1 John 1:2 Commentary

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Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 1 John - Charles Swindoll
Conditions of
Cautions of
Meaning of 
1 Jn 1:1-2:27
Manifestations of
1 Jn 2:28-5:21
Abiding in
God's Light
Abiding in 
God's Love
Written in Ephesus
circa 90 AD
From Talk Thru the Bible

1 John 1:2 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-- (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai e zoe ephanerothe, (3SAPI) kai eorakamen (1PRAI) kai marturoumen (1PPAI) kai apaggellomen (1PPAI) humin ten zoen ten aionion etis en (3SIAI) pros ton patera kai ephanerothe (3SAPI) ehein

Amplified: And the Life [an aspect of His being] was revealed (made manifest, demonstrated), and we saw [as eyewitnesses] and are testifying to and declare to you the Life, the eternal Life [in Him] Who already existed with the Father and Who [actually] was made visible (was revealed) to us [His followers]. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

ESV: 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— (ESVBible.org)

KJV: (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

NLT: This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: For it was life which appeared before us: we saw it, we are eye-witnesses of it, and are now writing to you about it. It was the very life of all ages, the life that has always existed with the Father, which actually became visible in person to us mortal men. (Phillips: Touchstone) (1John Online)

Wuest: And this aforementioned life was made visible, and we have seen it with discernment and have it in our mind’s eye, and are bearing witness and bringing back to you a message concerning the life, the eternal life, which is of such a nature as to have been in fellowship with the Father and was made visible to us.

Young's Literal: and the Life was manifested, and we have seen, and do testify, and declare to you the Life, the age-during, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us

AND THE LIFE WAS MANIFESTED, AND WE HAVE SEEN AND TESTIFY AND PROCLAIM TO YOU THE ETERNAL LIFE: kai e zoe ephanerothe, (3SAPI) kai eorakamen (1PRAI) kai marturoumen (1PPAI) kai apaggellomen (1PPAI) humin ten zoen ten aionion:

  • the life: 1Jn 5:11,20 Jn 1:4 11:25,26 14:6
  • manifested: 1Jn 3:5,8 Ro 16:25,26 1Ti 3:16 2Ti 1:10 Tit 1:2
  • testify: Jn 15:27 21:14 Ac 1:22 2:32 3:15 5:32 10:41 1Pe 5:1
  • proclaim: 1Jn 5:20
  • eternal: Jn 17:3
  • 1 John 1 Resources

NET Bible Note - In the Greek text the prologue to 1 John 1:1-4 makes up a single sentence. This is awkward in Greek, and a literal translation produces almost impossible English.

And (kai) - Note that many of the translations omit this conjunction "and" (e.g., see ESV above). And (kai) points to another thought added to what has already been said, affirming the historical appearing and eternal nature of “the life” just mentioned.

Kistemaker writes that

To be sure, this conjunction (kai = "and") conveys an affirmative intent that can be translated "indeed." That is, "indeed the life appeared." (New Testament Commentary - James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude)

John is confirming and amplifying 1Jn 1:1, especially explaining the word Life. Many commentators consider verse 2 a parenthesis (a "parenthetical remark"), in which John pauses so to speak to make an explanatory comment on what he has just stated in verse 1, and then resumes his train of thought in 1Jn 1:3.


The Life - What life? The Life of Christ Who is Life. Notice John's repetition for emphasis -- "The Word of Life"… "The Life"… "The Eternal Life." In short order John emphasizes Jesus is the personification of life.

"Life" in 1John - 1 John 1:1, 1:2, 2:16, 2:25, 3:14, 15, 16, 5:11, 12, 13, 16, 20

Ligon Duncan notes that

Verse 2 is a very important pause (parenthesis) though, because in it he says that the blessed life, the joyful life, the meaningful life, eternal life and fellowship with God was manifested objectively in Jesus Christ. Here’s how he puts it. “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.” He pauses and he is telling you that the eternal word entered our space and time and was made manifest to men. In particular, he is stressing that we, that apostles, have seen and testify and proclaim the Jesus who was visibly manifested in the flesh. (1 John 1:1-4 The Word of Life Appeared to Us)

The life was manifested - Jesus Christ Who has always been God, became manifest in Human History as a flesh and blood Man, Who was seen by John. This is John's "shorthand" description of the incarnation of Christ. John's description parallels Paul's description stating that Jesus was "made in the likeness and men" (Phil 2:7-note) and was "found in appearance as a man" (Phil 2:8-note). The life Jesus manifested before His family, His disciples, and the world was a supernatural, eternal life, the life of God Himself.

Later in First John we read how one attains real life, eternal life in this short life on earth…

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1Jn 5:12)

In his Gospel John notes that the Word had life writing that…

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. (Jn 1:1-4)

Later in this same Gospel Jesus declared that…

just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself (Jn 5:26)

Preparatory to His resurrection of Lazarus Jesus declared to Martha…

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (Jn 11:25-26)

Paul adds that Christ Jesus…

has been revealed (phaneroo - manifested, made visible) by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus (The Historical Fact of Jesus birth - His incarnation), Who abolished death, and brought life (Jesus is the essence of Life which parallels John's description of Him in 1Jn 1:2 as "the Eternal Life") and immortality to light (to a world in spiritual darkness) through the Gospel (2Ti 1:10-note).

