2.305); beginning [the root ARCH-- primarily indicated what was of worth]. Hence the verb ARCHOO meant "to be first" and ARCHOON denoted a ruler. So also arose the idea of a beginning, the origin, the active cause, whether a person or thing (Vine 103); beginning, origin; used absolutely, of the beginning of all things (Thayer 76).

[ 5 ] HO AKEEKOAMEN, what we have heard (Marshall 932); perfect tense, denoting the still abiding effects of the hearing (Vincent 2.305).

[ 6 ] HO HEOORAKAMEN TOIS OPHTHALMOIS HEEMOON, what we have seen with the eyes of us (Marshall 932); perfect tense, denoting the still abiding effects of the seeing (Vincent 2.305); seen with the eyes (Thayer 451).

[ 7 ] HO ETHEASAMETHA, what we beheld (Marshall 932); aorist tense, marking not the abiding effect of the vision upon the beholder, but the historical manifestation to special witnesses (Vincent 2.305); beheld, viewed attentively, contemplated . . . a more earnest contemplation than the ordinary verbs for to see, "a careful and deliberate vision which interprets . . . its object," more than merely seeing; of the Apostles' personal experiences of Christ in the days of His flesh, and the facts of His Godhood and Manhood (Vine 107, 686); beheld, looked upon, viewed attentively, contemplated (Thayer 284). The aorist (AORISTOS) tense has an excellent name which means undefined action. It is presented as punctiliar (point action) whether it is actually linear or a state of completion. It is the normal tense to use in Greek unless there is some special reason to use another. If one desires to emphasize the notion of linear action on the one hand or the state of completion on the other, it is not the tense to use. There is no element of past time in the aorist tense. That notion in the indicative mode is due to the augment and to the secondary endings employed. The same tense-stem runs through all the modes and the verbal nouns (infinitive and participle) and always with the single notion of point action. But the aorist tense itself is subject to the Aktionsart of the verb root. All that the aorist tense does is to represent the action as punctiliar. As a matter of fact, the action may have involved forty-six years as with OIKODOMEETHEE (Joh 2:20) . . . or the whole history of the race as in EPH' HOO PANTES HEEMARTON (Ro 5:12) in that all sinned, but in these instances the aorist is employed for the simple reason that the thing in each case is looked at as a whole (A. T. Robertson 295). [Aktionsart is the inherent nature of the event-type denoted by the verb.]

[ 8 ] KAI HAI CHEIRES HEEMOON EPSEELAPHEESAN, and the hands of us touched (Marshall 932); aorist tense (Vincent 2.305); felt, touched, handled . . . in 1 John 1:1, the Apostle's testimony [against the Gnostic error that Christ had been merely a phantom] that he and his fellow-apostles had handled Him (Vine 522); handled, touched, felt (Thayer 676).

[ 9 ] PERI TOU LOGOU, concerning the word (Marshall 932); concerning the word (Vincent 2.305); the title is used also in 1 John 1, "the Word of life" combining the two declarations in John 1:1, 4 and Revelation 19:13 (Vine 1242); in several passages in the writings of John HO LOGOS denotes the essential Word of God, that is, the personal [hypostatic] wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in the creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world's life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man's salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah and shone forth conspicuously from his words and deeds (Thayer 382); our literature shows traces of a way of thinking that was widespread in contemporary syncretism, as well as in Jewish wisdom literature and Philo, the most prominent feature of which is the concept of the Logos, the independent, personified "Word" [of God], John 1:1a, b, c, 14. It is the distinctive teaching of the Fourth Gospel that this divine "Word" took on human form in a historical person, that is, in Jesus (Arndt 478, 479). Syncretism is the bringing together of two or more beliefs or practices.

[ 10 ] See J. W. Roberts 21. Westcott, Dodd, Stott, White and others hold the view that "word" here simply means "message."

