1 John 1:3
That which we have seen and heard declare we to you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
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1 John 1:3-4. That which we have seen — Him, I say, of whom we have such infallible knowledge, or that which we have seen and heard from him and of him; declare we to you — For this end; that ye also may have fellowship with us — May enjoy the same fellowship which we enjoy; or, in other words, that, being fully satisfied and firmly persuaded of the truth of our testimony, and laying hold on him by a lively faith, you may have fellowship with God and with Christ, such as we apostles, and other faithful Christians have, and may partake with us of the benefits and privileges we enjoy thereby. And truly our fellowship — Whereby he is in us, and we in him; is with the Father — We are savingly acquainted with, have access to, and intercourse with, the Father, and partake of all those blessings which God the Father has promised to those that are in covenant with him; and with his Son Jesus Christ — And we partake also of all those privileges Christ has purchased for his members, namely, pardon, reconciliation, the divine favour, adoption into God’s family, the Spirit of adoption sent into our hearts, regeneration, sanctification, a lively, joyful hope of the heavenly inheritance, and an earnest of that inheritance by his Spirit dwelling in us, whereby we sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. And these things write we unto you — We not only declare them in word, which might soon escape from your remembrance, but we put them down in writing, that you may frequently peruse and consider them; that your joy may be full — So our Lord also, John 15:11; John 16:22; that is, to confirm you in the faith, and direct you into that way, wherein you may have an abundant source of comfort. There is a joy of faith, a joy of hope, and a joy of love. Here the joy of faith is chiefly intended: and the expression, your joy, chiefly means your faith, and the joy arising from it. It likewise, however, implies the joy of hope, and the joy of love.1:1-4 That essential Good, that uncreated Excellence, which had been from the beginning, from eternity, as equal with the Father, and which at length appeared in human nature for the salvation of sinners, was the great subject concerning which the apostle wrote to his brethren. The apostles had seen Him while they witnessed his wisdom and holiness, his miracles, and love and mercy, during some years, till they saw him crucified for sinners, and afterwards risen from the dead. They touched him, so as to have full proof of his resurrection. This Divine Person, the Word of life, the Word of God, appeared in human nature, that he might be the Author and Giver of eternal life to mankind, through the redemption of his blood, and the influence of his new-creating Spirit. The apostles declared what they had seen and heard, that believers might share their comforts and everlasting advantages. They had free access to God the Father. They had a happy experience of the truth in their souls, and showed its excellence in their lives. This communion of believers with the Father and the Son, is begun and kept up by the influences of the Holy Spirit. The benefits Christ bestows, are not like the scanty possessions of the world, causing jealousies in others; but the joy and happiness of communion with God is all-sufficient, so that any number may partake of it; and all who are warranted to say, that truly their fellowship is with the Father, will desire to lead others to partake of the same blessedness.That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you - We announce it, or make it known unto you - referring either to what he purposes to say in this Epistle, or more probably embracing all that he had written respecting him, and supposing that his Gospel was in their hands. He means to call their attention to all the testimony which he had borne on the subject, in order to counteract the errors which began to prevail.

That ye may have fellowship with us - With us the apostles; with us who actually saw him, and conversed with him. That is, he wished that they might have the same belief, and the same hope, and the same joy which he himself had, arising from the fact that the Son of God had become incarnate, and had appeared among people. To "have fellowship," means to have anything in common with others; to partake of it; to share it with them, (see the notes at Acts 2:42); and the idea here is, that the apostle wished that they might share with him all the peace and happiness which resulted from the fact that the Son of God had appeared in human form in behalf of men. The object of the apostle in what he wrote was, that they might have the same views of the Saviour which he had, and partake of the same hope and joy. This is the true notion of fellowship in religion.

