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1 John 1:3-4

1:3 What we have seen and heard we announce 1  to you too, so that 2  you may have fellowship 3  with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). 1:4 Thus 4  we are writing these things so that 5  our 6  joy may be complete. 7 

1 tn Or “proclaim.”

2 tn The ἵνα (Jina) here indicates purpose.

3 tn Or “communion”; or “association” (a reality shared in common, so in this case, “genuine association”). This term also occurs in vv. 6, 7.

4 tn “Thus” is supplied to indicated the resultative nature of the Greek conjunction καί (kai) at the beginning of v. 4.

5 tn The ἵνα (Jina) here indicates purpose.

6 tc A number of mss, some of them important (A C K P 33 81 1505 1739 pm syh bo), read ὑμῶν (Jumwn, “your”) rather than ἡμῶν (Jhmwn, “our”), which is found in somewhat better witnesses (א B L Ψ 049 1241 pm syp sa). Although the majority of Byzantine minuscules are split between the two readings, the Textus Receptus reads ὑμῶν. It is possible that ὑμῶν represents a scribal assimilation to John 16:24. As far as the immediate context is concerned, either reading could possibly be original, since the recipients have already been mentioned in 1:2 (ὑμῖν, Jumin) and 1:3 (ὑμῖν), while it might seem more natural for the author to be concerned about the fulfillment of his own joy than his readers’ (cf. 2 John 4, 12; 3 John 3). Overall, the first person pronoun is preferred on both external and internal grounds.

7 tn Grk “be fulfilled.”

sn This is what we proclaim to you…so that our joy may be complete. The prologue to 1 John (1:1-4) has many similarities to the prologue to the Gospel of John (1:1-18). Like the prologue to the Fourth Gospel, the prologue to 1 John introduces the reader to important themes which will be more fully developed later in the body of the work. In the case of 1 John, three of these are: (1) the importance of eyewitness testimony to who Jesus is (cf. 4:14, 5:6-12), (2) the importance of the earthly ministry of Jesus as a part of God’s revelation of himself in Jesus Christ (cf. 4:2, 5:6), and (3) the eternal life available to believers in Jesus Christ (5:11-12, 5:20). Like the rest of the letter, the prologue to 1 John does not contain any of the usual features associated with a letter in NT times, such as an opening formula, the name of the author or sender, the name(s) of the addressee(s), a formal greeting, or a health wish or expression of remembrance. The author of 1 John begins the prologue with an emphasis on the eyewitness nature of his testimony. He then transitions to a focus on the readers of the letter by emphasizing the proclamation of this eyewitness (apostolic) testimony to them. The purpose of this proclamation is so that the readers might share in fellowship with the author, a true fellowship which is with the Father and the Son as well. To guarantee this maintenance of fellowship the author is writing the letter itself (line 4a). Thus, in spite of the convoluted structure of the prologue in which the author’s thought turns back on itself several times, there is a discernible progression in his thought which ultimately expresses itself in the reason for the writing of the letter (later expressed again in slightly different form in the purpose statement of 5:13).

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