This Week's Focus Passage

1 John 1:1 ‘Concerning the Word of life.’

This Week’s Focus Passage: 1 John 1:1

‘Concerning the Word of life.’

John has begun his first epistle with this beautiful definition of that which he intends to be the Subject of his letter and the focus of his teaching to his readers:

That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we beheld, and our hands handled, concerning the Word of life.
Additionally, John desires that these readers, his little children, be made aware also of his reasons for writing this letter to them; he has declared these reasons in more than one place. There are, he says, at least four primary reasons:

a. That ye may have fellowship with us. That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you also, that ye also may have fellowship with us.—verse 1:3. He has no intention of keeping these things to himself. He is not a selfish man; that would indeed be entirely incompatible with the One whom he wishes to tell them of. It would not be consistent with Him who gave Himself to die for the ungodly; He who came to seek and to save that which was lost.

b. That ye also may have fellowship with us: yea, and our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: and these things we write, that our joy made be made full.—verse 1:4. John has the fondest desire that this joy he has found in Christ be communicated to others. It would seem that this is the only way that his own joy can attain fullness. We are reminded of the statement of the author of Hebrews as he concludes that remarkable catalogue of the faithful in his eleventh chapter. At the end of that fabulous listing, he has told us in these poignant words: These all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise—does that promise not include the joy of which John now speaks?—God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. John’s second reason suggests that his joy cannot be made perfect apart from the joy of others. What a blessed fellowship! He has reminded them that this fellowship is not only with the people of God, but it is with both the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

c. His next, and third, reason concerns both their welfare and the glory of God through their lives, when he says, My little children, these things write I unto you that ye may not sin.—verse 2:1. In fact, he gives to them very sound arguments that they may not sin. He tells them that to know Him is to love Him, and to love Him is to keep His commandments. We cannot reasonably say that we know Him, and then continue in sin. He that would do so is a liar and does not the truth. Christ is the Truth. Christ and the truth cannot be separated. He is the Word of God incarnate. He prayed that we would be sanctified in the Truth; God’s Word is the Truth. God’s Son is the Word; God’s Son is the Truth. He Himself has prayed for you; I have written unto you that ye may not sin.

d. Lastly, and very blessedly, John points out this fourth reason for his writing unto them; These things have I written unto you, that ye may know that ye have eternal life, even unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God.—verse 5:13. We understand, do we not, that it is one thing to have the promise of eternal life, while it is yet another thing to know that we have eternal life. John says that he is writing to those that believe on the name of the Son of God. He would encourage the faith of his readers to know that the promise is certain through the One upon whom they believe, even upon the Son of God. This is part and parcel with overcoming the world; to be among those who were all their lifetime subject to bondage through fear of death and may know now that their Champion has delivered them; they have eternal life.

John evinces to us that he has several particular words that he particularly enjoys making use of. He often uses the words ‘believe’ and ‘fellowship’ three times each; ‘beloved’ and ‘word’ six time each. He has written ‘life’ no less than twelve times. If we are warranted in assuming something of a scale of importance being given us in the quantity of usage by the beloved disciple, he regarded life highly; the kind of life we are given to live. This brings us to his use of ‘love.’ He has penned that word a remarkable twenty-three times. Should we be surprised at this from the disciple who leaned on Jesus’ bosom at the Passover table? Yea, four times in his gospel account, John refers to himself as he ‘whom Jesus loved.’ How his heart must have melted within him as he wrote those wonderful words. He could not have done so however, we must add, had he not certainly known that the Son of God loved him.

That brings us to the word that he was pleased to write down on his paper, or papyrus, or whatever, on at least twenty-six occasions. That word which is also most wonderful, is ‘know.’ That Jesus loves us is marvelous. To know that Jesus loves us extends the marvel to glorious heights. This blessed relationship between knowing and loving; between know and love, is demonstrated also by John in two separate verses wherein he has declared that ‘God is love.’ And they each bear the connection with knowing. The first witnesses to a somber reality for many sad cases;
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love—1 John 4:8. These unbelievers shall one day hear those awful words from the lips of the King, I know you not. The happier announcement is discovered just a few verses later as we read:

And we know and have believed the love which God hath in us. God is love; and he that abideth in love abideth in God, and God abideth in him.—1 John 4:16. To be known of Him is to abide with Him eternally.

David Farmer, elder
Fellowship Bible Church


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