From: Paul S. Dixon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Sep 17 1997 - 14:00:40 EDT
Apparently we may glean the purpose(s) of 1 John from three hINA clauses
found in 1:3, 4 and 5:13. They are respectively:
1) APAGGELLOMEN KAI hUMIN, hINA KAI hUMEIS KOINWNIA ECHTE MEQ hMWN, 1:3.
2) TAUTA GRAFOMEN hMEIS, hINA hH CARA hMWN Hi PEPLHRWMENH, 1:4.
3) TAUTA EGRAYA HUMIN hINA EIDHTE hOTI ZWHN ECETE AIWNION, 5:13.
Are these purposes mutually exclusive, or are they necessarily related?
And, if they are related, how so?
I would like to argue that the ultimate purpose is stated in 5:13 and
that the first two purpose statements necessarily relate to that purpose.
Here is my argument:
1) John himself certainly had assurance of his own salvation (1:1-3) and
it was his desire that the joy he and the rest of the apostles had
stemming from this assurance would be theirs. Thus, he desires that the
joy and resulting fellowship the apostles had may be that of these
recipients. The apostles' joy would truly be fulfilled (1:4) only as
they found these questioning brothers firmly convinced of their salvation
2) To this end John establishes tests by which they can know they have
salvation. This assurance is based on the doctrinal truth that God is
light and in Him there is no darkness at all (1:5). The summary
implication and argument of the whole epistle is then drawn. If we say
we have fellowship with Him and walk (present tense of PERIPATEW) in
darkness, then we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in
the light as He is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another
and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The whole
epistle can be shown to be an amplication of this argument.
3) The key words in the epistle are GINWSKW and OIDA. They occur at
least 26 and 16 times, respectively. John is very intent on their
knowing that they have eternal life.
4) In the epistle John draws a sharp distinction between the children of
God and the children of the devil.
The first test is obedience. "By this we know we have come to know him,
if we keep (present tense) His commandments; he who says "I know Him and
does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him"
There is the test of love and hate (2:10-11), a sub-test of the
There is the test of confession versus denial of the Son (2:23).
There is the test of the practice of righteousness versus the practice of
unrighteousness (2:29-3:10). John sums this one up nicely by saying, "by
this the children of God and the children of the devil are manfest; he
who does not practice righteousness is not of God" (3:10).
There is the test of the spirits. Every spirit that confesses Jesus come
in the flesh is of God; every spirit which does not confess such, is not
of God (4:1-5).
There is the test of believing what the apostles believe (4:6), "he who
is not of God does not hear us."
There is the test of love repeated, "everyone who loves is begotten of
God and knows God; he who does not love has not known God" (4:8).
There is the test of present tense belief that Jesus is the Christ.
Those who do so give evidence they have been begotten of God (EK TOU QEOU
After all this, perhaps we can come back to 1:6-10 and possibly recognize
this as the first specific test by which we can know we have eternal
life. Is it not the fact that children of God customarily/habitually
confess their sins - whenever they sin, not implying that they
habitually/customarily do sin - versus those who deny they even have sin
(sin nature, indwelling sin)(v. 8) or have ever committed sin (v. 10) who
give evidence that they deceive themselves (in their self-righteousness)
and in whom the truth does not reside.
Submitted for your prayerful consideration,
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