1 John 1 - Light It Up
Stop stumbling in the darkness and start walking in the light.
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1 John 1 (ESV)
which was from the beginning,
which we have heard,
which we have seen with our eyes,
and have touched with our hands,
concerning the word of life—
2 the life
was made manifest,
and we have seen it,
and testify to it
and proclaim to you
the eternal life,
which was with the Father
and was made manifest to us—
3 that which we have seen and heard
we proclaim also to you,
so that you too may have fellowship with us;
and indeed our fellowship is
with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ.
4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light,
and in him is no darkness at all.
6 If we
say we have fellowship with him
while we walk in darkness,
we lie and do not practice the truth.
7 But if we
walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins,
he is faithful and just
to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say we have not sinned,
we make him a liar,
and his word is not in us.
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1 John 1 Summary
John's first letter begins much the same way his gospel account begins:
In the beginning was the Word...
1 John 1:1
That which was from the beginning...
John wants you to know that Jesus isn't just an abstract idea or fictional hero that was introduced 2,000 years ago. Rather, since Jesus is God, He has always been. He certainly is, as John records in his gospel, the great I AM.
John begins by emphasizing what did change 2,000 years ago: God became man, and John heard him, saw him and even touched him. In this letter John is proclaiming what he saw and heard so that you too may have fellowship with us (v3).
John also borrows from a theme he began in the prologue to his gospel in the second half of this opening chapter:
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
1 John 1:5
God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
In his gospel, John emphasizes that even though the world preferred darkness, the light would certainly overcome it. Now in his letter, John reminds you that since you've now seen the light, you're living a lie when you continue walking in the dark.
One of the New Testament's favorite metaphors for living life is one that John uses often, including twice in this short opening chapter:
walk in the light (v7)
Walking is such a great metaphor for living because it conveys the idea that nobody is sedentary in life, rather all people are going somewhere.
Those who persist in sin are described as walking in darkness (v6). These people are moving through life, but they're stumbling, ambling around in circles, and not making any headway or progress.