by Robert S. Candlish
EVIDENTLY the desire and aim of the writer of this Epistle is to place all to whom it comes in the same advantageous position which he himself and his fellow-apostles enjoyed, as regards the knowledge of God in Christ, and the full enjoyment of the holy and divine fellowship which that knowledge implies. That is his great design throughout; and this is his announcement of it at the very beginning of his treatise.
Some think that he is here pointing to his Gospel, and that, in fact, this Epistle was meant to accompany that previously-published narrative, either as a sort of supplement and appendix, or as an introductory letter, explaining and enforcing the lessons of his great biography of his Master. It may be so, although I incline, after some vacillation, to my early formed opinion as to that biography being the loved disciple's last work. And here, at any rate, I rather understand him as referring, not to that particular book at all, but to his ordinary manner of teaching, and its ordinary scope; and as including in the reference all his brethren in the apostleship. When he says, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you," I cannot doubt that he means to indicate generally the "apostles' doctrine" (Acts 2:42)—the common doctrine of all of them alike. "That which we have seen and heard"—all of us alike—"declare we"—all of us alike—in order that we may have you, our disciples and scholars, our hearers and readers, to be sharers with us in our knowledge and in our fellowship. We would have all the privileges of both attainments common between you and us.
In regard, indeed, to knowledge, we cannot make you as well off as we ourselves have been; not at least so far as knowledge comes through the direct information of the senses, and is verified by their testimony. We have "heard and seen, and looked, and handled" (ver. 1). We have had a personal acquaintance with Jesus in the flesh, and have come into personal contact in the flesh with whatever of God was manifested in him, by him, through him. We have gazed into his face; we have hung upon his lips;—I, John, have leaned on his breast. We cannot make you partakers with us in that way of "knowing Christ after the flesh" (2 Cor. 5:16); nor consequently in the sort of fellowship, so satisfying and soothing, "after the flesh," for which it furnished the occasion and the means.
Table of Contents
Preface to Second Edition
Preface to First Edition
PRELIMINARY CHAPTERS—GENERAL AIM OF THE BOOK
I. The Doctrine and Fellowship of the Apostles:—1 JOHN 1:3
II. The Joy of the Lord, and its Fulness:—1 JOHN 1: 4
PART FIRST: PRIMARY CONDITION OF THE DIVINE FELLOWSHIP—LIGHT
III. The Ground or Reason of this Condition; Light at once the Nature and the Dwelling-place of God:—1 JOHN 1:5–7.
IV. This Condition Fulfilled in the Confession of a Guileless Spirit:—1 JOHN 1:8–10
V. Sinless Aim of the Guileless Spirit—Provision for its Continued Sense of Sin:—1 JOHN 2:1
VI. Nature and Ground of Christ's Advocacy as Meeting the Need of the Guileless Spirit:—1 JOHN 2:1, 2
VII. The Guileless Spirit realising through Obedience the Knowledge of God as the means of Being and Abiding in God:—1 JOHN 2:3–5
VIII. The Christlike Walk of one with Guileless Spirit Abiding in God:——1 JOHN 2:6
IX. The Commandment at once Old and New to one Walking with Guileless Spirit in the Light—1 JOHN 2:7, 8
X. Brotherly Love a Test and Means of Being and Abiding, with Guileless Spirit, in the Light: —1 JOHN 2:9–11
XI. The Guileless Spirit abiding in the Light in its threefold aspect of Childhood, Fatherhood, and Youth:"—1 JOHN 2:12–14
