Lectionary Year B
May 7, 2000
1 John 3:1-7
Step IV: Broader Context
(JFC) A. PRIMITIVE CHRISTIANITY
It was previously noted that the first generations of Christians is maturing and some
members are dead and others are approaching death by the time 1 John appears on the scene. It has grown in attempts to practice the very high principles Jesus left for them. The aging members are gaining in wisdom, born out of experiences, experiments and attempts to remain faithful to original teachings by the Teacher par excellence. Yet, their practices need evaluating and examining, re: those principles and teachings. Consequently, 1 John highlights some of those principles and teachings Jesus generated. Also, 1 John challenges some of the weaknesses, dilutions, if not pollution the Christian movement is noted to have suffered. Evidently, 1 John has a major task, here, for, apparently many mistakes and/or problems have resulted as time began to take its toll on the fledgling movement we know as early Christianity.
(JFC) B. OT/JUDAISM
Verse 5 in our text might have been generated by Isaiah 53:11, as the
Septuagint translates, "The Lord is pleased to take away the travail of his (the sinner's) soul". As the verse begins to conclude, some translate, "The Righteous one will make many righteous". Likewise, Isaiah 53:9, in the Septuagint, "for he practiced no iniquity" might have inspired the final clause in that (5th) verse of our pericope.
(JFC) C. HELLENISTIC WORLD
The scattered Greek speaking Jewish philosophers might appreciate the realized
eschatology in verse 1's assuring believers' being God's children in the present. And, surely they would approve of God's/Jesus' sinlessness. Perhaps, also, they could appreciate the idea that we cannot yet know what we shall be in the future. Knowing God could be another element in this pericope that the Hellenists could value.
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