[ 11 ] TEES ZOOEES, of life (Marshall 932); literally, the life (Vincent 2.306); [English zoo, zoology] used in the NT "of life as a principle, life in the absolute sense, life as God has it, that which the Father has in Himself, and which He gave to the Incarnate Son to have in Himself, John 5:26, and which the Son manifested in the world, 1 John 1:2 (Vine 666).

[ 12 ] KAI HEE ZOOEE, and the life (Marshall 932); the Word Himself who is the Life. . . . the phrase, the Life, besides being equivalent to the Word, also indicates, like the Truth and the Light, an aspect of His being (Vincent 2.307); life real and genuine, . . . a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions [among them a more perfect body], and to last forever [the writers of the OT have anticipated the conception, in their way, by employing [a Hebrew word] to denote a happy life and every kind of blessing  . . the Logos having life in itself and communicating it to others (Thayer 273).

[ 13 ] EPHANEROOTHEE, was manifested (Marshall 932); third person singular, first aorist passive indicative of PHANEROO (Han 427); sets forth the unfolding of [the fact of the incarnation] in the various operations of life . . . the result of that process as related to human capacity of receiving and understanding it (Vincent 3.307); made visible, clear, manifest, known (Vine 708); was manifested in Christ, clothed in flesh . . . From this divine fountain of life flows forth that life which is [defined in the above footnote] (Thayer 273); passive, show or reveal oneself, be revealed, appear TINI to someone . . . especially of Christ; of his appearance in the world (Arndt 853).

[ 14 ] KAI HEOORAKAMEN, and we have seen (Marshall 932); first person plural, perfect active indicative of HORAOO (Han 427); especially indicates the direction of the thought to the object seen (Vine 1009).

[ 15 ] KAI MARTUROUMEN, and we bear witness (Marshall 932); to be a MARTUS or bear witness to, sometimes rendered testify, used of the witness of prophets and apostles, to Christ (Vine 1238); bear witness, testify, that is, affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something, or that [so in the NT] he knows it because taught by divine revelation or inspiration [sometimes in the NT the apostles are said MARTUREIN, as those who had been eye- and ear- witnesses of the extraordinary sayings, deeds and sufferings of Jesus, which proved his Messiahship; so too Paul, as one to whom the risen Christ had visibly appeared] (Thayer 390).

[ 16 ] KAI APANGELLOMEN HUMIN, and we announce to you (Marshall 932); declare . . . the message comes from [APO] God (Vincent 2.307); signifies to announce or report from a person or place [APO from]; hence, declare, publish (Vine 273); proclaim [APO, because what one announces he openly lays, as it were, off from himself . . . ], make known openly, declare (Thayer 53).

[ 17 ] TEEN ZOOEEN TEEN AIOONION, the life eternal (Marshall 932); the life, the eternal life; or the life, even the eternal life . . . AIOONIOS eternal describes the life in its quality of not being measured by time, a larger idea than that of mere duration (Vincent 2.308); describes duration, either undefined but not endless, as in Romans 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; or undefined because endless as in Romans 16:25, and the other sixty-six places in the NT . . . the predominant meaning of AIOONIOS, that in which it is used everywhere in the NT [except Ro 16:25, 26; 2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:2], may be seen in 2 Corinthians 4:18, where it is set in contrast with PROSKAIROS, literally, "for a season," and in Philemon 15, where only in the NT it is used without a noun. Moreover it is used of persons and things which are in their nature endless (Vine 373); without end, never to cease, everlasting (Thayer 20); without end (Arndt 28).

[ 18 ] Passages where "life" or "eternal life" do not refer to Jesus Christ are 1 John 2:25; 3:14, 15; 5:11, 12, 13. However, even this life is "in His Son" (1Jo 5:11).

[ 19 ] The writer admits to using accommodative language because, in eternity, it appears there is no literal past or future, in the earthly sense.

[ 20 ] HEETIS, which (Marshall 932); not the simple relative HE which, but defining the quality of the life, and having at the same time a kind of confirmatory and explanatory force of the word eternal: seeing that it was a life divine in its nature--"with the Father"--and therefore independent of temporal conditions (Vincent 2.308).