XII. The Guileless Spirit loving not the World, which is Darkness; but God, who is Light:—1 JOHN 2:15, 16.
XIII. The Guileless Spirit, amid the Dark World's flow, established in the Light of Godliness—1 JOHN 2:17.
XIV. The Guileless Spirit, amid Antichristian Defections, established by a Messianic Unction and Illumination—1 JOHN 2:18–20
XV. The Guileless Spirit, amid Antichristian Denial of the Son, acknowledging the Son so as to have the Father also:—1 JOHN 2:21, 22, 23
XVI. The Guileless Spirit abiding in the Son and in the Father, so as to receive the Promise of Eternal Life—1 JOHN 2:24, 25
XVII. The Guileless Spirit, through the Abiding Messianic Unction and Illumination of the Holy Ghost, abiding in Christ, so as to have Confidence at his Coming:—1 JOHN 2:26–28
PART SECOND: INTERMEDIATE CONDITION OF THE DIVINE FELLOWSHIP—RIGHTEOUSNESS
XVIII. Ground or Reason of this Condition in the Righteous Nature of God—the New Birth unto Righteousness:—1 JOHN 2:29; 3:1
XIX. The Divine Birth—The Family Likeness:—1 JOHN 2:29; 3:2
XX. The Divine Hope Perfecting the Sinless Family Likeness:—1 JOHN 3:2, 4.
XXI. The Secret of Sinlessness—Abiding in the Sinless One as manifested to take away our Sins:—1 JOHN 3:4–6.
XXII. The Secret of Sinlessness—Our abiding in Christ—The Seed of God abiding in us—Our being born of God:—1 JOHN 3:6 and 9
XXIII. The Secret of Sinlessness—The Contrasted "Doings"—Doing Righteousness and Doing Sin—Their Incompatibility in respect of their Opposite Origins or Parentages—God and the Devil:—1 JOHN 3:7, 8
XXIV. Connection of doing Righteousness with Brotherly Love as proving a Divine Birth, in contrast with the Unrighteous and Unloving Spirit indicating a Devilish Parentage:—1 JOHN 3:10–12
XXV. Brotherly Love the Fruit and Test of passing from Death unto Life—the World's Hatred—the Love of God:—1 JOHN 3:13–16
XXVI. Righteousness or Truth in Brotherly Love—Essential to the Answer of a Good Conscience in Ourselves and before God:—1 JOHN 3:17–21
XXVII. Righteousness essential to our Pleasing God, and to his Hearing us:—1 JOHN 3:22, 23
XXVIII. Our Righteousness attested by Obedience, as implying our Abiding in God, and His Abiding in us, by the Spirit given by Him to us:—1 JOHN 3:24; 4:1
XXIX. Our Righteousness exercised in Trying the Spirits; the Test, confessing that Jesus Christ is come in the Flesh:—1 JOHN 3:24–4:4
XXX. The Spirit of Christ in us greater than the Spirit of Antichrist in the World:—1 JOHN 4:4–6
PART THIRD: ULTIMATE CONDITION OF THE DIVINE FELLOWSHIP—LOVE
XXXI. Love is of God—God is Love:—1 JOHN 4:7–10
XXXII. Love going forth towards what is seen:—1 JOHN 4:10–12
XXXIII. Love the means of Mutual Indwelling; God in us and we in God:—1 JOHN 4:13–16
XXXIV. The Boldness of Perfected Love:—1 JOHN 4:17–19
XXXV. The Objects of our Love—the Children of God and God himself:—1 JOHN 4:20, 21–5:1–3
PART FOURTH: THE DIVINE FELLOWSHIP OF LIGHT, RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND LOVE, OVERCOMING THE WORLD AND ITS PRINCE
XXXVI. Love to God keeping his Commandments and not finding them Grievous—1 JOHN 5:2, 3
XXXVII. Filial Faith overcoming the World:—1 JOHN 5:4, 5
XXXVIII. The Three Witnesses and their Agreement—1 JOHN 5:6 and 8
XXXIX. The Witness or Testimony of God to and in Believers:—1 JOHN 5:9, 10
XL. The Substance of the Testimony—Eternal Life God's Gift in his Son:—1 JOHN 5:11, 12
XLI. Eternal Life connected with Confidence in Prayer: —1 JOHN 5:13–15
XLII. Prayer for a Brother's Sin, but not for a Sin unto Death:—1 JOHN 5:16, 17
XLIII. The Believer as born of God keeping himself so as not to sin—1 JOHN 5:17, 18
XLIV. Our being of God—The World lying in the Wicked One:.—1 JOHN 5:18, 19
XLV. Knowing the True One and being in Him:—1 JOHN 5:26
XLVI. Jesus the True God and Eternal Life against all Idols:—1 JOHN 5:20, 21