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What glorious doctrinal and practical truths are revealed to us in this short four verse text!

Let's study it verse by verse!

Better yet, let's study it word for word!

               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell


 A Preacher in his Study




1 John 1:1-4

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." 



John the Apostle is the writer of the little Epistles that bear his name.

The longest of those three little inspired letters is known as 1st John.

In it the godly old preacher (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) was combating a false error that had crept into the church during His era.

We now know that "cult" was called "Gnosticism."  Among many other dangerous things, it taught that Jesus did NOT come in a real physical body!  They said He was only a spirit!

This historical background may be why the Lord led John to begin his little Book just the way he did!

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full." 1st John 1:1-4

See the emphasis he places on the fact that Jesus ("That Which was from the beginning") had been heard, seen, even gazed upon, and TOUCHED by both John himself and the other Disciples.

Jesus was NOT just an emanation from another world.  He is the very Son of God! (He is NOT a "radiation."  He is a real Person!  The God-Man!)

These four verses are among the most Christ centered in all the Bible!

Let's analyze them.  (We can only begin today.)

The first verse sets the tone for the whole paragraph.

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;"  1 John 1:1

Twice in this verse the Subject (Jesus) is identified!  He is called "That which was from the beginning" and "The Word of Life."  What Names these are!

The relative pronoun "that" is neuter in gender.  It's also singular in number and nominative in case.  Whoever "That" is ... there is no one else like Him! (Hence the singular!)  And He is the Subject of this whole paragraph! (Hence the nominative!)

The preposition "from" is the little Greek word "apo" which means (with the genitive case as here) "away from" or even "with!"  It is NOT teaching that Jesus was created at the beginning!  It IS telling us that when the "beginning" occurred, Jesus was there! He is everlasting!  He is the eternal Son of God!  (John further tells us in the first verse of his Gospel that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  See!  Jesus "in the beginning" already is!)

"Beginning" means the first or the origin (in Greek "arche").  John is using the language of Genesis 1 to tell us more about our dear Saviour!  In fact the old Apostle is about to tell us that Jesus IS The Creator!

Since John 1:1 describes the Word ("logos" = a masculine noun!) as GOD ... and since Jesus is so obviously in view there ... we may be sure  that here in 1st John Jesus is our focus yet again!

Let me say that more plainly:  "That Which was from the beginning" is a title for Jesus!

Next John tells us that he has "heard" Jesus! (Really the verb is plural.  Several have heard Him!)  "Which we have heard ...." 

The verb here (in Greek = "akouo") is an indicative active perfect in the 1st person plural.  John declares this as a true statement.  He himself is among those who have heard Jesus!  And this "hearing" is such that it has occurred and is a thing of the past (Jesus had been crucified, buried, raised and taken back to heaven) ... BUT the action, the "hearing," is still having influence and consequence yet to the time John is writing!  He heard Jesus in the past ... but it is as if he is still hearing him in the present!  (Once you've really heard Jesus ... you never get over it!)

Next Jesus has been "seen" by these Apostles!  "Horao" means to gaze upon!  To literally stare at One!  (Here's another indicative perfect active verb!)  John has observed Jesus ... and the result of that past action continues to live with him until the very time of his writing these words! Apparently if you ever see Jesus ... you never get over that either!

By the way (Gnostics), you can't hear, see and handle a spirit!  Jesus had a literal Virgin born body!

John furthermore says they "looked upon" Jesus.  This verb, "theaomai" gives us the noun theatre!  It means: to view attentively!  Even to contemplate!   It can mean to visit personally!  BUT it is an aorist verb ... not a perfect verb!  This goes to the sense of timing of the action.  John visited with Jesus in the past and that time is over!  (Jesus has returned to heaven!)  This action is NOT continuing to the present!

Look!  He has heard Jesus and the hearing still impacts him!

He has seen Jesus and that sight still guides him!

But he had visited with Jesus personally ... and that time is over. It is no longer occurring!  Jesus is no longer physically present!

"Handled" (in Greek = "pselaphao") means to touch!  And it's another aorist!  This is action completed in the past and not being presently repeated!

What proof of both Jesus' deity and His humanity!

Next John names Jesus again as the Subject of his great verse.

He calls Him "the Word of Life!"

"Word" translates "logos." 

Jesus is the very "logical" expression of God the Father!  Jesus IS God!  God ... come to earth to die for sinners!  God ... buried and raised again the third day!  God ... ascended to heaven to live and make intercession for His children!  God ... returning again some day to receive His Own and judge the world and fellowship eternally with a redeemed creation!

And "Life" translates "zoe," a Greek noun meaning life on the highest plane!  Real Life!  Not biological life but zestful meaningful purposeful life!

John believes one has not really lived until he meets Jesus!

I have one more thing to say!

What a Saviour!

(That's a lot of grammar today ... but a lot of truth too!)

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




John the Apostle loves to talk about Jesus The Saviour!

Once he called our Lord "The Word of Life."  Then he said: 

"For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us."  1st John 1:2

Notice here where John says the Life was in the beginning!

Jesus was "with the Father!"