Near the end of this letter John again writes

And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. (1Jn 5:11,12)

Wuest explains

This life which is invisible was made visible to the human race through the humanity of our Lord. We put light which is invisible through a prism, break it up into its component parts, and it becomes visible. The beauty of the life that God is, broken up into its various parts such as love, grace, humility, kindness, etc., is seen through the prism of the human life of our Lord. (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament)

Manifested (5319)(phaneroo from the adjective phanerós = manifest, visible, conspicuous from the verb phaino = to give light; to illuminate; to become visible from the noun phos = light) is literally "to bring to light" and primarily means "to make visible" or to cause to become visible. The basic meaning of phaneroo is to make known or to clearly reveal giving an external manifestation to the senses which is visible to all. Thayer adds that phaneroo means “to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown”.

Note that the idea of to be manifested in the Scriptural sense means more than just to appear. For example, a person may appear in a false guise or without a disclosure of what he truly is (this is especially the meaning of phaneroo, see, e.g., John 3:21; 1Co 4:5; 2Cor. 5:10, 11; Ep 5:13). Thus as used of Jesus, phaneroo conveys the sense of Him being revealed in His true character.

In 1Jn 1:2 John, the apostle uses phaneroo to describe the revelation of the Lord at His first coming and in Col. 3:4-note the apostle Paul employs the same verb (phaneroo) to describe His Second Coming.

Phaneroo is frequently used in the Gospel of John to refer to Jesus’ revelation of Himself to His disciples (John 2:11, 21:1; 21:14).

Marvin Vincent has this note on phaneroo

Occurring frequently in the New Testament, it is used most frequently of God and Christ, or of men in their relation to these. Thus, of Christ in person while upon earth (Mark 16:12, 14; John 1:31; 2:11; 1Pet. 1:20; 1John 1:2). Of the works of Christ (John 2:11; 9:3; 1 John 3:5). Of Christ in redemption (1 John 3:5). Of Christ in His second coming (1 John 2:28). Of Christ in glory (1 John 3:2; Col. 3:4). It is used of God. Of His revelation to men of the knowledge of Himself (Rom. 1:19). Of His manifestation in Christ (1 Tim. 3:16). Of His righteousness (Rom. 3:21). Of His love (1 John 4:9). It is used of men. As epistles manifesting the character and spirit of Christ (2Cor. 3:3; 5:11). In the judgment (2Cor 5:10).

In all these cases the appearing is not merely an appeal to sense, but is addressed to spiritual perception, and contemplates a moral and spiritual effect. It is the setting forth of the law or will or character of God; of the person or work of Christ; of the character or deeds of men, with a view to the disclosure of their quality and to the producing of a moral impression. (In Vincent's Notes on John 21:1 - see "Shewed" in his online word Word Studies in the New Testament)

George G Findlay observes that…

JOHN HAD WITNESSED, AS HE BELIEVED, THE SUPREME MANIFESTATION OF GOD. The secret of the universe stood unveiled before his eyes, the everlasting fact and truth of things, the reality underlying all appearances, “that which was from the beginning.” Here he touched the Spring of being, the Principle that animates creation from star to farthest star, from the archangel to the worm in the sod:

“The life was manifested, the life eternal which existed with the Father, was manifested to us.” If “the life” of this passage is identical with that of the Gospel prologue, it has all this breadth of meaning; it receives a limitless extension when it is defined as “that which was from the beginning.”

The Source of spiritual life to men is that which was, in the first instance, the source of natural life to all creatures. Here lies the foundation of St. John’s theology. It assumes the solidarity of being, the unity of the seen and unseen. It contradicts and excludes, from the outset, all Gnostic, dualistic, and Docetic conceptions of the world. This essential and aboriginal (being the first or earliest known of its kind present in a region) Life, he tells us, became incarnate, that it may have fellowship with men; it (He) was slain, that its (His) blood may cleanse them from iniquity. (Biblical Illustrator - 1John 1 = more than 70 pages of resources)

We have seen (3708)(horao) refers not merely to the act of seeing, but also conveys the idea that there is the actual perception of what is seen. Notice John's use of "seen" is in the perfect tense which signifies, yes they saw Jesus and that image continues to be present in their mind. Wuest paraphrases it this way "we have seen it with discernment and have it in our mind’s eye." May God's Spirit so reveal Jesus to us through His Word that we like John might have His image "burned" forever in our mind and heart, in such a way that it motivates and energizes us to share that "image" with those who have never seen the Life, the Eternal One! Amen.