And truly our fellowship is with the Father - With God the Father. That is, there was something in common with him and God; something of which he and God partook together, or which they shared. This cannot, of course, mean that his nature was the same as that of God, or that in all things he shared with God, or that in anything he was equal with God; but it means that he partook, in some respects, of the feelings, the views, the aims, the joys which God has. There was a union in feeling, and affection, and desire, and plan, and this was to him a source of joy. He had an attachment to the same things, loved the same truth, desired the same objects, and was engaged in the same work; and the consciousness of this, and the joy which attended it, was what was meant by fellowship. Compare the 1 Corinthians 10:16 note; 2 Corinthians 12:14 note. The fellowship which Christians have with God relates to the following points:

(1) Attachment to the same truths, and the same objects; love for the same principles, and the same beings.

(2) the same kind of happiness, though not in the same degree. The happiness of God is found in holiness, truth, purity, justice, mercy, benevolence. The happiness of the Christian is of the same kind that God has; the same kind that angels have; the same kind that he will himself have in heaven - for the joy of heaven is only that which the Christian has now, expanded to the utmost capacity of the soul, and freed from all that now interferes with it, and prolonged to eternity.

(3) Employment, or cooperation with God. There is a sphere in which God works alone, and in which we can have no cooperation, no fellowship with him. In the work of creation; in upholding all things; in the government of the universe; in the transmission of light from world to world; in the return of the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, the storms, the tides, the flight of the comet, we can have no joint agency, no cooperation with him. There God works alone. But there is also a large sphere in which he admits us graciously to a cooperation with him, and in which, unless we work, his agency will not be put forth. This is seen when the farmer sows his grain; when the surgeon binds up a wound; when we take the medicine which God has appointed as a means of restoration to health. So in the moral world. In our efforts to save our own souls and the souls of others, God graciously works with us; and unless we work, the object is not accomplished. This cooperation is referred to in such passages as these: "We are laborers together (συνεργοί sunergoi) with God," 1 Corinthians 3:9. "The Lord working with them," Mark 16:20. "We then as workers together with him," 2 Corinthians 6:1. "That we might be fellow-helpers to the truth," 3 John 1:8. In all such cases, while the efficiency is of God - alike in exciting us to effort, and in crowning the effort with success - it is still true that if our efforts were not put forth, the work would not be done. In this department God would not work by himself alone; he would not secure the result by miracle.

(4) we have fellowship with God by direct communion with him, in prayer, in meditation, and in the ordinances of religion. Of this all true Christians are sensible, and this constitutes no small part of their special joy. The nature of this, and the happiness resulting from it, is much of the same nature as the communion of friend with friend - of one mind with another kindred mind - that to which we owe no small part of our happiness in this world.

(5) the Christian will have fellowship with his God and Saviour in the triumphs of the latter day, when the scenes of the judgment shall occur, and when the Redeemer shall appear, that he may be admired and adored by assembled worlds. Compare the notes at 2 Thessalonians 1:10. See also Matthew 19:28; Revelation 3:21.

And with his Son Jesus Christ - That is, in like manner there is much which we have in common with the Saviour - in character, in feeling, in desire, in spirit, in plan. There is a union with him in these things - and the consciousness of this gives peace and joy.

(There is a real union between Christ and his people, which lies at the foundation of this fellowship. Without this union there can be no communion. But a "union with Christ in these things, i. e., in character and feeling, etc." is nothing more than the union which subsists between any chief and his followers; and why the apostle Paul, or others after him, should reckon this a great mystery, is not easily comprehended. Ephesians 5:32; Colossians 1:27. For a full view of the subject, see the author's notes, with the supplementary note at Romans 8:10.)

3. That which we have seen and heard—resumed from 1Jo 1:1, wherein the sentence, being interrupted by 1Jo 1:2, parenthesis, was left incomplete.

declare we unto you—Oldest manuscripts add also; unto you also who have not seen or heard Him.

that ye also may have fellowship with us—that ye also who have not seen, may have the fellowship with us which we who have seen enjoy; what that fellowship consists in he proceeds to state, "Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son." Faith realizes what we have not seen as spiritually visible; not till by faith we too have seen, do we know all the excellency of the true Solomon. He Himself is ours; He in us and we in Him. We are "partakers of the divine nature." We know God only by having fellowship with Him; He may thus be known, but not comprehended. The repetition of "with" before the "Son," distinguishes the persons, while the fellowship or communion with both Father and Son, implies their unity. It is not added "and with the Holy Ghost"; for it is by the Holy Ghost or Spirit of the Father and Son in us, that we are enabled to have fellowship with the Father and Son (compare 1Jo 3:24). Believers enjoy the fellowship OF, but not WITH, the Holy Ghost. "Through Christ God closes up the chasm that separated Him from the human race, and imparts Himself to them in the communion of the divine life" [Neander].

