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Strolling Through the Book of First John January 31, 2014

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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I’ve recently started reading through the First Epistle of John with the aid of a commentary by John Calvin. I should note that I’ve previously read through 1 John. As in my recent stroll through the book of Jude, I hope to comprehend 1 John as a whole. In particular, I would like to compare 1 John with the Pauline epistles and the book of Jude.

I plan to blog about this experience as I read through both the epistle and Calvin’s commentary. Each post will correspond to a specific section in the NIV translation.

For starters, here are my thoughts on 1 John 1:1-4.

Summary: John begins by referring to the divinity of Christ; he states that:

  • he had faithfully learned from Him those things that he taught
  • he taught nothing but what had been made known to him regarding Christ, who is life-giving.

Indeed, Christ, who is life, has appeared; thus, life is openly offered to us in Him. Christ was always with the Father, yet when He completed the work of redemption via His death and resurrection, life appeared. John then reiterates the certainty of his teaching; if he and his readers adhere to it, then they will all be one in God. John concludes by asserting that the Gospel is the source of perfect happiness.

Thoughts: The first section of this epistle differs noticeably from the analogous sections in the epistles of Paul and Jude; in particular, John does not identify himself as the author of this epistle. My hunch is that this fact sparked a sharp debate regarding the authorship of this epistle; I also conjecture that this fact fueled the debate regarding the inclusion of this epistle in the New Testament canon. Now since John’s main purpose in this epistle was to establish the full divinity – and humanity – of Christ, perhaps he wanted to cut to the chase, as the first section of this epistle focuses on the person and work of Christ – and His impact on believers. It will be interesting to see how John develops these themes over the course of this letter.

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