The Word of Life - 1 John 1:1-4

The apostle John had three themes in mind when he penned the opening paragraph of his first letter. John wrote, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete” (1 John 1:1-4). John was concerned about the proclamation of Jesus, fellowship, and joy—all of which center upon the Word of Life.

The proclamation of the Word of Life, according to John, is based on evidence. Peter wrote, “For we did not make known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, following cleverly devised myths, but being eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). John used four words to affirm, like Peter, that their proclamation of Jesus was based on evidence—not cleverly devised myths. John and others heard Jesus. They saw Him. They also beheld Him. The words saw and beheld emphasize that they were eyewitnesses. And they touched Him. The Christians John was writing to were living many decades after the death of Jesus. Various teachings concerning Jesus were gaining popularity toward the end of the first century. Some were teaching that Jesus did not come in the flesh. Others were teaching that Jesus was not the Son of God. John wanted the readers of this letter to experience full joy. That joy begins by knowing that they have not followed cleverly devised myths. Rather, their beliefs rest on a solid foundation.

The Word of Life was proclaimed by John so that others could have fellowship with the Father and the Son. Fellowship denotes  participation or a relationship with God and Christ. This relationship should be the cause of immense joy in the life of the believer. However, that joy was being threatened by those who were proclaiming a different message. They were promoting the idea that one could have fellowship with God and still participate in sin. John wrote, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:6). There is no joy outside of fellowship with God and Christ. And there is no joy in false messages about Christian living.

The Word of Life was at the heart of John’s message. We can be confident in what John and others proclaimed about Jesus. That proclamation leads us to have fellowship with God and Christ. And we can have joy as a result! Let’s be thankful for the Word of Life and the fellowship and joy that He provides for us.