He now proceeds with what he intended, not only professing to testify most certainly known things, (which he further with great earnestness inculcates), but declaring also the end of this testimony; viz. not merely that they to whom he writes might know them too, (as if the being a Christian did only stand in having some peculiar notions from other men, and that they were only to know for knowing’ sake), but that they might

have fellowship, i.e. partake and communicate with them (viz. the apostles, and the whole community of living Christians) in all the vital influences, holy practice, the dignities, pleasures, and consolations belonging to the Christian state; whereupon he adds,

and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: q.d. Nor are the advantages of that state, in their kind and nature, terrene, sensual, secular, but Divine and heavenly, such as are imparted to us by

the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ; or, wherein we are truly said to participate, and have a communion with them. That blessed Spirit, who is the immediate author to us of all gracious communication, (whence this is also styled the communion of the Holy Ghost, 2 Corinthians 13:14), being in reality the Spirit of the Father and the Son. That which we have seen and heard,.... This is repeated, both to confirm and illustrate what had been before said, and to carry on the discourse to what follows:

declare we unto you; in the ministry of the word; the person and offices of Christ being the sum and substance of the Gospel ministration, that declares him to be the true God and eternal life, God over all, blessed for ever; and truly man, made of a woman, and made under the law; and to be the only Mediator between God and man, to be prophet, priest; and King, and to be the alone Saviour and Redeemer: this declares the greatness and excellency of his salvation, what an able, proper, and suitable Saviour he is; and what precious promises and spiritual blessings are in him, even all grace and eternal glory. And this declaration of him is made in the Gospel, for the following ends and purposes,

that ye also may have fellowship with us; in hearing, seeing, and handling of Christ in a spiritual sense; and by enjoying the same privileges in God's house and family, the same ordinances and spiritual provisions; joining and partaking with them in all the immunities and advantages of a Gospel church state here; and by being with them to all eternity hereafter.

And truly our fellowship is with the Father; the Father of Christ, the covenant God and Father of his people; and which they have with him, when under the influence and witnessings of the spirit of adoption, and can in the strength of faith call him their Father, draw nigh to him through Christ as such, and are indulged with his presence, and the discoveries of his love:

and with his Son Jesus Christ; being in union to him, they become partakers of him, and of his blessings; they receive out of his fulness, and grace for grace; they are admitted to an intimacy and familiarity with him; they are had into his chambers of secret retirement; they are brought into his banqueting house, where his banner over them is love, and where he sups with them, and they with him; and into this fellowship are they called by the grace of God, through the Gospel; as also they have fellowship with the blessed Spirit, though not here mentioned; see 2 Corinthians 13:14.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, {2} that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

(2) The use of this doctrine is this, that all of us being coupled and joined together with Christ by faith, might become the sons of God: in which only consists all true happiness.

1 John 1:3. In the opening words of this verse: ἀκηκόαμεν, the object expressed in 1 John 1:1 is resumed, and the governing verb, which was there already in the apostle’s view, is added. The drift of this verse does not, however, lie in this, but rather in the final clause: ἵνα κ.τ.λ. While John first meant to state what was the subject of his proclamation, namely, that it was that which was from the beginning and was perceived by his senses,—which he then more particularly defined in 1 John 1:2,—he now wants to state the purpose of this proclamation of that subject. In this lies the reason why the object is resumed in abridged form, namely, in the form which the immediately preceding words (καὶ ἐφανερώθη ἡμῖν) suggested. The ὃ ἦν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, and similarly the ὃ ἐθεασάμεθα, was not to be resumed; the former, because it has been fully dealt with in what follows it; the latter, because it was not here in the purpose of the apostle once more to bring out the reality of the sensuous appearance of Him who was from the beginning. That ἑωράκαμεν is placed before ἀκηκόαμεν—in which no artificial parallelism is to be sought for (against Ebrard)—resulted naturally from the interweaving of ἑωράκαμεν into 1 John 1:2 (de Wette).

