1 John 1:4
And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
In verse 4, John gives us the reason for why the scriptures were recorded. He starts out stating “and we”, which is referring to the authors of scripture. The next part of the sentence tells the means, “are writing”. The Greek word here is graphó which is defined in this sense as to write to one, to give information; direction to the intended audience.
“These things” is the Greek word tauta which is an accusative form of the pronoun houtos. This returns back to the subject in which the author is writing about as indicated in the previous verses, the person of Jesus Christ.
So that is a conjunction, which tells us that there is a purpose to this as well. This is the last part of the sentence. “our joy may be complete”. Let me jump to last word first. That word is complete, which is the Greek word pléroó. This means to perfect or consummate, to make complete in every particular, to render perfect.
Joy is the noun here. It is the Greek word chara. Helps explains this word as follows:
Cognate: 5479 xará (another feminine noun from the root xar-, “extend favor, lean towards, be favorably disposed”) – properly, the awareness (of God’s) grace, favor; joy (“grace recognized”).
When I think of Joy, I tend to look at it as it is defined in modern English:
a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
When Webster defined joy in the 1828 edition, it seems so much deeper and more complete than how modern English defines it. It states:
1. The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.
JOY is a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good.
Bring heavenly balm to heal my country’s wounds,
JOY to my soul and transport to my lay.
2. Gayety; mirth; festivity.
The roofs with joy resound.
3. Happiness; felicity.
Her heavenly form beheld, all wished her joy
4. A glorious and triumphant state.
–Who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross. Hebrews 12:2.
5. The cause of joy or happiness.
For ye are our glory and joy 1 Thessalonians 2:19.
6. A term of fondness; the cause of you.
JOY, verb intransitive To rejoice; to be glad; to exult.
I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:18.
JOY, verb transitive To give joy to; to congratulate; to entertain kindly.
1. To gladden; to exhilarate.
My soul was joyed in vain.
2. To enjoy; to have or possess with pleasure, or to have pleasure in the possession of. [Little used. See Enjoy.]
John uses the word chara once in each of his epistles, and 7 times in his gospel
1 John 1:4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
2 John 1:12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
John 3:29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
John 16:21-22 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
John 16:24 Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
John 17:13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
Observation: Joy is the reason these letters were written. It wasn’t a sense of pleasure or happiness that the world says we get as a result of what we do, it was to convey the message of hope that they had received. Joy is not a feeling that comes from within, it is something given to us from God. It is our hope in Jesus Christ. The Jews were waiting for there Messiah and He came, his name is Jesus and He said He is coming again. John bore witness to this first coming and as a result this filled him with Joy. He had seen Jesus with his eyes, heard him with his ears and touched him with his hands, the very promise of God was in front of him. We have a hope as well and it is the testimony of these men known as the apostles. They are sharing their joy with us, that we may partake in the joy given to them, by God. As a result this fruit of the Holy Spirit, joy, would be made perfect in them, and will be made perfect in us. They shared the message of Jesus Christ, so we could have it today, and that we may pass it on to others in our lifetime.
Father, thank You for Your faithful followers through out the years. These men and women that shared the hope You gave them. That shared the way You moved in their lives that we might see You, hear you and touch You. That we would have a hope to grab onto and that in this hope joy would fill us. That we will see the glory of God one day. Whether it is when this life fades or when Jesus returns again, we will see You. Thank You for the mercy given to us on the cross, the grace given to us in that moment of history. That we, a rebellious, sinful people, can have fellowship with You. Lord we don’t deserve it, but You have given us a way to return to the throne. Thank you, in Jesus name amen.
God bless you,