In 1Jn 3:6 John uses horao in a context which emphasizes that this verb means more than simply seeing, but includes the idea of seeing with discernment…

No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen (horao) Him or knows (ginosko = knows by experience) Him.

Comment: This is a description of an unsaved person and not the description of a believer. Both "abides" and "sins" are in the present tense which speaks of continuous activity.

Horao is used by Jesus who declared to His disciples…

If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen (horao) Him." (Jn 14:7)

Comment: At this time the disciples (including John) did not understand Jesus' statement (see Jn 14:8), but Jesus knew they would and spoke of it as if it were already true ("from now on you know Him"). Jesus' point is that He was God and to see Him was to see God. Here in John's epistle, he is testifying to that he saw Jesus. (Read Jn 14:9 which also uses horao = "have seen").

We testify (bear witness) (3140)(martureo from mártus = witness = one who has information or knowledge of something and can bring to light or confirm something. English = martyr) in its most basic sense refers to a legal witness. Thus the verb martureo means to be a witness, to testify, to give evidence, to give testimony, to bear record, to affirm that one has seen or heard or experienced something. John is using the verb in that sense, indicating that what he is saying is related to fact, not opinion, even as if he were giving sworn testimony in a courtroom setting.

Notice that testify (bear witness) and proclaim are both in the present tense, signifying this was John's lifestyle, his habitual practice and beloved it should also be our "reason for living" as they say! Let your light shine!

To bear witness of the real life and death and burial and resurrection of the God-Man, Christ Jesus was indeed the chief office to which the apostles were designed by Christ, and in order that they might be enabled to the faithful discharge of it, He promised the power of the Holy Spirit (Jn 15:26, 27; Acts 1:8). Beloved follower of Christ, does He not call us to the same task and provide us with the same Power, the permanent, personal possession of His indwelling Spirit? Are we faithfully discharging our duty by bearing witness of our Master Jesus, the Savior of the World? The first two letters in "Gospel" spell "Go" which is what the early church did for they could not stop speaking what they had seen and heard. (Acts 4:20)

Where does John continually testify? Clearly, he continues to testify to what he has seen of the Eternal Life in the Gospel which bears his name, writing…

Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name… This is the disciple who bears witness of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his witness is true. (Jn 20:30, 31, 21:24)

Guy King adds that…

A "witness" is a two-sided being - the one side of him sees, the other side of him shows (Show and tell); and it is just that dual function that is incumbent upon every true believer - "ye shall be witnesses… " (Acts 1:8).

John MacArthur comments…

Because of his widespread reputation as one who had been with Jesus as an apostle (cf. Jn 1:14, 16–18, 37–51), John was a true and credible witness (Jn 19:35–37). Other New Testament books written by apostles or their associates also present eyewitness accounts of Jesus and the truth of the gospel. The other Gospels do that (cf. Lk 1:1–4), as does the book of Acts (cf. 1:1–3) and the epistles (e.g., 2Pe 1:16–21).

Seen… bear witness… proclaim - Vincent refers to these as "Three ideas in the apostolic message: experience, testimony, announcement." (Ibid) In "seen" the emphasis is on the communication of truth to the apostles (and now to us) and in "bear witness… proclaim" the emphasis is on the communication of truth to others who are dead in their trespasses and sin (Eph 2:1)! What is it that John (and the apostles) proclaim (and we are to proclaim today)? The life (that) was manifested, the incarnation of God in a Man, sent from His eternal fellowship with the Father on mission to die as sinful man's substitutionary sacrifice. This is the Good News we need to proclaim to those who have only bad news awaiting them outside of Christ! Are you sitting and soaking up the truth? Or are you diligently, intentionally seeking to proclaim the Truth, Word of Life, the Eternal Life?

William MacDonald writes that

The following lines by an unknown author show the practical implications of these first two verses for our lives:

I am glad that my knowledge of eternal life is not built on the speculations of philosophers or even theologians but on the unimpeachable testimony of those who heard, saw, gazed at, and handled Him in whom it was incarnate. It is not merely a lovely dream, but solid fact, carefully observed and an accurately recorded fact. (Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson)


THE DIVINE AND THE HUMAN IN CHRIST - The picture produced in the stereopticon (depicted above) is fuller, rounder and more natural than the same picture seen without the use of that instrument. But to produce the stereoscopic picture there must be two pictures blended into one by the use of the stereopticon, and both the eyes of the observer are brought into requisition at the same time, looking each through a separate lens. Thus Christ is only seen in His true and proper light, when the record of His human nature and the statement of His Divine are blended. It is a flat, unfinished Christ with either left out. But it is as seen in the Word, with the moral and mental powers of our being both engaged in the consideration, and thus only, that we get the full and true result.

Proclaim (518) (apaggello from apó = from + aggéllo = tell, declare from aggelos = messenger, one who speaks in place of one who has sent him) means to bring a message from any person or place. To bring tidings from a person or thing. To relate, inform, tell what has occurred. In the present context the idea is to announce openly. Apaggello is the carrying of tidings or messages from the authentic source. As discussed above, proclaim in this verse is in the present tense.

