Probably each of us has had the experience of speaking in a situation of emergency, under duress or out of anxiety. Our words spill forth, racing ahead of our thoughts, until we run out of breath or someone gently urges us to "slow down." In some ways, the preface of this epistle (1:1-4) points to the urgency of the situation in which the Elder finds himself. His ideas and words tumble forth in his eagerness to express his concerns. Almost awkwardly he repeats himself. Four times he refers to what he has seen or looked at; twice to what he has heard; twice to what he proclaims. But if the wording of the preface is a bit awkward, the author's goal and message is not. Clearly he wishes to underscore that what he is bearing witness to is no figment of his imagination, no invention of his own. He wishes to set before his readers the life that is in Jesus Christ.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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