Who is “we”?

Spike English had a good question after class on Sunday.  He noticed the use of “we” in the first four verses, and then the change to “I” in chapter 2.  It was a point I failed to make, but I believe the “we” in the first four verses refers to the apostles in general.  In other words, John was not the only eyewitness, there were many more.  This is further confirmation of the truth of fact of the historical Jesus.  Obviously, the fact that there are many eyewitnesses is an important part of the proof that John is presenting.

Moving on to chapter 2, John begins to speak to the recipients in a personal address, thus the use of “I” at that point.

Finally, for this week, the sense of “we” of verses 1-4 continues in verse 5, but changes in verse 6 and for the rest of the chapter.  Can you see in what sense “we” is used for the rest of chapter 1?


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2 thoughts on “Who is “we”?

  1. Karol Lee on said:

    It appears that in verse 5 John is relaying the message that “we” those who actually received the message from Jesus. God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. Verse 6 then changes to “we” univeral meaning those who lived then and now. From verse 6 on John makes known how “we” all people know that we have fellowship with Him.

  2. I think that is exactly right. It is a good reminder that you always need to read in context.

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