[ 21 ] EEN PROS TON PATERA, was with the Father (Marshall 932); in living, active relation and communion with the Father (Vincent 2.308); the preposition of motion with the verb of repose involves eternity of relation with activity and life (Coleridge, cited by Vincent).

[ 22 ] KAI EPHANEROOTHEE, and was manifested (Marshall 932); made visible, clear, manifest, known (Vine 708); with an accusative of the person, exposed to view, made manifest, showed . . . [the life embodied in Christ; the center and source of life] (Thayer 648).

[ 23 ] Incarnate [Latin IN in + CARN- flesh], the embodiment of Deity in a human body as in "the Word became flesh" (Joh 1:14).
[ 24 ] HEEMIN, to us (Marshall 932).

[ 25 ] HO HEOORAKAMEN KAI AKEEKOAMEN, APANGELLOMEN, what we have seen and we have heard, we announce (Marshall 932); HEOORAKAMEN is first person plural, perfect active indicative of HORAOO; AKEEKOAMEN is first person plural, perfect active indicative Attic of AKOUOO; APANGELLOMEN is first person plural, present active indicative of APANGELLOO (Han 427); signifies to announce or report from a person or place [APO from]; hence, declare, publish (Vine 273).

[ 26 ] KAI HUMIN, also to you (Marshall 932).

[ 27 ] See Mark 12:34.

[ 28 ] HINA KAI HUMEIS KOINOONIAN ECHEETE METH' HEEMOON, in order that also ye fellowship may have with us (Marshall 932); intercourse, fellowship, intimacy . . . of the intimate bond of fellowship which unites Christians (Thayer 352); the true life in man, which comes through the acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God, consists in fellowship with God and with man  . . expression here [KOINOONIAN ECHEETE] is stronger, since it expresses the enjoyment or realization of fellowship as compared with the mere fact of fellowship (Vincent 2.309, 310); see note on Acts 2:42.

[ 29 ] KAI HE KOINOONIA DE, indeed the fellowship And (Marshall 932); the fellowship, that which is ours, according to John's characteristic practice of defining and emphasizing a noun by an article and possessive pronoun. Ours [possessive instead of personal pronoun] indicating fellowship as a distinguishing mark of Christians rather than as merely something enjoyed by them (Vincent 2.310); of the fellowship of Christians with God and Christ . . . [which fellowship, according to John's teaching, consists in the fact that Christians are partakers in common of the same mind as God and Christ, and of the blessings arising therefrom] (Thayer 352).

[ 30 ] HE HEEMETERA META TOU PATROS KAI META TOU HUIOU AUTOU 'IEESOU CHRISTOU, our [is] with the Father and with the Son of him Jesus Christ (Marshall 932); note the repeated preposition META with, distinguishing the two persons, and coordinating the fellowship with the Father, and the fellowship with the Son, thus implying sameness of essence (Vincent 2.310).

[ 31 ] GRAPHOMEN HEEMEIS, write we (Marshall 932); both the verb and pronoun are emphatic. The writer speaks with conscious authority, and his message is to be not only announced [APANGELLOMEN, verse 3] but written (Vincent 2.310); some manuscripts have HEMEIS we; others HUMIN to you.

[ 32 ] KAI TAUTA, and these things (Marshall 932); the whole epistle (Vincent 2.310).

[ 33 ] HINA HEE CHARA HEEMOON, in order that the joy of us (Marshall 932); joy, delight [akin to CHAIROO to rejoice] (Vine 608); joy, gladness (Thayer 664).

[ 34 ] EE PEPLEEROOMENEE, may be having been fulfilled (Marshall 932); more correctly fulfilled (Vincent 2.311); to fulfill, complete . . . of joy (Vine 465).

[ 35 ] KAI ESTIN HAUTEE, and is this (Marshall 932); literally, and this; according to the proper reading the verb stands first in order [ESTIN HAUTEE], with emphasis, not merely as a copula, but in the sense "there exists this as the message" (Vincent 2.311). A copula is a word or words that link or couple two ideas together. Examples are forms of be, become, feel or seem.

