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. (NIV 1984)
1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— (ESV)
I thoroughly enjoyed our study of Esther and learned an incredible amount from a book I thought I knew because I had simply read it (not studied it!) numerous times. I'm looking forward to digging into 1 John together!
John's letter is both sermon-like and conversational - it doesn't follow an outline that flows from one point to the next. John shares with the believers truths that he wants them (and us!) to know with absolute certainty.
MacArthur points out some of the differences between the Gospel of John and this, the first of John's three letters.
The gospel is evangelistic and written to nonbelievers so that they might believe.
The epistle is pastoral and written to believers so that they might have assurance in their faith and confidence in the work of Christ.
The gospel was written with the hope that unbelievers might receive life.
The epistle was written with the hope that believers might enjoy the life they had received.
In the gospel, the enemies of truth are unbelieving, legalistic Jews.
In the epistle, the enemies of truth are those who profess Christ but are actually false teachers or being led astray by false teachers.
In his epistle, John tells us that we need to believe in Jesus Christ, love one another and obey God's moral laws. He also tells us to be aware of false teachers - those.....
who attack the person of Christ, attack the reality of human sinfulness, attack the commandment to love. We want to be able to discern the terrible heresies that strike at the truth. We want to be the people of the truth and faithful to that truth.
John wants us to increase our joy, our holiness and our assurance.
And, just like he did in the gospel, in this letter he begins in the beginning.
From the beginning....."I am". Jesus existed before the beginning of time, He continued to exist from the beginning of time and physically He existed from His birth here on earth. He is both God and man. He was a living, breathing human being.
My ESV Study Bible says...
John was an eyewitness to the physical and historical reality of Jesus' life on earth. His message is not based on an ecstatic vision, grand idea, or mere human religious conviction.
It's based on fact. On certainty.
From the beginning, Jesus.
It's always, only, all about Him.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: 1 John 1:2-4