The little preposition "with" (in Greek = "pros) means to or toward with the accusative case (as it is here).  Jesus was to the Father!  (Actually the idea is being "in the Face" of the Father.  Which in ancient thought would mean "equal to" the Father!  Announcement:  Jesus is NOT inferior to the Father!

The old timers used to say that Jesus is "very God of very God!"

Then twice John says (at the opening of the sentence and again at the end of the sentence) that Jesus (the Life) was "manifested!"  (Here is an example of "inclusio" within a one verse range!)  The verb translated here is "phaneroo" and it means "to appear!"  (To shine!)  It has the idea of a "flash" of light ... not one that dissipates quickly either!

In both sentence locations "manifested" is an aorist (something in the past ... action now complete) passive (Jesus was acted upon ... not doing the verbal acting) in the 3rd person singular.  The Father manifested His darling Son!  John is NOT talking about Jesus' future Second Coming ... but about His past incarnation and life of 33 years on earth.  (The first 3 times this verb is used as an aorist passive 3rd singular have reference to the Resurrection life of Jesus!  Mark 16:12 and 14 then John 21:14!)

John is an eye-witness to the life of Jesus!  He can personally testify that Jesus was "manifested!" 

However when John says that he (and others) "have seen" Jesus, he uses another verb form altogether!  "Have seen" translates "horao" which literally means "to stare at!"  This time our verb is an indicative mood (stating a fact) perfect tense (action finished in the past ... but with continuing impact right up to the present) in the active voice (John did the looking)!

John all his long life never got over seeing Jesus!  Never tired of studying Him! Never ceased to live under His influence!  (He uses this verb in this precise form in 1st John 1:1 and 1st John 1:2 and again in 1st John 1:3!)

But John and his friends not only saw Jesus ... they "bore witness" to Him.  The verb here is "martureo" and means to testify or to affirm (or attest).  Further it can mean to bear record or even to give a good report!  Here it's an indicative present active 1st person plural.  It's stating a fact!  Plus John and the Apostles all their lives were telling of their experiences with Jesus!  (Now in our brief sentence we have had aorist verbs and a perfect verb and now a present verb ... with one more to come!) What "balanced" truth we are given here about Jesus!

John has seen (and studied) Jesus!

John has testified of Jesus!

Now lastly John "shows" us Jesus!  The verb "apagello" means to announce or to tell or to bring word or to make known openly!  (To publicly confess!)  Here the verb is an indicative present active.  (Another "present tense!")  John kept on "showing" Jesus all his life! John lived to be quite old!  He was still writing at the end of the first century!  (96 AD!)

Here today we have seen the IMPACT Jesus had upon John!

John even calls Jesus "Eternal Life" --- ("ho zoe ho aionios" = the life the eternal)! And in 1st John 1:1 he had just called Jesus "The Word of Life!"

What lovely Names!

What Titles of Truth!

Glory to God this Lord's Day morning at 4:47 AM!

As you worship today ... remember the Lord Jesus in all His Glory!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




One of the many great things about the writings of the Apostle John is that he likes to tell us the "purpose" behind his Books!

For example here is the stated "purpose" for the Gospel of John:  "But these (things) are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."  John 20:31

The Gospel of John is a soul-winning document!

And here's his "purpose" for the Book of Revelation:  "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." (Revelation 1:1)  He wants to reveal coming future things to the saints of God!

And while he seems to have several "purposes" in writing his Epistles, the FIRST purpose mentioned is this:  "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."  1 John 1:3

Let's look at this one (1 John 1:3) a few minutes.

"That Which we have seen and heard" is JESUS!  Both verbs, seen (in Greek = "horao") and heard (in Greek = "akouo") are "perfects."  These tell us that the "time" sense or action being conveyed is that of something which is completed (over, done with, fulfilled) ... but its powerful consequences and influences had remained with John to the very time he wrote these precious words! In other words, Jesus was here.  He was seen and heard.  But He has gone back to Heaven now.  He is no longer being physically seen and heard here on earth. YET ... what John saw of Jesus and what he heard from Jesus never left him.  He never got over it.  The sights and sounds lived with him all the way to the end of his life!  (That's the way salvation is too!  He "saved" you and it's a completed action!  BUT you will never get over its impact and power!)

The verb "declare" is "apaggello" and means to announce or to show or to report. (The word "angel" is in it!  An angel is a "messenger" in the Greek language.)  This verb is in the "present" form.  John was preaching about Jesus the very moment he wrote these Believers.

Then comes the important word "that!"  It's a conjunction (a linking word) that opens a purpose clause.  It tells us WHY John is writing and preaching!  (THAT we may have fellowship with the men of God ... particularly those who wrote the Word of God ... and also with God the Father and with God the Son!) 

"May have" is "echo" in Greek and means to have or to hold or to possess or even to keep!  It is a "subjunctive" verb here.  That means it may not yet be happening to these Believers ... but it is John's strong desire that the action conveyed become a reality!  John wants them to have fellowship with the Apostles and with God the Father and God the Son!  That's WHY he is writing so far!

The noun "fellowship" is "koinonia" and means association or communion or participation or fellowship. 

