In this paper, the scripture text in 1John 1:5-2:11 will be analyzed within the general hermeneutic approaches, such as theme and literary context observation, historical-cultural background examination, grammar-structure analysis, lexical study, etc. Application will be discussed in a way that changes Christian life through building up faith and personal relationship with Christ.
In order to analyze the passage precisely, the main idea and overall structure of the entire book is observed first. We extract a kernel idea, which logically crystallizes the message of the entire book. Such a kernel is found in the very beginning of the book (1:1-4) and summarized as the Word revealed to fleshes through the Word in flesh, in correspondence with the remote context in the Gospel of John. This revelation allows for all “fleshes” (human being) to have fellowship with the Son and the Father in the Spirit, and for fulfilling God’s commandments.
Since the letter identifies no specific church or individual to whom it was sent, it should be considered as a “general epistle.” The subgenre can be viewed as a sermon discourse. This passage is designed to address an authoritative definition of the foundation of Christian faith via rigorous and unquestionable arguments. It speaks to the reader in a persuasive way but in sharply contrasted tones: to God’s children, the author is like a father full of love, grace, and tender; to the heretical teachers, he is a fierce battler like a “bear to be robbed of her cubs”. Therefore, the main purpose of this letter is both to feed and to guard God’s children.