[ 36 ] HEE ANGELIA, the message (Marshall 932); message, invariably used in the NT in the sense of promise (Vincent 2.311); [akin to ANGELLOO to bring a message, proclaim], denotes a message, proclamation, news (Vine 735, 736); a message, announcement, thing announced; precept declared (Thayer 5); Received Text has EPANGELIA [EPI upon, ANGELIA message].

[ 37 ] HEN AKEEKOAMEN AP' AUTOU, which we have heard from him (Marshall 932); points to the ultimate and not necessarily the immediate source of the message . . . 'APO points to the source (Vincent 2.311, 312); gotten by hearing, learned (Thayer 23).

[ 38 ] KAI ANANGELLOMEN HUMIN, and we announce to you (Marshall 932); bring tidings up to [ANA] or back to him who receives them (Vincent 2.312); declare, announce [ANA up, ANGELLOO to report] (Vine 50).

[ 39 ] HOTI HO THEOS PHOOS ESTIN, that God light is (Marshall 932); a statement of the absolute nature of God (Vincent 2.312); the nature of God (Vine 670); the extremely delicate, subtle, pure, brilliant quality of light has led to the use of PHOOS as an appellation of God, that is, as by nature incorporeal, spotless, holy (Thayer 662).

[ 40 ] KAI SKOTIA EN AUTOO OUK ESTIN OUDEMIA, and darkness in him not is none (Marshall 932); according to the Greek order, the rendering is: "And darkness there is not in Him, no, not in any way" (Vincent 2.314); of spiritual or moral darkness, emblematic of sin, as a condition of moral or spiritual depravity (Vine 260); metaphorically, used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery (Thayer 580); see note on John 1:5.

[ 41 ] 'EAN EIPOOMEN, if we say (Marshall 932); the subjunctive mood puts the case as supposed, not as assumed (Vincent 2.314).

[ 42 ] HOTI KOINOONIAN ECHOMEN MET' AUTOU, that fellowship we have with him (Marshall 932); communion, fellowship, sharing in common [from KOINOS common] (Vine 420).

[ 43 ] KAI EN TOO SKOTEI PERIPATOOMEN, and in the darkness we walk (Marshall 932); walk [PERIPATOOMEN] is, literally, walk about; indicating the habitual course of the life, outward and inward (Vincent 2.314, 315).

[ 44 ] PSEUDOMETHA KAI OU POIOUMEN TEEN ALEETHEIAN, we lie and are not doing the truth (Marshall 932, 933); deceive by lies; do, that is, adopt a way of expressing by act the thoughts and feelings (Vine 322, 665); lie, speak deliberate falsehoods; [and do not] exemplify truth in the life, express the form of truth in one's habits of thought and modes of living (Thayer 26, 675).

[ 45 ] EAN DE EN TOO PHOOTI PERIPATOOMEN, if but in the light we walk (Marshall 933); PERIPATOOMEN is first person plural, present active subjunctive of PERIPATEOO (Han 427); having our life in God, who is light (Vincent 2.315); figuratively, signifying the whole round of the activities of the individual life . . . of the believer, 1 Corinthians 7:17; Colossians 2:6. [Light is used] of righteousness (Vine 670; 1207); live agreeably to saving wisdom (Thayer 662).

[ 46 ] HOOS AUTOS ESTIN EN TOO PHOOTI, as he is in the light (Marshall 933); a state of supreme sanctity (Thayer 662).

[ 47 ] KOINOONIAN ECHOMEN (Marshall 933); communion, fellowship, sharing in common [from KOINOS common] (Vine 420).