ἀπαγγέλλομεν καὶ ὑμῖν] with ἀπαγγέλλομεν, comp. 1 John 1:2.

καί (see the critical remarks) distinguishes the readers either from others to whom the apostle had declared the same thing (Spener, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Lücke, Düsterdieck, Myrberg, Braune, etc.), or from John (along with the other apostles). Lorinus: vos qui nimirum non audistis, nec vidistis, nec manibus vestris contrectastis verbum vitae; so also Zwingli, Bullinger, Ebrard. The latter interpretation would be preferable, if the following καί before ὑμεῖς, to which the same reference is to be attributed, did not thereby become pleonastic.

ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς κοινωνίαν ἔχητε μεθʼ ἡμῶν] Many commentators, as Socin, Bengel, Russmeyer, Spener, and others, supply with κοινωνίαν as enlargement: “with God and Christ;” without adequate ground; the enlargement of the idea κοινωνία is μεθʼ ἡμῶν (Baumgarten-Crusius, Düsterdieck, Braune), whereby, however, John does not mean “the apostles and other Christians” (de Wette), but himself, although including the other apostles, who have also seen and heard the Word of Life. This κοινωνία is self-evidently the fellowship of spirit in faith and love, which was brought about by the apostolic preaching.

ἔχειν is neither to be explained, with a Lapide, by: pergere et in ea (κοινωνία) proficere et confirmari, nor, with Fritzsche, by: “to acquire;” the word is rather to be retained in the signification peculiar to it; the apostle simply indicates the having fellowship as the aim of the apostolic proclamation, quite apart from the question as to how the hearers of this are related to that.

καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ ἡ ἡμετέρα κ.τ.λ.] By ἡ κοινωνία ἡ ἡμετέρα most commentators understand “the fellowship which the apostles and the believing hearers of their proclamation have with one another,” and, according as or ἐστί is supplied, have thus defined the thought of the verse, that the apostle states of this mutual fellowship that it either should be or is a fellowship with the Father and the Son. But as this view necessitates a scarcely justifiable enlargement of the idea κοινωνία (ἡ κοινωνία ἡ ἡμετέρα ᾖ [or ἐστί] κοινωνία μετὰ τ. πατρ. κ.τ.λ.),[43] the explanation of Baumgarten-Crusius, who resolves ἡ κοιν. ἡ ἡμετέρα into ἡμεις ἔχομεν κοινωνίαν μετὰ τ. πατρ., deserves the preference (so also Ewald, Braune); taking this explanation, the κοινωνία meant here is not identical with that mentioned before, inasmuch as the distinction is marked both by the difference of the subject: ὑμεῖς and ἡμεῖς (which is contained in ἡμετέρα), and that of the object: μεθʼ ἡμῶν and μετὰ τοῦ πατρός. According to this acceptation, the apostle here brings out that he (along with the rest of the apostles) has fellowship with the Father and with the Son, and, no doubt, in order to intimate by this that his readers, if they have fellowship with him, are thereby received with him into that fellowship. It is at all events incorrect, with Augustin, Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Ebrard, etc., to supply with this sentence. In opposition to it are—(1) the structure of the sentence, for if it were dependent on ἵνα the verb could not be omitted;[44] and (2) the thought, for as the apostles are already in fellowship with the Father and with the Son, it cannot be the aim of their ἀπαγγελία to elevate the fellowship which exists between them and those who accept their word into fellowship with the Father and with the Son. Therefore it is ἐστί that must be supplied, as Erasmus, a Lapide, Vatablus, Hornejus, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Düsterdieck, Myrberg, Ewald Braune, etc., have rightly recognised. The conjunction καὶδέ, which is pretty often found in the N. T., is used when the idea which is connected with a preceding one is at the same time to be contrasted with it; “the introduction of something new is thereby intimated” (Pape, see on καὶδέ). Whether it be the connection or the contrast which is to be the more emphasized, this particle is never used to resume an idea with the view to a further expression of it. This usage therefore also proves that by ἡ κοιν. ἡ ἡμετέρα it is not the previously mentioned κοινωνία μεθʼ ἡμῶν, but another fellowship, namely, the fellowship of the ἡμεῖς, i.e. of John and the other apostles (not with one another, but) with the Father and with the Son, that is meant.[45] God is here called ΠΑΤΉΡ in relation to ΤΟῦ ΥἹΟῦ ΑὐΤΟῦ.