Alfred Plummer comments that apaggello "has merely the notion of proclaiming and making known, (anaggello) has the notion of proclaiming again what has been received elsewhere." (1John 1 Commentary)

Note: Do not confuse apaggello with the similar word anaggello (see note).

Apaggello summarized

(1) Carry back a message from a happening and thus give an account of something (to report, announce, tell, inform)

(2) To proclaim or announce. To make something known publicly. It was used of a messenger, to bring tidings, report, announce

Detzler comments on the root word aggéllo

We find echoes of this word in such English words as "angel" (one who brings a message from God), "evangelism" (a declaration of the Gospel), and "evangelical" (one who believes in the Gospel message). (New Testament Words in Today's Language)

Apaggello - 45x in 45v in the NAS - announced(1), declared(1), declaring(3), proclaim(4), report(10), reported(22), take word(1), tell(1), told(3).

Matthew 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him."

Matthew 8:33 The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs.

Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see:


Matthew 14:12 His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.

Matthew 28:8 And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples.

Matthew 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me." 11 Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened.

Detzler comments: For the guards and their chiefs this was a disaster, but for believers it was the confirmation of all Christ had said. Now that is something to shout about! (New Testament Words in Today's Language)

Mark 5:14 Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened.

Wuest's note is helpful: The word “told” (reported in NAS) is apaggellō “to bring tidings from a person or thing, bring word.” The prefixed preposition (apo) which means “off from” adds to the meaning already existing in the simple verb aggellō “to announce,” the idea being that what one announces, he openly lays, as it were, off from himself. The swineherds were charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the animals under their care, and to have two thousand hogs piled up in heaps in shallow water, all dead, was something to explain. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

Mark 5:19 And He did not let him, but He said to him, "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."

Mark 6:30 The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all that they had done and taught.

Mark 16:10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping.

Mark 16:13 They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.

Luke 7:18 The disciples of John reported to him about all these things.

Luke 7:22 And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

Luke 8:20 And it was reported to Him, "Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, wishing to see You."

Luke 8:34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country.

Luke 8:36 Those who had seen it reported to them how the man who was demon-possessed had been made well.

Luke 8:47 When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.

Luke 9:36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

Luke 13:1 Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.

Luke 14:21 "And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, 'Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.'

Luke 18:37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.

Luke 24:9 and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.

John 16:25 "These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.

Acts 4:23 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.

Acts 5:22 But the officers who came did not find them in the prison; and they returned and reported back,

Acts 5:25 But someone came and reported to them, "The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!"

Acts 11:13 "And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, 'Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here;

Acts 12:14 When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate.

Acts 12:17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, "Report these things to James and the brethren." Then he left and went to another place.

Acts 15:27 "Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.

Acts 16:36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, "The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Therefore come out now and go in peace."

Acts 16:38 The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,

Acts 22:26 When the centurion heard this, he went to the commander and told him, saying, "What are you about to do? For this man is a Roman."

Acts 23:16 But the son of Paul's sister heard of their ambush, and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, "Lead this young man to the commander, for he has something to report to him."… 19 The commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, "What is it that you have to report to me?"

Acts 26:20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.

Acts 28:21 They said to him, "We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you.

1 Corinthians 14:25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

1 Thessalonians 1:9-note For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,


1 John 1:2 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--3 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.

Apaggello is used 234x in the Septuagint (Lxx). Here are a few examples to study…

Genesis 12:18 Then Pharaoh called Abram and said, "What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = apaggello) me that she was your wife?

Genesis 37:5 Then Joseph had a dream, and when he told (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = apaggello) it to his brothers, they hated him even more.

Genesis 48:1 Now it came about after these things that Joseph was told Hebrew = amar = to utter or say; Lxx = apaggello), "Behold, your father is sick." So he took his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim with him.

Ruth 2:11 Boaz replied to her, "All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = apaggello- in Greek "apaggelia [noun] apeggele [verb]" = Literally "a report reported") to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.

Ruth 2:19 Her mother-in-law then said to her, "Where did you glean today and where did you work? May he who took notice of you be blessed." So she told (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = apaggello) her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, "The name of the man with whom I worked today is Boaz."

Ruth 3:4 "It shall be when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies, and you shall go and uncover his feet and lie down; then he will tell (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = apaggello) you what you shall do."

1 Samuel 3:15 So Samuel lay down until morning. Then he opened the doors of the house of the LORD. But Samuel was afraid to tell (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = apaggello) the vision to Eli.

Psalm 71:18 (In the last decade or so of my life, this verse is especially significant to me and motivates me to continue adding to this website!) And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare (Hebrew = nagad = to be or make conspicuous; Lxx = apaggello) Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come. (I pray these notes do just that - declare His strength and His power to all generations yet to come, however long the Lord should tarry. In His Name and for His glory. Amen)

Psalm 78:6 (Context = Ps 78:5) That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell (Hebrew = saphar = recount, relate; Lxx = apaggello) them to their children

Comment: Here is the NET Bible rendering which is somewhat clearer - "so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them." Is there not inherent in this great passage the charge by our Lord to make disciples? What better disciples than our children, who follow hard after Christ!

