For several years I tutored three students in Koine Greek. In our class we read allot of the Septuagint and New Testament in Greek, but after a while we began to concentrate on learning John. We spent quite a bit of time in 1 John. Since the students had all gone through grammar and syntax we pretty much did sight reading and discussion. John’s Greek seems easy. John’s Greek, it has been noted, is deceptively simple. You really have to pay close attention to the verb tenses, which often vary.
The opening chapter of 1 John has really been on my mind lately, specifically v.7 which reads (if loosley translated) “but, if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin”. The interesting thing about this verse is, again, the verb tenses. They are all in the Greek present tense and so may also be translated “if we keep on walking in the light, as He is in the light, we continue to have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ keeps on cleansing us from all sin.
Now that is noteworthy. There is a link between our fellowship with one another, and our cleansing from sin by Christ blood. One could say the two are closely related and that “cleansing” is dependent on “fellowship with one another”. If that is the case, and the grammar for sure suggests that it is, then we are right to ask, “What does John mean by fellowship?”
Context. Context suggests he has in mind the local church.
Think about it.. Fellowship with one another is essential. Fellowship, and it makes me wonder. Over the years I have run across folks that never, or very rarely, attend corperate worship. I have actually met folks that have told me that, as far as they are concerned, watching a church service on TV was equal to parish worship/fellowship. And I am not talking about shut-ins.
I am not suggesting that in every case folks guilty of this sort of thinking are also guilty of fatal error. Especially when we take into account the overall health of American evangelicalism.
But, what about more “mature” ones that fall into this error? That is a bit more complicated and more disturbing and what about those that do come and sit in the pew but never really enter into fellowship?
We can say this: But, if we have fellowship with one another, the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.