The full description of Christ as ΤΟῦ ΥἹΟῦ ΑὐΤΟῦ ἸΗΣΟῦ ΧΡΙΣΤΟῦ serves to bring out the identity of that which was from the beginning with Him who became man.

[43] This enlargement is involuntarily made by the commentators—although they do not mention it; thus by Lücke, when he explains: “that ye may have fellowship with us: but (not with us only, but—ye know) our fellowship with one another is also that with the Father and with the Son;” similarly by Düsterdieck; Ebrard also says: “It is the purpose of John in his ἀπαγγελία, that his readers may enter into fellowship with the disciples, and that this fellowship may have its life-principle in the fellowship with the Father and with the Son.”

[44] The omission of ἐστί very often occurs; on the other hand, is very seldom omitted in the N. T., only in 1 Corinthians 8:11; 1 Corinthians 8:13 (still stronger is the ellipsis in Romans 4:16); thus even with Paul, who so frequently expresses only the outlines of the thought, the subjunctive of the substantive verb is almost never omitted; how much less can it be held as omitted in a construction of periods otherwise quite conformable to rule, in the second part of the dependent clause!

[45] For the usage of καὶδέ, comp. Matthew 16:18; Mark 4:36; Luke 2:35; Acts 3:24; Acts 22:29; Hebrews 9:21; and in Gospel of John 6:51; John 8:16-17; John 15:27. Lücke wrongly says that the particle is used for the more exact definition, expansion, and strengthening of a preceding thought, and that there is contained in it an “at the same time” or “not only … but also.” It must also be held as erroneous when Düsterdieck says: “John has just spoken of a ‘fellowship with us;’ now he wants to expand this idea further; therefore he continues: ‘and our fellowship’—the new explanatory thought, however, forms a certain antithesis to what was previously said: but our fellowship is not so much the fellowship with us as rather that with the Father and with the Son.”—Apart from the fact that καὶδέ has not the force of such a restriction (not so much … as rather), who does not feel that, if John wanted to express this thought, he would have had to write not ἡμετέρα, but ὑμετέρα, or rather: αὕτη δὲ κεινωεία?1 John 1:3. ὃ ἐωρ. καὶ ἀκ., not merely a resumption but a reiteration of the protasis. καὶ ὑμεῖς, “ye also” who have not seen Jesus. κοινωνίαν, not merely knowledge through hearsay of what the Apostles had known as eye-witnesses, but personal and direct communion with the living Lord. This St. John proceeds to make plain. The phrase καὶδὲ, etvero, atque etiam, introduces an important addition or explanation (cf. John 6:51; John 8:16-17; John 15:27; Acts 22:29; Hebrews 9:21; 2 Peter 1:5). “Christ walks no longer in the flesh among us, but He appears still continually to the world of men and reveals Himself to those who love Him. Through faith a real personal contact with the Christ now glorified in the Spirit is possible” (Rothe). There is a gracious constraint on all who know this blessed fellowship to bring others into it. Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:16. Bunyan, preface to The Jerusalem-Sinner Saved: “I have been vile myself, but have obtained mercy, and I would have my companions in sin partake of mercy too, and therefore I have writ this little book”.3. That which we have seen and heard] In returning to the main sentence he repeats a portion of it. The ideas of the first half and of the second half of the main sentence are not the same. In 1 John 1:1 he is thinking mainly of what he has to declare, viz. One existing from all eternity and intimately known to himself: in 1 John 1:3 he is thinking mainly of why he declares this, viz. to promote mutual fellowship.

