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1:1-4 - Prologue - Background

to teach/Asiatic believers/that the Apostles proclaimed Jesus' life because the prospect of intimate fellowship between the Father and the Son, the recipients, and John and the Apostles, [that was experienced as the recipients followed His example], brought the Apostles joy

  • Style Element: The Prologue in Greek rhetorical style introduces the subject matter and its goal.10
  • Goal: The Apostles proclaimed Jesus' life to the recipients. (The Apostles were the experts because they had lived with the Lord during his three-year earthly ministry. Second Peter 1:16-21 goes further than this statement and teaches that the Holy Spirit superintended the accuracy of the proclamation.) The goal of the proclamation was to lift up Jesus' life as an example for the recipients (verse 2). When the recipients lived like Christ; the Apostles, the Father, the Son, and the believers would have fellowship. This is the first hint that the theme of the Epistle is "fellowship" . . . the fellowship of God with believers and the fellowship of believers with God. Persons in fellowship have an (non-sexual) intimate relationship.
  • Apostates and Apostles: Later in the Epistle it is revealed that the false teachers left the community of the inspired experts (2:19).
  • Joy: The prospect of such intimate fellowship made the Apostles' joy complete (verse 4)." The implication is that the Apostles were joyful when the recipients were saved. Now the Apostle's joy would be complete when the recipients also maintained intimate fellowship with God. According to the text, this is one of the reasons why a portion of the Epistle was written. See "Purpose," below.