August 15, 2008

Translation of 1 John 1:1-4 and Comment

I taught on 1 John for a few months at the end of last year and on into the beginning of 2008. I wish I would have been learning how to translate the words from back then. I knew about the program, but I suppose I was too busy and wasn't interested at the time in learning Greek this way. Anyway, I am now overly excited about the wonderful riches of truth firmly fixed within the Holy Spirit inspired, inerrant and sufficient Word of Truth - the Bible, as I read it and meditate on it. I thank God for the Bible, because it shows us so clearly who our Savior really is. And now, here is my personal translation of 1 John 1:1-4 and following are my notes from today:

1 John Chapter 1

1 About the Word of Life, who was from the beginning, whom we heard, whom we saw with our eyes, whom we looked at and our hands touched.
2 The Life appeared and we have seen it, and we bear witness to it. We proclaim to you the Life eternal, who was with the Father and whom we have seen.
3 Whom we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you also may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ.
4 And these things we are writing so that our joy will be full.

This is one of the most amazing introductions in the Bible. It is clear and to the punch. It is straightforward in its bold statements of fact. "We have seen... We have heard... We have touched... the Logos of Life, i.e. the Word of Life." Such a powerful statement totally exposes any false ideas coming from the gnostic heresies, and boldly declares the truth about the Son of God. The gnostics were a group of pagans who mixed Christianity with their false ideas. They denied that Jesus had human flesh, claiming He was only a spirit. They also believed in many gods, not unlike the mormon church reportedly does. Others, such as Jews, did not believe in the Deity of Christ, but thought He was only a man and nothing more. Others said Jesus was an exalted Angel, sort of like the JW's do today.

John left no room for such false beliefs right from the get-go. If you don't believe Jesus came in the flesh - Bam! Your black in the eye. If you don't believe Jesus is eternally Divine with the Father, and yet one God - Pow! Your knocked out. John hit between the eyes in this introduction. He just thrust his sword right through the dragon's throat. He left no room for such false ideas in this introduction of who Jesus is.

And notice how the purpose for writing is stated in verses three and four. The proclamation of the plain truth about Christ, was so that we might also have fellowship with the apostles, and with God as both Father and Son. And verse four is special, in that it was written "so that our joy is full." Who's joy is "our" joy? It would have to be those who are truly saved, those walking in the light and abiding in the truth (1 John 1:7), and so experiencing genuine fellowship. For anyone else, the implied call is to immediate repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as God in the flesh, the Son of the Father. Those who genuinely repent and believe this testimony are also promised genuine fellowship.

John's bold statement would have been clear to any Hellenistic (Greek cultured) person reading this, "The Life appeared and we have seen it, and we bear witness to it. We proclaim to you the eternal Life who is from the Father, and whom we have seen."

[Caution: I just read and watched some videos about Todd Bentley, and felt like what I wrote above sounded a little too much like his false enthusiasm. Forgive me, my point was that the apostle John was very sharp in correcting the heresies that were arising in the early church, and not that we should go around beating people up in the name of Jesus like a maniac. Thanks.]


Rita Martinez said...

huh I knew something sounded familiar! ok just kidding, I wouldn't have actually noticed if you had not said so.
If Mr. Bentley (while I know this post is not about him, still needed to pitch in) would've have said anything even close to what you have written here I think there would be no problem using the expressions "Pow!" and "Bam!".

I wonder in verse 4, I know the ESV says "that our joy..." but the word in greek is humōn which means of yours, but when I go to the Byzantine Greek NT it uses another word, actually it says ημων (ego, or I) ημων (ego, or I) VAR: υμων (su, or you) :END

what does zhubert say? I know there is another greek word similar to humon which is used in other parts of the NT and means ours, hēmōn.
Anyways I was just curious.

penn (chief sinner) said...

May God thrust His holy written Word right through Mr. Bentley's heart, just like He did mine and changed me forever.

About the word "our" joy. I don't know enough about Greek to give you anything other than a simple answer about the manuscripts used. I know that the TR which is what the KJV is translated from, uses a word for "your" joy. Most other translations are from some other manuscripts that are different from the TR in many ways, because they are older. So the ESV, the NASB and etc. translate it as "our joy." I think that is a fine way to say it, since John was writing for his own joy even as he wrote for the joy of all his believing readers. The intros of 2 and 3 John show how much joy he got out of his "little children" who were walking in the truth.