declare we unto you] Add, also; ‘you as well as we’, or possibly, ‘you as well as others, who have already been told’, must have a share in the good tidings. Comp. ‘We cannot but speak the things which we saw and heard’ (Acts 4:20). Where does S. John declare Him who was from the beginning and was so well known to him and to others? Not in this Epistle, for no such declaration is found in it; but in the Gospel, which consists of such a declaration. We shall miss the purport of the Epistle if we do not bear constantly in mind that it was written as a companion to the Gospel. Parallels between the two abound: in what follows we have a striking one. Note the sequence of ideas: 1. the evidence on which their conviction was based, ‘have seen’; 2. their declaration of these convictions as Apostles, ‘bear witness’; 3. their declaration of them as Evangelists, ‘declare’.

that ye also may have fellowship with us] Comp. ‘that they may be one, even as We are’ (John 17:11). Christ’s prayer and S. John’s purpose are one and the same. See on 1 John 1:4. ‘Ye also’, who have not heard, or seen, or handled.

fellowship] Or, communion; almost always used of fellowship with persons (1 Corinthians 1:9) or with things personified (2 Corinthians 6:14). The word is rare in N. T. outside S. Paul’s writings. It “generally denotes the fellowship of persons with persons in one and the same object, always common to all and sometimes whole to each” (Canon Evans on 1 Corinthians 10:16). This is S. John’s conception of the Church: each member of it possesses the Son, and through Him the Father; and this common possession gives communion with all other members as well as with the Divine Persons.

and truly our fellowship] Or, yea, and our fellowship: there is a double conjunction in the Greek, as in John 6:51. The Apostle will tell them what ‘fellowship with us’ really means: ‘but our fellowship is not merely fellowship with us; it is fellowship with the Father and the Son’ (John 14:23). The ‘our’, like ‘eternal’ in 1 John 1:2 is very emphatic: ‘the fellowship that is ours, that we enjoy’.

His Son Jesus Christ] This full description is given for solemnity; and also perhaps to bring out the idea of which the Epistle is so full, that Christians are all one family, and in their relation to God share in the Sonship of Christ. Comp. ‘God is faithful, through whom ye were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord’ (1 Corinthians 1:9).