Just as the Trinity is in constant communion (within the Members of the Godhead) ... so the Believers are to be in communion with one another and with the Father and with the Son (and with the Spirit)!   This may be one thing Paul had in mind in 2 Corinthians 13:14 --- "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen."  Is that not describing fellowship?

"With" (in Greek = "meta") when with the Genitive case (as here) means "in the company of" or "on the side of" or "among!"

The second use of "fellowship" is again "koinonia," from a root verb meaning "to share!"  It is in the New Testament sometimes used in the sense of "giving!"  In true fellowship we "give one to another" constantly!  Wow!

Look how John then goes from fellowship with other Believers to fellowship with God the Father and the Son! 

That's the true description of the Christian life!  Fellowship eternally with the Godhead!  Jesus put it this way in John 17:3 --- "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

And that's WHY John is writing this little Epistle (1st John)!

What a lofty goal?

Christian friend, at Church last Sunday did You have good fellowship with some fellow Believer?  Then ... in turn ... good fellowship with the Father and the Son?

I surely trust you did!

Also notice how John places the Father and Son on such equal footing!

He "links" the Two Names with a conjunction (a coordinating conjunction)!  That means They are equal in weight!  Don't you see it?  He is telling us (yet again) that JESUS IS GOD!

Just think about it!

Eternal fellowship with God!

(And 1st John is an instruction manual on how to have such fellowship!)

Hand me my Bible, please!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





Probably too often we ask the dear Lord that question!

Why, Lord?

Of course if He is Lord ... then He does not owe us an explanation for anything He does!

I am not prepared to say that it is always wrong to ask "why."

Our precious Saviour, on the Cross, did so.

Matthew 27:46 records His words:  "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Our verse this Tuesday answers one of those "why" questions!

In 1st John 1:1-4 the Apostle John has been telling us about Jesus the Son of God. He is the One from the beginning!  (In His Gospel John says Jesus was in the beginning!)  John verified the REALITY of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He has heard Jesus ... and seen Him and even touched Him!

Furthermore John has been telling others about this wonderful Lord!  He longs for lost sinners to come and be saved, thereby beginning life-long fellowship with the people of God and (even more importantly) with God Himself!

Yes!  1st John chapter 1 says that we can have Communion with God by means of His marvelous Grace and through the shed Blood of Christ Jesus!

And just HOW do we know all this?

It is recorded in the Word of God!

And just WHY (that question again) is it so recorded?

WHY is that divine Fellowship available?

John is certainly about to give us one reason!

1 John 1:4 --- "And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."

There it is!

The WHY of everything John has said in the opening 3 verses of his first Epistle!

"And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full."

Full joy!

"These (things)" translates "tauta," a Greek demonstrative pronoun (accusative neuter plural).  By this term John means all he has said so far in his little letter!

That Jesus has come!

That Jesus is real!

That Jesus is eternal life!

That Jesus has made salvation (fellowship) available to trusting repenting sinners!

That this fellowship is with our brothers and sisters in Christ AND with God the Father and God the Son!  (Wow!)

The verb "write" is "grapho" as a present tense and active voice action word.  John is still writing the Epistle (under Holy Spirit inspiration) as he makes this statement! We are hearing him in "real time!"

"Unto you" is the dative plural of the personal pronoun "su."  The preposition "unto" is actually supplied by the case of the pronoun.  It means "to" you or "for" you!  The Word of God is TO me and also FOR me!  Praise the Lord!

"That," a conjunction (linking word), is "hina" in Greek and means "in order that" or "so that."  It is introducing a purpose clause.

It tells us WHY we can have such sweet fellowship with God and His Son and one another.  It furthermore tells us WHY we have God's Word written to us and for us!


This term "your joy" implies that when God saved you ... He also gave you a big "dose" of joy!

He did!

This Joy came in the form of the dear Holy Spirit!

His FRUIT is love first ... then joy ... followed by 7 more great little "blessings!" See Galatians 5:22-23.

But that joy apparently can increase!

"Your joy" translates "he chara ego"  and says literally "the joy belonging to you!" God gave it (make that gives it) to you and me as Believers in fellowship with Him! As Believers "in" the Word of God!

The Greek noun for joy ("chara") is built on the stem of their word for Grace ("charis")!  No grace ... no joy!  Anywhere you find Grace ... you will find joy!

And "may be full" translates "pleroo," a verb meaning to bring to completion!  Or to accomplish!  It is a perfect participle in the passive voice!  This great joy is not our own doing ... it is given us by Another!  And it is of such "time" action that once it comes and is delivered to us ... its impact and influence and fruit continue with us indefinitely! Once given joy ... the potential is there to always have joy!

Try this today.

Spend more time consciously  "fellowshipping" with the Father and the Son!  Sing to your God!  Pray to Him!  Read His Word! Tell Him you love Him!  Worship Him! Meditate upon Him throughout the day!  And I will promise you this!  As you do these things ... your JOY will become greater and greater.  It can even get to the "unspeakable" level!  At least that's what Peter says in 1st Peter 1:8 --- "Whom (Jesus) having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."


                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell





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