[ 48 ] MET' ALLEELOON, with each other (Marshall 933); not we with God and God with us, but with our brethren. Fellowship with God exhibits and proves itself by fellowship with Christians (Vincent 2.315); a reciprocal pronoun in the genitive plural, signifying of, or from, one another [akin to ALLOS another] (Vine 811); genitive plural [no nominative being possible]; one another; reciprocally, mutually (Thayer 28); genitive of the reciprocal pronoun . . . each other, one another, mutually (Arndt 39).

[ 49 ] KAI TO HAIMA 'IEESOU TOU HUIOU AUTOU, and the blood of Jesus the Son of him (Marshall 933); the expression, the blood of Jesus His Son, is chosen with a profound insight. . . The word Jesus brings out His human nature, in which He assumed a real body of flesh and blood, which blood was shed for us (Vincent 2.317); some texts omit Christ.

[ 50 ] KATHARIZEI HEEMAS, cleanses us (Marshall 933); KATHARIZEI is third person singular, present active indicative of KATHARIZOO (Han 427); not only forgives but removes. . . . Note the present tense cleanseth. The cleansing is present and continuous (Vincent 2.317); "cleanses" from the guilt of sin (Vine 187); frees from the guilt of sin, purifies (Thayer 312).

[ 51 ] APO PASEES HAMARTIAS, from all sin (Marshall 933); the principle of sin in all its forms and manifestations; not the separate manifestations (Vincent 2.317); the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity . . . a generic term . . . [for example, Heb 9:26; 10:6, 8, 18; 13:11; 1Jo 1:7, 8; 3:4, first part; in the second part, sin is defined as "lawlessness," ASV; 1Jo 1:8, 9]; in these verses the KJV use of the verb to commit is misleading; not the committal of an act is in view but a continuous course of sin, as indicated by the ASV "doeth." The Apostle's use of the present tense of POIEOO to do virtually expresses the meaning of PRASSOO to practice, which John does not use (Vine 1045).

[ 52 ] The reader may want to look at my notes on Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28, 29; 1 John 5:16.

[ 53 ] EAN EIPOOMEN, if we say (Marshall 933); EIPOOMEN is the first person plural, second aorist active subjunctive of LEGOO (Han 427); speak, say, whether orally or by letter (Thayer 181).

[ 54 ] Law 9.

[ 55 ] HOTI HAMARTIAN OUK ECHOMEN, that sin we have not (Marshall 933); HOTI that may be taken merely as a mark of quotation: "If we say, sin we have not" (Vincent 2.317); the most comprehensive term for moral obliquity . . . a generic term . . . for example, Heb 9:26; 10:6, 8, 18; 13:11; 1Jo 1:7, 8; 3:4 [first part; in the second part, sin is defined as "lawlessness," RV] (Vine 1045); to have sin as though it were one's odious private property, or to have done something needing expiation, that is, to have committed sin (Thayer 31).

[ 56 ] Commentators who try to make this "the power of sin within" or "a sinful nature" need to read verses 9 and 10 where John equates having sin with the need for forgiveness of "our sins" because we "have sinned."

[ 57 ] HEAUTOUS PLANOOMEN, ourselves we deceive (Marshall 933); PLANOOMEN is the first person plural, present active indicative of PLANAOO (Han 427); literally, we lead ourselves astray (Vincent 2.319); [akin to PLANEE deceit, signifies wandering, English planet]. Often it has the sense of deceiving oneself (Vine 272); literally, lead ourselves astray (Harrison 1466); lead into error, deceive (Thayer 514).

[ 58 ] KAI HEE ALEETHEIA, and the truth (Marshall 933); the whole Gospel (Vincent 2.319); the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man, opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians . . . the truth which is the gospel or which the gospel presents (Thayer 26).

[ 59 ] OUK ESTIN EN HEEMIN, is not in us (Marshall 933).

[ 60 ] EAN HOMOLOGOOMEN, if we confess (Marshall 933); first person plural, present active subjunctive OF HOMOLOGEOO (Han 427); [from HOMOS one and the same and LEGOO to say]; hence, primarily, to say the same thing as another, and therefore, to admit the truth of an accusation (Vincent 2.320); confess by way of admitting oneself guilty of what one is accused of, the result of inward conviction (Vine 216); literally, say the same thing (Harrison 1467); having the same medium of vision that God has (Candlish 49 via Harrison); confess, that is, admit or declare one's self guilty of what one is accused of (Thayer 446).