The fulness of the expression (comp. 1 John 3:23) is not so apparent in the English as in the Greek, which literally rendered runs thus; is with the Father and with the Son of Him, Jesus Christ. Both the preposition and the definite article are repeated, marking emphatically the distinction and equality between the Son and the Father. Thus two fundamental truths, which the philosophical heresies of the age were apt to obscure or deny, are here clearly laid down at the outset; (1) the distinctness of personality and equality of dignity between the Father and the Son; (2) the identity of the eternal Son of God with the historical person Jesus Christ.1 John 1:3. Ἀκηκόαμεν, we have heard) This is now put after sight, because the declaration is principally from hearing.—κοινωνίανμεθʼ ἠμῶν, communion—with us) the same which we have who have seen.—κοινωνία) that is ἐστί. Communion, so that He Himself is ours; He in us, and we in Him.—μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς, with the Father) who sent the Son, 1 John 1:4-10.—μετὰ τοῦ ὑιοῦ αὐτοῦ, with His Son) whom the Father sent: ch. 1 John 2:1-2. Respecting the Holy Spirit, see ch. 1 John 3:24, note.Verse 3. - The main sentence is resumed from verse 1, only the chief points being retouched. We declare to you also καί must be read before ὑμῖν, on overwhelming authority); i.e., "you as well as we must share in it," rather than "you as well as others to whom we have declared it." Of course, ἀπαγγέλλομεν, must be rendered alike in both verses "we declare." To what does it refer? Not to this Epistle, which does not contain the writer's experience of the Word of life manifested to mankind, but to his Gospel, which the Epistle is to accompany. The parallel between the two writings must often be noted, especially between the Epistle and John 17. Compare this verse with John 17:21. St. John's aim in writing his Gospel is that the great High Priest's prayer may be fulfilled - that believers may be one in that communion of which the unity between the Father and the Son is the pattern and the basis; may "be joined together in the same body, the same belief, the same knowledge, the same sins, the same hopes, the same destinies" (Jelf). Communion with Christians is shown to mean a great deal - no less than communion with the Father and with the Son. Note the double μετά St. John's writings teem with indications of the unity and yet distinctness between the Father and the Son. Communion with the one, so far from absorbing and canceling communion with the other, implies it as a separate bliss. The clause καὶ ἡ κοινωνία δὲ κ.τ.λ.., does not depend on ἵνα, as the δέ shows; we must supply ἔστι, not . (For καὶ.. δὲ, cf. John 6:51, where, as here, καὶ is the leading conjunction; in John 8:16, 17 and John 15:27, δέ leads.) "Blessed are they that see not and yet believe. It is we who are here described, we who are designated. Then let the blessedness take place in us, of which the Lord predicted that it should take place. Let us firmly hold that which we see not, because those tell us who have seen" (St. Augustine, in loc.). The regular course of the sentence, broken by 1 John 1:2, is now resumed, by the repetition of that which we have seen and heard. Only the order is reversed: seen and heard instead of heard and seen (1 John 1:1), and the two elements of experience, sight and hearing, are thrown together without the repeated relative that which. In 1 John 1:1, the climax advanced from the lower evidence of hearing to that of sight. Here, in recapitulating, the process is reversed, and the higher class of evidence is put first.

Unto you also (καὶ ὑμῖν)

The also is variously explained. According to some, referring to a special circle of Christian readers beyond those addressed at the conclusion of the Gospel. Others, again, as referring to those who had not seen and heard as contrasted with eye-witnesses. Thus Augustine on John 20:26 sqq. "He (Thomas) touched the man, and confessed the God. And the Lord, consoling us who, now that He is seated in heaven, cannot handle Him with the hand, but touch Him by faith, says, 'Because thou hast seen thou hast believed; blessed are they who have not seen and believe.' It is we that are described; we that are pointed out. May there therefore come to pass in us that blessedness which the Lord predicted should be: the Life itself has been manifested in the flesh, so that the thing which can be seen with the heart alone might be seen with the eyes also, that it might heal our hearts."

Fellowship (κοινωνίαν)

This word introduces us to one of the main thoughts of the Epistle. The true life in man, which comes through the acceptance of Jesus as the Son of God, consists in fellowship with God and with man. On the word, see on Acts 2:42; see on Luke 5:10. The verb κοινωνέω to come into fellowship, to be made a partner, to be partaker of, occurs 1 Peter 4:13; 2 John 1:11; Hebrews 2:14, etc. The expression here, (ἔχειν κοινωνίαν) is stronger, since it expresses the enjoyment or realization of fellowship, as compared with the mere fact of fellowship. See on John 16:22.

Our fellowship (ἡ κοινωνία ἡ ἡμετέρα)

More strictly, the fellowship, that which is ours, according to John's characteristic practice of defining and emphasizing a noun by an article and possessive pronoun. See on John 10:27. Ours (possessive instead of personal pronoun) indicating fellowship as a distinguishing mark of Christians rather than as merely something enjoyed by them.

With the Father and with His Son (μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ)

Note the repeated preposition μετά with; distinguishing the two persons, and coordinating the fellowship with the Father, and the fellowship with the Son, thus implying the sameness of essence. The fellowship with both contemplates both as united in the Godhead. Plato says of one who lives in unrestrained desire and robbery, "Such an one is the friend neither of God nor man, for he is incapable of communion (κοινωνεῖν ἀδύνατος), and he who is incapable of communion (κοινωνία) us also incapable of friendship" ("Gorgias," 507). So in the "Symposium" (188), and he defines divination as "the art of communion (κοινωνία) between gods and men."

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