This is my attempt to write a commentary on 1 John. I feel the Holy Spirit has been pressing me to do so. I confess, I have neither the ability nor the skills required to do so. I however trust God that if He birthed this in me, He will work this through me. For he is exceedingly able. It is a somewhat technical approach but my prayer is truth over shines polish.
1 John 1:1
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
Verse 1 opens with the statement That which was from the beginning. That is a reference to the subject matter and establishes its origin. From is said to be used in 2 specific ways. One is to separate from something or the other is of the sense of origin. Beginning as an abstract is the commencement of something. As a concrete it is the chief in order, time, place or rank. It can also be said that it is the corner or in other instances the first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule. I look at this and see it appears to not only define time, but also authority and establishes the foundation or corner. John then appeals to the senses of hearing, sight and touch. In regards to hearing, he simply says which we have heard. This can speak of the faculty of hearing or it can also speak of consideration of what is said or understanding of what is said. The next sense draws attention to sight. With John first saying we have seen with our eyes, and also which we have looked upon. The word seen can be defined as seeing with the eyes or seeing with the mind. It can also be seeing by experience or acquaintance. The word for eyes is ophthalmos which in a literal sense is our eyes, and as a metaphor our mind. The additional phrase we looked upon is used in several senses. It is to look upon intently or contemplate. It is also to meet with in the sense of visiting. And lastly it is learning by looking or to perceive. John finally appeals to the sense of touch, stating touched with our hands. This in a literal sense is simply to touch or feel but as metaphor touched is used to speak of seeking after tokens or a person. Additionally, hands beyond the physical also adds the idea of grasping or perhaps taking hold of. As I read the definition it speaks of hand in the literal sense as well as figuratively of power. Is John making reference to the hand of God here? This first sentence ends with concerning the word of life. This is what this book speaks of. John uses the word Logos, which he uses to speak of Jesus Christ as the Word of God. He set this forth in John 1:1, establishing eternal coexistence( should it be existence or coexistence), and then in John 1:14, naming this Word as the son of God. He speaks of the Word as the Word of Life. Life is the word zōē which is used of the absolute fullness of life. Life essentially, in the flesh and also ethically. This is the nature of Christ, a life devoted to God the Father in both flesh and spirit.
Conclusion. It seems to me that John is establishing the subject the book in person of Jesus Christ. He addresses the physical and eternal aspects of Jesus. Speaking of Him as being from the beginning and referencing what was built upon in the Gospel of John. He is appealing to the senses, telling his audience that they (the apostles) heard Him, saw Him and touched Him. I also see the metaphors of understanding, perceiving and grasping. The apostles not only heard His words, beheld His life and physically touched Him, bearing witness to the reality of Jesus, but also they understood who Jesus is. They perceived the truth of Gods Word, and they grasped the depth of His reason for coming in the flesh. God gave us His Word as the bible, and in Christ, He demonstrated and fulfilled what He spoke of. He is the source of life, and the foundation on which life is meant to be lived. It is also to whom we are subjects. Jesus Christ, eternally existent. Who lived in the flesh. And to whom is our Lord.
Father may we hear your word, see your word and touch your word. Understanding who You are. Perceiving who You are. Grasping who You are. You have established a foundation on which we are called to live. An existence which we resist so hard. Forgive us and give eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind to understand that are not trying to control us as much as tell us how life is meant to be lived. Some see your law as regulation on our lives. I see it as grace, a means by which you empower us. When we live in a way that is opposed to you we see the pain it not only causes us and how it affects others. May we understand that when we live opposed to you, it also grieves you. In Jesus Christ we have life for this opposition, which You call sin. In Jesus there is redemption. For your Word says the wages of sin is death. But in Jesus we are called children of God. He who was with You in the beginning and is the Word of Life, who is the Son of God, and by Your mercy demonstrated on the cross we our now more than your creation, but Your children. That is the very reason for the Bible that we may know you and that we would be known by you. To You be the Glory. In Jesus name, amen.
God bless you,