[ 61 ] TAS HAMARTIAS HEEMOON, the sins of us (Marshall 933); confess the sins (Vincent 2.320); sinful deeds, acts of sin (Vine 1046).

[ 62 ] PISTOS ESTIN, faithful he is (Marshall 933); true to His own nature and promises; keeping faith with Himself and with man (Vincent 2.321); a verbal adjective, akin to PEITHOO to persuade]; passive, faithful, to be trusted, reliable, said of God (Vine 402); trusty, faithful (Thayer 514).

[ 63 ] KAI DIKAIOS, and righteous (Marshall 933); from DIKE right; the two terms faithful and righteous imply each other. They unite in a true conception of God's character (Vincent 2.321); said of God, it designates the perfect agreement between His nature and His acts [in which He is the standard for all men] (Vine 613); in a narrower sense, rendering to each his due; and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them . . . who executes the laws of his government, and therefore also the law concerning the pardon of sins (Thayer 149). The English word "righteous" was originally spelled "rightwise," meaning "in a straight way."

[ 64 ] HINA APHEE HEEMIN, in order that he may forgive us (Marshall 933); APHEE is third person singular, second aorist active subjunctive of APHIEEMI (Han 427); literally, that he may forgive; primarily the word means to send away, dismiss; hence of sins, to remit, as a debt. Cleansing (verse 7) contemplates the personal character of the sinner; remission, his acts (Vincent 2.322); primarily, to send forth, send away [APO from, HIEEMI to send], denotes, besides its other meanings, to remit or forgive [sins] (Vine 452).

[ 65 ] TAS HAMARTIAS, the sins (Marshall 933); defined by John as ANOMIA lawlessness [1Jo 3:4]; may be regarded either as condition or act; either with reference to the normal, divine ideal of manhood, or to an external law imposed upon man by God. Any departure from the normal ideal of man as created in God's image puts man out of true relation and harmony with his true self, and therefore with God and with his fellow-man. He thus comes into false, abnormal relation with right, love, truth and light. He walks in darkness and forfeits fellowship with God (Vincent 2.322); sinful deeds, acts of sin (Vine 1046).

[ 66 ] KAI KATHARISEE HEEMAS, and he may cleanse us (Marshall 933); KATHARISEE is third person singular, first aorist active subjunctive of KATHARIZOO (Han 427); to make clean, to cleanse; in a moral sense, from the defilement of sin (Vine 187); to free from the guilt of sin, to purify (Thayer 312).

[ 67 ] APO PASEES ADIKIAS, from all iniquity (Marshall 933); unrighteousness, iniquity . . . includes a deed or deeds violating law and justice [virtually the same as ADIKEM an unrighteous act] (Vine 1185); owing to the context, the guilt of unrighteousness (Thayer 12).

[ 68 ] EAN EIPOOMEN, if we say (Marshall 933); EIPOOMEN is first person plural, present active indicative of POIEOO (Han 427).

[ 69 ] HOTI OUCH HEEMARTEEKAMEN, that not we have sinned (Marshall 933); HEEMARTEEKAMEN is first person plural, perfect active indicative of HAMARTANOO (Han 427); sinning against God (Vine 1046).

[ 70 ] Machen 452.

[ 71 ] PSEUSTEEN POIOUMEN AUTON, a liar we make him (Marshall 933); a liar (Vine 663; Thayer 676).

[ 72 ] KAI HO LOGOS AUTOU, and the word of him (Marshall 933); in an objective sense, what is communicated by instruction, doctrine . . . specifically, the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God (Thayer 381).

[ 73 ] ESTIN EN HEEMIN, is not in us (Marshall 933).

Copyright ©1998, Charles Hess, Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.A.
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