That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked on and that which we have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-that life was revealed, and we have seen, and we have testified to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us-that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, in order that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his son, namely Jesus Christ. And we are writing to you concerning these things so that our joy may be fulfilled (1 John 1:1-4).
When I began my studies at Bible College, I found myself wanting to be in the Scriptures. I found that the more I read the Word of God, I felt as though I could make it through the day. It was, in many respects, my crutch that assisted me through my studies and through most circumstances that came my way. It was when I began to study biblical Greek the scriptures became alive in me. It was like I had just received a treasure map that would lead to an amazing gift. And, to this day, the Word of God remains the most important part of my life. Though I am not an “A” student, I am struggling through the passages and seeking God to help me understand His Word. I have learned thus far how to rely on God to bring understanding in my life. That has proven itself to be a great blessing.
This passage is one of the first major passages I have translated in Greek. This significance of these verses ring true even today as the issues surrounding these first several verses are still alive and well in today’s culture.
I remember my grandfather talking about the issues of Gnosticism when I was little. Though, at the time, I did not know the term as “Gnosticism” but as “another way people misunderstand the Bible.” My grandfather always said that if we read the Bible, we can figure out how the “misunderstandings of the Bible” can be brought to the light. I never forgot that. The way I have always understood Gnosticism was that there were a group of people who believe they had a great sense of knowledge. Not only did they believe they had great knowledge but they also believed that Jesus could not have come in the flesh because the flesh was evil and only the Spirit was good. How could it be then that Jesus came in the flesh? To those who considered themselves to have “great knowledge,” the Gnostics believed either Jesus came in a spirit-form or perhaps He really didn’t come at all. Perhaps it was just a story.
John then writes his letter during this time when Gnosticism is perhaps at its height of belief. In the first four verses of 1 John, John uses descriptive words that emphasize that in fact, Jesus was actually present in the flesh. Words like “heard,” “seen-with our own eyes,” “looked.” and “touched-with our own hands give us a clear picture of John’s message. It is not a message of hearsay but one of fact and testimony. Concerning the issue of sin, John says it is something we cannot avoid. In fact, if we believe we have no sin, we are liars! John’s language regarding the issue of sin is blunt and honest. He compares being saved (living in the light) with darkness (walking in darkness). There is no gray area in John’s message. There is no shade. We either live in the light or we walk in the darkness.
This is the message John proclaimed. It is this message that the world needs to hear. It is a message that is worth sharing with others. We can have boldness and be assured that Jesus really did come in the flesh. He was not just some spirit being somewhere in the eons watching humanity go to hell in a handbag. Jesus came to show us how to be like the Father. He came in order to show us how to be sanctified (how to be returned to the way things were meant to be from the beginning) and unite His people order that fellowship with others is not just a dream but can be a reality. We must be challenged by John’s message. We must be challenged to know the Truth of who Jesus is. For the sake of the world and the fellowship of the body, let’s share a massage of love, mercy and hope to a desolate and dying world. God bless.