WALKING IN THE LIGHT

NEW TESTAMENT CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY

by Dr. Robert R. Seyda

FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN

INTRODUCTION (Lesson X) 10/16/20

The Apostle John TaughtThe Gnostics taught
Jesus is God incarnate, part of the Trinity. (1 Jn. 1:1-2)Denied the Trinity. Said Jesus was one of many gods.
Jesus is the only way to Salvation (1 Jn. 1:1-2)Taught a person could be of another religion and still be saved.
God is only good; there is no evil in Him. Satan is only evil and is not equal to God. (1 Jn. 1:5)It was first introduced dualism into Christianity through the Syrian Gnostic heretic Cerdo.
Everyone is born with a sinful nature that causes them to sin. Everyone needs a savior. (1 Jn. 1:8)Taught, through religious teacher Basilides, that man was born without a sinful nature, and was able to live a sin-free life and did not need salvation
No one has ever lived a life without sin or sinning. (1 Jn. 1:10)Taught that even if he had a sinful nature, he still might have been able never to sin.

If we sin, we confess the sin to God and are forgiven; we do not pay for our sins before or after we are saved.  (1 Jn. 1:9-22)
Taught that if you sinned after you were saved, you had to pay penance for your sin.
COMMENTARY (Cont)

David Guzik (1984) points out that the idea of Logos – the Word – was necessary for John and the Greek and Jewish worlds of his day. For the Jew, God was Himself in His Word because they knew God perfectly revealed Himself in His Word. For centuries, the Greek philosophers spoke about the Logos – the basis for organization and intelligence in the universe, the Ultimate Reason, which controls all things. It’s as if John said to all of them: “This Logos you have been talking about and writing about for centuries – well, we have heard Him, seen Him, studied Him, and touched Him. Let me now tell you about Him.[1]

Current scholar Simon J. Kistemaker points out that the Apostle John begins this sentence with “that” instead of “who.” Rather than saying, “Jesus the Anointed One, who was from the beginning,” John writes, “That which was from the beginning.” Therefore, “that” is broader than “who” because it includes the person and message of Jesus the Anointed One. It also has God’s revelation, namely, the Gospel, which John points out, “we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.”[2]

John Phillips tells us that John may also be addressing the big controversy prevalent in his day with the Docetists who accept Jesus as the Messiah but deny His humanity. John walked with, ate with, and conversed with Jesus daily for three years. In his mind, the deity and humanity of Jesus were perfectly balanced. He was, without doubt, God manifested in the flesh.” That made it hard to tell where His deity ended and His humanity began. For instance, when the Lord sat by Jacob’s well in Samaria. John and the other disciples say that He was, “wearied with His journey,”[3] which revealed His humanity. But when told the woman from the town who came out to get water all about her past life, she knew He had supernatural abilities.

John tells us about the gradual revelation this woman experienced. In John 4:9, this lady recognizes Jesus as a Jew. Then in John 4:19, she declares that He must be a prophet. And finally, in John 4:29, she proclaims that He must be the Messiah the Jews were awaiting. How about when Jesus, as a tired man, fell asleep in a boat, but when awakened, He calmed the winds and the waves which only the power of God could perform?[4] Furthermore, they saw Him on the cross as a dying human being, but three days later, they encountered Him as a living divine being.[5]

Bruce G. Schuchard talks about how this first prologue exhibited a certain amount of parallel construction in its several parts, advancing an impressive “semantic and rhythmic momentum that highlights “life,” “fellowship,” and “joy.”[6] So imagine it to be the opening to a concerto. First, it begins like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony with an aggressive allegro movement in verse one. Then transitions to a more soothing adagio movement in verse two, before rising again to an allegro tempo in verse three, and finally to a crescendo in verse four. To remove any one of these movements and the whole concerto loses its measure and symphony. The same goes with what John says about the Life and the Light. It takes all of these movements to produce joy.

1:1b That allows John to say …This is the One we listened to and saw with our own eyes…

EXPOSITION

The Apostle John expressed this very well when he wrote in his Gospel: “So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.[7] John is not the only one; his fellow Apostle Peter offered the same testimony. Having two witnesses to back up a story was the rule from the time of Moses,[8] and by which Jesus confirmed Himself as the standard for verification.[9]

But John says they not only saw Him, but they heard Him. John was emphatic about making that known when in his Gospel, he declared: “In the beginning, there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. By Him, all things were made, and nothing was made without Him. In Him, there was life, and that life was the light of all people. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.[10] And in his vision, this same Jesus was revealed to him, dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.[11]

So, it is clear that John was speaking here of the One he spoke of in his Gospel: Shouldn’t our experiences today be the same? When we look back over our lives and see the many times our Lord has communicated with us, communed with us, and comforted us, do we not also feel the joy of such a close walk with Him? Should we not distribute those things so that we may fully share our joy with others like John? And not offer them only with members of the congregation, but with everyone we meet. Not intrusively, but every time the door opens.

It is the same way that King Solomon speaks about the person he calls “Wisdom.” In his Hebrew Lexicon, Thayer says that this Hebrew noun chokmah is often used in Scripture to identify a ruler, to a king [Messiah],[12] and in a greater and more eminent sense to God.[13] The prophet Isaiah introduces us to the phrase, “The first and the last,”[14] which we know in Revelation as the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.[15] So we can see that John, a Jew, saw this linkage to the past and was confident that somebody already mentioned the One he openly spoke about secretly in the First Covenant. But it all came out for everyone to hear when the prophet Micah received this prophecy: “O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past![16]

But when the right time came, Matthew,[17] Mark,[18] and Luke[19] record what the Apostle Peter says about when he was there on the holy mountain when the Anointed One blazed with honor given Him by God His Father. Peter said I heard that glorious, majestic voice calling down from heaven, saying, “This is my much-loved Son; I am well pleased with Him.[20] But while John appreciated Peter’s testimony, he was there on the mountain with Peter and James when they saw the transfiguration of their Master and heard this witness come from heaven.[21] That’s why John could say with confidence that the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we saw His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.[22] But to cap it all, John also saw the risen and glorified Son of God, dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and He was called the “Word of God.[23]


[1] Guzik, David: Enduring Word Commentary Series, Verse by Verse Commentary on 1, 2, 3 John and Jude, Enduring Word Publishing, 1019, p. 10

[2] Kistemaker, Simon J., New Testament Commentary, Exposition of the Epistle of James and the Epistles of John, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1986, p. 234

[3] John 4:6

[4] Matthew 8:23-27)

[5] Phillips, John, The John Phillips Commentary Series, Exploring the Epistles of John, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI, 2003, p.

[6] Schuchard, Bruce G., Concordia Commentary, A |Theological Exposition of Sacred Scripture, Concordia Publishing House, Saint Louis, 2012, pp. 61-62

[7] Ibid. 1:14 – New Living Translation (NLT)

[8] Deuteronomy 17:6

[9] Matthew 18:16

[10] 1 John 1:1-5

[11] Revelation 19:13

[12] Isaiah 11:2

[13] Job 12:12-13; 28:12, 28; 32:13

[14] Isaiah 41:4

[15] Revelation 22:13

[16] Micah 5:2

[17] Matthew 17:5

[18] Mark 9:7

[19] Luke 9:36

[20] 2 Peter 1:17-18

[21] See Matthew 17:1; Mark 9:2;

[22] John 1:14

[23] Revelation 19:13

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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