Wednesday, October 8, 2008
1 John 1:1-4
In writing the opening sentences of his first epistle, John makes use of at least three different tenses to review nearly his entire experience of Christ. According to time: 1. He describes concrete interactions with Christ in the aorist tense (we beheld and our hands handled). 2. He highlights the present state of change he has experienced using the perfect tense (we have seen and we have heard). 3. John introduces the present result of the previous two points — these interactions with the Lord have compelled him to announce, testify, and report to the recipients of this epistle what he has experienced — present tense. Finally, the purpose of all of this is to bring these believers into the same fellowship with the Triune God that John is experiencing and that the apostles' joy may be made full — present and perfect subjunctives.
Although John's writings seem to be some of the simplest in the New Testament, the depth of what he describes in 4 short verses at the beginning of this epistle are unsearchable. I have read these verses in English and Spanish, and have studied them in Greek since I began to learn it 6 years ago. Yet each time I revisit these verses, there something new.