Jesus came to proclaim (preach) Good News. He trained His disciples to do the same. John is doing what he was trained to do. Our mission today as His disciples is still the same -- to share the Eternal Life found in Christ with the lost world around us. Are you fulfilling your privileged duty (under grace not law, enabled by the Spirit, not your fallen flesh) of passing on the Word of Life, the Eternal Life, to those who live in spiritual darkness, with a sword of Damocles hanging over their head promising nothing but eternal spiritual death (Eph 2:1, 2)?


The Eternal Life - Literally this reads "the Life, the eternal." This descriptive phrase functions in this context as virtually a name of Jesus. It is notable that John's letter begins (1Jn 1:2) and ends (1Jn 5:20) with the theme of eternal life! John desires that his readers have full assurance of eternal life (1John 5:13).

A T Robertson writes that in 1John 1:2 eternal life "means the divine life which the Logos was and is (John 1:4; 1John 1:1)."

Robert Lightner sees another significance to this phrase that…

Only God possesses eternal life. Since John speaks of Christ as "the eternal life, which was with the Father," this verse therefore assigns full and absolute deity to Christ. This is the One said to be heard, seen, and touched. He was and is the God-man. (Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series – The Epistles of First, Second, & Third John & Jude: Forgiveness, Love, and Courage)

Eternal life - This important phrase is used six times in First John…

1 John 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--

1 John 2:25 And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.

1 John 3:15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 5:11 And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

The other NT uses of "eternal life":

15x in John's Gospel - John 3:15, 16, 36; 4:14; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68; 10:28; 12:50; 17:2, 3

20x in rest of NT - Mt 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mk 10:17, 30; Lk 10:25; 18:18, 30; Acts 13:46, 48; Ro 2:7; 5:21; 6:22, 23; Gal 6:8; 1Ti 1:16; 6:12; Titus 1:2; 3:7; Jude 1:21.

See also related phrase = "life eternal" used in John 4:36 12:25.

John emphasizes that Jesus, Who was manifest as a Man, is without beginning or end, a truth which counters the heretical teaching of many cults (eg, Jehovah's Witnesses) which say that Jesus was a created being, that He had a beginning. John would say "no"! As hard as it is for us to comprehend this truth, the life of Jesus is eternal! Let us who now possess the Hope (absolute certainty of future good) of this Eternal Life (Col 1:27b-note), praise Him for opening our blind eyes (Isa 29:18, Lk 4:18, Acts 26:18, 2Co 4:6) and our rebellious hearts (Ezek 11:19, 36:26 Acts 16:14, 2Cor 3:14, Lk 24:45) and revealing this glorious, transcendent truth! (See God's Attribute - Eternal)

Dr S Lewis Johnson writes that…

John's message is very simple. He wants to make us certain about Christ. He wants us to realize that the testimony that is preserved by the apostles and now in the church and expounded in the church is a reliable testimony, and he wants us to be certain about eternal life. He sums it up at the end of the epistle when he says,

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding in order that we may know Him, who is true, and we are in Him, who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ, this is the true God and eternal life. Little children, guard yourself from idols. (1Jn 5:20, 21)

F F Bruce comments that John's epistle…

is justly called the epistle of eternal life. It shows how and in Whom that life was uniquely and perfectly manifested; it shows how the presence of that life in men and women may be recognized. John's own experience of that life entitles him to speak of it with assurance and communicate his assurance to others: this, he says, we have seen; to this we bear witness; this we make known to you.

Jesus declared to the religious Jews…

You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. (Jn 5:39-40)

Jesus explained to His disciples

I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; (absolutely) no one comes to the Father, but through Me. (Jn 14:6)

Eternal (166)(aionios from aion) means existing at all times, perpetual, pertaining to an unlimited duration of time (Ro 1:20 - God's power, Mt 18:8 - God's place of judgment, Ro 16:26 - God's attribute, and here in 1Jn 1:2, God's life!).

Vincent writes that aionios or eternal in this verse

describes the life in its quality of not being measured by time, a larger idea than that of mere duration.

A T Robertson writes that…

John defines the term by the adjective aionios, used 71 times in the NT, 44 times with zōē and 23 in John’s Gospel and Epistles (only so used in these books by John).

Life (2222)(zoe) refers to the life of Jesus in this context. Thayer describes zoe as “the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God.” In this verse, John uses the definite article "the Life", indicating not just any life, but the fullness of life in Jesus Christ. Simply put, the essence of life that God intends for His creation (and especially His children) is not a concept, but a Person, the God-Man Jesus Christ, Who Paul states is now and forever "our life." (Col 3:4-note, as does John in Jn 20:31, 14:19, 1Jn 5:11, 13).

