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Structure

Some commentators find it difficult to find any structure in 1 John. The outline used in this interpretation often follows that of Zane Hodges.

1. Greek Rhetorical Style

He also recognizes in 1 John the Greek rhetorical style. The main sections are Prologue (1:1-4), Preamble (1:5-2:11), Proposition (2:12-27), Central Body (2:28-4:19), Conclusion (4:20-5:17), and Epilogue (5:18-21). The discovery of this style in the Epistle is significant because it requires a consistency of the same argument throughout the various sections. More information on what is to be expected in these sections will be provided in the Interpretation paragraphs, later.

2. Inclusio

He discovers many examples of the use of an element of Greek style, inclusio, that marks the boundaries of a portion by using the same word(s) at the beginning and at the end of the section.9 Some of the appearances of inclusio are listed in the following table:

INCLUSIO

Section

Beginning Word(s)

Ending Word(s)

1:1-5:21

"eternal life (1:2)"

"eternal life (5:20)"

2:28-3:10a

"appears* (2:28)"

"obvious* (3:10a)"

3:10b-23

"love (3:10b)"

"love (3:23)"

3:24-4:16

"abides in (3:24)"

"abides in (4:16)"

2:28-4:19

"confidence (2:28)"

"confidence (4:17)"

Quotes are from the NASV. -- *This is the same word in the Greek.

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