1 John chapter 1 - The Great Thesis - Dr J Stewart Gillespie 

2 Fold Division: 

“God is Light” (1:5) – Chps 1 - 3 
“God is Love” (4:8,16) – Chps 3 – 4 

 Between these 2 statements John sits and writes his epistle. 

 In Chps 1,2 & 3 tell us about the meaning of “God is Light” & in Chps 3,4 & 5 he’s going to tell us about the meaning of “God is Love.” 

3 Fold Reason for Writing: 

 Don’t have to guess, tells us why he wrote: 

Rejoicing (1:4): salvation is a beginning, he wants us to enjoy it. 
Righteousness (2:1): ought to be marked by the character of God. 
Reassurance (5:13,14): may have doubts ~ salvation & security. 

5 Tests of True Believer: 

 5 hallmarks of the genuine believer: 

Light / Righteousness: Marked by righteous living (1:6) 
Love (4:7-8) 
Faith (5:1,4) 
Truth (2:21,22; 4:6) 
Spirit of God (4:13) 

1 Great Thesis: 

 The central idea of the epistle. 

 Familiar with the central thesis of other books: 

   Genesis – God is creator, originator & sustainer of all things. 

   Revelation – God will bring all things to an appointed conclusion 

   Leviticus – Sin demands blood. 

   John’s Gospel – Jo20:31. 

 What about 1 John? Great thesis? Something quite mysterious! Elsewhere it is referred to as that: ‘mystery.’ Hidden for long time. 

 Something which most people will not understand. The only people who will understand it is those who have experienced it. 

 The first time John saw it, took him by surprise! 

 Recall John was an old man by time he wrote 1 John, did what old men do; ‘dreamed dreams’ – he reminisced, looked back (chp1) – recalled someone he knew, never met anyone like this before; quite unique. This 

person had changed his life; the person of Christ. Looks back in chp1, tells us about: The Revelation of Christ to Us. 

 Christ had been taken from him, not by death but by resurrection and ascension; John thought that it would be some time before he saw Christ again, have to wait until Jo14 was fulfilled. 

 A remarkable, mysterious thing; John looks round about himself, into the eyes & faces of men and women saved from; idolatry, immorality & prostitution, began to see something/someone familiar. They reminded of someone, they reminded him of Christ! 

 The Great Thesis of 1 John is this; that there is: 

The Revelation of Christ to Us (Chp1) 
The Revelation of Christ in Us (5:11-12) 

 The Great Thesis of 1 John is that the 2 must be the same! 

 As people look at me they should see Christ. This is why the true believer is marked by the 5 tests, because Christ was! 

 As people look at me shouldn’t be left wondering; is he? Isn’t he? 

1 John Chp 1: The Revelation of Christ in History 

Vs1 – 4 The Incarnation of the Divine Word: 

Vs1 – Christ Scrutinised: “Heard”  “Seen”  “Looked upon”  “Handled” 
Vs2 – Christ Testified: 
Vs3 – Christ Evangelised 
Vs4 – Christ Recorded 

Vs5 – 10 The Revelation of the Divine Character 

Dependant upon the manifestation of the Divine Word (1:1-4; Jo1:18) 

Vs1 – 4 The Incarnation of the Divine Word: 

Vs1 – Christ Scrutinised: 2 Great truths ~ person of Christ: 

   The Deity of Christ “that which was from the beginning” 

   The Humanity of Christ “heard…seen…looked…handled.” 

 The Deity of Christ “that which was from the beginning” – as far back as you can go – Christ was there; cf. Jo1:1. 

 Often challenged but clearly taught in scripture: 


Isa 7:14 – Matt1:23 
Isa 9:6 
Isa 40:3 – Matt3:3 

Claimed by Christ: 


Taught by the Apostles 

Thomas – Jo20:28 – Always interesting to hear the sceptic 
John – Rev4:2-4; 8-9; 5:6,9 
Paul – Titus2:13. 

 The Humanity of Christ; the miracle of the incarnation; 1Jo4:12. 

 The inaudible became audible, invisible became visible, intangible became tangible. 

 Here was God made manifest, witnessed by Matt, Mk, Luke, John, Paul, 1Co15:6. We do not follow “cunningly devised fables.” 

 Historical reality of the incarnation. “looked upon” (v1) – “scrutinised.” 

Vs2 – Christ Testified: 

 Having known Christ John is responsible to declare Christ 

 “Show” = “declare” – to brother, sister, child, parent, neighbour, spouse. Very relevant responsibility not unique to John. 

 Cf. Man of the Gaderenes: Lk8:39 – “show” & Mk5:19 – “Go… and tell.” 

 Great blessing to others. 

Vs3 – Christ Evangelised 

 Purpose in preaching; might have “fellowship” with one another 

 ‘koinonia’ – fellowship, things in common, sharing 

 Fellowship with each other because we each have fellowship with Christ. What do we have in common? Christ! 

 The assembly is not primarily a social organisation, it is a spiritual organism. Joined to others because we are in fellowship with Christ; Rev 1:12-13. 

Vs4 – Christ Recorded 

 First purpose of writing epistle: rejoicing; enjoy faith in Christ to full.