Wuest adds that "this life that God is, is not to be defined as merely animation, but as definitely ethical in its content. God is not the mere reason for the universe, as the Greeks thought, but a Person with the characteristics and qualities of a divine Person. The ethical and spiritual qualities of this life which God is, are communicated to the sinner when the latter places his faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour, and this becomes the new, animating, energizing, motivating principle which transforms the experience of that individual, and the saint thus lives a Christian life. The message of John is that since the believer is a partaker of this life, it is an absolute necessity that he show the ethical and spiritual qualities that are part of the essential nature of God, in his own life. If these are entirely absent, John says, that person is devoid of the life of God, and is unsaved. The ethical and spiritual qualities of this life were exhibited to the human race in the earthly life of the Lord Jesus. His life thus becomes the pattern of what our lives should be in holiness, self-sacrifice, humility, and love. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)

As someone has well written "Life with Christ is an endless hope, without Him a hopeless end." Genuine, fulfilling, lasting, meaningful life is to be found only in our mystical union, our perfect oneness, our new covenant bond with "the Life" Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Vincent comments on "The Life" noting that this describes Jesus…

The Word Himself Who is the Life. Compare John 14:6; 5:26; 1John 5:11, 12. Life expresses the nature of the Word (John 1:4). The phrase, the Life, besides being equivalent to the Word, also indicates, like the Truth and the Light, an aspect of His being.

WHICH WAS WITH THE FATHER AND WAS MANIFESTED TO US: etis en (3SIAI) pros ton patera kai ephanerothe (3SAPI) ehein:

  • which was: Pr 8:22-30 Jn 1:1,2,18 3:13 7:29 8:38 16:28 17:5 Ro 8:3 Ga 4:4
  • 1 John 1 Resources

Which (hostis > etis) - BDAG says "hostis" refers to "any person, whoever, every one who, in a generalizing sense." In the present context, the pronoun clearly refers to Jesus Christ, Who John has just identified as the Eternal Life.

According to Kenneth Wuest the pronoun "Which" is important because…

It speaks of character or nature. The Life, the Lord Jesus, is of such a nature as to have been in fellowship with God the Father, very God of very God Himself, possessing co-eternally with God the Father and God the Spirit, the divine essence. This life, a Person, the Lord Jesus, is described by John as aiōnios (aion), “without beginning and without end, that which always has been and always will be, eternal.” Since this Life is without beginning, it must be uncreated, thus, deity in its essence. (Ibid)

Was with (Greek = pros) the Father - "The life" (Jesus) was with the Father. Jesus showed that life to John and the other apostles. John and those who believed in the Lord Jesus saw this real life.

Vine explains that

The word pros, “with,” as in the first verse of the Gospel (John 1:1), signifies not merely an accompaniment, but a living, active relation to, and communion with, the Father. (Bolding added)

Wuest adds that…

With” is an important word here. It is pros, which means “facing” and implies fellowship. All of which means that the life here referred to is a Person, for it requires a person to have fellowship. A mere abstraction can have no fellowship. The life here is none other than the Lord Jesus Himself who is said by John to have been in fellowship with the Father. (Ibid)

Harris notes that…

The author’s statement here that it was the eternal life that was with the Father echoes John 1:1 where it was the Word who was with the Father. Thus in 1Jn 1:1–4 it is the term life rather than word which refers to Jesus as He revealed Himself in His earthly career, including His person, words, works, death, and resurrection. This subtle shift in emphasis is precisely in keeping with the author’s stress on the importance of the earthly career of Jesus of Nazareth as the incarnate Word in his dispute with the opponents. (1, 2, 3 John - Comfort and Counsel for a Church in Crisis)

Eternal Life… was manifested to us (Literally - "and the life appeared") (Manifested = phaneroo same verb as above) - As previously noted, John's first use of "manifested" describes that which was previously invisible becoming visible in the incarnation of Jesus. The second use of "manifested" speaks of the spiritual eyes of John and the apostles being opened (by the Spirit) to see and discern the true character of Jesus the Man, His Message and His Mission.

Vincent agrees adding that…

The life was manifested, sets forth the unfolding of that fact in the various operations of life. The one (Ed: The first use of "manifested" in 1Jn 1:2) denotes the objective process of the incarnation as such, the other (Ed: The second use of "manifested" in 1Jn 1:2) the result of that process as related to human capacity of receiving and understanding it. (Ibid)

Wuest writes…

the incarnation of the Son of God was the making visible to human understanding, the life which God is. (Ibid)

Steven Cole (The Tests of True Christianity) amplifies Vincent's explanation of John's two uses of manifested, writing that…

John states (1Jn 1:2), “the life was manifested,” and then repeats that this eternal lifewas manifested to us” (the apostles). In other words, the apostles not only had Jesus Christ revealed to them in an objective, historical way; but also, He was manifested to them in a spiritual way as “the life, the eternal one” (literal translation of the Greek). God opened their eyes to see that the man, Jesus, was not just a godly man or a great teacher. It was revealed to them that He is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16-17).

Why didn’t the multitudes that heard the same teaching and saw the same miracles as the apostles also see and believe in Christ as the life-giving Savior? Jesus explained (Luke 10:21) that the Father had hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to infants (see also, Mt 13:10-17). Then (Luke 10:22) He added, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” In a similar vein, Paul explained (2Cor. 4:4-note), “… the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Unless God shines into our hearts to give sight (2Cor 4:6-note), we cannot and will not see the truth about who Jesus Christ really is. At its core,


George G Findlay calls us to…

observe the energy with which the apostle asserts THE ACTUALITY of the manifestation of the life of God in Jesus Christ. Thrice in three verses he reiterates, “we have seen” it, twice “we have heard”; and twice he repeats, “the life was manifested.”

This stupendous fact has, naturally, always had its doubters and deniers. In any age of the world, and under any system of thought, such a revelation as that made in Jesus Christ was sure to be met with incredulity. It is equally opposed to the superstitions and to the skepticisms natural to the human mind. In truth, the mind that is not surprised and sometimes staggered by the claims of Christ and the doctrines of Christianity, that has not felt the shock they give to our ordinary experience and native convictions, has hardly awakened yet to their full import.

John feels that the things he declares demand the strongest evidence. He has not believed them lightly, and he does not expect others to believe them lightly.

This passage, like many besides in the New Testament record, goes to show that the apostles were well aware of the importance of historical truth; they were conscientious and jealously observant in regard to this cardinal requirement. Their faith was calm, rational, and sagacious. They were perfectly certain of the things they attested, and believed only upon commanding and irresistible proof, that covered the whole extent of the case. But the facts they built their faith upon are so largely of the spiritual order, that without a corresponding spiritual sense and faculty they can never be absolutely convincing.

Already, in John’s old age, the solvents of philosophical analysis were being applied to the Gospel history and doctrine (Ed: E.g., the rise of Gnosticism). The Godhead incarnate, the manifestation of the infinite in the finite, was pronounced impossible and self-contradictory; we know beforehand, the wise of the world said, that it cannot be (cp 1Cor 1:25, 26, 27, 28, 29). The incarnation, the miracles, the resurrection, the ascension — what are they but a myth (2Ti 4:3, 4-note), a beautiful poetic dream, a pictorial representation of spiritual truth, from which we must extract for ourselves a higher creed, leaving behind all the supernatural as so much mere wrappage and imaginative dress!

So the Apostle John confronts them, and their like in every age, with his impressive and authoritative declaration. Behind him lies the whole weight of the character, intelligence, and disciplined experience of the witnesses of Jesus. Of what use was it for men at a distance to argue that this thing and that thing could not be? “I tell you,” says the great apostle, “we have seen Him with our eyes, we have heard Him with our very ears; we have touched and tested and handled these things at every point, and we know that they are so.” As he puts it, at the end of his letter, “We know that the Son of God is come; and He hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true.” (1Jn 5:20KJV)

The men who have founded Christianity and written the New Testament were no fools. They knew what they were talking about. No dreamer, no fanatic, no deceiver, since the world began, ever wrote like the author of this Epistle. (Biblical Illustrator - 1John 1 = more than 70 pages of resources)

Vine summarizes three facts about Jesus which John gives us in 1John 1:2…

1. The unoriginated existence of the Person. This is intimated in the repetition of the word “the Life,” with the addition of “eternal.”

2. His Godhood in relation to the Father. (As noted above) The word pros, “with,” as in the first verse of the Gospel, signifies not merely an accompaniment, but a living, active relation to, and communion with, the Father.

3. His manifestation through His incarnation.

These opening statements of the epistle are convincing evidence of the authenticity of the apostolic testimony as recorded in the New Testament. There is complete absence of aiming at originality or concoction. They are plain, simple declarations of facts of experience, and bear the marks of genuineness. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson)

In 1Timothy 3:16 Paul records what was probably a hymn that the first century Christians sang, a hymn which testified to Jesus' appearance as the God Man (As an aside, the words we sing are so important to our soul and should be thoroughly "Bibliocentric" - Does this describe the songs you sing in worship?)

He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.

Compare Paul's words to the familiar (at least to some of us) "Apostle's Creed" (which was used by the church as early as A.D. 150) (As an aside, as you read and come to understand John's purpose for writing, you can begin to understand why the early church composed creeds - sadly the repeated recital of such creeds have had a tendency to become words simply mouthed rather than words truly believed. John would want them to be words we truly believe. You might want to take a moment now and prayerfully, ponderingly recite this ancient, albeit timeless, classic creed.)


I believe in God the Father Almighty,

Maker of heaven and earth;

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord;


Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,

born of the Virgin Mary,

and suffered under Pontius Pilate,

was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell;

the third day He rose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,

And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;


from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;

the holy catholic Church;

the communion of saints;

the forgiveness of sins;

the resurrection of body;

and the life everlasting.


of the

Experience Testimony Announcement

Is this apostolic pattern not a good pattern
for all followers of Christ to emulate/imitate?

See Him
Testify of Him
Proclaim Him!

As we who have seen Jesus in His Word (cp 2Co 4:18, 2Co 5:7, Heb 11:1) taught by His Spirit practically live out His life in us enabled by His Spirit before the watching public, our supernaturally enabled conduct will give us a platform for public proclamation!

See related discussion of adorning the doctrine of God

We can preach a better sermon with our lives than with our lips

The lost world reads us a great deal more than they read the Bible.

Don't let your behavior contradict the belief you profess.

We are illuminating the truth of the Gospel by our life and our lips.

The message we proclaim with our lips should match the message we proclaim with our lives.

Is my life "proclaiming" what my lips are "proclaiming"?

It's the life behind our words that makes our testimony ring true.

Don't let your life and your lips proclaim a mixed message!

When actions and words agree, the message is loud and clear.

Proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and if necessary use words!

Let the acts of the offspring indicate similarity to the Father.

God put us on earth to shine as lights,
not to get used to the dark.

You are writing a Gospel,
A chapter each day,
By the deeds that you do
And the words that you say.

Men read what you write,
Whether faithful or true:
Just what is the Gospel
According to you?
- Author unknown

Celebrate the Man - A survey of visitors at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, revealed that many of the park’s guests under the age of 15 didn’t know that Walt Disney was a real person. They thought that “Disney” was just a company name. When corporate officials planned the celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth, they made a special effort to highlight the life and impact of the real man.

With Christmas still a few weeks away, it’s not too early to ponder how we can celebrate the Savior’s birth in a way that helps others know that Jesus lived on this earth as a real man. What can we do to communicate that a baby born in Bethlehem was the one and only Son of God who gave His life to save us from sin?

The apostle John, a companion of Jesus, taught that to live as a forgiven, transformed person is the best testimony we can give that Jesus was truly the Son of God, a real person. He wrote, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn 1:7). And “He who loves his brother abides in the light” (1Jn 2:10).

More than the gifts we give, it is how we live that will point to the reality of Christ this Christmas. — by David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Putting It Into Practice

What does it mean to "walk in the light"?

Review these verses for insight: Ephesians 5:8-10;

Colossians 3:12-15; James 3:17; 1 Peter 1:15-16.

Does your life shed light
or cast shadows?

Contact - We… declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us. —1John1:2

When Apollo 11 neared the moon in July 1969, the editors of The New York Times felt their coverage of the first step on lunar soil should go beyond headlines and photos to embrace an achievement shared by all humanity. So they asked Pulitzer Prize-winner Archibald MacLeish to write a poem. The day after Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin Jr. walked on the moon, the front page contained these words:

You were a wonder to us, unattainable,
A longing past the reach of longing,
A light beyond our light, our lives—
Perhaps a meaning to us …
Our hands have touched you in your depth of night.

That day, through the hands of others, we "touched the moon."

The apostle John wrote some memorable words about an even more significant historical event—the visit of God’s Son to this planet. He wrote,

That which was from the beginning, Which we have heard, Which we have seen with our eyes, Which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life… we declare to you (1Jn 1:1,3).

John touched Jesus. And today, so can we. As surely as John held Him in the flesh, we can grasp the Son of God through faith. We too can experience the joy of having a close relationship with the Father and the Son (1Jn 1:3, 4).

In faith, in fellowship, in times of greatest need, we can say, “Our hands have touched You.” — by David C. McCasland (Ibid)

We can come to Jesus
because Jesus came to us

The Needed Antenna - How would you answer the question, “What is the meaning of life?” Jonathan Gabay of England has published a book containing the answers of well-known individuals to that query. One of them, a church leader, gave an arresting testimony. As a child, he says, he watched his family’s black and white TV, wishing that he could get a clearer picture. But he was glad they had even that unsatisfactory set.

Then his family learned that an outside antenna was needed. “Suddenly,” he said, “we found that we could get clear and distinct pictures. Our enjoyment was transformed.” Then he draws this comparison: “Life without a relationship with God through Jesus Christ is like the television without the antenna.”

Without a knowledge of God and His purposes revealed in Scripture and in Jesus Christ, we finite humans with our sin-darkened minds have at best a blurred picture of the invisible, holy Creator. But when we pick up the Bible and encounter Jesus, the Man who was God-in-the-flesh, the fuzziness vanishes. As the Savior Himself declared, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn 14:9).

Have you seen Jesus clearly in God’s Word? Are you helping others to see Him too? (1Jn 1:1-3; Acts 1:8).— by Vernon C. Grounds (Ibid)

O send Thy Spirit, Lord, now unto me,
That He may touch my eyes and make me see;
Show me the truth concealed within Thy Word,
And in Thy book revealed I see Thee, Lord.

You can't get a clear picture of Christ
unless you see Him in the Bible!